When three-time X Games Skateboard Street gold medalist Chris Cole parted ways with his longtime sponsor Zero Skateboards in July, one question was on the minds of everyone in skateboarding: where would he land? He still hasn't entirely sorted out the answer, but today at 7 p.m. ET he's dropping a self-released limited edition run of 666 signed "Blackout" decks as a trick-or-treat surprise for his fans and supporters, just because he can. The decks will be for sale at his website, ChrisCobraCole.com.
"My wheels were spinning, no pun intended, and I had this idea and went for it," Cole told ESPN on Thursday as he prepared for the launch. "I wanted to put something out there that was cool."
Cole cautioned against reading too much into the move, and said he considers the "Blackout" a one-off.
"I'll never say never, but I don't want to run a company," he said. "My current job, my dream job, is skateboarding, and I wouldn't want that to suffer because I'm taking on some other big burden or undertaking. For me this was just an opportunity, while I'm technically sponsor-less in the skateboard deck department, to go and try something for myself. The skateboarding world has changed a lot, with social media and the way we market and sell things, and I realized I have a big enough platform of my own now to do my own thing, even if it's maybe just this once."
Still, having total control has had its appeal. He chose BBS Manufacturing, his favorite woodshop, to make the decks. He had them printed in black-on-black, his favorite color combination. And he brought in Reign Skateshop (Cole is a co-owner of the shop) to handle the orders and distribution. He's willing to see where the DIY experiment might take him, but said ultimately his goal is to find the best possible match with a skateboard company and team he can stay with for the rest of his career.
"I don't want to rush into a sponsorship with anyone -- I want it to be a perfect marriage -- and I'm at a point where I can afford that luxury. It's like when you just get out of a long relationship: you're not trying to meet somebody else and marry them immediately."
Driving the relationship metaphor home, the Roman numeral VII-I-XIV is printed on the top of the decks, which he signed individually: 7/1/14 is the day he broke up with Zero and stepped into a future he says is still very much unknown. For now he's focused on the present, celebrating his favorite holiday (Halloween) with his wife and kids.
"One thing I haven't had since leaving Zero is a lot of time," Cole said. "I'm looking forward to slowing down for a second to carve some pumpkins with my family."Full Article