I get a little flack sometimes for being so positive and stoked on the people that I feature. The reason is, these features have showcased people that I admire, have had the pleasure of getting to know, some good friends and sometimes a combination of all three. Ryan Clements has been a role model of mine for a long time. As far as I am concerned his contributions to the skateboard community have been very under appreciated. For years he was a fixture at the famed Skatepark of Tampa, and I have had the pleasure of attending many events that he helped put together, and usually (and hilariously) MC’d. To me Ryan offers a perfect example of what it means to be a skateboarder, by staying true to his ideals and living a legacy in skateboarding that outlasts many pro skateboard careers. Now a part of The Boardr, and Excel Management, its impressive he even has time for a family. He juggles it well though and is a dedicated and loving father and husband. It was my pleasure to get in touch with Ryan and have him as a part of our features.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your
career with being a dad?
My name is Ryan Clements and I’m a lifelong skateboarder that has been fortunate enough to figure out a way to make a living working in the skateboarding industry. I’m part of a couple of companies. At The Boardr we do events on a global scale with clients such as adidas, ESPN, Dew Tour, and Zappos, so I’m on airplanes a lot. We also general do consulting as well as retail, both brick and mortar and online. With Excel Management we do business management and representation for some of the world’s best skateboarders. Clients include everyone from Paul Rodriguez and Shane O’Neill, to Austyn Gillette and Nick Merlino. We’re stoked on our diversification of services within the skateboarding arena. I do my best at trying to not to work too much, but sometimes I fail at that. I do bring my girls with me when possible though, and I’m so grateful when it works out that they can travel with me. I’m the textbook overachiever and I have to rein it in sometimes. I’m trying to learn how to say “no” (sometimes).
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
We can all work 75 hours per week if we want and constantly stay connected to social media. I actually try to make the effort to be present when I’m with my daughter and wife. I’m not always successful, but I do try. When I’m at work, I work and concentrate 100% on that. No lunch meetings, no bullshit time-wasting activities. But when it’s time to go home, I go home and attempt to give my girls 100% of my attention and make sure they know that I’m present with them. That’s one small part of the balancing act of being a modern-day dad. An additional aspect that is very important to me is to raise my child with an open mind and the ability to make informed decisions on her own.
I want her to see the world for what it truly is, and not all of it is flowers and princesses. There is hunger and war and death and rape and addiction all of that disgusting shit that we try to shield our children from as if it doesn’t exist. Maybe I’m being a bit of a romantic here, but I think that reality should not be ignored. Like, he kid, you’ve got it really good, but not everyone in this world does. Shit isn’t always nice, Sloane. Just be prepared for it.
And teaching her that different people and cultures do different things is very important to me. I can’t wait until she can travel with me more so we can eat off a street cart in China and have fine dining in Paris, sleep on the floor at a friend’s house in California and be in a penthouse suite in Copenhagen. Getting those life experiences, seeing what it’s all about, and just observing how other people do it, that has been the best thing for me and it’s what I want my child to see, too. It taught me compassion and patience and hopefully she can learn those things sooner than I did in life.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
Before Sloane was born I actually thought, “How is this going to affect my career? Will I still be able to work up to the level I’ve been working?” Ha. What a joke. Now in hindsight I see that having a child only enhances my work because I’m now doing it for a different reason, to provide for my daughter and family. That comes first and foremost before anything now. I was always a pretty selfish dude, doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I’ve had to learn how to be there for my wife unconditionally, no questions asked, when she needs me. I’m still working on it though, because sometimes my selfishness comes to the forefront. That’s when I try to check myself and remember that it’s not all about me. And I can’t get drunk like I used to, but that’s a good thing.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
The unconditional love that a child shows is like no other that you can experience. She doesn’t know who’s good, bad, mean, or nice. We’re out in public and everyone is the same to her. She’s waving at the homeless guy and saying, “Hi,” to thugs on the street. As an adult, as much as I try not to do it, I’m always judging, planning, evaluating, and so on. We all do it. But children don’t because they are so innocent, untainted, honest. That’s beautiful when you think about it. They don’t need anything to make them happy. They’re already happy…just to be alive, and play, and love, and be loved. There’s a lesson in that for all grown-ups.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
I remember going to Disney World a few years ago, well before Sloane was born, and seeing little girls dressed up as princesses. I actually had the audacity to say, “Why in the world would they do that with their kids? I don’t get it.” I was so ignorant, so inexperienced, and it was such a weird thing for me to see. Like…a princess? For real? Now I see my little princess walking and talking and being a little person and all I can think is, “I hope that she wants to go to Disney World and meet the princesses and dress up like one, too!” Haha. It’s just seeing things through a different set of eyes, that’s all, and being a father has allowed me to see it. Another funny one is that Sloane, at 18 months, still doesn’t call me “Daddy.” She’s talking up a storm, saying all kinds of things, but she tends to call me “Mommy” or just nothing at all. It’s like I’m just this guy that comes and stays at the house sometimes. Ha! I think Jenna thinks I’m bummed on it, but I just think it’s funny. Sloane will figure out who I am someday sooner than later.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
Well, we’re doing the traditional sort of thing in our household. I’m working and Jenna is staying home and raising Sloane and working part-time here and there. She’s a realtor, so she has the luxury of not having to go into an office or really do anything she doesn’t want to do work-wise. I have to say to the new dads out there, honor thy wife. Jenna does so much for me and Sloane and our family as a whole. She is the glue that holds it all together and does an amazing job of teaching Sloane things and being there every moment for our daughter’s well-being and education. I appreciate and respect that beyond anything because putting effort into raising a child is not only the hardest thing you can do, but it’s the most important thing in this world. And how ironic that I’m the one that gets the opportunity to do this interview while Jenna does all of the work.
Thanks Ryan, for you contribution to skateboarding and to this site. It was an absolute pleasure and I wish you the best. Maybe one day I will get to skate that dream driveway of yours!
Get in touch with Ryan at TheBoardr.com,
Watch their show on the Ride Channel (YouTube channel) called On The Boardr.
Follow Ryan on Instagram at @rtclem and his email is Ryan@TheBoardr.com.