Ever thought about a skatepark on wheels? That’s exactly what the founder of Skatedogs, Adam Cohen, is bringing to Southern California locals. For over 20 years, this professional athlete has turned his lifetime passion into a communal outreach by traveling around California and teaching kids ages 5-55 how to skateboard, with the help of his unique mobile skatepark. From Long Beach to Beverly Hills back to Tustin and Newport Beach, Skatedogs is sharing the stoke with this revolutionary concept.
“The purpose of the Skatedogs’ program is primarily to help kids progress at skateboarding,” said Cohen. “We also encourage kids to make friends, learn about safe riding and etiquette, and skateboarding terminology. We strive to build kids’ self-confidence on and off the board.”
In order to help grow the talent of young students, Skatedogs makes accessibility for students easy with the goal of dramatically increasing their skating skills. A door opens for a lifetime addiction of fun and opportunities in the world of skateboarding. Hopefully soon, we will see more skate trucks than food trucks and more kids skating than munching on junk food. Skatedogs not only aims to freshin’ up the students’ skills, but also to build self-confidence and strong leadership skills
The Surf Channel met up with the founder, Adam Cohen, to get an inside look of what it’s like to live the dream life of a skater with revolutionary ideas.
Surf Channel: Sweet set up! Tell us about Skatedogs.
Adam Cohen: We offer instructional skateboarding camps, after-school programs, demos, clinics, private lessons and even birthday parties. All of our programs are instructional based. We start with the fundamentals and work our way up with the kids. We try and keep the programs fun by rewarding kids with Skatedogs money called “Bones.” Kids can earn Bones by landing a trick successfully, showing good “skatesmanship,” or winning a game or competition. We stress the fact that skateboarding is an individual sport, to not worry about other people, but rather concentrate on improving your own skills.
Since 2008, we have served thousands of kids from the ages of 4-13. We currently have a total of three mobile skateparks and we cover most of Southern California. I manage one of the skateparks and have hired 2 other managers to run the others. Depending on how may kids sign up, we bring in extra instructors to help. There are about ten employees on call. Between the three mobile skateparks, we work seven days a week.
What role do you play in the program?
I am the owner of Skatedogs and my responsibilities include: scheduling camps, classes, special events, marketing, accounting and managing all of the employees. I started doing private skateboarding lessons in 1999, and in 2008 we launched our summer camps, after-school program and demos.
How did you learn the business side of things?
I have a Bachelors degree in Business Marketing from SDSU (San Diego State University). The Business classes that I took, such as finance, accounting, management and marketing, gave me the tools I needed to start a business in an industry that I am passionate about. I was also a branch manager of a mortgage company for six years. That taught me how to deal with customers, manage employees and organize everything… In my opinion, the most valuable skill that a camp director or business owner can possess is learning how to stay organized.
Who sponsors Skatedogs and how do they support the camp?
We have worked with Active Ride Shop, Freshpark and Element. It’s great to team up with other companies who support skateboarding. The more companies that are involved in an event, the more the word spreads. These companies also provide products for the kids that we give out as prizes. This helps create a fun atmosphere and keeps kids motivated to listen to their instructor and learn new tricks.
Any students who may have a future career in the sport?
There are kids that started skating in our program about five years ago who are now sponsored and are still skating. It will be exciting to see if they go pro.
Are there any other sports that you’ve played that help you with your skating?
I grew up skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing. I love that you are on your own time and can progress at your own pace. The fact that there is not one winner and one loser really appealed to me. You are only playing against yourself and trying to do something better than you have done in the past.
The biggest challenge of running a successful program is keeping kids focused and making sure everyone is learning, having fun and getting along.
The instructors are first aid certified, so we know what steps to take in case of an accident.
How has your experience as a pro skater influenced Skatedogs?
I’ve been skateboarding almost everyday for 22 years, which has given me the tools to learn how to teach the sport. I went through so much trial and error on my skateboard that when I teach it, I can weed out some of that trial. After skating for so long, often times I am able to watch a kid and see what they need to adjust to help them learn a trick.
My passion for the sport comes out in my teaching. Nothing makes me happier than watching a kid learn a new trick after doubting themselves and thinking it was impossible. The fact that they were able to work hard and accomplish something that they thought they could never do, gives them confidence to try other things in life that they may have never tried before.
For more information about Skatedogs, visit their website.