We all say random stuff when we are young. Normally it’s amongst your friends or family and maybe brought up every couple of years. Then sometimes it’s featured on the World Wide Web and your audience grows by a few million. Recently Austin Gillette said “People want to retire off skateboarding, which is pretty ridiculous.” “Skating ends at 30 or 35, whenever it is and you don’t want to be that jaded old guy that’s trying to stay in it.” “I feel like a lot of people these days are so, they’re really money hungry as far as that goes.” and suggested it wasn’t a bad thing to move on and try something else besides skating. Which it’s not a bad thing to move on if, you are ready and you no longer wish to be a Professional Skateboarder.
This past decade has shown there is enough room for people to skate professionally as long as they desire. Now there is a fair share of image over talent but, legends are made out of deeds not desire. That being said, there are a number of Pros who returned to the spotlight after their career was cut short by the “90s not cool enough” street movement. Mostly vert skaters which is rad. Seeing Chris Miller, Jeff Grosso, Hosoi, and Duane Peters still killing it is great. Most of these guys never stopped skating after the pay check ended. It didn’t start out as a job after all.
When a job turns into a career you usually want to do your very best. Everyone wants a raise and to move up the best they can in the company. A skater wants to be sponsored so he tries his hardest and gets on flow. After more hard work he makes it on the team as an Am. After representing his sponsor for years and busting his ass, he becomes Pro. He is a professional as he receives a salary for doing his job riding a skateboard the best he can. If he stays healthy and doesn’t let the life style pile him out, who’s to say when it’s time to hang it up?
Certain skaters have that drive and fire to keep killing it regardless of age. Kids had their posters on the wall in the early 90s and they have the same guys now, just 20 years later. Reynolds, Koston, Mariano, Hawk, and Danny Way have that. Not only do they have it but, they still are marketable and skaters buy their products. They still go out and skate on the highest level and they earn it. They don’t rely on what they did 10 years ago and “milk it”. We want to see them succeed because they are apart of our past.
Others made such a memorable impact on us we don’t want them to fade away. Matt Hensley is an obvious choice. He had so much to offer and bailed in the height of his fame. Hensley, the Gonz, Cardiel, and Rick Howard are great examples of us wanting more. It doesn’t matter what they do. Certain styles are timeless and we don’t compare them to what the new generation of skaters are doing. No Rick Howard in the Pretty Sweet video was a huge downer. One line with some block tricks and a few flips and that’s enough to put a smile on our faces.
There is no age limit if you’ve reached a certain level in skating. If you paid your dues and you’re still doing your “job”, who’s to say you’re too old. We all started skating for fun and 99% of the older Pros are still loving what they do. Are you “money hungry” if you are still making a living riding a skateboard into your late 30s or early 40s? It sounds more like living the dream to me. If you have been competing for over two decades why not have aspirations of eventual retirement? The new generation didn’t have to deal with the 90s in all it’s “couch surfing, top ramen, Civics were balling, $1000 first place winning, check bouncing, your knee is blow and it’s over” glory. Hats off to the older generation still fulfilling their dreams and to the young bucks carrying the torch. Austyn crushes it and I hope to see him killing it well into his 40s. -ERL