Mike Vallely is one of those skateboarders that has left a huge footprint on the world of skateboarding, what ever you think of the guy. He is known for his individual style, mad array of tricks, many of which I haven’t seen from anybody else (ever), and of course for his temper which lead to quite a few, ummhhh, let’s call them altercations.
because he’s been a pro for 21 years, he thought it was a good moment to make a statement to his dedication to skateboarding and a great video documenting some of the moments was put together as well. Here’s what Mike V. said on his blog – make sure you watch the video below.
turned pro on May 31, 1987 at a vert contest in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This really pissed off my sponsor at the time, Powell Peralta as I entered and skated in that contest against their wishes. I was in their eyes a “street skater” and they didn’t want me doing anything to tarnish my image. Getting last place in my first professional competition on a vert ramp wasn’t exactly how they wanted me to start my pro career.
When I left Powell Peralta in early 1989 to help form World Industries most people in the skateboard world thought this was career suicide and betting men everywhere including those I skated with and considered my friends weren’t giving me much of a chance to make it out of the eighties as a pro skater let alone alive.
In the early nineties I got married, had a kid, nearly died from a bleeding ulcer and was considered by most in the skateboard world as being “washed up.” I returned to Powell Skateboards and rebuilt my name and my career. I took to the road and instead of letting the industry decide if I was relevant or not I brought my skating direct to the skaters and found new life in doing so.
By the time I was skating for Black Label in 1999 I had successfully carved out my own path in skateboarding; one built on individuality, creativity and expression. This left me nearly friendless in the industry but welcome in cities, towns and skateparks around the world. Sponsors came and sponsors went; all fickle, following Johnny Come Lately’s elitist road map. I’m not on that radar, haven’t been since 1988.
These days I don’t go to the trade shows, I don’t shake hands with the movers and shakers and I no longer follow the culture. The evaluation of others is no longer a guide for me; I am entirely on my own and quite content in my own skin. So when people say I’m over the hill and all that other nonsense all that I can do is laugh. Of course I’m over the hill, I turned pro in 1987 so by industry standards I was over the hill in 1989, that’s just the way it goes.
I never had a natural talent for skateboarding but I did and do have intense desire and commitment which has been the true driving force of my professional career. My skating today is no longer about what I have to do but is quite simply about what I want to do. Comparing me or measuring me against any of my contemporaries is pointless; I don’t know their names and I don’t speak their language, I just skate.
People ask me when I’ll retire, the answer is:
I will be out here on the front lines doing what I do, being who I am, skating and rocking until they outline me in chalk; that is what professional skateboarding is all about.
Twenty one years down and a lifetime to go…
Young At Heart and doing it My Way… always…
— Mike V
This video is a random compilation from my twenty four years of skateboarding focusing on my now twenty one year pro career. It was compiled and edited by none other than Mr. Larry Ransom. This is not the end of anything, only the beginning.