Nicky Guerrero is one of the best skaters that you may never have heard of. He hit it big back in the golden days of skateboarding alongside legends like Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen. Today, he’s still going strong at the tender age of 46, having fun around his home town of Copenhagen and competing in various Masters - a league for skaters over 40. He designed his first pro-model at the age of 18 back in 1987 when he signed with Gordon & Smith. Growing up partly in Denmark, and partly in the States, Nicky had some trouble coming up with a name for the model. Originally, he wanted it to share the name of the Danish liqourice company Spunk. Of course that didn't get through.
In 1989, he became an instant icon when he dropped Gordon & Smith and signed with Powell Peralta’s Bones Brigade alongside teammates Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain andRodney Mullen. Bones Brigade was hot shit back then and Nicky was signing autographs and making friends by the thousands. Unfortunately, his rockstar streak only lasted a mere four years. Nicky went from paving the way for European skaters internationally to losing his livelyhood. It basically happened overnight, when the increased popularity of street skating basically killed off vert around 1993. George Powell, co-owner of Powell Peralta, famously told him - “I don’t think vert is something you can live off anymore. You’ll probably make less than if you worked at McDonalds.”
Forced to quit, Nicky decided to do something different with his life. Now he works at a kindergarten and has both a son and an apartment that's paid in full. But of course he still skates . He’s still sponsored and competing regularly all over the world. Barely a year ago, he came in first ahead of his former teammate Steve Caballero in Bondi, Australia.
Family life, work and skateboarding is actually working out pretty well for Nicky. When asked where he sees himself in ten years, he answers: “Maybe I'll have bought a house out in the countryside with a bowl in the backyard. Have some skaters over sometimes. Or maybe my son has started doing international competitions and we’re going to Germany together. Both competing. Really, I don’t know. It’s just those small dreams.”
Nicky doesn’t seem likely to be throwing in the towel anytime soon either. His old team mate, Tony Hawk, emphasized Nicky’s tenacity: “To some skaters, turning pro is the ultimate stature and they tend to lose their motivation once they acquire it. But Nicky continued to challenge himself and it only made him better. I think his skateboarding style is smooth, fluid and technical. He makes the hard tricks look easy. We’re the same age and we haven’t stop skating. It’s in our DNA; we can’t quit.”
As for Nicky himself, he’s still having a blast.
“I’m happy about the way it all worked out, because I’ve retained the joy of skateboarding in a different way. I’ve tried both riding professionally and for kicks. In a way, I’m happy I haven’t gotten as much attention as Tony Hawk.” he says.
“The joy I get from riding supersedes what others think by far.”