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I wanted to get some reaction from the skateboard industry to Rob Dyrdek’s announcement that he is starting a new skateboarding competition, Street League Skateboarding, which appears aimed at taking on the X Games.
The contest will offer $1 million in prize money, a new, real-time scoring system and a three-stop tour this summer.
Twenty-four skateboarders have signed on, including Chris Cole, Ryan Sheckler, Paul Rodriguez and Greg Lutzka.
I asked three skateboard industry veterans what this will mean for skateboarding and how the Street League is different from other contests out there.
“Rob is about to turn up the volume of making contest more cool which should draw more crowds to watch and make contests a more meaningful experience for up-and-coming skateboarders.
“The key ingredients are there for this to be successful - raw skate talent, courses simulating the real world of urban skating, of course money, and most importantly, the passion for the progression of skateboarding.
“It may also serve as a platform and positive testimonial for municipalities across America and the world that there are more ways to build interesting, yet safe places for skaters to ride.”
“This contest differs in the fact that until now, there has never been a contest in skateboarding that is run by professional street skaters.
“You can only participate in a contest run by non-skateboarders for so long. Non-skateboarders who have built themselves into a brand, make cheap skateboards and clothes and shoes that undercut us and our sponsors, as well as slap young skaters in the face, give nothing in return, offer garbage for prize money for the top people on the planet and use us to build an action sports circus that we never wanted to be a part of or identify with in the first place and then vomit it out into the world as if they were the authority.
“There has been a massive imbalance because they just don't understand skateboarding nor do they really care. Unfortunately, top pros have participated in the past in hopes that the experience would improve, but it never did. If it had, it would never have been so easy for them to agree to simply stop being a part of it.
“It was inevitable there was going to be a shift. The Street League is that shift.
“If other contests looked at themselves and the skaters involved as the Apple of skateboard contests instead of the Wal-Mart, the Street League may have never been born. But they didn't, so here we are.”
“Sole Technology has put on the some of the best contests in the skate world such as etnies GvR, etnies European Championships and the éS game of SKATE.
“These events have always been a big way for us to bring the skate community together, have a good time, and let the riders put some extra cash in their pockets.
“It’s been great seeing the evolution of skateboard contests evolve over the years – 30 years ago we’d all be competing for a plastic trophy and a pat on the back. Today our current generation of top skaters are looking at million dollar prizes.
“Street League is a definite evolution for skate contests boiling things down to quality over quantity and giving everyone something to be excited about. I always love it when skateboarders are more involved with shaping the future of skateboarding. Rob’s a great guy with a lot of passion for skateboarding and our industry needs more skateboarders taking the reins.
“The only thing I’m a little pissed off with Rob about is that I didn’t get the phone call for me to be one of the 24 riders in the event. After I heard about $1 million prize I dusted off the ‘ole freestyle board and started practicing hard!
“I just hope that when I win I still get the pat on the back like 30 year ago. Money is cool, but having fun is the number one reward for skateboarding.”