Eric Koston

Interview by Zac

I have wanted to ask this fella a few questions for years. His unique style on a skateboard is quite phenomenal. So when he finally visited the UK this summer on an eS tour, I managed to get just over an hour with him in a tent at the Urban Games on Clapham Common before he signed autographs with the rest of the team for hours on end.

It was relaxed, the weather was overcast in traditional UK style, and we sat on 2 plastic chairs! The photo’s on this page are stolen off the web and credited to Atiba. They are great shots and i had to use them, sorry!

Ok Let’s start with the CV…Full name please.

Eric Lee Koston! (laughs)

Qualifications:

Erm, I was a boyscout, I don’t remember what badges I had though!

You could not have been that good then?

Yeah I was down! Can you remember which badges you had on your arm?

Actually – nope! – Ok, try this one…any crappy jobs taken on whilst needing money before being paid for skating?

Erm..oddly enough I have never had to have a crappy job!

Never?! (laughs)

Not one job, apart from yard work for the parents, and house cleaning for a little bit of dough, but I got sponsored young, at about 14 years old, so I think from that point I was able to sell boards and get enough money to get by!

What are your earliest memories of skateboarding, what board, what color lapper etc?

Yeah about 1986, white lappers, jump ramps, Powell, all that good stuff. Mark Gonzales was like my guy. I remember the Thrasher interview with Gonz all over my bedroom walls. That was my first board, it was a hand me down from my brother. The face graphic, the OG!

Did you skate when growing up in Thailand?

I was born there and stayed for 9 months, so I have no memories from Thailand.

Have you been back since?

Yeah, a couple of times..I have an aunt there.

Is she accustomed to riding with 4 people on a motorcycle on a motorway?

Yeah probably!

Let’s talk skateboarding: Is skateboarding still as much fun as in the beginning?

I’m still able to kinda do it the way I used to enjoy it, but it’s obviously not the same. I wish I could bottle it up you know, drink it, and go right back to those times, but I think when I go home, is when I can skate like that, with my friends, with guys who are not sponsored that I just skate around with and find a spot down the street and just mess around, those are the finest times.

But even like on these demo trips, it’s still fun. Sometimes they are not fun, like if we go to a demo in a crowded skatepark when there is no ventilation, smoke filled, you are boiling hot and you are trying to skate and all eyes are on you, and you try to land tricks and nothings happening.that is when it’s not fun

It’s pressure huh?

Well, yeah, it’s not so much the pressure, but it’s just annoying having a battle with yourself and having to have that battle with yourself in front of like 500 kids! Sometimes you just give up, because sometimes you just make yourself more upset. Some kids understand, but some kids don’t. Like for example you go on tour and you hear ‘The Zero Team came through here and did a better demo’ etc, kids will say anything, and it’s funny, every kid has their own opinion, you know, you always have your favorites. I always had my favorites back in the day, but it’s changed. For me, like watching Tony Hawk at a demo or wherever, it was cool just to be there watching the guy skate whether or not he landed a trick, he could have done anything and I was stoked.

Do you look at it as a job sometimes, or is that just impossible?

Yeah, there is work to do. I spend about 2-3 times at the most in a week doing work stuff, aside from being on a skateboard, which is good.. Sometimes, it’s all at once, but it depends on what needs to be done.

Is there a daily schedule or just whatever is going on that week?

A lot of times it’s harder to skate during the weekdays because kids are schools and a lot of skating is done around schools, there are only a few spots locally before we get kicked out of spots and harassed. Aside from that it’s night time, around midnight, light them up and skate.

Do you always shoot all of your sessions?

Yeah, depends on where it is, you know. If we find a giant handrail for example, maybe it’s somewhere I think I should film something, as it’s not as if you are gonna be skating that for fun for a couple of hours, or all day. If so, you are gonna be crawling away from it! So you have certain spots all the guys will go skate and fuck around at, or get some shots out of and get the work stuff out of.if you can call it that! (laughs)

Do you put a lot of input and creativity into the companies you ride for i.e. Girl, Es, Fourstar? If so, in what ways?

Fourstar especially, but with Es yeah I try to do a lot. Especially with my shoes, but also I’m trying to do a lot with other shoes on the new lines that are coming out, not my shoes, but team shoes, like going to meetings, going over the samples and designs etc. I wanna not only be able to back my shoe but also have as much of my personal input into everything in the brand.

You seem to be loyal to your brands and another new eS shoe out this year huh?

Yeah, the new K6 is out now, it’s cool to have so many models out and that the brand is very supportive. I have everything I need so the loyalty aspect just rolls with that.

How much input goes into your shoes, how many shoes do you go through until they are right?

You know what; the samples are never the same! (laughs) Sometimes it could be a year long ordeal and samples go back and forth, sometimes you can get a pair back and I’m like, all you gotta do is change this and this and then it comes back it’s ready, so it’s hit or miss.maybe I should fly to China more often or something

(laughs).

Have you been out there?

No, never been out there, but sometimes there are communication breakdowns or whatever, and that’s when things go bad, but roll the dice and you never know what comes back!

Let’s talk about video parts. I heard on the grapevine that you were not entirely happy with your part in Yeah Right?

Yeah, I felt I could have done a lot more, but I feel I feel like that all of the time. You always feel as you could do more but sometimes you cannot do it physically. Yeah Right had to be released, it took 3 years to that point and sometimes it just has to be made and finished, you can’t keep waiting, because you are gonna out skate stuff you started. If you see footage later and don’t wanna use it cos it was 3 years old, it’s really annoying.

What about the twisty rail at the end of that part, how many times did you try that?

Er.about 4 times. I did not manage to slip out of the back of it thankfully, and jumped off into the stairs a couple of times, and that is never fun, but better to do that than to fall out of the back of a railing and drop down!

Has that ever happened?

No thankfully! (Laughs)

Do you have the final say over what goes in the part?

Yeah, I have the final say, but sometimes people disagree, we toss it round, see what happens you know? Making video parts is hard, it’s hard to keep going sometimes, to keep making one better than the last one.

Is there a new eS video being shot at the moment?

We are working on one right now, trying to get it out for next summer.

You have appeared in a lot of skate videos ‘ do you enjoy filming them?

After my part in Yeah Right, filming has just continued. I have totally been filming video parts for like, 12 years of my life now, it’s like they do not stop. There a couple of gaps here and there but there is always another one, it’s crazy you know ‘ I’m gonna call it quits at some point.

Do you watch them back at all?

You know what, I rarely do. I go to the premieres and see them a couple of times, or I will be in a shop doing a signing and it will be on a TV in the back ground. I hardly ever watch skate videos, I don’t really get new ones, I don’t really go into shops to get them, unless somebody has it right there you know.

Would you ever consider putting out a video part with no street skating, just mini and vert?

Haha, I wish I could! I wish it was that easy. Mini ramps are cool, and I can still skate vert, but only with a couple of friends behind closed doors, not in front of a crowd, just fucking about. It’s hard skating vert. The last time I padded up and skated vert was at the skatepark in Tampa at one of their contests a long time ago, I just dropped in you know, but they are a killer on your back!

What about injuries, have you had your fair share of them?

Well, I have been very fortunate with injuries so far, there have not really been that many. Badly sprained ankles, no breaks but I did dislocate my little finger once! (Laughs!)

Maybe we should not hoodoo this then and move on!

Hey, talking of hoodoo, the Italians say that if you do bring stuff like that up, you do this (he does the heavy metal fingers!); it’s like their version of knocking on wood you know!

Wow, in my book that only means Slayer is on the stereo!

(laughs) Yeah, strange huh!

Talking of Italians, you have just been to Italy on this tour right?

Yeah, we just went to Rome, and also Basel, Rotterdam, and Brussels also, but Rome was the best. The food was obviously amazing. Seeing Rome in the whole day and half we had, we were like power tourists! We went down to the Coliseum, I’m glad we went there; we had to get up early to do it. It’s the only time we had.

Did much skating go down?

Not much, we kind of skated the day we flew in and fucked around. We went to The Vatican, and then we had the demo the next day which was a street course by the beach, pretty good place. I was thinking it was gonna suck, you know, being outdoors by the beach, it could have sucked, but it was a fun park, fun demo, not a lot of kids and everybody had a lot of fun.

Who is the character on the tour so far?

You know what, it’s definitely not that kind of tour, it’s been pretty mellow, we have not really been partying, and we don’t really have a party crew either so it’s been mellow. In Rome we had this weird press conference that was really strange. Imagine what we are doing here right now, but they took us to a meeting room like in a hotel, they had chairs lined up with tables at the end of the room and people fired questions at us like we were a basketball team or something! It was really funny! I was like, Man; you have the wrong group of guys!

I did most or all of the talking, PJ chipped in, which was surprising as he is quite shy, but it’s not a natural setting for skateboarders, not like this, this is personal, this is the way it should be, 2 people shooting the shit! But that is the way they wanted it..

Is that how it is in the States with all the XGames stuff these days because we don’t really have that stuff here in the UK, is there more demand now than back in the day?

Well, back then, when I first started, that demand was there. I remember a TV show called ‘That’s Incredible’ that would have some guy doing magic, or have a weird story, death defying stunt etc. I remember seeing Rodney Mullen on that thinking whoa, what is he doing on TV?! But it was cool because you could see skating on TV, and it was rare but what those guys were doing is not quite on the scale it is now, but it was close to that just before it went dead in 89′. And now you have Tony Hawk on talk shows, and all sorts of commercials, Andy Macdonald on late night talk shows, it’s in the public eye and got to strange level.

Even I’ve been on local news channels, most of the time you are trying to describe what skating is, how it works, you just try your best.

Whilst we are on the subject of fame, have you seen the Stoked.Rise and Fall of Gator movie?

Yeah, definitely. Obviously this movie epitomizes the rise and fall of fame; he was definitely a random example. In fact he got into Christianity and if you remember Eddie Elguera, he was the guy that got me first sponsored; he kind of set it all up for me. He was a born against Christian also from San Bernardino and I remember going up to a mini ramp content in San Jose with him, and he is like ‘hey Gator is coming up here later’ and they were gonna read stuff out of the bible and discuss it, and it was the first time I met Gator. I was tripping out, as he was the most famous skater alongside Mark Gonzales and Gator came down, hung out, watched TV, skated that contest and the fact is, Gator had already killed that girl before this comp, and I remember finding out exactly when he did it and remembering that it was before the time I had first met him. I was tripped out, I was 15 then, I found out later on at a skate camp, you know, like Woodward in Wisconsin and I was there as a skate councilor and Gator was the guest pro for that week, and he did not show. Eddie had to tell us what had happened, that was when he admitted what he had done, that summer. It was bizarre, he had already done it, and I was tripping out!

You mentioned the Gonz being a major influence back in the day, are there any up and coming skaters that are ripping out there right now in your eyes?

PJ Ladd for sure, he is really fun to watch, how good he is, how consistent he is, but there are other guys like Bryan Herman. It’s great to watch people progress quickly, they go from being small, good and then go bigger, they grow up and blow up. Paul Rodriguez is another person I like to watch skate.

Let’s talk about tricks, what tricks are you learning right now?

I feel like I’m done with learning tricks, they just come out, you know, you try to create, by throwing in old stuff with new. I guess I don’t work on a specific thing; I just have a thought, and see if I can do something new with it, that is how I go about things. You throw it around and almost pose it you know, sometimes you get a mental image of what you could really be trying and things fall into place, but no real dairy of when I should get stuff done. If I try and set my self up for something I would get disappointed.

What about videos do you see others do tricks and ask yourself if you can do it?

Yeah, sometimes things look fun and I ask myself if I can do it, and try it out.

What is with the hardflip Eric?!

Oh, the hardflip! Yeah, that is my bane man! I don’t know why, but my body has a problem with them. I can do them but they are really ugly! I feel awkward, I feel like shit when I do them and I have been doing them for like 12 years, but sometimes I just get em. I feel like throwing in the towel with that trick, they do not feel natural for me, that trick is very humbling! (Laughs!)

Outside of skating, what are you up to.I hear you like Golf?

Yeah, I like golf, every week I play golf. I try and sneak in a 9 hole at the local public course for a couple of hours!

Who do you play with?

Attiba Jefferson, the photographer, and his brother who is the graphic designer for eS, and Tim Gavin at Podium, DVS,. In fact he is the one that got me into it!

You like basketball too?

Yeah, the Lakers man! It’s all about the Lakers!

So, who’s a bigger Laker fan you or Rick Howard?

Well, er.that is tough question, let me think about that for a second. (pause) you know.I think I am, and you know why?

Why’s that?

Well, Rick was over here with you for your Bay 66 Jam on the Girl UK Tour when the play offs was on! I was like, how the hell are you going there, you are gonna miss it! I was scheduled in for that tour but I did not have to go, disappointing for him though! But you guys don’t have a lot of basketball here in the UK no?

Nah, it’s all about Football over here, or soccer as you Yanks call it. It’s huge. But, here is a basketball connection for you. – I actually got into skating through basketball as there used to be weekly school trips to watch it at a place called Crystal Palace and they had a ramp out the back

that people like Lucien Hendricks used to ride back in the day and I saw that and was like, screw basketball and swimming, I’m getting a board!

So I can relate to basketball somewhere along the line..!

See, you gotta love it…That is cool.

Anyway, let’s talk about music. What format do you play your music on when you are on tours like this?

Ah, the IPOD of course.

So what’s on it then, what do you listen to?

At the moment, the new Morrissey album is on a lot. I had not heard him in a while and the new album just came out and I was listened to The Smiths growing up. I like Morrissey a lot, I had to get that record. Also Modest Mouse, Kanye West.I listen to Bowie, Hip Hop, loads of different artists really.

So which 5 essential records would you pick, if you had to?

On shit, I go through so many cycles and come back to stuff all the time..er.

Ok, lets narrow it down, one essential record then?

OK – Radiohead – The Bends, it reminds me of so many good times..but maybe also NWA – Straight out of Compton, as I remember coming back from school in 7th Grade and was all hyped on it, I’d do my homework to it, as I always had to do homework before I was allowed to go skate, so maybe that one too, such a great record, full of attitude. Music is a part of my life, it’s an everyday occurrence.

So, Mr Eric Lee Koston. What future is in front of you, for you and your skateboard?

I er…….I just want it to end! (big laughs).

I just wanna be able to skate for as long as I can, no matter what. I don’t know how much longer that will be. You know I’m 29 years old, and I’m sure there will be a time when I will look at myself on video and think, maybe it’s time to hang it up as a pro, you know, you could be the guy at the park that cruises around the bowl. I see myself turning into that guy at the local skate park, it’s a lot of fun stuff just cruising around as there are a lot of cement ones where I live. That urge will not be there for a long time, but I’m still gonna stay in it, I will be around working on the other side of the skateboard, but sometimes I feel like it’s the thing to do, quitting being a pro. You know, sometimes I’m trying tricks filming, and I can’t make it, I think about it. It feels fun but everyone has a time and we all know when that is eventually.

Ok , here are some Rapid fire questions from various website forums around the UK :

Would you rather skate a rail with Rick Howard or a Big 4 with Jereme Rogers?

Er..a rail with Rick.

How Ghey was that Konami Video ‘ King of Whatever!?

Oh, it was bad! I have not even seen it!

Game of SKATE with Guy Mariano or Paul Rodriguez?

Guy Mariano!

A week at OG EMB or MACBA?

OG EMB

Tickets to every Laker match or a 6 week journey wherever with your friends?

Haha! (you should see his face!) well, you know what, I love the Lakers but I’d go for the 6 months with friends, we just went on a friends bachelor party and that was great!

A demo in front of thousands at the DC skate plaza or a regular session at Southbank, London?

Southbank for sure, I skated there last night in fact for about 4 minutes! I hear it’s closing down in the future, which is a shame. It’s like Love Park in London. It’s part of UK skate history.

Do you feel any responsibility for the thousands of kids trying in vain to K-Grind?

Somewhat..but it’s not all my doing! (laughs)

Name 3 interesting facts about yourself.

Oh boy, er..I have a t-cup Yorkshire Terrier called Tiger.(laughs).er.I’m addicted to reality television! I have Tevo so it just stores it for me, I don’t miss any of it, so I watch a lot of it, I’m a junkie for it, and the third.er.I’m not a big car guy, but food, I love exquisite foods, really expensive restaurants, for example i love going out for food that you don’t get anywhere else accept for that one place you know.like Nobu.

Yeah, you like sushi then?

Yeah, you know Nobu?

Yeah I have been there for a meal in London.

Is there one here?

Yeah, near Hyde Park inside the Metropolitan Hotel. Check it out if you have about two hundred quid to spend!

What do you still want to do, as far as skating goes, that you haven’t got round to doing yet?

The Loop for sure, maybe one day I will get around to doing it.

Ok, that is all I have to throw at you. Thanks for coming out for the interview, do you wanna thank some people?

Yeah, obviously thanks to you and Crossfire for hooking this up, A4 UK, eS, and all of the kids that have come out today to see us here for supporting skateboarding!

Danny Way interview

Danny Way is probably the best skateboarder in the planet. There is not another human being that brings fresh, outrageous and creative ideas to test the boundaries of what could be done on a skateboard. Zac managed to get an hour or so with Danny exclusive to Crossfire whilst he was making plans for his Megaramp competition being held on August 8th 2004 in the USA. This interview is as big as the stars that surround the planet Danny Way has created by himself.

Enjoy..

OK, let’s test this Dictaphone out ‘ say something Mr Way.

Gooday mate! (bellowed in an Aussie accent!)

Hey I’m from the UK fella, you are in the wrong country!

(Laughs)

So, where you at right now?

I’m actually in my car driving away from the doctor’s office trying to get my ankle sorted out so that I don’t have to worry about limping around at the XGames here.

What’s with the ankle?

It’s not too bad. I rolled it and sprained it a couple of weeks ago, it’s not a major sprain, but swollen..i can still skateboard, but it’s definitely not 100%, so I gotta take of it, you know.

Are you missing out on a DC US tour at the moment?

Yeah, I skipped the whole tour this summer so I would not have been in a situation where I could get hurt. But it just so happens I have legitimately rolled it practicing for the XGames which is bad luck! I have to focus on this Megaramp Jam as opposed to being on a tour, I need to my concentration and being on tour would have taken my thoughts away from where they ought to be right now.

A lot of people over here in the UK would not have heard about what you are bringing to the XGames this year, so fill us in on what will be going down.

Well, we have taken the Megaramp to the XGames this year. We wanted to look beyond where have been at with competitions and look into the future to figure out what is the next step as far as the progression of skateboarding. It’s been progress over time, little by little putting the building blocks in place so now we are almost ready to go. Check out the photos, you can see where we are at as far as progressing the environment to be able to extend the boundaries of a trick to put skate boarding on a level where there is an unlimited amount of possibilities. It’s not just what can be done on the Megaramp but also to show that we have barely begun to experiment with what we have.

Obviously all of this has come from Point X Camp, how big is this ramp, is it bigger?

It’s about the same size part from it’s built on flat ground in a parking lot, so it’s freestanding from the flat ground to the top about 100ft (33m)!

Wow, that is fucking huge! What other skaters will be riding this ramp at the event?

Pierre Luc Gagnon, Jason Ellis, Bob Burnquist, Jake Brown, Brian Patch, myself, and Bucky Lasek.

No Mike Valelly?

Nope, I don’t know if Mike is ready to roll into this. He is amazing skateboarder and has a good shot of doing this but I dunno if he is ready to get into this right now?

Who invites the other riders to this particular event?

Not me, but I have provided the practice facilities for these guys and that allows me to kinda get my thoughts on where people stand on where their ability goes and you can tell who will be entering the contest. It’s pretty self explanatory who should be in the contest and who shouldn’t, so that is where we are at right now, there has been enough guys coming out there, so it’s been dictating itself.

You mentioned the word practice, it’s shit or bust really on something that big right?

Well yeah, you can practice as there are 2 different sizes of jumps. There will be a 50 ft jump and a 75ft jump. The smaller one, you can practice quite a few things on without being too beaten up, but the big one I would say is more the for when the time is right in contest time. I would not say that we have too much time to practice on the big one. It makes that better for the contest.

All the guys have been going down at the ramp a lot to practice and have had as much time as I have out there. It’s pretty fair, I don’t wanna make this a biased situation, and i wanted to make sure that we had an equal amount of time to be good at it.

Have those guys been hitting the box and the rainbow rail as well?

No, the box and the rail have been left out of the picture this year because there is simply not enough time to learn how to do every thing out there and we are out there to get jumps wired as that is enough time consumption as it is, and I feel as though the rail and box will add too much confusion this year. If it goes well this year, and I have a good feeling that it is going to, then it will be more exiting to add them into the contest next year.

What kind of prize money is up for this?

You know what, they have not even told people yet and that is not the issue, it’s all about doing it.

So, have you had a run on the new Megaramp yet now it is constructed?

Yeah, I was up there yesterday taking a peak at it and it’s pretty much done. Apart from they would not let anyone practice just yet because they have to have the safety engineering stuff done first and we have to all sign off on it all. The thing is nuts though, it’s no joke!

Do you compare it snowboarding?

To some degree, yeah, but on a snowboard you can slow down, but on a skateboard there are no brakes and you got straps and stuff! It’s a lot more technical, a lot like snowboarding but on a snowboard you have a lot of pluses on your side.

You snowboard though yeah, does it help for this?

Yeah, i snowboard; it has helped me, as much as motocross has helped me as in trying to gather enough confidence to be able to look at a jump that big a magnitude on my skateboard so that I can actually jump it. So those kind of jumps on my motorcycle and a snowboard have really helped.

How much time was spent deciding how the Megaramp would go from idea to built?

We tried to mimic or duplicate the plans of the DC ramp as much as possible without having the same landscape to build it on which creates a few variables here and there. It is similar, but there are definitely some design changes. Looking at the ramp you can tell that the roll ins into the ramp are all just really steep and gnarly looking, and at Point X, one of the roll in’s on the smaller jump is really mellow and slow. You go fast, and if you jumped off, you would be alright. But this one is very different, basically once you drop in, there is no turning back!

How fast is it?

Really fast! In fact we will make sure that we find out exactly how fast with this new ramp, as I wanna find out. It’s by far the fastest I have ever been on a skateboard….nothing compares.

Geometry and calculation wise it must have been difficult, how much of that were you involved in?

A lot of it has been a gathering of information over the years, I have skated a lot of ramps and you have a good idea of what the perfect ramp will be like. It didn’t really take a long time to figure out the dimensions.Once I started to get into it I just started to figure it out pretty quickly. Using the formula I have used for my ramp in the past, I multiplied the numbers and got to where we are now. The guy that actually built it is JT at VPI Ramps, he built my last ramp and just continued, it’s progression for them too.

What about the World records, the XGames is probably a great platform to break your existing record at, is that something you are thinking about?

It’s possible. I had to be fair and I didn’t want to make the ramp too different from Point X and I feel like I didn’t really maximise the potential of Point X for the World Record stuff, so it is gonna be a similar environment but not gonna be dramatically different. I may break the record by a foot or 2 here and there but whatever, so long as it gets done. Its not a big focus for me, but I will definitely be excited if it happens.

When you were filming the DC Video at Point X, was it on your mind?

Yeah, I like to do that to set a benchmark to know where the boundaries are at right now, you know. It’s like putting a stake in the ground and you can keep pushing your stake out further and that is where we are at ‘ just trying to extend the boundaries and keep pushing the stakes out and that is why doing the high air stuff and the records kind of just draws the line to say OK, anything’s possible inside here.

What about the other riders, have they got their eye on breaking that record, or is it more of a jam situation out there?

No, it’s more of a jam, those guys are as just as intimidated as I am when I look from the top of the roll in. You know these guys don’t have much experience, so it’s gonna be a long haul for them to attempt a world record you know, but, most of the competition is gonna be about the different tricks that are going down.

Who do you think has the edge on the tricks so far?

We will see.it could be anyone’s day. Everyone has been working the runs that they are gonna do depending on who makes what, it will be interesting.

What is the most impressive trick that has gone down so far?

Hmmn.it’s hard to say. (He’s being very coy here and will not give anything away!)

Has anyone ridden it switch?

I have ridden it switch, Burnquist has too.

You still say that you have unfinished business at that ramp, is there other stuff filmed that has gone down already?

Yeah, there is actually. The Megaramp Documentary video that OnVideo are making right now, but I have a bunch of footage that I have at the Megaramp on the rail that I have not used yet. There is some stuff in the new Transworld that just came out, the Awards issue and there are 2 pages on me in there, a frontside 270 to backside lipslide across the rail, and switch nosegrind across the rail.

How much do you kill yourself when you are skating this stuff?

It depends, every session is different, some days I walk away clean and some days I walk away beat up. There have been days when I haven’t really been trying to do much and just having fun, and I take a good slam, it’s so unpredictable!

Did you bust your balls yet on that rainbow rail?

Er..not yet.but it could happen anytime soon!

I must admit that there is just one part of the video in the extras section where you just get away with it and you are laughing at the camera and that just about sums it all up for me, it was a real moment of seeing someone having the best fun ever, and that is skateboarding all over!

Yeah, it’s one of the moments where you are walking on thin ice and don’t get beat up, you know, it’s almost fun to laugh at it, as you know that you just got away with it. It’s like a battle you know, just right on the edge and it didn’t get ya! It’s a large muthafucker!

You have been on the top of your game for a while now, have you ever been approached to do this as stunt style, like jumping the Great Wall of China or something?

Yeah, we are planning to do that kind of stuff, it’s on the horizon, but only as a publicity stunt. It’s not as important to me to represent skateboarding in that fashion. I think it’s cool to be able to say you have done this and that and that other, it’s cool to define the boundaries of the sport but you know, for the first part, I don’t want to be known as the Evil Knievel on a skateboard!

I’m so chuffed you just said that!

Yeah, there are a lot more things are I am more proud of than just jumping on my skateboard from point A to point B you know. But like I said, defining the boundaries, gives the sport room to grow. If I can clear a 100ft gap on my skateboard and get it wired, then who is to say that you can’t do 720’s over 100ft and get them wired and that’s my motivation to build new boundaries. Why are we saying we have to play in this little yard over here, when we can play in this big playground over here you know?

How do you look after yourself before you do this big stuff?

I stretch a lot, it’s like a ritual man! So much stretching and I work out all the time, just keeping all my joints strong that are weak from all of the injuries over the years. If I don’t work out I just start to go to shit, I cannot do the stuff that I wanna do, so that has become part of my skating, feeling like I am strong enough to be able to handle the stress I put my body through.

What about nutrition, is food part of your resume?

Yeah, I’m not a saint or angel about it, I don’t try to take it beyond living on crazy diets and stuff like that. I naturally eat healthy and have done for a long time. I don’t have a formula that I stick to, but I do eat healthy and I do take care of my body as far as rehabilitation goes, like training and stuff like that, because if you are pulling your body in another direction all the time, you need to. But I’m aware that you can be too anal about keeping healthy in regards to diet, you can start to have a military approach to skating, and that is not healthy either. I’m not looking at how many carbs or how much protein is going in my body, but in regards to what food I eat, I make sure I eat healthy with organic foods. I do not eat meat and have not done in 20 years now. I eat a lot of fish and I love fishing. I eat fish all the time, only if it is freshly caught though.

What about sponsors, as various pro’s like Tony Hawk for example have signed themselves up for the big food companies, has this been offered to you, would you take the money and endorse stuff like that?

I really would not want to endorse anything that I would not personally consume or embrace myself. Like the McDonald’s thing, I don’t personally eat McDonald’s, my kids don’t eat McDonalds, and I think McDonald’s is crap so I would never skate for McDonalds you know. It’s not about money at a certain point. I have had a great career in skateboarding and made enough money and I am happy with what I have, and I have always felt good about what I am representing and promoting. That is the most important thing to me as a person, about who I am and what I am about.

How old are your kids, are they skating?

I have two boys; one is 2 and the other 6 and yeah, they are both skating a bit!

How much stuff do you do for kids?

We do as much as we can, not much on the way of skate schools, but tours, loads of tours. There was a video tour for the DC video around the World with signings and stuff, but we try to interact with the kids as much as possible whenever we get a clear chance to do it.

You mentioned before about your tough upbringing, how did that have an affect on your skateboarding?

Having a rough background made me value the things that are important to me in life from a young age and the most thing I probably value as being most important in my life aside from my kids, my wife, family and friends is skateboarding, for being able to give me a life when I was a kid you know. I respect skateboarding for giving me the things I have, and that is why I want to help skateboarding and not harm it.

Skateboarding has always been there for individuals that have gone through a lot of shit; it is probably one of the best things ever for people wanting to find a creative route in life.

Yeah, it’s the kid of thing that does not take a hell of a lot of money to get into it. You may not have the best brands that you can find on the street but it doesn’t take much to get rolling on a skateboard and for a kid that don’t have much that can get their hands on a skateboard, it’s a great channel. I’m a good example of that when i was a kid and I needed anything to get away from what I was going through at home with my family life, and skateboarding was the nearest thing I picked up on to get me out of hard times you know.

Who had the board, how did you get into it?

I grew up in Southern California and skateboarding was a big part of the culture here alongside surfing and my uncles and my dad had a skateboard, so I started to ride them and then started to ride Del Mar skate ranch and that was the place where Tony (Hawk) grew up skating and other pro’s and it was right by my house, just off the freeway there so my brother and I would flip out and start going there. We were about 6 years old.

You were the talented kid that was fired into the skateboarding spotlight from an early age; did you feel pressure back then as the light was on you?

I have always been self driven throughout my career and never really had a lot of pressure from others around me, but now, going into the XGames I feel pressure because people are expecting you to compete at a certain level, but for the best part, I feel as I have had a little battle with my inner self, the pressure comes from myself.

Who was skating there back then, did you skate with Gator?

Oh yeah, we skated together.

Have you seen the Stoked.Rise and Fall of Gator movie?

Yeah, he was one of my favourite skateboarders you know, in skateboarding terms he was beyond most and I always thought that he was the most complete skateboarding vehicle that was on the scene. You saw pretty much the best of all the top pro’s at that time in one guy and that was Gator, and then he lost his mind. I don’t know what happened from there.

Are you in touch with him at all?

No. I can’t relate to him at all you know? I don’t really know where to start. I was friends with the guy then, and I just don’t relate to how to somebody can go to that level mentally, but I respect him for his skateboarding, but not his decisions in his ability to handle the roller coaster ride of life you know.

What about Christian Hosoi, have you seen him since he has been back on the scene?

Yeah, I was just hanging out with him the other day. He came down to the Megaramp with Omar to check out what we have going on, but he didn’t skate it as he had tweaked his knee, it was a little irritated.

Do you think he is going to come back into skateboarding in a big way?

Yeah for sure, he has preserved his body for about 5 years and he is in good shape. He looks rock solid, ribbed, and he looks as though he has been working out a lot. He is getting a lot of publicity right now because people have been waiting for so long and people have been saying stuff like, will we ever get to see him skate on that level again and now he is back and people are blown away!

I think a lot of kids should know the history of a rider of his caliber, do you think it is important that kids do know about people like Hosoi to help them skate bigger stuff?

What he brings back to the table is style, power and finesse and people forget about that. You look at a lot of vert contests these days and how robotic every one is and how much they’re just trying to bang out trick after trick instead of trying to actually show how much ability they have with power and style and all that as it’s a big part of it you know ‘ it’s how you get the job done!

What about other skaters, who are you rating out there?

There are a lot of young kids that are amazing, but I grew up and the guys I was looking up to were different. Times have changed and these guys have idols now that are street guys. But it’s hard to see the same kind of roots for building blocks these days. For example we have a local park here with a brand new sick vert ramp and all the kids are riding the street course!

What will it take for people to start realising that street skating is not everything?

Well it’s to do with facilities. If there is not a vert ramp around, well, street is what you do, so it’s all about providing the ramps in areas to make people aware that you can ride everything.

Have you skated the Oregon Parks?

Yeah, the kids are skating those parks because there is nothing else for them to skate that is smaller, so it works well. I have had some great fun up there in the Northwest, I liked a lot of them, but there weren’t really any big vert sections where there were real vert transitions and there wasn’t really any street skating stuff either, mostly bowl and mini ramp kinda stuff, which is fun as shit, don’t get me wrong as I had a blast when I went up there. But a kid that skates those parks every day is not gonna come out of those parks as a vert skater unless they practice vert somewhere, but they are gonna come out looking for the lines and wanna fucking shred around somewhere.

Tony Trujillo style?

Yeah! Which is great, I love that style of skating! I feel that the ultimate park should have all places to skate, so that there is everything there for different levels.

What about Girls, are there more girls skating in the USA these days?

Yeah, there are more girls skating, not a lot but a couple of girls that shred locally. For example there is one girl from round here in Encinitas called Lyndsey who is sponsored and she rips!

That park has had an upgrade huh?

Yeah, they just built a couple of shallow bowls, a new vert, a street course, but I don’t get down there much as they just finished it a couple of months back The bowls are mellow, no one around here wants to push the trannies over 11ft, and I feel as though some of these bowls should be equipt with 11ft but also with a couple of feet of vert, like vert ramp trannies. I prefer to skate my warehouse.

Who do you skate with down there?

Jake Brown, Colin McKay, Jason Ellis, and a few others.

What is Colin up to? Is he skating the Megaramp?

He has just come out of shoulder surgery, so he has not been riding it, but he will be up for best trick on the Vert at the XGames.

A possible chance he will be your vert doubles partner there then? Haha!

Vert doubles is like the synchronized swimming of skateboarding!

Do you work on tricks down there a lot?

Sometimes I will think about it during the night and go down there the next day and see if I can nail it, push it around and see if it works. Sometimes I try new stuff, other times I just jam down there. I have not been working on too many tricks lately, I have spent more time recently getting more repetition, get them wired for this XGames contest and not much video part stuff to do.

Do you enjoy doing videos?

I love doing video parts and progressing my skating. I get excited to get some motivation to push those boundaries. It puts more pressure on me and I like that.

Let’s talk music; I hear you are in a band?

Yeah, I play guitar, we are kind of hardcore at times and melodic at times. I write the guitar riffs, and then hook up with the vocalist Renee Renee who has a bit of a following as he was a well respected rapper before and started singing and has a crazy rock voice, so we hooked up and started a rock band. We jam a lot and have been putting the album down in the last couple of weeks on pro tools. We put the drums down in the studio and then we use pro tools to get it all together, but we will have someone in to mix it for us. Pro tools are the best way to do it for us as we can use it anytime.

Sounds fun, so is it song based or are you making a racket?!

Song based for sure, we are not trying to fire up like a Death metal band!. I have had fun jamming that shit over the years but it’s mellower with melodic verses and heavy choruses. In fact we are playing at the XGames!

How many shows have you played so far?

About 3 so far. We played first with Pennywise and Unwritten Law and then MXPX and Guttermouth and other bands.and the XGames has a huge set up, it sounds like fun but my focus has to be on the contest as a priority but I love doing the band. You are in a band as well yeah?

Yeah, it’s called K-Line and we have an album come out right now.

What do you do, sing?

Yeah, I sing. We have a Dischord Records influence and some old school hardcore stuff, in fact we just played with 7 Seconds here recently.

Cool, they are great band! I will check that out.

So what is on your stereo in you car right now?

Ozzy man!

You love your Metal huh?

Yeah, I listen to everything from Circle Jerks and old punk rock stuff all the way through every kind of metal; I have about 5000 tracks on mp3 stored away. Sometimes, it’s metal, sometimes it’s hardcore. When I’m going down to the Point X ramp in the desert I will be listening to Slayer the whole way out there just to get fired up!

Reign in Blood the whole way?

Yeah, it’s definitely a big part of it! I just saw them recently and they played Reign in Blood, the whole album all the way through without stopping! It was sick, it was in San Diego..

So, which 5 bands would you choose out of all of them?

Er.Masters of Reality, Black Sabbath, Slayer of course, Led Zeppelin would be in there for sure and Metallica, Kill Em All!

What about Alien Workshop, you have been quoted to say after you got on Alien Workshop, that there was a possibility of Plan B making a comeback, how do you feel about that now?

I don’t know if we are willing to take the time to wanna make it happen, and I don’t know if Colin and I have the motivation to start another skateboard company right now, you know. We have done it before and we know what we are dealing with but it doesn’t make sense right now as we are both doing a lot things, and running a skateboard company is a full time job, it might be cool to do, but at the same time, is it really worth it…?

So what kind of mark do you want to leave on skateboarding?

I just feel as though skateboarding has the potential to be there and if we are all supposed to do it, I have been skateboarding my whole life and I feel the same as a lot of other guys that have spent their whole life getting trained to a level where you can actually think on that level, and now is the time. I’m not getting any younger and I gotta make this happen.

What is next for Danny Way? I hear that you are planning to build a skatepark on the side of a hillside, is this true?

Yeah, this is true, a few people know but I have not really spoke to much about it, only to friends. I just bought a bunch of property in Hawaii, where I don’t have to worry about neighbours, noise, etc and it’s full of hills and jungle and it’s big enough to do what I wanna do. I chose Hawaii because I like to surf and I can’t afford to buy property and do that here in California, plus Hawaii is a lot nicer than California, and the property price is a lot more realistic!

Wow, so what would the hillside park be like, what are you thinking?

I have not even really got that far just yet, as I have only just got the property locked down, but there is a lot of possibilities so I will go out there and start designing it, but the possibilities are unlimited! It’s gonna be pretty amazing!

So Rob Dyrdek gets a DC plaza and you get a hillside!

Yeah, Rob’s project is moving forward nicely. There is plenty more to come!

So let’s cap this interview then with one more question ‘ if you had Tony Hawks’ leer jet to whisk you away to skate anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I don’t need to go anywhere as I have my warehouse and the Megaramp at Point X Camp and that is all I need! So, you know what? You could have that flight and get your ass out here for a session!

Cool, I will pack my bags right now! Cheers for your time and good luck with everything.

Thanks man, you are welcome.

Danny Wainwright

After an email interview went tits up over Xmas, this interview was done by Zac over the phone in Feb 04 …it took an hour. Some of the questions are from Ralph LD and others from the Crossfire and Sidewalk Forums…..this photo here was shot by Leo Sharp and robbed from www.vans.co.uk

so, let’s get on with it…

Name and number?

Geoff Capes mate!

Haha! I have not heard that name in years..like a bit of wrestling huh?

Later..be patient, haha!

Ok, lets get on with it starting from the beginning. How did you get into skating, and why?

My mate Pob back in Stroud where I grew up had a board for his Birthday and we used to share it and skate together, then one day Mum and Dad said to me, ‘check out what is the car’, and there it was a brand new board, you know, the Turbo 2’s.?

Haha! What was the graphic?

It had a Bruce Lee graphic haha! You know the sketchy ones you used to get in the market for a tenner?!

Yeah, I remember them.I had one to with Palm Trees on it! It was rad! But no one at that time had wide boards, so they were pretty rare back then huh?

Yeah, too true, I saw some kids on one once and I was like whoa! I gotta have one of those one day and try that man, and then a few years later, I hooked one up!

What about pro boards?

Back then, I used to just buy all of the second hand boards from locals kids cos we was skint..they used to call me Second Hand Dan! All the rich kids use the take the piss out of me! I used to buy people’s shoes and everything man!

Back then though, nobody even dreamed of becoming pro and having a career right?

No way! We used to drill metal on the back on it and spark the hills. You know, like blakeys.remember them at school?!

Yeah, everyone had Blakeys.what ever happened to them?

I have no idea. But we should get them going again man! That is ours, let’s trademark it haha!

What about Powell, how did the relationship come about?

Through Shiner.this guy called The Hawkins who used to hook up the teams and all that you know, I owe him big time cos he hooked me up, and got me on Powell.

So it was flow to start with right?

Yeah, Shiner were looking for people to represent Powell here, and also get someone on the Vision offshoot label that Chris Gentry and others were riding for, I can’t remember the name now..but all my friends were like, ‘yeah you should ride for Powell man’, so I just did it! I got a few boards for free and I was also getting flow from Jeremy Fox with Death Box, like jeans and the boards an all that, so he helped me out in the early days.

What about the original Bones Brigade Videos, did they influence you choosing?

Yeah, the opportunity to ride for them was massive, they were massive.

Yeah, I remember it was either Santa Cruz or Powell back then for me.

Totally man, …but the Powell videos were amazing, all those skaters, Ray Barbie, Chet Thomas etc, I used to record the music off the videos and go out skating with the soundtrack on in the headphones….the music was as important as the skating.

Do you have contact with George Powell?

Yeah, he is cool man, he arrives at the office from 12-8pm, he has his dogs in there and everything, it’s a cool set up over there in Santa Barbara, all the warehouse and factories are downstairs and then upstairs is like a massive open plan office, and everyone works in there, so you just go up there and hang out..

Do you get over there much?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I will probably go over there soon.

So what was your favourite era then?

I dunno.maybe when Real Skateboards came out, before it got all technical and slow and all that, you know.when all those Blind videos came out, Henry Sanchez, Chico Brenes and all those dudes man.that was THE era..

With the limits of skateboarding being pushed each day, do you think that somebody who wants to make it as a skater has to learn to discipline themselves and take care of their body?

Well the Americans who skate vert for sure..all of them are like full-on athletes, supplements, work out, if they get hurt, they get it sorted and move on, very different to here man! And street skaters, especially here in the UK.well, a bag of weed and a Pot Noodle will do, and if they get injured.well they get walking again and go skatin! That is the UK! Skaters here don’t take it too seriously, and that can be bad as well because we don’t get anywhere because of that..you know what I mean, we are not really supported because of that.

Do you think we are not supported enough then in the UK?

Well look at the contests here, barely anyone goes, you know! They are all like, ‘yeah I can’t be bothered‘.British Teams, or ‘so called Teams’.where they at?

Like say there is a comp in London or something, they are too busy drinking Stellas and playing chess in their cardigans and that..they are like, ‘whoa, I’m not into that’, which is fucked!

You seem to take comps seriously right? You have won loads of comps lately like Board-X, Turin Italy, and Montpellier etc. Is there a method to this, do you go to win?

I think about it a lot beforehand, a lot of the time I feel like I gotta do well, you know like there’s Vans, Powell etc, they want me to do well you know.

Obviously sponsors don’t push you into doing all of this, it’s up to you right?

Yeah, it is up to me, but you know, last year I really tried harder cos I’m 28 now man, and I wanna be seen to still be progressing, and doing well you know, so last year towards the end I was like lets do this, it’s on you know, I felt good about my skating, and the last 5 events I entered I won, so it felt good man.

Do you think loyalty to sponsors is important?

If they are cool with you. You have to build a relationship, you not gonna have no trust if you jump around, you won’t really know anyone that you are dealing with, I find it easier you know.I have been at Powell for like 10 years now, pro for 6 of those now..and Vans, the Team manager Pete is like one of my best friends, so I don’t wanna fuck him around, I just wanna represent, and do the best I can.

Do you think kids nowadays understand this loyalty too?

A lot of it is about image, being seen to be part of a fresh thing, it’s a funny one, I’m not really that bothered, you gotta sort yourself out; it’s hard to explain.

Talking of brands. If a big brand such as a mobile company or big clothing manufacturer wanted you as part of their team, would you take the money and ride or turn it down?

Well fuck, what other skills do I have man? I don’t wanna do too much crazy stuff.I did that thing for the BBC and I didn’t know what it would be like or how it would turn out…

Yeah, that looked good on TV, where you happy with it?

Yeah man! It was amazing; it won a Bafta as well! Best camera operator!

Was it a skater who filmed it?

Nah, BBC filmed it..i helped to choreograph it and all that, it was cool. We has to go to Northern Ireland 3 times, help set up the course, and then got to pick the riders for it, Frank Stephens and Ollie Todd you know, get the Vans boys in you know! I went to a meeting with Christian Stevenson and we picked 2 heads that would be able to do tricks all day solidly.we filmed all day, they got good style.

Frank has some good stuff going on right now huh?

Yeah, it’s about time to.

We heard rumours that there was a possible switch for you to Cliche, is this true?

Where did you hear that from?!! Walls have ears huh!

They did talk to me an all that, but I didn’t see it as being the right thing you know, I like what they are doing, but not for me man.

So what is the deal with the Wainwright pro shoe?

No love from Vans man.I got that one called “the Sums” that was amazing, and they didn’t even give me an ad or anything, they didn’t promote it and get it out there enough.

Would you want another pro shoe out?

Yeah for sure, it’s a big achievement to get a shoe, I’m surprised and I’m stoked I got that opportunity, I dunno if I will get that opportunity again but if it did, I would make sure it happened properly.

What was you contribution to the Customized Vans in the new Vans Shop in Carnaby street?

Yeah, I did a pair, I don’t know if it sold, but Stella McCartney’s sold for like £8000 or something and the Gallagher’s designed some, it was fun. We came to your jam afterwards man, it was cool.

Yeah, that was the best to date..

We came late to yours as we had to do our Vans stuff, and I remember getting there, hanging with some kids, went to have a skate and all the lights went off, I was like oh shit, we missed the main event man! But everyone was stoked on that jam, keep em up, they rock!

You are pretty cool with the kids right.don’t mind autographs etc

Yeah, and I will tell you a story why I am like that.

Go on then, let’s have it!

When I was little, I went to see the Wrestling with Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks yeah, it was sick, and after the fight, Giant Haystacks walked off, you know, and I’m all like running over to him, by this time he is at his dressing room, and I’m like, ‘hey man, can I get your autograph?’. And he looks at me and bellows at the top of his voice ‘ FUCK OFF’ and he is this massive geezer, I was gutted!

It happened to me with Henry Rollins once so I know how you feel!

You know what, if I saw Haystacks now man, I would thump him! Haha!

So you are into your art, would you use your own art for a board graphic?

I do a few bits and bobs, I like street art, graffiti, posters and stuff like that but I have never done a board graphic.

When you were growing up, was Electro music a part of your life? Did it start there?

Yeah, of course, we all used to Break Dance, I had my name on the back of my tracksuit and shit, haha..

That’s funny!.What did it say?

‘Mini D’!

Haha! ‘ Class!

Yeah man, that was my tag, I was about 8 years old or something!

We used to have sessions in school cos they had great polished floors, where did you kick out the electro jams?

Well I used to live in Coventry and we used to take over these abandon garages and we took 2 of them over, we had a bed in there, lino and a beatbox, it was great!

Where you into skating then?

Nah, I was into BMX but I never had a good one!

Yep, same here! So what about music, tunes always have played an important part of art, skating etc, what is on the stereo right now?

Hear ya go (turns the stereo up) , Trojan Dub right there man! Loving it!

So what are the fave musicians in your life?

Oh, whoa that is one hell of a question, this is gonna take a while.lemme think.hmmn…Biggie Smalls will be in there, Mobb Deep, yeah, some Jazz in there to.I reckon Robbie Coltrane..

You like your chilled stuff then?

Oh dude, fuck yeah, well I’m a stoner innit so, you know, nothing hectic! Snoop would be in there..OG Snoop, Doggy Style!

Have you ever made your own tunes?

Nah, lots of friends of mine make tunes but I have never really gone for it, Bristol has a really good scene for music, and I’m into that for sure.

Tell us about 50-50? How did it come about in Bristol?

It’s the bomb, the best, it’s the most original, skater owned yo!

Did you start up on your own?

Nah, me and Sid man. I won some money at Generation 97 and Sid got some money together, we put a business plan together, and the bank helped as well, and we got it all up and running and started with nothing.

What about distributors?

We did not get support in the beginning from distributors, people like Shiner were really supportive, and slowly after about 6 months, people started to come around you know, obviously the shop will do well because of who is involved, people like Alan Rushbrooke was there from the beginning, everyone knew about it and now it’s no problem at all, we get to choose what we wanna do now.

What’s the future for the skater owned shop vibe?

Yeah, there should be like a recognized group of shops you should got to, skater owned, or shops that support the scene and put something back into skating, cos there are a lot of shops that just stock shit, and happen to be a distributor as well so they are just undercutting every other shop the stock to, like that Osiris shop in Bristol. We used to sell their stuff and then all of a sudden they open a shop right next to us, they sell it cheaper than what we can buy it for so why would people wanna buy it from us, it’s tough you know, but that is life.

And chain stores?

Well, 6 months in, the Legends shop in town is closing! It can only be good to for the scene. It’s bad, of course, but it’s good because it filters it back to what it was in the beginning.

Are skater owned shops doing enough for their local scenes?

Yeah, Sumo, Ideal and others do that I know, I can’t speak for other shops, but we organize demo’s, contests, make flat bars, take them out for the kids, we have the ramp at the back of the shop that people can skate, people come in and watch videos, it’s like a meeting place you know, and we don’t just sell the kids products. Kids don’t really know what to buy when they come in sometimes, so we teach them what is good and what isn’t. Say for example if some fat kid comes in, I’m not gonna sell him a super light! We just be cool and fair to people.

What is the future then for 50-50?

Who knows, we are just waiting for these other irrelevant shops to get out of the way so we have a bit more room to do things. We have great support from local skaters, wearing the shirts, and even parents like the vibe; we will try and keep that going cos it’s all good.

What about the 50-50 brand?

Yeah, we wanna get that out there more, do more stuff with artists instead of just logo based stuff. We got 4 people working on stuff right now. Science is one of them, Eko with a graffiti crew called TCF, and another friend of mine, Sick Boy,who’s doing boards right now and another guy called Parish who writes for TCF as well, all these guys are well known round here.

Nice..so let’s talk about ‘The Ollie’!

Ahhhh, I knew it would come up! Haha!

How does it feel to hold the record?

Stoked man, it’s tough but, ollieing 40 inches – I can it every day pretty much and I know other people can, but over 40 inches is hard, it’s a real push..

Do you think you could break it?

Back then I was into ollies but now, I try a different style of skating, new tricks you know?

What about switch then?

Dude, you know that guy Javier Sarmiento who rides for The Firm? That guy has the biggest switch ollies! He switched ollied this thing in Japan that I just ollied, it was fucking massive.seriously!

With the highest ollie, highest switch ollie, longest ollie and $10 000 games of SKATE, what’s next?

There was something recently, a long ollie comp at ASR, I heard about it, but I think all that stuff has calmed down now a bit, it’s media induced you know.

Do you think such competitions are good or just a mockery of what skateboarding is all about?

Nah, I think it’s really good, but in proportion. The ollie thing was good because it had not been done for years, and they shouldn’t bother do it for another 10 years, until there is a whole new batch of skaters and new techniques.

Could we see more competitions like this in the future ‘ any invites to new ones?

Well, look at the loop with the gap, who knows what is next. The Americans are good at doing all this stuff.

Have you ever been tempted to move ship to the States?

Not really, more than ever now. Sometimes I think why did I not go there for a bit, but there is still plenty of time, but it’s really different out there than the UK. The whole lifestyle wears you down you know. The sense of humour here is great, and the way people are, they tell you straight here, over there it’s like one big game. I used to go for like a month or 2 and then come home which was cool, there are always invites, I reckon I will go back soon, Powell ask about when I’m next visiting now and then.

After making the pilgrimage to the States and then returning to set up shop in England, do you think Europe has a chance to compete with the American skate industry?

Yeah, Europe is on fire right now, has been for a while. Support it!

And finally..

Some Questions from the Forums..we asked online community if they had any questions for you and these came back!

Do you think you’ll be remembered as “The Dude Who Did The Ollie”? – Dave1

Haha, probably i don’t know !

Why R U the only skater to have a pro shoe that actually lives in the UK?
– Arry

Cos the UK don’t get no love man!

How come he hardly gets coverage in the big american magazine ?
– Arry

They always over the same people, the same places every issue so i’m not missing out, plus i live here man, i got the 50-50 for life.

Are you still obessed with Vanessa Paradis?
‘ Frontside Rocker

That is a funny one man! I did an interview years ago, it’s funny someone remembered that ! ‘ I saw her on TV the other day, and she’s not looking so hot these days! When i was 16 yeah!

Also what are Powell doing with those graphics? Does he have any say? I think they’re awful!
Spanky

I could not agree more mate ! i don’t have a say.hey have you seen my new one, it looks like a prehistoric corn on the cob !

Has having a name 1 1/2 times as long as ‘Danny Way’ had any beneficial impact on your career?

Did Jason Lunn ask that question ? Haha ! He is great Jason, big respect.

Who do you idolise in skateboarding ?
– J Hetfield

I don’t idolise anybody man, but dude, great skaters, – so many i don’t even know, from back in the day, all of those amazing videos.style man, i love watching stylish skaters. Someone with flow.

Fave session?

Whoa, that is a hard one…Will Ainley, Frank Stephens – all the 50-50 crew man.

Why wasn’t your section on Day in the City 3 because i didn’t see his section on the premiere
‘from Tyler

Well, i didn’t do one..Will Ainley did, but it didn’t get on there.

If there was one thing you could change about your career so far what would it be?
– Rom Skater Andy

I would not tried that handrail in the Raggy Video that i split my nuts on man, yeah, that for sure !

Who’s the most annoying & hard worker of the 50/50 ams?
– Deegwaad

Oh boy, they ask some real sick questions..I’m stoked they wanna know about the crew though, it probably would have to be Little Dan Wileman for both, they are all annoying, a bunch of idiots ! But Dan is the most annoying for example we will be out skating and he will be like – “Dan have you got a bearing or whatever or “can i borrow you knee pads?”, and he will borrow them and not give them back or something..Big Love though Dan!

Any shouts, plugs weblinks or general abuse to people you know reading this?!

Yeah. Thanks if you take time to read this.

Thanks to all the kids for their questions and yeah, of course Big Ups to Crossfire for hooking this up and pulling us all together.

Support Skater Owned! – DW

Danny’s recommended links include:

50-50 Skate Shop online at www.5050store.com

And some Graf sites well worth checking out at www.woostercollective.com and www.ekosystem.org

Natas Kaupas interview

Zac hooked up with Natas Kaupas at the Marseille Bowlriders 04 and instead of going for the traditional swim in the Mediterranean; they exchanged socks in a tent, and this is what went down!

Ok fella, what is your name and where are you from?

My name is Tony Alva from California!

Haha, he caused chaos here last year huh?

Yeah, as ever. Nah man, this is Natas Kaupas in Marseille. (Haha!)

So Mr Kaupas, you obviously are now working with Quiksilver, how long now and what do you do?

Yeah, been working with Quiksilver for about 5 years now. I started designing some t-shirts for them on a freelance basis and they liked that so I ended up doing some skateboard ads and snowboard ads, and now I’m doing all their ads!

Full time now then?

Pretty much, I spend a lot of my time on it now, they pay the bills, keeps food in the belly, it’s great!

You told me earlier that you are you are starting your own skateboard company, how fresh is this news?

Very fresh, yeah, nobody knows yet really but yeah along with a full time job, I’m starting ‘another’ full time job which is starting a skateboard company but it’s gonna represent what I’m to now which is artwork, as in working with artists and being an art director. So I’m sponsoring artists instead of skateboarders.

So what are we to expect? How is it gonna work? Who have you got in your sights?

We are treating the boards like fine art prints where there is a limited run on each one and you can get one, ride it, or hang it on your wall, which ever, and each one is limited to just 500. The first run, we have got a board designed by Thomas Campbell, Shepard Fairey of Obey, and this great painter called Paige. You will be able to read all about the artists with little booklets that come with it. We will also have the guys from Lowdown design, you know, the magazine?

They have 2 designs they contributed and a few of the artists will also do representations of the old Santa Monica Airlines Panther graphic. They are given really loose guidelines, and just to let their creativity to kinda go forward with it..one of the new classics as it were. We are looking for good art and good aesthetics.

Sounds fun. The Panther is a classic design though. In fact, I almost said it WAS a classic but it’s obviously not dead just yet!

Yeah, history is never done! (Haha!)

Will you be scouting artists from all over the World? Is there anyone from London on your radar?

We are really trying to get hold of Banksy in London it’s just a matter of tracking him down; we have private investigators on it over there at the moment!

You like his stuff then?

Yeah, his books, his philosophy goes in lock step with skateboard mentality, the kind of stuff we like to promote.

And to promote it, what plans are there already?

Well, I think in a few years we will have enough good art to do a book as we already have a tentative book deal and plan to do art shows and tour it around, but most of the art is in computer form so we have to figure that out! There are a few raw pieces right now, we are still figuring it all out and it’s a little bit problematic!

All of the different riders will have their own styles, is it totally open ended?

Yeah, definitely open ended, we are also looking to work with a few painters who will paint a large installation and photograph it and put it on a board. We just want to people to push the whole thing of doing a print I guess.

The whole thing is about showing things to people that people haven’t seen before. We are working out and flexing new muscles there by bringing all of the artists together. We feel there is a new aesthetic that was born a few years back, you know, the do-it-yourself way; the confidence and style of showing a personality and individuality that skateboarding represents. When you see it, it will probably all make sense. Haha..it’s called Designarium by the way.

Ha-ha that was my next question! OK, so is there any connection here with music? What are you rocking out too right now?

I’m listening to a band called the Detroit Cobra’s who are girls doing covers of Motown songs, and it’s all pretty wild, raw, and has a super guitar-garage sound, the singer has an amazing whisky smoked voice and they just belt out the old Motown classics, that is on constant rotation right now!

Lately it’s all been about the recording quality, you know? You wanna hear some personality and you don’t get that when stuff is overproduced. I think The White Stripes brought it back and did it very well. You know you take Bowie’s latest album and it’s so slick and boring you know, over produced and it’s over, nothing really grabs you, and er, it’s just not great to hear. There is another band from the USA right now called The Gossip. Same deal, you know, you can tell that they are doing their own garage which is great!

As far as what we are doing, we wanna bring the artists together to do skateboard graphics, and mix them in with musicians and film makers and hopefully we can make some DVD projects and films and we are really looking for good distribution, and function as an agent to get things shown and get it out there. It’s not about making tonnes of money but we will hopefully be making good connections for others and just representing our culture to people.

Doing it the way you see it through your eyes?

Yeah, I would hate for someone else to do this that didn’t skateboard or grow up in it or didn’t know about what’s important or what the history is.

Is there anything else out there right now that is similar to what you are about to unleash?

Er – No. There are obvious examples of where you have the skateboarder in the right guard ads, fashion ads or whatever and they have totally cropped the photo wrong. I think that we are just totally maturing all of these ideas that are coming forward and it’s just as important as any other artwork that is happening right now. In a gallery they will make a fine art print, they silk screen it..it’s the same process, but I just wanna put it on a new way on a skateboard. It’s a way of putting skateboarding culture toe to toe and be representative I think.

And clothing, will you have limited runs?

Yes, I wanna make sure that we can bring something to the table that has not been done before and keep the quality there.you know?.like if people said hey ‘I’ve never seen that before!’ I don’t wanna do the same old thing.I wanna bring something new, just like skateboarding did for the rest of the world.

Just like what you did for skateboarding in the 80’s?

Haha, yeah I guess so.

Let’s talk about that briefly. So, when I started skating, you were everywhere, and since that day, you have set standards for today’s street skating? How did that affect you when you were younger?

Ha-ha, that was not up to me! Maybe for what I did but the people remember it and followed it, I dunno, it’s sort of like the motion was done. I did what I did and it grew and had a life of its own. I’m just glad that people remembered it or liked it – it’s cool.

Any regrets along the way?

No real regrets. I did the best I could! Haha! The only one I think is probably that I could have been more focused on what I was doing more, but I did not really appreciate the human connection for a while, as I was pretty young and I didn’t handle the attention really well. It’s not really a regret but I think I could have probably handled it better. A little training would have been nice! Haha! I really just wanted to go skateboarding and was stopped to sign autographs and it was really not why I was into it. But no real regrets though, cos it’s all good fun!

What about now, are you skating weekly, where are you hanging out and who are you skating with?

I’m down in San Clemente these days. It’s a sleepy little town between San Diego and Los Angeles. I just moved there and there is a cement park down there and I’m mostly skating with little helmeted kids! Yeah, I’ve been skating a bit but not as much as back in the day. I’ve been surfing a lot more and get to travel to all of these great spots so, anyway, yeah..still skateboarding!

If you had to pick one, what was your favourite ever skate session over the years?

Years ago, skateboarding with friends midnight until four or so… it feels like the world is yours skating at those hours!

How has skateboarding changed through your eyes compared to back when you were riding for SMA?

A lot has changed, but the skateboard it self if pretty similar. So it’s up to the skater; there sure are a lot of them these days!

What are your fave movies, the ones you always go back to, Skate or feature films?

I have a hard time watching any movie twice. Except maybe Fight Club because of the whole twist thing.

Have you seen the ‘Stoked. Rise and Fall of Gator’ Movie?

No…..not yet.

You must have skated together at some point back in day, how did his lifestyle change affect you when you found out what he was going through?

We never really got along from the first moment we met, so there was always a great emotional distance between us. But it was a bad and evil thing to do, so that part made me sad- but not in a real personal level. People should know to be decent to one another.

When will the Designarium touch paper be fully lit?

The end of summer 04. We are already questioning our slow start, there’s a pretty big demand- hopefully some products make it over the ocean to you guys.

Good luck with Designarium and thanks for the chat.

Yeah, thanks!

Lee Smith

Speak into the mic.

Testicles 1-2! (Laughter!)

Great! Ok Lee, it’s the 8th July and you’re in Lyon, France. How did you get here? When? Why?…

I’ve only been in Lyon about 2 or 3 days, but in total I’ve been in Europe about 5 months. I just got kinda sick of Los Angeles, sitting in traffic, trying to skate a shitty handrail that Johhny Wickerbean already did a nolllie boardslide down! So, I decided to just be a gypsy for a while and spend some time in Europe.

Where have your travels taken you through Europe?

No where exotic really. I’ve been spending most of my time in Barcelona on the beach… And at Macba! (Laughter!)

I guess you still get to see your friends because of the strong influx of US pros during these recent times.

Yeah. I’ve been hanging out a lot with Paul Shier, and a lot of guys I know that came out from San Francisco like Brad Johnson. The DVS guys came out… I’ve also been spending time with a lot of the local Spanish skaters, so it’s good. I’ve been brushing up on my old ‘Espagnol’.

You mentioned earlier that you were tired of skating in the States. Is this because of the constant competitiveness of it over there? Do you find Europe more laid back?

Yeah, I mean in America, skating wise, the mentality is that you’ve got to push! Push! Push! Do this trick! Do that trick! Get this out there! In one way it’s good, but on another level it’s just too extreme, you know? I think the European lifestyle, in general, is a lot more laid back. People are relaxed and like to chill. It’s more about enjoying each moment of every day, instead of trying to make a buck.

With the recent blow out of ‘Johnny Hammertime’ skaters and skating, do you feel a little left out because your image is at the other end of the spectrum? Or, is this a relief that takes you out of the spotlight and lets you enjoy your skating more?

Well, I definately think that people weren’t paying attention to the whole City Stars thing until we got the little kids on the team (Ed. Mike Taylor, Paul Rodriguez…). But, me personally, I didn’t do a lot for a long time. I was pretty lazy and I was kinda just into partying. I was kind of out of it, so I really don’t know… But I think the whole handrail craze is coming to an end! People are just starting to respect style and creativity, which are the most important things about skating.

Definately! You spoke about Paul Rodriguez being on the team back then. Did you get to witness this wonderkid firsthand and watch the progression?

Oh yeah! Paul was already really good when he got on City Stars, but he was still just a young kid and really humble. He’d pray before every trick… Now he’s just a bit caught up in all the money and hype of fame, glitz and glamour, and trying to be a gangster. He listens to too much Hip-Hop! ( Laughter!) It’s music, that’s it. It’s just like a movie: it’s there to entertain you and then the movies over.

Watching the recently released FTC Trilogy, there is quite a bit of footage of you back then. What was it like in San Francisco during that time?

The scene was a lot of fun. Some of my best times in my life, just coming up and skating Embarcadero. Watching the progression of certain skaters like Jovantae Turner, Mike Carroll, or Henry Sanchez. People like that really push me to progress with my skating. It was a great time! Obviously we were getting into a lot of mischief at the same time, but I don’t regret anything.

Looking at then and now, who inspires you today?

Back then, it was obviously my peers that I was around. Karl Watson, Marcus McBride, and then all the older guys I mentioned earlier like Mike Carroll, James Kelch, Jovantae… All those Embarcadero guys, those are the ones I looked up to. Nowadays I’d say whoever is just being creative and doing something else from the norm. It’s like every skater wants to learn every other trick that every other skater does. They only want to skate the spot that’s famous! ‘Let’s go to this rail that 30 other people have done tricks down!’…

Do think the whole one-upmanship is to blame for this phenomenon?

No. I think that a lot of skaters are kinda stupid to tell you the truth! They think that if Jaime Thomas grinded this rail, then if I lipslide it, I’ll be famous aswell! So, they’re going to go to the same spots, do the same tricks, and all of a sudden one person does a nollie flip noseslide and the next thing you know, every little kid in the world ca do a nollie flip noseslide! Someone does a switch bigspin heelflip, then all of a sudden every fuckin’… It’s crazy! Most skaters lack creativity and ideas. I don’t know, I find it strange, you know?

You’re recognized as a technical street skater, but do you ever skate other things, say pools or transition for example?

I like to skate whatever is put in front of me. I’m not saying that I’ll be a maniac on it! (Laughter!) But, I’ll definately skate a mini ramp. Bowls I’m not too good at, but I’ll push around, man… That’s what skating is about: trying to learn. Fuck! Take a slam if you have to!

During your travels over the last 5 months, have you got any good stories to tell, or crazy happenings that occurred?

I wish I could say ‘Yeah!’, but I can’t. No, not really. Nothing too abnormal. I’ve just been taking it easy and that’s about it… Oh! I did meet a girl. (Laughter!) … I met a girl at a club and she said, ‘Meet me at the beach’, so I went and when I got there she was topless with a thong on! So, for me to be an American in Europe and meet someone that you’ve just met on the beach in that form was very odd… (Laughter!)

But it’s a nice surprise!

Yeah! I was like, ‘This is great!’ That was awesome!

As you’re in France at the moment, what are your plans for the near future?

My plan is to stay here a bit longer. Maybe visit a couple of friends in Switzerland and go back to Barcelona in a week or two. Try to wrap up some more filming for the new FTC video which I’m going to have a full part in, the last part. So, I’m looking forward to that! I’m looking forward to… I don’t know actually, I’ll take it as it comes. (Laughter!)

Ok, have you got anyone one you want to give a shout out to?

I want to say ‘Thank you’ to Kelly Bird over at Lakai and Sam Smythe over at Chocolate and Girl. I’d like to thank Diamond supply and FTC Skateshop, and Autobahn Wheels.

One last thing, the last time we met you gave me some stickers with these little mushroom things on them. What was that?

Oh, that’s Angel Biotek! It’s still running, it’s my friend Shelby Woods who does it, but he’s got a lot on his plate at the moment, so… I mean, it’s still going, but you’ll have to wait a minute.

One very last thing that I ask every person I interview: If you were sent to a desert island and could take one book, one object and one CD with you, what would they be?

Ummm… I don’t know. (Laughter!) I’d take my I-pod! (Laughter!) Isn’t that what JB said?! My I-pod and a bottle of Jack Daniels, because you wouldn’t last long on the island, so you might as well make it a party!

That’s it! Thanks Lee!

Thank you man, and thanks to Crossfire!

Andrew Brophy

Ralph met Andrew Brophy during a session in Lyon , France and got some words whilst they were both bombed by little gypo kids armed with firecrackers! This is what went down whilst they were Caught In The Crossfire…

Here we are in sunny Lyon, but what I want to know is how you got here?

I was in London before, and Jeremie (Daclin) brought me here I think. (Laughter) Oh, and Ben from Circa in London paid for it.

You’re not from London though, you’re from Australia. Whereabouts?

I’m from the West coast, a little country town called Margret River. Basically it’s a little surfing town with not much to skate.

If there wasn’t much to skate, how comes you didn’t just pursue a career in surfing?

They had a skatepark opened and I didn’t like the water because the waves were scary as fuck! Skating was the easier option, and I ain’t gonna drown, I’m just gonna fall on concrete.

While you were skating back in Australia, did you know you now team mate, Cale Nuske?

No, he’s from the East Coast. I met him when I first came to Lyon a year ago.

Who were your first sponsors?

The first was Momentum skateshop from Perth, then Modus Bearings from Brett Margaritis’ company and TSA Clothing.

Seeing as you have travelled all over the world, how would you compare the different skate scenes?

It’s all quite similar. Everyone still takes their sport quite seriously in Australia, but maybe there isn’ as much to skate in Australia either. Well, there is but it’s not as accessible.

But I heard that places like Melbourne or Sydney were full of spots?

Yeah, Melbourne is full of spots! But for me, coming from the West Coast, it’s just as easy to fly to Europe as it is to fly to the East Coast. It’s all the same.

[A little gypsy kid lets off a massive firecracker nearby] That was fucking loud! (Laughter) Oh shit! Maybe we should move because he just put one in a metal can..?

Excuse us for this brief interruption. Some kid is giving us a fireworks demonstration!

Vietnam. Vietnam. Ha! Ha! Look at him, he’s going off!

You’re on Cliche now, so tell me how that’s working out for you? How did the deal come around?

It all started from when I was on Link Footwear and came over here for some touring. I got hooked up then, and got flow from the distributor back in London, Slam City Skates. [Gypsy kid’s firecracker doesn’t bang as loud as hoped for] Oh. Ha! Ha! He wanted that shit to blow up. (Laughter)

So, wait. How come you even left Australia? Wasn’t the jump to London a big step in the dark?

Well, it was either go to London or move to the East Coast, and I didn’t know anyone over there at that stage. Well, I did. There was Brett, Chip Waltman, Ben McClaughlan and Kyle Stanley etc had all moved back from the East Coast, so there was no-one for me to go over there and stay with.

My brother was living in London at the time, so I thought, ‘Fuck it!

My grandparents are going to pay for the airfare over there, so I might as well go and live with them rent free!’ It’s easier, and since I’ve been there everything has worked out great! I’ve met loads of new people and made new friends.

What do you think of the London scene? Who do you hang out with?

Nick Jensen, Charlie Young, Robbleyard a.k.a. Rob Mathyssen, Levant Tanju and the Slam City crew. London’s good in Summer, terrible in Winter!

Why is it so terrible?

Oh, you know! It’s so wet and freezing! You know.

Well, I know, but the people reading this don’t! Often you hear London is so shit for skating because the grounds so crap and there are no spots.

No! There are loads of spots everywhere. You’ve just got to know the people who know. (Laughter)

So how long do you think you’re going to spend on this side of the globe, in Europe and stuff?

I don’t know! I’ll see how it all works out I suppose. Hopefully for as long as possible.

What’s it like having Jeremie Daclin as a team manager?

It’s funny! I wish I could speak French, so that I could communicate with him a bit better, but it’s all good.

Do you hook up with the Cliche team very often, or is it on one of these rare occasions that you visit Lyon and see them all?

This is the second time that I have been here and hung out with the team. It’s fun, the weather’s nice here as well. [Gypsy kid suddenly blows a firework up in his hand regardless]

Wah! That kid’s gnarly. Did you see what he just did??? Anyway, is your brother a skater? What do your parents think of your career move?

Well, my brother was a surfer before I skated and he was busy doing the Pro/Am shit, travelling.

Whoa. Wait a minute. Watch out!… Oh, it’s alright. It’s not going to blow!

Yeah. So, my brother did a lot of travelling and my parents didn’t really mind. They’re pretty happy for me to do what I want and enjoy my time. Just doing whatever interests me.

Have you quit your studies now?

Yeah, I’m finished with all that. I’m 18 now! I might go back to Uni afterwards.

What are your plans for the future? Cliche is about to head off on a couple of tours including the Roast Beef Tour aren’t they? Do you know anything about that?

No. I don’t think anyone really knows where we’re going! (Laughter) Just get in the van with sleeping bags and as much clean clothing as you can possibly fit in a backpack, and go and stink! (Laughter) Just smell and sleep on the floor, it’ll be funny!

Any other plans for the future, non skatewise?

Just travel, skate and meet new people. Be poor for a very long time! (Laughter)

Have you done any filming yet with Fred (Mortagne)?

No! None so far.

You’re known for your huge pop, so if they were ever to organise an ollie contest again, would you give Danny Wainwright a good run for his money?

Yeah. I’d check it out, take a few people out. Whaaaa! [Gypsy kid blows off a huge firecracker right behind us!] I think that shit popped my ear drum!

I’ll push that little fucker in the water! Damn!

That was so loud dude!

[We take a little break to soothe our ears, laugh and threaten the Gypsy kid and Lee Smith for making him do it]

Do you ever get sick of people asking you to ollie up the 6 stairs at Shell (Skatespot in London)?

Yeah! No requests!

What would be your dream session?

Back home ??? skatepaaaark! [Gypsy kid tries his luck one more time but Jeremie tells him to fuck off or else!] With Brett, having a barbecue, drinking beers and skating the miniramp. That’s the best!

One last question that I ask all my interviewees: If you were sent to a desert island and were allowed to take one object, one book and one CD with you, what would they be?

Ummm. The book would be porn! (Laughter) The CD would be the ‘Postal Service’, that shit’s good. An object? I don’t know.Maybe a blow up doll?

Tissues perhaps?

Yeah! That or a tent!

Ok, thanks for the answers despite our little gypsy friend.

Brandon Biebel

Ok, it isn’t very professional, but it happens at least once to every journalist:
I erased my interview with Girl Skateboards pro Brandon Biebel! Maybe the recorder was stuck on pause? Maybe I didn’t realise because I was star-struck? In any case, this is as close as the interview went, or at least as good as my memory gets. Sorry, it won’t happen again, I promise!

Hi Brandon! Welcome to London and the new X-box Bay Sixty6 park. What do you think?

Thanks! It’s pretty cool, but it’s real busy, huh?

So, is this the first time you came to the UK?

Oh no. I’ve been once before, but I don’t remember much so this feels like the first time again.

I see you’ve just been signing autographs and taking photos for the last hour or so; do you still enjoy doing demos and autograph sessions, or would you rather travel abroad to skate new spots and film stuff?

I don’t mind doing the demos, you know it’s for the kids and all. It’s good. I like to see new spots, and I guess we’ll try and film some stuff if we can.

Is this the beginning of your European visit through the Summer?

Nah! I’m just here for a week and then I get back home to Sacramento.

Do you know where you’re going after London? I heard you were heading to Milton Keynes.

Yeah. We’ll be in England, maybe Scotland. I don’t know.

Before you rode for Girl, you were on ATM. That’s quite a difference. How did the change come about and how does it feel?

Well, in my eyes, Girl is the best company there is! No doubt! I wouldn’t ride for anyone else, but I guess it all came about through Lakai and hookin’ up with Rick (Howard) and the boys.

Judging by your part in ‘Yeah Right!’, it’s quite obvious that you know how to manual. How long does it take to get to a level where you can bust out tech tricks like that?

Oh man! I’ve been doing manuals since I was a little kid. It’s something I’ve always been doing. That and curbs, you know?

You like Hip-Hop and travel a lot, so what have you got playing on your I-pod during the trips?

I listen to some rap and R&B. I like to chill with some R&B.

Have you listened to the latest Ghostface album, ‘The Pretty Tony Album’?

Nah! I ain’t heard it yet. I don’t listen to him so much. It’s funny, I didn’t choose that track for my part in ‘Yeah Right!’ I guess it just worked.

So, what are you plans for the future?

I just got finished with my part for the new Transworld video, so that’ll be cool. Right now, I think we’re starting to film for a Lakai thing.

Will it be like ‘Beware of the Flair’, another tour video?

Nah! This’ll be a real skate video!

Ok, well that’s all I’ve got for you, so thanks!

Thanks to you and Crossfire man!

Brian Anderson

RLD – You just arrived here in London, what do you think of the Bay Sixty6 park?

BA – It looks good! I’ve never skated here before, but I hears that they re-did the floor or something? I looks pretty fun. I’ve got to set up a new board and skate it. I’m curious.

You must be used to the whole demo/autograph situations, but nowadays it seems pros prefer to travel abroad, see new spots and film- Sort of like a holiday. What do you think?

I like to do demos and film. Both those things are fine. As long as the demo is organised properly, I totally love it!

After spending a long time over at Toy Machine, how does it feel to be on another tight team like Girl?

It’s definitely a tight unit. I get along great with everybody. I already knew the guys from hanging out with them at Fourstar. We’d ride together at contests and stuff. They’re also just a really good group of people that work at Girl as well, not just the team. It’s an incredible company.

Do you think it’s important that your boss, Rick Howard, should also be a current pro skater?

Sure! Even when he’s done and doesn’t want to skate anymore, you know it’s cool because he used to skate, you know? It’s great, it’s better than having someone who doesn’t know much about pro life.

You’ve lived in San Francisco for a while now, is the scene still as strong as it used to be?

It’s not as strong as it used to be, but I love it because I grew up in New England, and in Los Angeles you have to drive your car everywhere! In San Francisco, you can take the bus, ride the train, take your skateboard with you and you can ride everywhere, poppin’ little ollies and shit.

Do you still hang out with Brad Staba as much?

Yeah, I live with him and two other people; him, Tony Cox and one other guy. I skate with him all the time, plus he comes on tour sometimes because he rides for Ruby.

I know that you are really into art and music. What bands are you listening to at the moment?

I listen to a lot of Joni Mitchell, and a band called Burning Bride.

You like Sonic Youth, right?

I love Sonic Youth!

Me too! I heard they just released a new album called ‘Sonic Nurse’. Have you heard it?

No, I haven’t heard it yet. I want to hear that new Morrissey album that’s out as well. I heard that’s really good. I hear the new DVD will be reviewed on this site soon though.

Back to the demos, do you have any good or bad demo stories?

Yeah definately! There have been times where we have skated a parking lot in Middle America with really really rocky ground, ramps falling apart, a garbage can, a tyre. But, it was awesome because I was with Ed Templeton and he’s a really fun guy for that type of situation. He’s been through it all, so he’s like ‘Let’s move these ramps all around and skate them till they break!’

Do you think professional skating is becoming more respected in the States nowadays, and perhaps understood a little better as an actual career move?

Yes and no. Some people are more aware of it because it’s on television, but there is still the same amount of people who, when you tell them you skate for a living, they are really surprised! They say that they never thought that was possible, which is understandable because the average citizen reads a news paper and they’re not reading about skateboarding. They’re more interested in current affairs, so why would they even know about it?

Talking about current affairs, what’s you take on this whole Bush and Iraq situation?

I really hope that he serves time in prison eventually for all the crimes that he has committed. I also hope that John Kerry (Democrat- Bush’s opposition) finds a good vice president to stand by him. I’d love to see Ralph Nader with him, they’ve been talking I think. I just really hope that the people who have done horrible things and try and cover them up pay the consequences for that. People like Donald Rumsfeld! John Ashcroft, the Attorney General, also needs to really grow up a little bit and stop living in the past. He’s a complete idiot, along with a whole load of other people in the Bush administration.

Well, we’ll leave world politics alone, and head back to skate related politics. Philadelphia shut down Love Park, yet today skateparks are taking the Plaza as a blueprint. Do you think this is the face of the future parks? Are kids tired of transitions?

I’d like to see more ‘Park’ style skateparks with natural marble and all that stuff. And then, it should be like back in the day, where a kid would just have his ramp in his backyard. That would be the best way, I think, for kids to learn how to skate everything. That would be better for natural progression, to have more natural style parks, that would be incredible!

So what are your plans for after this?

After London, Milton Keynes. We’ll be in the UK for another ten days.

Any plans for the future?

I think we’re going to make a video at Girl, but it’s not going to be a Girl video as such. Just everyone at Girl HQ or something. I don’t know. Then, Nike’s making a promo video for pretty soon!

How’s that riding for Nike?

It’s excellent! All the people that work there are really in touch with skateboarding, not just a bunch of corporate morons. They’re actually really interested in it. Also, a lot of my friends doing team manager stuff used to work with me over at Savier. They’re really cool people and they care about keeping it hardcore.

It’s pretty amazing the comeback Nike have had, seeing as loads of skaters are more than willing to have them as a sponsor and try out their new models!

Yeah! Paul Rodriguez is gong to have a signature shoe soon, too, so I’m sure that’s going to be pretty amazing.

How comes he didn’t make it over for this tour?

I think he’s moving house or something? We’re kind of mad at him right now, for not coming.

Aha…ok get in there and sign some more autographs! haha!

Cool, thanks for the interview, thanks to Crossfire for hooking this up!

Chet Thomas

On a windy wet morning in London 10/04/04, the Globe Team turned up to PSSP for a demo on thier way to Barcelona for the week….Zac hooked up with Chet for 30 minutes after the demo for a chat and this is what came out of it….

When was the last time you came to England?

Uhh. 1997 at Wembley. That contest where Mark Gonzales and Pat Duffy collided in the air.

That was a long time ago…and a good comp. My first introduction to you was from the Powell Peralta video ‘Public Domain’ in 1988, as it premiered in London at a rock club called the Marquee Club in Charing Cross Rd. Did you realise when you filmed that part just how influential it was on street skating?

Not at all. At the time, we had a little Long Beach crew, me, Steve Saiz, Eric Sanderson, Ray Barbee, and we’d always skate around Lakewood. Back then when you’d film, seriously you would go out for three days and that was it! Stacy (Peralta) would take us to downtown LA, he’d be like, ‘Look! A nice wide open sidewalk. Go for it!’ So then basically, you’d have three whole days of filming and that would be your video part finished. You don’t think about it like you do now, where you say, ‘I want to do this trick, this trick, this trick.’ Planning your video part 6 months in advance. Back then, whatever you came across, that was what you’d skate. I think it came out good!

Who played the music for your part? Was it McRad?

No, it was Stacy Peralta and Dennis the Dragon, from the Old Surf Punks? I don’t know. But it was Dennis Dragon who did that loop, and it was a classic song right there.

Skaters like Danny Way, Ray Barbee, Mike Vallely, they all got their first slice of fame through that video as well didn’t they?

For sure. Danny was on for a short period of time. It’s funny because him and Bucky Lasek got on at the same time, and they would always be riding these vert boards around. They were always really competitive with one another, and I hate to say it but I placed my bets on Danny.

How did you get on Powell Peralta? Was it Steve Saiz that put you on there?

Yeah! I was skating in a really small competition in Lakewood, and he was one of the judges, and I won my division. Three months later, I walked into this skateshop called ‘Eldorado’, that Steve was working at, and he was like, ‘Hey, you’re that kid at the contest!’ He started flowing me boards through Powell, like he’d get a few decks and pass them on to me. I guess I got on Powell flow after that. There was a Valsurf demo where the whole team were there, Stacy, Todd Hastings the team manager at that time.

Basically, at that demo, they set a jump ramp up in a parking lot, sat there and put me on the spot! It was pretty crazy that the whole team that I had always looked up to as a super small kid- I mean, I was small when I got on, but I was even smaller than that!- Just the whole team staring at me and the jump ramp. That was mainly what people skated back then, jump ramps. Tricks back then were like Ho-ho plants, stalefish backside 360s, judos, judo methods – All that stuff. So, that’s how I got on the team, doing that stuff.

Do you still see Ray Barbee?

Once in a while, I’ll see Ray. He lives in Corona.

Does he still play his music?

Yeah, he’s in a band. I’ve forgotten their name, but he’s really good. Super talented.

If you were to pick a session from back then, which one would it be?

I think the most memorable for me was the first Powell Christmas party because they actually set up a load of shit in a warehouse to skate. This was before there were any indoor skateparks. They invited the whole team up and had a street park set up in a warehouse, so we could just skate it al weekend. Seeing Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, Lance Montain, Jim Thiebaud, Jesse Martinez, that whole crew, was pretty sick!

I remember seeing you at Jim Thiebauds Ramp Jam, how was that?

That was good, but Oakland’s sketchy! I remember after that day, three cars got broken into right outside the event. We were trying to find the freeway, and it was starting to get dark, so everyone just started freaking out because nobody wanted to be in Oakland after dark.

You also used to skate for Santa Cruz. How long were you there for?

I was only on Santa Cruz for about a year and a half, maybe even shorter. What happened was I was skating for Powell for so long, like 5 years or something, and I was supposed to go pro at the San Francisco contest that was 6 months away. They were like, ‘Yeak, yeah! You’re going, you’re going!’ Three months pass, same thing. One month left same thing. So, now I’m like, ‘Look, where are my tickets, I thought I was meant to be going?’ And they were just like, ‘Ah well. You have to talk to Stacy.’ So, I went in to talk to Stacy and he just figured it would be better if I got myself a new sponsor when I turned pro because I had been riding for Powell for so long. As if this was a mutual understanding and wouldn’t be shocking! I was totally caught off guard. It wasn’t like he was kicking me off, but it came apparent to me that they weren’t hyped on me so much anymore. After that, I got on New School, Public Skateboards, but that was just wack! At that moment Tom Knox and a couple of other riders quit Santa Cruz, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try and work something out.

I got on the team, but then a year later they bunked on the contract. I was supposed to get “X” amount of $ over a two year period, but 18 months in they cut my pay. I’m like, ‘Hey! You can cut my pay at the end of my contract. See this piece of paper here? X amount for X amount of time. Once this is over, I’ll take the cut no problem.’ But they were like, ‘No.’

The way I found out was when I got my cheque in the mail, it was half as much as usual. It’s not like they called me and let me know, it was more like through opening my mail. That was fucking sketchy!

I went from there to Channel One and skated for them for a couple of years. I was stoked, but it was unfortunate that Channel One was done through Acme and Jim Gray.

Wasn’t Channel One run from that warehouse where the Soul Bowl was stored in Huntington Beach?

That was after I had quit riding for them. You see, I got on the team with Chris Senn so I was amped, but the month I got on, Chris quit! That was a shock because then I was the only pro on the team. It got to the point where Jim Gray just wasn’t starting anything because he wasn’t into supporting pros as much as he says he does by putting out generic boards and not pro models. It got to the point where I was hanging out with Danny, and we started the A-Team with Ben and Tas Pappas and Henry Sanchez. It was good for a little while, but before long nobody was pulling the reins anymore at the company, there was no direction. The first year was alright but then it started to get messy.

By then, I had already started Darkstar Wheels and we had made a couple of Darkstar team decks which sold really well. We were doing our own graphics, catalogues etc. So, I figured that if I was doing my own thing and it worked, me and my brother wouldn’t have to worry about 6 other guys and who’s doing what. We’re just trying to do what we want to do, and we have a definate strategy, direction and thought process so.

-You’ve been leading Darkstar for about four years now?

Yeah, and it’s working really well. We’ve just been trying to stay consistent on what we do. Having the same feel to all the graphics, not switching it up and followings trends like going from punk to hip-hop. Anything that’s dark, powerful an tough is how I’d sum up Darkstar.

So, tell me all about these sugar coated things you were all hyped about back in the day.

Oh, Cheerios! Nah, they’re done. I haven’t done a commercial for them in a while

That was basically why I didn’t have to work when I was a teenager -Commercials.

The first one I did was for McDonalds when I was 13 years old, then the Cheerios commercial after that. I did around 15 to 20 commercials between the ages of 13 to 18. I didn’t have to work, that was my gas money, my car payment, my beer money! (Laughter)

Would you recommend this to new skaters if the opportunity arose?

Any kid who has the chance to get into that industry, I would try to do it! A lot of the times they don’t even go on how good you can skate or not. You just do whatever they are looking for, which is usually pretty basic stuff, and then you have to correspond to the look they want for that specific part, then you’re in there! It’s the easiest money you could ever make. Just sitting around all day in a trailer, eating food, hanging out… They call you up, you skate for half an hour, and they pay you a grand. Then, you get royalties on the commercial and you don’t have to work for 6 months. So, I was super fortunate to be able to do that!

Are you a big music fan?

Yeah, but not so much that I’m into a lot of underground stuff. I’m into a whole different array of stuff, like I might listen to house music as long as it isn’t some hard techno stuff. Some hip-hop, a little bit of gangster rap, a little bit of East coast stuff, a little bit of West coast stuff. No country! A little bit of old school punk, just a mix. I can’t listen to the same thing for too long.

Seeing as you are travelling through Europe at the moment, what have you got playing on your I-pod right now?

Israel Vibrations- I.V. Dub, Andre Nicotina, he’s banging right now. We used one of his tracks, ‘Yae-yo’ on the credits of the Darkstar video. Murder City Devils, Led Zeppelin, some Metallica, some Slayer of course! Classic Bob Marley.

That all sounds like a nice little package right there! So, what are you doing here? Nobody knew you were coming until about a week ago.

We’re here to do a demo! Then we’re going to Barcelona for the next 5 days to just try and film for the next Globe video. The Darkstar video is done, so that’s next in the list.

How involved do you get with Globe?

I’ve been with them almost eight years now. I’m involved as much as I can, but not to sound selfish, in so much as what I have to do for them and vice-versa. If I get too involved with stuff that really doesn’t pertain to me, then I won’t be doing what I need to do which is skate. I need to keep in shape for skating now. I’m 30 years old and can’t skate all day anymore, five days in a row, and not have to do yoga, stretching or all sorts of shit like that.

So, I do as much as I can, be it ad layouts or photos. The main thing is I try and design my shoes and put it in their hands. I don’t just say, ‘Make whatever you want and put my name on it!’ It’s going on my feet, with my name on it!

Some designer that doesn’t really know what they’re doing will just design something and put your name on it. I want to make a shoe that’s good for kids to skate in, and they can spend a decent amount of money on it, without worrying that it will blow up or fall apart on them. For $80 or £60, I will try and get triple layers on there so the toe pieces don’t get destroyed.

Over a couple of weeks, I’ll try and draw 5 or 6 different sketches, give it to the artist who’ll put it in the computer and clean up the lines. I don’t really deal with computers; I just do a lot of spread sheets and business stuff, not like graphic art stuff. I get it back from them, and then I’ll take what I like from there so everything flows right. Specify the materials, thickness of the sole, how soft it should be, the tread pattern.

I’ve always got the tongues that attach to the heel so you barely have to lace your shoes. This all goes to the factory, who then send us some samples. After about five rounds of this you eventually get the shoe that works! It takes a long time because they are working on 20 different models at the same time.

Plus, they are changing the line they sell every three months or so.

Between testing, sampling and getting your shoe in the mix, it takes a little while.

Ok, it looks like you guys are splitting – Any shout outs?

Thanks to Crossfire – What’s up to the whole Darkstar crew! Everyone on Globe,

Matt Hill for sending me out here. My wife Laurie. Annex Trucks crew, Gailea Momolu, Pierre-Luc Gagnon.

Everyone who supported me, I wouldn’t be here without the support of the kids. They buy Darkstar and Globe goods so our companies can grow and we can travel around the world. If it wasn’t for their support, we might still be skating, but we wouldn’t be able to travel and visit the kids. It’s thanks to them that we are here today.

Andrew Reynolds interview

By Ralph Lloyd-Davis

When Crossfire was asked to premiere the Emerica video “This Is Skateboarding” Ralph LD managed to get some time with Andrew Reynolds in between band soundchecks whilst the rest of the Emerica Team all fell asleep exhausted by their World Tour.

What were the first and last tricks filmed for this video?

The last? See, I wouldn’t know the first because I had some stuff laying around and though I could use it for my Emerica part. The last was a line filmed at a school, probably a couple of months ago. I knew that that was the last because I have new clothes. (laughs)

Do you know how many countries were visited whilst filming for the video because it seems like travelling is pretty important in the making of videos nowadays?

We went to Barcelona, Australia, France. I don’t know, I don’t really keep track of where we go. We’ve probably been to five or six places, maybe a lot. Sometimes nobody got anything done at one place.

Is that a disappointment, to go somewhere and not manage to get any footage?

No. I just try and let it happen. I don’t get disappointed if I don’t get things.

Did you have a favourite spot you visited?

Umm. I don’t know. I just like everywhere. I like places that I’ve never been before. Those are my favourite places and they’re all over the place. It’s hard to say because I like everywhere.

Isn’t it more of a hassle, trying to skate in the States nowadays?

No, we skate lots of places. We just set up lights, skate schools on the weekend. With some spots you only get the chance to skate at night, so it’s like ‘Fuck it!’, let’s get it done, put the lights up and it’s the same as during the day.

Did you find it hard to distinguish between footage for ‘This is Skateboarding’, and ‘Baker 3G’?

There’s no Baker video right now, so everything I had went towards ‘This is Skateboarding’. I’ll start right now the clean slate for’Baker 3G’. You see, I thought about holding back on footage but then I guessed I didn’t want to look like a chump. (laughs)

Do you have a trick in your part that you are most proud of, or was the most difficult to do?

Maybe it’s not the most difficult, but to me what looks the best is this one line where I do a switch backside shifty down a set of stairs, and it’s my favourite. To other people it may look like nothing, but to me, I like it. It wasn’t much effort, it was easy, but it looks like something I’d like to see. Then there’s other stuff I hear people cheer about and I’m like ‘why don’t people like this?’, I don’t know.

With the title being ‘This is Skateboarding’, what would you say ‘is Skateboarding’ for you?

Just going out in the streets and finding spots, being with your friends, filming and making video parts. Doing all that stuff.

Do you have a dream session?

I don’t really have a dream session. I skated a mini ramp the other day with some kids from my team, Spanky, Bryan Herman and Brayden, the team manager of Emerica, Justin Reagan. That was like the funnest session I can think of.

If you were sent to a desert island and you were only allowed to take one book, one CD and one object, what would you take?

Well, it’s got to be a double CD! (laughs) I’d bring the ‘Big’ book, Hanoi Rocks ‘Decadent and Dangerous’ double CD, and an object? I’d bring my board!

In ‘On video’ there was an article on the Emerica mansion. Was that whole idea beneficial towards the making of this video?

Yeah because we got to be in a house with Jon Miner and work on our parts together, just the whole team could get together and talk about how we wanted it to look- Just being around one another when it was all coming together. Some people were settled down elsewhere in the State (of California), but the majority of us got together. You could wake up, knock on Miner’s door and then go film. It was pretty easy.

What’s your favourite of all the videos you’ve seen?

Baker 2G.

And which video are you anticipating?

Baker 3. I just think everyone on the Baker team, besides myself because I don’t really care what I do, but everybody else on the team are my favourite skaters, so that’s the one I really want to see.

Do you know why all the Emerica adverts are green? Is there a subversive message in the choice of colour?

Maybe. I think it’s because when you see an old New Deal ad, it’s all yellow, so you associate that colour with that company. I don’t know.

When the Emerica DVD comes out, is it likely to have a lot of bonus footage?

Oh yeah! A whole bunch of stuff! I’m sure the DVD will have footage people didn’t want to use, and there will probably be a little section about this whole tour, the premieres. Hopefully, a bunch of cool stuff.