Here at Boil the Ocean Affiliated Blogging and Alloy Solutions plc we care deeply for the welfare of the pros and assorted bros who are the heartbeat of the industry and indeed, the very culture itself. That professionals represent the fleshy bedrock of the whole shebang was highlighted in recent years by the industry-backed “A World Without Pros” hearts n’ minds campaign that successfully vanquished blank decks forevermore from our storefronts and ushered in a new period of peace and prosperity for hardgoods and softgoods manufacturers alike.
Which is why this Dylan Rieder interview is troubling, in the ‘extreme’ even. Rieder, once characterized as skateboarding’s “golden boy” by the second-best dude on Element* and maintainer of a face that has launched one thousand message-board posts, talks in stark terms of how he struggles to compete in The Street League and seems to have lost his zest for colorful clothing that could earn valuable photo incentive revenues. To wit:
You should be rich; you’re in Street League.
Yeah… after taxes and all it’s not that exciting. You can’t win any money out of there anyways competing against fucking robots. It’s the same top 3 people all the time taking all the money. They need to have a cash limit, like if you win 500 grand you get kicked out to help the rest of us who can’t land everything first try; maybe give us a shot at the money.
Dylan Rieder reveals that increased automation on the contest circuit has made it more difficult for him to pay his bills, similar to the plight of former auto factory workers in Detroit.
How did you end up in Street League? You’re the oddball. You’re not doing push ups, you’re not plugged into the wall. How did it happen and do you enjoy yourself?
Yeah, it’s alright. Dyrdek is my boy, Workshop and all. Maybe he just wanted another Workshop rider. He called me and asked me if I wanted to do it. Why not? It’s extra dough in my pocket. I’m normally not too fond of the whole contest circuit thing but I got a mortgage now. You got to think about the extra pennies that can help pay the gas bill. I don’t mind it. It is what it is. You show up, you bail a couple times and then you go home. I’m not in it to win it. Under the circumstances it’s not even physically possible because everybody can do everything every try and I’m not that technical of a person.
The malaise and hopelessness of not winning key Street League contest stops seems to be afflicting other areas of Dylan Rieder’s life. He describes a waning interest in branded apparel, embarking on a slippery slope toward the sort of drab and featureless government-issued garb that clothed generations of people living under strict communist regimes.
How come you’re not riding for some fantastic energy drink company?
Fuck. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to wear one of those logos on my forehead. Their shit is fucked. It’s cool for those guys; they make a lot of money. I despise logos and I think it’s contractual if you sign up for one of those things that every time you’re on your board you have to have one of their logos near or on your body; it’s kind of retarded. They make little stickers that look like your shirt tags and you’re supposed to put them on you. It’s retarded. I don’t understand the Nascar outfit. The whole racecar uniform shit just blows my mind. But all those dudes are rich now so kudos to them.
You’re the polar opposite; you wear no logos at all. Just blank tees. There has to be a happy medium, no?
If it was something cool, I’d wear it. It would be cool to ride for Voss, that fancy water that comes in the glass bottle. Maybe 5-Hour Energy drink, that thing works.
The bleak tone in Dylan Rieder’s latest interview suggests that he has resigned himself to a lower socio-economic tier, destined to be outperformed by machines programmed with contest-point maximizing algorithms and sneered at by former coworkers. The potential loss is even greater when you consider that Dylan Rieder is, similar to Matt Hensley, Jim Greco and the Muska, among the few fashion innovators of consequence in recent years. As new owner of DNA Distribution and Dylan Rieder’s employer boss, does Rob Dyrdek have a legal obligation to try and lift him out of the dumps, possibly by leading a sing-a-long? If life sucks for Dylan Rieder, is there any hope for the rest of us? Do NASCAR fans really “do it better”?
*When “Time To Shine” came out, anyway