Sponsorship history with Ed Templeton
ESPN.com: How long have you been a professional skateboarder for?
Templeton: I turned pro in 1990, so 22 years.
Wasn't your first sponsor Circle A?
Yes. The freestyle skater Bob Schmeltzer lived in Huntington Beach and was starting a new company called Circle-A. I was completely un-sponsored and he came to my house and asked me to ride for his new company. I agreed, but knew that he had to sponsor my good friend Jason Lee too. I didn't want to ride for a different team than him. But Circle-A could only afford one of us. My first Circle-A ad was a 50-50 on a handrail, and it was the first photo of a 50-50 on a rail ever printed in a magazine. I wasn't the first to do it, nobody beats the Gonz, but I was the first to get it in the magazine! And the worst part was that he left my name off the ad. So everyone was tripping on the photo, and I got no credit for it!
How did you make the move from Circle A to Schmitt Stix, and then to New Deal?
I think any kid living in Huntington Beach at the time was really into Vision and Schmitt Stix. They were local companies and the biggest at the time. Gonz lived in HB, and freestylers Don Brown and Hans Lindgren did too. Circle-A was run by a skeleton crew. I think when I got word of Schmitt Stix being interested in me, I jumped. But when I was put on Schmitt Stix I was informed early on that if and when I turned pro it wouldn't be for Schmitt Stix, but for a company called New Deal that Paul Schmitt was planning to start so he could escape the Vision/Brad Dorfman umbrella. I was down.
What's the sponsor you most regret riding for over the years?
Regret is a strong word. I don't think I regret any sponsor really. There were hard times and choices made that with 15 year hindsight don't look as great. Even if you look back and see that I rode for Rusty Clothing, which looks strange, there is a clear logic to why. Tosh Townend's dad, legendary surfer PT, was the team manager, and Tosh, Arto [Saari] and me were brought in to try and make something of it. At the beginning it was super cool. But PT left, then Arto. And next thing you know it's like, "Why does Ed Templeton ride for this random surf company?" But it was all organic and I have no regrets. I regret getting involved with the guy who was behind the short lived TV, Zero-Two shoes, and Salvage Clothing. That guy was disingenuous about who he was and just trying to make a buck.
With so many new companies starting up, what advise would you give these new company owners to be careful of?
Don't let anyone knock you from the foundation of who you are and what you think is right. All of my false start companies fell apart quickly when someone tried to come in and tell me how to do it. When I took Toy Machine to [Tod] Swank, he was the first to just leave me alone to do what I wanted to. He gave me space to make Toy Machine into what I wanted. And here we are 19 years later.
How many companies did you start until you started Toy Machine?
After quitting New Deal with Mike Vallely, we started Television with Brad Dorfman. That's one. Then we left Dorfman to do it with this guy Dean who was doing Zero-Two shoes. We called it TV then. That's two. Then that fell apart in a blaze. And I crawled back to Dorfman to start Toy Machine in 1993. In 1994, I took it to Swank at Tum-Yeto. That Toy Machine change is #3. I took three times before I got it right.
What were some of the names you considered besides Toy Machine before naming it Toy Machine?
The frontrunner was "Oggie's Dead." My friend Justin Regan's dog Oggie had just died. And I was really about to call it that. I remember looking at a big dusty old thesaurus for names. That is where I found the word "bloodsucking" in reference to big corporations. (Over the years, vampires have become so popular that the word is a little tainted, or comes off too Halloween-ish.) So I knew whatever it was named I wanted to add "Bloodsucking Skateboard Company" behind it. I later had it narrowed down to either "Toy Skateboards" or "Machine Skateboards" and I called Ethan Fowler up to get his opinion. He is the one who suggested, "Why not both?" I agreed. And the Toy Machine name was coined.
What are some of the other board brands you admire and why?
Graphic and ads wise, I always like to see what Anti-Hero or Skate Mental is going to do. I like companies with a sense of humor. The Slave stuff looks good too. As far as just a brand overall, the operation over at Girl always looks really cool.
Who are some of your favorite skate artists?
Who likes to be called a skate artist? The usual suspects I suppose -- Ben Horton, Michael Sieben, Todd Bratrud, whoever Brad Staba slave-drives into making his graphics.
How often does someone ask you to do art work for them that's non work-related? Almost every day.
Regret is a strong word.
Is Deanna [Templeton] your right hand at Toy Machine?
No. Kevin Barnett is my right hand man, and Mike Sinclair is my left hand. Deanna is my sounding board when things are crazy and I need to rant out loud. But as far as choices being made, I trust Kevin and Mike, and use their differing opinions, along with my own to make my final decision.
Will there ever be a Baby Tempster?
I'm starting to think there will not be. Maybe we will adopt, but I'm doubting it.
Who on Toy Machine right now makes your scratch your head the most in disbelief?
Daniel Lutheran takes the cake -- mostly in disbelief of his success with the ladies.
I heard you are going to enter Tampa Pro this year?
These rumors are greatly exaggerated.
What else in store of 2012 and the Tempster?
Helping get Eswic Clothing started, painting, skating, doing Toy Machine, traveling and doing art stuff. Winning Tampa Pro.