Should We Be Mad That Guy Skates For Nike SB?

Are you the boy in image 1 or 2?

Are you the boy in image 1 or 2?

“I mean there was times when we were out there, making this video,” Guy Mariano says in the beginning of The Final Flare, “that it was more than just Lakai, it was more than just selling shoes, it was just a part of something so much bigger than that.”

The same could be said for Guy’s jump from the flare to the swoosh that happened only a few days ago. Normally, another skater added to Nike’s payroll doesn’t feel much like news, but this feels like a move made in a room where it’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop, but that pin is an anvil. Guy has been on Lakai and Girl since he came back into skating in 2005, so the nature of this news is as momentous. How quickly time flies: just ten years ago, Guy was filming for Fully Flared, but is now on Nike.

Crailtap has taken a huge hit for their image with Guy’s departure. In both of Crailtap’s major releases, Guy was a serious contender for closing out both videos, as well as being a major force for winning Thrasher’s SOTY. Losing Guy is significant for Crailtap because it is just as significant for us skateboarders as a collective. Known as an internal industry myth, word has been spreading to outside companies to never approach Crailtap riders because there was no use in buying them out. It appears that myth has now backfired to be just the opposite, as riders not only continue to jump ship from Crailtap, but these jumps are made by more of the staple figures of these companies.

When you think about all of skateboarding’s most beloved pros, such as Gonz, Koston, Arto, BA, PJ Ladd, Lance Mountain, and now Guy, and their involvement with companies outside of skating, those names become investments for those companies for the long haul. All of these names are all on the older-side, so who knows how long they will continue to be involved in skating, but they all help cement giant corporations’ presence in skating. These companies have been known to water-down and make a skateshop struggle to achieve success and although Guy can hopefully provide a voice of change for Nike, chances are he is seen as nothing more than an investment. But who could blame Nike? Guy has the rare quality of being well-known amongst several generations of skaters while constantly producing a gratuitous amount of high-caliber footage. How many times have we read articles or interviews of the new kids coming onto these larger board companies and how they will eventually leave to make companies of their own? Yet, BA left Girl to start his own company, which (though we hope not) apparently may already be a thing of the past, and now Koston and Guy may end up making their own brand. One thing is certain: the reign of Crailtap is hitting a decline.

As stated before, pros are an investment for companies that may or may not help that company grow. These “investments” are what make any company worth noting a force to reckon with: éS in the mid-2000’s parallels to the modern day Patriots of the NFL. You have a member of that team who was the best in their discipline (PJ on ledges, Bob skating vert, Tom Penny as the enigma we love today), but does that entitle us to respond aggressively to a skater joining a brand by parting ways with another as Patriots fans did regarding “Deflategate?” The question falls back on what will change resulting from such a move, and with this subject, a lot will change if those changes aren’t yet underway. Guy will end up filming a part for Nike in one of their upcoming SB Chronicles series, that much is definite. Instead of seeing Guy on the Crail Couch or doing a Mini Top 5, we will see him in Nike features, which lack the light-hearted identity that the Tap is known for. All of these differences are for a more generous check for Guy, which enables him to pursue skating. If skating is what we love Guy Mariano for, then why isn’t everyone happy for him? Are we obliged to continue to love Guy for his skating even if he left his long-time supporters for a pay raise?

Guy on Lakai vs Guy on Nike

Guy on Lakai vs Guy on Nike, who looks happier?

This circumstance has skaters so divided that there have been many different kinds of comments regarding Guy’s decision. Some say that Guy doesn’t deserve to be a Skater of the Year contender for his switch, others find it to be disloyal to Mike and Rick’s support for him, and more say that it is good for Guy to take the money while he can. We may all be skateboarders, but that doesn’t negate the personal histories and backgrounds of each commenter. The numbers may not be even, but of course the skaters who have followed Guy since Blind’s release of Video Days have a differing opinion than those who have gotten into skating only just prior to the release of Girl/Chocolate’s Pretty Sweet. The former saw how a helping hand can change the life of someone, while the latter sees one of the greats and wonders why he’s not a part of probably the most powerful company in skating. Even in saying this, some of the voices of these groups of skaters differ amongst that group. As an individual, a skater can be upset that something happened, like Guy’s new mix of sponsors, but rare is the moment when all skaters can share a unanimous voice about an event like this.

What further complicates this situation is Guy’s well-known history. A story like Guy’s gets mentioned in so many of his features because it’s a huge reason why people follow him. Then again, it all depends on when you got into skating – if you weren’t even born when Girl’s Mouse was released, the reason someone may not fully comprehend it may be because they weren’t even skating to the caliber in which Guy shook the world with his switch skating. However, the resources to investigate a skater’s career exist and are available for anyone who is interested. For someone who wants to know what some of the earliest footage of no complies looks like, they can find Ray Barbee’s part in Ban This. A skater who has followed a pro for an extensive period of time cannot shed the path that led to that pro’s current position.

Sure, with every pro comes a story, but we follow and root for them because we hope that they continue to add to that story. The question is, what does the move to Nike add to Guy’s story, or better yet, what does it take away?

Written by: Jeffrey Adams Martin
Ask him why he can’t stop skating slip-on’s and other important questions via social media.


  1. Tom Hoffman

    November 24, 2015 2:21pm

    Also, how much has Crailtap changed internally since the Altamont investment?

  2. Nick Ewald

    November 24, 2015 4:04pm

    Yes we should be mad. Nike SB claims to not be corporate but we all know they are in it for the money. They are buying guys from other teams because they can. Look at some of their shoes. They are turning into running shoes ( One Shot and Nike SB Free). Honestly, I think we need to go back to around 2005-2011 era of shoes. Not bulky, even though I love the Es Accel, but not this running shoe bull shiz. We need more companies like DVS, Etnies, Es, and Fallen. In my personal opinion, skate shoes are meant for skateboarding. Not for fashion. – One ticked off 16 year old.

    • Mark

      November 25, 2015 1:28am

      Guy is a professional skateboarder who makes money solely from skateboarding. It’s understandable why he moved to Nike. If he was a doctor or a policeman behind the camera, then he wouldn’t have to move. That’s why you should set you priorities properly and stay in school if you think you can’t become a professional skateboarder like Guy’s caliber. Money is what we need to survive. At your age, you might not realize it yet, but someday you will and you will thank me for it. – An adult.

  3. Moon

    November 24, 2015 6:40pm

    No, I’m not mad. Quit bitching.

  4. Mike C

    November 25, 2015 4:24am

    What does this mean for the Guy XLK? i never got a chance to skate those

  5. Anderson

    November 25, 2015 7:18am

    I have no problem with Guy Mariano moving to Nike at all. He’s a highly respected veteran skater who made his indelible mark in the world of skateboarding and he has all the right in the world to move into whatever brand/sponsor that can provide him with what he needs to go on skating tremendously well. I wish him well.

  6. Chris

    November 25, 2015 6:38pm

    Just like how the Yankess bought their whole team too. WHat can you expect? THey have way more money to dump into skating and clothing then crailtap would. Im not so happy with the move but im hyped for when his shoe comes out. THEY NEED TO BRING BACK SB CLASSICS, and the original Team editions

  7. killatwill

    November 26, 2015 1:40am

    so can I wear nikes with out getting yelled at?

  8. quim truja

    November 29, 2015 11:11pm

    Guess now he have money to get back on drugs, go Guy!

  9. Sam

    November 30, 2015 8:01pm

    I wouldn’t be bad if they finally made a good shoe besides Janoski’s

  10. Chris G

    November 30, 2015 10:37pm

    It’s just a weird feeling. I don’t know how Nike works first hand. I only know what I’ve read online and Metros (skate line) former shop owner said about them. I like Nike for running shoes. I haven’t been stoked on what the put out skate shoe wise for a while. Nike definitely is a power house. IDK really know! Like Tom said ‘what happened after altamont copped crailtap???’ Lakai seems to really be stepping up now after this announcement

  11. 1994

    December 1, 2015 2:25am

    I don’t support NikeSB, but this has nothing to do with poaching or Guy chasing money. Altamont is trimming the Crailfat and the big contracts with short term dividends are the first to go i.e. Koston and Mariano. Sebo and Riley are the young bucks (and Biebel is the god) to keep the flare burning, with less overhead and longterm growth in mind.

    Regardless, it makes me sick to my stomach seeing Guy in Nikes.

  12. Gatlin

    December 3, 2015 3:35am

    It’s not like Nike just bought Guy, he made the choice to move. And so what if Nike isn’t skater owned, they do a lot for skating, they bought the courthouse ledges and put out insane videos with insane skaters in them. We should all just care about the skating and not the skaters career decisions.

  13. Huf tinfoil fagbag

    December 17, 2015 12:18pm

    Lakai girl and all that crailtap stuff sucks. It’s as simple as that. Who cares where you spending your money it all goes to a rich guy who has children in third world countries making the product for pennies. Bottom line is Nike shits on lakai. Maybe if lakai did more than release basically the same three shoes and just change the name they could be legit…they need a new logo too…the lakai logo has always been bad. Congrats guy you riding are real shoe now.

  14. Camel toe

    March 15, 2016 8:26am

    Illuminati like nyjah

  15. Matt

    April 23, 2016 4:40pm

    If all Pro-skaters started to move to Nike or other corporate companies it would definitely destroy the current skate owned brands. Nike and others alike are willing to pay big money in contracts because if you weed out other brands then consumers have to buy Nike and others alike shoes. I am not saying that Nike and others alike cannot be in skateboarding but I think the rise of failing businesses should indicate something more insidious going on. I don’t think skateboarding should have to come to a place where corporations are the only choice when choosing shoes. I am sensitive to pros needing to make money to afford to live and do skateboarding full time, yet theres a ways to help market the brands you were previously on. To be honest, I think pro-skateboarders are becoming to lazy, because its not about just skateboarding to make money anymore its promotion. Endless promotions of shoes, boards, and whatever. But brands like Nike and others alike do not need to do heavy promotion so its a win win for pro-skateboards good check and less hassle.

  16. Logan

    May 9, 2016 10:17pm

    See I’ve been watching Guy’s parts and seen his ads for a while, so I think it was hard for him to decide. Personally, I own a few Nike models, however I don’t necessarily support how they are treating skateboarding as a business venture. Eventually, as Dylan Rieder put it, “they’re only in it till skateboarding isn’t ‘cool’ anymore.”
    I mean they pulled out of snowboarding because they didn’t make as much as they wanted, even though most of the kids at resorts rode Nike. Because of this drop of snowboarding, much of the worlds best snowboarders like Halldor Helgason and Jed Anderson were left without a boot sponsor possibility as well as a potentially empty wallet for some time.
    If Guy made the switch to a company like HUF, who could provide him with more while still being one of the few-skater owned brands, I feel like there would be less controversy. Overall and depending on when Guy officially retired from skating, I don’t think Nike will be around when skateboarders are the hip thing.


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