Exposed: Chris ‘Rhino’ Rooney

We first met Rhino in Marseille at the Prado Bowl a few years back. We sank some beers, skated, laughed a lot, shot the shit, sank some more beers and got on like a house on fire – the rest is history. Fact is, Rhino here is one of the best in the business. He has time for people and with that, he also takes a pretty fucking good set of skate snaps because he is trusted. It was only natural that he shared some of his tales and pics from over the years on here so sit back and take it in from this month’s Exposed feature.

You‘ve been on the road for Thrasher now for what seems like a lifetime, how do you juggle snapping pics and life outside of skating?

Shooting photos pretty much takes up most of my time, usually shooting around San Diego, driving up to LA and also traveling. Basically just have to try and make some time for my personal life or else skateboarding just takes over.

Where’s was your latest trip?

King Of The Road 2013 just ended, I was with the Real Team and we got 2nd place. It was a fun trip, and it never matters what place you get, it’s always rad to be involved with it. The web videos should be out soon on Thrasher as well as the magazine articles.

What jams go down on your road trips these days?

A bit of Slayer, some High On Fire, Devo, Motorhead and Classic Rock stations on the radio.

What are your preferred rigs to shoot on at the moment?

A Nikon D3 camera, a Nikon D7000 for video and still back up and a Leica digital point and shoot for candid party and blog shots.

Do you shoot any film anymore?

No, I shot film for a while and it was rad but digital just took over. I sold my Hasselblad about 4 years ago and that was the last of my film cameras. Kind of wish I still had it but didn’t want it to sit around and get fucked up. I do miss shooting film but the convenience of shooting digital is really nice. No more anxiety going to pick up film and hoping you got the trick.

If there was a story to pull from the archives on the road what would it be?

King of the Road 2010 with Nike. 3 days left our van got stolen at the hotel in Arizona with just about everything in it. The book, lights, generator, skateboards, everything except camera gear and some backpacks that were in the hotel. Thought we were done, last place, humiliation, not even the KOTR book with all out tricks marked off. Then 2 hours later, the police found the van about ½ mile away. They stole a lot of stuff that was in the van, but not the book. We were back up and running and ended up winning that year.


What was the toughest photo you shot over the years?

Believe it or not it was a photo of Chet Childress slash grinding a concrete not made to skate transition. (above) It had about 3 feet transition and 3 feet of vert. Really steep, downhill run up, large crack at the bottom, he had to swerve in to hit it. The hardest part was the timing on a slash grind. You never really shoot slash grinds and he was only on there for a split second and it was at night. We had to keep looking at the video camera to see where the flash was because we were shooting film. So he ended up having to try it over and over again.


What was the toughest injury from a photo-shoot over the years?

A texas pipe trip with Chet Childress, Adam Alfaro and a few others when he got on Nike. Grant Shubert was the filmer with us. We drove 4 hours from Austin to skate a full pipe that we have been wanting to hit for a few years. Trespassing on Federal property, we had to raft in with all our equipment, concrete, beers, water, everything. Long story short, after shooting one photo of Adam Alfaro, Grant (filmer) wanted to get a few runs in. I went down to the edge to grab a beer and just heard a loud scream. Walked back up into the pipe and he broke his kneecap in 4 places. We had to pack up and start rafting everything back across, then manage to get him in the raft while he was in some serious pain. Four hour drive back to Austin and to the hospital, then Grant had to fly back to Los Angeles a few days later for surgery.


Come on then, Expose your ten…

1. Duane Peters, Chickens Pool.

1 Duane-Peters_photo_by_rhino

Duane showed up for a Z-Flex reunion interview session at the Chickens house. Sounded like he hasn’t skated in a few weeks because of injuries. He was the first to pad up and go to the pool. Eyeing up an acid drop off the hip for sure.

2. Aaron Homoki, kickflip melon.


Jaws skated 2 other big things that day for a few hours, then all of a sudden he says he wanted to go to this gap. After about 6 attempts he landed this kickflip melon. His legs are built differently than most humans.

3. Al Partanen, front feeble.


The chick who lives at this pool sucks. She found out that she can get money off skaters to skate the pool, which is fine, but it supports her drug habit and she always comes up with stories about getting robbed, beaten, raped, etc… to try and get more money. Anyways, sometimes you got to pay to play.

4. Div Adam, alley oop backside air, Washington St Park.


Div is a maniac and killed this park all the time. This day he smashed his nose with his board frustrated skating a ditch. Then took it out on Washington St. Blasting big alley oop airs on the big wall. He is back in Scotland for a while and the sessions just aren’t the same under the bridge without him.

5. Peter Hewitt – Boneless.


This pool is about 2 hours outside of San Diego on the way to Arizona. The house is abandoned and it used to be used for smuggling drugs using airplanes across the border of Mexico in the 70’s. The pool is huge and a lot of the walls are different and transitions are steep. This one pocket is really mellow with a love seat. I bet the parties that went down here back in the day were off the charts!

6. Ben Raybourn, boardlside.


We found this rail while driving through Poland on a Bones trip. Ben jumped on it right away and got a board slide on it within 10 tries. The filmer didn’t have his camera set up and asked him to do another. Somehow he couldn’t make it again, then it started raining out. Photo no footage, that’s how it goes sometimes.

7. Pedro Barros, stale fish in Portugal.


This park is at the Quiksilver shop on the coast outside of Lisbon. Just got Pedro hyped up and watch him fly. He did a handful of tricks this high around the corner.

8. Willy Akers, Pivot fakie.


This weird drainage wash is not easy to skate. Really rough run up, ollie up and then a really elliptical transition where your nose scrapes on the way up and tail on the way down. Willy said he just learned pivot fakie’s recently and wanted to do one there.

9. Nyjah Huston, switch lipslide.


Nyjah’s first time to this rail and he did about 15 tricks just warming up. He is on a different level. Then he started hitting this switch and knocked out about 5 tricks. Spot killer for sure.

10. Omar Hassan, judo air.


This pool was really good. This dude Mike rented it out and decided to drain the pool to skate it. He pissed the owners off by doing so and got an eviction notice. So in the meantime sessions were on. Always a cooler full of Tecate’s, Slayer and lights if sessions were going into the nighttime. It had a good run, lasted about 2 months and it was over.

If you want more from Rhino read this article from back in 2006. Yep, it’s been a while. Look out for him out there on your travels and if you see him, buy him a cold beer.