Cancellation of National Skateboard Amateur Series
In early August 2014, the parent body of SBA, SA, announced significant structural changes following the appointment of a new chief executive officer (CEO), Dallas Eastley. Former SBA employee Andrew Currie explained on his Facebook page that SA prioritized the attainment of a surplus budget—despite its status as a non-profit organisation—and consequently determined the completion of the National Skateboard Amateur Series, a contest series for amateur skateboarders, as an "unacceptable risk to the organisation". Curry explained:
Despite having completed six of eight stops, with 48 skateboarders qualified (many of whom had already booked and paid for flights and accommodation for the advertised Final in October), and only the Queensland and New South Wales Qualifying stops remaining, the Skate Australia CEO and Board Of Directors determined that, in a year when a major financial partner (Anpha) has been lost, the pursuit of a surplus budget (for a non-profit organisation) was paramount to completing the Titles.
Curry's post also states that the result of SA's decision harmed the reputation of SbA, removed the possibility of an amateur series for 2015 and led to the loss of employment of the majority of skateboarding staff at SbA. Curry maintained that "Skateboarding continues to be grossly under-represented in the Skate Australia constitution."
A response from SA was published on the SbA website on 5 August 2014, in which Eastley explained that information was omitted from Curry's post. Eastley stated:
We feel compelled to respond to this statement and provide additional information purposefully omitted from this statement in order to provide a complete picture of why it was not possible for the organisation to complete the Am Titles event series.
Firstly, in the 3 years to June 2014, the activities of Skateboarding Australia (SbA) under the leadership of former SbA/SA management have generated approximately $325,000 in financial losses to the organisation, Skate Australia has maintained its support of Skateboarding each year as these losses accumulated. These losses have now accumulated and significantly weakened the organisation to the point where we no longer have the ability to absorb any further losses.
With respect to the Am Titles series, this agreement was negotiated in June 2013 by both SA and SbA’s management at that time. The Nike Am Titles agreement extended from June 2013, through to completion in December 2015 (incorporating both the 2014 and 2015 Am Titles series calendars).
The series was co-sponsored by the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (ANPHA), this sponsorship provided approximately 50% of the required funding for the Am Titles series. This sponsorship had a clearly defined end date of 30th June 2014, with any possible extension yet to be determined.
Those responsible for negotiating this agreement and associated Am Titles series have failed to consider the impact and plan accordingly for the loss of ANPHA sponsorship at 30th June 2014.
Given the organisations weakened financial position following the financial losses generated by SbA over the past 3 years, the organisation found itself in a position where even considering all alternative avenues on the table from the ASC and Nike, the organisation was not financially able to continue the series, and remain solvent.
The mutual agreement reached between SbA and Nike regarding the termination of the series was absolutely necessary in order to ensure survival of both Skate Australia, and Skateboarding Australia (SbA).Skate Australia & Skateboarding Australia remains committed to promoting the growth and development of Skateboarding in Australia, and creating opportunities for Skateboarders nationally.
On 14 August 2014, Australian professional skateboarder Renton Millar appeared in Ausralia's Herald Sun newspaper, calling for a "break-away national body" following SA's actions—Miller cited "poor management" as the salient issue. Miller further explained:
Skateboarders are very angry ... A great deal of taxpayer money is being spent and there are not being held accountable for it ... It’s mismanagement at the top and a lot of skaters feel cheated ... The board don’t have any idea about skateboarding ... they shattered these kids by putting up a notice on the internet saying the event was cancelled ... They tried to blame the Federal Government but then one of the people working for them actually said that’s not entirely true. They just think they’re dealing with a bunch of 15-year-old kids but they’re not.
An online petition was uploaded by Millar to the Change.org platform, with Simon Hollingsworth from the ASC identified as the recipient. Millar calls for the creation of an autonomous organisation for Australian skateboarding with a "sole interest is skateboarding" and independence from "all other sports." In the petition, Millar reinforces data that was presented by Curry in his Facebook statement, whereby the number of public parks for skateboarding in Australia exceeds the number of privately operated Australian roller-skating rinks by a considerable amount—as of August 2014, 1,300 of the former exist, compared to 30 for the latter. As of 3 September 2014, 1,835 individuals had signed the petition, and another 665 supporters were required before the petition could be submitted.
- "About Us". Skateboarding Australia. Skateboarding Australia. October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Andrew Currie, krim (4 August 2014). "FORUM > SKATE > SBA AM SERIES CANCELLED (91310)". Skateboard.com.au. Skateboard.com.au. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- Dallas Eastley (5 August 2014). "2014 NIKE X SBA AM TITLES – MEDIA RELEASE". Skateboarding Australia. Skateboarding Australia. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- Peter Rolfe (14 August 2014). "Ex-world skateboarding champ hits out at titles cancellation". Herald Sun. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- Renton Millar (2014). "Australian Sports Commission: Please recognise that Skateboarding needs its own National Governing Organization, independent from Roller Skating and all other sports.". Change.org. Change.org, Inc. Retrieved 3 September 2014.