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More Than a Sport: A Look at Scootering’s Evolution

What is scootering? Where did it come from? Where is it going? These are the types of questions that readers may ask if they’re not familiar with the world of freestyle scooter riding — those observers who know it only as a children’s activity or some kids doing flashy tricks. Scootering is more than a sport. It is a culture developed over the last 20 years. Let’s dive in and talk about how we got to where we are now.

Where better to start than the very beginning. In the late ’90s and early 2000s we had what was considered the “Razor Craze.” This is the point in time where Razor came out with the original folding scooter marketed toward more than just transportation. I remember seeing the commercials for the Razor Scooter by Sharper Image. They featured a guy doing tailwhips, and I thought it was super cool. As a skateboarder and BMX rider already, I knew I had to try scootering.

A few years down the line, the “craze” phase started to die down, while a core community developed. Over the course of a few years and the arrival of internet era, forums developed and helped secure some relationships that would shape the future of scootering forever. Nitro World Games’ scooter coordinator, Andrew Broussard, developed the longest-lasting and most active forum in scootering: Scooter Resource.

Scooter Resource was more than just a forum. This was the first time that we had a substantial community. Riders from all over the globe would share videos, photos, different modifications they had done to their scooters, and ideas for the future. The ability to share videos across the world, showcasing new tricks and style, exponentially sped up progression within the sport. With progression comes the need for better equipment.

This began the development of aftermarket products, such as one-piece handlebars and the deck saver, which was essentially a reinforcement frame that was bolted onto your deck to help it last longer. However, the most iconic invention in aftermarket components was the standard compression system. The SCS made it possible to run a fork with no threads. In the past, threaded forks were more likely to snap at the threads. The SCS solved that problem, and riders were able to go bigger and land harder than ever.

Fast-forward a couple of years. In 2009, the first-ever aftermarket deck was created. Finally, a deck that didn’t fold! Before one-piece decks, riders would actually bolt their decks in place to avoid having any shake in the scooter. Not having to worry about this folding mechanism opened up a whole new world of scootering.

While the progression of tricks and parts was coming along, filming and editing also advanced. Some of the earliest videos to note are The Philly Crew Video Journal 8 and 9, Proto Catalyst, and Transit. These videos really started to change the game and show a side of scootering that most had never seen. The community went from just some kids around the world that spoke over the internet, to a culture that everyone wanted to be a part of.

Camaraderie is one of the biggest things in the scooter community. This didn’t develop overnight. All of the years leading up to where we are now created and secured a bond between riders. If you are a scooter rider and you see another scooter rider, you automatically accept them as your friend. When a video part drops, the tricks, the filming, what the guy was wearing, all of the above is discussed within the community. Scootering has become so much more than just the tricks being done. It is truly a family.

About the writer:
My name is Jake Hershey, known in social media land as Nekbeard. I was born in ’91 and started scootering in ’02! I was born and raised in New Jersey, but made my way to the West Coast in 2014. I now live in sunny San Diego where you can catch me at Linda Vista skatepark almost daily. Scootering is a passion for me, so I hope that you like what I have to write!

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