On July 5th, 2015 the skateboard industry lost one of its biggest Canadian champions: Peter Sullivan. I use the word “champion” not in the sense of Street League contest wins or Skater of the Year trophies on his shelf but in how this man championed the cause, the movement and the industry of skateboarding for more than 20 years. The past 16 of those were spent heading up Supra Distribution which he founded here in Vancouver. As I write this to a general audience who may have never heard his name (with a few skate heads reading I’m sure) I hope to emphasize that it’s hard to overestimate the impact that he had while he was here. You can count on one hand how many people have had even close to as much of a positive influence on the sport in Canada. Ever.
Without Peter Sullivan more than one Canadian skateboarding magazine would not have got off the ground, let alone thrived. Without his company’s sponsorship there would be so many amateur and professional skateboarders who would never have got a start. These guys wouldn’t have gone on to inspire others to enjoy what skateboarding has to offer while also pushing the boundaries of the sport. Countless skate videos would never have been made. And jobs, within his own business and others; the products that his company put into the hands of skate shops across the country not only kept skateboarders enjoying the sport but their sale employed a legion of entrepreneurs who, much like Peter, truly appreciated that something they love could become a living for them.
Not simply working as a one-man band, he built up Supra so that it can (and will) continue to do business and keep skateboarding (and skateboarders) thriving here even though illness took him away from it far too soon. He no doubt inspired competitors to up their game and take notes from him on how to best approach business and grow the culture and the sport/industry on their own. In fact many people who worked for him and with him have gone on to start their own operations, further spreading the stoke.
The most visible legacy of his will be the new Ambleside Skatepark that he kicked off the fundraising for by donating $50,000 to last year. When completed the park will no doubt be dedicated to Peter’s memory. It’s touching to think that one day his wife Louise will take their three children to skate it, and think of how proud they are of what their dad did for so many people (and, most importantly, them) while he was here.
The fundraising for the park hasn’t been completed yet so if you’re thinking of a way you might honour his memory please consider making a donation HERE. Peter helped pave the way for the future of skateboarding in Canada, and it’s up to us to upkeep that pavement.