|The World Cup Skateboarding website|
You know about the WCS right? They have been here almost since the dawn of skateboarding and in 2011, in spite of a worldwide financial crisis that have seen all budgets dwindle everywhere, they are stronger than ever. Skaters sometimes think it is easy to organize a series of contest everywhere in the world. They think the guys at WCS probably have the best job on earth… And we will not lie… That’s true, you know…. If we do a survey right now and ask “would you work at the WCS?”, I’m sure 99% would say “Yes!”. But what people don’t know is all the logistics that is necessary in the background to organize such contests, the preparation, months, even years in advance, the contracts negotiation, the purse, the headache,
|The Dew Tour in Las Vegas. Photo Ortiz -WCS|
And Danielle Bostick is one of the WCS crew that is working backstage. Outside of the pros and organizers, people don’t know her. She is not in the headlights, not on the podium, not on the nice pix in Facebook, but without her, the WCS would probably be more difficult to manage. So, why interviewing Danielle Bostick and not Don, the big boss of the organization? Well, that interview is part of the Girl’s series that I have been running on isTia.Tv for the whole month
of October, so it made sense that I asked Danielle and not Don… BTW, thanks Don for relinquishing on this one…
The girl’s month is over, but, there was so much things to say that I still have a lot of interviews to publish. Danielle’s is one of them.
Before I met Danielle for the interview, I had a misconception because the sentiments that the girls have towards the industry is that nobody loves them and that the industry just let them down all those years. The litany goes: the industry don’t offer purses as big for girls as for men, there is not enough contest, girls are not asked to participate, nobody listen to them…. Don’t get me wrong, all of this is true but Danielle’s answers seem not to go as far as the girls are saying. Especially in the case of the WCS who always gave full support to the girls all those years…
isTia.Tv: Tell me about the NSA and what happened to it? Danielle Bostick, WCS: The National Skateboard Association (NSA) was started by Frank Hawk, Tony Hawk's father. Nancy, Tony's mom was a great part of it as well. They worked together much like Don (Bostick) and I do still today. NSA was actually the same as you would think of World Cup Skateboarding (WCS) but looking at it through 20 years of growth to the future. NSA wasn't international but it would have been had it continued on. NSA stopped due to financial problems. The skateboard industry went into very down times, sales were low and the NSA was supported by the industry, they could no longer afford to keep it going.
isTia.Tv: What is the WCS?Danielle Bostick, WCS: WCS is World Cup Skateboarding. It's a global series that has been going for close to 20 years. WCS is an all inclusive organization for the growth of skateboarding through contests. WCS includes vert, street, bowls, girls and guys. There are a couple things we don't get into such as slalom and downhill or luge.
|Next 2012 Bowl-A-Rama contest down under with WCS. The first one to recognize |
all the skaters wins something big.
isTia.Tv: When was it born? Danielle Bostick, WCS: WCS started in 1993.
isTia.Tv: Who are the founders? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Don Bostick is the founder; I was at his side in total support.
isTia.Tv: Why did you start WCS? Danielle Bostick, WCS: When NSA ended, WCS started almost in the same week. Hardly a break was taken. WCS was started because an organization needed to be in place. It was started by Don and I because of Don's passion for skateboarding and the contest side is such a great scene. It was then and it is now.
isTia.Tv: What was the first WCS contests? Danielle Bostick, WCS: The first WCS contest was Slam City Jam 1994. Colin McKay won vert and Kareem Campbell won street. Girls vert was added in 1999 and Jen O'Brien won that. Girls street was added in 1998 and Elissa Steamer won that. Just to mention, Bob Burnquist's first exposure was Slam City Jam, the second year, by winning Vert.
isTia.Tv: When you started, the vast majority of skaters where not into contest. Lots of them were thinking that a real skater has to have street credibility and contests were considered lame. How far would that go? For example did you invite skaters that would not come? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Talking back in the beginning days of WCS, the scene was large. Everyone did come. However a lot complained, but they were there. Slam City Jam and Munster,Germany were huge. Munster was known as the World Championships for 24 years and it was very valid as all countries were there and all big names were there. But like Slam, Munster's time ran out. These two contests had run long enough and skaters became very critical again. It was time for a change.
|The Cleveland Street Course of World Cup Skateboarding in 2000|
|Lizzie Armanto At Vans 2011 - 2010 and 2011 # 1 WCS Girls World Ranking|
isTia.Tv: Was there someone who always refused to participate? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Sure, there were some that chose not to be involved, but seriously, most have participated along the way, especially by now, 2011, with XGames, Dew Tour - the valid big money events. (Valid? Yes, because they have long history and commitment to skateboarding and have proven they're not just hit and run.) The media events really interested them as it helped their personal life. Some were now buying houses and cars and the others wanted that lifestyle too. To obtain it by skateboarding was the dream and it became reachable. Networks brought this to skateboarding.
|Pedro Barros # 1 WCS World Bowl Rankings 2011. Photo Lee Leal Embassy Skateboards|
isTia.Tv: Do you still have skaters that refuse to participate? Danielle Bostick, WCS: We do now. Now we have skaters whose income has afforded that they don't need to travel. They also have homes and families and want to stay near. They have other income from this exposure via networks and these jobs can keep them more near home as well.
isTia.Tv: Tell me about the skaters boycott of 96? What happened? Danielle Bostick, WCS: That was Munster, Germany. The street skaters didn't like the street course and some riled the others and it became a mess of conflict. Was I in support of what they were doing? I understood. However, there were a lot of skaters that wanted to skate and couldn't due to pressure from the others. I didn't agree with that. The contest went on without the ones that stood strongest. Did it do any good?
|Julie Kindstrand at Butler's pool. Photo Brandon Young. WCS Winner 2009|
isTia.Tv: How do you invite the skaters? (pre-qualifications? Invite only?) Danielle Bostick, WCS: All of the above. Each event has its own characteristics. An overall process is that the skater gets more invites, more pre qualifications, more benefits ... by his ranking history. If you want the best (contest) skaters, then you try to get the top proven skaters there and the way to prove that is by finishes (or rankings). The thing that makes this cloudy is that everyone wants the media stars. Typically, and this will sound rude but bare with me .... Typically a media star was accustomed to doing one trick and having all day long to complete it as a photographer captured the success and that is what was published. For that skater to come into a
|Austin Poynter, WCS winner of the Vans Protec Amateur Combi Pool Party|
isTia.Tv: I’ve read a lot of pro skaters have problems with visas… Is the US immigration too tough? How do you help them coming to the US? Danielle Bostick, WCS: WCS provides VISA letters to IMS through a lawyer. We have done this for the past 15 years or more. We do this for any skater and not just for a WCS event.
isTia.Tv: How do you differentiate between a Pro and an Amateur? Danielle Bostick, WCS: If you compete in a WCS pro event and your name gets into the rankings, you are Pro. That simple. No grey area. One thing that can be done is you can skate and keep your Am status if pre arranged. If you finish in the money and you have entered as an Am, you cannot accept the winnings. This is the choice of the skater and/or the company he skates for. This choice is not available for all events. You can be a media pro getting paid for videos, etc. but you're not recognized as a contest pro until you enter. Like I mentioned before, there's different types of skaters. The industry has always had trouble keeping this simple. Some would say, "Until you have a deck, you're not Pro". But yet an Am could have a deck and not be pro. mmmm. Or a top pro skater, especially vert, competing and winning who doesn't have a deck wouldn't be pro? Really? By WCS, as a contest skater, if you compete in a Pro WCS event, you are pro.
isTia.Tv: When is someone considered a Master? Danielle Bostick, WCS: 40 years old... You're a Master....
isTia.Tv: Is the WCS only for PROS (and Masters?) Danielle Bostick, WCS: Pro is a strong focus but Ams are definitely involved in our schedule. WCS does the Combi Am for Vans and our North American Concrete Bowl series has Am and also for the ladies.
isTia.Tv: Tell me about the Pro-Tec Pool party. Who got the idea to do it? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Basically this was a Vans concept with contributions via WCS and then it has evolved with time. WCS has done this event since the beginning and through to date. The Pro Tec Pool Party is 7 or 8 years old now. I think the first one was in 2005. And just to note, the girls have always been involved in this event.
isTia.Tv: Why did you change the Girls’s part of the Pro-Tec from March to November? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Vans and WCS wanted the Girls to have their own. It was a super smart move as both events are so successful that this helped some crowded conditions. The Girls don't need a feeling of riding on someone else's coat tails. They have a great scene and this makes them shine. It's a show case of talent. A great event. A compliment to the Girls.
isTia.Tv: Is the WCS organizing mainly bowl-vert contests or street contests? Danielle Bostick, WCS: We like to remain all inclusive. We have focused on the Concrete Bowl Series. It's fresh and exciting. It also took us a bit out of the street politics. WCS loves it all and what XGames and Dew Tour are doing with street and bowl (and now concrete) is super. We love that whole scene.
isTia.Tv: When the WCS was founded, there was not a lot of bowl-vert, so did you start with street and slowly changed to bowl-vert? Or did you do bowl-vert contests from the beginning? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Bowl as been around from the beginning. Years ago we did a (wood) bowl event at the Prague event. It rained that year so it was the logical choice as their bowl was inside. From that time (and before) to now, bowl has always been there.
isTia.Tv: What is the difference between WCS and Maloof and Street League? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Loaded and dangerous question. WCS has history, we didn't follow the money through the door, I think we brought it. WCS is the one that took the chance on networks and brought in all this attention. WCS is the one that brought this to the pros of yesterday and today and will include tomorrow. We don't know how long Maloof will last or what their commitment is. As far as Street League, we love Rob Dyrdek and his drive to make his dream happen. It's a great opportunity for the skaters. Rob's event format has been like no other, along with how the scoring is done, totally different from WCS.
|The split World Cup Skateboarding - Maloof Money up. July 28, 2011|
isTia.Tv: Is there a competition between the WCS, Street League, Maloof or is it that each organization has a different target and can co-exist without problem? Danielle Bostick, WCS: WCS has no problem coexisting in growing skateboarding. We firmly believe there should be connections to make one huge scene yet each holding individuality. If all were the same, it would be dry and boring. If we connected in some way, it could be amazing. The connection is skateboarding, right? What we run into is the "I'm bigger than you are" frame of mind and that is so ridiculous. I'm not including everyone in this, I'm just saying 1 out of 3 have an ego problem rather than a love for skateboarding.
isTia.Tv: What organization is the oldest organization still doing contests? Danielle Bostick, WCS: WCS. We have not missed a year since our beginning which is now 20+ years as WCS/NSA.
isTia.Tv: Have you helped other organization start with their contests? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Sure, of course. We always will. There's a well known event that we worked with in their beginning years. I did publicity to get the companies and pros there from our California office. We reserved and didn't do conflict of dates in respect. I used to calculate their points and such and we were in total support. Now it's big and I think maybe they have forgotten that we helped, but that's ok. It was a long time ago. We've had fun experiences helping others. I remember when the All Girl Skate Jam was at Graffix warehouse and a crew of us (NSA in those days) stopped by to see how her event was going. She had a great scene about to launch but she needed an announcer and judges and all that. We stayed and worked for her (au gratis) and had one of the funnest days. We're all good friends (still) and it's super cool to see what Patty has done. To sum that up, it's a general support of skateboarding and it's growth rather than an "I'm bigger than you"
|Max Verohanitra at the Orange Cup In Marseille. The French stop of the WCS|
isTia.Tv: is it still important to be legit to start in the skateboarding industry, or is it so mainstream that anybody with a good business plan and a good bank account can make it? Danielle Bostick, WCS: A good business plan and a good bank account can do this, but they have to relinquish some of their need for power and popularity to the people that will help them in the right direction. If the money comes in and starts strong arming everyone in the industry, they're probably not going to be around very long. That frame of mind gets very expensive. There's some powerfully passionate people doing events (that are part of the industry) and I just think they deserve some respect and I don't think in this industry the account necessarily brings you success in this world we work in.
isTia.Tv: Who is working at WCS and what are they doing?
- Danielle Bostick, WCS: Dave Duncan since the beginning of time and through the NSA together, including today. He is the voice of skateboarding and absolutely family to us.
- Sasha Steinhorst as Head Judge and Contest Director on some international events especially. Family also, they all are.
- Jen Kotter as Scoring and Registration and soon to be Business Manager on international events. 10 years plus. A true backbone of what drives a contest behind the scenes.
- We have a judge's pool that is really extensive globally. Most immediate judges are Charlie Wilkins, Matt Milligan, Ronnie Bertino, Owen Neider and so many. It's awful to do a list as some are left of by accident and in that there are so many globally that we have worked with for years out of Germany, Prague, England, Australia, Asia and on and on. People with WCS pretty much keep the connection.
isTia.Tv: What is / was your role at WCS? Danielle Bostick, WCS: My role has become paperwork. Contracts, budgets, accounting (with others) while at the office.
|Don and Danielle Bostick in front of the ramp at Oi Vert Jam - Rio de Janeiro|
Danielle Bostick, WCS: I am far from stopping work. I just don't travel as much anymore. Some of the reason for not traveling is budget. Contests are boasting jumbo purses but trust me, the budgets can be very tight in the background. I've seen promoters put another $20,000 spontaneously to the purse and then tell the staff they don't have enough budgets for the hotel, things like that. These issues need attention at times and that can become my job.
isTia.Tv: How are the skaters ranked?
Danielle Bostick, WCS: By points which accumulate to how they finish in an event. 100 points for first place, 900 for second and so on. In 2011 we did 9 street events and the skater's 5 top scores were used to tally their year end ranking. For the Girls in 2011, we did 5 street events and their top 3 scores were used. Not all events are in the point system. The Dew Tour likes to maintain their own rankings and finish with a year end Dew Tour Champion.
|The WCS Crew in China for the Asia Games|
Danielle Bostick, WCS: I was never perceived as a girl organizing a skateboard contest until more so recently. It's always been Don and the guys doing it, and it really actually has been. Lately I've been asked more relevant questions about organizing and the mechanics of WCS but it's still Don and the guys doing it. I meet a lot of people that want my job but I'm not sure too many realize what it really is.
isTia.Tv: When did you start seeing girls on the contests? Danielle Bostick, WCS: I've always seen girls in the contests. Back to Slam City Jam when Cara Beth skated with the guys in vert or Elisa Steamer with the guys. But now girls have their own events and they're included in the bigger events also. It's too bad we've seen a drop via some of these and we could talk all day long as to why. Is it budget or are the girls not bringing the interest one might think? We love the girls in the bowl, I feel it show cases them best but then you have to take notice of how the girls are doing in street, amazing!
|Steve Caballero and Dave Duncan|
isTia.Tv: When did you start doing separate contests for girls? (Like the Pro-Tec) Danielle Bostick, WCS: This has been going on for a long time. The change started about 2004 in Australia at the Globe World Cup. Elissa was upset because she couldn't skate with the guys. This was told to her because this event had a category for the girls, she just didn't want to skate with them. This began the change.
isTia.Tv: What are the contests only for girls and what are the contests with both girls and boys? Danielle Bostick, WCS: The Combi (Pro Tec) for the girls is now in its second year. Other than that, on the WCS calendar, the events for girls are part of a full series event, meaning all skaters.
isTia.Tv: Why do you think mostly all girls bowl-vert contests for girls were cancelled in 2010? Danielle Bostick, WCS: I talked about this above. It's probably budget. Women have a ways to go yet for a few reasons. And you see this in other walks of life as well. Girls had 4 bowl events on the WCS schedule and 5 street events.
isTia.Tv: Are there less girls into bowl-vert in 2010 that the previous years? Danielle Bostick, WCS: There's more. And they're getting younger (same as for guys).
|Allysha Bergado, winner of the WCS Combi Pool Party 2011|
isTia.Tv: Hasn’t the level of girls constantly progressed? (or is it that you feel that the girl’s level is not up to the boys?) Danielle Bostick, WCS: The main progression is in street and bowl. I'm sorry to say that I haven't seen much vert lately.
isTia.Tv: Should there be more bowl-vert contests for girls? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Yes. And I think it's going that direction. Girls need budget to travel and attend though.
isTia.Tv: Do you think girls are not given the coverage they deserve? Danielle Bostick, WCS: I think contests are not given the coverage they deserve and certainly not the girls.
isTia.Tv: What would change if more girls were skateboarding? Danielle Bostick, WCS: One feeds the other. Growth gets the attention and attention brings the interest, therefor sponsor support, and affording the girls to travel and compete.
isTia.Tv: Do skater girls have to be tomboys? Danielle Bostick, WCS: No, of course not. It's all a personal choice of style. If a girl wears boys shorts and no lip gloss but skates the winning run, she'll get that score. If she's wearing a cutey tank top and lip gloss and falls all the time, that what her score will reflect, the falls. I'm just saying, "no", it's her style of choice. I do see a lot of girlie stuff on course these days though and I think it's super cute.
isTia.Tv: How do you see groups like The Alliance and what are their footsteps on skateboarding? Does that help the girls to have girl’s only skateboard organization? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Yes, the girls absolutely should have a voice through an organization. They have to be careful though. Unfortunately girls will be seen as someone with PMS or a flat out bitch if they complain in a certain tone or manner. It's all in their presentation. I feel their boycott at the XGames hurt them. Sure they got the purse raised but now they're out. All of it was too high pitched. They don't agree with me and that's ok. It's a mute point now. I just want them to present theirself professionally and I want them to be heard. We fight for them all the time. I'm not sure they fully realize this.
isTia.Tv: Are you working with some of those girls organizations? If yes, which one? What do you do? If no, plans for the future (to work with Girl’s riders organization?)? Danielle Bostick, WCS: We work with all girls but not by organization. If they come to us as one, we respond. But we reach out to a list of skaters (not by organization). There is a lot of direct work with Mimi for sure. She's very pro active and calls Don and Don relies on her too. Duncan skates with her and a lot of business is taken care of in those sessions. It's a constant communication at all times, one and one, but also by group.
isTia.Tv: Is there really a future for girls in skateboarding (in general)? Is there a future for a girl in skateboarding (To be a pro and to make enough money to live? Danielle Bostick, WCS: Sometimes I feel this is moving too slow. I think the bowl events will accelerate them best because it's so exciting to watch. I don't know why if a company sells girls products that they don't support the girls out there skating in their clothing, shoes, etc. They should show more support and help these girls with travel and hotel and such. They should create a team and get them out there, not just one girl.
isTia.Tv: if you were about to start all other, would you do it again? What would you do differently? Danielle Bostick, WCS: I would probably work in NASCAR. But really, I wouldn't have fought with so many. I would have let more roll off my back. I would have turned the other cheek more often.
Thanks so much Danielle and next time, we'll meet around a Chardonnay, not around a bunch of politically loaded questions...