Just Roll With It

Skateboarding Youth Popularity Linked to Olympics and Social Media


Cruising, seen here, is an easy first step into boarding. (Photo by Jimin Shin)

Jimin Shin and Alyssa Chang

You feel the cool breeze swoosh through your hair. Airpods are cranked up and you’re cruising on your board, following along to the rhythmic beat. A sense of freedom rushes through your mind, and you can’t help but repeat your mantra: “This is amazing.” Skateboarding’s popularity has grown exponentially over the past few years, and for good reason.

The thrill of the ride aside, boarding boasts many young role models for all. This past summer, 13 year old Momiji Nishiya smiled brightly with her gold medal on the world stage. The sport only continues to grow, especially since the Olympic committee added boarding as an official game this year; young people that don’t follow traditional sports have been brought into the fold. According to the International Olympic Committee, “One of the reasons people were so thrilled about skateboarding being included on the Olympic programme was the youthful excitement it would bring to the Games.” 

Japan’s Hochi daily sports newspaper reported, “It’s been a week since the Tokyo Olympics ended, but skateboarding, which Japan won three medals for, is getting a lot of attention.”

Sophie pivots on her longboard. (Photo by Jimin Shin)

After the summer games, Japan wasn’t the only country that saw rising popularity in the alternative sport. More people are starting to take lessons and join clubs, causing waitlists of hundreds of people who are trying to learn how to ride. According to Kyunghyang News, the workshop of the club that Yuto Horigome used to participate in, which has a capacity of 30 people per section, has already been fully booked for a month, and about 400 people are on the list. 

According to Horigome Yuto, who won gold in the men’s street category and an official of a skateboarding club in Japan, claimed: “The number of users has increased significantly compared to before the Olympics. It seems to have increased by more than two or three times.” The craze is rapidly spreading.

Riding has grown in the DIS community too.  Molly in third grade explained: “I started riding boards inspired by my mom. She started riding skateboards after watching videos from Instagram posted by many boarders.” 

Boarding gets you out and about, moving through your neighborhood. (Photo by Jimin Shin)

Many of us these days scroll through social media, like Youtube, Instagram, and Tik Tok, to ooh and awe at videos of people on wheels. Jason in grade 6 explained that he uses social media “to watch lots of videos of people riding boards.” 

Sixth grader Matthew added that part of “the reason why riding boards are popular these days is because of trends started from social media.”

I personally started riding after watching videos of people doing tricks. With their awesome skills and enthusiastic music, I started to imagine myself riding a skateboard and building on the moves I knew. Even before I set foot on a skateboard, I had decided to make this my hobby. I was motivated to start practicing almost everyday.

In the past, skateboarders symbolized alternative lifestyles, punk rock, breaking rules, and nonconformity. But though the sport can still stand for those things, it’s quickly becoming an alternative sport for young boys and girls, and social media clickbait for the masses. Thanks to Olympic icons and Instagram influencers, there are no rules or barriers of entry anymore. Just roll with it.