Practice of Skateboarding & Skateboards as Technologies

People, who are one way or another into the skateboarding culture make art, furniture, accessories, jewelry and more out of old or broken skateboards (examples see picture gallery). This served for us as an interesting example of everyday design worthwhile studying more thoroughly. In a first study, we familiarized ourselves with the topic of this research through a pilot study investigating five skateboarders who appropriated or reused (upcycled) old or broken skateboards to make new objects [see our CHI’13 WiP paper]. Our preliminary findings led us to a new way of thinking about skateboards as a mobile technology. We introduced the idea of skateboards fostering experimentation, creativity and connectedness to places, and how this can inform our understanding of personal technologies. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the ways practitioners interact with their skateboards (now focusing on seeing the board as a technology), we conducted another study interviewing and observing twelve skateboarders conceptualizing six themes on skateboards: usage of skateboards, modifications, relationship with the skateboard, understanding and interactions with the environment, the experience of skateboarding, and creativity and experimentation within skateboarding. Currently, we are looking closer at our study data and skateboards as a practice technology.