Skateboard Rules (for the New Economy) 

This 17-year-old punk from the suburbs rides a skateboard, loves his mom, and uses the N-word. He'll probably make $80,000 next year.

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Friends such as Templeton say that contrary to Corey's exterior, he's never so much as taken a puff of a cigarette or tasted a drop of alcohol. He's also a practicing Mormon. "He goes to church with us whenever he's in town," beams Sharon.

Justin Regan, team manager for Emerica shoes, one of the sponsors who stuck with Corey, was forced to make a decision based on friendship and business.

"He wasn't dropped from the team because of my relationship with him," Regan says. "I have faith that hopefully Corey can turn this around, and somehow, eventually, set a good example through his mistake. That's why I still flow him shoes. He's not the monster that comes across through reading that interview. He's an irresponsible and immature little brat, but he's not that monster."

Even the fans on the message boards smelled a ruse. "Corey is a nice person and a good friend," wrote Slap Pal. "But he will say dumb shit to make his punk rock image more believable. Corey said racist remarks and other stuff because he is a sixteen-year-old who does not know any better."

6. Give Good Photo

Driving around Walnut Creek, looking to skate despite his broken collarbone, Corey pulls his car into a parking garage to meet up with some friends who still have to go to school. Steve, whom Corey calls "Stiv" in honor of a legendary member of the seminal punk band the Dead Boys, gets in the car, and they head for the smooth tennis courts at the tony Rudgear Estates. Corey asks Stiv what he's been missing at school.

Stiv reports two things. One, the boy who is rumored to be gay is said to give his father's boyfriend blow jobs after school.

"That's not true!" Corey yells. "Shut up!"

"It's totally true!" Stiv says, not even convincing himself. "He's a meth freak, too."

The second item: a few people got drunk in a friend's car before school. Corey takes the news as a so-what item.

At the tennis courts, a few other kids are flipping boards and olleying up to knee-high park benches. Corey opens his trunk, a jumbled bin of random skateboard parts and gag clothing from the Halloween superstore he once worked at: wooden decks, black spike wigs, oversized sunglasses, skate sneakers, cowboy boots. And one fake gun, which Corey playfully puts to Stiv's head.

After Corey slips into skate shoes and puts on a baseball cap, he skates toward the other boys on the court, and a little scrub in a watermelon-sized helmet, about ten years old, runs to the fence and points. "Look, there's Corey!"

When Corey was his admirer's age, skating was nothing but a euphoric rush. Every move brought pleasure; every summer night spent grinding curbs and olleying fire hydrants was a day in heaven. Corey skated first with his neighbors, but realized quickly that falling down just didn't seem to hurt him as much as it hurt the other kids. Without having to worry about pain, it made stunts less of a mental obstacle.

As he grew older, the tricks only got gnarlier and more dangerous, and the friends he rode with spread out to include the Bay Area's best riders. These days, popular skateboarding is generally divided into two camps: those who ride handrails, and those who don't. Riding handrails is the stuff of Evel Knievel. A one-inch miscalculation can send a skater tumbling into a spectacular face-plant down a cement staircase. But, as one skate mag puts it, "rails get the chicks."

And Corey Duffel rides rails. Big ones.

Take a look at a public staircase leading up to any building, and see if the handrails are scratched up or slicked down. If they are, skaters have been there. Now count the stairs beneath the rail. The more stairs there are, the more dangerous the ride. Skate fans who are obsessed with rails count steps like anxious accountants. More than ten is huge. More than fifteen, godlike.

Corey has successfully taken on an eighteen-stair rail.

"I do get afraid, sure," Corey says. "But I think I just hide it more. I get scared; I won't want to think about things going wrong. But when I'm driving up to the spot, I just put on some music and get a song stuck in my head. I don't think about all the bad stuff that can happen because when you do, it usually does happen. I just think about making the trick, and how cool it's going to be when I land it."

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