Dill, AVE, BA, Olson, Gillette, P Rod, and Mikey Taylor? My God man, the entire skate industry is in a whirl! Everybody’s quitting! Is there nothing sacred anymore? All of these companies taking the time to bring up skaters from Ams or from other teams and investing in them and now they leave? 2013 will be the most memorable year in skateboarding history for team changes. Or will it?
Since the age of the sponsored skater arrived there have been team changes. Usually someone kooks it and gets the boot or they finally milk that last drop and it’s the end of the line. Most of the time a skater feels disattached from the company owner/owners. If it is a true skateboard company the actual owner is a former pro, still is pro, or in some cases a “used to skate rock star” type that is always out looking for the latest and greatest. There is always the new kid right around the corner and the company owner needs that fresh blood to keep the company relevant. If you’re lucky you’ll end up with a true pioneer as opposed to a here today gone tomorrow. 9 times out of ten, that pioneer gets his fare share of offers from competitors. A raise here and there might secure him and pay for that loyalty.
Pro skaters reach a point where no matter how legendary the company owner was back in the day, they feel disenchanted. The thought process of after years of their ideas getting shut down is, why can’t I do this myself? Johnny Pressure Flip did it, why can’t I? The irony is how the owner somehow feels betrayed after all he’s done for his rider. We paid him well, sent him around the world a million times, kept him on the team through all of his injuries, and promoted him as the next big thing. How dare he do the same thing I did? Then they play the hurt ex boyfriend card saying they are better off without him. Do as I say not as I do, or did.
2013 has been a weird one. Why did Dill and Van Engelen quit? BA is starting a new company in a pretty rough economy and Austyn is along for the ride. Alex Olson is all over the damn place. Who knows why P Rod quit, he still hasn’t said what’s going on. Now, just today Mikey Taylor announces he left the Workshop. As crazy as everything is now, nothing compares to the ultimate jump ship of all the World/Blind/101/Plan B guys to start up Girl Skateboards. It was unforeseen and totally rocked the industry. Rocco was the owner who started losing touch with his riders and they split. 1993 will always be the year that changed a lot of things in skateboarding. 20 years later Girl is feeling a bit of the same sting. Dyrdek as well with all the guys leaving Alien.
Skateboarding has always been about youth and change. It is the two constants. Skating is so insanely giant now that maybe there is room for all of this. There are more companies now then ever. The one thing that will always be is the consistency of Professional Skateboarders wanting more control, creativity, and in the end money. We still have a little over three more months in 2013 and there will be more “Thanks but, I’m quitting.” announcements to come. It’s nothing new and nothing’s changed except how people change. -ERL