Titus Dittmann
Guy Lochhead, 23/12/10
Veteran German skateboarder/distributor/collector/philanthropist Dittmann pioneered skateboarding in Germany in the late-’70s/early-’80s and has remained a big part of the scene ever since. He was one of the first distributors of American skateboard (and other ‘action sports’) brands in the ’80s. He has a huge collection of significant decks and skateboard memorablia of that period that has been exhibited a few times, and has contributed to archiving projects such as the Disposable and Made For Skate books, and the Art of Skateboarding collectors’ site. He is most well-known now for his chain of Titus skateshops, the Münster Monster Mastership and his charity work, as the Titus Dittmann Foundation with Skate Aid. He founded the organisation in 2010 to provide funding and support to small, grass-roots projects across the world introducing skateboarding as a means of personal and small-scale social development. Skateboarders get uncomfortable about the growth of skateboarding as it often comes via sanitised exploitation and new, clueless, big-money entrants into the market. Dittmann is undoubtedly a capitalist, but he’s a skateboarding capitalist using some of the money he made distributing perhaps some of the less-“worthy” brands and putting on unnecessary WORLD’S BEST EVER SKATEBOARDER EXTREME CHAMPION events (which actually started very small…) to fund Skate Aid’s grassroots projects. I think the important thing here is that these are very small-scale, local efforts, as-yet untainted by exploitative branding stuff – I mean, there are the obvious, inevitable trappings of big baddies trying to look good by contributing a dozen trucks or whatever, but I don’t think that invalidates the general effort; that side of it only looks bad to those in the know, not new skaters, anyway. HOWEVER, Dittmann has done a lot of weird stuff and, in the end, it’s just skateboarding! I think I’m going to write about the individual Skate Aid projects independently and perhaps include something from those inspiring anomalies. The only reason there needs to be a big umbrella organisation like Skate Aid is because everything else is bloated too – these projects would remain the same however they were funded, if the whole macro-scale stuff was different and more evenly distributed. The kids would do the same stuff… Skating would still be fun… This stuff makes my head do the 900… I would welcome comments on this one but for me, for now, he’s out… Still, Dittmann’s contributions to the German skate scene and enduring value as a skate historian are undeniable.

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