ROB DYRDEK – Less Ridiculous Than You May Think

Words by Brian Terhorst

Rob Dyrdek is a self-made American success story. In just two decades, he’s rapidly evolved from an innovative and influential pro skateboarder to a dynamic serial entrepreneur, pop-culture personality and ground breaking media impresario.

You probably know him from Rob and Big, Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory and Ridiculousness. Rob is also the founder of Street League Skateboarding, which helped turn street skateboarding into a respected professional sport. 

His dedication and love for the sport inspired him to create the SLS Foundation (formerly called the Rob Dyrdek Foundation), whose mission is to contribute to communities by providing the healthy and sustainable benefits of skateboarding to design, develop, and construct safe and legal skate parks around the world. 

Now, Rob is combining his passion for skateboarding and mentoring by taking part in the launch of a national campaign that helps kids across the country lead fun and active lifestyles. 

Lunchables Lunch Combinations announced the ‘renovation program” aimed at upgrading and refurbishing Clubs for Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) as part of its partnership with the organization. To kick off the program, Dyrdek’s SLS Foundation and the Lunchables unveiled a newly upgraded skate park in San Diego.

We had the opportunity to catch up with Rob & fired a few questions at him.

RIS: Mornin’ Rob. What has you up at the butt crack of dawn & talking to the media?

ROB: Yeah… first cup of coffee. So, I want to talk about the club renovation program that I’m doing with Lunchables & BGCA. Not sure if you know, but I have a web series called ‘Fully Uploaded’ – We profile the stories of inspirational individuals & how they came up. Guys like Kawhi Leonard to LeSean McCoy… Dude Perfect or young Jagger Eaton, the skater phenom. Basically the renovation program is an extension of that. We were able to build a skate park at the BGCA in Chula Vista. It’s kinda bringing awareness to this program & ultimately how Lunchables has committed to donating a Million dollars over the next couple of years to help renovate BGCA.

RIS: You get behind some great causes Rob, It’s great to see these kids off the streets & in these parks… keep ‘ em focused on something positive.

ROB: Yeah, I think the BGCA takes that to another level with their mentorship & by inspiring these kids & giving them purpose. That’s what I love about the program. We give them a great (proper) place to skate. It’s gonna be another reason for them to get there & hopefully keep them out of trouble. More than anything, give them the right direction & guidance. Ultimately, to lead a better life.

RIS: Again, we appreciate how you help out these young people, take em under your wing & mentor them. Along those lines, lets discuss Street League. How was this season compared to past seasons?

ROB: We finished this season with a dream scenario. Nijah Houston wins it on the final trick of the tour to take the championship. Really excited that we had the Pro Open this year & were able to watch guys like Trevor Cole & Matt Berger win their way into the league. Heading into next year we are planning on creating a global qualifying system that will lead to a true world championship for next year in New York. Just continuing to evolve & elevate skateboarding and evolve the league.

RIS: How does the Qualifying system work?

ROB: Basically, we’re gonna do Pro Open qualifiers all over the world with amateur qualifiers (in some locations) leading up to them. Ultimately whoever wins those contests will join the other 12 Street League pros, to create the field at the World Championship. So we can truly declare a World Championship… and lay the groundwork ultimately, for the qualification system to the Olympics one day. 

RIS: Wow, that sounds amazing Rob… taking it to the entire world. One thing that stands out to us is your motto ‘Run by skaters, for skaters’ We have a similar motto w/ the Revolt Surf Series ‘Run by surfers, for surfers.

ROB: Yeah, so I think that you guys will understand & have a lot of clarity on the aspect of why we’re trying to build that ‘lower level’ tier, so you can ‘skate your way’ into the league. In the past, you knew who the best guys were… but there was no clear way to ‘skate your way’ in, as opposed to simply being chosen.  That’s our long term goal, to even partner with the ‘Skate’ version of you guys (RSSS) so whoever wins that series… would make their way into the Pro Open series… and would then have a shot to make it into the League. But we’re trying doing that on a global level, so that there truly is an organized path to the highest level of street skating..

RIS: Who do you see as the next generation of street skating?

ROB: No matter what, Nijah is gonna be the force to be reckoned with, for a really long time. But I love guys like Ashad Ware for how exciting & original he skates. Luanna Alverra   

 is one of my favorites from Brazil. He literally looks like he’s skating with magnets on his feet, he has so much control. The big surprise for us this year was a young guy Matt Berger who rides for Flip. He came outta nowhere, made his way into the championship. He’s a perfect example of skating your way thru the qualifying system & really deserving to be there. Shining at the highest level… the future of skateboarding is brighter than ever

RIS: Before I let you go, let’s talk about MTV

ROB: Just did a deal for a whole lot of episodes. We’re doing an encore season of Fantasy Factory that comes out in the Spring. We’re shooting the sixth season of Ridiculousness in the Spring. Right now were doing season five along with Snack Off – a cooking competion show that my production company ‘Superjacket’ produced. We’re really looking forward to producing additional shows in the coming years on top of Ridiculousness & Fantasy Factory

RIS: What keeps you centered & keeps it all in perspective?

ROB: I live a pretty balanced life. As hard as I do work & as many things that I do… I still take a lot of time to stay physically strong. I really just try to get the proper rest. I don’t run myself into the ground. I can kinda tell when I’m like getting a little worn out… I’ll push some meetings back… or sleep in for a day. I’m good at managing how I feel. Have a goal of feeling great & you ultimately just get a lot more done.

RIS: I know you spend a lot of time w/ others, helping them out… but who is your mentor?

ROB:  Ah man… at this point in my life, I take my mentors so serious. I literally have a mentor for almost every aspect of business. Amazing mentors, from Richard Branson to guys like Lorenzo Fratitas & Dana White from the UFC who have been immensely helpful for me. Not only in assisting me in the FOX sports deal but also enlightening me on the pitfalls and pluses or negatives with the stuff they’ve gone thru. I’ve really learned the value of talking to people who have experienced what you may be trying to do. You learn so much more from someone that actually lived through it, as opposed to, ya know, just going out on your own or just hoping that you’ll figure it out on your own.

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