Support Your Local……………..SkateShop


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Australians will tell you openly that they are an exceptionally patriotic lot – oi oi oi. On Australia Day we don the clobber, drape ourselves in the Aussie flag, get out and about around the harbour and throw the mandatory cut of lamb on the Barbie (BBQ) and blow the froth off a cold beer or two. On every other day it seems we are infatuated with the internet and our ability to buy cheap goods online, but, as it often happens these days we are frequently buying directly from overseas. This bypasses the Australian retailer and the Australian e-tailer. Google have a part to play but that’s another story. It seems that we don’t care where goods come from because we are getting something cheap and after all….its all about us, right?

Dick Smith, a very well known and patriotic Australian icon is abundantly aware of the fact that some of us are in flagrant disregard of local products and businesses in favour of those from overseas. He has leapt into action and and has spearheaded a campaign ( ) to buy Australian. Buying Australian means investing in Australia.

People can certainly buy cheap online but they need to be very wary. The old adage applies here “If it looks too good to be true, then it generally is”. Consider the geographics of it all, that is where we are in relation to the rest of the world. Geography is a major problem which must be factored in, considering we are in Australia. We are literally on the other side of the world and for some e-tailers we could be considered their lawful quarry. Unscrupulous online e-tailers regularly pass off ‘seconds’ as the real deal; or having lesser quality components in their assembly or even omitting components. What is your comeback? Who do you complain to?

So what’s up here? The situation is that the skateboard industry has had the worst Christmas period on record with little recovery evident at this stage. Sales were unusually low but as it appears, plenty of skateboard products were purchased….but from where? Clearly these products have been bought online and from overseas.

In cycling, the Australian Mountain biking and racing retail scene has suffered as a result of the biking community failing to support their local bike shops and proceeding to buy online. The retailers organise bike racing events, set up courses, appoint marshalls, provide marquees for shade and food and mechanical services and provide parts and advice to the riders…they sponsored these events and also injected prize money. As a result of the failure of local riders to support the local retailers there are fewer events and as a consequence, waning retail support. It is worthy of note that these cheaper overseas e-tailers don’t organise or sponsor events nor will they be trackside to help riders.
The BMX industry is fighting hard to try and stay relevant to their community. They are posting articles on the online phenomenon and are preparing their community for what is in store.

Online purchasing is not going to go away, in fact a Price Waterhouse Coopers (a humungus Global Accounting Firm) aka PWC, study shows that it is set to increase. PWC also outline the factors driving this growth.

So what to do?

First is Awakening….Seriously skaters, wake up. You need to realise that without supporting your local skateboard shop there will be no retailers or skate shops left to hang out, buy gear, get tips, advice on setups and see what is new. There will not be events, prizemoney or sponsorship opportunities. The overseas skateshops won’t be putting money into local events… to them it simply a matter of reallocation of wealth….yep, that’s right, reallocation of your money into their account. Nothing more.

Second is Awareness…comparisons show that which is cheaper overseas is, upon closer scrutiny, not always cheaper. Let me explain. To illustrate the point, a Loaded Dervish ( ) purchased overseas made it’s way along with it’s sheepish owner to a local skateshop because he sensed that something was not quite right. The following observations were made.

1. The bolts were the wrong size and the nuts had barely 2 revolutions onto the bolt to secure the trucks to the board.
2. There were no bearing spacers.
3. There were no speed rings.
4. The bearings were ‘no name’ and were of questionable quality.
5. Bushings were of seriously questionable quality.
So what then happens if you buy a helmet, slide gloves or other apparel from their sizing chart which on arrival happens to be the wrong fit for you? What happens if you have a warranty issue, who pays the return freight? That’s right – you do.

Third is Action…these days it is common practice to check prices online, who doesn’t. However, if there is a minor difference in price you should BUY LOCALLY. You get the goods NOW, not in 2 or 3 weeks. You can return items easily for replacement if there is a warrranty issue or if you have made an error….trust me it is not so easy shipping overseas; once again timing is an issue. If the price locally is way higher than overseas then talk to your local skate shop to see if you are comparing the same thing, at least you will be reassured of why it is more expensive and behold by talking to them they may cut you a deal.

In the world of skateboarding we all want to go to the skate shop, go to sanctioned and organised skateboard events, soak up the atmosphere, experience the products first hand and in some cases ride the shop mini ramp and even test ride some of the shop boards. If we don’t continue to support the local skateboard shops they will disappear.

To labour the point, I’ll screw around with a quote from my favourite movie, Cool Runnings – “If we look Australian, act Australian and skate Australian then we sure as hell better buy Australian”.

I always support my local skateshop, because they always support me. That is all.

Bruce de Graaf, PHF AATC
Security Professional; Board Member - Sydney City Bomb Squad; Business Owner; Director of First Impressions; Past President of the Rotary Club of Crows Nest; Mentor Raise Foundation; Downhill Skateboard Racer; World Champion Football Player (World Masters Games 2009); CRM Super User


  1. great read Bruce and hopefully people start seeing the light,every industry lost in Australia is sad news,buying local does make a difference.


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