BERKELEY, CA—Having completed a long-term analysis of skateboarding activity at every skate park, public plaza, parking lot, and suburban cul-de-sac in the United States, researchers at the University of California reported this week that not one of the nation’s 19 million amateur skateboarders has successfully landed a single trick since 2001.
The multi-decade study, which will be published in this month’s Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, found no instances in which non-professionals were able to ride on a skateboard, propel themselves and their board into the air, perform a maneuver of any sort, and then land back on the deck and continue to ride as they had before the jump.
The report confirmed that not a single ollie, nollie, kickturn, heelflip, frontside 180, backside 180, or fakie has been landed in over a decade. In addition, 100 percent of handrail grinds resulted in subjects landing on their shoulders while nearby acquaintances laughed at them.
“Since 2001, recreational skateboarders have tried to perform 8.4 billion tricks and have successfully executed zero of them,” said social anthropologist and the report’s lead author Richard Burbridge, who confirmed that the overwhelming majority of failed attempts occurred after one of the riders remarked to another, “Hey, check this out.” “As it turns out, not a single amateur has landed anything since July of 2001, when a then 14-year-old boy by the name of Derek Wilcox carried out a basic ollie on an outdoor tennis court in Pasadena. And even then he didn’t get much height.”
“Of course, our figures show that Wilcox subsequently missed his next 160,000 attempts, including 208 just last Wednesday alone,” Burbridge continued.
According to the study’s findings, 28 percent of all amateur skateboarding stunts attempted between 2001 and 2013 resulted in the subject falling to the pavement, 23 percent involved the skateboard landing upside-down at least three feet away from the rider, 13 percent ended when the subject clipped the curb and stumbled headlong onto a lawn or sidewalk, 11 percent involved the skateboard somehow shooting back the opposite direction while the rider ran a few frantic steps forward to keep his balance, and a full one quarter concluded with the subject on the ground grimacing and holding their shin as their skateboard rolled off without them an additional 25 feet.
Moreover, the study confirmed that nine of every 10 maneuvers attempted by amateur skateboarders were “not even close,” and that over half the individuals observed were simply incapable of getting their skateboards off the ground at all.
“What’s interesting about the millions of subjects we studied is how their constant and unrelenting failure appeared to have no effect in deterring them from this behavior,” researcher Lois Pittner said. “Even after a particularly inept, embarrassing, or injurious attempt, these individuals typically got right back up and horribly botched another skateboard trick. This demographic simply never improves and continues messing up tricks day after day for years on end, often quite publicly.”
“In fact,” added Pittner, “among the recreational skateboarding cohort, the continuous inability to perform any trick at all appears to be their single most defining trait.”
In spite of the total lack of completed tricks, researchers noted that the past 12 years have not been uneventful, as recreational skateboarders have broken over 17 million bones, sustained 21.6 million concussions, and wound up sprawled at the bottom of a public park staircase 500 million times.
Additionally, Pittner confirmed that the phrase “Dude, you almost nailed it” is uttered, on average, 875,000 times a day.
When interviewed, however, the vast majority of pre-adolescent, teenage, and adult skateboarders expressed optimism at their prospects for completing a skateboarding maneuver.
“I’m getting really close to being able to do a frontside grind across this bench,” said Billy Lifton, 20, of Lawrence, KS, who like an estimated 98 percent of all nonprofessional skateboarders has never landed a single trick in his life. “This is going to be so sick.”
At press time, Lifton and an estimated 18,000 others were frantically clutching their tailbones.