Ryan Clements is a legend within skateboarding, and I think probably too humble to admit that himself. General Manager of the Skatepark of Tampa for 15 years, Ryan has now moved on in life to work on his new companies Excel, where he handles the finances for the likes of Paul Rodriguez and Shane O’Neill, and The Boardr. Without further ado, we present to you a massively insightful Forecast Magazine Introducing feature.

Hey Ryan, how’s it going? For those that don’t know, do you want to introduce yourself to the Forecast Magazine readers?
Most people know me from being on the microphone at contests like Tampa Am, Tampa Pro, CPH PRO, and many more over the years, but that was about 2% of my job. My day-to-day for 15 years was the GM of Skatepark of Tampa. I was a co-founder and co-owner of SPoT Productions. I co-founded Excel Management during  my tenor at SPoT. I most recently co-founded The Boardr. I’ve got my hands in a lot of cookie jars and it seems like that’s what makes me tick. I may have finally figured it out at 40-years-old…maybe…

So 2013 has seen a lot of changes for you – it’s hard to know where to start! Let’s go from the beginning.. You recently left your position as general manager at the Skatepark of Tampa. How long had you been in that role for?
I was the GM for 15 years. But you know, when I started in 1998, there were only a few of us there and we all really did everything. That role developed significantly over time.

You must have just seen the park grow from strength to strength in that time. Certainly over the duration that I’ve been skating, general awareness of SPOT round the world has grown massively. Did you make a conscious effort to do this, or has it all just snowballed through Tampa Am/Pro and such?
We were making a conscious effort to increase the quality of Tampa Am and Tampa Pro the entire time. Then with retail it was like, “Whoa, we should be doing this better, too,” and then had a focus on that as well. Some of it was magic…simply time and place aligning. Once we had SPoT Productions going, and were producing events globally, we really gained a lot of traction. Most of it was long hours and hard work though…however, really fun along the way.

“He informed me that he no longer wanted to work with me in any capacity. I was asked to turn in my keys and credit cards, which I did, then drove away.”

I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision to part ways after all of this time. How did your departure from the park come about?
I drove to Skatepark of Tampa on January 2, 2013 and Brian Schaefer was there waiting for me when I pulled up. He informed me that he no longer wanted to work with me in any capacity. I was asked to turn in my keys and credit cards, which I did, then drove away. I was aware that he didn’t appreciate working with me, but I had no idea this was coming. We spent months after attempting to negotiate the buyout of my ownership, and finally it turned strictly legal. The result was a dissolution of SPoT Productions. I still own the property that Skatepark sits on under another LLC with Brian. Skatepark I never owned, so that was easy because he just fired me from that company.

In 2010 you founded Excel with Heath Brinkley, a company set up to assist professional skaters with their finances. Were you noticing that there was an increasing need for this, that some pro’s could do with some assistance and advice in managing their income?
Heath and I were friends and had worked together since he had been a TM for many years. At that particular point in time I think he was the TM for Etnies. I think that the subject of our discussion was Malto and the deal he signed with Gatorade. Sean was very young then and I was asking him a bunch of random questions…I was just curious. Then Heath and I were talking about it and I mentioned my skill-set and how I ran our businesses within the SPoT entities. Heath brought up Paul Rodriguez and mentioned that Paul wasn’t happy with his business management firm. I didn’t really even know much about business management firms at the time, but I knew how to do the work. Heath then mentioned me to Paul, Paul and I talked, and he ended up being our first client.

What clients are you currently working with?
The company has grown tremendously in 2013 because I’ve had the time to put more focus on it. Right now we’re working with P-Rod, Austyn, Theotis, Torey, Daryl Angel, Shane O’Neill, Felipe Gustavo, Ishod, Stefan, Fred Gall, Bryan Herman, Taylor Bingaman, Nick Tucker, Brock, Merlino, and amazingly enough, The Gonz.

You must have a seriously wide range of tasks you have to fulfill for your clients right?
That’s an understatement. We literally do whatever they need. Of course the most basic of services is collecting their checks and paying their bills. But we’re getting them health insurance, obtaining financing for homes, setting up 401k’s with financial planners, dealing with the attorneys and CPAs, and handling every little business transaction within their lives. We’re also there as a sounding board for their skateboarding careers in general as well. For the guys that don’t have other agents, we do representation, too.

You have also co-founded ‘The Boardr’. Would you like to explain what that’s all about and the work that you do?
Yes, Rob Meronek, my lifelong friend and colleague, and I teamed up on that one. We worked together for about 12 years directly at Skatepark, were co-owners of SPoT Productions together, and have skated together since we were teenagers. We’re basically producing events and doing random consulting through that entity, very similar to SPoT Productions.

What events are currently using ‘The Boardr Live’ app?
Oh, our cloud based scoring app has been used for Empire Backyard Party in Montreal and Kimberley Diamond Cup in South Africa. Rob is talking to several groups both domestically and abroad about them using it, too. Hit me up if you’re interested! It makes running and scoring a contest very easy.

“I want all kids to get the opportunity to have fun with skateboarding like I have in my life.”

You seem to have become increasingly involved in skateboarding event organisation and management. How long have you been with CA Productions now, and what is your role with them?
I was a contractor for CA PROductions in 2013. Jewett, Harper, Joe C., and everyone else over there at CA was really kind to me. Since Rob and I have started The Boardr, we are technically the competition, so I’m not sure if we’ll be working with them in the future. It’s not like we set out with the idea to “compete” with CA, but Rob and I just wanted to do our own thing and have our own direction, branding, and outlet.

It was great to see X-Games go so global this year. How was it being a part of that?
I finally got to go to Brazil and Barcelona! Other than the rad benefit of seeing the world, it was eye-opening to see events be produced on such a large scale. I mean, there are like 1,000 employees at any given one of those events. It’s nuts. You’re just a small piece of this large puzzle. It was very different than what I was used to, but I did really enjoy the opportunity with both X Games and Street League.

What kind of effect do you think it had for the games’ profile? I know tonnes of British skaters were buying ESPN passes to stream each event online – myself included.
It’s all perception, and when a brand expands globally that quickly it’s like, “Wow, they’re killing it!” Unfortunately it seems that it was not financially sustainable. I really hope that ESPN takes another shot at it at some point. I always think that the more people and cultures that are exposed to skateboarding, the better. I want all kids to get the opportunity to have fun with skateboarding like I have in my life.

So with 2013 seeing so many changes for you, what are your plans now for 2014? I’m sure there’s many exciting things ahead!
If everything that we’re working on comes to fruition, we’re going to have some major announcements to make going into 2014. All I can say right now is that we’re talking to the big players and are excited about the possibilities. We’re working on some sort of retail component, too. Our whole crew has extensive retail knowledge and we want to put our experience to work. We miss the product aspect.

Well, best of luck Ryan – and thanks for stopping by to chat to us here at Forecast Magazine! Any thank you’s or shout outs?
On that date, January 2nd, when I was asked to step down from my positions at SPoT, I didn’t know what the future was going to hold and I had no idea of my value outside of SPoT. Later that day I sent out a “resignation” letter and was literally overwhelmed with about 700 replies. It took me a month to reply to all of the emails and return the phone calls. Thank you to everyone that called, emailed, cared, and supported…and of course those that were just wondering what the hell was going on. It was the most amazing feeling to know that I was more than just “Ryan from Skatepark” and still had value within the skateboarding industry. A special thank you goes out to Jorge Angel, Rob Meronek, Bobby Freeman, and Justin Ryan. I worked with all of those guys for years at SPoT and now we’re all working together again. Their belief in my leadership means the world me. Finally, I want to thank my wife Jenna, who supported me unconditionally this year and raised our baby daughter while I worked on rebuilding.