Vans gets to the heart of skateboarding ahead of 2020 Olympics

The campaign, in partnership with Skateistan, stars skateboard stars Tony Hawk, Lizzie Armanto, Pedro Barros and Yann Horowitz.

Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, but its origins run deep in the youth culture of local communities.

To mark the occasion, Vans partnered with international nonprofit Skateistan for the campaign “No Matter How Big Skateboarding Gets, Never Forget Where it Starts,” which launched on Go Skateboarding Day (June 21). 

The campaign stars skateboarding legend and Skateistan ambassador Tony Hawk, Olympic skaters Lizzie Armanto and Pedro Barros and professional skater Yann Horowitz, who highlight the skateparks, backyard pools and communities that made skateboarding what it is today.

The spot shows children using skateboarding to express themselves around the world. 

“Skateistan is an organization that uplifts kids in communities that may not have the infrastructure for a skate community or creative community in general,” Horowitz explains in the spot. “They give kids a hot meal, a skate lesson and the inspiration to learn through movement and community and love.”

Through August 31, Vans fans can build their own Vans Skate Classic custom sneakers with $10 from every pair sold (up to $200,000), benefitting Tides Foundation, a public charity and fiscal sponsor, to help Skateistan bring resources to local skate communities around the world.

People can also donate at Vans.com/skateistan and Vans.com/customs. Each campaign ambassador also developed their own Customs "recipe" to inspire fans to get creative with their designs.

“Our goal is to raise awareness on the benefits that skateboarding brings to youth culture: from enabling creativity, supporting physical and mental well-being, driving inclusivity and most importantly building community, where skateboarding literally starts,” Bobby Gascon, Vans global director of action sports, told Campaign US.

Partnering with Vans will help Skateistan “provide art-based education through innovative programs that focus on youth empowerment and diversity,” especially for children with low-income backgrounds, Gascon added. “Together we give children the opportunity to become future leaders for a better world.”

For Skateistan founder Oliver Percovich, the campaign reflects the nonprofit's mission to empower children around the world through skateboarding.

”To me, skateboarding is all about community,” Percovic said. “That’s what we’re building through our Skate Schools in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa and this campaign really gets to the heart of what skateboarding is all about.”

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