Science is Finally Confirming Skateboarding’s Positive Impact

Skateboarding has been a huge influence on sports, music, culture, and art for decades now. It’s inspired kids to try new things, fall down and get back up and keep going. It’s made celebrities out of skate legends like Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen.Screen Shot 2020 03 22 at 11.42.23 AM

But what if skateboarding could do more? What if skateboarding could actually help transform people’s lives for the better?

Skateboarders have always believed in this power, but for the first time, science is officially backing up the belief that skateboarding can do a lot more than just get you a cover of Thrasher. It can improve individuals and communities around the world, all with just the power of skating.

Enter the Pullias Center

Ready for a really long name? The Pullias Center for Higher Education at USC’s Rossier School of Education and USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (okay, take a quick break) recently released the first-ever study of how skateboarding culture affects the people and communities where it appears. The study is called “Beyond the Board: Findings from the Field.” It was sponsored in part by the Tony Hawk Foundation but was led by real-deal scientists who wanted to know just how deep the impact of skateboarding went.

The study focused on 13-25 year-olds and got over 5,000 responses, lots of them from female skaters and people of color. The study also involved in-person interviews with 120 skaters and people involved in the skating community around the U.S.

This is what the study’s lead investigator had to say:

Skateboarders are prone to being labeled by society as rebels, social deviants, or rule-breakers. Stereotyping masks an array of valuable skills obtained through skateboarding. The study aims to redefine what it means to be a skateboarder and highlight connections among skateboarding, education, and career.

So what exactly did the study find? Are skateboarders really just a bunch of rebels, social deviants, and rule-breakers?

The Findings of the Study

Here are some of the highlights from the results of the study.

Skateboarding boosts mental health
Nearly all of the skaters in the study said that skateboarding helped them relieve stress and anxiety, a major finding considering how high teen suicide rates and depression are at the moment.

Skateboarding builds community
In skate parks, skate shops, and events around the country, skaters reported that they got value out of connecting with other skaters and that these communities and events helped them increase their understanding of people from other backgrounds.

Skateboarding makes people more resilient
Skaters who responded in the study said that they apply the lessons of getting up after a fall, learning independently, and practicing skills over and over again to other parts of their lives.

Skateboarding communities help people of color to feel safer
People of color in the study reported that they felt more welcome and safer from judgment than in activities and communities outside of skating, showing that skateboarding communities are welcoming to all backgrounds

Here’s to more studies proving scientifically just how awesome skateboarding can be for people, communities, and the world.