chrome ball interview #6: tony ferguson

chrome ball sits down with tony rone for conversation.

Alright, so how many people in 2010 still come up to you and start rapping “You to the camera...Yeah, I’m just an amateur”?

Yeah, it still happens now and then... not like back in the day though. I remember being on tour after that video and kids would be rapping it to me. I hated it.

Standard intro questions: how’d you first start skating and what was your first board? Favorite pro growing up?

I first started skating after seeing ”Back to the Future”. I remember my brother and I stole our neighbor’s board out of his garage. My first real set-up was a Lance Mountain with Indys and Rat Bones but growing up, my favorite pros were the Gonz and Tommy Guerrero

Now you’re known as a Vancouver head but you're originally from Ottawa… when did you move? And how did you hook up sponsors from up there back in the day? I know you got on the Real squad super early…

Actually, I was at this skate camp in Boston and met Tommy Guerrero and Sal Barbier. When I got home, I got a call from Tommy asking me if I wanted to ride for this new company they were starting called “Real”. I was so stoked. The next year my family moved out to Vancouver.

I was always kinda cloudy on this one… were you actually in the Red Dragons or just friends with those dudes?

No, we were all just friends. Everyone skated together but I was never really down for the whole Red Dragon FSU thing… smashing windows and breaking shit.

That crew definitely didn’t fuck around back then… who repped RDS the hardest?

This guy TEEN who pretty much started the Red Dragons. He was the craziest back then. He’s currently incarcerated.

Can you believe that the group of kids you came up transformed their crew into such a large brand that’s still quite popular in Canada? I wasn’t aware of this but I’ve heard the RDS brand has crossed over into some questionable demographics over the years… thoughts?

Yeah, it’s cool they turned the crew into a brand and ran with it. I’m sure it’s the same thing that has happened with a lot of brands once skating hit the mainstream and everyone wanted to look like a skater and wear the gear. It’s probably a good thing for those guys they crossed-over into more of the mainstream market.

Craziest story from back in the day?

There are so many crazy stories but I remember one time after this contest had just finished, like 50 kids walking toward this 7-11 yelling, “SEVVIE RAID! SEVVIE RAID!”

Basically the whole contest ran in this 7-11 where there was only one guy working and raided it. Taking racks of chips, drinks, bus passes, lottery tickets, cigarettes, everything! It was fucking crazy!

I remember there was that kinda random Canadian cross-country article in Transworld in '91 or so that Spike shot… you with the backside lip in some Airwalk lo’s. How’d that go down? Was that your first coverage?

Yeah that was my first photo ever. I was stoked! Spike and Kevin Wilkins came to Ottawa and hooked up with us at our local shop and we just skated around with them. I remember meeting Spike years later and talking about that trip… so funny.

How’d you first meet Rickoo? And which prank of his stands out over the years as resulting in the greatest bodily harm for you?

I first met Rick skating downtown in Vancouver when I first moved there. Somehow I have being able to avoid his pranks over the years, maybe a latte or sandwich in the face from time to time but no big deal.

How were those early trips to Frisco? That city was the undisputed capital of the skateboarding universe back then…. was it all that you imagined?

SF was amazing back then. Skating EMB everyday… it was such a sick period in skating. Tricks were being invented daily. There were so many good dudes all skating together. I never really got vibed, I guess cause I was always skating with the Real dudes. I remember everyone being really cool down there.

EMB was the Mecca and people came from all over the world to skate there. That could definitely never go down like that again. You can barely street skate in a major city nowadays.

How were you approached to skate for Plan B? Definitely the elite squad at the time… how much pressure was there joining the team that people had essentially dubbed “the new Bones Brigade”?

I was at EMB and had met Tim Gavin and Guy Mariano. They were trying to get me on Blind at the time. I remember I was tripping and didn’t know what to do. Rick Howard was there too and he told me to just chill. A few weeks later, Rick got me on Plan B.

How were your dealings with Mike Ternasky?

Mike was cool, I would go down to San Diego and stay at his house and film. He definitely took skate videos to the next level. He pushed you to push yourself and progress.

The World Park is viewed by outsiders as this boiling pot of progression and anarchy. How much of that is legend? Did you get the chance to skate there much? In your opinion, who had it dialed the best?

Yeah, that place was crazy! I skated there a lot when I was in LA. It was the park and one room with a bunch of bunk beds. Dudes just stayed there and skated all day and night. That place was disgusting by the end.

I remember Guy just killing that place and not filming any of it.

How was filming for Virtual Reality? Were you happy with your part?

I can’t really remember how long but I didn’t have that much time because I came on later. We probably filmed for about 4 or 5 months back then, that was it. It was a lot easier to film for a video in those days.

It’s always like you could have done more or had more time but I guess I was happy with my part… I was happy just to be involved in that video with all those guys.

Was the rest of the team already burned out at this point and ready to quit?

I don’t think anyone was burnt out on skating or filming at that time, I remember everyone stoked to film and push each other.

Were you aware of the tension among the riders right away? When was the first time you heard about the plan to leave? Was there any hesitation on your part about leaving?

Well, I was staying with Rick and Megan back then so I knew from the very beginning that they were unhappy and wanted to do their own thing. There was absolutely no hesitation for me. Rick was the one who put me on and I was stoked to be part of the new company.

That’s easily the most shocking business-type moment that I can recall in skateboarding... did that add to the excitement of it all? I mean, you guys essentially clobbered the gnarliest dude (Rocco) in one stroke…

We were all just so stoked to be a part of Girl and do it our way. It’s crazy actually thinking back on how it went down, Rick was only like 20 or 21 when he put everything together and pulled it off.

What was the overall Girl feeling towards Bitch? Those dick decks were pretty funny...

I don’t think anyone really cared. It was a joke and everyone knew it wouldn’t last.

Talk about those early days of Girl. Wasn’t Spike packing boxes in the warehouse back then? You guys were all so young for such a huge undertaking...

In the beginning, Girl was out of XLarge’s warehouse. It was pretty small… just a few racks of boards and tees. I think they just let it grow organically and figured it out as it came. Megan had the most experience and definitely held it together.

Now what about Goldfish? Granted filming for that video was probably already much easier for you with your intro part already under your belt… but overall, was it just a better vibe?

I was living in LA with Eric around that time. It was a totally different vibe... way more fun and natural. We just all would skate together everyday and film. Good times.

Pros and cons of living with Chico Brenes?

It was fun living with Cheeks, just hanging, skating and everything… but he would always have a bud from Puerto Rico, Nicaragua or Brazil staying on the couch. There always someone staying at our place... it kinda turned into a skate house at the end.

Craziest experience involving one Mr. Sean Sheffey?

There are so many but this one time I remember there was some sort of altercation and these guys tried to hit us with their car. We jumped out of the way and Sean walks up and pulls the driver out of the car and starts to hit him while the passenger jumps out and starts fighting Sean too. The other guy had really long straight hair and I remember Sheff grabbing the dude’s hair and swinging the guy around from his hair and throwing him around like a ragdoll. It was insane!

Always wondered this and maybe you can shed some light on it… why no full-length Jovontae Girl part? Was always so damn frustrating... Would he even go on tours with you guys?

Yeah, he would go on tours in the beginning but he basically didn’t skate that much. He wouldn’t skate for long periods of time and then just jump on his board and rip and look great doing it. He was definitely a natural. One of my favorites, for sure.

You were amateur for quite some time… any other teams have the nuts to try and steal you back then? And what was it that finally got you a board on Girl? Seems like you, Jeron and especially Mulder were ams for quite some time…

I don’t think anyone even thought about quitting back then...everyone was really good friends. It really was like family.

Girl started in ‘93, I think I went pro in 95. Not sure what sealed the deal... just putting out video parts, skating and paying dues I guess.

Gino mentioned the necessity of a few drinks while “acting” for the Chocolate Tour video… how was your experience taking on the role of Officer Randall?

It was sick! I really enjoyed doing those skits. Spike would be directing us and make it super fun. There was definitely a little pressure to get it right with Spike and his whole crew rolling film, but it was a blast.

Your Yeah Right part was definitely a banger… and you retired shortly there after. Was there a conscious decision during filming the part that it would be your swan song and to go out with a bang? What led to your decision to give up your board?

No, that wasn’t really the plan. If I had known it was going to be my last, I would have tried to have more footage and a better part. After the video, it just came up and I was starting a distribution with Alife at the time… it just seemed like it was time. I think Girl wanted to put on some new blood and it made sense.

I essentially asked Huf the same thing regarding DLX… Girl is one of those gold standard companies in the industry and you’ve been down since the beginning. How do you think Girl has managed to stay on top of the game for so long, throughout all the changes in skating. Granted the team is full of legends that have essentially defined skateboarding for the last two decades but on the flipside of that, the average skateboarder is like 15 years-old…

I think the reason why they have been so successful for so long is because it’s natural. They do it their own way. They don’t try to change too much or follow trends, they just stay true to what they are. There is definitely an age gap now but they are so involved in skating and the culture that I really don’t think it matters.

I think kids realize Girl is OG and respect it.

Well said. Now I always saw you as one of the most underrated skaters back in the day, especially on such a fully-stocked team as Girl… dude, it seemed like you could backside flip into any damn thing you wanted… who’s a skater you feel didn’t get the shine they deserved?


So how’d get in with your current gig with Alife? I saw that Vision Street Wear homage over there… super good.

I had an opportunity to get involved with the company and thought the brand had a lot of potential. It was something really new for me at the time and has been a good learning experience.

We’ll take classic silhouettes and do our own interpretation of them with the colors and materials. The Vision shoe was just kinda paying homage to that era and the guys that I remember rocking it back then, like Gonz and Ray Barbee.

Top 5 favorite skate shoes of All-Time?

Nike- Air Jordan 1’s
Vans- Halfcabs
Airwalk –Enigmas
Lakai- Staples
Alife- Everybody lows

The New Spot or EMB? Group Home’s “So Called Friends” or Souls of Mischief’s self-titled demo cut?

New Spot and Group Home.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to thank everyone who helped or supported me over the years, it was a great ride!

Special thanks to tony and keith chan.


Robert said...

Amazing interview, skated with Tony when he lived in Ottawa. Think about his back lip every time I drive by that gas station.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. So good.

Anonymous said...

ya tone is good ish......smooth and stylee the way skateboard should be.

Anonymous said...

Fergy had my favorite part in virtual reality, I absolutely loved it. And for his yeah right part being his last part I thought it was perfect, I remember seeing it in northern california after my friends had seen it a week earlier in L.A. and they were talking about Koston afterward, (how could they not, right?), but I got outta the premier and called them and I remember saying, "Ferguson threw it down!" He did, I mean the sw/flip back tail on those dental ledges. He had a rad part, just looked fun. Major Props.

some poser said...


chops said...

thanks for the comments, fellas.

ian, thanks man... but not just yet.

Keith said...

Can't believe that vsw shirt pic didn't make it in.

Well done E.

Ottawa has pumped out a solid crop of skaters.

Anonymous said...

Wow. definitely a good one. Girl definitely isn't the same without guys like him. Just can't get behind the mike mo, malto, cory kennedy scene. skateboarding has changed

Gabe said...

This is weird..I was just looking him up on YouTube yesterday. Great job, Always loved Tony's smooth style..

dedleg said...

Wow, amazing interview. You manage to get some very interesting stories and answers out of these guys - great work.

Loo Ganida said...

Lovin the interviews.
This is one of the few
sites I visit daily
that doesn't disappoint!

Anonymous said...

Great interview, dude is way underrated.

Can you add this part to the mix?


His section from Port Moody Blues, always thought it had great flow and he looks really relaxed just skating Vancouver spots.

Thanks! Keep the goods coming!

chops said...

alright... i forgot a gang of shit on this one. Added TFerg's 2 North parts (one link, one embedded) into the mix as well.

Thanks for all the compliments guys.

Special thanks to Tony again for doing this.

Apologies to Keith.


Anonymous said...

Stellar! Another great interview. Really look forward to these.
Any chance of a Jovontae interview? Just a thought.