BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT - PART 2
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?
I never "threw in the towel" on being sponsored. I could have continued to have sponsors, but not at the level that would have been satisfying for me. So once the major companies don't think they can make any money off of you - or they don't know how to brand you - there's not much you can do to stay in the game.
I miss all of the perks that come with being a professional skateboarder; getting paid, flying all over the world, having your name on a board etc. but there are so many other things that go along with being a pro skater that really take away from the actual skating. Once all of the pressures of being 'pro' were gone I got back to who I really was as a skater. I've had a lot more fun skating in the years since then because it's like when you were a kid again. just you and your friends having fun. As for life post skating, things are pretty great, mostly because I really don't feel like my life is "post skating". I live 4 blocks from Stoner Plaza and skate there all the time. I still tag along with Nick Tucker in the streets sometimes just to get that rush again (but without the pressure to perform). And I'm also a judge for Street League. So I am very much still involved in skating. My 'day job' is editing the MTV reality TV show True Life - a talent a learned from wanting to edit my own video parts. Editing an hour long documentary is an amazing challenge and super rewarding when things come together.
I skate on average about 2-3 times per week - but almost exclusively at Stoner Plaza. That's my home away from home. When I do hit the streets it's usually for moral support or just to get out and feel the grime of the city again. It reminds me who I am. No thank you on the comeback. I'm 37 years old and I'm still learning tricks but I have no desire to throw my hat into that ring again. Although I would like to find another role to play in the industry. I am still as obsessed with skating as I ever have been, so at this point I don't think that's ever going to go away.
I threw in the towel in 1992. Unfortunately dabbling in drugs and finding out I was going to be a dad to my oldest daughter I realized I wanted to stay home, be a dad and not do drugs, I decided to step away... I was pro at the time for Powell and really just wanted to be a good dad and not always be on tour or travelling to contests.
Yes I miss it greatly. I skated from when I was 6 years old till I was 22 years old. I stay in touch with some of the old team here and there.
I still skate here and there maybe once every 6 months. I have done what I wanted in skateboarding but not sure if I would ever try to come back to it. My life after has been great to me. I have 3 beautiful daughters. After skateboarding I raced Mountain Bikes for about 20 years... I am a 4th degree Black belt and up until just last year have been a martial arts instructor. I have worked in the airline industry for 24 years now and love my career. I’m still a punk rock kid listening to my punk rock bands. Life has been good to me.
All I do is tattoo now man, everyday. Skate for fun dude
In 1998 I threw in the towel with Zoo for years of neglect. I felt like a battered spouse, LOL. I eventually threw in the towel with Vehicle because sponsoring yourself and being the last pro on the team isn’t the coolest look. But we continued on with an Am team as long as we could. With that being said, my big ‘dreams’ of re-launching my brand prevent me from taking any of the really bad offers I get.
Yes and no. There’s good things – I can just skate the way I want to skate. And then there’s bad things – I don’t travel the world and get paid to skateboard.
I skate all the time. Doubt it on the comeback… But you never know.
I had a pretty long pro career 9 years or so and injuries piled up with the last one being my knee, so I wasn't gonna milk it - I guess I could have kept going at that level after surgery and rehab but at that time I felt it was time to let the other people come up and I wasn't about to be wasted space because I always called that out. Better to just go skate for the love of it. Also at that time, a lot of corny stuff was happening in the industry and companies that I just wasn't feeling, and I'm genuine so if I don't like a person or something I tend to turn off.
I miss friends, spots to skate, meeting skaters from all over and getting to see them skate and good times. Life is good though, went to college, studied design and photography, owned a skateshop in Charlotte NC. I'm back in Ohio more recently working with two friends doing a small skate company slash art project called ANIMAL. I do design and photo projects for people and companies still and rescue stray dogs when I can which is the best thing I can think of doing.
I'm still skating, mostly parks and fun minis when I can. No chance of a comeback, haha - if I was watching myself skate I would say "what happened to you man, you suck".
Just got older
Skating is funner since I had my son
I have fun skating
I got kicked off Santa Cruz right around 1996. I remember Jeff Kendall telling me "well, you're 24 years old and people just aren't pro after 24 so you should look into getting a job or something now." Not that I'm on the same level as any of these dudes, but most of the guys I grew up skating with are still pro (Creager, Daewon etc). But they're exceptions to the rule. At that time, 24 was super old to be a pro, because pro careers just lasted a few years. I rode for a couple small brands after Santa Cruz (Nation Skateboards) and after that was over I was on my way to getting on Powell when all the guys working to get me on left to start Transit (Mike V, Lowery etc). So when that happened I realized it wasn't going to work and headed out for an industry job. I really didn't want to be "that dude" trying to get on any company so I could just to say "I'm pro!". So I sort of threw in the towel myself. I'm super glad I did it when I did because if someone would have come to me and given me a board I might have kept trying to keep the dream alive, even when it was dead. I think Ricky Oyola really said it best in his Epicly Later'd episode when discussing not having any job skills from skating and starting your "real life" really late. I almost got a head start ahead of some former pros who just didn't figure it out quick enough.
I wouldn't call it post-skating life as much as post-pro life. It's awesome. I have a bunch of industry jobs at the moment so I'm still very inundated by skate life. I work as an outside road rep for Black Box Distribution (since 2006), New Balance Numeric, Hitcase for iphone and a small hiking shoe brand called Ridgemont Outfitters that Stacy Lowery just started. I also am the head judge for a lot of skateboard contests for The Boardr and Skatepark of Tampa. I've been judging Tampa Pro and AM since 2000 as well as the XGames and tons of other events. Doing the contests really keeps me in tune with what's going on out there, just because you're always in the mix with everyone all the time. As soon as you leave that world, you will lose a little touch with skateboarding it seems.
Outside of the skating world I travel a ton for photography. I shoot wildlife photos and have travelled to some amazing places (Peru, Costa Rica, Honduras, Galapagos/Eduador, South Africa) just to find certain species of snakes, birds, frogs or whatever else I can find. I try to co-op skate trips to contests and turn them into adventure trips. We do an event in South Africa each year called the Kimberley Diamond Cup (formerly Maloof Money Cup), each year I plan out some kind of side trip from that to shoot photos. Last year I went looking for a few different cobra species just north of Durban. It was super fun. If you like to get down with wildlife, @rothdigga on Instagram is where I post most of my photos.
I skate about 1-2 times a week. That's about all I can squeeze in with my schedule but it works for me. Comeback is a strong word, but I did edit a part together late last year with some footage I had been collecting - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmyru9cXTuM
Still skating son, I'm down for whatever
First off... I never 'disappeared', anyone who really knows me knows where I'm at. I'm not a fucking magician. That would be a rad trick! Disappear!! "Alakazam!" Politics!! (Never Threw It In!!)
You can't miss something that's NOT gone. Real life? It's all been real!...Then & now! Traveling on someone else's dime (aka "Paid Vacation!") is probably the only thing that's different these days.
I'm almost always on my board! Come back? From where? I haven't gone anywhere.
I'm thinking around 2000-ish??? Acme went out of business and I just wasn't able to find a sponsor - I was deemed to old, lol. I never threw in the towel or quit skating, so I'm guessing that the sponsors threw in the towel, lol
Yeah, it was fun, I enjoyed it... it sucks to have to buy boards, wheels, bearings, grip, shoes etc... It takes a tole on the pocketbook, lol. I still skate and have fun on the ole trick stick, just sometimes I do it with my 2 sons - ages 7 and 10, so post life is nice, I have a great family.
I skate about 2 or 3 times a week, mostly parks out here in Washington. A comeback??? I don't know - It would be super cool, but if it doesn't, I will continue skating and having fun till the legs fall off!!!
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