In order to become a professional athlete in this day and age, one must devote their entire life to their sport. Much like those vying for a chance to play in the NFL or the NBA, extreme sportsters must eat, sleep and breathe action. They are routinely practicing, training and strengthening, all accompanied (in my nicest mom voice) by a balanced diet and eight hours of sleep. The level of competition is insane. Long gone are the days of the smoked-out, drunk professional (I miss those days). In order to break into and maintain a career, one has to really keep their game up. Otherwise, the next hungry 17-year-old kid will be there to steal the spotlight. One such kid is named Gabriel “Gabe” Spotts.
Spotts has become the next and newest Am to rise up from the Provo area. Like his friends and heroes Matt Fisher and Brodie Penrod, Spotts is hoping to garner enough attention to eventually get him out of the suburbs and into the big city. With the help of his sponsors, which include local companies Fortica Skateboards, Discrete Headwear, Skullcandy and Board of Provo, Spotts has been keeping the Utah scene relevant through traveling and competing on the amateur circuit.
Spotts’ obsession with skateboarding began when he “got [his] first real skateboard in the fifth grade, so around 11 years old,” he says, although he’d like to claim he’s been skating since he could walk. Once he got his “big-boy board,” Spotts became a local at the American Fork skatepark. Although he was still wet behind the ears, Spotts quickly secured his first sponsor of sorts. “I used to skate with this kid whose dad, Chad Allen, was super cool and wanted to start a skate company,” he says. When Nuke Skateboards was created, Spotts began to receive his first decks. He says, “We sucked at the time, but it was cool because Chad would hook us up anyway as a way of pushing us.” Although Nuke Skateboards didn’t last very long, Spotts and Allen formed a relationship that would benefit both of them in the long run. As the company fell by the wayside, Spotts was expanding his bag of tricks. In 2008, Allen tried his hand in the skate industry again with the introduction of Fortica Skateboards. Spotts was immediately on board. It was the feeling of familiarity that kept Spotts by Allen’s side and vice versa. “He lives around the corner—he lets me help approve graphics and pays for my contest fees. He’s always been there for me and me for him,” says Spotts.
Another important supporter in Spotts’ success has been Todd Ingersoll. For those of you who don’t know, Ingersoll is an action sports junkie and a huge supporter of the youth. In 2010, he founded Skate 4 Homies, a foundation aimed at providing underprivileged kids the tools and resources needed to partake in the sport. As for Spotts, Ingersoll has become a sort of manager/agent and boss. When the two aren’t busy remodeling homes, they are talking skateboards. “Todd is awesome!” Spotts says. “He’s always been there to give me advice and to further my career, besides just being a good friend. He basically tells me what I need to do and helps me get there”—like contests, for instance, which have become a vital part in launching a skater’s career. “I actually dig contests. They’re a good way to judge how good or bad you are,” says Spotts. Thanks to Ingersoll and his sponsors, Spotts is able to gauge his value in the contest circuit. “Last year, he rented a van and paid for the hotel in Arizona for the Phoenix Am for 15 of us. He’s the man!”