The resurgence of small skate brands
Blue Headey, Life Extension
Remember when the skateboard industry was tiny? It's funny to think that the term "small brand" is a way to describe a company in skateboarding in 2015, but they are slowly making a comeback following the success of brands in the late '90s and early '00s. Some look at it as a success that the more established skater-owned skateboard companies of that timeframe have grown so massive that they have been bought out by bigger investment firms, but some see it as the antitheses of what skateboarding means. And those chosen crusaders have taken it upon themselves to make skateboarding the way it was when they were kids, taking what little money they could scratch up to do exactly what their forefathers did. Blue Headey (pictured here) is part of that movement. He rides for Life Extension, a brand started by Nick Trapasso and Pat Pasquale. After stints in the skateboard industry riding for other large companies, they believed they could do it better. They are on the right track with riders like Blue, who can skate impossible rails against walls.
Brandon Perelson, Welcome
Brandon Perelson has found himself a spot on the Welcome Skateboards group of misfits. It really couldn't be a better fit. And it's no wonder that Welcome has spearheaded the small brand movement, with riders like Brandon, who are skating fast, hard and filming entire parts on cell phones that put most pros to shame.
Danny Dicola, Slave
Danny Dicola burst on to the scene with Slave Skateboards a few years ago, when the company had some backing by a larger distributor. Things have changed since then and these days, Slave is operating out of wherever owner Ben Horton calls home. Slave has always had the feel of a classic skate company, and saying they have always stayed genuine would be an understatement.
Dean Palmer, Passport
Dean Palmer rides for Australia's Passport skateboards. Passport has a team of truly talented and original Aussie rippers. Thanks to the Internet, they have become globally known in the core of skateboarding and have fans all over the world.
Jed Anderson, Call Me 917
Jed Anderson is a sponsored snowboarder who moonlights as a skateboarder when it's hot out. Whatever combination of gnar that comes from, his snowboarding and style that comes from skating in New York makes him really fun to watch on a skateboard. Jed is riding for Alex Olson's "Call Me 917" board brand. Olson has utilized the art of confusion to get kids interested in his brands, and whether you get it or not, it seems to be working.
Jimmy Lannon, Magenta
Jimmy Lannon is one of a couple of Americans riding for France's Magenta skateboards. Magenta has taken the art of skateboarding and stripped it down to its most basic, beautiful form. Focusing on finding spots in everything as well as extremely close fisheye filming, Magenta is constantly putting out entertaining videos and Jimmy is always floating through them somewhere.
Josh Hawkins, Ramshakle
Josh Hawkins was one of the casualties of re-branding at Powell-Peralta, even after years of loyalty to the brand. And that type of treatment can sour someone on a big company quickly. Luckily, Josh found himself a home at Ramshakle Skateboards. Llike most skaters riding for these smaller brands, he has other jobs and interests, so when it comes time to go skating, he can do things exactly the way he wants.
Randy Ploesser, Send Help
The Wallie king of St. Louis, Randy Ploesser has found himself a home at Midwestern company Send Help. The brainchild of legendary skateboard artist Todd Bratrud, Send Help is a place for all the twisted imagery he thinks up, and they also have one hell of an accessory line.
Ryan Lay, Welcome
Having ridden for large and small brands before, Ryan Lay knew the ins and outs of the skateboard industry. He found himself a spot on the Welcome squad and couldn't be happier. Ryan has always had a unique approach to skating and being a part of a brand that's equally creative is helping him to skate the best he ever has.
Scott Arthur Gall, Brimley
Scott Arthur is the epitome of "your favorite skateboarder's favorite skateboarder." He's constantly doing the last trick you would ever want to try on the spot he's at, and he can film a part in a week. Scott rides for Arizona's Brimley Skateboards, which is a perfect place for people like Scott, who couldn't care less about being sponsored. Thankfully though, Brimley gives Scott an outlet to show off all those hot moves.