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In 2014, the skateboard industry got a hard kick in the nuts. Multiple brands died, distributions changed, and skaters took risks and matters into their own hands. But there was no bigger news then when Chris Cole announced he was leaving his longtime board sponsor, Zero back in July. As a shareholder and skater of the brand for over 13 years, it didn’t really even seem possible.
Since his departure he hasn’t announced any longterm plans to ride for any other board company – but with the “Chris Cole” brand having bigger reach than many skateboard companies put together, you have to wonder, is a board sponsor more of a liability than a benefit for him these days? We caught up with him and discussed his relationship with Jamie Thomas, board brands in 2014 and the future of his career.
You recently left Zero Skateboards after 13 years. You were also a business partner and shareholder in the company. How did you leave and what happened to your shares?
I was a silent shareholder, so any of the shares that I had were contingent upon the actual sale of Zero. And that never happened and it’s not gonna happen. When I left Zero, Black Box also went over to Dwindle distribution and people thought that I got a big payout when I left, but that’s not true. There was absolutely no payoff and I’m not a shareholder any longer.
As far as breaking it off with Zero, it sucked man. I was with them, for over a decade and brands go through changes and so do people. Zero just changed from the brand I started skating for – and that doesn’t mean it was lame – it just wasn’t the same company I started with. I didn’t feel like it made any sense to stay there and just collect a check. It was an amicable split. Jamie Thomas [Zero’s founder] and I have been friends for so long – he was in my wedding, so a sponsorship wouldn’t change that. A friendship wouldn’t crumble because of that. He knew it was time.
Read the full interview on Jenkem HERE.
Photo by Jonathan Mehring.
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