I was standing at a bar in London’s Waterloo district one night in 2005 and a guy rocks up next to me and we say hello. His name was Zarosh, he is alone shredding London and he’s thirsty. We strike up a good conversation, I buy him a cold beer, we talk skateboards and the rest is history.
It’s safe to say that Zarosh is one of the good guys, intrigued by the history and roots of where skateboarding has come from and always ready to push it forward in his own unique way.
Jonathan Hay also turned up in London and a similar experience happened, usual skateboard stuff, you can’t beat it. Between the pair of us, we managed to get words together for this interview alongside Jon’s fantastic photography in various US locations. – Zac.
Let’s start with some quikfires to get this warmed up. What’s the range of Zarosh?
uhh, starts with a Z.
Bones, Indy, Death and Dekline foo.
Look under “platipuss”.
Other possible sitings?
I have fake teeth. Bad thoughts are dangerous.
I’m half way there i think. I’m supposed to hate myself when i get older.
Number of mates in lifespan?
I recommend celibacy.
I have a condom sponsor, for real. Bravo condoms.
Top speeds while in chase?
I can’t outrun sketchy dudes chasing me.
Active all year or is there a stage of hibernating?
I want to fly south for the winter.
Concrete (three shovels of Portland per one bag of quikrete).
OK, you warm?
Yeah, let’s go…
If your legs were gnawed off by a grizzly, what activity would you take up instead of skating?
Climbing trees? I guess I wouldn’t be 100% Skateboarder any more, then maybe I could be part surfer.
How’s it going Pro in the UK? Are you more known in the US or in England?
The UK is rad. I did turn pro for a UK company, but I am their US ambassador, right? I chose Death Skateboards because they’re the Death team, and it’s something tangible. I don’t think i’m a good judge of me being known. Am I known in Japan? I have a lot of friends in San Diego and all over too, and that is one of the tightest things about skating.
Why did you chose a bleeding broken heart on your pro model?
Dude, that graphic is so sick. When i got back from India i saw it at Zorlac’s house and we chose it right there. I think it symbolizes something different for each person.
Now you are part of the Death family, is there a particular rider on the team that you like to watch skate the most?
Yes, the Death family. Isn’t it rad that people wanting to watch other people skate is how this whole game works? I’m stoked on a lot of those guys, Boots, Horsey, Steak. I just saw the ‘Better Than Life‘ vid recently – the Andy Scott section is a pleasure and Benson skating Livi is inspiring. I enjoy that whole video, Everyone here’s hyped on it. I’d like to record the music to a tape, start to finish. That would be sick.
What is Better than Life?
Dying is better than life, but, to tell you the truth, skating and meditating. But skating makes you actually feel alive. Meditation actually takes you outside of life. I’d be lost without the two. I think I found myself. Skating is my connection to the world.
How many attempts did it take to nail that massive acid drop in the Death advert?
Uhh, I think I tried it 8 times. My friends made me stop.
Many people online mentioned it was staged, do you want to take the finger out of your fuck off pocket for them now in this interview?
Rad, come to Baldy, I’ll do it again for you. That one was for me. Sometimes I want to skate so bad and the pipe was full of water, so…Did I mention we had a g-bag? Hightower I am the wallride or something.
Did you have an obsession with rooftops as a kid?
I always wanted to see how far you could take it. But yeah, I remember playing on the roof, then my Dad or Mom would come home and i would have to jump off. It was fun and there was some adrenaline there. Maybe.
When people go for a curb session, do you feel inadequate due to your roof top and gap history?
I’m always down for curbs. Over here in Monterey there was an unspoken ledge height rule. So curbs got left out.
US skate scene vs UK? Differences?
I think it’s so rad that there’s still parks from the 70’s out there in the UK. and all those brick trannies are super inspiring, how the littlest random spot can be so fun to skate and Saffron Walden is just as sick as some of those other Northwest parks. The US has a lot of different scenes. San Diego is so rad to skate, always pools, one of the most solid bridge spots. So much concrete, in fact you could grind through a truck in a weekend there!
You must have over 100 decks you’ve ridden and also made custom grip tapes for. How did that habit form?
I don’t know how it formed, but the skateboard is such the raddest thing. have you ever had an old Santa Cruz or H-Street board? The top passes? I used to fall in love when i got one of those, so i guess i’d have to do it justice when i did the griptape. I couldn’t imagine skateboarding without creativity. over the years i’ve spent a lot of time on my boards, so i end up keeping them and they cover most of the walls at my dad’s house.
Lots of healthy food.
What gets you fired up to jump off high shit? Any tips for aspiring stunt clones how to jump off tall buildings without breaking bones.
Just the idea of something being possible.If it’s there, if i can see the landing without it getting blurry then i want to try it. My advice to anybody out there is learn how to fall and you should love to slam. It’s half of skateboarding. But if you learn how to roll, i think you will survive a lot longer and listen to your mother, she’s always right. Your grandmother probably knows too.
Who do you have most fun skating with?
Neil fucking Heddings. Nobody can grab their board like that and he’s cool to everybody. I’m glad you’re out buddy.
Where’s the most interesting place you’ve ever visited?
I’d have to say where my family lives in Bombay, India. Absolutely everything was different, beautiful and full of culture. The smell, the heat, the constant sounds and music, i’m having a hard time finding somewhere else that i want to go to. I really hope to visit Japan, Maru? i like you.
Have you been building anything to skate lately?
Yes, i have, thank you for asking. It is very fun to find a home for all the stray parking blocks. There is a need to have concrete in the hills of California. It’s going to be tight. maybe you have a photo of it. Dekline and Death cut me cheques and i buy concrete and food. Skaters come to help stack dirt and sling mud, and sometimes i give them things from boxes that people send me.
What’s your take on the Don’t Do It campaign. Do you think mega sporting companies moving into skateboarding is helping skating or hurting it?
Dude, oh my god. I’m kind of shocked that the whole of skateboarding isn’t backing this. I feel it is a worthy battle to stand up and fight for. When i see someone taking a stand, i want to back them up, because i know what it’s like, people try to knock you down. You’ve got to remember, it’s not these big companies that make skateboarding happen, flying people first class and wining and dining? It’s the skaters, who let you stay at their homes when you’re in town, the people who are building skate scenes without even thinking about money. I’m not interested in taking jabs at people, but to let people know you can make a difference. we can make a change. we can keep skateboarding in our hands.
Ghandi led a revolution by walking, fasting, and speaking the truth, and it worked. I make a concious decision with who i ride for, and we all make concious decisions with what we buy. I don’t mind that people skate in Nikes, that’s fine, but skateboarders need to stick together. When the shit hits the fan and all these mega companies pull some lame shit, i’ll be right here doing the same thing, saving change to buy a bag of concrete. I’m going to come out and say, i don’t think that Nike gives a fuck about skateboarding. Where were they when Washington St. was under construction and there was no money? I really doubt they care, but you know what? I do. I care. And I don’t need g’s to keep me skating. It’s a heavy hit when a skateshop goes under, but skateboarding belongs to skateboarders, don’t give it up to the dark side, or pink side. Don’t fucking do it.
Is punk rock an asset in your life?
I’ve never ever called myself punk rock. I really like living free and not caring. I just like to be myself, I dont want to fit in with other people. If you have to try then it’s not real. As long as you’re being yourself, that’s real punk rock. As far as the music, there’s punk rock on every mix tape. I’m down for people standing up for what they believe. As long as you’re trying to make a change, then I think you already are.