Sidewalk Ed in Chief Ben Powell gives a potted history of Shop Riot…
Originally conceived of by Vans as a way to foreground the true grass roots of the European skateboard community, the Vans Shop Riot contest series evolved from humble beginnings back in 2006 with the Belgian Battle of the Shops.
This local event grew in stature and with each passing year more and more shops became involved, which led in turn, to Vans extending the concept to the entirety of EMEA territory in 2009.
From this point onwards, each country began to host their own national Shop Riot events annually, with an open invitation sent out to each and every core skate store in the related area, regardless of whether they were based in major cities or out in the sticks. Shop Riot equalised the playing field so that every skate store worth their salt could come together and represent their local scene collectively with their eyes on the chance of a place in the European finals.
The maxim that skate shops are the lifeblood of the global skateboard scene is all too easy to pay lip service to – but Vans made this the cornerstone of the entire Shop Riot idea. Without the local skate stores providing the anchor to each and every skateboard scene across the continent, skateboarding would be very different and would lack the sense of cohesion and community that makes skateboarding the all-embracing culture that it is.
From 2009 onwards the Vans Shop Riot has grown exponentially with more and more shops and localities getting involved each year and more exposure given to the stores that provide the cement that holds our culture together.
National Shop Riot contests are now held in virtually every country in the EMEA territories, (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Switzerland, Israel, Benelux, Estonia, Scandinavia and more) with the destination of the Finals changing each year. Judging on the events that I’ve personally been to, all the participating shops are there to shred, have fun, make new friends and link up with the guys that they don’t get the chance to hang out with regularly due to the amount of hours involved in running a successful independent skate store these days.
And, with all the fun taken into account, they’re also there to battle it out against their friends and their competitors alike for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip for them and their shop team to the Shop Riot finals. Who could ask for more really?
Ben Powell, Sidewalk