In the past year, the Onewheel community has inherited the archetypal mantle of pulling the sport up by the bootstraps. Homegrown races, competitions large and small, the ORL, the Underground circuits, and too many more to list have emerged from backyards and cul-de-sacs onto trail systems and skate parks all over the world.
Like most new sports during their nascency, Onewheel is often viewed as subversive…the idea of adding electricity somehow tainting the purity of what qualifies as sport. But that’s a tale as old as time. Before Onewheels, the potential for skateboarding as a sport was ignored by mainstream culture for decades, even derided. By necessity, skateboarding coalesced around a group of renegades, innovators, and athletes whose only choice was to forge their own path.
Fast forward: This year, skateboarding was part of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. At the same time, a new group of renegades, innovators, and athletes competed and supported one another at events the likes of which the world has never seen. Onewheel as a sport is just beginning to show its potential. There is magic in the air. We’re Stoked!
We recognize that those who share the values of IOWA have joined to lend their own efforts to our sport’s growth. We’re proud of you, dear members, and we’ve built a core membership in our first year that is motivated to roll up its sleeves. This community is also lucky to have an incredible group of vendor-sponsors whose support underwrites much of the IOWA effort. Don’t forget to support these amazing vendors.
In its inaugural year, IOWA drafted and initiated a worthy mission statement, launched and achieved federal recognition as a 501(c)(7) nonprofit organization, partnered with the most trusted vendors in the community to provide value for membership, thoughtfully structured a framework of rules and a code of conduct with input from the community, partnered with community leaders to organize trail advocacy efforts, promoted events through social media channels, and launched an outreach effort to compile resources from event organizers so that future event directors could build upon past successes and failures.
As we progress, we want to keep that momentum. Trail advocacy is our primary objective in the coming year. We feel this is an issue that affects nearly every rider, and the need is immediate. Through effective advocacy, we can work to ensure that our community has access to our favorite trails without fear of being banned. Our initiative aims to generate resources, cooperate with other stakeholders, and forge positive relationships with trail associations, parks leadership, and law enforcement to ensure access and inclusion. We recognize the value that IOWA, in its nonprofit organizational capacity, can bring to legitimize these trail advocacy efforts across the entire community, and are positioning to step into that role in the most effective way possible.
Other sophomore year initiatives include significantly expanding both board and general membership, developing a ranking system for our most competitive riders that is accepted by the community, supporting and advancing the development of freestyle (aka “trick”) competitions, and providing valuable adjunct support for race and event directors.
The new renegades will determine this sport’s destiny. And we’ve got news for those of you that share the Stoke—you are the new renegades. We’re making it up as we go. Let’s nurture and shape it. Let’s show the world what the future of “sport” looks like.