How Much Do Pro Skaters Make?

By: | Tuesday, March 11, 2003 //

Posted: 2003.
Next time the parents bitch at you about wasting time on a skateboard, tell them to hold up for a second. Unless they’re transplanting hearts or running Microsoft, pro skateoarders might just be raking in more cash than their blue-collar asses. It’s big pimpin’ time in 2000 for plenty of your favorite pros, so do the math and tell mom and pop to pipe down for a second, your hardflips might have you living better than them real soon. It’s all out there for the taking, and remember, if it don’t make dollars, then you know it don’t make sense. That’s right, you don’t have to live with your parents another day, but make those decisions wisely because, never foret, you always have to live with yourself.


Its pretty hard to consider yourself a professional if you don’t have a board company backing you. If you’re not making t least $750 a month from this one then, technically, you could be suspect anyway. I’m saying $1,500-$2,000 a month guaranteed is average with $3,000 being the cap.

Wheels: For some reason, wheel companies are an attractive business venture for people with deep pockets who want to get involved in skateboarding. Doesn’t make sense to me either, but these outsiders are the ones always willing to pay the most ridiculous amounts of cash. If you get hit up, just start your asking price at like $2,000 a month and work your way down. Most likely it won’t get much lower, but be prepared to do it all over again real soon.

Trucks: You really don’t make shit off good truck companies, which is why there are so many bad ones. $250 a month is about the most your’re pulling in from a sponsor that makes trucks you want to ride and, while no amount of money is worth the grustation of a bad truck, up to $1000 a month can help you finance one badass truck or SUV or Beemer. You get the picture.

Bearings: Negotiations have never been easier: ABEC X 100 = your asking price. If this doesn’t work, keep in mind that ceramics go for top dollar on the open market.

Griptape: This is a tough one to actually get paid for, because it ususally gets lumped in with a hardware check or something. But if you hire Rob Dyrdek as your agent, he might be able to get an extra hundred tacked on to your monthly gross – the only drawback is he gets half.

Shoes: This is the mother lode right here boys and girls. It’s what every skater dreams of getting and, come to think of it, it loks like a lot of those dreams have been coming true. Don’t worry so much about your skating, get your name on a shoe that is at least six inches wide and could be used as an air-cast if necessary you’ll be in escrow in no time. No joke, you can make enough money to buy a house from royalties on a shoe that is nowhere near skateable – something to remember if you ever get one, which you probably will.

Insoles: Getting paid for insoles is coll for your local shop owner because instead of trading insoles for shoes every month, now you could actually buy them.

Clothing Hopefully you’re psyched on the gear, because for about $500 a month, your ass might end up in some questionable ads. It doesn’t always happen, but if you start to see a pattern develop with other teammates, do yourself a favor and disappear for a week during ad deadlines, you’ll sleep better at night.

Watches: Gone are the days of taking off the watch before a session for fear of scratches or breaks. If you’re hooked up, they’re virtually disposable, and if you’ve got what it takes, you’ll make enough in one year from these guys to buy yourself a Rolex.

Sunglass: I’ve heard of guys getting up to $1,000 a month for simply sporting shades. Not bad, however, NASCAR and surfing are two things that come to mind when I think about sunglasses. this sponsor can be valuable to skaters who wear prescriptions, which make sense for only those skaters, because, to this day, I can’t think of a single sport where UV rays actually altered the level of skating going on.

Action Figures If you’re hot, The Familie can get you a sweet deal for one of these babies, complete with a signing bonus and all. Although it might not look exactly like you, or even remotely like you, they do make good sourvenirs and personal keepsakes. Sucks for you when Dave Carnie gets a hold of them though. I’m saying these things takc on 30Gs annually give or take, in addition to the priceless Big Brother comics of course.

Fingerboards: You’re probably not making money off that fingerboard you saw at Toys ‘R’ Us with your name on it, but if you were, it would be way more than the royalty from the bigger, bulkier wood version you find at skate shops.

Trading Cards: While the youngsters are trying to make their bikes sound like motorcycles by jamming you into their spokes, money from your personal trading card has got you Ruff Ryding all over town on a spanking new crotch rocket.

Video Games: If you are blessed enough to make it into Tony Hawk Pro Skater, we’re talking a possible second house (you, for sure, already got the shoe deal). If it’s any of the other games, an RV might not be out of the question.

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  • felipe gustavo for pro

    now my mom can stop bitching around me

  • Brownman

    It is pretty much impossible to earn a living of skateboarding. Let us say you get this:

    Boards: 2000 $
    Wheels: 2000$
    Truck: 500 $
    Shoes: 4000$
    Clothing: 500 $
    Watches: 500$
    Sunglasses: 500$

    Most of those which are pro-skaters do not own this kind of money but let’s be fare to the author of this article. This is the money a skater earns at his peak of fame and influence in discourse of skateboarding. In total a person of this class would earn 10000 $ a month. That is 120 000 US dollar a year. A medical doctor with a family practice earned on average around 150 000 US dollar in California in 2002. If we compare this Pro-skater to a teacher, we will find that an American High School teacher have a median income of about 44 000 US dollar a year.

    A career of a pretty famous pro-skater may be between 15-20 years. The pro-skater gets his first contract when he is 20, has is fame around 25-30 and then both income and fame drops. When he is 40 years old he cannot skate anymore. The High School teacher or the Medical doctor begins to earn his money when he is between 25-30 years old and it continues until he or she is 65 years old and retire.

    There are very few pro-skaters like Tony Hawk that earns millions of dollars and can have a career in the skateboard industry after putting the board on the shelf. If you don’t own your own successful company or have a big sponsor (like Adidas or Nike) it is pretty much impossible to get rich. You can earn a good living for maybe twenty years, but what are you going to do after that?

    A friend of mine is in the Swedish skateboarding industry. He is a producer of skateboard-movies that later are sold by pretty much all skateboard-shops in Sweden. He told me that the largest Swedish Skateboard movie productions sell for between 50 000- 100 000 US dollar in one year. A few of this kind produced every year. The producer, co-editor, a few top skaters, the sponsors (if there is one) and the stores that sell the movies get pretty much all the incomes. Most skaters participating in these big skateboard production movies earn nothing. They just get their name attached final texts.

    My friend works full time outside the skateboard industry as third production assistant for a large Swedish TV-channel. If he didn’t have that job he wouldn’t be able to pay his bills. Here in Sweden, a pro-skater earns nothing. There is a few that get paid enough to make a living by international sports corporation and can make a living of it. But even they have day job or studying at a University to make days meat. My friend can pretty much name them all because most of them are his friends.

    This is the reality of the skateboarding industry. A few can live of it. Most people cannot live of it, even the professionals. Those who are into it do it on their spare time. You see similar truth in pretty much all extreme-sports.

    When I was young I was flow-sponsored by a local skate shop for a year after I got on fourth place in a junior skateboard championship. I had just begun High School. I got just boards and shoes, but other guys what was attached to the “real” team got more. They were never paid enough to make a living of it.

    They got clothes, shoes, skateboards and stuff like that. During the summers they went for different skateboard events around the country. They got their hotel and travel expenses paid for. Some of the older guys were given extra money for their rents and for covering loss of income.

    The oldest guy in the team was around twenty-two and he worked in that store during the days. He told me that you cannot live out of getting free stuff. He left the skateboard industry, studied education and now works as a middle-school teacher. I left skateboarding because I did not need it anymore and had other hobbies. I was just happy that someone gave me (I was like 15-16 years old) free skateboards for doing a few championships which I all placed badly in. This was more than 10 years ago. Back then you got respect if you did Crooked Grinds, 180 kick-flips and board slides on fairly high rails.

    The tricks have become more advanced but I the working terms for professional skateboarders is still lousy.

  • vini

    SKate 4 FUN !!!!! that’s all

  • J.Thompson

    Hey “Brownman” sounds like you gave up on skateboarding man! (meaning you forgot what it’s all about!? ..having fun;being creative) idk dude. But Dude SKATEBOARDING IS A LIFE STYLE. Things may nOt be working out fOr you or who ever with skateboarding at the time but remember do it for fun! Enjoi the ride. and most of allNever give up.. Commit or quit but if you start skating in the first place it’s most likely cause of the love you have for it.. Everybody has it when they skate . Old or young we all are share the same PASION ! Haha and it sounds like yeah you did your research with making money from sponsors and your right! And times have changed it’s a new generation and skateboarding is beig taking to a whole ne level with all the competion out there  but if you just skate your hardest and are full down for the thrill and life style skateboarding brings then YOU CAN make it somewhere in life! And I know things don’t always work out for the better. Whether if it’s moving couch to couch,living in your car for a while, or Bearly making that rent money you and your homie split each month!.. don’t give in, stay dedicated STAY GOLD! …Good things come to those who wait!, STAY TRUE, And are humble with each and every thing they recieve (from a little company hooking you up! to your local shop and etc.. Sponsors.) It’s all on you AND THE Decisions you make! Choose wisely.-like the writer person said! Haha And for some people SKATEBOARDING IS NOT FOR EVERYONE (they can grow out of it or just give up cause there “getting no where with skateboarding”… But You love it right?!…but can you deal/handle with the challeanges it brings?! Everyone goes through there own shit and it’s just the matter if you can adapt to the change and stay focused.BUT DON’T FORGET why you started skateboarding in the first place:) &nothing is impossible if you just believe & put your mind to it.

  • Help Kids Stay In School

    I am frustrated after reading your website. Considering that very few kids grow up to be able to cut it in the pro skateboarding profession, I think that you could benefit from encouraging students to stay in school while becoming awesome skateboarders on the side. There is no reason that a student should not be able to attend school and make great grades, and spend every moment after school and on weekends perfecting their sport. Students who have truancy issues are more likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol, criminal activity, and to be less successful at other endeavors throughout their life. There are always a few who excel at their favorite sport, but there are many more who never make the cut. Please encourage kids to stay in school and be the best skater ever, all at the same time!

  • life is good

    good on ya J.T. DO IT CAUSE YOU @#^&*%$ LOVE IT, and it is fun and finding a new spot is like finding a treasure and it keeps kids out of trouble…well, at least off ADD pills and that feeling when you learn a new trick and and and it is just rad. go shred!!

  • Smok3scr33n

    @help kids stay in school. You might not have been the brightest kid but going pro isn’t everything. You can always make a living and keep skating. Just make time for yourself or the homies and shred. And if you lack in skills and steez keep practicing that is what makes it happen. Not going to school trying new things adapting to environments using your brain for different elements flick a photo, film, learn to realize that book only gets you so far. Yes school is good but so is applying yourself. Skateboarding is a science that takes time to master. Something like a monk you don’t just become a monk. It’s a way of life much like skateboarding. It might be getting to technical but don’t give up I’m 25 I skateboard and I make a living from the Army. Go to school yes but follow your dreams you only live once in this life.

  • Cody

    i agree with J. Thompson if your good enough you can make a living on skateboarding. i got into it cuz it looked fun and now i kno its the best thing for me. wether i make a living off it or not. i’d like to make a living off it cuz that’d be the best job ever. and like Smok3scr33n said you dont have to make a living off it, you can do other stuff too but even if you get 500 a month for a truck sponser its helping pay rent so it helps. do it cuz you love it. it kept me from going down the wrong path. plus i got anger issues and it kept me from hurting somebody and landing a trick is the most amazing feeling ever. but kids should stay in skool and have a back up plan incase they dont go pro. skate hard every day cuz it just mite be your last :))

  • Mike


  • proskate 34

    Skateing is awsonme

  • wildchild

    J.T. your totally right!
    yesterday I blasted my ass against the ground in skatepark, so i cant normally sit on my chair now. and thats nothin, it is our daily thing to get thru. everyone should get it, that we live WITH board, not for getting something from it. if we get, that’s great, but that’s just addon, nothing more, it wont make youre love to a board bigger.
    so guys, get hard asses and stay on board 4ever!

  • Empower Network Scam

    Wonderful site. Plenty of helpful information here. I am sending it to some buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks for your sweat!

  • JonnyNilsen

    Great web site. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you to your effort!

  • Jacob, Hughes.

    A shoe sponsor pays alot of money. Nike SB pays Paul, Rodriguez $200,000 a month not counting his other 14 sponsors, competitions, or product sales. He is making around $600,000 a month total and 10 million a year.

  • Yessy

    Hey, Just wanted to let you know that what you are doing is asweome. I myself am a former sk8er. I skated from the time I was 12 till i turned 18. Who knows why i stopped. My son who is seven decided he wanted to try skateboarding. So instead of buying some cheap boad at Wal-Mart, I got hima good one and me one also. I don’t want him to get the wrong idea about skaters and there isn’t a whole lot of 7 yearold skaters around here. So I agreed to be his skate So I myself am having to relearn some tricks and get back inshape. I was doing some research and ran across you site here and just thought it was asweome that there is another sk8 dad out there. Two thumbs up to you

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  • Mark

    Reading through the comments, I see that some people have an understanding of what skating is really about, FUN! I got my first board (toys r us special) when I was 7, That was 27 years ago… (do the math, I’m 34 now) I skated constantly when I was younger, learning every trick, jumping every gap, every set of stairs, walking off rolled and sprained ankles, and just having a blast skating every day. I went through a couple of sponsorships

  • Mark

    Reading through the comments, I see that some people have an understanding of what skating is really about, FUN! I got my first board (toys r us special) when I was 7, That was 27 years ago… (do the math, I’m 34 now) I skated constantly when I was younger, learning every trick, jumping every gap, every set of stairs, walking off rolled and sprained ankles, and just having a blast skating every day. I went through a couple of sponsorships with local shops over those years from 14-18, then when the last shop closed, I started to slow down. I fell off the skating band wagon, had to work a 9-5 job, and picked up music as a hobby, all the time I had skating in the back of my mind. Years later, I pulled my board out of the closet and said “I wonder if I still got it?” Sure enough, I was rusty, out of shape and downright terrible. Over the years I started skating more and more getting better and better. In the interum, I got married, bought a house and had a son. My son is 3 now, and has an obsession with my skateboards, we got him a little darkstar complete (one of the mini ones) and he’s super excited about it. I see the glimmer in his eye every time he plays with it or watches a skate video with me. I know I’m too old to go pro, but that’s not why I still skate, its a creative outlet for me, and a way to just escape reality for a few hours when I get the chance to ride. I know when my son is ready to hit the park or street with me, ill be there to support him 150%. If its something he wants to do, then I will absolutly support him. I don’t. Care if he goes pro or not, as long as he’s doing it for the fun of the sport, that’s all that matters. Skateboarding is not a crime, its a way of life

  • adam

    Yeah, it is possible to make a living off of. On average though, your living would be driving a honda civic (at best) in a crowded single bedroom apartment, with free kicks and boards to keep you saving some money. There are very few skaters out there who make it big enough to be considered rich (p rod, sheckler, ortiz, tony, rob, koston) and with the growing competition/recent skateboard boom, it’s just going to get harder. Kids these days at the age of 10 are killing it shutting down skate parks, it’s ridiculous.

    Now I don’t mean to say give up on skating, hell no skate every single chance you get! Build yourself a mini and a box to skate when it rains, make friends with someone who works at a factory and bring your ramps there, skate indoor universities, down town spots, live the skate life! It’s so much fun, and it’ll never get old. But as far as paying the bills go, you’re best bet is to stay in school and find something you can do as a safety net to pay bills. Unless if you’re making money at a young age (through sponsors and winning some comps) and you know you can make a living off of it, I wouldn’t recommend dropping out of school for skating.

    Regardless, and I know we all feel the same, when ever you drive to work or school, keep lookin out for spots. Stay close with your skate buddies and filmers, never stop pushing homie.

  • Emosh

    Hi. im 14 and love skateboarding ive been at it for 2 years now. i love the amazing inspiring comments on here. but i hate how people take the time to comment to say that i will never make lots of money. YOU CAN MAKE THE SKATING LIFE IF YOU COMMIT. to me, it would be awesome to be a roady. hangin with my homies. just as long as i can skate. it means everything to me. when i get sponsored, i’ll still go out and skate everyday. thanks for this website:]

    • commit

      you need to skate as soon as you wake up and skate until you wanna sleep.. everyday.. for 10 years… with talent you will get there!

  • David


  • gustavo

    your gay

  • almcg2

    So the real issue is … how many people actually make those big skating bucks compared to how many end up at or under the poverty limit? If there are thousands of skaters making thousands a month then wow…. I’m really impressed. My guess would be that there may be a few hundred skaters making a decent living wage. I don’t think non-believing parents are against skaters…. most likely they would like to know their kids can support themselves and not end up skateboarding, food stamp using, welfare money spending, bong huffing, losers. Not that all skaters end up that way…..just that the odds are higher they will go down in flames than up in independence and good livin…

    • john

      That ain’t what skating’s about it is about expressing yourself and making yourself happy. Many skaters get supporting jobs to help them along, you’re just appealing to the ‘skating is a bad influence and it is not useful’ stereotype, when it is not necessarily a question of ‘are they going to make money off it’ most likely no, even if they don’t if it makes them happy then go for it, not all skaters end up as good for nothing, drug abusing dirtbags.

      • Roy Galvan

        but most do! just visit the local skate park

  • david s

    - the cost of ingerys they sustan during runs.

    ps: ingures to the body why bording

  • Jayden

    Tony hawk is like 50+ and he still skates so

  • abtbearings

    hey,I really be fond of skating,This sport is exciting and good for our health.We shoud exercise it as much as we can .Besides,you should need a vechile when you go outside.and the bearing for it is so important that you can not ignore .So I recommed the Aobote bearing for it .Welcome to it!

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  • troy

    lets not forget about compitetions they pay big money depending on how big they are and can help you get more sponsors