Skateboarding Sell-Outs – “Shadow of the Corporate” & 5 New Indie Brands to Check Out!
by Ruben Najera
Skateboarding is more accepted than ever in this day and age and it as a business in itself is more lucrative than ever! The term “Selling Out” has always been looked down upon but in todays world those two words don’t hold up much as they used to. The same kid at your local park bad mouthing a certain professional skateboarder for taking up an energy drink sponsor probably doesn’t realize the Nike SB’s on his feet are even more corporate than what he’s complaining about.
The truth is these giant brands stepped into skateboarding whether you like them or not and the truth is they are changing the lives and careers of skateboardings elite. Skateboarders now have agents and even though they still don’t make as much money as your household name NBA star they are still making more cash than ever. This is all in thanks to the corporate sponsors that have stepped into our world.
All this has shaken up the industry more than ever before…
1. Geoff Rowley leaving FLIP
2. Guy Mariano leaving Lakai
3. Koston leaving Girl skateboards
For many of us this is old news by now but its still an example of what 2015 held for us. On one hand it’s great for those getting paid for skateboarding because lets be honest what we put our bodies through while riding our piece of wood with wheels without question deserves some sort of financial gain compared to what most people get paid to do for a living. Athletes make millions for kicking a ball with their feet? For hitting a ball with a bat?
I mean seriously what skateboarders do on their boards is a form of magic! For those that disagree and don’t welcome the corporate conglomerates into our community of wood pushers their is a cool trend of “Do it yourself” brands popping up left and right which you can support! In my opinion, I welcome both the corporate and the core brands just as long as they are helping skateboarders make a living and improve the lives of the riders they are supporting as well as giving back to the community in general.
“If a brand has no “skate team,” and is in it only for sales then they DONT belong in skateboarding.”
You should not support them because they could care less about you. The support from the brands needs to be obvious and evident.
“In fact, there is this misleading assumption that skateboard companies make a ton of money.”
We live in a different world today tin this day and age. Take notice next time you watch Street League the entire contest is mainly sponsored by Nike and Monster energy. Your never going to see a deck company as the main event sponsor. There just isn’t any deck brand out there that can financially pull it off to headline the contest. In fact, there is this misleading assumption that skateboard companies make a ton of money. The truth is its probably your favorite pros least paying sponsor. A brand that has to give loads of free boards to all their riders and try to sell boards to shops in a store lined up with 20 other skate brands plus the shops very own shop logo board?
Its a tough battle for skateboard brands to stay afloat in todays world and thus we see the rise of the independent skateboard companies that are sprouting up all around you. Many of your favorite veteran skateboarders have started or are starting up their own brand. Something that they can fully have a stake in and run for years to come under their control. They don’t have to rely on a paycheck when they can pay themselves and they don’t have to worry about getting cut from the team as well as being able to take care of their own teams.
It is all very much in the “Do it yourself” spirit and from the talented and creative minds of fellow skateboarders. Which leads me to this quick in no particular order list of 5 newer brands started up by skateboarders for skateboarders which you can support and feel good knowing your backing a true core brand.
5 newer non-corporate brands started up by skateboarders
1. High School Dropout Skateboards
Owned and operated by professional skateboarder legend Ronnie Creager this brand is simply a breathe of fresh air. Cool graphics and everything in the name of fun plus Ronnie is one of the nicest Pro skaters you will ever meet. Ronnie is like a fine wine he gets better with age I swear he never ceases to amaze me and his brand is the same it gets better and better. Also support his other brand Etcetera insoles and your feet will thank you later! Promise. Ronnie is the best!
2. Six Starz Skateboards
An amazing East Coast skateboard brand started by skateboarder Chad White. A true skateboard deck company for skateboarders by skateboarders. In my opinion the most positive brand I have ever come across they support so many skateboarders throughout the world. 10 percent of all sales of the brands product goes to charity and this is a continuous thing that they have going always and forever. That is so uplifting and positive! This in itself would make me support this brand. So many people in the world give us skateboarders a bad rap but its brands like this that those judgmental people need to take notice of and see that we can do amazing things as skateboarders for the community and as individuals. Six Starz is a positive company with a positive message that deserves your support!
3. Yezzur Skateboards
Started and run by smooth style pro skateboarder Ramiro “Furby” Salcedo.This brand is an example of “Do it yourself” and deserves support. Mad respect to Furby for making things happen and taking action to get something going of his own. Check them out at
4. Wraybros Skateboards
Jeremy Wray is a legend! I feel so disappointed when he comes up in a conversation and a kid doesn’t know who he is. It absolutely baffles me and lights a fire within of complete utter desperation to plug one of Jeremys many historical video parts into that kids brain. I really feel like the industry left Jeremy hanging. Did you know Jeremy Wray has never won Skater of the Year? Seriously how did he never win this? Your a winner to me Jeremy without question! He started his own board brand alongside his brother Jonas and they have Pat Channita on the team as well. Awesome!
This ones for all my international skaters out there! I just had to add Cleaver Skateboards to this list. One of my favorite “go big” skateboarders has always been Diego Bucchieri. This man attacked gaps and stair sets like a beast. After his leave from Toy Machine he actually went back to his home country and started his own deck brand called Cleaver Skateboards. His nickname was always “the butcher” so his brand name being Cleaver is a cool homage to that. The logo is pretty awesome and Diego still gets down and is shredding harder than ever.
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