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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"Corey came up big in all three categories," the editors wrote, just below a picture of Corey's lanky frame sliding down a rail.

More than a year later, the quotes still have legs. Looking down at the magazine's pages in his living room, Corey shrugged it off. "I understand the magazine industry and what they have to do to sell magazines. I don't take it personally."

8. Give Better Photo

On a drizzly Friday a few weeks ago, Corey steered his punkmobile through the Caldecott Tunnel, across the Bay Bridge and into San Francisco for a photo shoot. The photographer was Bryce Kanights, the Annie Leibovitz of skateboarding. Kanights has photographed nearly every professional who's set foot on grip tape in the last 22 years.

This day, Kanights was assigned to shoot Corey in his SOMA studio for Heckler magazine, a youth-culture rag that centers on skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing. Kanights says he isn't sure if his photos will make the cover, but like a seasoned photographer, he's thinking cover. "Corey's got a great image. We can do a lot of things with it."

In the past few weeks, Corey has attracted his industry's attention, and most of it has been positive. Before Corey appeared in its Readers' Poll, Strength published a lengthy interview, headlined "Cleansing Corey," which, over the course of twelve pages, devoted equal parts to Corey's worldview on the state of skateboarding and his amends for the Big Brother diatribe. Full-page photos featured Corey sliding down handrails in his black leather jacket. A few showed Corey waving with a blood-soaked palm. In the next photo, Corey stuck his bloody finger up his nose and made a goofy face.

Slap magazine also wrapped up an interview and Pig Wheels, one of Corey's sponsors, featured Corey in ads due out this month. And Corey is ready to go out on a brief tour with Foundation's pro team in April. The arc is filling out.

In Kanights' photo studio, Corey brings along a couple props. Corey shows Kanights a switchblade he picked up earlier in the day, which he traded to a kid from school for one of his used decks. "I thought we could use it here," Corey says, cutting the air with the knife.

Kanights has known Corey for a few years. Like Corey's other friends, Kanights dismisses any suggestion that Corey revealed his true self in the Big Brother interview. If anything, it was a dumb kid being a dumb kid, Kanights says. Kanights considers himself one of the guys who's helped Corey get his career rolling again. "It's a hand-in-hand kind of thing," he says. "I like shooting guys like Corey so I can expand my portfolio, and guys like Corey know I can get the photos published."

After Kanights takes a few Polaroids to test for lighting, Corey moves off the set and reaches into his backpack. He pulls out a sticker of a pig's face, the emblem for his sponsor Pig Wheels. Corey places the sticker in the middle of his chest. "Photo incentive," he says, noting that he'll get paid $150 if the logo makes it into the magazine. "This keeps guys like Beagle happy. And if Beagle's happy, that means more ads."

Warming to the camera, Corey starts snarling his lips and raising a clenched fist in mock angst. In between photos, he offers up some other ideas for future sessions with Kanights: "I think I should be eating a bunch of meat. Like raw hamburger. A big mess." And "Bryce, we should get a gun -- a fake one -- and I'll put it to my head." Kanights shakes his head, and laughs off the suggestion.

Out comes the knife. Corey puts the handle in his mouth and shows all his teeth, like a growling dog. After a few snaps, Corey takes the blade and aims it at the camera lens, like he's going to stab the viewer. When Corey tilts the blade to an angle, Kanights interrupts. "Hold it right there. I want to get the blade in the glare."

At one point, Kanights wants just a shot of Corey looking straight into the camera. No goofy smirks or grimaces, just straight-on serious. "Give me a mean face," Kanights asks.

Corey takes a deep breath, relaxes his shoulders and looks directly into the camera's lens. He tries on the mean face. But his nostrils start to flare, like he's sniffed pepper flakes.

Kanights: "C'mon. Be still."

Corey fights it: "Okay. Okay."

Kanights: "Just be straight."

But Corey can't keep the pose. He's fighting off the giggles. Finally, he breaks out in a huge, whale-sized laugh, mouth wide open, head kicked back.

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