Pg 9 – Book: Skateboarding, Power and Change

Red background and yellow and white writing says: Skateboarding, Power and Change. Indigo Willing and Anthony Pappalardo. 

Bold text.

BOOK: ‘Skateboarding, Power and Change’ by Indigo Willing and Anthony Pappalardo with art/illustrations by Adam Abada. Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan. Release date mid-2023.


This book aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of how change happens through the perspectives of key change makers in skateboarding. Insights are shared by 42 remarkable individuals covering themes that include First Nations sovereignty and creative innovations, joy, resistance and anti-colonialism, as well as anti-racism, Black Lives Matter and Black and PoC skaters-run initiatives. The book also explores evolving forms of subcultural power and subcultural entrepreneurship, the rise of skatepark advocacy and city skate activism, and a growing focus on gender equity and empowering women, non-binary and LBGTIQ+ skaters. Other topics covered include changes to skate media, the transformative power of satire and humor, the growth of consent education and awareness initiatives, and social projects on inclusion and belonging. The book provides a window into various forms of leadership, lived experiences, and expertise that has led to an ‘ethical turn’ in skateboarding today. The dynamic changes in skating are also connected to conceptual and theoretical frameworks drawn from contemporary skate research, skate journalism, and the field of sociology.

“For all skateboarders and anyone with a passing curiosity about skateboarding, this book is a must read. Beautifully written and illustrated, and drawing upon interviews with a diverse group of changemakers, Skateboarding, Power and Change is a highly accessible, engaging and thought-provoking analysis of the ‘ethical turn’ in skateboarding. Written by two skateboarding academics, it offers powerful and moving insights into the various ways skateboarders are changing the world. Highly recommended.” Holly Thorpe, Professor of Sport and Gender in Te Huataki Waiora / School of Health at the University of Waikato, New Zealand

“Willing and Pappalardo address one of the great new developments in skateboarding – its increasing capacity to face matters of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and to effect new modes of active change. Combining erudite analysis and sensitive reflection with numerous interviews of key change-makers in the skate community, they surface multiple voices, nuances and routes forward. An impressive, provocative and timely study.” Iain Borden, author of Skateboarding and the City: A Complete History (2019) and Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.

Link to Palgrave Macmillan

Featuring interviews with:

Adam Abada | Dani Abulhawa | Thomas Barker | Kyle Beachy | Alec Beck | Lisa Berenson | Kailey ‘Bayr’ Blackburn | L Brew | Amelia Brodka | Rhianon Bader | Izzy Cooper | Doyenne Skateboards | Kristin Ebeling | Paul Forsline | Bethany Geckle | Chris Giamarino | Brian Glenney | Tommy Guerrero | Keegan Guizard | Sarah Huston | Brennan Hatton | Norma Ibarra | Atiba Jefferson | Christian Kerr | Patrick Kigongo | Adrian Koenisberg | Denia Kopita | Lynn Kramer | Ryan Lay | Ashely Masters | Douglas Miles SeniorApache Skateboards | Douglas Miles Junior Indellica | Peggy Oki | Kevin Pacella | Ted Schmitz | Latosha Stone | Karlie Thornton  | Timothy Ward | Alex White | Shari White | Cindy Whitehead | Kim Woozy |


Research was conducted drawing on historical archives, contemporary sources and in-depth interviews with 42 individuals who are social change makers in skateboarding. This includes people working in the skate industry, community programs, skate brands, non profits and individuals from skating’s DIY scenes, and influential cultural roles (e.g. writers, artists and photographers). 

The US is the key focus of the book. A wider focus was changed due to the pandemic and its impact. Stories and relevant information that, due to the word count limit and final scope, were unable to feature in the book may be featured on the project’s website as it evolves plus social media and other publications in the process.

Sociological research for this project began in October 2020 and has ethical clearance from Griffith University, Australia – GU ref no: 2021/066. Delays were caused by fires and floods in Australia, then covid-19 and its impact on USA travel being restricted, lock downs, and events such the Olympics being postponed. The release date of the book is currently planned for 2023.

The authors recognise the valuable time and wisdom of all the interviewed participants and are deeply thankful for the insights they shared. As this is a community project that was unfunded, and in line with the project’s ethical clearance, all participation was voluntary. There were no payments for participation. Thank you contributions were made in recognition of First Nations sovereignty and for expertise (eg. cultural readers). Special thank-you art gifts were sent (e-versions or hard copies by request) – thank you Adam Abada (New York) and Sarah Huston (Australia/LA).

Brooklyn banks black and white sketch.
Art from the book project. Brooklyn Banks by @adamabadart @gnarcotics
Curb art by Sarah Huston in red, yellow and black saying 'slow down, adults skating', 'drive like your parents skate here', and mock traffick signs design.
Art prints were provided as thank you gifts. These are by @thesarahhuston of @yeahgirlskateboarding
Consent is Rad text on black skateboard sticker
Sticker from @consent_is_rad design by RT Signs Chinchilla

If you would like to know more about this project please email Dr Indigo Willing and Anthony Pappalardo using the Contact Page Form