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Tiffany Montgomery
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Strong themes emerge at Skate Summit

The view of the Tehachapi
The view of the Tehachapi hills from the Woodward West lodge.
By Tiffany Montgomery
May 03, 2010 5:59 AM

About 100 members of the skateboard industry gathered late last week for the IASC Skateboarding Industry Summit 2010 at Woodward West in Tehachapi, Calif.

Topics ranged from an update on pro skateboard competition and ethical sourcing to the importance of social media, a keynote address from George Powell and the state of amateur skateboarding. (Slide show from Day 1 of the summit.)

Two themes emerged very strongly from nearly every discussion: the industry needs to work together to make sure it controls the fate of skateboarding in the future; and social media and the Internet are a powerful ways for the skateboard industry to compete with larger players with more resources that have entered the market.

The need to work together theme was touched on in the amateur skateboarding panel when the Olympics came up. Gary Ream, president of Woodward and president of USA Skateboarding, warned that the Federation Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS), whose main sport is roller skating, is pushing the International Olympic Committee to control skateboarding in the Olympics.

In fact, FIRS was making its case at an Olympics-related meeting in Dubai last week.

While there’s no consensus in skateboarding if the sport should participate in the Olympics, Ream said the industry needs to unite to protect its interests or else it might find the roller skating industry showcasing its version of skateboarding to the world.

George Powell, CEO of Skate One Corp., also urged the group to come together to fight outside companies with access to public money from taking control of skateboarding. (To read about his keynote address, click here.)

And former DC Shoes Global President Nick Adcock, who competed against big athletic companies earlier in his career at Reebok, said manufacturers and retailers need to present a united front or they might get run over by companies with very competitive mindsets that are focused on gaining major market share.

I’ll have more on Nick Adcock’s talk and summaries of the panels in coming days.

 

 


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