According to dictionary.com the word amateur is defined as such:
noun 1. a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons. 2. an athlete who has never competed for payment or for monetary prize. 3. a person inexperienced or unskilled in a particular activity. 4. a person who admires something; devotee; fan. adj.
Now, none of the definitions above seem to fit in with what skateboarding defines as an amateur. The first definition, in theory, is true but we all know many sponsored amateur skateboarders are paid and many of them have won money at amateur contests. Same goes for definition two. The third definition would hardly qualify in a description of Dashawn Jordan as he is definitely not inexperienced or unskilled in the activity of skateboarding, and the 4th definition, albeit true for most people who love skating, doesn’t seem applicable to today’s modern Am either. So… how does skateboarding define what an Amateur skateboarder is because, according to the definitions above, anybody who has ever stepped on a skateboarder is an Am. So why do we keep saying, “this guy turned Am, that guy turned Am?” It kind of doesn’t make sense. So, let’s just define it here. An Am skater means that one or two (or three or four) companies have decided to put a certain individual on the team. They give them boards. They might take them on trips. They pay for travel and maybe, maybe they even pay them a little bit of money per month so they don’t have to work at Home Depot, that’s if the company can afford it. They are sponsored amateur skateboarders because the companies they ride for have the hopes that they will turn pro some day and they put a lot of time and energy and money into building their career so that in the future they can give them a board (or shoe or truck or bearing or whatever) and hopefully, collectively, make some money together. I think that is probably what it means to be a guy who “just turned Am.”
The new RADAR series has been solely created to showcase the best amateurs in the world, who they are, how they skate and what they go through as they pursue their dreams and cross that bridge from Amateur to Professional. Each RADAR series will end with a video part of what we hope to be one of the defining moments of their amateur careers. What better way to launch this series than with Dashawn Jordan, winner of 2016 Tampa Am and named The Skateboard Mag’s Year’s Best Am. If you didn’t know him before, be prepared to know him now. —sb