Robbie McKinley

Robbie McKinley

How long have you ridden for Girl?

Like a year and a half.

How did you hook that up?

Rick called me pretty much out of the blue one day and asked me to ride for it Girl. I thought about it for a while. Actually, I was going on tour a couple days later, so I told him I’d let him know when I got back. Finally I got around to talking to him, and I got a couple boards and rode ’em, and we pretty much just worked it like that.

Did it trip you out to have him call you like that?

Oh yeah, totally. I was like, “What the f¿k?” I’m just sittin’ at home one day, and Rick Howard calls me, and he’s like, “Yeah, you know, we’re down for you to ride for the squad if, you know, if you’re down.”And I was like, “F¿k!” Obviously I had to think about it, ’cause I was going on tour and whatever, but when I got back it was easy to decide.

Did it make you nervous to be on a team like that?

Oh yeah, definitely. When you ride on a team with Guy Mariano and Eric Koston, and all those dudes like Rick Carroll and Rick … I mean, I knew ’em a little bit, but to hold the only amateur spot on Girl is kind of gnarly. Just going to spots and shit can get you kind of nervous sometimes. But all in all it’s cool, you know?

Do kids come up and ask you about Girl?

Yeah, they’re always asking like, when the video’s coming out, who’s ripping, and blah blah blah. Just all the regular questions.

How long have you been sponsored, just in general?

I’d say about four or five years. My first sponsor ever was Grind King trucks, and that didn’t last too long. My first board sponsor was a company called Society, and I rode that for a while. It was me, that guy Luis Cruz, James Craig, and a couple other guys like Ryan Kenreich. It was a good team, but the management didn’t work out. So when I knew the boards were running out and new ones weren’t coming in, I hooked up with Tim Dowling to film for Cinematographer, and I just used that footage for a sponsor-me video. I gave it to Rodney Mullen, and I got hooked up on Blind. And then, you know, Rick called me, and basically I’m here.

It’s all about who you know.

Pretty much, I swear. Connections are pretty gnarly these days.

Who are your sponsors?

Girl, DC, Tensor, Stealth wheels, and Hotrod Skateshop. Oh yeah, and Monkey nuts, bolts, and grip.

Is there more pressure being sponsored?

Definitely. Like when you’re not sponsored, you go to a spot, and, you don’t even care. Nobody knows you, so you just go there and it’s mellow, ’cause you just go out with your friends and skate. But then if you have some image to hold up, you can’t really just go out and dork around. I guess you can, but kids might think you suck, and it’s kind of lame. Whatever.

Have you talked to those guys about turning pro?

Not really, I mean, basically it’s understood that if I’m skating and I’m ready, then we’ll know when the time is right. I have to shoot more photos and I gotta come up with another video part, but I’m pretty sure if I come through with photos from now until my next part, I think it will go down. I’m pretty sure.

Is that your goal with skateboarding, to be pro?

Yeah, when everyone starts skating they wanna become pro one day. Now I’m at a level where it’s definitely possible. I’ve been am for a while now, and I’m just trying to rig it.

Do you think there will be a difference between being an amateur and a pro?

Just more money. I mean, I think it’s basically the same deal.

Do you think you get more pressure along with the money?

Probably when it first happens, but then it’ll mellow out. I see dudes who are ams and pros nowadays and it’s almost like the same level these days. There’re the elite pros, and then there’s the rest of the skate industry.

Do the Girl guys skate together?

There’re groups. Like Jeron, Guy, and Gabriel¿those dudes all kind of skate together. And Carroll, Rick, and Eric all skate together. I live in Santa Monica, andd I don’t have a car, so it depends on when I can get a ride. But, basically, everyone skates together.

Any advice for kids who are obsessed with getting sponsored?

Everyone’s obsessed with it, you know, I was obsessed with it. I guess, just try to follow the skating of your favorite skaters and try to feed off of them. Make a video, and if you’ve got the talent and it’s there, it’s gonna happen.