We had the good fortune of connecting with Markus Neustaedter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Markus, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was passionate and excited about the potential that skateboard instruction and skateboard programs had through my former employer a skateboard school in Mesa. I saw that it was possible to run a legitimate business that was successful focusing on skateboard instruction for kids but I had philosophical differences on how I thought it should be implemented. I was being asked to instruct my students in a cookie cutter manner where I was teaching the same tricks to numerous children simultaneously with no deviation or freedom to cater to the individuality of each child. For me thats the whole magic of skateboarding, that everybody moves differently and everybody’s mind works differently, and that comes out in trick selection and style on a skateboard. As such I felt that I could easily do sessions where I could watch somebody skate for less than 5 minutes and make suggestions and recommendations individually based off of what they were trying and doing to help them progress and push them relative and unique to them.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am beyond blessed to get to do what I do on a daily basis for a living. As such I never take a single day, session, or private lesson for granted and strive to put my entire being and soul into the moment I am there being honored that I am being asked and trusted to help with somebodies skateboarding. I try to fully give myself to my students and let go of any ego or sensation of pride trying to be cool that is normal to feel, and I strive to make my students feel loose and at ease. I’ll do whatever it takes to try to make them smile or make them laugh by super nerding out and spitting silly rap freestyles, telling cheesy jokes, or doing weird voices if I can just get my student to feel free and comfortable to try their best on their skateboard in that moment. It’s never been lost on me how incredible and special it is that I have the opporunity to earn money being on my skateboard so over the last 11 years I have done skateboard instruction I have just put my head down and accepted and worked every single private lesson that has been offered to me and strived to work as hard as I can on my business when it started 7 years ago. To some extent I can’t say it was hard because its my passion so I’ve enjoyed doing it every moment, but building a name and a reputation especially in working with peoples children is hard work and takes time and perseverance. It is hard to convince people to send their children in a van to go skateboarding and to ask somebody to trust you with such a sacred part of their lives as their children you have to be perfect and treat every single child the way you would want your own children to be treated if you were to send them off in a program or with an instructor. The main thing I would want people to know about my brand is that we are iron clad, and good as gold to supervise and be responsible for your child during their time with us. We don’t take it lightly and strive to make sure they have the best time possible while on a Skate True session and return a better skateboarder than when they left.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of the first places I would take somebody is where I do a majority of my private lessons and thats the Wedge skatepark in South Scottsdale. There is so much culture and a cool vibe there and I would go as far as calling it a world heritage site for skateboarding! Between the iconic famous spots and the cool feel of the skatepark its a must hit. Some of my favorite parks in the city are the Surprise park, the Maricopa park, the new Avondale festival fields park and The Queen Creek Oasis parks so if someone came to skate I would definitely show them these parks. I would take them to our local skateboard shops Freedom Boardshop, Cowtown skateboards, and Sidewalk Surfer because our local skate shops are such an integral and awesome part of our skate scene here in the greater Phoenix area. Lastly if they wanted to have a drink I would have to take them to Casey Moore’s Oyster House in Tempe as it is a staple in the skate scene to hang out and meet other skaters.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I definitely would want to shout out my high school friends older brothers who were my friends as well. Nate Young and Clint Hardison. In a huge way they were the genesis of understanding what mentors and older individuals could mean to young skateboarders especially when they could take us to the skatepark and spend time with us when we couldn’t get down there otherwise. Neal Mims a professional skateboarder from California is another huge influence who was already running a skateboard program out of California and would make business visits down to Arizona to run weekend camps. When he learned about my business he immediately took me under his wing and showed me everything about how he operated his business and shared his knowledge and wisdom and was nothing but giving in trying to help me from the get go.