When I was around 13 years old, I gave two blank VHS tapes to an older skater in my hometown and asked him to bootleg his skate video collection for me. I had no idea what he meant when he asked if I wanted it padded out with some ‘action’, but I ended up with around 6 hours of 90s skateboarding interspersed with random pornos. This was the basis of my skateboarding/sexual education and I have since been a diligent student. It’s possible that the effect of spending hours flicking between 360flips at pier 7 and naked French ladies has created some kind of deeply subconscious psychological link that has allowed me to enjoy skateboarding on a higher level for so long.
The first three videos on the tape were FTC’s finally, penal code 100A and FTC video III. To an awkward, barely pubescent skate nerd in a living room in rainy small-town Reading, England, skateboarding in the sunshine in San Francisco seemed as distant to me as the possibility of having a team of Brazilian babes at my disposal to fulfill my wildest sexual desires.
Fast-forward another 13 years and I’ve skated across the States, Europe and Asia, seen the spots in all the old videos and end up being affiliated with the same shop whose videos I used to geek over. This got me wondering how it’s possible that a total sack of shit such as myself can be associated with the most influential skate shop on the planet.
These days, the skate industry can be divided into two groups. If you want to be a part of the first, you should already skate on the same level or better than Nyjah and Sheckler, be under the age of 21, live in LA and know the right people. If you don’t meet these criteria then forget it! You are in the other group that includes independent companies and the east coast, European and Asian industries. I don’t know anything about the former group with its energy drink sponsors, stadium style extreme games shows and corporate marketing, but I can offer some do’s and don’ts for getting involved with the latter.
– Meet people.
– Go on trips even if you don’t have money, product any contacts.
– Try and surround yourself with people that are hungry and are down to be productive.
– Have fun.
– Pass up opportunities… If you get a chance to go somewhere or stay at someone’s place for free or skate with new people, don’t miss it.
– Try to be better than anyone else, because you can’t. Everyone is amazing at skating these days and as it’s art form, not a contest you moron.
– Promote yourself too much. It’s ok to post your own parts or photos that you’re proud of on Facebook etc. But maybe once is enough… We don’t need to see constant Instagram selfies.
– Be an asshole. Nobody cares how good you are if you think too much of yourself.
– Take anything for granted. If someone wants to spend the day hunched over in the cold pointing a camera at your ugly face grinding a curb, it’s an honour! If you get something for free, amazing! And if there’s money involved, that’s a miracle.