Elissa Steamer, godmother of street skating, has quit riding for board sponsor Zero. Reached by telephone, the 35-year-old regular-footer told ESPN that her departure happened two weeks ago.
"I don't want to make a big deal out of this," added the four-time X Games gold medalist when asked for details. "Obviously it just wasn't working out. Just differences, that's all."
After pro stints with Toy Machine and Bootleg, Steamer joined Zero in June 2006. At the time, Zero founder Jamie Thomas said, "Elissa's raw approach to life and skateboarding is a perfect fit for Zero. I think she's the raddest girl to ever ride a skateboard."
In response to Steamer's recent departure, Jamie Thomas, who founded Zero skateboards and Black Box Distribution in 2000, said, "Elissa and I go way back and she'll always be one of my favorite skaters. The last few years she's been doing her own thing and since the Zero team is so big, we weren't able to support her the way she wanted to be supported. So, we talked about everything and agreed it might be best for everyone if we just high-5'd on all the good times and parted ways.
"I still value our relationship and I'm nostalgic about all the good times we've had skating and hanging out over the years. I wish her the best with whatever she does and I'll always be on the sidelines cheering her on!"
Said Steamer of her relationship with Thomas: "Me and Jamie have been friends for a long time. It was a difficult decision to make. It's hard enough to make career decisions let alone those heavy ones. It's like breaking up with someone, you know? Zero was five years of my life. Of course I'm thankful for that. And Jamie hooked me up. I really only had a shoe sponsor when he put me on Zero. I didn't have a board sponsor for a while before that. And it's like that right now -- for the time being anyway. I don't have a board sponsor.
"I'm working on something and hopefully it works out but, right now, all I can do is put it out there. I can't manipulate the world to work in my favor; all I can do is try. Maybe something will happen by [X Games]. We'll see. If not I'll be riding whatever I want at X Games.
Born and raised in Fort Meyers, Fla., Steamer has been living in San Francisco for eight years. She turns 36 this week at X Games 17. For her birthday, the vet (who already has six X medals to her name) is seeking "peace of mind."
"You're not really a pro skater if you don't have a board out. So being without a sponsor is heavy on my mind. I've got s---loads on my mind. I have a really over-active mind to begin with, but this situation has a lot to do with it right now."
Said Steamer of her sponsors, past and present, "I never concentrated on anything else. I put all my energy into skateboarding. Eventually it happened for me. I can't really tell you what I'd be doing with my life without skateboarding. I can tell you what I'd be doing without help from sponsors though, and it probably wouldn't be too positive. Or maybe it would, actually, who knows? It's hard to say shouldas and wouldas. But of course I'm thankful to be a pro."
Steamer, who has been skating since she was 10, was the first female to get a video part in a reputable skate film (Toy Machine's 1996 video, 'Welcome to Hell). She was also the first female pro to appear in the Tony Hawk video game series.
Zero, which began as a clothing company in 1996 launched Mystery skateboards in 2003 and soon after integrated Fallen Footwear and apparel. Today, under the ownership of Jamie Thomas and Chris Cole, there are over 50 team riders amongst the Black Box brands. Steamer was the first female pro street skater.