Story by Angelo Spagnolo // Photo by Katie Greene
S-K-A-T-E is an adaptation of basketball's well-known shoot-off game: H-O-R-S-E. The game pits skaters against one another in a most basic test of skill. One skater demonstrates a trick and if his competitor(s) fail to land the trick as the first skater does, they earn a letter. The first skater to accrue all five letters is out, until there is one player remaining.
Opinions on the game's function vary from person to person. Some skateboarders see it as an important forum for praise and critique, as it's settles the essential question, "Who is better?" Others view the game as a way to keep the skating interesting, when familiar surroundings become stale. Whichever way you look at it, S-K-A-T-E has established itself in a sport based on constant progression and creativity.
The roots of the game are hard to trace. A skateboard shoe company, éS, created the Game of SKATE Tournament in 2003. According to the official tournament Web site, skate originated in the 1970s.
As H.O.R.S.E is to basketball, S-K-A-T-E embodies the street level democracy of skateboarding. There is no need for a court or a referee or a coach, as the purest forms of competition can take place anywhere, at anytime.