1. Don’t skate. Don’t skate? Yes, all the hard work you laid out to get a sponsor has paid off and now you decide to take a break. All the boards your parents bought you and you broke, all the times one of your friends filmed you, and the hell you put yourself through to get to this point is no time to take a victory lap. This goes double if you’re a flow kid. Flow ain’t shit and never will be. You did something right so keep it up, no time for slacking. You basically caught the quarterbacks attention and he might ask you to prom one day, unless he finds someone hotter. Stay up girl or you’re back to staying at home Googling bulimia.
2. You’re a social media kook. Some company sends you free shit because your shop orders a lot of gear. Now your on the team right? NO. Don’t blow up the social media networks with how suddenly this company is the best. You just said last month that Billy Skateboards was the best. You are a product whore and will jock anyone for free shit. If someone gives you a free board you call them “Fam”. That’s short for family fool, you must have a sorry homelife. “Yo, here’s a some shoe laces kid.” “DAMN, THANKS FAM!!!!!!!”
Now that another company stopped sending you a board through the shop, you’re going to bag on them? You tweet that “you’re better off” or you “have moved on to greener pastures” which is total bullshit. Maybe you talk shit on dudes that are on the actual team because God knows you deserve that spot. Try putting a pic on Instagram of your old board in the trash can, that’ll let everyone know you’re a bitter asshole and to never ever watch your Youtube link.
3. Trading product for something hip. Billy Skateboards sends you 2 boards, three tees, and one set of wheels a month. They are a small company and the owner works a real job to keep his brand going. You are stoked to be getting free product but, your dream is to ride for Hook Ups. Even though you sent them 5 sponsor me packets and they always said “Thanks but, no thanks.” you won’t let the dream die. You trade in Billy Skateboards for some Hook Ups boards because you think somehow this will get you on the team. There is nothing better than seeing a kid who you sent a package to that you paid for with your hard earned dollars not riding any of it. Even better, riding a larger companies boards. To top it off, the kid doesn’t realize Hook Ups doesn’t even have a team. (Nothing personal, Jeremy Kline rules and so does Hook Ups) When you get your walking papers from Billy Skateboards you think the owner is a prick when in fact you are a kook.
4. Bringing your girl everywhere. You get invited on a team trip and your the only guy to bring his lady. Say goodbye to any bonding or guy time with the crew. If you think your better half is stoked to hear about others dudes sexual escapades, jacking off, fart jokes, or fucked up nicknames guys give girls then you got it wrong. Not only will there be weird tension but, are you that insecure that you can’t leave your chick at home? Try filming a trick and between every 5 tries you have to check in with the baggage making sure she’s not too bored. If you are the only one who brings a girl to go skate, you’re weird not everyone else.
Not going on trips to stay at home with a girl is just as bad if not worse. If she is expecting or ill then you get a pass. To duck out on a team trip to anywhere for a chick is lame, real lame. The company has been working with you and bringing you up through the ranks. There are kids that actually want to see you skate. Every girl is the one until she isn’t. You missed out on a trip to Australia because you wanted to play Mr. Cuddles and your sponsor doesn’t see how that fits in to your future with the team. It’s cool though, maybe when she’s blowing your friend you won’t have any regrets. Looks like she’s into skaters!
5. Forgetting your roots. You went from hometown hero to Johnny Big Deal and you seem to have forgotten somethings along the way. Suddenly your shop sponsor, your friend who spent countless days filming you, and your OG crew just got lost in the shuffle of your greatness. Better yet, you bash your hometown because you’ve lived in LA for almost a month.
Everyone likes a humble person and when you are younger it’s a hard trait to come by. If you have an interview lined up, remember the homies, remember the people who helped you out when no one else would, and most of all remember where the fuck you are from. Skateboarding is cut throat and there are so many dudes out there murdering it, you don’t want to head back home with your tail between your legs. Eating your own words is a hard swallow.
6. You get homesick. The reality of being a sponsored skater is that 90% of the action lies in California. The companies, the mags, the filmers, the photographers, and some pretty legendary spots are in California. The East Coast holds it down for their own by all means. The point is you have to make the move to where the action is. You couch surf, eat like shit, and make a serious run for your dream. When times get tough it’s easy to throw in the towel and head back to the comforts of home. Mommy and Daddy live there, all your friends do, that girl that never says no, and you are the hometown hero. Holy shit do people skate good in bigger cities. That talent pool is a lot bigger. Suddenly your crooked grinds on that rail aren’t so hyped when a kid 5 years younger than you just did it switch and kick flipped into it.
There is a comfort level at home that draws you back and then all your footage is from a skatepark or a basic spot no one cares about. The admiration you get from the locals isn’t enough to keep those packages arriving. Trips out to the big city become fewer and fewer then not at all. No worries, you gave it that old Community College try!
7. You’re over it but, not quite. You want to live the dream but, don’t want to be woken up. With all this free time it’s hard to ride a skateboard and keep up with the latest trends. A bicycle is a fun mode of transportation. Your sponsor doesn’t give two shits about all your photos peddling around town with a funny hat. The same can be said of your new found art projects, your motorcycle, alcohol/drug consumption, gun collection, wasted selfies, fantasy football leagues, or anything else you find more gratifying then riding your skateboard. Few people find themselves in an opportunity to get free product because they are good at something. There is a time to step away from being a sponsored guy and just be a skateboarder. In the end it will be more satisfying if you still love it.
8. Talking. You talk too much about yourself. You talk too much about others, as in name drop. You talk shit about anything and everything because you are dissatisfied with your life. To make matters worse, you say “what up” to people or shake the hands of people you talk shit about. Essentially you are a hater and that’s not just a tee shirt slogan, you are a sad person who doesn’t have many friends. The ones that you think are, aren’t. They tolerate you and that’s no way to live. You talk shit on the local shops cause they ain’t feeling you. The sad part is your skills might be up there but, that mouth just don’t stop.
9. Fake Till You Make It. Lie to kids. Tell them you are Pro. Tell them you were sponsored by companies that maybe sent the shop product to give to a team rider. Give that social media illusion that your big time. Leave product like the Pros do. Create you own fan page. Hell, get a pro model from a random company. These are all things to do to live the lifestyle of a Pro. It’s like wearing a fake gold chain. It ain’t real kid. You ain’t real kid. -ERL