What does it take to become a professional skateboarder? Obviously skill and dedication are the main ingredients, but how does an aspiring skater turn what they love into a career? We recently linked up with Mountain Dew amateur Chris Colburn in NYC to ask him what the process has been like. From sponsor-me tapes to demos, find out how Chris Colbourn is turning his skate dreams into reality.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you, how old are you, where are you from, and how did you start skateboarding?
My name is Chris Coburn. I’m 22-years-old and I’m from Williston, VT, but I moved to Los Angeles after high school. I've been skating since I was about 10. My brother skated before I did and would get me hyped to skate. Before that, my mother and brother would take me snowboarding, so it came natural. The balance was there and I had a brother pushing me to do it.
How did the whole process work to get on the Mountain Dew team?
I started skating at my town’s skate park in South Burlington, VT and my friend sent in a sponsor-me tape to this contest that he heard Mountain Dew was holding. I got picked out of a lot of people, which is amazing. I’m not too sure about how many people, but anyway, I got picked. I met Zach Hibbs, who is the Dew skate team manager and lives in my hometown, and the rest is history.
What's it like being an amateur skateboarder?
It’s cool. I’m still flow for a bunch of companies, but it does have its perks. I’ve been on a bunch of Mountain Dew trips. Those are always great; they treat us really well and we meet new people, do signings, and skate demos. It's fun. I get to skate, which is all I ever wanted to do.
You’re also am on Mighty Healthy. How did that come about?
A friend of mine I’ve been filming with for a while sent my footage to Ray Mate and he liked it. My buddy introduced me to him and he put me on. The brand is sick; it’s all about New York and I’ve always liked making trips to New York when I was coming up. They make clothes I want to wear and they keep growing every season just like me.
What do you listen to as far as music when you’re skating or chilling? Who are your five favorite artists?
First of all, I would say Biggie. I could never get tired of listening to him. Lately, I've been bumping a lot of Chance The Rapper—he's killing it. Action Bronson is also in heavy rotation. I’m always feeling Atmosphere and was just listening to some Nina Simone.
When you’re not skateboarding, what are your other hobbies?
In my spare time I like to draw, paint and play basketball. I'm in school part-time for graphic design, and eventually I'd like to get my drawings onto skateboards and will hang them up on the wall. I also work at a coffee shop where I make delicious coffee.
What inspires you in skateboarding and in life?
What inspires me for skating is people telling me that I can’t do it. People that look at me and don't get what I’m doing push me. It’s all about freedom of expression for me. Going cruising to clear my head is something that reminds me I get to do what I love.