Turning pro is quite possibly one of the biggest accomplishments in skating and definitely the biggest sign to tell someone "you made it" in skateboarding. It can be a very touchy subject because there are multiple viewpoints: the skater's, the board sponsor (forget anything shoe-related, board companies are where the real act of turning someone pro belongs), the board sponsor's marketing management, and the general public like us. Then you have to take into account the experience or years a skater's put into a company, his loyalty to that company, his actual level of skating and progression, his ability to produce footage at a professional level, and of course his marketability to help the company profit. The list intertwines and extends on for a while, but the basic idea is there: it's not so simple anymore to turn someone pro.
I've already gone over my top 5 skaters that have been putting in plenty of work but have been slept on in terms of going pro, not including Felipe of course now that he has finally been given the nod from Plan B. (That really is quite the hard-working-skater story if there ever was one.)
But there are some companies that have turned some guys pro WAY too soon. Whether it's just because they have some extreme marketability or the company just needs a new pro model on the shop shelves, there are a few guys in the industry that could/should arguably still be am. This week I'll give my Top 5 guys that went pro too soon.
Before that, I feel like I should mention two dudes: Riley Hawk and Dakota Servold. Both are super sick and shred extremely hard, don't get me wrong, but there's still a feeling that they haven't been around too long. It could just be my personal perspective and how I've uncovered their skating, but they both still feel a tad young in the industry. Riley, I've been hyped on since his Shep Dawgs parts and he is one of skateboarding's best footage machines right now, but he really hasn't seemed to be on Baker very long. It could also be a bit overwhelming after he won Year's Best Am on his birthday and turned pro that very same day, but I'd say it's still worth bringing up. Dakota, I never saw before WTF, which was a little over a year and a half ago. Even though he's been on an absolute tear since then, it still feels somewhat early in the scheme of things for Foundation to step him up, especially with other dudes like Ryan Spencer also killing it. Anyway, I wouldn't necessarily mind if those two were still am. But thinking of the Top 5 I have in mind for this week, I would gladly turn Riley and Dakota pro today over those 5.