About the WFSA

The History of the WFSA

The World Freestyle Skateboard Association’s origins date all the way back to the 1990s and the International Network for Flatland Freestyle Skateboarding, or INFFS. Founded by Lillis Åkesson and Dan Gesmer, the INFFS and their Flatline magazine connected freestyle skateboarders worldwide at a time when there were no products, events, or support for freestylers. In those early days, the “magazine” was just a small printed newsletter sent around the globe to a small mailing list; it might not seem like a lot now, but without it, freestyle as we know it today might never have existed.

Fast forward to the year 2000. Three things happened this year: Lillis organised the first “new age” freestyle contest in Sweden in March, Bill Robertson organised the first World Championships in a decade in November, and Bob Staton contacted Lillis to create a new organisation, the WFSA, that would operate alongside with INFFS to assist with event organisation, sourcing funding, and promoting and organising freestyle globally. As a result of this co-operation, Flatline became an online section on the new WFSA website, changed its name to F! Magazine, started a web forum, and was now produced by both the WFSA and the INFFS.

By the end of 2002, Lillis realised the INFFS was no longer needed, and all activities of the INFFS were taken over by the WFSA. This period led to the first real modern “boom” in freestyle skateboarding; in a pre-social-media world, the WFSA’s F! Forum became the sole hub for freestyle skateboarders, and an online community started to grow.

Over the last twenty years, that online community has become larger than any of us dared to imagine in the early 2000s. There have been contests all over the world, there are more freestylers than ever, and there’s a wider array of product – decks, wheels, and trucks – than any one skater could ever reasonably sample. This is a testament not only to the groundwork laid by the INFFS and the WFSA in those early years, but the work and dedication of freestylers all over the globe during this period.

Sadly, the WFSA’s founder, Bob Staton, did not live long enough to see this; he died of cancer in 2011. It is in his memory that the WFSA lives on.

The WFSA Today

The WFSA’s goals and aims are unchanged from the words written on the first version of the WFSA website:

“The nature and scope of WFSA is to address the needs of freestyle skateboarders as athletes, artists, and individuals; the primary function of the WFSA is to promote contest activity and participation. Additional functions, goals, activities, and “special features” of WFSA are designed to allow the association to be a positive, innovative, flexible, and responsive service organization.”

What that translates to in the modern age is that as the social-media-driven world again starts to fracture, with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter usage declining, the WFSA aims to provide the hub for freestylers that it once did. As this website grows, you’ll find an online events calendar; recommendations, help, and assistance for running your own events; resources for new freestylers; and an ongoing blog that will include event reports, trick history, historical articles from the original F! Magazine, and highlight new freestyle content from elsewhere on the internet. If you are interested in contributing to this blog, please contact us; submissions are always welcome.

On a professional level, the WFSA also aims to facilitate communication between various national organising bodies within freestyle (such as the JFSA, Vrijstijl, and the UKFSA) and various organising bodies and groups outside of freestyle to ensure that freestyle is portrayed fairly and consistently worldwide.