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Skateboarding News

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The million dollar man…

Walk the Dinosaur

Thirty five years ago I was belonging to the FFSS (French Federation of Surfing and Skateboarding) which had very strict rules about the sport. For example, you couldn’t make a dime out of skateboarding or you would be expelled from the Federation. Yeah, I know: kinda retard! But, we had a good life: in winters, we were watching the raindrops and in summers we were either participating in contests, demos, tours, TV sets or we were touring all of Europe… Of course, as pro skateboarders, we had creative way to make money out of the sport, by being hired as cast members, actors, organizers, technicians, speakers, journalists, even photographers, anything but professional skateboarders… Even like this, believe me, we wouldn’t make a lot of money out of skateboarding, just enough to pay the (small) rent and buy a couple of Big Macs. Not a big deal.

Xavier Lannes at Beton Hurlant skate park in 1978,
making a few bucks out of skateboarding
Now, why is it coming out as a surprise that Joe Maloof has offered a $1,000,000 bonus to the first competitor to win four consecutive Maloof Money Cup titles?

Beyond the highest and most insane prize in skateboarding history ever lies an even biggest battle: the apparent faceoff between Maloof Money Cup big shot Joe Maloof and Street League big guy Rob Dyrdek. And the big question is: is this a substantial monetary gesture directed at one particular professional skater?

Tempted by the fruit of another

There is a lot of speculation out there, but when Joe Maloof announced the Platinum Circuit and offering a $1,000,000 bonus to the winner of four consecutive Maloof Money Cup street contests, everybody figured out he’s just trying to persuade Chris Cole (who’s already won three straight Cups and a total of $300,000) to ride next year’s Maloof. That sounds like a done deal for Chris Cole except that Cole’s already signed over his contest prowess to Dyrdek’s Street League; so contractually he must exclusively play with Street League. That means no Maloof Money Cup for next year and no chance to get the $1 million bonus.

Of course, we don’t know the details of the contract between Rob and Chris: could it be possible that Chris Cole break his Street League contract to go for that $1M next year? Is there even a penalty for breaking that kind of contract? Would breaking the contract even be ethical? Is it worth breaking a contract between fellow skateboarders to go for a businessman who owns the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and the Sacramento Kings? A lot of questions, not too many answers…

From another perspective, the million dollar question is not whether Chris Cole will secede from Street League to go skate Maloof but, will Dyrdek allow Cole to go after the biggest prize in skate history? Responding to Maloof’s Platinum Circuit announcement, Dyrdek said, “It's so crazy. I'm just so curious – is that a singular ploy to get Chris Cole?”

Joe Maloof said that at the time he came up with the idea of the bonus, he wasn't aware that Cole would be bound to the Street League. Is there someone out there believing this?

Chris Cole in 2010 making a million bucks out of skateboarding
"I don't know if he'd be able to skate in ours, but if wants to, he's welcome," Joe said. "If he decides not to skate, OK, no problem, someone will start a new streak. Basically, somebody's going to win it."

Skateboard is a booming business

After the New York competition, the Maloof Cup was contacted by 27 cities that want to host future Maloof Money Cups, including Chicago; Portland, Ore.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Atlanta. Joe Maloof said the he'd “like to stage at least four competitions next year in the United States, as well as a previously announced contest in South Africa”.

The move will also go from temporary street courses to permanent street courses. Organizers have had to tear out the course the last three years at the Orange County Fairgrounds. After that Joe said that "I'm never tearing it down again".

Street League will offer nearly $400,000 in prize money at each of the three stops beginning with Glendale, Ariz. on Aug. 28 and followed by Ontario, Calif. on Sept. 11 and Las Vegas on Sept. 25. Dyrdek said first place will be worth $150,000.

Street League has signed 24 skaters, including Cole, Paul Rodriguez — who won the first Maloof Money Cup — Ryan Sheckler, Sean Malto and Torey Pudwill. Malto was third at last weekend's Maloof Money Cup and Pudwill was fourth.

The Maloof Money Cups give $100,000 to the street winner and $75,000 to the winner of the vert competition.

Hummm, after this whirlwind of numbers is making me lose my head, a few bucks versus a million dollars, sometimes; this makes me think I was definitely born during the wrong decade…

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Tuesday, August 24, 2010 


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