Corporations are affecting small core skater owned businesses for a profit and often won’t mind abandoning ship on these businesses when times get tough. These small skater owned businesses have the connection to the local community of skateboarders. When big corporations are in the local scene of the small skater owned business, they inconsiderately rip off the skate culture for a profit. These corporations use materialistic ideals to persuade skateboarders to skate for their companies. Factors such as money, brand names, and advertisements.
Skateboarding Pro, Ishod Wair, for example first was noticed by former professional skater, Stacey Peralta and was offered a sponsorship for his privately owned company Powell Peralta at the start of his career at the age of 17. His career with Powell Peralta was short lived however, when he was offered an additional sponsorship by the widely known Nike corporation. In an interview with Chris Roberts and Roger Bagley on their podcast, the Nine Club, Ishod Wair states it was the obvious choice to sign with the household name, Nike rather than Stacy Peralta’s privately owned company due to the higher commission he knew he would be making. He went on to explaining how he would be able to support himself with the sponsorship commission from Nike alone rather than having to maintain a part time job in addition to his sponsorship with Powell Peralta. Money aside, Powell Peralta is the more predominant company due to the long legacy and impact it left on the future generations of skateboarders. If Wair would have maintained his sponsorship with Powell Peralta, he would have been just as equally well known as he is currently with Nike, but he would’ve had a more respectable reputation had he stayed with Powell Peralta due to their iconic image since 1978.
Small local skate shops get forced into buying big corporate brand shoes and end up going into debt, because of mass orders of shoes that don’t sell as well with the one popular shoe. An article by Jenkem Magazine, Marc Johnson was interviewed regarding how Nike and Adidas corporations force their shoes to be distributed. Johnson’s view of the subject included that, “Your local shop owes Big Company a lot of money and must continue to sell the popular shoe just to pay their bills, and then they go even deeper into debt because the other Big Company shoes don’t sell at all. No one wants them. But skateshop is forced to carry those shoes too in order to be able to sell the one popular shoe. And now, skateshop doesn’t even have a choice about what they order. Shoes just randomly show up at the shop, and now skateshop owes Big Company money for product they didn’t even order.” In addition, Highsnobiety interviewed Keith Hufnagel, owner of Huf Worldwide footwear, stating the influence of big corporations have on smaller skate brands to be accepted in the mainstream skate footwear. Hufnagel stated, “The more accepted these big corporations become in skateboarding, the harder it is for the smaller, independent brands to compete and maintain a voice, which unfortunately results in the corporations having a large influence on the direction and shape of skateboarding.” The Nine Club podcast also interviewed Marc Johnson in 2017 about Johnsons different point of view on Adidas corporation. He explained that at his age of forty years old and having a family to support, that making the move to the Adidas corporation was a smart move as a father. Moreover, in an updated interview by Highsnobiety in 2017, Hufnagel sold ninety percent of Huf Worldwide to TSI corporation, which also acquired small skate brands of Lakai Limited Footwear brand and Altamont.
Corporate brands such as Mountain Dew, Monster, and Redbull all heavily advertise their team riders. Former Mountain Dew team rider, Boo Johnson heavily smoked cannabis and advertised on his social media. Mountain Dew later cut him from the team for representing their image in a negative way. Monster and Redbull energy drinks are famously known for heavily advertising their logos on their skate teams. When in contest, their riders are expected to display the corporation’s logo in some form, even if that means putting a patch/ sticker of their logo on the sides of their hats, on their skateboards, sweatbands, etc. Redbull advertises their skate team abroad to further the impact of their skate clips. They also promote contest nationally, like Red Bull Hart Lines, X Games, Street League, and Tampa Am. A recent advertisement scandal occurred when nineteen year old Shareef Grady thought he was the first person to ollieWilshire fifteen stairs with poles in front of it. It was later discovered he was not the only one and possibly could have succeeded to run a cover. Professional skateboarder, Clint Walker filmed and shot a photo of the same trick as Grady four months before, but was saving it for the Birdhouse full length skate video. Walker was set to have his photo run in a recent Thrasher as a cover, but Grady uploaded his clip to Instagram before they had the chance to release the cover.
Clearly, skateboarders who allow big corporations to influence and take over small skater owned businesses are sell outs to the community. When local skater owned businesses go corporate they are frowned upon. Advertisements, brand names, and money are the main materialistic deciding factors for skaters when it comes to being signed to a company. True skaters have the integrity to stay loyal to the small skater owned businesses rather than contributing to large corporations who diminish the history of the skateboarding culture. In conclusion, it’s not the skaters nor the collusion of these companies that corporate cares about, it is solely about how much money they earn which contradicts the true reason why we skate.
Boo Johnson Nine Club Interview
Dobija-Nootens, Nic. The Wishire ollie beef: instagram and the future of publishing. July 25, 2016, http://www.jenkemmag.com/home/2016/07/25/the-wilshire-ollie-beef-instagram-and-the-future-of-publishing/
Michna, Ian. The Marc Johnson Interview. July 16, 2013, http://www.jenkemmag.com/home/2013/07/16/the-marc-johnson-interview/
Poythress, Cullen. Bold Steps Forward. Skateboard Footwear Leaders Speak on the Future of a Culture in a Profoundly New Market. March 27, 2014, https://www.highsnobiety.com/2014/03/27/skateboard-footwear-bold-steps-forward/#slide-6
Marc Johnson Nine Club Interview