Check out the latest from City Slicker aqualad as he interviews Rodney Torres, who talks about why he started his new company and why it is important to be NY based.
Skateboarding has an interesting duality, counter culture and a mainstream presence. Skaters have always been viewed as punk kids who are destroying someone’s property, but all the while skateboard brands flagship stores pop up everywhere.
Professional Skater Rodney Mullen summed it up best in a recent TED speech at USC “Skaters tend to be outsiders who seek a sense of belonging. But belonging on their own terms.” This sentiment is shared by fellow Professional Skater and Torro! Skateboard founder Rodney Torres, “skateboarding is a positive forward thinking movement. You’re kind of always the outcast. The skateboard has been your freedom. “
Skateboarding allows you that freedom of expression, while also being part of a larger community. The shops and brands are the flags that get flown for your particular style, they are your “team.” With that in mind Torro! is the true New York team. “It’s like having the Yankees. It’s a pride thing,” says Leo Heinert one of the Torro! team riders. “We are trying to take the industry back. Props to them (other companies) for giving us the name, but we are here to be actual New Yorkers.”
Torres who is trying to keep all aspects of the company based in New York mentions It was important to start the company because “I want to give a little shine to what goes on here. There has never been a real New York company. It could be from New Jersey, but nothing from the city.” But the philosophy goes beyond just pride. “This is basically my non profit. It’s how I contribute back to the community.”
“Skateboarding helped me grow up. I had to learn on my own. I am trying to use what I learned to help these kids grow. I encourage them to stay in school, or at least get their GED.” The approach seems to be working. “I just got a 2 year architecture degree. I want to design skate parks” says Heinert. “If it wasn’t for skateboarding, I wouldn’t have gotten into architecture.”
Go Skateboarding Day has been a movement to try to unite and celebrate the differences that go on in the community and bring it back to the basics. Coming together, hanging out and having some fun.