30 years ago, Caesar Singh’s style and technical prowess put him on par with any pro in the industry. And he had enough coverage to make him a household name in the subculture before it went mainstream. But, like many from that golden era, he stepped away suddenly, and vanished from the landscape without a trace. C.B.I. tracked down Caesar for its latest interview, which takes a poignant and brutally honest peek behind the curtain of the life of a pro skater during the ‘90s. The most glaring difference when comparing to present day is the money:
There’s this notion that because you’re collecting a check or two every month, your life has to revolve around skateboarding. This idea is fostered by the companies who, ultimately, are trying to profit off your name and labor, and its encouraged by want-to-be pros who would do anything to be in a professional’s shoes. But… do the math. $1050 divided by four is $263. Subtract 35% of that for taxes, and I was making about $170 a week. I was being paid the same as a part-time employee earning minimum-wage. Why should I be doing anything more than what I was already doing?
Also, this has to be the most gangster exit from skateboarding ever:
Rothmeyer tells the story of after Planet Earth, you went through and skated all your pro models that you had saved and then quit? Is that true?
Well, I wasn’t making some dramatic statement. I just know myself, and I had no intention of lugging around 13 boards through the unsettled life I instinctively knew I was going to live. My father, as many black men have a tendency to do, opted out of the role of parent, and my mother is a nomad, moving from place to place. So, it’s not like I could send a box home to mom and dad’s house and have it sit in a garage until I got my life in order.
And you actually went through with that? You don’t have any of your old pro boards?
Yep, I gripped those bitches up, one by one, and there’s not a single, solitary part of me that gives a single, solitary shit. That might sound like bullshit, but, as weird as it is, that’s just kind of the way I am.
It took me a while to go through 13 boards, so I kept skating for a little while. But once those decks were gone, I was done. I wasn’t asking anybody for a board, and I sure as fuck wasn’t buying one, so that was it.
Read the entire interview here.