When Adam Taylor received a skateboard for Easter in 1998, he figured he would give the sport a try. Now he's making his mark on the skate world by competing against big names like Bucky Lasek and Bob Burnquist.
In March, Taylor was signed to the Matador by Jack Link's action sports team. He placed seventh in vert at the Boston Dew Tour and fourth in the Big Air and Big Air Rail competitions at the X Games. Find out how he gets ready for competition and what his secret is to being a good vert skater.
What did you do to get noticed?
It was a goal of mine to turn pro so I traveled a lot around the U.S. and skated a lot of contests. My first sponsor was a local surf shop called Quiet Flight.
How did you feel when you joined the Matador team?
I was super-hyped: Being part of a big company like that--that supports the contests I compete in--is great.
What is the secret to being a good vert skater?
Practicing a lot and not getting frustrated. You need a lot of patience and persistence to keep going back.
Don't you get frustrated?
I get frustrated all the time.
What's your favorite trick?
540 on vert. It's a difficult trick to learn and it takes a lot of confidence to try it.
Is it scary to try new tricks?
I'm not really afraid to throw tricks. I used to be afraid but you just have to force yourself to do it. I tell myself that I can do it, or that I have to do it. It gets easier once I get the first one out of the way. Other things that help are positive thinking and picturing the trick first.
What new tricks do you want to learn?
I want to learn rotation and flip-trick combinations
What is the key to throwing combination tricks?
You have to know how to do both tricks well.
Who do you look up to the most and why?
Bob Burnquist--his style of skating is unbelievable. I would like to skate how he does. He does a lot of unusual tricks and his style makes them look cool.
You skate against Burnquist and other long-time pros. How do you get ready for competition?
The best way to prepare for skating is to skate, so I practice a lot--specifically what I will be doing at the contest. Then I make sure to get a good warm-up before the contest begins. I plan what tricks I am going to throw and tell myself I am going do it no matter what. Most of the time it doesn't go as planned though--that is one of the hardest things about contests.
What is your favorite competition?
Mega ramp events are my favorite. It's gnarly to skate the mega ramp and only a few people can do it.
What are some of your other passions?
Surfing and snowboarding.
You competed in the Ultimate Boarder Championship. Which sport was the hardest for you?
My weakest event was snowboarding. I love all the sports (surfing, snowboarding and skating) but it's hard to do everything because I am skating all the time. If I wasn't so good at skating I would be surfing and snowboarding a lot more.
What advice do you have for kids that look up to you?
Don't worry about what other people say. In the skateboarding world we are constantly told what's cool and what's not, but kids should do whatever they think is cool. Do your own thing.
Do you have any advice for kids that want to go pro?
Be realistic. Some people misinterpret the level they are at. Make sure you are ready before you go out and try to get sponsors. For me, being in a small town was hard--skateboarding was new. Now, if you're good, people notice.