Before social media became an addictive digital wasteland lurking in our pockets, one would have to get their social dopamine by computer. Tweens during this pre-smartphone era had their ADHD satiated by MySpace and Xanga. But if you were a part of the skateboarding subculture during 2005 – 2006, you may have spent your adolescent idle time on Icelounge.com.
Icelounge.com was a skateboard social media site spearheaded by pro skateboarder Salman Agah and skateboard industry veteran Dave Metty. The site touted to offer the skateboard “derelicts and delinquents” a chance to “hook up with others (um, girls), waste sooo much time and bandwidth when you could be doing something productive, like….hmmmm, actually wasting time on this site is good cuz it means you won’t be outside vandalizing things, read and watch exclusive interviews with top pros, celebrities [quite audacious], pretty people, and not so pretty people” and of course also offered the holy grail of possibly being discovered and becoming a sponsored skater. Agah and Metty ultimately hoped to provide “…a place where people can get networked for the purpose of promoting skateboarding culture to the world.”
Maturity combined with hindsight makes me wonder how this site was ever successful. The About Me offers a counterintuitive expression of the good in not vandalizing while unironically encouraging skateboarders to do this very same thing through the act of skateboarding itself, and even a homophobic joke (which I won’t hold against them too much given that this was the mid-2000s). Of course, none of this mattered to my Oklahoman friends or me. We were excited to join a site where we could share our skateboarding with the world and talk to strangers online…even girls!
Scouring through the Wayback Machine and checking in on my profile and my friends’ profiles, it is clear the site was mainly used as an avenue to talk shit and flirt with girls. Hell, there are tons of incriminating profiles, posts, and comments that today would easily place us in hot water. Skateboarding, be damned.
I’m not sure how successful the site was in other parts of the world outside of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. During the 2000s, there was a skate shop called Dark Side Skates where all the shop locals and regulars used the site as a means of entertainment and communication. Both skaters and non-skaters. We used the site so frequently, Agah even gave us a shout-out in his bio description.
One great thing about the site was that it was so small and niche that it went undetected by site blockers at school. Theoretically, during school hours, I could message Agah that he made “switch skating his bitch” or comment on a friend’s page that he is “gay.” Revolutionary things for a 13-year-old to be able to do during middle school.
Agah and Metty must be given credit for seeing the future of skateboarding. Today skateboarders and skateboard companies connect to the youth through Instagram, offering daily content to hungry fans worldwide. Icelounge.com allowed users to upload videos, pictures, and blog posts to their page and allowed skaters to chat with their favorite pros and industry figureheads and their skating with them. Living in the Midwest, this was huge. Getting seen by the skateboard industry in Oklahoma was a challenging feat.
Myspace ended up winning over our young hearts and fried brains. The failed success of Icelounge.com is a bit disappointing. A true skateboarding legend overseeing a massive social media outlet created for skaters by skaters could have been an exciting project to see fully develop. However, we have seen how skateboarding media sites can corrupt one’s skateboarding legacy. Success could quickly have gone to Agah’s head and made him into skateboarding’s own Musk or Zuckerberg. Skateboarding does not need either one.