Action sports pros with day jobs
Malloy brothers, ranchers
Not all action sports pros are raking in the bucks and living the high life from landing on podiums. From bartending to ranching and everything in between, some still hustle to make ends meet. Here, XGames.com examines 13 pros who punch in and out of work on the side while still pursuing their respective sports. Chris, Keith and Dan Malloy keep themselves busy. Besides being founding ambassadors and product developers for Patagonia's surf program, when they're not in the water testing wetsuits and boards, they're living and working on the family ranch in the Santa Barbara hills. "We grew up on the ranch, so it's something we've known all of our lives," says Chris Malloy,who insists they're not full-time cowboys, "but are all pretty comfortable in the saddle and enjoy the ranch life."
Jack Mitrani, announcer and promoter
It is hard to say when longtime Burton pro and former X Games SuperPipe competitor Jack Mitrani finds time to sleep. Though he's retired from actually riding in competitions, you can still find him sitting courtside, doing hilarious play-by-play for webcasts. One of the original members of the Frends crew, Mitrani produces the comedic online video series Frendsvision and recently founded a production company. He is also the mastermind behind the Frendly Gathering, a multi-day annual music festival in Vermont, and a featured ambassador for Martin Guitar.
Rachel Burks, server
Fresh off a standout segment in this fall's "Pretty Faces," TGR film veteran Rachael Burks went all-in with 11 straight weeks of filming last winter for the Unicorn Picnic all womens' project, paying off in a dream line on the spines of Alaska. With on snow efforts underwritten by Peak Performance, Dynastar and other topline sponsors, off snow you'll find Burks on the floor of Park City's Talisker on Main. "Working is something I have to do to pay the bills, and like to do to pay the bills, and enables me to eat well and play hard. I work a night job that keeps me on track with other pursuits. I also think the work ethic has translated to skiing as well. Put more in: get more out," Burks says.
Alex Yoder, social media manager
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, native Alex Yoder has followed in the footsteps of his town's elders in the relentless worldwide search for powder. The North Face Masters Young Gun 2010 award recipient has since turned away from big mountain snowboard competitions to focus on filming with other rising backcountry stars of his generation. He was featured in the online video series, "Go: A Snowboard Road Trip," as well as the movies "Manifest" and the recently released "Pathology Project." But when the snow stops falling, Yoder calls in to his desk job in Ventura, California, where he works as a social media manager for Patagonia.
Ryan Lay, delivers Chinese food
Last year, skateboarder Ryan Lay lost two paying sponsors (Enjoi and Huf) and was forced to- reevaluate his life situation. "In about a week, I was on track and filming for the Enjoi video and traveling with Huf, to working a job delivering Chinese food and signing up for school," says Lay. This wasn't the first time Lay left a paying position by a sponsor. (In 2011, Lay left IPath after the company downsized.) But it's experiences like that that keep Lay moving forward in his own direction. Aside from his part-time job, he is enrolled in college and works for a nonprofit providing skateboards to underprivileged children. "To my own fault, I've always been weary of putting both feet in the skate world," says Lay. "I'm always frightened of the idea of waking up and being 30 and making 15 grand a year. I feel really fortunate right now."
Mike Schultz, Inventor
Six-time X Games adaptive gold medalist Mike Schultz is one part engineer, one part mad scientist and one part competitive and uber-driven racer who has created the technology to advance his life and career. His company, BioDapt, creates prosthetic devices specifically designed for athletes who have lost limbs and want to excel in action sports. He has built knees for Walter Reed Medical Center that were given to veterans with combat injuries, and he is considered a hero in the adaptive community. "There's just so much satisfaction being able to help different people realize that an injury like this isn't the end," Schultz said.
Julian Carr, Discrete Clothing CEO
A veteran of multiple A-list ski films, not to mention monstrous cliff drops over the last decade, Salt Lake's Julian Carr wasn't content to just work for "the man," opting instead to become "the man." Carr founded Discrete Clothing in 2005 to complement his professional ski career. "The best part of my day job, being a professional skier and DiscreteClothing.com CEO, is I'm working whether on or off the chairlift. But either way I'm in the mountains and I have a smile on my face -- it's inspiring, I'm grateful," says Carr.
Brian Foster, physical therapy student
Former X Games BMX Dirt gold medalist Brian Foster blazed a legendary path through BMX, first as a racer, then as a dirt jumper, and then as a progressive park and street rider. He was smart with his money, made investments and currently owns two homes, but by age 40, the BMX contingency checks started to decline. "I realized that although I hated injury, I was interested in the process of recovery. Physical therapy seemed like an interesting option, but there was a small problem -- I would have to go back to school," says Foster. "I looked into the process I had to go through to become a physical therapist and took some classes at the local community college." Now in his third year at Rutgers University, Foster balances the demands of a full-time student alongside riding. He just released his latest video section in the Fit Bike Co. DVD "Holy Fit" in August.
Brad Gerlach, tour guide
There was a point in time when Brad Gerlach was rated No. 2 in the world and considered an obvious contender for a world title. Then he walked away from the competitive scene, preferring instead to chase waves and have fun. Along the way, he's ridden some giant surf at Jaws and Cortes Bank, but when he's not fulfilling his free-surf fetish, you may find him either coaching up-and-coming talent or working as a hired storyteller for high-end surf trips. Last year he was spotted getting on a boat in the Maldives with Mike D of the Beastie Boys and a slew of other high rollers.
Pat Laughlin, dentistry student
Several years ago, Pat "Big Daddy" Laughlin was a pro rider for SE racing with a signature bike, hosting gigs for Fuel TV and a YouTube reality show called "Daddyvision" with Scotty Cranmer. Injuries piled up, reality set in and Laughlin started planning his next move. On a whim, his dentist suggested enrolled in dentistry school. Weeks later, his life had completely changed. "I recently moved to Utah to go to school for dentistry, to open up the doors to new opportunities in my life," says Laughlin. "BMX is great and I'll always love it, but I'm 29. I went with dentistry and it's going great." Laughlin still rides at a professional level, but instead of attending competitions, he's studying up on porcelain molds to create dental fillings. Laughlin also still retains a signature BMX frame with SE Racing for 2015.
Pip Hunt, events and marketing coordinator
Realizing early on that professional freeskiing would be a tough financial bet, K2/Marmot/Backcountry.com pro Pip Hunt's ample energies overflow off the mountain as events and marketing coordinator at Crested Butte Sports Foundation, while also moonlighting as a strength and conditioning coach. "I jumped on the nonprofit train almost accidentally. I wanted to job that would challenge me mentally, allow me to use my writing skills, and be for a company or organization I genuinely cared about," says Hunt. "Now I have the opportunity to challenge myself mentally everyday, give back to the community that raised me, and ensure that kids have the same opportunities I did to ski."
Dane Beardsley, bartender
To be a professional flatland BMX rider means one must be prepared to live a modest lifestyle. For Dane Beardsley, a pro flatland rider with a signature frame from DK Bicycles, being pro meant a few distinct life changes after graduating from college in 2005. He left his home state of Michigan and moved to Athens, Georgia, a college town where rent was cheap. He started bartending in between school demos and competitions, and he spent his mornings riding BMX before going to work. "It pays the bills. It's one of the few jobs in Athens that pays OK," says Beardsley. "I have an excessive travel schedule and my job gives me flexible hours because of that."
Fred Gall, set builder
A professional skateboarder for 21 years, Fred Gall was earning up to $250,000 at the highlight of his career, with sponsors that included Habitat Skateboards and iPath. At one point he had a signature shoe with iPath that paid him $140,000 a year. He owned a Cadillac and a condo, and he partied hard. After not paying taxes for 10 years, Gall owed $70,000 to the IRS, who garnished his wages and seized his bank account. Gall gets by. He has a clothing brand called Domestics, and he works for a friend's set design company to supplement his meager skateboard earnings. Every cent of what he made during his prime is gone. "I have to earn my money these days," Gall says. "It's like I'm living backward."