What Does Amateur Mean in Skateboarding: Unleashing New Pros

Explore the evolving definition of amateur in skateboarding. Get the inside scoop on 'super ams' changing the game.

Have you ever heard about the thrilling drama of skateboarding’s amateur vs. professional debate? The buzzing skatepark arenas, the clack of skateboard wheels, and the adrenaline-fueled spectators form an aesthetic backdrop to this multi-layered conversation. Astoundingly, the line between amateurs and pros in skateboarding often seems as wavering and unpredictable as the rad skate tricks they perform.

What does amateur mean? In skateboarding, an amateur traditionally denotes a skater who hasn’t made a living off skateboarding.

How does an amateur surpass a professional?

Running parallel with their grip-taped skateboards and the slick asphalt below, a unique narrative unfolds in the skateboarding world. Despite exemplifying skills that often overshadow established professionals, amateurs still wrestle for recognition. The tech-deck wizardry of many amateurs regularly outshines the flicks and flips of seasoned pros.

Image of a skateboarder sitting in a park while holding his skateboard.
Image of a skateboarder sitting in a park while holding his skateboard.

They charge audacious challenges, jumping massive stair sets and nailing insane combos like a walk in the park, leaving spectators in awe and wondering: Why aren’t these talented tricksters turned pros? A professional skater brands value as a marketable asset—sort of a “Tony Hawk effect,” if you will.

But let’s be honest: not all skill-laden amateurs have the market appeal of a 90s video game icon. Hence, many of today’s breathtakingly proficient amateurs might never see their names on a skateboard deck, with brands preferring swaggy styles and consumer-engaging personalities above raw skill.

My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

What does amateur mean in skateboarding: unleashing new pros | 61vn95mf7ql. Ac sl1184 | skateboard salad
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

I had my board stolen a few years ago and was forced to quickly replace it with a complete. I got one with an Enjoi deck and loved it so much that I still buy the Whitey Panda deck each time I need a new deck. This complete with budget-friendly, beginner-friendly parts, but I still swear by it.

Why wait to turn pro?

Let’s take things up a notch. Ask yourself, “Should we reassess what it means to be a professional skateboarder?” I believe it’s time we did. Already, we’re seeing an influx of extremely talented amateur skaters who are not just doing it for fame or materialistic rewards. They’re a part of the sport because of their love and passion.

So here’s an idea. If you have the chops, the dedication, and the love, why wait to go pro?

Is Merlino setting a new trend?

It’s worth talking about Nick Merlino, an up-and-coming icon shaking up the skateboarding world. This dude isn’t just grindin’ rails and spiraling through the air in skateparks; he’s also making essential headway in competitions.

Merlino’s career portfolio includes commendable feats like a fifth-place finish at the Maloof Money Cup and a potential final round at his Tampa Pro debut. But perhaps more intriguingly, he’s on a mission to redefine professional status.

“If you’re getting paid, you’re a pro.” A simple yet profound quote by Merlino that challenges the currently accepted norms, advocating that payment, not popularity, should be the defining factor of ‘going pro’.

And there’s no lack of support for this viewpoint. Ryan Clements of Skatepark of Tampa asserts that skaters like Merlino, who are all but knocking on the pro door, should be handed the key instead of pros who have overstayed their welcome. However, the skateboarding world continues to hold on to certain traditions.

Despite being in the pro limelight, a skater isn’t technically considered professional until a pro-model skateboard with their name on it hits store shelves. Here’s yet another contemporary example: Raven Tershy is a so-called “super am” who scores victories in pro contests and even takes home gold medals.

Image of a skateboarder doing freestyle trick.
Image of a skateboarder doing a freestyle trick.

Tershy and others like Ishod Wair, who display a unique flair and bring a whole new vibe to their performances, are likewise standing on the brink, just about to drop into the professional world.

As a fellow skateboard enthusiast (albeit far from a “super am”!), I’ve seen some of these debates go down in the park, among friends, and online. You’ll frequently come across opinions—mine included—that offer a fresh perspective on what it means to be a pro skater.

“If you’re getting paid, you’re a pro.” That’s an insightful quote from our man, Nick Merlino, in the previous paragraphs. And from a personal standpoint, I couldn’t agree more!

While I’m definitely not an expert, from my observations, some amateurs’ motivation and skill levels are nothing short of awe-inspiring. They’re out there, day in and day out, putting their love for the sport on display. And it makes me think, are they really any less professional just because they don’t have their names on a deck?

However the conversation goes, one thing is certain: the skateboarding world is shifting.

The next era of skateboarding

As a fresh wave of ‘super ams’ cut their path across the skateboarding world, we might see new implications for being a ‘professional.’ These skaters are shredding old norms, layer by layer. In the process, they’re molding a new era of skateboarding that thrives on talent, authenticity, and innovation.

You might want to look closer into our budding ‘super am,’ Raven Tershy’s remarkable journey. There are also Ishod Wair’s exemplary performances.
Trust me, watching their impressive feats is a blast! It’s like witnessing real-time evolution in the skateboarding arena, where amateurs are nailing it just as well as pros, if not more.

These exciting changes in the skateboarding world invite you to grab your board, step outside, and roll on. As we continue to explore the winding skate parks, remember one thing: In skateboarding, like life, it’s not just about the destination. It’s also about the wicked ride there.

Do’s and don’ts for aspiring amateur skateboarders

Before we skate onward, here’s a solid table of do’s and don’ts for our aspiring amateur skateboarders out there:

Keep striving and refining your skillsDon’t give in to peer pressure or unreasonable expectations
Experiment and innovate with your styleDon’t neglect your personal growth for the sake of external recognition
Participate in local competitionsDon’t let early failures deter your passion
A simple yet powerful guide for amateur skateboarders aiming to go pro.

The journey from amateur to professional skateboarder

In the following table, we delve deeper into the journey of amateur skateboarders as they transition to professional status. It highlights significant milestones, achievements, or opportunities presented to these skateboarders, including Nick Merlino and Raven Tershy, altering the conventional definitions and expectations of ‘going pro.’

SkaterStatusNotable AchievementDistinction
Nick MerlinoAmateurFifth-place finish at the Maloof Money CupOn the brink of turning pro
Raven Tershy‘Super am’Gold medal at the X GamesAlready clinching victories in pro contests
Ishod Wair‘Super am’Unique flair and styleSurpasses the norm with his individuality
Overview of emerging skateboarders challenging the status quo and redefining ‘professional’ status

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an amateur skateboarder in today’s scene?

The story of amateur skateboarders striving to make their mark in the skateboarding world is pretty dope. This section will discuss the advantages and disadvantages these amazingly talented individuals encounter as they carve their paths toward professional status.


One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor, as they say. Here’s a glimpse of the advantages amateurs enjoy:

  • A high level of freedom to experiment and learn without the pressure of sponsorship or branding deals
  • Potential to nurture unique and innovative styles, stepping away from a cookie-cutter professional style
  • Opportunities to gain recognition and evolve in local competitions and events before hitting the big leagues


However, the journey isn’t without its hiccups. Here are a few challenges amateur skateboarders face:

  • Lack of financial support until recognition by brands or sponsors
  • The constant struggle to be accepted and recognized in a highly competitive scene
  • Difficulty in accessing certain pro-level competitions and events

If you are more of a visual learner, check out this video called Unleashing The Thrill: Meepo Flow Electric Skateboard! from the Drew Elia YouTube channel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Let’s cruise on to some frequently popping questions in your minds that were not discussed earlier. These are fresh points; I’m sure you skating enthusiasts can’t wait to shred through them!

What is a “super am” in skateboarding?

A ‘super am’ is an amateur skateboarder with skills that stand out significantly, sometimes surpassing established professionals. For example, Raven Tershy and Ishod Wair are considered ‘super ams’ due to their unique flair, innovative style, and earnest love for the sport.

These individuals break the barriers of regular amateur and professional divisions, leading to potential changes in defining what it means to be a ‘professional’ skateboarder.

Can an amateur skateboarder participate in professional competitions?

Yes, they definitely can. In fact, there are several amateur skateboarders, like Raven Tershy, who not only participate in pro competitions but also take home victories. Tershy won the Copenhagen Pro Bowl event and secured a gold medal in the X Games, highlighting the thinning line between pro and amateur status in the skateboarding world.

Why is skill not the only factor in turning professional?

While technical skill is undoubtedly crucial in skateboarding, it’s not the only factor determining whether a skateboarder turns pro. Professional status often depends on marketability.

In other words, a professional skater is usually someone whose skills or style have been deemed attractive by brands for promotional purposes. You may want to explore how skateboarders gain professional status.

Is it easier to turn pro now than before?

The answer to that isn’t straightforward. While there are undoubtedly more opportunities now than in the past, the competition has also ramped up. As the skateboarding scene evolves, skateboarders need to not only master the tricks but also create an appealing, marketable persona. While this may make it challenging for some, others see it as a chance to stand out and redefine the norms.


That wraps up our wild ride through the gnarly world of amateur vs. professional skateboarding. If you’re feeling a bit “decked out” after all that information, don’t fret; it’s a lot to swallow. Remember, whether you’re a pro or an amateur, it’s all about the love of skateboarding. Ultimately, it’s not about the name on the board but the spark in our hearts!

Was this post informative? Can’t you stick the landing on certain doubts? Let me know because I read and reply to every comment. Share this post if you found it helpful, and stay tuned for more skateboarding content on my blog. Thanks for sticking around. Until next time, keep shredding, my friends!

Key takeaways

This article covered the intriguing journey of amateur skateboarders aspiring to gain professional status in the ever-evolving world of skateboarding. Here are some key takeaways:

  • An amateur skateboarder traditionally denotes someone who doesn’t earn money through skateboarding.
  • Many amateurs These days are monetarily rewarded, challenging the traditional definitions of ‘pr.’
  • The lines between amateur and professional are blurred due to marketing and branding factors.
  • Prostatus is often associated with the recognition of marketability rather than skill alone.
  • Emerging “super ams,” including Nick Merlino, Raven Tershy, and Ishod Wair, are shaking up the skateboarding world.
Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
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