The Man Behind Skatember

While many skateboarding channels on YouTube try to get your attention with their tricks, Progress Skateboarding does that with a narrative. Every video is a story-telling piece or a tutorial. The editing and relatability make these videos quite binge-worthy.
But who’s behind the channel and putting things like skatember together?

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My name is Mike, and I live in Brisbane, Australia. I have a YouTube channel called Progress Skateboarding, which I started in 2016, where I share my journey getting back into skateboarding. Aside from running YouTube, I work as a Product Designer at a software company and have a background in multimedia design. I have a passion for traveling, camping, football, and computer games.

When did you start skateboarding, and how did that come about?

Our family went on a beach holiday when I was 15, and my best friend who came with us brought his skateboard. We spent a lot of time at the beach and in the surf, but it was my friend’s skateboard that really captured my attention – we would take turns rolling down the street, dropping off curbs, and practicing kick turns. After the holiday, I’d be at my friend’s house whenever possible to have a turn on his board. That Christmas of 1997, my parents took me to City Beach (a surf and skate shop) to pick out a 7.75 World Industries setup, and I took it with me everywhere I went for the next few years. I skated with friends in parking lots, schools, and our driveways, but never at skateparks. I could ollie and once landed a kickflip, but that was about it. Over time, the board became more of a mode of transport for me, but the skate culture was a part of my identity. At the end of high school in 2000, my girlfriend and I packed our bags for Europe, and I left skateboarding behind. I didn’t pick it up again until 2016, when I dusted off my old World Industries deck. I went down to the local skatepark and did my first ever drop-in on a quarter… I was back!

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What inspired you to start a YouTube-Channel, and what is your goal with it?

I was working in a marketing job a few years ago and was looking to achieve two goals; improve my digital marketing skills and fill my lunch breaks with a fun activity – I was pretty much trying to improve my professional and personal life simultaneously! I brainstormed a few ideas like surfing, skating, football, guitar, fitness, and drawing. All of these topics interested me, but there were definitely a few factors that made me lean towards skateboarding:

– I remember really liking skateboarding,

– I already had my old skateboard lying around,

– there was a skatepark a few minutes drive from my work and another near my home,

– and deep down, I knew I hadn’t put my all into skateboarding when I was younger, so this was my chance for redemption!

My goals have changed slightly throughout the years. I don’t work in marketing anymore; however, I’ve worked on a number of professional videography projects – which is pretty cool. At one point, Progress Skateboarding had a burst of subscribers, which made me think maybe I could make some money from the channel… that faded pretty quickly, lol.

Now the goal for the channel is to continue to share my journey, keep myself accountable for my own skateboard progression, and contribute to a healthy online skateboarding community.

What would you wish to have known before you started YouTube, and what advice would you have for starters?

I wish I’d know how long it takes to edit videos! I probably spend around 1 hour for every minute of finished footage. Because of the level of effort required, my advice would be to make content that is honest and enjoyable for yourself – if you do that, it won’t matter how much money you make or subscribers you have, because you’ll be having fun and you will be able to do it for longer.

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How did you come up with Skatember?

I wanted to create something unique to my channel that might interest viewers and also help me progress. The idea of skating and filming consistently for a period of time just seemed like a good fit. The name was inspired by the Movember (Men’s mental health) campaign. A month later, in 2016, Inktober was created -which actually inspired me for last year to tweak the Skatember format.

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What is it like to get stuck on a trick during Skatember, and how do you recover from it?

There are several things that I worry about when going into Skatember. Will my camera last? Will the weather hold up? Will I get injured? And definitely, can I land the tricks?! In earlier years, I was just trying to improve my basic tricks, so not landing was part of the process. In 2020, I changed the format to be a little like Inktober, where I set the tricks and invited others to participate. To be honest, this added pressure only pushed me to try harder. The only ones I couldn’t land was the heelflip, and I had to substitute the 360 shove it with a fakie 360 shove it – pretty pleased with that return.

What inspires you to continue making videos?

I enjoy being part of the YouTube skateboarding community. I didn’t know it existed when I started, but it’s a big part of why I continue to film and edit for my channel. I’m energized by all the other skaters from around the world in my position – it’s crazy to think that we all share this common interest and can encourage one another along the way. I’ve had a few comments and messages thanking me for helping them get the courage to get back on the board – which is priceless.

Tell us about your favorites; Skater, Skate-Video, YouTuber, and music (to skate to)?

I don’t actually listen to music while I skate – is that weird? But, I watch as many videos as I can from fellow YouTube Skate Crew members – these guys and girls are my inspiration! While I like watching pro’s do insane tricks, I get a lot more interest and motivation from watching someone better than me doing a trick that I might be able to achieve one day.

At the minute, I take a lot of skate-style notes from Underfliped(Palen) and Middle Age Skating Jpn.

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