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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

It’s all downhill for professional longboarder

By Galen Gemperline

 

Most college freshman don’t train six hours a day or post to thousands of followers on social media.

However, Schmidt, a professional downhill longboarder, isn’t your typical freshman. He is only going to school a quarter or two out of the year so he can pursue his career in longboarding.  

“Not taking the typical path, especially with regards to education, is the right [path] for me,” Schmidt said.

To race in national and international circuits, Schmidt has to step back from school in order to advance his career.

Schmidt said school will always be there, but the opportunities he has now with racing might not be.

“School will always be an option, it will always be there,” Schmidt said. “But racing and how I’m treating myself now won’t always be an option.”

Parker Schmidt competing in Praha, Czech Republic on July 19, 2017. Photo courtesy of Dasha Vader

Schmidt spends up to six hours a day training so he can compete at the highest level. He said he has dedicated countless hours over the years to his career, and it hasn’t only been time spent on the board and in the gym. He has put a lot of energy into sharing his life and work through social media as well.

With almost 5,000 people following him on Instagram, Schmidt feels determined to provide more than just entertainment.

“I hate the idea of someone showing their life and not providing a service,” Schmidt said. “So I try to provide a lot of longboarding workouts, specific training they can do so my followers can take something away.”

The maturity, dedication and information that Schmidt shares through his social media is one of the reasons he has been sponsored by numerous companies.

Smith has compiled a long list of sponsors, including Omen Boards, Wicked Audio, Idyllic Clothing and even a coffee company, Kimera Koffee.

Theo Armenteros, co-founder of Kimera Koffee, said a small start-up business like his can’t afford to sponsor athletes for more popular sports, like football and basketball, so they look to niche sports.

Armenteros said he’s always liked the idea of sponsoring longboarders and skateboarders, and there’s a reason they specifically chose to sponsor Schmidt – he knows how to brand himself.

“We loved the fact that Parker was so professional, especially for his age,” Armenteros said. “We understand it’s hard for [athletes] to excel at their sport and also social media, but we saw that Parker really embraced both aspects.”

Parker Schmidt, a freshman kinesiology major at Western, tearing down a country road in the Czech Republic during summer 2017. Photo courtesy of Dasha Vader

Schmidt said a lot of the companies that sponsor him don’t typically sponsor longboarders, like Kirmera Koffee, Hydroflask and Lululemon, but they chose him because of the positive image he displays.

The health and fitness conscious persona Schmidt displays on social media lines up with the image these brands want to portray. “They appreciate that and how I present myself on social media and how I take care of myself,” Schmidt said.

It’s his passion to help others through health and fitness that brought Schmidt to Western.

In the fall of 2017, Schmidt started on the path to becoming kinesiology major with a minor in marketing. And he is already taking steps toward becoming a personal trainer through online courses and an internship at Jack City Fitness in his hometown of Boise, Idaho.

But even his work as a personal trainer is something he uses to improve his own abilities.

“I get a really unique perspective on the coaches’ point of view,” Schmidt said, “So I can take that and put into my own training so I can understand how he’s trying to help me.”

Western has helped him find classes that match his schedule so he can continue to train at a high level while he’s taking classes.  

“They’ve been exceptionally amazing,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt’s next competition is the South Korea World Cup from May 4-6, in Jeongseon, South Korea. Then he’ll join the European World Circuit that runs from June 1 to Aug. 23.

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