Dexter Williams is a 17-year-old scooter rider from Burnley with a social following of over 20k.
What started out as a hobby at Queen’s Park has since turned into to the next level in scootering by appearing in competitions all over the world with his sponsor, Madd Gear.
Aged just 10, scootering first caught Dexter’s eye whilst down at the local park with friends.
“I used to go to Queens Park in Burnley with a few of my friends on my BMX and I saw other people my age on scooters and thought that it looked way more fun than what I was doing on my BMX!”
He quickly switched up his bike for a scooter and got stuck into the scene as his go-to hobby.
Dexter soon outgrew the park and started to enter and win local amateur competitions, resulting in him turning professional quite early on in his career.
“There’s quite a few different skate parks where I practice now – there’s one in Manchester that I go to quite a lot and there’s another in Leyland and one in Blackburn. We could do with a really good one in Burnley too!”
“Anyone who does BMX, skateboarding and scootering trains in the same place, but there’s different session times. Junction 4 in Blackburn is quite small, so it has dedicated nights for each. If I see skateboards, I’ll sometimes have a go, but I’ve never really been into it.”
The Scooter Industry
Scootering is a fairly recent sport and has only established itself properly in the last few years. Most of the people who were original pioneers of the scene still play a massive part in it today including one of Dexter’s team mates, Terry Price, who started out in the industry as it began to take off.
Dexter said: “Scootering is a young person’s sport, but it hasn’t been around long enough to say otherwise. It’s been around about 15 years, people who have been scootering since the beginning are still part of the scene. It’s getting bigger and bigger every day, especially with the help of social media as a platform to grow new fans of the sport. There are two different styles to scootering, street and park.”
For those of you who don’t know (and neither did we until this interview with Dexter!) there are three different levels to scootering competitions; the UK, European and World Finals, but before you get to attempt any of these stages, you need to be one of the best in the regional qualifiers.
Currently ranking at 15thin the UK, Dexter has seen his position climb as high as 7thin as many number of years in the scooter game and he’s experienced all of the major competitions during this time.
He explained: “To qualify for the European Finals, you have to qualify by placing top 50 in the UK. Everyone has a 2-minute run to showcase what they can do. You get marked on the difficulty of your tricks, whether you have kept your speed and how cleanly you land them. You are marked out of 100 and you’ll get two attempts at your run. For example, if you place top 50, you are going to Europe then it’s top 15 there and so-forth until you are at the World Final.”
In 2016, Dexter reached the Barcelona World Final which was incredible for someone so young – he was just 14 at the time. That year he came 7thin the UK, 14thin Europe and 41stin the World Final.
Some tricks involved in scootering are very extreme and take years of practice to perfect.
“For the flip tricks there’s a ramp with a foam pit at the end of the jump. It’s very similar to what they have in most trampoline parks, you practice over and over again until you get it mastered. I’ve only ever hurt myself badly once, whilst trying a 360-back flip, but I can do it now. Most of the normal tricks aren’t done in a foam pit – there’s no need.”
The Sponsorship Deal
Like any other sporting industry, sponsorship deals within the scootering world are a means of income for the talent who these brands represent.
Of his deal with Madd Gear, Dexter said: “Sponsorship within scootering is linked closely to social media – the more followers you have, the more your sponsorship deal will be worth. Every time you hit a following milestone, the benefits of your sponsorship will increase as you’re reaching more people and bringing more awareness to your sponsor’s brand.
“Madd Gear offer custom parts and equipment for my scooter which are tailored to my preferences. Whenever I need parts, it’s literally a case of just asking them. I get about six trips abroad a year and everything is covered, so I live the dream when I’m on tour.”
Hanging Out With Leo Spencer
Leo Spencer is a 19-year-old, scooter rider from Bradford and he’s also sponsored by Madd Gear.
Dexter added: “He’s a good friend of mine, we train together quite a lot and he was fourth in the world at one point. He’s from Bradford and I’ve known him for about 6 years now. He gets a lot of views and makes a lot of money from YouTube.”
Leo currently has 60k subscribers to his videos and has had 91k views on one of videos alone.
“It’s like we bounce off each other – swapping tips and tricks. If you and your mate are competitive that’s probably the best way to progress.”
Education Vs Scootering
One of the most difficult challenges for anyone pursuing their passion is finding the balance between work and play.
Despite his successes to date, Dexter firmly has his head screwed on when it comes to being realistic. So much so, he also studies Joinery at Burnley College as a ‘just in case’ option.
He said: “Of course I’d love to pursue a career in scootering, that’s the hope, that’s the dream. If not, joinery is always something to fall back on. I just need to work on increasing my social following for now and hopefully in the next few years, it’ll pay off.”
Check out some exclusive tricks from Dexter over on our Burnley.Social Instagram
Follow Dexter for his latest tricks, clips and updates on his competitions: https://www.instagram.com/dextagram__/