BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT - PART 4
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 decided to stop entering contests, I just accepted that skateboard companies had thrown in the towel on vert, and there was no way to get to the very few, far away contests that remained after 1991 or so. I had a family and a job and had to move on. I didn't 'quit' but after a few years I skated less and less often until I hardly tried anymore... for a while.
I missed it terribly, even though I thought I would never be able to ride vert again like I'd used to, I dreamed of riding. I tried when opportunities came up, but sucked horribly at it. I thought it was the result of age - a loss of balance. I buried my life in work, played video games, and enjoyed my family, and life was OK, but something was missing.
Now I skate a few times every week (that I can, barring injury) and have entered the old timer contests with the guys who inspired me to get back on again. Don't call it a comeback... think of it as... coming home.
Late 2004 I got engaged and started thinking long-term, which was naturally foreign to me as a skateboarder. I started exploring a variety of work, was going to college, and ended up working in real estate, and also started Heel Bruise in 2009. And that’s where I’ve been for almost ten years now. I think my sponsors saw the direction I was leaning towards, so I feel it was mutual. My last Chocolate deck was a Realtor Richie board, as that was the route that I was well on my way towards.
Post pro skateboarding life has been treating me well. I’m fully domesticated, parenting two amazing boys. The one thing I think I miss was the amount of free time you have in skateboarding, which is very hard to find right now. However, I guess this is just the way life works out - so no complaints.
When time allows I’ll skate maybe once or twice a week, mostly parks or with my boys in the driveway. A come back? Not on the horizon and not necessary. Maybe some insta video clips on the @heelbruise Instagram here and there, but that’s all I can really see. I would love to learn backside airs.
I never threw in the towel in skateboarding. I may have thrown it in on the corporate industry of skateboarding. After you get an injury that keeps you from skating they don't give a fuck. People who know me know that I never skated for the check. Basically, I stopped answering the corporate calls when they were trying to renew my contract. I didn't want their money.
I don't miss it, I still skate all the time. I've been skating since I was 5. No point in ever stopping. I still push myself to learn new shit. It hurts a lot more and my body can only take so much. I'm only 29, but I put my body through some harsh shit. Broke and sprained my ankles a 1000 times, cracked ribs, broken and dislocated elbow, and so on, and it was all worth it. Other than skateboarding I'm a real estate agent alongside Richard Mulder, Danny Montoya, and a bunch of other skate homies. I get to work with some of my childhood heros. Couldn't ask for better.
I skate all the time, it's part of who I am. People ask/tell me to comeback all the time... Part dropping soon, however, even though I'm very proud of it, don't call it a comeback. @scottkane @thebrovas @kaserealestate
Honestly, I think bad career decisions helped me throw in the towel. After riding for Powell, I tried to start my own company. During that time I suffered a few injuries that made building the company difficult. By the time I tried to get back to riding for someone else there was a new generation of kids that edged me out. Unfortunately, during that time I felt were some of my best years skating. Short answer, I think skateboarding and I threw in the towel together.
I miss aspects of it, for sure. Traveling and skating with friends around the world, of course you're going to miss that. There wasn't as much money in it back in the day, so I can't say I miss the money.
Post life has had its ups and downs but I have a loving wife and a baby girl that keeps busy these days. Well, my daughter is almost 1, so finding time to skate is pretty tough. Other than transportation maybe once a month lately. I don't think I made enough of an impact for anyone to want a comeback. Thanks, Mike.
In 2002 I told World Industries as well as all my other sponsors that I was going to retire . I was pro for 12 years . That's a long time in the skate world . I owned a business and also work in film, so I no longer needed the money. It was time to free up sum cash for the future riders. It was an easy call .
I don't miss being a pro skater. I now have the opportunity to sponsor dozens of up and coming talent. And now that I am in my 40s I compete in the masters category at Vans events. I did it. I loved it. I still do it, but 100% for the love of the game. Skateboarding was good to me.
Plan for the future, skate but have something to fall back on . Real life gets real quick.
I don't feel like I threw in the towel or decided anything. I grew up with a dream and I lived that dream, and one day I woke up and it was over. I guess everybody is gonna wake up one day, it can't last forever. I don't want to point a finger at anybody. I have no regrets and I have lots of great memories and friends to show for it. Skateboarding made me who I am and I feel pretty good about that
Yes I do miss it, but I still live it everyday when I daydream at some spot I'll find and think about the tricks I would love to do there. It's usually a short day dream since I could only do three tricks and then I realize I couldn't even do one now if I had all day. My life now is great, I have a great wife, a 6 year girl who is my life and reminds me everyday why I was put on this earth. I am in an Americana band called Rust & Whiskey and that's a lot of fun. I have a job bar tending in S.F. and it pays the bills, but it's not as fun as pushing down the street.
Sad to say but not as much as I should. I have a kid, a job and adult responsability which doesn't leave much free time. The only way I could make a comeback is if they sponsored skateboarders for pushing down the street and doing skip Ollies over man holes. Thanks for getting in touch and I hope this clears up any questions about my after life of skateboarding, Nate.
I just knew that I could not do it forever. I will always skate, but just not professionally.
One thing I miss is going on road trips with friends. Life is good.
Skating all the time, just for fun
I decided to throw in the towel probably the moment Tony Heitz (Habitat TM) told me they were letting me go. It was something I had thought of doing for years but never had the balls to pull the plug, then when he called me it was like the push that I needed.
I miss it once in awhile but then I'll take a day off and go skating and I'm quickly reminded of why I was over it. Not having a job and doing absolutely shit all day sounds like a dream to people but really it sucks after doing it for 10 yrs, it's hard to stay motivated. Real life is good, I'm running my own business making furniture, spend the weekends with the family etc, pretty normal lifestyle shit, I love it.
I just actually set up a new board two days ago and I'm pretty excited to ride it. I have seriously skated less then 10 times in the last 9 years but I'm looking forward to having a little free time this summer, but don't hold your breath looking for a comeback.
By the time I was about 22-23, being a pro skateboarder meant getting paid $500 or less a month unless you were part of a select few. I was not. Things just kind of dissolved for me. I was fairly introverted so I didn't really want to go out and look for new sponsors or call people and verify how wack a company I belonged on was. By that time I had just gotten into other shit. Stupid shit. Plus, I suck. Easy call. That being said, there were a few offers there that I probably should have taken. Live and learn. Later, I had a board out on Arcade. We needed names on boards and I came free. I fired myself later after we turned a few guys pro.
It was pretty short lived so I don't feel like I was ever used to it. I spent more time trying to survive after skating started to crater. So, I don't miss that, that's for sure. If it were like it is today, then maybe I would. Fools are making a killing. It's great. Free travel with friends was always a plus. I still cruise around with the Autobahn guys here and there so I can't say I miss that all that much. Traveling with the H-Street guys in the heyday was pretty sick though. International travel as a youth, even without all the skate hubbub, is awesome and I highly recommend it. There is no post skate life. I will always skate. There are times where I don't skate for a week or two; or even a month. But I don't stress about it. Life is too short to give a shit about who people think you are. I feel very lucky to have been involved in skateboarding in such a revolutionary time. Modern skateboarding was invented in this time period, in my opinion. I am glad to have been there to witness the 80s give way to the 90s and beyond. Skateboarding now is at a stage where everything goes. Boneless in a line with a nollie flip crooks? Whatever! It's rad. I'm glad to see steezy, non-spinny vert to be coming back too. Beyond that, I am the brand manager of the Autobahn Wheel Company currently. I do all of the design and marketing. I do a bit of freelancing here and there. I lose money in the stock market swing trading as a hobby. Family, friends, and waking up thankful every day are the things most important to me these days.
I skate when I feel like it. Normally a few times a week down at Stoner Park or the Venice Park. Sometimes I meet up with Cookiehead Jenkins and trog it up. Still fun as shit and I can still learn things here and there which is still exciting for an old bastard. NO CHANCE of a comeback. Forty ain't no joke when you've been slamming for thirty years. That being said, skateboarding is as fun as ever. I'm thankful for everything it has given to me. I probably shouldn't have gotten as far as I did in the first place. There are so many dudes that were way better than me that never made it at all. Overall, I think I was a bigger fan of skateboarding than I was good at it. Still am.
For me the business part was mostly lies and manipulation (especially the Variflex years). I feel like I never threw in the towel, in my eyes skating quit me. Then somehow I had to get insurance for my first few knee operations. I skated quite a bit until the year 2000 when I had a freak collar bone injury. That time I popped a lung and ended up with a Pulminary Embolism.
Yes I miss it!!! For me nothing can replace a good session. My most peaceful moments in life were right after skating a session somewhere, and already thinking about going back. The fun and energy of skating has been irreplaceable for me. Post skating has had its ups and downs. Definitely had some fun jobs and some horrible ones. I spent 20 years with a wonderful girl who went through dialysis (hemo and peritoneal) then a kidney transplant. She's battled through so much; multiple strokes, seizures, peritonitis, but no matter what she digs in and fights. She taught me what life is really worth. Like most Americans I've worked way too hard, for way too many hours to not have anything.
In my teen years I broke my neck and back in a car accident and didn't realize it. With a few more wrecks over the years my back fell apart. For the past 15 years I've had a lot of physical issues. Turns out I've had Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy the whole time. I haven't walked in 6 months and my future doesn't look good.
If a medical miracle does happen - there's nothing I'd like more than to get some runs in!
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