Bibi’s tale of pro skater exploitation

Bibi is much happier now after finishing up on the pro skate circuit. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Hans Lovejoy

Bibi Bradbury has a tale to tell younger kids wanting to be a pro skater – be wary of the career as the corporations that promote the sport are not particularly supportive of their talent.

Born at Mullum Hospital, Bibi says he was skating around Bruns and Mullum at  six years old.

‘I built a career around skating, and had corporate interest from age 13’.

‘Sponsorship meant shoes, clothes, national tours and media exposure.

‘Over the years, I became more well known as a pro skater. Yet there were no wages, only what you collected as prize winnings.

Cutthroat business

‘At age 18, it became clear that corporate sponsorship is just tokenistic, and I started feeling exploited’.

As for any camaraderie with other skaters, Bibi says it’s a cutthroat business so skaters don’t discuss their contracts between themselves.

He says, ‘You really need to speak up and defend your worth’.

One example where he says the corporate sponsorship failed to support him in a time of need was after a serious head injury from an accident.

Head injury

‘I was on a New Zealand trip with a company, collecting footage for their promotions and I took on a 17 stair handrail and miscalculated. I ended up landing on my head and was knocked unconscious for around a minute.

‘I was taken to hospital, but there was a four hour wait, so we eventually left. I know other skaters who have experienced similar treatment. If you clash with the top execs, you are out of the industry. There’s no insurance, very little pay and high risk. Eventually you get spat out.

‘One notable exception is of course Tony Hawke, who managed to build a personal brand’.

Now retired at 25, Bibi runs the All Aboard skate school and teaches kids after school and on weekends. His number is 0478 104 516.

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