What started as a way for him and his friends to realize the dream of traveling and skating while in college, has turned into a registered 501(c)(3) organization that helps provide scholarships for future generations of skateboarders. Everyone knows that being a professional skateboarder is a rare and treasured occupation. But even for the select few who accomplish this in their life, even fewer are able to make those careers last. The College Skateboarding Educational Foundation works to show young men and women there are alternate paths to being a part of the skateboard industry, and to also be prepared for the reality of father time. As executive director of CSEF, Keegan helps to provide scholarships, runs the Collegiate Skate Tour contests around the US, and encourages skaters to build futures for themselves. Born in New York, Keegan’s life is in itself an example of just how unexpected the journey can be.
Name: Keegan Guizard
Age: 27 years old
So how did this all get started?
My friends and I made a skateboarding club in college and went to this college skateboarding championship that we were invited to. We were one of the schools that traveled kind of far. It was a fun trip, we got to meet people from other schools that actually skated and stuff. Nine months later, me and my buddy who were running the club hit the people up who ran the contest to see what was up for that upcoming year and they basically told us it wasn’t happening. They told us to talk to this dude who does college wakeboarding who helped them organize the contest. I figured alright what’s one more email I have to send. He got back to me and gave me a little insight on what he does and applied it to skateboarding. He inspired me to make something happen. Not a lot of people do it and it was cool to have the school reimburse us for going on fun trips. I was studying entrepreneurship at the time and the professor I had at the time encouraged me to keep it going. We started putting together what would become the Collegiate Skate Tour. Our first contest was in Kentucky. It was the only time I’ve been to Kentucky. It taught me how to run events and gave me a taste of road life.
How often are you on the road?
Then, it was like skate trips as often as we could. Whenever Agenda was happening in New York we would play the student card and say we were trying to learn about the industry. Get emails and try to get boards and donations to run contests. I’d say we would go out of state on a skate related trip about every six weeks or so. Now, fast forward with Collegiate Skate Tour…the first time we ever did it was in St. Pete and around Florida This year is going to be our sixth anniversary and we’ve been growing. We keep it consistent with four annual contests: Queens, NY in collaboration with Belief. We do another in Gainesville, FL, one at the Transworld Park in Carlsbad, California, and one in Portland, Oregon.
What made you choose Astoria?
I feel like I’ve been to so many contests at LES, and after skating Astoria for the first time I really thought it was a fun park and didn’t get enough attention. It just seemed like a good opportunity to do something there. It’s gone pretty well so far.
How is the response from skaters?
It’s been really good. I don’t even feel like I have to promote it in Queens anymore. All we have to do is put out the flyer and the community there always turns out and has a good time.
In the world of academia, do you come up against those with the opinion that skateboarders are degenerate punks or does the recent assimilation of skateboarding into pop culture lend a helping hand to how people see skateboarders?
Both. There are people that definitely still view skateboarders as unproductive or that they aren’t looking past the next year of their life. However you want to say it, but with the Olympics and stuff…I feel like the New York Times is writing something on skateboarding like every week. Shining the light on skateboarding has helped to change the opinion on skating. A lot of people that look down on skateboarding are starting to age out of the working population as well. On a positive note, I think skateboarding is getting cast in a better light because the youth are standing up and having a voice, demanding to be heard.
On a positive note, I think skateboarding is getting cast in a better light because the youth are standing up and having a voice, demanding to be heard.
Do you have any advice for kids that are coming up now in high school and want to do something with skateboarding?
I acknowledge that I have been super lucky in my own life that I found myself on the path I’m on but I would just say if you want to be in skateboarding, just keep skating all the time and if you want to do something involving skateboarding then don’t be antisocial. Meet people. Don’t burn bridges, and work hard. There’s nothing wrong with having a beer with friends but you know, check your email account. Do things, talk to people. Try different things to figure out whatever it is that calls to you and you’ll find your path.
Did you face any adversity in getting to where you are now?
Yeah, for sure. I mean I didn’t grow up in poverty or anything but I was raised by a single mother. My mom was a school teacher in North Carolina, you know. One of the worst paying states for teachers. So I had some difficulty trying to pay my way through school, but you gotta just play your best hand. It ended up working in my favor in the way of getting some grant money through my college. Part of the reason I am doing what I am doing is because of that. I want to help get funding assistance for skaters so they can follow their dreams.
What fuels you to do this everyday when you wake up?
I mean I think everyone has productive days and some less productive days than others. I try to get work done and go skate, that’s the dream right? So let’s get it.
…if you want to be in skateboarding, just keep skating all the time and if you want to do something involving skateboarding then don’t be antisocial.
What do you love about skateboarding?
It’s such an individual sport. You can drop your board and skate wherever. No one can tell you what to do and even if they try to I don’t care. There’s no bounds. I grew up playing team sports but I was always looking forward to after that when I could go skate. Skateboarding gives you the feeling of unlimited potential.
Favorite NY Spot?
I prefer skating transition, but I really liked skating the ledges and high benches down by the East River. Another spot I really like in Harlem is these brick banks in the park around 140th on the west side by the water.
Anyone you want to thank for getting you to where you’re at today?
Ian Smile is our creative director at CSEF. Pat Sison, he actually just was featured in on Thrasher in their Canvas section, he’s our head illustrator. Thomas Barker & Neftalie Williams are the Co-chairmen of the board at CSEF, they both are killing it, and Josh Rowe. They are all a big part of the team that makes CSEF happen. Much love to all those guys. Anyone who has ever taken photos, helped drive, given us a spot to crash, anyone who has ever supported us. My mom, my dad, and Professor Sheats. The homies at NC skate, Matt Brokaw, Diego Fernandez, Drew St. Claire, and the ramp house boys.
If you’d like to support CSEF by making a donation, you can do so by visiting collegeskateboarding.com/give