×

How To Give Up The Day Job And Become A Pro Skateboarder

You know what skateboarding is, and it's something you've always wanted to be good at, but you feared being laughed out of the skate park by kids four times younger than you.

That wasn't the case when we met up with massive pro skateboarder-types Keelan Dadd, Nick Tucker and Boo Johnson who came to London's BaySixty6 ahead of the highly anticipated skate documentary We Are Blood premiering next month.

They were also promoting the UK's first Dew Tour Bootcamp, the winner of which gets to compete in the Dew Tour AM Series in Amsterdam in late August.

But ahead of all that, we asked them just how to make it big on four wheels...

KEELAN DADD

I did a lot of skating before I ever stepped foot in a skate park. I was watching people and asking them questions. Probably too many questions. I started skating at 12, so…

It was around the time the first Tony Hawk game came out. I’m excited for the new game too – I saw that on his Instagram and was pretty hyped.

I played every sport when I was younger.  Basketball, football, soccer. I remember my last basketball game, my coach called and said, “Hey, you’re late” and I said, “Er, I’ve been at the skate park today.” Skateboarding really took over.

You’re surrounded by other people who are on your team and family. I was into a lot of sports but having something like that, even though it’s a real individual thing, felt like true blood.

The whole culture of skateboarding is that everybody’s so helpful towards each other. We all want to pick each other up.

Meeting up with Pharmacy got me to that professional level. That's the skate shop I’m sponsored by. They basically showed me the ropes and took me out on the weekends to get footage, approached the reps and then the main sponsors.

Always have fun. The moment you stop having fun is probably gonna be the moment you won’t want to carry on. Know what you’re aiming for.

The first skateboarding video I saw was called Fulfill The Dream.  There's also a great one called Dying To Live. You watch those videos and you know exactly what to do today, and they were made years ago.

My mum and my grandma were my inspiration. They did a lot for me when I was young and my mum raised me alone. They got me all my boards until I started getting them for free.

You really shouldn’t be trying to impress girls by skateboarding. But you could always do a switch flip over her while she’s laid on the ground. That’d be pretty impressive.

Learning to control the skateboard is key. Then you’ll look like you know what you’re doing. It’s like learning to walk. The way I practised was to skate the same street, all the way up and then all the way back down.

NICK TUCKER

Before I started skating, I was just watching my friends on the block. I wondered what they were doing, picked a board up and we all progressed together. That was the beginning of it all. I was 11 or 12 years old.

Paul Rodriguez approached me and I ended up signed on to Primitive Skateboards. I just kept skating and we put in the work with the company. He thought it was time to move me up and the rest is history.

Don't even worry about being a professional. Or sponsorship. Just skate and have fun and the rest will come.

I grew up watching great skating videos. Osiris: The Storm, Chomp On This...

Eric Koston and Paul Rodriguez were my inspiration. I was into Michael Jackson, too. He had some cool moves.

I'd buy a girl lunch and bring it to her on a skateboard. I don't really look to impress girls, but it is what it is.

If you can stay centred on your board and don't fall off, you're good to go. Usually after you've learned to ollie you move on to a kickflip, so that might be the best way to get better.

BOO JOHNSON

My dad got me a skateboard when I was 11. I shared that board with my older brother and my younger brother. Before that, we were all riding bikes or riding scooters but once I found skateboarding, it was a whole new story.

Even when I got my skateboard, I was still on my blades or my bike. Once I was comfortable on the board, it clicked and I knew it was really cool.

I was just skateboarding and hoping for the best. I was seeing what would happen and stuck with it.

I made sure I'd perfected what I was doing on the board. That goes with my style, my sponsors and how they line up and back me.

You've got to be marketable in the skate industry. To become a professional, you've got to have a board company, a shoe company and a clothing company – just so it all looks good.

Don't worry about anything else or being cool, just skate. If you're already doing the right thing it's for a reason and you must be kiling it on the board. Just keep your head on and keep skating.

There are so many skate videos nowadays. The Gold Video, The New Gold Video... I'll be watching that.

Bryan Herman was absolutely my inspiration. My brothers and a bunch of other homies I grew up with all pushed each other when it came to skateboarding so that definitely helped.

I have no idea how to impress a girl with a skateboard. I'd probably roll up on my board like, "What's up?" Pretty much, man.

Dress to impress. Nowadays, especially in California, every kid wants to look like a Sean Malto or Nyjah Huston. You go to a skatepark and some of these kids are super-fresh, looking like professional skateboarders. But then they start skating, and you're like, "Oh, this kid's a kook!"

Cruise the bowl. That's the funnest thing ever and you don't have to be able to do much on a board. Loads of people just go straight to the bowl and the mini-ramp because it doesn't take much and it's really fun.

Check out the trailer for the full film here...

Photos: Chris Johnson