Hobo Daze: The Lords of Shenzhen

Vagabond Skateboards brought together their team to meet up with local skaters from Shenzhen and spend a day cruising through the Cantonese country side.

This is the latest piece of work from my mate and DabaoGe partner, Charles Lanceplaine. Like a lot of art, you might look at this film and say, “I could do that”. But you’d probably be ignorant to just how valuable the beautiful subtleties and uncontrived narrative are in separating it from most other skate films, particularly those being made in China lately (and there are a lot). I said the same thing about Charles’s debut feature length documentary, Shanghai 5. In fact, it’s the reason he has become the most sort-after ‘new action sports’ director in China.

It’s got a kind of 70s nostalgia and innocence that’s reminiscent of the music video for Youth Group’s 2006 cover of Forever Young. Hobo Daze depicts a time for skateboarding that in many ways reflects where China’s skateboarding culture is today –despite the fact that it first arrived in Beijing in the 1980s and has had China-watchers claiming its emergence into mainstream consciousness for the past half-decade. Today, there’s a well established community of ‘serious’ skaters with brands continuing to invest heavily at that level as well as a groundswell of post-90s Chinese boys and girls take more of an interest in recreational boarding and other ‘new action sports’.

Regardless of the state of skateboarding in China, Vagabond’s Hobo Daze clip is just old-fashioned good fun and the seaside connection makes it feel like a south-east Asian Lords of Dogtown trailer. I hope that’s a compliment.