Why We Must Differentiate Our Sport from Others
I think about this sport… a lot.
I often wonder as to whether the amount I obsess over this sport is healthy or not. I’m yet to draw a final conclusion on this, but for now, this is how things stay.
It’s not all just random, or trick-based, either.
Among the random thought processes, lie linear thought patterns that converge towards a common denominator. Wherever these lines cross, I consider them to be of great importance, due to that repetition.
For many years now, I’ve observed many different aspects of action sports, with the common core of how their success can be applied to pivotboards.
After all, why would one sport (or product) be popular, and another not so much?
People Want Something Different
Action sports consumers seem to be looking for something new and exciting to do. This is the very nature of the beast. It must be unique and interesting to them.
We must, therefore, appeal to someone’s curiosity.
At the time of writing this article, Fidget Spinners are widely popular, and a worldwide craze.
People seek out different fidget spinners, and buy them in their millions. It all started because this is an immediately interesting little toy, it’s different.
This sport is a recreational, and fun thing to do. Nobody does it because they have to by law, or for the good of their health. They do so, because something set off a spark of interest, its exciting, and fun to do.
I believe this all starts with noticing something unique about the product.
If this is true, establishing what’s different about our sport is absolutely essential. But are we doing that? Maybe we aren’t.
What’s Different About a Pivotboard?
Ask yourself the question, “What differentiates our sport from other action sports?”
A potential rider (i.e., a regular guy watching a Facebook video), having NEVER seen this board before, needs to easily establish what’s different and exciting about this product within a second or two. Otherwise, that opportunity is lost.
Does this photo look too much like skateboarding, if you didn’t know?
For example, if somebody views an image or video and it looks too much like skateboarding, (in the viewer’s mind) they believe they’re watching skateboarding.
It’s possible, that by showing people videos that look very much like skateboarding, we’re inadvertently helping to promote skateboarding.
A great example of this, would be the way that freestyle mountain biking has been able to completely separate itself from BMX.
Just a few years ago, mountain bikers were doing all the same tricks on the same ramps, as BMX riders were. This left a lot to be desired.
Back then mountain biking looked the same as BMX, just on a bigger bike. It almost seemed pointless, and irrelevant. You would’ve been forgiven for wondering why they didn’t stick to riding down mountains.
Fast forward to today, and you see much bigger jumps, giant courses going down mountain sides, and through cities.
Check out the above footage from the Redbull Joyride event, its absolute insanity!
The style of freestyle mountain biking has been completely reinvented, and now stands alone as something COMPLETELY different to BMX freestyle.
Now, it no longer looks like BMX on a bigger bike. Even BMX riders look at it, and say they’re ‘crazy’.
The recent freestyle mountain bike videos and media are impressive, addictive, and demand respect.
Back in 1995, when I watched my first snowboard video, I was reasonably impressed.
Back then snowboarding still really looked like a hybrid sport of skateboarding and skiing. The elements were combined, but did not truly stand out as a separate sport.
Today, snowboarding truly blows minds.
Double flips on half pipe, quadruple corks in monstrous super parks, and jumps so huge, that they’re envied even by motorcross riders.
Snowboarding is now absolutely unique, and therefore amazing to watch.
It truly stands alone as an amazing sport.
Skateboarding is different to any other sports, in its technical aspects, infinite possibilities, and creativity.
There are skateboard tricks that still blow minds on a daily basis, done on nothing more than flat ground.
Rodney Mullen – Liminal, completely blows your mind, yet only shows the unique insane possibilities on a skateboard, on flat ground, nothing more.
Everybody can relate to how difficult it is to do almost anything on a skateboard. The moment they see something hard, they’re amazed.
Whether this is a mcwist on vert, tré flip down a stair set, a mega jump trick, or a technical ground trick that only Rodney Mullen, or Daewon Song are capable of pulling off.
Skateboarding is unique in a million ways.
How are we Different?
I believe it’s important for us to establish what differentiates our sport, and exploit it.
A caricature artist takes your unique features, and extenuates them to create a brand new, unique cartoon version of you.
I believe we need to do this, but how?
We can break this down into a few other questions, like this;
What’s different about the product?
The motion that our board makes, is different to any other board out there.
Also, that we use bindings on concrete, is different to anything else.
We can’t get off our boards, that’s GNARLY!
What’s different about the tricks we do?
Many of the tricks we do, are skateboard tricks. Some of them are also snowboard style tricks, but on concrete.
Perhaps there are different tricks we could evolve, or do, that could differentiate our sport, from others.
If so, this could establish a uniqueness, or identity for our sport.
Think about quirky or different tricks that we could push a little further, and come up with something new.
What’s different about the obstacles, or places that we skate?
Maybe there are different obstacles, courses, or event styles, that we could design, or use, that would blow people’s minds.
What could we do, that would look unique or original to this sport only?
How could we have an event, that would make this sport look completely different?
Unique Shots Within Media Posts
Consider these ramblings when presenting your media.
Even just a couple of quick shots in your media could establish in the viewers minds that this is something different.
Close up shots of the boards. Riders strapping bindings on their feet, or people carving around on the flat ground. Even that stupid quirky trick you sometimes do.
Riders walking along holding their board in their hands. Sitting eating, with their board left on the ground, or against the wall.
Ultimately, the board is different, so let’s show that.
These things, either shown before or after a trick being done, could spark an interest in this ‘something new’, in a viewer’s mind.
Do we Look too much like Skateboarders?
If these things are missing, who knows (by looking) you’re not riding a skateboard?
Even the hardest tricks we can ever do, can be not as not replicated by skateboarders, but made harder, and way more technical within a day.
This may be an okay trick, but the photo looks too much like a skateboard
Showing the board on someone’s feet, grinding a 20 stair rail and rolling away, without any further information, may look too much like a skateboarder.
We’re Strapped In!
Establishing that we’re strapped into the board, and go down with the ship no-matter-what, is important.
Most skateboarders look at our boards, and appreciate just how hard it is to do. They know how hard it is, not being able to bail.
Maybe we could even exploit THIS aspect in our videos.
Our sport is different, it is unique, and I believe we need to embrace that.
It is part of what made Snakeboard so successful, and perhaps something we need to see a little more of.
Thank You for Riding
No matter what you do in this sport, I appreciate you. I’m extremely happy that you chose to be part of this amazingly unique community of riders.
If anyone has any questions, comments, or ideas, don’t hesitate to either email us, comment on this article, and let us know.