Author: Mostly Skateboarding

This week on the show, Templeton Elliott, Mike Munzenrider, and Jason from Frozen In Carbonite are talking about Thrasher’s Bust or Bail contest and elusive pros like Jake Johnson. Listen here and subscribe on iTunes. 


Mark Suciu – backside nosegrind / backside flip

Photo: Sem Rubio

Full interview about his new part, russian literature, and hangover guilt //


@dickrizzo bank to bank in the new @thrashermag


New Book: Skateboarding and Religion

I am very happy to announce that my new book Skateboarding and Religion was published last week. I’ve been sharing news about its pending release for some time. It is now available for purchase via the Palgrave website, and on Amazon, and Book Depository. Prices vary and for the time being it is only available in hardback and e-book formats. I am hopeful that a paperback release will not be too far off… Some excerpts are also available via Google Books, and again the Palgrave site.

I will also continue to share some quotes on this blog, and most importantly supplement the research with new observations and insights. Skateboarding and Religion is not a static topic, there is always more to explore.

Just a final word of thanks to all those who have supported the projects, shared their stories, and given their time.

From the back cover… 

“Paul O’Connor’s Skateboarding and Religion is an exhilarating book; it is simultaneously a challenge to all mainstream ideas about religion and religious experience, and a rich and nuanced study of the religious dimensions of skateboarding. O’Connor interrogates the origin myths of the sport, sketches portraits of the saints and mystics of the skateboarding world, profiles a diverse group of skaters from different geographical and religious contexts and offers a sophisticated reading of the aesthetics and symbolism used by skateboarders. The sacred spaces of the sport, the impulse for pilgrims to visit and engage with these sites, and the ritual dimensions of their activities are chronicled, and the text is enriched by images that make the phenomena discussed comprehensible for the reader. This original and joyous study is a major contribution to the study of contemporary religious and spiritual trends.” (Carole M. Cusack, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Sydney, Australia)

“Through a sociologist’s nuanced analysis and a skateboarder’s commitment to the daring, Paul O’Connor makes clear the often surprising religiosity that underpins skateboarding’s culture, industry, and even the act itself. This groundbreaking book will convince even the most stubbornly secular reader that skateboarding is something especially sacred in the modern world.” (Christian N. Kerr, Writer and Editor at Jenkem Magazine)

“At once insightful, questioning and provocative, Paul O’Connor’s Skateboarding and Religion takes two seemingly disconnected phenomena and shows how they are intrinsically inter-related. This massively original study will be of interest to anyone concerned with the sociology of skateboarding and other youthful practices. Very highly recommended.” (Iain Borden, Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture, University College London, UK)

“In Skateboarding and Religion Paul O’Connor provides a valuable expansion of the sport-religion relationship bound to impact multiple interdisciplinary audiences. Most works on sport and religion focus on team and commercial sports. O’Connor’s work is unique in offering a much-needed analysis of religion in the neglected area of lifestyle sports. From the perspective of sporting subcultures, he crafts an innovative framework for understanding religion across multiple denominational, informal, commercial, geographical, and artistic practices.” (Daniel A. Grano, Professor of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA)

“A seductive synthesis of radically different genres, O’Connor’s alchemy fuses the sociology of lifestyle sports with religious studies. This bold foray into the academic unknown requires a leap of faith which counters the notion of skateboarding as a culture of destructive iconoclasts. O’Connor’s fresh accounting of this oft demonized subculture argues that the everyday lives of skaters disturbs the sacred profane dualism of classic notions of religion, and instead should be understood as a ‘lifestyle religion’. In this view, a shared ethos of progression, sacrifice, and most critically, ritual practice establishes a ‘communitas’ that helps skaters make sense of themselves in a neo-liberal, fractured world.  Hell yeah.” (Gregory Snyder, Associate Professor of Sociology, City University of New York, USA)

This book is good! I recommend.

This week on the show, Templeton Elliott, Mike Munzenrider, and Jason From Frozen In Carbonite are talking about the best video parts of the last decade and the start of SOTY Season. Listen below and subscribe on iTunes.


The Saints of Skateboarding                  

Browsing a skateboarding group on Facebook yesterday I found a series of stickers with a rendering of Jay Adams as a Saint. Other images included Steve Caballero, and Eric Dressen. The artist Scott Christopher (@saegsart) has done some other icons, but these skateboarding saints caught my eye.

Of course it’s not the first time skateboarders have been raised up above mere mortals. A while back Jenkem Vol 2 included their own version of holy skateboarders as ‘Patron Saints’ including Tony Hawk, Mark Gonzales, and Heath Kirchart amongst others.

In a little known book by Tait Colberg a pantheon of skateboarders are described. He splits various trios highlighting street skateboarding, and vert amongst other categories. While he is resistant to religious labels, he talks about skateboarders as cultural heroes.

More typically you will hear people describe a famous skateboarder in some glowing terms, a wizard, sage, prophet… or as Ted Schmitz’s humorous The Nut Daily News satirises, a ‘switch god.’

Of course all of this I explore in more depth in my book, including some of the very problematic stuff about celebrating certain skaters. I look at Danny Way, Rodney Mullen, Christian Hosoi, and Paul Rodriguez amongst others. I find it endlessly fascinating how common these religious references are, and how deep they can go. The deifying of skateboarders occurs in all sorts of ways, it even happens to local hometown heroes surrounded in myth and legend, and increasingly to women skateboarders described as goddesses. 

(First four images courtesy of Scott Christopher, fifth image from Jenkem Vol 2, sixth image from The Nut Daily News)



Robert Neal // Primitive pro


Jordan Trahan // Dial Tone: Hot Line

This week on the show, Templeton Elliott, Mike Munzenrider, and Jason From Frozen In Carbonite are talking about skate coverage in the mainstream media and Quartersnacks’ call for the top five full-length videos of the last decade.