BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT PART 10
Most kids dreams of being sponsored start about twenty minutes after discovering their first skateboard. When you have found something that is so much fun that it's all you can think about, what could be better than getting free stuff to skate on? Maybe even getting your name on a board, fuck - imagine if skateboarding was your job! That must be the best thing in the world, right?
The reality is though, however good you are, there is always some little bastard coming up that is better than you, has a better image or simply played the game better and sucked up to/sucked off the right team manager... Regardless of how long your time in the sun is, most people don't ever get there, so sponsored skaters are put on a pedestal for all the kids to look up to. Some thrive on this, others crumble under the pressure and some just start to fucking hate the thing they once loved. We hit up some skaters that were a staple fixture in the skate world not so long ago to see exactly where they disappeared to and what they are up to now. We have had such an overwhelming response that we've had to split this article into a few parts or it'd end up being longer than the bible.
We asked everyone the same simple three questions:
1. When and why did you decide to throw in the towel on being sponsored, or did someone throw it in for you?
2. Do you miss it at all? How is post-skating / real life treating you?
3. How much are you skating these days? Any chance of a comeback?
It was 2004 right after Yeah Right came out, Girl needed some new blood on the team and I understood. At the same time I had an opportunity to get involved with a brand and learn about footwear. I had been pro for 10 years and thought it was a good run, can’t be pro forever.
The thing I miss the most about it is being on tour with my friends and being around them as much. Currently, I am a partner in Alife Footwear and have a footwear consulting company and also have a great family. Life is good!
I never stopped skating and skate as much as I can. Not sure about a comeback, the level is so crazy these days and it would take me a long time to film a part. I skate for myself and will do it till I physically can’t. Thanks!
I only stopped skating for about a year, I never lost interest. Now I'm back I feel better for it.
Yes I still skate. Conspiracy skateboards sponsors me. I skate when I have the time and am not wiped out from a long day of construction. Also, My kids have taken a priority in my life these days... Which I wouldn't trade for anything. I dig skating just the same if not more now. There's a great skate/snowboard scene here in Salt Lake. A comeback? I would be stoked to travel and skate and see my skate family all over the world. I still have dreams about getting in on all the events around the world that happen annually. It's just not a priority at the moment. I'm stoked to go to the Vans pool party for now. I see tons of old friends. It's SO RAD! I hung out with Simon "Sac" this last year and that was a highlight. As my perspective changes as I get older, there is always STOKE! Cheers mate.
2003 was the end of my skateboard career, fired into retirement is what I used to call it. Of course as an ageing pro I felt that I was at the top of my game.
I do miss it from time to time. Life's good, I have recently started a brand called El Señor New York with Stevie Williams. It's skateboarding first and only jewelry company.
I skate everyday. maybe not doing tricks but getting around town is nicer on a cruiser than walking. I live in the city. You might see another part or 2 from Fuj, but nothing too serious, thats what the team is for… haha
Peace, and thanks for the opportunity
Just got done answering those questions, (even though I thought they were lame). Read them over.. Looked at your feature and deleted them. They have no relevance to me, and the fact you guys are just going on about sponsorship goes to show how lame skating is in the mainstream nowadays. Glad to be out the mainstream and loving it, rather than be involved in the crap that is called skate media these days.
My pro skateboard career ended when vert completely isolated itself from skateboarding and went in a crazy direction. I milked it for about 5 years with World, but when they left Dwindle the first time, they wanted a circus act and to cash in on the mainstream. It didn't work at all. I have no idea why I had a board for so long with them. It was kinda funny getting paid and really doing nothing productive with it.
Post skate career has been good. I own a skatepark in Dallas, Texas that I use as a venue as well for events.
I have a vert ramp at my skatepark, so I am actually skating a lot these days. A comeback at 40? I guess I am considered a master now! I'm not looking for a comeback but I am definitely into still progressing and seeing where that can take me. Really stoked on skating at the moment.
I did not want Santa Cruz sponsorship to end. However, their [Santa Cruz's] Japanese distributor did not have much passion to support us, and we were not able to communicate with each other like today, as we did not have email or Facebook back then. In the 90`s, most skateparks went under here, and there weren`t many to start with. I quit being a sponsored rider, but continued to be a pro skater in the Japanese skate scene was much harder than the scene in the States. Around that time, I became pro snowboarder and kept surfing, which I did since I was a kid. I still go to skateparks 2 to 3 times a month. I would love to be back again. I hope to enter all 80`s type contests someday. I`m still chasing my skate dream.
Throw in the towel. You got to be kidding me. I will throw in the towel when I'm fucking dead mate! Life's too short to sit on the couch! I still get me sesh on. I get my pics and vid on! Haven't competed since last year as I started a new company and have been busy with that. But not throwing in the towel by any means! The sponsors still love me! Etnies, Oakley, Independent, Bones Wheels and Bearings, Alpinestars and Olloclip.
There is no post skating. If you skate, you skate for LIFE! No matter how shitty your bones get. By the way. Mine are fine.
I've been healing from a separated shoulder since the Bondi BOWL-A-RAMA in Feb. Just started skating and MTB a few weeks back. Shoulder's still sore but feeling good. Heading to Europe for a month long skate tour. Looking forward to shredding some spots! Comeback? I never went away… Been here in the mix since day one. Can't say the same for others...
The industry (or rather the shitty people in it) ruined it for me. I let stupid things get between me and my loving board.
I missed it liked one misses a loved one when they die. We got back together and learned to love her all over again. Supposed real jobs suck, especially when you shunned education for love of the road. Life is life though, ya know? Sometimes you gotta just grin and bear it.
I skate all the time, the ol' carcass feels it big time. No comebacks for me. Me and my love have our own personal thing going on. It wouldn't be very marketable. Skating has always been the one thing in my life. I've seen skating grow up from nothing. I think me and the old girl are gonna quietly grow old together... Peace y'all... one.
I'm just a dude who skates. Always have, always will. Sponsored and comeback are irrelevant. Thank you for thinking of me. I appreciate it! Thanks, Owen
I never threw in the towel. I quit New Deal to ride for Torque and Thomas Taylor from Atlanta that also owns Stratosphere Skateboard Company in 1996. After that, I opened Westside Skateshop in my hometown, Tarpon Springs, FL in 1997. I still have the shop now, for seventeen years. I still still skate, and have a guest board for Skate Mafia. I still get boards from Mafia, Bones, and Swiss Bearings.
Opening the shop, I never skipped a beat - it was almost like being pro, you just sell everybody's stuff, not just your own. I have three kids, so that part of life is a whole new level. I am super happy to have a great skate team for my shop, and an awesome wife and great kids.
I skate when I can - having three kids takes a lot of you. At my age, every time I go skating is a comeback!
In 1998 I was going to the Vans park in Orange about 5 days a week to skate. I would skate the street course for two hours then hit the vert ramp. I remember finishing on the street course after doing some random shit over and over, like mute 180's over the pyramid and some back scratcher 360 flips and was heading to the ramp with my stuff and thought... Am Ipracticing right now? Practicing for what?
Right then and there I threw all my pads and boards in the bowl and started walking out of the park. Some kid was like "hey your stuff" and I said "thats your stuff now, buddy" I retired myself and left. It was the most liberating feeling. No more worrying about how I was skating or if it was up to someone else's standards. The next day I woke up and was like "now what the fuck am I going to do?"
I have never left skating just changed my situation. I was thinking of something I wanted to do as far as a buisness in skating. One thing I kept coming back to was that I didnt like the current state of skate videos and wanted to make something fun that showed great skating, funny shit and partying. I went to my two good friends Mike Crum and Rune Glifberg with the idea of doing Digital and asked them to invest and to my surprise they both said "this sounds sick, lets do it". The fact that my friends lent me their own money completely changed my outlook on things. All I wanted to do was make the video and pay them back. I was able to do both and they changed my life forever by helping me and believing in me. Through all of this I was able to meet the women of my dreams and marry her. We have two beautiful daughters and are living in HB. I spend all my time with them or with my riders out and about in the streets filming and skating.
I skate everyday with the guys I'm out filming with but that is more cruising. I have been skating vert a lot more over the last few years however last year I broke my arm (humerus aka the not so funny bone) at Tampa Pro and this year I tore my lateral meniscus (bucket handle) and my interior meniscus and just had knee surgery in May. Both were doing fully padded and sober 540's. Very ironic as they seemed to work fine for me every time when I was drunk and naked. So now I'm almost better, and looking forward to getting back in the bowl asap
I'm the brand manager of Blind and founder and part owner of Digital Skateboarding.
Here is a photo of me at Vans on the slam that took my knee out. Thanks, Weiss.
I am still pro for Monke skateboards, which has been my favorite Canadian brand for years. I’m excited to be involved with the business side of things with them as well. I would love to be in the magazines like I used to and continue put out parts.
I kinda miss the freedom of doing what you want, when you want, but I’ve come to realize that there is much more to life then living the skateboard lifestyle. I guess I can say I am a firm believer in gospel and find myself spending lots of time praying and worshipping God. I have my two daughters living with me and have been completely sober for a while now. It’s so amazing to be able to see them grow. I am also working on a non-profit society that will focus on helping others overcome the challenges of life. I love to see people rise up and win. I also play guitar and sing which is super fun.
It’s hard to skate as much as I use to. I have been running my store 'One love skate shop' and also have been doing 456 distribution for the past 10 years. I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t been skating as much as I used too, but the tricks seem to get landed a lot faster these days. It’s almost like I learned how to do the one trick that matters the most, which is how to land on the board more often. I’ve been working on a lot of trick variations that I like to call “board juggling”. These tricks usually consist of a flip followed by a different type of flip or a shovit followed by some kind of bigspin flip variation etc. I have also been messing around with foot plant tricks like switch hard flip foot plant, slides or grinds to late flip out and even some new casper manoeuvres. I guess I enjoy inventing tricks and filming them. You can definitaly catch me early mornings before work at the skate park doing lines and shredding to music.
Any chance of a comeback? If I can find a dedicated and filmer that I can click with, who will follow me around, I can guarantee a comeback, if you want to call it that. Not sure if I will be jumping on kinker rails or 20 sets anytime soon, but you never know.
I think like a lot of pros I had started to have a few sponsors cut back on salaries, but I was still lucky enough to have a group of solid people/sponsors behind me. Mid July of 2010 I suffered a serious knee injury. I completely tore my ACL, MCL, Patellar Tendon and a partial tear on my PCL, along with dislocating and crushing all the membrane in my knee. When I heard that I might not be able to walk without assistance and never skate at the level I was at again, the towel got thrown in for me.
I miss it every day! It was what consumed my life from morning till night for over twenty years. It’s a different feeling walking away from skating compared to other things. Looking at all these new parks, I think about what I use to do and what I could have done. I transitioned into the business side of our industry after my injury and feel very appreciative to those who have helped me along the way. Of course, I get to enjoy spending time with my wife and our 2 kids so I haven’t really lost anything, just gained in other areas.
I had a mini ramp built in my backyard, which has been a huge step in rehabilitating my knee. I skate once a week usually, but I think about doing it every day. A comeback? I already did!
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Alex Dyer for