Skateboarding as a Female through Instagram. The @lilnicegirl Interview

Skating has primarily been a male dominated activity.  When I started skating, I can only  remember a handful of female skaters, and they never really seemed to be able to do much more than barely push or maybe do an Ollie standing still half an inch high. 

As skating becomes more mainstream, with the X-games and other large competitions featuring separate womens divisions, it is becoming more common to see females participating in skateboarding.  There are even a handful of female only brands out now as well, which wouldn’t have been able to survive years ago. 

On top of all the commercial skating, there are also some females who skate street and just do it for personal enjoyment. One of our favorites is Emily, aka @lilnicegirl.  Some of you may know her from the Dime Glory Challenge, where she gets tossed out of a sumo style, last man standing type of contest.

We caught up with Emily while she was driving home from a family gathering in Michigan….


SMDM: So, how did you get started with skating? It’s not something that is really marketed towards females….

@lilnicegirl:I grew up snowboarding, so I had a lot of friends that also skateboarded.  I always thought skateboarding seemed really fun, so I asked some of my friends to teach me how to skate.

SMDM:I’m assuming your from Michigan? Were you the only girl skating there?

@lilnicegirl: No, im not from Michigan, i was just visiting my Grandmother.  I’m from upstate New York.  No girls skated there. I started skating a few years ago when I lived in Salt Lake City.  A bunch of girls skated there, so that helped me get into it.

SMDM:Do the guys ever vibe you while you’re out skating?

@lilnicegirl: No way! Skaters are friendly! LOL

SMDM:I can only imagine. Have you had any bad hazing experiences?

@lilnicegirl:Haha, no! Have you?

SMDM: I used to get thrown into pricker bushes in highschool for skating, but that was in 1993.  You have it easier now.  Skating is accepted.

@lilnicegirl:It’s way more accepted now. Everyone wants to be a skater!

SMDM: Do you only buy “Meow” skateboards?

@lilnicegirl:No, but should I?  Is that your favorite brand?

SMDM:It’s the only “all female” brand i know of…anyway, what started all the Instagram selfie videos?

@lilnicegirl:I joined instagram around the time the video feature came out.  I also got into skating at that time, and got my first Iphone.  That was an exciting time for me!  My friend filmed a few things of me one day and I was home playing with my new phone and decided to make a little edit with a girly pop song that fit my style.  I had fun making it and decided to make more.

SMDM:And people started watching?

@lilnicegirl:  I remember I would always send them to my dad when I was finished with them.  My skating wasn’t so good, but I was more proud to show him the funny, entertaining video I created!

SMDM:What does your father think about this?  I’m the father of 2 girls myself.  I know I wouldn’t be super excited if  my daughters were wearing hooters shorts around a bunch of dirty skateboarders….

@lilnicegirl:Hooters shorts! You mean my little pink ones? Those are a new thing.  I guess your right.  I don’t think I was wearing those in the videos I sent him.

SMDM:Thank god.  You don’t want to give the poor guy a heart attack.  Speaking of the shorts, how did Antuan Dixon end up wearing them?

@lilnicegirl:They were on a pile of clothes I had laying around, and he wanted to see how he looked in them!  Who do you think looked better?



SMDM:Definately Antuan.  I have a thing for tattoos so I’m biased….So how did the Dime Glory Challenge invite come up?  They always seem to have a random assortment of characters at their events.

@lilnicegirl:Haha! I don’t know, they are all about having FUN and I guess they saw that I liked to have FUN and figured we would all get along well and have a fun time, and we did!

SMDM:Did they pay for your ticket to get out there?

@lilnicegirl: Yeah!

SMDM:Amazing.  So for the kids out there, Instagram pays off.  Has anyone offered you any sponsorships off of Instagram?

@lilnicegirl: Yes.  @vintagesponsor !!!!

SMDM:Oh, the 90’s cosplay guy? So you have a sponsor who gives you someone elses old used clothes?  I think with the number of followers you have, you could at least get an unused shirt from someone.

@lilnicegirl: I guess Instagram has allowed me to meet new friends, and some people who have been kind enough to give me a few things here and there.  I have got some unused tees, but mostly from non skate brands.

SMDM:The first time I saw a video of you was when you attempted to hippie jump and slammed.  Would you say that video going viral set you off to your life of Instagram fame?

@lilnicegirl:Yeah, that was a couple of summers ago.  I got a lot of weird followers from that because it was on “Hall of Meat”.  I deleted my Instagram account after that.  I made a new one a little over a year ago, and I get less messages from teenage boys now….

SMDM:Oh god, kids are the worst.  We also get lots of messages from teenage boys, but they just ask us for free stuff, and then wonder why they arent getting anything free…

@lilnicegirl: So, you kind of know how a girl feels, when a boy tells a girl that she rocks, and then asks for “stuff”, and when you tell them they arent getting any, they get mad.  It’s the same thing.

SMDM:Great analogy. I think… So, with all due respect, do you think its easier for girls to acquire sponsorships in this day and age with social media?  You skate for fun it seems, but some girls probably get into it for different reasons.

@lilnicegirl:Yeah, that’s definately whats happening.  It’s way easier to get sponsorships now because of the internet, but whatever.  As long as they are enjoying what they’re  doing.  I feel like watching skating on Instagram is getting way less interesting because everyone is starting to look the same and post the same style videos.  The good ones still still stand out though….


SMDM:It seems everyone follows a similar formula.  Wacky gear, 80’s music  or awful rap music, and lots of body varials.   So while your out at the park making these edits, do you ever notice some of the guys trying to show off and backflip the pyramind in hopes that you would fall in love with them?

@lilnicegirl:No, I usually try to go to the park alone.  I’m very shy if I don’t know you! If it’s busy I just try and skate around fast, so I wouldn’t even notice if I was being hit on….

SMDM:That makes sense, although i wouldn’t guess you were shy from some of your Instagram posts.  So, for the record, you don’t skate for a career, but Instagram has helped get you a few trips?

@lilnicegirl:Yes, correct!  It’s just a lot of fun for me! Lately I’m lucky to get to skate once a week but hopefully I can skate soon!

SMDM:I feel that. The mundane tasks of everyday life always get in the way of the best thing there is.  So you work part time and go to highschool? It must be hard to juggle both. 

@lilnicegirl: I wish I was still in high school.  I was going to college.  I’m a college dropout but will return soon, hopefully this fall.

SMDM:Oh, I thought you were 18 tops.  Do y ou get sent lots of DM’s with dudes telling you they are in love, and why you should date them? Similar to how a skateboard brand may bet a sponsor me DM?

@lilnicegirl:No.  I used to, but none lately.  Maybe I’m ugly now….

SMDM:You’re a celebrity, and Antuan wore your hot pants.  Guys are probably just scared he will beat them up. Speaking of which, how did you end up with him that one fateful night?

@lilnicegirl:I met up with my friend from LA at a party and he was with a bunch of California people.  We all just ended up there to drink.  We stayed up all night talking, and I learned a lot about him.

SMDM:Any good stories about boys professing their love for you?

@lilnicegirl:No, but one time a boy sent me a DM dick pic!  That was the closest anyone has come to professing their love to me.

SMDM: It wasn’t me, I swear…So do you prefer to date skaters or normal dudes? Brian Anderson said he was never attracted to skaters in his recent “coming out” interview.

@lilnicegirl:I don’t “prefer” to date skaters.  I have dated two skaters in the past and it didn’t work out too well.  I don’t really date much so I’m not sure what my type is.

SMDM:Gotcha.  What do normal dudes think when they find out you skate?

@lilnicegirl:I don’t know, i’ve never really been in that situation.  I’ve only been skating for a few years and I haven’t really dated that much.  If it did come up, they would probably be excited and tell me they longboard! Ha, I like how you called a non skater “normal”.

SMDM:Would you ever date a scooter kid?

@lilnicegirl: I’m too old to date a scooter kid. How young do you think I am?

SMDM:It wasn’t a question directed towards pedophelia. Let’s call it a “scooter MAN”.

@lilnicegirl:Good.  Well, if my soulmate was a scooter man, which I hope he wouldn’t be, I would accept it.

SMDM:Cool. It’s good to not be judgmental.  I guess that’s why they call you “lil nice girl”.

@lilnicegirl: I don’t know, I think I just thought it cute.  And I AM nice! although people have messaged me before, specifically to let me know i am NOT nice.

SMDM:Thanks.  Oh, last question.  What’s the deal with the stuffed animal?

@lilnicegirl: Thats “Pupy”. I’ve had him for 17 years and I love him.  That’s my best friend.


Check out Emily’s sponsor @vintagesponsor, for all of your 90’s cosplay needs.

The TM perspective, an interview with Joeface, a.k.a. Joe Monteleone.

Who is actually looking at these sponsor me videos? Kids send them in non stop, but who is judging what the send in?  I know from my perspective, its usually mediocre at best of kids filming themselves at park with no knowledge of the brand it is sent to.  Some brands pay people to watch these in hopes of the next big thing.

I introduce you to a man known as “Joeface”, the TM for the Dickies skate program.  Now, Dickies insn’t your average core brand, they are huge throughout the workforce industry, and have been worn by skaters for over a decade.  Let’s see what he has to say about the “sponsor Me” kids….



SMDM:OK, lets start off with the basics… who are you and what do you do?

Joeface: My name is Joe Monteleone, and I am the team manager for Dickies Skateboarding. I do more than just team management, but that’s the title people care about most.

SMDM:Define “Team Management”?

Joe face:Well, for me it meant building on the current team when I got the job, looking for new riders, providing product for the team, looking for “new talent”.  Filming them for projects, organizing the team together for special events.  Organizing photographers to shoot ads, booking flights, organizing social media content, etc….Then I have a lot of responsibilies passed to team management and have a lot of responsibility in helping develop the team branding.  I also have to handle the international level as well….

SMDM:You handle social media as well?

Joe face:Yes, i run the social media for @dickiesskate.

SMDM:Is every day a new adventure with that?

Joeface:I mean, it’s challenging.  Social media is weird because people need something new every day.  I can’t be everywhere, so a lot of it is reposting and research.

SMDM: You mean you haven’t figured out how to teleport yet? 

Joeface:No, not yet. Hopefully sometime this year…for now i have to rely on the guys sending me stuff, or save stuff that i have filmed.  Ive done a lot of research on growing social media, and it’s insane how much people are “supposed” to post.  From podcasts I’ve listened to its 4-6 times a day.

SMDM: I’ve heard that 4-6 times a day thing….Its like corrupting minds. It’s like aiding their little brains for this social media generation.

Joeface:That’s considered “ideal”  I try to do one or two.  It’s defnately a job, that and answering kids Dm’s and scouring the web.Haha

SMDM:Jesus, so on top of doing all this work, you have to deal with the “DM kids”.  How many sponsor me DM messages do you get a week?

Joeface: Yeah, I get a bunch.  I kind of started to run how i would hook kids up a little differently, more of how it used to be.  Someone showing me soneone, or hearing about someone, or finding them myself.  It’s hard to answer all of the “Sponsor Me” messages because these kids don’t see the big picture.  They’re like “oh i have followers”, ” I can do a few tricks, some of the trendy Ones!”, which is usually a body varial trick followed immediately by a half cab or 180 trick.  The thing is, you don’t want to discourage kids from skating, or trying to get better, but sometimes these kids are clueless.

SMDM:It’s as if they don’t understand they are asking for stuff, especially in the case of Dickies, thats the people on the team are “of a high level, like Jart”. Sorry, SMDM inside joke….

Joeface:Sometimes these kids are delusional, and think they are on par with Jake (Johnson) or Vincent (Alvarez), and it’s just not the case.

SMDM:Sometimes i feel these kids live in a bubble…

Joeface:When I was 16, it took me one day of skating with Brian Clarke to realize i was never going to be able to make it in skating.  He was 14 and doing fakie shuvit to fake  5-0 pop out on a ledge.  Kids can grow into incredible skateboarders, but most of the DM’s I get, I don’t see any potential.

SMDM:Yeah, and you don’t want to be the one to lose the next big thing….

Joeface:I don’t want to be the one to send them a message telling them “You aren’t good”.  I don’t like to sugarcoat, so that is how it would come out.

SMDM:So back to the 4-6 instagram posts a day…How does that work? I know coming up with 1 post a day is difficult at times.  You also have a larger budget to work with than i do.

Joeface:4-6 is just because kids are always on their phones.  They need it.  For me, I have a job to do, so i have to handle that to some extent, but i don’t think its healthy to drown kids with content.  Nothing is special to them anymore. None of these kids re watch videos like we used to, its almost as if its “white noise” now.

SMDM:The have short attention spans, thanks to the 4-6 posts a day they see.  Why re -watch a video? A new one will be out tomorrow.  Times have changed, it’s a “NOW” generation.

Joeface: Yeah, it’s sad for me.  I don’t think kids view skating the way the older generation grew up watching it.  4-5 years were put into making a video, and it would change your outlook on skating until the next one came out.

SMDM:I remember when 20 Shot Sequence came out, and Trilogy was a few years later.  Those were like the bible.  They were so important to my friends and myself. They had meaning.  Now its just web parts, with no continuity.

Joeface: There are 4 new video parts a day that come out on all the major mags alone.  I hardly ever watch them, unless it’s someone I know.

SMDM:So do you watch every DM?

Joeface:I’ll check their instagram, if there is a clip and they seem like they might be good, ill answer. If they don’t seem good, ill ghost.

SMDM:Any kids ever get your personal email?

Joe face:Yes, and they send footage that I don’t want to see.  That one trips me out.

SMDM:Do you have people coming out of the woodwork, who knew you before you had your job that hit you up for free stuff(Not including me, since i would never do that…)?

Joeface: Haha, yeah almost everyone. People love Dickies, and they know they can hit me up. I’d rather people wear them than not, especially if its a bigger name pro. My pro flow list is pretty insane. I won’t blow em up because some of them ride for other companies, but they love the pants.  I’ll never say no.  The people who call me that are “friends of a friend”, trips me out.  The 14 year old me would have been fanning out!

SMDM:So, basically you don’t need any kids to sponsor, you have pros sending you requests.  Have you ever denied a pro? Like, has the revive team hit you up for pants?

Joeface:I have pros/ams hitting me up weekly to get on the team, and lots of them would make sense, but budgets are budgets.  I won’t deny people, but i will definitely fuck with people, thats my personality.  I had a pro once ask me how to get on the flow list.  I told him I needed a sponsor me tape, and an essay of sorts where he would describe how he would support the brand.

SMDM:Did he follow through?

Joeface:Nah, i told him i was kidding after a few sentences.  I’ve done that a few times.  And no, the Revive team hasn’t hit me up.  Those guys blow my mind.  The youtube world blows my mind….

SMDM:Mine as well.  I don’t know how they sleep at night.  So, back to the sponsor me DM’s, have you ever sponsored a kid from one?

Joeface:For sure, I’ve hooked up a few people from the DM.  With that said, it’s like a needle in a haystack.  There’s a few dudes who hit me up through DM that are amazing.  Michael Pulizzi is a good example, I’m pretty sure he sent me a DM. He is one of my favorite people to watch. He is insane.

SMDM:Never heard of him.  You probably need to jump up to the 6 posts a day, since i missed that one. The DM makes sense, i just think most kids abuse them.

Joe face:Kids just go fishing. They try and see if anything sticks.  This one kid, and he is really good, sent me a DM.  I hit him back when i saw it and he said, “Oh, RVCA put me on”, but he was getting Altamonte before that. The kid is too young, no loyalty.

SMDM:Guess you slept.  Have to strike while the iron is hot. RVCA is awful btw…kid deserves it.

Joe face:There is no more mailing a tape an waiting a week or two. The DM gets sent and its instant. Just link a youtube edit to every company in the industry, and if there is a buzz, someone is going to watch.

SMDM:No loyalty. It’s just whats free.  And the kids don’t even have to have talent to think this way. Do they ever offer to do unboxing videos for you?

Joeface:Ha, no.  Nobody has ever hit me up to do one of those. Kids love that shit, which is insane.  I’m watching a documentary show right now on these social media kids. They don’t do anything, but they are famous.  The new generation of kids baffles me, seriously!

SMDM:I always use Revive as an example.  Aside from laughing at it, I don’t get why anyone wants to watch it.  If that was my outlet for skating when i was younger, I would have quit.

Joeface:Revive is an anomaly.  They have their own industry within an industry, which most people in the industry have no idea about. And they succeed, and leave the rest of us wondering “How?”.

SMDM:I think its because the new generation is so lost, they are all on the same level.  

Joe face:It’s not for me, but kids somewhere love it, and gravitate towards it, and skate because of it. It’s so weird. There are kids who skate and love skating, but are a youtube generation and watch revive videos, but may not ever know who Andrew Reynolds is.

SMDM:Yes, because Andrew Reynolds doesn’t wear size medium red shirts.  It’s insane that guy can prosper but you have real pro skaters who have paid dues and struggle to make ends meet. 


SMDM:So, can I get a box?

Joe face:You know the criteria. Hit my DM up with a youtube link and an essay…..

Joe and Antonio, live from Kostons garage.



Check out the 1-2 posts a day Joe makes on Instagram @Dickiesskate

INSTAfamous…an interview with John Benton.

Social media is this generations most popular way of trying to get sponsored.  I feel it is due to the accessibility one has to any brand whose instagram handle they can find.  Search some hashtags, find some brands, and send your messages…easy as pie.  Now, there is also another way to go about this.  It seems lots of kids film themselves on their accounts, slow mo some hot trick (usually involving a body varial), use some 80’s style music, and pray on going “viral”.  

John Benton is one of those kids who has happened to go “viral”.  Some of his self filmed instagram edits have as many as 43,000 views.  Even more interesting is that he is getting that many views not from skating a 20 stair rail, but from holding on to a bar and sliding under it.  He is  also a flow rider for “The Friend Ship”, which he constantly promotes on this instagram. 

SMDM:Okay John, where did you get the idea to make these instagram edits?John:Ummm, well, when Instagram first started letting you shoot video, i lived far from my friends.  I had a shitty truck and i couldn’t drive very far.  I would make videos to show my friends the cool spots i found.

SMDM:Did filming yourself take practice? Seems kind of difficult…..

John:Haha, nah.  I don’t think it takes practice, you just lean your phone on the nearest rock or random piece of trash, and there you go!  We’ve all seen skate videos, so we know how it goes.

SMDM:Has anyone tried to jack your phone while you were playing Ty Evans?

John:Dude, so many people have picked up my phone!  One time this dude picked it up and started walking away, like ignoring what i was saying, and i caught up to him and asked him “YO,didn’t you hear what i was saying?” and he said “Oh, i was gonna give it to the police so they can return it.” This dude had a skateboard too…what the hell…

SMDM:People are scumbags. Off topic, i heard you started skating late in the game, is that true?

John:Uhhh, yeah.  I guess so. I was 15 when i started.  Probably why i still suck.

SMDM:You don’t suck, your sponsored! 

John:It doesn’t make you good because you get free stuff.

SMDM:True.  How did you get “Sponced”?

John:I did the classic “Send your footy to your favorite company” thing.  My friends were getting hooked up and they peer pressured me into sending my footage out.  Tim at friendship said he couldn’t hook me up at the time, but said maybe in the future.  One year later he messaged me back, asking if i still wanted to be a part of The Friend Ship, and I said, “yeah, duh”.

SMDM:Wow, so the video and some persistence actually paid off.  Impressive.

John:I don’t think anyone would have hooked me up and supported me besides Tim.  I always loved his and Eric’s video parts and i feel like he gets my stupid skating.

SMDM:Do you have a youtube channel like Chadd and Schrock?  Or is it only instagram for you?

John:I have had a youtube channel before I had an instagram, but i didn’t do unboxing videos or make people watch me waste my life at starbucks, or anything lame like that.  It was just dumb skate montages with my buds that i would make for myself to remember the good times!

SMDM:I guess instagram is the way to go.  More access to people and less uploading than Youtube.  So my next question is, are you flow for The Friend Ship?


SMDM:Most of the kids sending sponsor messages ask to be “Flow”.  I want to get a better grasp for those out there, of what being “Flow” actually means.

John: The Friend Ship is awesome and just lets me do my thing.  They support me.  I know I’m never going to go any further in skating, than I am now.

SMDM:You do seem to advertise the brand well, and fit their image.  Both important things involved with riding for a company, especially a smaller one.  I don’t think kids get that part either.  I think they just expect free and that’s it.

John:Im lucky to get anything free, and I’m thankful.  I tag them in pics because they ask me to when possible, and why wouldn’t I want to give back after all the support they give me? I feel like a little kid living out my dream!

SMDM:I think you do the right thing from a brand’s standpoint.  That’s what they want, promotion. Have you had any offers you turned down? 

John:Nah, i never really sent out mass sponsor me tapes like that.  I think thats goofy…

SMDM:Speaking of goofy….  The “90’s rave/cosplay” look seems to be back and in full effect.  What inspires your gear? Do you think your outfits helped you get hooked up?

John:I don’t think i dress like a 90’s raver, haha, but I like dickies and jeans and cool looking shirts.  I don’t know if it helped anything.

SMDM:Are you sure you you didn’t get some sort of inspiration from the old A-1 meats video?

John:People have been telling me that lately.

SMDM:So nobody else has offered you anything? you have 12k followers. Surely someone has seen that as a good platform to promote their bong stickers or shoelace brand….

John:Nope, nobody has offered.  I’m fine with that, this is all for the love, baby!  Luckily I’m on the bus going to work, and i have time to look at my phone right now….

SMDM:So you work! You don’t get paid to skate? I’m sure these kids think flow is like a retirement plan…..

John:LOL! NO!  I have 2 part time jobs and I can only skate on Friday and Saturday.  Those are my only days off.

SMDM:So, for the record, “Flow” isn’t all fun and games?

John:Shit, if i got $5 from skating i would be hyped!

SMDM:Me and you both.

John:To get paid for something you love, I would take anything!

SMDM:So, when you go to a park, do the local park kids look at you funny because you have pink grip and do body varials, while they switch crooked grind the 20 step park rail?

John:Ha,I’m not sure…maybe they do.

SMDM:I mean, these kids risk life and limb all day at the park chucking themselves down a triple set,and won’t ever get a free sticker.  You duck under a bar and do a no comply and you get free product.  Do you ever encounter any jealousy?

John:I don’t skate park much.  If i do it’s usually just with some friends.  Im the jealous one. I wish I could double 360 flip down a triple set!  Ollies down stuff are fun but anything more takes me too long and isn’t fun.

SMDM:Do you know this dude?image1

John:LOL, no.  He seem’s like a good dude except he vapes and skates.

SMDM:Ok, so its a given with your sponsor that you don’t get asked to throw yourself down stuff.  Have they mentioned to you an increase in sponsor me vids coming in since you portray a less dangerous form of skating?  Kids probably think they can do the same things you do, except will film it in a parking lot with no shirt on….

John:Nah, not that i know of.

SMDM:Im just asking because kids think seeing skating that isn’t stairs as easier to do and think they can get sponsored for it.  They don’t get the aesthetic of what goes along with it, they just think a wallie at a park and a no comply will get them sponsored.

John:I think they are cool with me skating however i want. If i want to kick flip a ten they would be okay with that, just as well as they would be with me kick flipping on a basketball.

SMDM:You know I’m gonna have to ask you do kickflip on a basketball now, right?

John:Fuck, Ok, I’ll try!

SMDM:I hope you do, I’m gonna call you out if you don’t.  Doesn’t your brother skate?

John:MY little brother grinds 20 stair rails, and he has never sent a sponsor me tape out. He lives in Tennessee.

SMDM:Maybe Coleman can get him a kombucha sponsor.

John:Kombucha is nasty, i wouldn’t take that stuff for free even if they wanted to give it to me.

SMDM:It’s a probiotic.  Usually, if its not easy to take, its not good for you, my life lesson to you. Kombucha is the essence of life, candy gives you diabetes. Another life lesson.

John:New year, new me. No more candy and soda.

SMDM:Good choice.  Moderation is the key.  Off topic, but do you have health insurance?

John:Nah, no health care.  I work two part time jobs.  I moved to Seattle to get full time at one of them and hopefully I get it soon, then i can get someone to squeeze my balls for cheap.

SMDM:So your into prositiution? Im guessing flow doesn’t help with the ladies?

John:Haha, no prostitution isn’t cool, and i have a girlfriend.

SMDM:Bummer, this almost got interesting.  Does your girlfriend tell you to grow up and stop skating, or is she supportive?

John:She tells me to grow up sometimes, an sometimes she is cool.  Depends on the day.Fuck, I’m only flow, ya know?

SMDM:How did you get so many followers? Farming? Unfollowing/following? I know people who do that.  It’s wack.

John:Dude, I have no clue. It just started happening.There are so many people better than me that I would rather watch. Like Todd Falcon.

SMDM:Does your battery die faster since you have all those like coming in?

John:Frick yeah it does! I just turned off the notifications, so now it should last a little longer.

SMDM:OK, last one.  So how does it feel riding for a small brand, and i mean a real small brand, not like Numbers….?

John:I think it’s cool to support cool small brands. Now, I don’t know anything about numbers, and if its ran out of a garage but….

SMDM:Koston’s garage, not a normal garage.  It probably has climate control and a butler….

John:If it’s Koston’s garage, its probably bigger than my apartment or it’s a garage they got just for that. Bieble’s park is technically a garage i guess, because it has doors….And I’m sure Nike is backing it, they are in it for the “numbers”.

SMDM:Oh, so its a play on words. I get it.  I was telling my buddy Vegan John that the only number kids care about is 420, and they should make 420 socks.

John:Maybe, who the fuck knows.

SMDM:Thanks Jim.

John: That’s not my name.

SMDM:It’s a joke.  Karl Watson called my friend Tim “Tom” for a whole day once.

John:Thats tight. Karl rules.Oh, I have a berrics video coming out.

SMDM:Damn, the Berrics.  How did that come up?

John:Tim, who owns Friend Ship, works at the that’s the hook up.

SMDM:So you have starred on the Berrics. That explains the follower count…

Check out THE FRIEND SHIP SKATEBOARDS, John’s #1 supporter! Also follow join on instagram @fustoop. Maybe at 25k he can be a full on AM!


The Brands Point of View…. An Interview with John Vitale, Owner of The Killing Floor Skateboards.

Being a “small brand” (and we mean a real small brand, not Numbers or FA…)  is a lot of work, with little to no financial reward.  On top of all the things one must do, there is the ever popular “Sponsor Me” message that is usually sent via direct message on instagram. While at first they may be amusing and even flattering, they quickly become more of a nuisance than anything.

We introduce to you the owner of a small brand…….


SMDM:Okay, so whats your name, and what do you do…

Vegan John: My name is John Vitale.  I own The Killing Floor.  I “do” a lot of things but thats probably the one you assumed to hear as your questions answer.  I’ve had the brand for about 6 years.  Before that I used to own a skateshop for many years. I worked in a shop before that, so I’ve been in the skate industry for as long as I can remember.

SMDM:Did you get more sponsor me videos as a shop owner or brand owner?  I know times have changed since you owned a shop, but I figure kids would harass a shop as well….

Vegan John: Nah, I mean honestly I definitely had some kids try to push themselves on me.  Sometimes it was a little awkward.  Kids want to get hooked up.  It feels cool, butI guess the main difference is back then(2002-2008) , the kids at that time were actually good at skating.  They may have been total fruitcakes, but at some stripped down level, were actually reasonably working for the opportunity, if that makes sense.

SMDM:Yes, I get that.  The kids now that send the DM’s are usually terrible.

Vegan John: I still get sponsor me emails here and there that are kids who actually have skill, but the new “sponsor me” thing has taken on a new meaning overall.  Most kids that know what’s up that rip, are more selective and cautious about their approach if they are proactively looking to get connected with a brand. Most of what happens nowadays is just all of this whole new generation that has skipped over or milled yesterday’s era altogether.

SMDM: So basically, times have changed and the kids have as well?

Vegan John: I think everything has changed so rapidly socially and in how we communicate that kids have zero filters now.  Not just skating, but in life in general.  Actual solid like skills in human interaction. I guess in some weird way it seems to be working?  It’s all really weird to me. I’m old I guess. I don’t even have music on my phone. I only own records.  I definitely get a whole new breed of sponsor requests now.  I even feel refreshed when a kid goes through the lengths to send an email! I get emails consistently, but I get DM messaged ten times more.

SMDM:I feel that if they are too lazy to find an email they don’t even deserve a sticker…

Vegan John: How hard is it to go online and find an email address to send footage to? If you can’t find one, its probably for a reason. Just don’t try.  If Palace wants to hook you up they will find you…if not, then it wasn’t meant to be, thats how life used to be.

SMDM:I definitely agree, the emailed ones are usually better than the DM ones.  Do you and other brands ever get the same kid saying he is each of your favorite brand?

Vegan John: Yes, that one is pretty common unfortunately.  I’m pretty close with several other brands, and we actually send them to each other, and vice versa.  Sometimes the kids even forget to change the brand’s name when they copy and paste in your DM.  I’ve received requests that were addressed to another brand.  It’s hilarious as well as pretty fucking sad.  These kids don’t care though, they have no one to answer to.  If they get busted the are just another IG handle that disappears back into the vortex, so they really could care less.

SMDM: One time I referred a kid to you when he asked me for sponsorship.  He stated how he already hit you up, and you told him to get a job.  Do you always bestow life lessons on these kids?


Vegan John: Not always, but if they catch me at the right time I am liable to cut loose on them.  I can also be a really nice, and pleasant person to some of these kids.  It’s all in their approach, and how I feel at the moment.  My general rule is that 9 out of 10 of these kids needs to learn some valuable life lessons.  Not trying to be a dick, but when I was a kid, I was horrified of the older guys in my scene.  When I got to be in high school and earned respect from a majority of the older skaters, I still treated them with respect.  They clearly knew more than me.  They had lived through more of the evolution of skateboarding culture, so who was I to act entitled?  None of it matters now.  Kids don’t know anything beyond what happened last week.  I also believe that as the older generation, its our duty to try and teach these kids whats up.  It’s way more difficult now than it was years back.

SMDM: Yeah, I have a few kids I flow, I try and set them straight when they go off the path.  Not trying to alter who they are, but let them know that some things are trends and that some things are here to stay….

Vegan John: It’s way more difficult now than it was years back, but if you are a band owner, or even a shop owner, I think its your social responsibility to make a valiant effort to teach these kids as much about skateboard culture as you can.

SMDM: Ha, I usually tell them to watch old 90’s videos and they can then copy that and be the new hot skater….I think they think I’m being sarcastic, but basically that seems to be the way to go now, which I personally don’t really get, but I do…if that makes sense..

Vegan John: Telling kids about stuff like that is what will keep all the stories and photos and little important nuances of the culture alive.  Otherwise, a lot of what you and I know is going to be lost in ten or twenty years time.  It’s like history.  If you don’t teach in school, kids have nothing to base their current situation on, which is a pretty dark and uneducated place.  I hate to think about where skateboarding could be in 25 years if this generation can’t figure out how to hold that kind of stuff as valuable.

SMDM: 25 years? I’m fearful of what it will be like in 5!  How many of these kids do you think even owned a Killing Floor deck at one point?

Vegan John: Probably none.   Most of them probably discovered us on the same day that they were compiling their little carbon copy list for their weak DM requests.

SMDM: Do you think they feel that a “smaller brand” is easier to get sponsored by? I know I was told by a kid that “Jart and Plan B are the highest level” and he could not get sponsored by them, so he sent me his footage.

Vegan John: Jart? HAHA Jart and Plan B are on the same level? Does anyone even know what Jart is?  Yeah, I think there is something to that.  I mean, if I was gonna try to get sponsored I would probably go for smaller brands first…but they also aren’t the brands that have a budget to hook everyone up, even if a kid deserved it.  Speaking as a smaller brand, and you know this as well, it’s tough to flow a lot of people, on top of your actual team.  By the time all the team and flow boxes are sent (we have to eat the shipping costs on these boxes on top of the product that is sent for free) that’s a chunk of our potential profit right there…But, they probably take us for more of dummies that are just hoping to spread the gospel of our brands and that we “need” them more than the big brands I guess.

SMDM:My favorite is “If you flow me, I’ll get your boards in my local shop”.  As if it’s not cool enough to buy, but for free it’s cool.  If your so into the brand, it should already be in the shop.

Vegan John: Yeah, that one is great. As if we actually wanted these type of kids being the ones to sell our brands to their local skaters.  I can only imagine how annoying most of these kids are to the shop owners.  How about I call the shop, get the boards in, and YOU can buy something to support the brand you want to ride for….That should be step #1 in trying to connect with a brand.  Show support before asking for “flow”.  These kids have everything backwards.  They try to get “Sponced” before they can even do 3 tricks.  I think sponsorship has become something more like a free promotion to this generation.  Having skateboarding skills, and the overall kind of person you are, doesn’t even register to this generation as viable elements of the situation.

SMDM:Not sure about you, but I know I’m 500 times more receptive when someone is riding my brands product in their sponsor me.  That changes how I view it for sure.

Vegan John:  Oh definitely.  It’s not the the game changer, but it shows support towards the brand, and shows a sense that they grasp the concept of the brand, as opposed to sending 100 random dm’s while wearing a Plan B hoody.

SMDM: I can’t knock a kid for wanting to get sponsored, its more the approach they have. They have minimal brand knowledge, and feel that wearing high dickies and doing 20 wallies will get them a sponsor.

Vegan John: Yeah, if you send in footage, like…actual footage, not just iPhone clips though Instagram, right off the bat I’ll have more respect for you, regardless if the footage is worthy of sponsorship or not.  Half of these kids don’t know the first thing about brands like ours.  They’re essentially just doing a search and cut and pasting a number.  And yes, the trendy shit is wild too.  How fast things catch on, and then almost become so dorky that they are now mainstream.  I’ve seen some sponce tapes where the kids are actually really good, and even have decent style, but are way too caught up in what’s “cool”, or whatever is trending hard at the moment.

SMDM: Body varial and white pants, I’ll shut it off right there.

Vegan John: It ruins it for me.  10-15 seconds in is usually my max.

SMDM: Have you ever sponsored anyone from a footage tape?

Vegan John: Yeah, I actually have before.  It is very rare, and almost never happens.  I actually have though.  I’m sure you know too, but international distributors like to try and get some sort of flow/brand ambassador for your company in their regions, to help promote it all locally.  Those all come from sponsor me footage.  It’s different, it’s people being suggested to you from across the globe, but still kind of the same thing.  I think if kids are actually good, and smart, and sort of cool, there is no reason why they shouldn’t send a sponsor me tape out, as long as they are interested in that brand and aren’t hoping for handouts.

SMDM: Ok, 3 biggest things NOT to do when sending a sponsor me?

Vegan John: #1. DO NOT SEND FLATGROUND SKATING IN A PARKING LOT OR YOUR DRIVEWAY.   It better be decent tricks, filmed decent on a real camera, at decent spots.  No one wants to watch you embarrass yourself, especially not brand owners who are busy.


#2. Don’t include a 3 paragraph blab about what you are going to do for the company and why they should hook you up.  No one needs to hear that shit.  Keep it to yourself, the skating needs to speak for itself.


#3.DO NOT PUT MUSIC WITH THE FOOTAGE.  No one wants some pretty little wrapped up with a bow horrible edit job that your homie did on his PC.  Just send raw footage with no music.  We don’t want to hear your poor music choice.  It just makes the skating worse.  Just raw footage only, thats why its called a “footage tape”.

SMDM:The one I hate most is the “we transfer”.  I don’t have time to unload each clip.  I would rather see it in a timeline filmed off a phone.  This one dude we flow sends them all the time, it kills me. I don’t even watch.

Vegan John: Fuck “we transfers”.  If you are that dumb to make it that difficult to watch, you don’t deserve to have anyone watch it.

SMDM: Ok, lets end on a high note.  Numbers, the “Garage Company”™, any thoughts on that?

Vegan John:Ah, yeah.  The “Garage” brand.  First, I’d like to say that I respect Koston.  I respect Guy even more. They have stayed relevant for a long time, for a good reason.

SMDM: I was never a Koston fan, but I loved Guy in Mouse. “Thug Guy” the best.

Vegan John: They are amazing at what they do, but I don’t get the
“garage” thing. I actually, in all honesty, have a hard time hearing that.  A “garage” anything, be it a skate brand, or a music band, is assumedly budget, right off the bat.  Nothing wrong with making, or having money, but let’s just be clear. Just because it’s cool to be DIY, or on a budget “doing it small”, doesn’t mean you can just slap that term on any product or company.  Especially not for the sake of trying to get a slice of the flavor of pie that just so happens to be going around at the moment.

SMDM: John, come on…it’s “cool” to be an small company now.  

Vegan John:Yes, it’s cool to be an “Indie” brand, certain amount of instant street cred right now, in an industry where many of the previous and long term heavy hitters are bellying up.  I’d have left Girl too, and I would have started a new brand.  I would have tried to do something different…all those things are great.  However, it’s not a garage brand.  Not when one of your investors is worth 15 million alone.


I struggle to do things I want to do with my brand.  Im proud of how far I’ve come, but i don’t have the pleasure of throwing money at things i would like to do.  So, i just keep working hard, and I’m grateful.  It’s great these guys have started a brand, but lets be frank.  Do not call it a garage brand. What do you think? You own a brand…whats your take?

SMDM: Fuck. We all started brands, so i can’t tell anyone not to.  They have been in skating for a long time.  Its just, well, they can automatically get in most shops off the bat, and they have big shoe money paying them, so whats the tiny income from a board sponsor anyway?  And i agree, you can’t call it a garage brand.  Koston’s garage is probably the size of my house.

Vegan John: Exactly.



CHADD SINCLAIR. The people’s champ.

Skateboarders have been videotaping themselves for years. Usually its friend’s filming each other to make their own little videos, or the more experienced skater’s film with the intent of gaining a sponsorship.  At least that’s how it was when I was growing up. As a result of the accessibility of cell phone cameras, it now seems that most kids will film everything they do and randomly upload to any platform they can find.  Strange enough, with advertisement money coming in if your Youtube video gets enough hits, you can even profit off of it. Apparently you don’t even have to ride a skateboard to get people to get views, you just have to open up boxes from your “sponsor”.

We want to introduce you to Chadd Sinclair.  Chadd has his own Youtube channel where he does “unboxing videos”.  I don’t really understand why people like to watch other people open up packages on the internet, but it seems to be very popular amongst the younger generation.  Chadd will open boxes, sometimes even use dangerous machinery such as a chainsaw to cut through the double walled cardboard to reveal the newest items his sponsor has sent.


SMDM:Chadd, where did the whole unboxing video idea come from?

Chadd:I noticed that other people were posting videos of them unboxing and showing off their product, like Andy Schrock does.  I figured I could do the same thing, and promote my sponsor to a larger crowd.

SMDM:Not everyone is familiar with Punisher Skateboards.  How did your sponsorship with them come about?  Do you have to buy their boards to become “sponsored”?

Chadd:Naw, I never bought anything from Punisher.  I asked them for some stickers for free and they sent some.  I then made a thank you video and they actually liked my skateboarding!  They contacted me to represent their product, which I answered “Hell yes!”. I’ve been riding for them ever since.

Chadd repping his sponsors with a switch frontside blunt slide.

SMDM:How did you hear about Punisher skateboards in the first place? It’s not a brand people are familiar with, and they don’t sell to any skateshops that i have been to.

Chadd: I came across Punisher Skateboards via a Youtube video advertising  free stickers and figured it was worth shot.  I used to contact tons of companies asking for free shirts and stickers, but Punisher actually sent me stuff.  To say thanks I made a “Thank You” video, and they liked it so much that they sponsored me.

SMDM:Do the Punisher boards still come with plastic wrapping over the griptape and the bolts go through the plastic? 

Chadd: Good question.  No they don’t anymore.  I’ve been working with Punisher directly to improve the quality of the boards.  We all learn from our mistakes and Punisher has come a long way! Booyah!  Punisher just introduced their “Pro Series” line of decks, designed to meet the standards of todays park skating generation.  The board is thicker, and has a super steep concave.  It’s super durable and can take a beating going down a 7 stair set!

SMDM:What do you think about kids sending mass sponsor me direct messages? Have you done that, and if so does it work?

Chadd:To be honest, it can be overwhelming and annoying for kids to do that.  I realize everyone has to start somewhere but one shouldn’t be sending out tons of direct messages if they don’t have any skill, or only want free gear. I did that myself, and realized I had to wear the stuff I would get for free and the brands honestly weren’t very cool and I didn’t want to wear them.  It is better for a company to like you and your skateboarding, and they may even contact you if thats the case! Companies also want loyalty.

SMDM: Who are your current sponsors, and how did you obtain them?

Chadd:Crop king seeds, Punisher skateboards, and Hart Mind SOUL.  I obtained all three by being an amazing skater, loyal, and being a great promoter with innate brand awareness. You have to represent your sponsors at all times.  I had a few others but I didn’t get the support I needed from them, and vice versa.

SMDM:Were the “other” sponsors expecting you to do the loop and skate big rails?

Chadd:No.  I just wasn’t getting the support I wanted.  They just wanted to benefit from having me on and I was getting little to nothing in return.  I am happy with my current sponsors and wouldn’t change a thing, son.

SMDM:Do you get asked if your Shawn White often?  You do have an uncanny resemblance to the “Flying Tomato”.

Shaun White and Sandra Bullock Visit MTV's

Chadd:In the beginning people would call me “Shaun White’s cousin”, but I was never actually mistaken for the actual “Flying Tomato”.

SMDM:Ok, I’m going to give you a name of a skater or brand, and you answer with the first thing that comes to mind. Example, “Tony Hawk” and the response is “The 900”. Are you ready?

Chadd: OK playa.

SMDM:Andy Schrock.

Chadd:Youtube legend.

SMDM:Rob Dyrdek.

Chadd:DC/role model

SMDM:Bobby Puleo.

Chadd: Dan Bilzarien. LOL


Chadd: Bad ass.


Chadd: Atlantis.


Chadd:Dirty Ghetto Kids from the streets.

SMDM:Is skating your career? Do your sponsors enable you to support yourself? Or are you a Working Class Mans hero?

Chadd:I’d love to say skateboarding is my career.  My sponsors help me out with boards, sweet gear, and some occasional trips and finances.  I have always supported myself and have always been hard working and dedicated.  I have worked numerous jobs, but I want skating to be my main focus in life and one day that dream will become a reality. Until then, I will continue to hustle on YouTube, aspiring to be like Andy Schrock, but in the long run I just want to be happy in life.  I will skate until the day I die. Real talk.

SMDM:What does “Bong Stickers” do for you as a sponsor.

Chadd:Bong Stickers.. I haven’t been working with them like I would want to.  The problem is younger kids are watching me and looking up to me so i can’t really be representing or promoting companies like Bong Stickers like I would want to.  They hooked me up with a hat and some stickers which was dope, but I’m a role model. Kids will do what they want, but they will be more prone to doing something if the person they look up to does it.

SMDM:Do you receive any hazing while out skating? I would think some skateboarders wouldn’t be that kind to a dude who unboxes little plastic wrapped skateboards from a box.  Is that where the chainsaw came in? For protection?

Chadd: Ha! Nothing to my face, but I can hear comments under their breath and behind my back.  I grew up in Surrey (Canada’s version of Compton California) , and before I started skating I was into some pretty hectic stuff.  I lived an underground life.  I have been in and out of trouble my whole life, and skating helped me move on from that.  Skateboarding has saved my life.  I do have major anger problems and I still have that monster inside me, but I have learned to ignore the petty crap since I value my freedom.  And for the chainsaw, let’s just say I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.  Also, people realize Punisher supports me with more than just boards, and they ask how they can get on!

Crispy plastic over the grip and under the bolts! Factory sealed.

SMDM:So Punisher sells to Walmart.  Do you feel that is killing the core brands and skate shops as well? Why buy a complete at a shop for $150 when you can go to Walmart and get a Punisher for $49.99?

Chadd:Yes, Punisher supplies big box stores, but also wants to start supplying core shops as well.  It all depends on the stores if they want to carry Punisher.  Punisher is all about giving back to skateboarding and helping others by any means.  The core brands and shops will never struggle for business if there is a demand for the product in the shop.  If a kid wants a Zero deck, he will pay whatever he can to get it.  In the end quality dictates everything. Why pay $150 when you can get the same quality or cheaper.  Who cares about the brand, your saving and getting quality.  Punisher decks last me 6 months long.  Most big brands start out great quality, and then when they are established they lower quality.  Punisher is the opposite.  The quality started off poorly and now its top of the line!

SMDM:Thanks Chadd.  It’s been real.

The “FLOWfessional”. An interview with James Coleman.


As a brand owner, one of the questions most received in our inbox is  “Do you flow people?”.  For everyone out there, flow is a level of sponsorship under “amature”  No names in an ad, not a mention on the website, but you get a few pieces of product to rep the brand in your local area.  Possibly it could lead to a full spot on a team, but usually is the first thing to get cut when sales drop.  

There seems to be an epidemic of kids asking for “flow”, i guess thinking its an easier form of sponsorship, or that brands just give stuff out for free at will to all who ask.  To set the record straight, I’ve decided to interview the self proclaimed “FLOWfessional” James Coleman.  The hardest working flow rider in all of skateboarding.



SMDM:How did the term “FLOWfessional” come about.  You seem to embrace it really well.

James:A few of my homies called me that and i ran with it.”FLOWfessional” is not limited to just skating, its a way of flowing through life, creating your own lane from from your true, authentic self. Not being a biting ass trend follower in somebody else’s lane.

SMDM:What is the average day like for the “FLOWfessional”?

James:Well, life is one long day (don’t forget to take naps).  Most of the time I’m charging up for the next attack mission/session/filming project after making plans with my favorite filmers/friends across the globe.  On my downtime I like to just BE!  Do relaxing stuff like nature walks.  Every 24 hours is different. I could be waking up in any city at a friend’s place, or in a car, you never know!

SMDM:How does one go from Baker flow to Magenta flow? Those two brands seem like they are on opposite ends of the spectrum?

James:Yeah, its like opposite sides of the same coin.  Skateboarding is skateboarding.  My Floridian homie, Jeff Lenoce, helped me get some nice baker boxes for a little bit.  Jimmy Lannon asked me to put my footage on a USB for him to take on a Magenta/Japan trip to show everyone on the team.  Later on Vivien at Magenta sent me a Facebook message asking if i would be down to be flow for Magenta.  I was beyond hyped.  Josh Stewart was a huge help as well and i would like to thank him for that!


SMDM:How long have you been flow for magenta? Do you feel if you moved to France you would have a shot at being “AMfessional”?

James:Vivian sent me a facebook message in september 2013 about being flow for Magenta.  It definitely pushes me to bring out my best.  I’m gracious for the support they’ve shown me over the years.  I don’t think it matters where i live.

SMDM:Do you consciously huck yourself less now that your getting boards for Magenta as opposed to Baker?  Im assuming your knees feel better but your flatspotting your wheels faster….

James:Hucking is fun to me! I still huck all the time, just now I’m more selective about it.  It has to be at a cool looking/unique spot, not some random dry ass Arizona/southern California double set.  Im hucking more for my upcoming part in Shaqueefa MT3, and my Pacemaker part. Ive never had health insurance and I’m basically my own doctor.  I know so many skater’s who can’t enjoy themselves anymore because they blew themselves out physically and now they are bitter and fat.  Thats life though….

SMDM:How many sponsors do you currently have? Are they all though “sponsor me” tapes or just word of mouth?

James:Most of my support has happened organically, and a few others by me reaching out and communicating with people.  The relationship between sponsor and skater should have a healthy balance to maintain mutual appreciation for each other.

SMDM: Who are you currently riding for?

James: Theories brand clothing, and Theories of Atlantis.  Magenta skateboards. Reality Grip-hand painted grip by my florida skate friend from way back, Eric Staniford, who lives in LA currently.  Broadcast wheels, Harvest roots ferments- a locally produced kombucha company from the southeast.  Westside skateshop, Jon Montesi’s skateshop in Florida. I’ve rode for them since i was a teenager.  Jon still helps me out so much to this day. Thanks Jon!  Shaqueefa O.G.- Tampa squad/shirt company.  (you’ve seen Ishod, Koston, and Grant Taylor wearing them for years) they have a full video dropping soon called MT3! Minuit audio visual-primo global nigh skating vids/clothing from the mind of my good friend and frenchman Yoan Taillandier.  Supra Footwear-flow.



SMDM: It seems like a ton of people turned pro this year, especially for smaller “Core” brands.  Whats your take on that? 

James: I think it’s all love and blessings.  Hopefully they earned and value their position and make the most of it. Or not. They can do what they want.

SMDM:I’ve noticed on your instagram you seem to take some digs at some of your peers.  Is this all in good fun, or are you trying to rock the boat?

James: It’s all love man. Life’s about having fun and sometimes you/yourself are the joke!  To anyone I’ve offended, my bad.  Some people take themselves really seriously.  We all need to take a huge step outside of ourselves every now and then and see the big picture.  Like, dude, I’ve been skating my whole life, I’m a 32 year old FLOWfessional, and that is pretty funny!


SMDM: So you’re 32 years young. Do you have a plan for life after skating?  The sponsored life can only go on so long…not everyone can be Chico Brenes.

James:I’m 32 but I feel great.  I feel like a teenager, especially when I’m skating.  Plans for “life” are sitting up expectations and walls around you.  Setting yourself up for disaster if they don’t pan out according to your desired plan.  Not knowing the future, or being too controlling/manipulative of it is the fun part.  The element of surprise!


SMDM:Years ago you rode for a brand called “LOT 29“, which if I’m not mistaken was Juelz Santana’s clothing brand.  For any of those unfamiliar with it, they licensed Looney Tunes characters and made huge embroideries on 5xl clothes.  What was it like riding for a big company like that?

James:That was a cool experience! LOT 29 was a part of SOUTH POLE, so all of us on the team, Rob Campbell, Joseph Delgado, Phillip Toye, and myself, rode the train to the SOUTH POLE headquarters in New Jersey.  We were allowed to grab whatever product we could carry out ourselves.  Jackets, shirts, pants…you name it and we could take whatever we could hold.  It was like we won a shopping spree.  We got trash bags and filled them up. I only had 3 bags full, but Delgado had over 12 bags!!  We had to take the subway back to queens.  He was dragging bags through stations and on the train.  It was hilarious, clothes with looney tunes embroideries were falling out all over the place and he couldn’t grab all of it.  We got picked up by Rob Campbell’s dad, or maybe it was his Grandpa.  Anyway, he drove us back to our spot and was telling all these crazy NYC stories from the 70’s.  Shoutout to him and Rob Campbell, and all the LOT 29 crew!

SMDM:How did you end up on the brand to begin with? Seems like a very strange mix of guys. Florida and NYC guys on the same team.

James:The dude in charge of SOUTH POLE was the godfather of a south florida skater i met through MYSPACE.  Later i met him in real life on a trip to Miami to go skate.  His dad was the director of “SHOTTAS“, a movie about a jamaican mobsters, which was pretty big i guess…anyway, the godfather was a real good friend with the director, and he bought us food and we chilled at his dope penthouse in Jersey, which had a crazy view of Manhattan across the river.

SMDM:Did you have to sign a contract to ride for them?



SMDM:Damn, You could probably get a kings ransom for that gear if you still have it.  Those 90’s cosplay vintage sites would probably kill for that gear.

James:Yeah, i skated through all the gear, put holes in all of it and gave some to friends.  I had a ton of LOT 29 pencils and pens, along with some paper notepads with Juelz Santana on the cover, HA!

SMDM: Have you had any offers to leave Magenta flow for full spots on any teams?

James:I’ve had a decent amount of offers, some i can’t really speak on.  John at The Killing Floor reached out to me, which was a huge decision to make, but lets just say I’m still where i started and can’t be more grateful to everyone at Magenta.

SMDM:Any projects you have lined up?

James:Yeah, too many…HA.  Minuit-multiple upcoming webisodes and full video.  SuperVisual, -a threads/tws vid.  Shaqueefa Mixtape 3.Thats gonna be my best part to date for sure. Hot Plate, a video by my Australian friend Marshall Nicholson. Lets see…theres more.  2Spooky- and underground Florida video by Robert Pawlikowski.  I also am making my “Lost Tape” edits, hopefully more will be on the way…


link to lost tapes v.4

SMDM:Thanks James!

Click on these links below to check the companies that sponsor James.

magenta skateboards

theories of atlantis

reality grip

minuit audiovisual

westside skateshop



Into the mind of a “Sponsor Monster” the Leo Fleury interview.

Most people out there have no idea how much hard work is behind running a brand; designing graphics,  dealing with selling product to shops in a declining industry, managing a team, keeping a brand relevant, scheduling product releases, and making sure checks come in so you can pay for trips and filmers.  It’s more than fun and games, it requires dedication and can become stressful.  Then you notice there is a message on your instagram page and you hope it’s a new shop account or maybe a customer with questions regarding the dimensions of a deck…but then you find its a “sponsor monster” looking for free product.

Meet Leo Fleury.  He spends his free time direct messaging any and all brands on his instagram asking for free product and sponsorship.  There is no loyalty to his game, but we must give him and his cut and paste skills praise.  While his video offerings are nothing close to the level of skating done by his “favorite” brands, he makes sure to send it off to whatever small brand he can find on social media.  

On that note, we bring to you the Leo Fleury interview.


SMDM:Leo, where did you get the idea to send “sponsor me” requests via direct message?

Leo:Because i have started to skate when i was 2 years (old). My father has been skateboarding for 26 years.  I am very motivated and my goal is to be a professional skateboarder.  Direct message makes it easy to contact brands.

SMDM:Have you sent over 50 of these messages to different brands?

Leo: Not that many.

SMDM: 30?

Leo: Yes.

SMDM:Do all of your friends send sponsor videos out as well?

Leo: No. Skating is only fun and games to them.

SMDM:What do you use to film your edits?  HD cameras? GO PRO? VX1000?

Leo:I use my phone.

SMDM:Does anyone usually respond to your messages?

Leo: Not usually. No.

SMDM:Being that your from France, have  you sent a sponsor me to Magenta?

Leo: No, i do not like their boards, so i did not send them one.

SMDM:How many stairs can you ollie?

Leo: 8 stairs.

SMDM: Sure…….. Has anyone sponsored you from the direct messaging?

Leo: Yes. I have 4 sponsors from it.

SMDM: Would you like to give a shout out to those sponsors?

Leo: One is a sticker company, one is a watch brand, and 2 are clothing.

SMDM: Would you care to elaborate on those sponsors?

Leo: It is 1:30 am here in France. I must rest. Thanks for the interview.

SMDM:Thank you Leo!