The Skateboarder’s Guide to Back to School Season

It’s inevitable - the end of summer is a solemn time for skaters everywhere who need to cut those all day summer sessions into abbreviated rides between and after classes as the fall school semester approaches. Though all hope seems lost, it’s important to remember that there are some incredible opportunities that exist both inside and outside of the classroom that are only available to you during your time in school. Make the most of them and check out these opportunities to keep the stoke alive during back to school season. 

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With equally effective pumping and popping capabilities, the Loaded Poke might be one of the best campus cruisers out there. 

Find the Right Cruiser Board

Why: For seasoned skaters who already have their dream street or downhill setup dialed in for the weekends, keep an open mind on this one. For the times when you need to be hopping in between buildings instead of having a hardcore session, getting a cruiser that can fit nice soft set of wheels will make the trip that much more enjoyable and hold you over until after the bell rings. For those who may be new to the skate world, this is an even better way to immerse yourself. Adding in short bits of practice riding in between classes can go a long way in helping your comfort on the board, especially on a campus where there are no cars or street hazards to watch out for. 

How: As much as reading about this helps, the best way to find your the right cruiser board is to try out as many as you can get your hands on. For starters, hit up your local shop and see if they have any decks you can take for a spin on. For a more authentic experience, introduce yourself to someone on campus with a rad looking setup and ask them to give it a shot. Otherwise, if you’re in the LA area, feel free to swing by Stoked HQ and take a few whips around our parking lot on one of our demo boards.

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Who knew the best manual pad at the University of Oregon was the campus sign itself?!

Find the Right Spots on Campus

Why: For those who are going to be living on campus this upcoming semester, it’s best to establish which areas of campus are right for skating and which ones are a bust as soon as possible. At schools with tight security and campus police departments, you might have to travel to the outskirts of the school or wait until classes let out for the night before starting your mission. Either way, skate spots on college campuses often have the unique advantage of not being effected by the cars, debris and unexpected elements that the streets have.

How: When it comes to spot hunting, the name of the game is scanning and lurking for spots by any means necessary. Keep your eyes peeled when you’re on shuttle busses and take alternative routes in and around different buildings in your commute to the classroom. You never know what gems could be lying around the corner.

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The skate club at North Carolina State University has been of the most active in the country over the years.  

Start a Skate Club

Why: Even though you’re going to school to earn credits and graduate, it truly is your extracurricular activities that set you apart from the mob of other people you’ll be graduating with. Plus, with the amount you’re probably be paying to the local Student Government Association for miscellaneous programming fees, the least you could do to get some of your money back. You can do this by forming your own skateboarding club and tapping into their resources to get funding for traveling, throwing events and even buying product. (That’s right, if you budget reasonably and ethically, you can probably use your school’s money to buy skate gear. If that’s not badass, we don’t know what is) 

How: Luckily, the minds behind the Collegiate Skate Tour have done the heavy lifting here by creating this comprehensive outline of the roles and duties you will need to take care of to get an organization like this off the ground. With a solid group of dedicated homies that each put in a bit of added effort to the cause, you can all reap the rewards of tapping into a huge network of resources.

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UMass student Rey Tapley boosting a 360 grab at a recent Collegiate Skate Tour stop in Queens, NY.

Participate in Student-Centric Contests

Why: Speaking of the Collegiate Skate Tour, another perk to your time as a student is to take part in their contests. While there are a million contests out there, this is the only one that pits students against other students. The crew behind the tour always makes sure its a rad time by keeping the hype alive and throwing a bunch of free product into the mix.

How: This one’s an easy one - just show up and rip! The Collegiate Skate Tour runs on a national circuit making a handful of stops each year in major US cities in New York, Florida, Oregon and California. Keep an eye on their Instagram to see where they’ll be popping up and throwing down this school year.

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Iain Borden's 'Skateboarding, Space and The City' is an incredible book about skateboarding's relationship with architecture. Perfect for a secondary source.

Write About Skateboarding in Your Essays

Why: Whether you like writing or not, essays, term papers and compositions are what higher education is made of. Knowing that some sort of writing is probably going to be involved, whether in gen-ed classes or major-specific classes, the best you can do is have a little fun with it. Plus, being in school at a time where skateboarding has matured enough to have its own books, scholarly articles, lecturers and even an entire academic conference to cite from, there’s more than enough content out there to get your point across. Not to mention that you’ll probably need to take some mandatory “research breaks” (aka watching skate vids on YouTube) in the process to make sure you’re facts are straight.

How: Believe it or not, your school’s library might very well have some worthwhile texts in it to get you started. Have a look in their card catalogues and see what you can find. Past that, you can hit the web and search Google Scholar for top notch article sources or peep the coverage of the recent ‘Pushing Boarders’ conference to get some valuable insights.

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David Rajewski and the original team behind what used to be known as 'Stoked Skateboards.'

Launch Your Own Brand

Why: Besides the fact that it’s every skater’s dream to get a skate company of their own off the ground, current trends in the way of technology have made it more accessible to do it yourself and bring your vision to life. Plus, being in school, you can take advantage of entrepreneurship and other business-oriented classes to teach you how to get started while earning credits at the same time. If you find a way to mix these classes into your graduation schedule, you can kill two birds with one stone and kickstart your dream in the process. 

How: Take it from the leader of Stoked Ride Shop himself, David Rajewski, who launched his business in high school and used his time as an undergrad at USC to take it to the next level. Offering a few words of advice, Rajewski says, “Just start. Take your best guess on where to begin, own your mistakes and keep on keeping on.”

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College grad and CSEF Founder, Keegan Guizard, showing how to get down in the deep end. 

Apply for a Scholarship

Why: This is another easy one - free cash! Again, we’re lucky enough to live in a time in skateboarding where some awesome industry heads have organized a fund to help skaters get access for funding for books, tuition and other costs associated with going to school. Encouraging students to apply, College Skateboarding Educational Foundation's Executive Director, Keegan Guizard said, “School and skateboarding are not at all separate from one another. In fact, they compliment each other when learning in school or conquering new challenges on the board. Now, funding can be available to help subsidize that education which can be so expensive these days.”

How: At the moment, the application process is closed until this Autumn. When it opens back up, you can enter online with a brief application and an essay describing your experiences and contributions to the skateboarding community. In the mean time, keep your sights set on maintaining good grades and an active presence in your local scene. With the first round of recipients announced earlier this year, the bar has been set for how to get your name on next year’s list of winners. Be sure to stay tuned to their Instagram for further updates.

To pick our brains about any school or cruiser related comments, questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us here.

Photos in this post courtesy of by Daniel Fedkenheuer, Pistol Pat, NC Skate, David Rajewski, Austin Coy & Alex Colorito


2 comments


  • Fireball Supply Co.

    Hi Tee, glad we were able to peak your attention here, even though we didn’t mean to leave you hanging! With the many different types of brands you could launch in the skate hard good market these days, the best thing to do would be to start doing your research and like David said, take your best guess. If you want to learn how to brand your own decks, watch some videos about how George Powell started Powell Peralta or how P-Rod started Primitive. As you could imagine, there are plenty of ways to make get your name out and plenty of amazing success stories to emulate. To make it happen, you’ll have to do some research that goes far beyond the scope of this article. Plus, if you’re in school, you can feel free to ask your professors if they have any experience or know people involved with startups/small businesses for more personal insights.


  • Tee

    Hi
    You hooked me on the “Launch Your Own Brand” and then left me flat on the “How”. It said essentially…well, nothing. Can tou expand on this? How do I brand my own decks for example? Thanks.


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