Vladik Scholz is seen at Go Skateboarding Day
© Daniel Wagner / Red Bull Content Pool
Skateboarding

The History of Go Skateboarding Day

One of our favorite days of the year is here.
By Zane Foley
Published on
With outdoor activities re-opening and local communities coming back to the skate park, Go Skateboarding Day 2021 is surely ready to be one of the most memorable and fun GSDs to date.
We wanted to kick off the celebrations by retelling the story of our favorite holiday—a day that brings together the skate community across the world to celebrate what we love most: skateboarding with our friends.
Jake Wooten during Terminal Takeover
Jake Wooten during Terminal Takeover
When is Go Skateboarding Day?
Monday, June 21, 2021
Today is Go Skateboarding Day and, cleverly by design, it’s also the summer equinox (the longest day of the year).
What better day to celebrate our favorite activity than the one with the most hours to do so? This was the thought process behind choosing the best date for Go Skateboarding Day.
Additionally, choosing June 21 to be Go Skateboarding Day began with the understanding that many regions of the US have unpredictable weather patterns throughout the year, making summer the most accessible time to skate nationwide.
In fact, promoting skateboarding’s accessibility was the exact reason Go Skateboarding Day was founded.
The Very First Go Skateboarding Day
Understanding the need to make skateboarding more visible, Go Skateboarding Day was created by the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) in 2004, to promote events in major cities around the world to help make skateboarding more accessible.
While it’s true, most skateboarders don’t need a reason to be motivated to skate, the holiday quickly became a staple in our global skate culture—especially once skate shops and skate brands like Emerica and éS took the lead.
Skate shops quickly discovered the potential to host events in the forms of barbecues, contests, team signings and demos, all events which proved to foster the local community and economy. Emerica began with “Wild in the Streets,” a takeover galvanizing hundreds of skaters to skate down a city’s main street on June 21, making skateboarding an undeniable and visible presence to the cities they inhabit.
While the holiday has gone global, it continues to grow through a web of local events which, since the very first Go Skateboarding Day in 2004, continues to make skating more accessible.
Who Founded Go Skateboarding Day?
While it is true the first Go Skateboarding Day was created by the IASC, Don Brown is credited as the founder of Go Skate Day. Brown was the one who proposed creating a National Skateboarding Day that would help motivate people to start skating.
“Whenever I looked at calendars, there would always be these stupid things like National Bird Day or Puppy Day,” Brown said in an interview. “And as much as I feel like we don’t need a lot of those days, it did create a focus that everyone talked about. Now that the day is on the calendar, skateboarding media, on a mainstream level, would start holding events.”
It is also widely understood that Per Welinder, co-founder of Birdhouse Skateboards, suggested calling it “Go Skateboarding Day.” By 2005, just one year after their first event, the IASC received recognition from US Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, making the holiday official.
Greetings from Philadelphia
Greetings from Philadelphia
International Skate Day
Skateboarding itself was born in the States, but it has taken over every corner of the globe.
A testament to the IASC goal of making skateboarding more accessible, today GSD is commonly referred to as International Skate Day. Skateparks from Tokyo to Australia, from Barcelona to Brazil, promote a host of Go Skateboarding Day activities.
How To Partake in Go Skateboarding Day Near You!
There may be no better opportunity to get involved with your local skate scene than Go Skate Day, as the holiday brings together every facet of the skate community under one day. However, there are a myriad of activities to participate in and the larger cities who have more than one skate shop or skatepark, will have more activities to offer.
While everyone will be celebrating GSD 2021 in their own way, here are some common activities to keep an eye out for in this year’s Go Skateboarding Day celebrations.
Music and Skating Together Forever
Music and Skating Together Forever
Street Takeover: Go Skateboarding Day owes a substantial portion of its success to the early street takeovers, which brought together not only the local skate community, but the cities themselves under a spectacle that made a statement against societal norms. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of skateboarders gather to group-skate from point A to point B, often on a main street through a downtown metropolis, making every car and bystander yield to the school of skaters. This spectacle is truly a moment to behold and when they first appeared, every skater was jumping at the chance to participate. While Street Takeovers might not be on the mainstage like they once were for Go Skateboarding Day, every skater should participate (safely) in this literal “right of passage.” What better way to make skateboarding more visible than for thousands of non-skaters to see it first hand?
Skatepark BBQ: While street takeovers are synonymous with GSD, skatepark BBQs are the foundation of the Go Skate Day festivities. Thrown at skateparks by local skate shops, what is summer all about if not having a BBQ with all your friends? Seriously though, what appears as a no-brainer for fun and festivities, is actually an unveiling of the powers of a concentrated local skate scene. Skate BBQs are often hosted by local skate shops and sponsored by skate companies, who not only provide food and beverage but give out free products and host contests for the local skaters to earn some skate gear. In addition to contests, food and free product, Skatepark BBQs are often accompanied by live music, and make for the perfect place to enjoy the spectacle or be introduced to your local skate scene. We recommend asking your local skate shop about GSD and if there’s a BBQ, be prepared to witness the best of what your local skate scene has to offer.
Skatepark Contests: We touched on skate contests earlier, but Go Skateboarding Day contests really deserve their own bullet point for the sheer amount of amazing skateboarding they produce. Not every local skateboarder is going to regularly compete or even be sponsored, but a local contest is their time to shine in front of their family, friends and peers. Often hosted by the local skate shop owner, these contests come in many forms—some of which gnarlier than others. Best Trick contests are some of the most invigorating contests to watch. Skaters are given an obstacle, generally stairs, rails or a gap, to partake in a free-for-all format, essentially attempting to land the best tricks possible. In a snowball effect, each skater pushes themselves and their tricks to new heights, inspiring one another and potentially winning free gear or being spotted by a brand scout. While best trick contests are generally the main event, there are also contests like, highest ollie, highest hippie jump, or even art battles or other forms of bite sized competition. The best part? Watching is for everyone and these skatepark contests really bring out the best in the local skaters.
Product Tosses: Honestly, one of the prevailing factors that drives scores of kids and skateboarders to Go Skateboarding Day events, is the sheer amount of free product you can take home. Like any exhibition into an industry, goodie bags are plentiful. But that being said, product tosses have always been the preferred measure of distributing products. The pro skaters, skate shop owners, or brand representatives will bring out boxes of gear and stage themselves on a ramp or somewhere where the body of spectators and skaters can pool together (think a bridal group being tossed the bouquet). Products from clothing, shoes, wheels, decks, bearings, stickers, hats, really anything you might find at a skate shop is tossed into the air for locals to grab and pillage one another. While it can sometimes get intense, this rite of passage is generally reserved for the younger crowds and can be a great way for anyone to experience the fun nature of Go Skateboarding Day events.
Now that you know the history of Go Skateboarding Day and just exactly what to expect for GDS 2021, we encourage you to celebrate safely and responsibly. Remember, it’s all about having fun with your friends doing what we love most. Happy Go Skateboarding Day, everyone!