Two weeks after graduating from Montclair State University in 2018, Daniel Fedkenheuer took a risk, one that many people are afraid to do. Fedkenheuer grabbed his skateboard and packed up his hat, skate shoes and jeans and moved out to California to pursue a career in the skateboarding industry. This is something he dreamed about since he started skating a decade ago.
Since moving across the country, Fedkenheuer has spent countless hours working on and publishing a book about the skateboarding industry. His book, “The Next Wave,” will be released on March 7, 2020.
Fedkenheuer has spent the last few years interviewing many famous skateboarders and photographers in the industry. Some of these skateboarders include Team USA 2020 skaters Leo Baker and Mariah Duran and notable skaters Paul Rodriguez and Chris Cole.
Before starting his book, Fedkenheuer worked for the now discontinued magazine Concrete Wave. During his time at the magazine, Fedkenheuer was inspired by a colleague who wrote a book about the early decades of skateboarding, to write his own book about the industry throughout the last few decades, a time where skateboarding has become mainstream.
“My book tells the stories of the most significant moments, brands and individuals in skateboarding’s history from 1999 through 2020,” Fedkenheuer said. “I have interviewed dozens of high-profile company owners, industry members and professional skateboarders. I have also enlisted the work of several top photographers to help visually demonstrate the magnitude of skateboarding’s recent progressions.”
The publishing process for a book on skateboarding, however, has not been the easiest process for Fedkenheuer.
“It has been a ton of work, being that is a largely independent project,” Fedkenheuer said. “I’ve spent hundreds of hours writing, scheduling interviews, securing photo rights and working on layout over the past three years. It’s been tough to settle on a particular vision and stick with it, but seeing it all come together has been immensely rewarding.”
Before making the leap and moving to the West Coast, Fedkenheuer always had a knack for business and learning the ins and outs of the business world. Fedkenheuer was the operations manager at The Montclarion during his senior year of college and was involved in the Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Academy program with Montclair State.
During his time with the Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Academy, Fedkenheuer met Jason Frasca, who became a mentor to Fedkenheuer during his time at Montclair State. Frasca was impressed with Fedkenheuer during the program and still recalls how hardworking and enthusiastic Fedkenheuer was. He approached Frasca with his wishes to write a book about the industry back when he was still an undergraduate.
“Sometime after the Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Academy, [Fedkenheuer] came to me with a couple of questions about building his project, which included a website and book opportunity,” Frasca said. “We discussed different ways he could build a website to support his writing in the skateboard industry for all the magazines he’s contributed to, and how the website could support a book project proposal he was contemplating after college was over.”
Aside from his skills in operating a business, skateboarding was always something notable about Fedkenheuer. It was never a surprise when people found out that Fedkenheuer was pursuing a career in the industry.
Dominique Evans, former managing editor at The Montclarion, explained how Fedkenheuer’s career move was no surprise.
“[Fedkenheuer] and his skateboard were synonymous,” Evans said. “His passion for the sport was always clear. It didn’t surprise me when I heard he was moving across the country to pursue it.”
Haley Wells, former editor-in-chief at The Montclarion, discussed how Fedkenheuer always had his board attached to his hip.
“When we hand out senior awards at The Montclarion end of the year banquet, we always gave them to seniors with a superlative along with the physical award,” Wells said. “I remember [Fedkenheuer’s] superlative was ‘Most Likely to be Caught Skateboarding to Class.’ I always thought that was a really cool aspect about his personality.”
Although Fedkenheuer graduated a few years ago, his board, his infectious smile and his impressive work ethic have still left a positive impact on those he encountered during his time at Montclair State.
“I don’t think I ever saw him stressed out or not smiling,” Evans said. “[Fedkenheuer] took on every challenge with a positive and resourceful outlook.”
Fedkenheuer wants any Montclair State student that might be too scared to take big risks for their career, to just go for it.
“For anyone that’s about to graduate and might be inclined to take a similar risk, I would advise them to at least give it a shot,” Fedkenheuer said. “Even though it’s a huge step to leave what might feel like their comfort zone, they should feel confident to apply the concepts that their college career has taught them. The only way to get the life experiences to use with that foundation is by going out and immersing themselves in whatever environment they’re after.”
“The Next Wave” will be published by the Skateboarding Hall of Fame and will be showcased at the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, located in Simi Valley, California. To learn more about Fedkenheuer and his upcoming book, check out danielfedkenheuer.com.