Professional skateboarders aren't what you'd call a "risk adverse" bunch. Unless maybe you consider stuff like switch tre flipping stair sets "a sure thing". So is it any wonder that a few of these daredevils would also be attracted to the risk-prone life of an entrepreneur?
Of course, not every attempt at starting a new skate brand is successful. With the ever decreasing attention span of youth culture, the ability to generate lasting success year after year is anything short of a miracle.
So for every one of your favorite skate brands celebrating 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years in business, there are dozens more that fell short along the way.
It's with this in mind we present "Fire Sale: 7 Skate Brands Of Yesteryear"
- New Deal Skateboards
New Deal was founded in 1990 by Andy Howell, Paul Schmitt and Steve Douglas as a direct response to the street skating revolution that was taking over the industry. Ed Templeton first turned pro for the team and debuted his first ever video part in 1990's "Useless Wooden Toys". The team grew over the years and eventually gave way to other ventures including Andy Howell leaving to start Underworld Element, which is now better know simply as Element Skateboards.
Click the image to watch New Deal Skateboards "Useless Wooden Toys".
- TV Skateboards
In 1992 Ed Templeton and Mike Vallely left New Deal to start TV Skateboards. Brad Dorfman of Vision originally backed the venture but after their relationship soured, Mike and Ed re-branded as Television Skateboards to continue outside of his control. But even after the re-brand, a financial dispute between Mike & Ed caused the company to dissolve. It was shortly thereafter Ed reconnected with Brad to back his next venture, a blood sucking skateboard company called Toy Machine... Perhaps you've heard of it?
We'd tell you to click the image to watch the TV Video, but not sure if one exists.
- Color Skateboards
Mark Oblow and Kris Markovich started Color Skateboards with the backing of Rich Metiver in 1993. At the time, Fausto Vitello (owner of Deluxe Distribution and Thrasher Magazine) was distributing another company owned by Oblow called Race Wheels. When Oblow left Race Wheels to start Color, Fausto responded by banning everyone on the Color team from Thrasher. This, along with poor relationships with Metiver, caused the team to disband within a year. Color team member Jeremy Wray famously had his ban lifted from Thrasher in 1997 for the publishing of his legendary water tower cover photo.
Click the image to watch Kris Markovich in the Color video.
- Prime Skateboards
After Color Skateboards fell apart, Mark Oblow and Kris Markovich started Prime Skateboards and brought along most of the Color team with them. Unlike Color however, Prime had the backing of World Industries and saw lasting success until the late 90's. To be honest we can't really get a straight answer as to why they went out of business, but we're guessing it had something to do with World Industries being sold to private equity in 1998.
Click the image to watch Kris Markovich in Prime Skateboards "Fight Fire With Fire".
- Mad Circle Skateboards
Much like Mike & Ed with TV Skateboards, Mad Circle was born out of Justin Girard's departure from New Deal. As he explained to Chromeball, "The name was meant to symbolize a fierce loyalty amongst team members, and the vision and direction were derived from that. The goal was to take the feeling you have of getting mobbed by your friends after landing a sick trick and turn that into a skateboard brand." But after battling with partners on the future direction of Mad Circle, Girard took the 'preservation through destruction' route and dissolved the company before it could be further bastardized by outside forces.
Click to watch Mad Circle Skateboards "Let The Horns Blow".
- The Firm
During the late 80's and early 90's the skateboard industry underwent a major transformation as the popularity of street skating began to surpass that of it's vert predecessor. In 1991, Lance Mountain and Ray Barbee left the legendary Bones Brigade to start The Firm, a diverse team of skaters that included dudes like Bob Burnquist, Matt Beach, Salman Agah and Rodrigo TX. In 2006, as the industry was in the midst of yet another transformation, Lance made the decision to close The Firm and joined the Flip team along with Burnquist and TX. As he explains in his interview with SkateMore, "the main reason was it was the first time that someone approached me and said 'why don’t you be a skateboarder full time?"
Click to watch Lance Mountain in "The Firm: Can't Stop".
- Bootleg Skateboards
According to J Strickland, Bootleg was conceived during the 2001 Baker Summer Tour as a, "Chocolate type company for Baker". Kind of like a way to put on all the homies while maintaining the OG Baker lineup. He maintains that the entire creative direction of Baker was of his own design and that after years of unfulfilled promises from Andrew Reynolds for partial ownership Strickland parted ways and Bootleg ceased operations by the end of 2004.
Click to watch the full "Baker Bootleg" video.