WESTFIELD, NJ — Brian O’Dwyer remembers getting his first skateboard from his grandmother and playing the Tony Hawk skateboarding video game for hours as a child. Instantly, the two would spark a lifelong passion for skateboarding.
“A couple of months into skating I just knew this was what I wanted to do,” the 20-year-old Westfield native said. “I couldn't see myself doing anything else.”
Over 10 years later, O’Dwyer now travels the country full-time skateboarding, filming trick videos and entering competitions. He frequents California where many of his sponsors are based but will be heading to Kentucky soon on a film trip for Santa Cruz Skateboards. The video will be released in 2020.
O’Dwyer gained traction in the skateboarding world by filming trick videos with friends and getting Josh Ettinger, the owner of Travel Skate Shop and one of his sponsors, to distribute clips. They landed sponsorships with skateboarding brands including DC Shoes, Santa Cruz Skateboards, OJ Wheels and Bronson Speed Co. Ettinger credits O'Dwyer's self-determination and hustle as a key element to his success.
“Skateboarding is all about progression,” Ettinger said. “There’s no coach and there’s no one telling you what to do. It relies on the person itself and you can take it as far as you want to take it.”
Recently, O'Dwyer was featured in a video published by Thrasher, the largest skateboarding magazine in the U.S., where he skidded down ramps and twirled mid-air doing tricks. The video gained over 80,000 likes and 420,000 views on Instagram, and for O’Dwyer, almost a thousand more Instagram followers.
“Being on Thrasher was a dream come true,” O’Dwyer said. “I didn't know I was gonna be on Thrasher's Instagram either. I've always wanted to be on it. It felt really big.”
Looking to the future, O’Dwyer doesn't see himself ever getting out of skateboarding. Even when he can’t physically skate anymore, he said he would consider opening up a shop to keep in touch with the skating community.
“I love everything skateboarding,” he said. “I have fun and the feeling is great when you land a perfect trick. It’s just unexplainable.”