The Answer is Never: A History and Memoir of Skateboarding

The Answer is Never: A History and Memoir of Skateboarding


By (author) Jocko Weyland

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  • Publisher: CENTURY
  • Format: Paperback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 236mm 518g
  • Publication date: 29 August 2002
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0712615377
  • ISBN 13: 9780712615372
  • Illustrations note: 16pp b/w halftones

Product description

Skateboarding is one of the great outlaw subcultures - combining death-defying stunts, cutting-edge fashion, and an all-round bad attitude. This is the story of the people who forged and inspired that culture, like the legendary Dogtown crew: Alva, Peralta, Adams, - kids bailing out scummy backyard pools to skate in them, fleeing from security guards, and inspiring each other to ever-greater feats. A scene which eventually led Tony Hawk to be the first skater to earn a million dollars a year. Written as a history and personal memoir by someone immersed in the skateboard world for over twenty years, The Answer Is Never is not just the story of the heroes, but the exploits of anyone who's ever picked up a skateboard.

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Author information

Jocko Weyland's fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Open City magazine and Metropolis, among others. His third gallery show of photography was mounted last summer at the Steffany Martz gallery

Review quote

The first literary investigation and memoir of a cultural and sporting phenomenon.

Editorial reviews

An enthusiast recounts the rise of skateboarding and his own experiences with the sport. Exhibiting the skateboarder's trademark gusto, newcomer Weyland begins his history of this outsider sport with the Big Bang, leaps to Hawaii circa 1900, and winds up at the Los Angeles drought of 1975, during which bone-dry swimming pools became the new frontier for hitherto earthbound skateboarders. After explaining how plastic wheels helped usher in a new era of skating tricks, the author profiles the rise of the sport and its contemporary heroes. Completists may revel in Weyland's detailed critique of early skateboarding magazines, movies, and books; others may skip these chapters entirely in favor of those where he chronicles his own love affair with skating. The author became enamored of the sport at age nine; he embraced it through the 1980s, when as a teenaged punk he enjoyed any activity that could be seen as out of favor with the mainstream; and he continues to practice today. The most engaging passages, even though they have little to do with skateboarding as such, describe the isolation Weyland felt in his small Colorado hometown, his dependence on mail-order records and magazines for outsider culture, his intense and immediate connection with the few young men he met who shared his passion. Unfortunately, his descriptions of skating remain opaque; he is unable to translate terms like "ollie," "fakie," or "boneless" and brings none of the sport's fabled grace to the page. Enamored of phrasing so ponderous as to be farcical ("Play is a manifestation of an atavistic legacy that can be traced back to the propensity for the animals of all higher species to cavort and roughhouse"), Ol' Jocko is in grave danger of crushing his entire narrative. Never gets off the ground. (Kirkus Reviews)