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Beyond Community: Alex Corporan

Flipping the Coin

The Origins of a Legend

Today, Alex Corporan is known and loved for his skills as a professional skateboarder, his protagonist role within the skateboarding community, and his striking photographs capturing the personalities embedded in it.

As a young kid, Alex thrived through the formation of a community within skateboarding. The joint passion of his fellow skateboarders led to extraordinary adventures for Alex and ultimately secured his career.

Alex first started skateboarding way back in the 1980s in New York City, at the age of 14. After his best friend encouraged him to pick up a board for the first time, he knew his life would change forever.

The passion and the fellowship emerged right then and there. Together, Alex and his friends matured into the people they wanted to be. They grew up together, influencing each other and gradually building the belief that together, they could do more than they had ever thought possible.

“Skateboarding is the first thing that changed my lifecompletely.”

This is the story of a guy from humble roots who created a life out of his passion. What he has gained, he now gives back to the community he came from. Because, to Alex Corporan, community is everything. It’s unity. It’s family. It’s somewhere to belong. And when that community becomes a turning point in your life, you never forget it.

 “With skateboarding, we had no idea what communitywas, or what it was going to bring us, because it wasn’t shown to us thatthat’s the way to live. We just created this community ourselves and turned itinto something bigger and bigger and became our own little entity, and webecame the people that we wanted to be.”  

Skating Goes Mainstream

In NYC in the ’90s, a movement was lurking around the corner. After nearly 50 years of relative obscurity, skating, and the skating culture, was starting to reach mainstream consciousness.

The guys who came from nothing stood strong together believing they could change their destiny. And so they did. The bond they had formed in their skateboarding community made them believe in themselves, and the people around them were smitten with their passion. Their unity gave them power and empowered others.

It started on the asphalt, transferred to a skate shop, and developed into a full-blown phenomenon. Centered around a location, and a vibe, people from the community had a place to hang out and welcome others who wanted to join. The community was based on friendship, respect, and support.

The Third Door

“For me, I’ve taken the role of skateboarding as giving back. When I made it, it was so hard and insane, it was just a different time.”

Making it to the other side is what drives Alex to give back today. From his perspective, growing up in New York City, there were only two doors to walk through: one, a door to downfall, or two, a door to a scholarship. In his own words, it was rough, and you were alone.

Yet, Alex created a third option with his friends and peers, and to this day, he continues to show younger members of his community the hidden door to success.

Giving Back Through Skateboarding

“I’ve taken the support system I’ve learned through skateboarding and taken it through my career and life to open doors for people that have never seen that door before. Because I have gone through the door, I want to bring people through. I think that’s the beauty of community.”

For Alex, skateboarding became his career. After his first ride, on a Tony Hawk Bonite board, his professional skateboarding days quickly followed. He became a part of the iconic NYC skate shop, Supreme, throughout the ‘90s and managed it for years before moving on to become an event producer, author, creator, photographer, and more.

He is an entrepreneurial spirit and keeps finding new ways to support the skateboarding scene and underprivileged young people, whether it’s through competitions, prizes or social events.

One of these initiatives, Skate Night, is hosted together with his partners Sam Parks and Josh Zickert. The event invites youngsters within the skateboarding community eat food, win free skateboards, and enjoy themselves to the tunes of a band playing in the background. At its essence, Skate Night creates the backdrop for new friendships and communities to develop.

“To win a skateboard or clothing or something, I didn’t grow up that way. We had to really fight for it. I’m glad I can give back. (…) Whatever I can do to help the community, I do it.”