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Life After a Professional Skateboarding Career

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The life of a professional skateboarder can be as unpredictable and varied as the tricks they perform. For a select few, skateboarding remains a lifelong career. Legends such as Tony Hawk, Eric Koston, Steve Caballero, Paul Rodriguez, and Rodney Mullen have remained at the top of their game for several decades, becoming icons in the world of skateboarding, founding their own brands and securing numerous endorsements. These athletes have become iconic figures in the skateboarding community, continuously pushing the boundaries of the sport and inspiring generations of skaters.

While some skateboarders manage to turn their passion into lifelong careers, others find new and fulfilling paths once their time being a professional skateboarder ends. Here, we explore the different trajectories that professional skateboarders take, highlighting their versatility and adaptability.

  • Staying Within the Skateboarding Industry – A significant number of former professional skateboarders choose to stay within the industry, contributing in various ways. For instance, former Alien Workshop and Flip Skateboards professional skater Arto Saari has become a renowned skateboard photographer, capturing the essence of the sport through his lens. Former Planet Earth professional Kanten Russell, well known for his huge gaps and handrail tricks, is now the Director of Design for New Line Skateparks, shaping the environments where future generations will skate. The legendary former professional skateboarder Chris Pastras co-owns Stereo Skateboards, maintaining a direct influence on skate culture and product design.
  • Becoming Team Managers and Designers – Former Blueprint professional Paul Shier who’s another favorite skateboarder of mine growing up, for example, manages the Adidas Skateboarding team, while Cairo Foster, once a professional skateboarder for Enjoi Skateboards, eventually became a team manager for the team he used to ride for. Former Expedition One professional Alfonzo Rawls and Scott Johnson, who used to be a professional skateboarder for Chocolate, have pursued shoe design, creating products that cater specifically to the needs of skateboarders.
  • Diversifying into New Industries – Some skaters take their talents beyond the skateboarding world, venturing into entirely new fields. Former Alien Workshop and DC Shoes professional Mikey Taylor, for example, now serves as a Thousand Oaks Council Member, demonstrating a commitment to community service. Similarly, Tim Gavin, who skated for Girl Skateboards, and Richard Mulder, formerly of Chocolate Skateboards, became real estate agents. Tim Gavin even created his own real estate company after moving on from his skateboard shoe company DVS. Another former professional skateboarder, Shiloh Greathouse (DECA Skateboards), has pursued a successful career in real estate as well, leveraging his business acumen and public profile.
  • Pursuing Music and Entertainment – The creativity and charisma of skateboarders sometimes lead them into music and entertainment. Former Girl and Plan B professional Jeremy Rogers has embarked on a musical career, while former Alien Workshop, DC Shoes, and Silver Trucks rider Rob Dyrdek became a well-known MTV host. Jason Lee, a former professional rider for Blind Skateboards, transitioned into acting, gaining fame for his roles in “My Name is Earl” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks.”
  • Entering the Food Industry – Some skateboarders even venture into the food industry. A former Thrasher Magazine Skater of the Year, Salman Agah, known for his switch stance tricks in the 90s, owns Pizzanista, a popular pizzeria in Los Angeles, California. It  remains a favorite within the skateboarding community.
  • Preparing for Life After Skating – Many professional skateboarders proactively prepare for life after skating. Justin Eldridge has turned his passion for golf into an entrepreneurial venture, creating golfing accessories. Additionally, Chris Roberts, Jeron Wilson, and Kelly Hart have established their own podcast, The Nine Club, where they discuss skateboarding and interview figures from the industry.

The career trajectories of professional skateboarders after their competitive days are as varied as the tricks they perform. Whether they continue to contribute within the skateboarding industry or venture into entirely new fields, their capacity to adapt and excel is remarkable. This is similar to how skateboarders can try different obstacles in the skatepark. These individuals exemplify how the skills and determination developed through skateboarding can translate into success across diverse professional landscapes, serving as inspirational role models for others.

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