BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT - PART 11
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?
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.
I pretty much knew it was time. I would go on tour with guys like Danny way and knew my skating wasn't up to the standards needed. I would still get boards from Mike Ternasky, but I soon went on to work on the business side of things and move on past skating as a sponsored rider.
I miss it, but I was never too far from it. I went on to help start Plan B Skateboards where I was Art Director. We had a ramp in the warehouse that I'd skate too. Later, I went on to be Art Director for DC Shoes. So I was always around skating. Now I work in the RC Car industry and it definitely has an overlap, like video games. I run in to old friends now and again and hit up a mellow park once in a great while. Just can't take the slams like I used to. Takes too long to get back up. I think you need to put yourself in harm's way in order to progress and be competitive, it's hard to constantly push that hard.
Ha ha. No chance of a comeback. Shit, the things the guys are doing now are just mindblowing. Mad respect. I'll still skate, but purely for fun.
It was about 2003 and was a mutual throwing of the towel, you got to have that new blood carrying the torch.
Of course, but life goes on and its time to move on.
Still skating when I can, it's in the DNA. As for a comeback, not so much. Just content with being able to do it for fun like it was when I started.
Never threw in no towel, been skating everyday unless I'm hurt. Not missing anything, I'm doing great. I skate everyday check the footy at my YouTube channel and vimeo - True Skateboard Mag and new ad in Thrasher - August issue. Thanks and skate or die.
I don't use a towel because I'm not a tennis player, there is no difference between sponsored non sponsored life. Life is life, I skate for fun, and do lots of other things. Life is always real whether you get free skate stuff or not. As I'm grown up with 3 kids and a family, I work a lot. It is very rewarding physically and spiritually, and I feed my fam. Plus I can teach them what I learn. I don't live off the land. I am building an arc, like noah, out of solar panels.
I don't need to go back or come back from anywhere or anything. We should all find the centre where we are at one with the universe, and learn the meaning of life - that god loves us all equally.
I skate and always will. Down hill bomb to work at 6am is always good. Weekend nights. When I die my insides will carve and skate the convection cycles, that roil (a rolling boil) in the inner earth, and then I'll pop back out as a volcano.
I did not really throw in the towel. Barry and I just came to the realisation that we were no longer able to compete at a professional level any more, there were no Masters or old geezer divisions back then, so we just kept on skating and having fun. I went back to my previous job and background as a mechanical engineer which pay the bills at this time. I still skate from time to time with the locals and my friends here in Dallas. Not as much as I would like to, but having a couple of little sprogs - Dennis 3 and Arlo 2 keeps me busy, when I get them both on board It will be great all around.
I knew long before it ended that I wasn't good enough to continue skating for Blind and their high standards that I always felt that I never would live up to. I tried my best and had a great time while it lasted.
Skateboarding was the first love of my life and will always be in my heart. I love it and always will until the day I die. I miss skating everyday, but don't really miss having it as a job. I was blessed with the opportunity and had a great time doing it, but I always knew it couldn't last forever.
I wish I could skate everyday, but sadly I can't because of other obligations. Honestly, I haven't skated in a while. The crazy thing is that I dream about skating almost every night. Never even thought about a comeback.
I never really threw in the towel, it was one of those things where I just never found a solid home on a team. The place that felt like home was the East Coast Urethane Distribution, meaning Capital Skateboards, First Division wheels and my Skateshop Sub Zero. I've been skating this whole time, not going as hard as in the past, but always shredding the streets of Philly, so a comeback is not how I'd put it, it's more like you might catch a clip or a pic of me sometime, so keep an eye out, peace. @mazzuted
I guess the question is, "why did I quit?" It's a multi-layered answer, but here goes. Pro skate careers weren't expected to go much past 30 back then. I had begun working for Airwalk as a rep and promo consultant. I had one calendar year where I was skating and repping and was home one weekend of that year. Plus I was practicing less due to my commitment to Airwalk. This was getting me hurt in contests. Decision point. Had to go with the Airwalk path.
Of course. How could I not? The skating part I've reestablished. Not the vert stuff, but some street, longboarding and just cruising. The relationships are still good and I've really enjoyed reconnecting. It's like time stood still and we pick up where we left off.
Just having fun on street, some banks, and occasional stealth visit to park. As for a comeback... Probably not, but the door is open.
Due to my own very poor choices, alcohol and drugs consumed me and my life over time and that's what threw in the towel for me with my sponsors. I always have loved skateboarding and am very passionate about it to this day. I had people like Danny Way, Rodney Mullen, Daewon Song, and multiple others trying to help, but I wasn't ready. Finally, I was so miserable and wanted to die, that I was ready to get clean and live a way better life based around skateboarding. I have 7 years and 4 months clean as of today. I am so GRATEFUL and THANKFUL! That's the very short version.
Miss what? I am very fortunate and am still very involved and get to have a life through skateboarding today. I have a board out again on (Finesse Brand) and 'real life' is great, because of skateboarding.
THANK YOU SKATEBOARDING!
No comeback, I'm here to stay! 3 knee surgeries in a year and a half and one being a partial knee replacement, and I'm still going. I run a skate academy working with kids called "Neal Mims Skate Academy" (NMSA) www.nealmimsskateacademy.com, so I'm skating more now than I did when I had a pro career at the top of my game, because I'm always around it. I get to share my experience with the youth and that's what it's all about. I am truly blessed with a second chance and life is amazing! Thanks for thinking of me.
Never really decided, it just happened. I was riding for Media in 2005 and would get fed up with the "hey bro you need to jump on the big rails and start going bigger". At the time I was working on a house project called 6 Newell and just enjoying skating and filming with my house mates. Nate Jones, Matt Milligan, Elissa Steamer, Frank Gerwer, John Barker and Peter Ramondetta. Anyway, I quit media and rode for DNA along with Milligan for a hot second, and well they went under so I really lost the inspiration and motivation to continue. I still skated, I just needed a break from the "hey bro".
Yes I miss some aspects of it but hey bro. Traveling was and is priceless. Life is as good as an always good hard flip - which have always been a little hard. So you wake up and try it again. Never give up and make it the best.
I still skate every other day if not to get to from A to B just to push and feel that amazing sensation of freedom. As well been skating this mini ramp back here in Florida with the good old boys.