A Social (Media) Genius

By Richard Mineards   |   November 9, 2021
Professional skateboarder Sean Bolis learns from the past as he plans big for the future

Montecito professional skateboarder Sean Bolis, 37, has inadvertently found himself one of America’s top “influencers” garnering an amazing 86 million responses on TikTok, the video sharing social networking service, over the last 60 days.

Sean, who attended San Marcos High School and studied business-marketing at Santa Barbara City College, attains similar multi-million figures on YouTube and Instagram.

“It was an accident,” explains Sean. “I always liked to create content in skateboard videos and then social media came along three years ago. I started on Instagram and then TikTok started in 2020 and approached me to be part of its platform.

“I started posting videos and slowly started garnering followers. I started around the 100,000 mark and in no time, it was 1.2 million. While the pandemic has raged, I put a lot of time into making videos. I wasn’t ambitious to be an influencer, but now I love it, inspiring thousands of kids globally. I always respond to them.”

Sean, who has a son, Ayden, 11, says as a youngster he was influenced by older skaters and fell victim to their bad behavior “leading down a very destructive path without any true role models in my life.”

“When I graduated high school, I was told my friends would either die or go to jail. I was shocked to hear this and did not believe it until it started happening. Drugs, suicide, and prison were taking over my friends’ lives, and I started losing them one by one due to their poor choices.

“I realized there was no future in bad behavior as the people I loved had gone forever. When I became a dad, I was older and more mature and noted many younger people were as lost as I used to be. I lost my little buddy, Kirby Thorsell, to a drug overdose when he was only 18. Seeing his life cut short knowing it could have been prevented with the right guidance or role model in his life made me realize I couldn’t just sit back and watch youth destroy itself, so I decided to become a positive role model and to lead by example by giving back to my community.”

Seven years ago, Sean received the Santa Barbara Spirit of Service Award for keeping our Eden by the Beach clean and involving local youth. He has also volunteered as a host for a skateboard club at Santa Barbara Junior High for the past three years with zero budget, investing his own money and time into the project.

Sean would now like to open an indoor skateboard park in our tony town so that youngsters have a safe place to go.

“I want to highlight the good side of skateboarding while encouraging the youth to be better and think before they act. I want to be the positive role model that I desperately needed growing up in Santa Barbara. I’ve lost well over 30 friends to drugs and suicide locally throughout the years and I’m determined to make real changes for my local community. Youth is our future, and I can and will make change because I relate to them.”

As an “influencer” Sean also receives support, either financially or with product, from the likes of GoPro, Footprint footwear, Bose speakers, and a new brand of canned water Liquid Death, which I have tried. And I am still alive…


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