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You may have seen Heitor of late, he’s kinda blown up in the last few months. After scaling the ranks with adidas Skateboarding over the past year, he recently got on Palace Skateboards and has quickly travelled the world. He’s had a pretty crazy ride and I’m sure he’ll be the first to admit - it’s been quite a whirlwind. Watching Heitor’s rise and putting him on the team, we’ve been reminded how skateboarding really does take you places.
Suddenly making it in skateboarding is something that happens to a lucky few. Going from skating with your friends in your hometown to getting flowed a few boards, to all of a sudden being in various parts of the world, skating with the guys whose names were on those boards. This can be a trip.
Making it in skateboarding is a tricky game. It’s littered with pitfalls and the harsh reality is that there is little success for the many wanting it. I guess it’s the same for any other professional endeavour. From finding that first skateboard and learning how to roll down the street, to countless hours trying to master the ollie. Actually doing tricks and doing them well, like kickflips, tre-flips or 50’ing your first ever handrail, is a much longer journey and one that most don’t even make. Cruising your local skatepark might be as far as many skaters go, which there is nothing wrong with. No one starts skateboarding to become a big-time professional, it’s purely for fun and messing about after school, similar to kicking a ball around the park. In fact, it’s more luck than anything else, if one of the crew happens to get really good. Plus, if anyone does show real potential then the next step forward can seemingly happen by accident.
A lot of people are good, few are great
With Instagram being everyone's window to the world, this is your best bet to being discovered as a skateboarder. But Insta is saturated with thousands of kids posting ridiculous stuff daily, it’s not so clear cut that you’ll rise above anyone else. Pre Youtube or Insta, you’d send a VHS sponsor-me-tape to the brands you were interested in getting free product from. This was at least more direct as you’ve no clue who is really looking at your Insta. If anyone. You could also get a break in skateboarding by simply skating in the right place at the right time, with somebody seeing something in you. But you might not have a clue anything actually happened.
Also, given that trying to make it in skateboarding comes at a youthful age, the obvious distractions are huge. The added pressure of discovering alcohol, finding girls, boys, parties, drugs, dealing with college, parents, work, you name it, teenage life ain’t so easy and throw in trying to navigate a potential career in skateboarding? Well, this can quickly stack the odds further against you.
As you’ve already figured out by now, this ain’t so easy, but - and we mean a big BUT - miracles can happen. So with a mix of hard work, serious talent and bags of style, you might be onto something. Throw in some good luck, a great attitude and hopefully remain relatively injury free, then if your cards work you are in the skateboarding game. But you’re not in the clear yet. Suddenly getting free boards, clothes, shoes and free plane tickets to Barcelona to simply skate is not always a bed of roses. Unreal right? Those old friends who you don’t skate with as much as you used too, kinda look at you differently now. You're travelling a bunch, you gotta film tricks and shoot photos, you're not intentionally ignoring them, you’re busy, but they don’t fully get this and they quickly think you're becoming a bit of a dick (laughs).
Flying to the USA for the first time can be exciting as it is scary, that is when you’re about to join a skate trip with a bunch of famous pro skaters you’ve only ever seen in videos. What if they think I’m a bit of a dick too, a try-hard or a show-off? Should I try and make some jokes, I wanna come across cool and not some nervous, shy weirdo. Playing this one as a teenager and wanting everyone to like you is a challenge in itself, but hey you got this far, just stay strong and be yourself. Three days into the trip and you’ve not filmed any tricks or shot any photos. You’re skating with some of the best skateboarders in the world, it’s tough to find a skate spot that works for you and the other guys are murdering it before you get a chance. Panic stations are setting in, that free product will soon be coming to an end and they’ll never invite me on another skate trip again.
Making it in skateboarding is not easy. Navigating those early steps can so easily lead you down the wrong path. But for the lucky few who succeed in the lifestyle of skateboarding around the world, doing something you love is sheer pleasure. It really is a matter of being yourself and letting your skateboarding do the talking. While this is not Heitor’s story, he’s certainly gone through some aspects of the above, but he’s made it through, he’s just been himself and continues to put in the hard work, which has only just started. This is why we’re stoked to have Heitor as part of Parade, our journey has only just started too and we’ve got a lot of hard work ahead.
Whether you're on track to become a pro skateboarder, whether you always dreamt of opening up a skate shop, whether building a skate company from your bedroom, whether you simply roll down the street on your way to work or become a filmer, a photographer, a skate mag editor or anything else in between, we know you’ll share in the knowledge that simply, skateboarding takes you places.
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