Skating subculture connects people with a passion for skateboarding, bmx, roller skates and scooters. In Poland, skateboarders strongly highlight their separate subculture. In the city I come from, there is a very big and harmonious community.
Skateboarders appeared in Lublin in the early 90’s of the twentieth century. Initially, they would come together in large groups of people and meet each other in front of big buildings. With time new skatespots (places allowing skateboarders to practice their skills) have been created, which were built in the city center by the city government. People were teaching each other new tricks, wearing baggy pants, loose sweatshirts and one inseparable element was a piece of wood in their hands. They were listening to punk rock and hip-hop. They didn’t have any ideology, just wanted to help each other and exchange the latest skateboarding tricks, while looking for new skatespots. Unfortunately, they were often chased or even threatened by the police, that’s why people treated them like criminals. But they weren’t hooligans, they just had a free spirit.
Over time, thanks to greater social acceptance, skateboarders could go anywhere without a ban. In addition, new places were created, specially adapted to their needs. During sunny days they were improving their skills on the square of the city center or skateparks. When the weather was not good but the people were still in the mood for skating, they were meeting on the “1st floor” – a non-usable building, the owners of which allowed to use two floors to arrange an indoor skatepark. It was established 7 years ago, built for 3 months by over 60 skaters who worked all day and night.
The building had 3 owners, who approved meetings of skaters and even underground events. There were a few main people who looked after the place, had the keys and paid the energy bills, but all the skateboarders in Lublin paid all the fees, helped with cleaning or constructing new elements. This year the building was sold and skaters had to say goodbye to their home, which raised several generations, including the champion and runner-up of the Junior Polish Championships!
At the moment, Lublin is the only provincial city without a professional skatepark, but that is supposed to change. The city, in consultation with representatives of skaters, prepared the project and launched a tender. The procedures are in progress, so we don’t give up!
Besides changes of meeting places, the subculture also changed. They listen to music depending on their preferences, but hip-hop prevails.
The most faithful skaters still wear loose clothes, but this is no longer a determinant of belonging to this group. Skateboard is supposed tow connect and not to divide people, so it brings together children and adults, women and men, vegans and meat-eaters, people of different backgrounds, simply everyone!
Photographer: Daniel Krawiec