In mid-air he grabs his board, arms held out to a perfect T. Legs stick straight ready to land, he replaces the board beneath his feet: a perfect landing of a complicated and thrilling move called Christ Air.
Competing for the 3rd Lair demo team, Vince Taffe uses his earnings to help pay for BSM tuition and save for college. His largest prize for one competition was $750 when he took first place in Brainerd.
In some of the bigger competitions the winnings can be as high as $1,000 for placing first. Typically the top five in a competition will receive prize money. The average amount of winnings, however, is about $500 for first place and about $250 for fifth.
Although being a pro-am (professional amateur) skateboarder has its perks, it also calls for a lot of time and dedication. Taffe said, “We practice every day…usually we practice for about three hours.” Sometimes they have meetings or photo shoots as early as four in the morning, making the balancing act of school and boarding that much more difficult.
Skateboarding, Taffe said, has been a part of his life since age three, but it was not until about age seven that he “started to get good.” He joined at age 14 when 3rd Lair’s agent, Darrel Smith, saw him skateboarding one day and asked him to be a part of their team. Since then Taffe has been an active member viewing his induction to the team as “randomly lucky.”
One of Taffe’s favorite memories of skateboarding was “at our last competition in St. Cloud, everybody on our team broke their board in half on accident during one of our runs. And we still won first place.”
Taffe puts away about 50 percent of his earnings toward tuition and about 50 percent towards college, which in total is approximately $400 per month that goes towards his education. Taffe is interested in going to St. Cloud State or Iowa State. Taffe stays motivated to continue working for a better education and not having any regrets. Taffe does not mind having to chip in for tuition for BSM because, he said, “it was completely my choice to go.” Enjoying what this school has to offer, Taffe still finds time to work on perfecting his favorite trick: Christ Air.