5.21.2017

chrome ball interview #101: eric koston

Chops and Frosty sit down for conversation.


With a career full of legendary NBDs at classic spots: switch 3 flipping the 7, fakie treing MACBA, back noseblunt down Hubba, the list goes on and on… is there one of these more notorious clips that you take a bit more pride in having done?

I’d probably have to say the back noseblunt down Hubba. That one seemed like a pretty big deal. Because by the time I did it, that spot had pretty much been merked. And honestly, that trick just kinda happened.

We were on a Girl trip to Vancouver for a contest and just happened to stop by there on the way up. I remember all of us thinking to ourselves on the way there, “What are we even going to do with this place? What’s even left? How are you going to reinvent Hubba?”

You always want to come up with something different at a spot but there was already such a rich history there… but you weren’t seeing a lot of back noseblunts at the time. So I started thinking about that but still wasn’t sure. Hubba’s pretty high and I didn’t know if I’d be able to get up on that thing.

So we get there and I’m looking at it. I’m still not confident that I can get through it all but I start posing a few. After a few tries, it started making more sense and just ended up working out.

But yeah, that’s probably the one for me.


Wasn’t Meza baiting you about it the entire way up in the van?

Yeah, that’s another thing, it actually started as a joke! He was just fucking around with me but it did plant the seed.

Alright, I’ll poke some out there and see what happens.

I’m hyped to hear you say this one because I’d always heard you didn’t really like it. That you felt you didn’t slide far enough.

There was maybe a little bit of that at first… but shit, I’ll take it.

The thing is that it’s so high, you have to go real fast in order to get out to where it’s a little lower. I didn’t feel like I slid very far but it’s only so long anyway. It’s really just a six-stair but I doubt I could’ve slid much further. Maybe a couple inches more, at best.


So many of these landmark spots are no longer there. Was there a trick you’d thought about trying at one of them or even had tried before but couldn’t get and now the spot is gone?

I mean, there’s a lot of those. You’re always thinking about stuff or planning to come back. And it doesn’t have to be some monumental spot, it could just be a trick on some ordinary ledge that I want to do. But I’m not going to sit here and claim going-to’s!

“Damn, you don’t even know what I was going to down the Love Gap!” (laughs)

I’m not gonna brag about an idea of what could’ve happened.

(laughs) Right, but take Carlsbad, for example. You threw all kinds of shit down the little gap but I don’t ever remember you having any clips down the big one. And now it’s gone.

Nah, I never messed with the big Carlsbad gap.

Why not?

That’s a good question. I don’t really know… maybe because even back in my heyday of hucking myself down gaps, I still didn’t like that one. It’s really long and has an uphill landing. It’s just not favorable, man. Hot pockets and lots of bad.

The thing is that you have to be going top speed in order to get a trick down it. You gotta be pumped up to even be giving it a go. Maybe if I lived near it, I could stop by whenever I was feeling sparked and wing something. But I never wanted to brave the traffic from LA to Carlsbad to, more than likely, come home empty-handed. I didn’t want that kind of pressure.

“Alright, well, I’m going to go down to Carlsbad and try this trick.”

Greco used to do that and it drove him crazy. I’d always hear him vent about it. Sitting in traffic, thinking about that trick, hoping this trip wasn’t for nothing. It would basically consume him… it stressed me out just hearing about it. It was just too far. I didn’t want to put myself in that type of position.


What would you say are your favorite and least favorite video parts?

I wasn’t into my Next part for the longest time.

It’s complicated because looking back on it now, it’s pretty sick because it’s so well-rounded. I love that I seriously skate everything in that part. But I’ve always felt the problem with that part was the timing of it, because right after that is when everything became so technical and focused on street. I remember thinking not too long after it came out that maybe there was too much mini-ramp stuff in there. And, of course, there’s some god awful late flip stuff in there, too. That stuff’s terrible and will always be terrible. Even though everyone was doing it at the time, it’s still embarrassing. It was such a quick moment when all that was popular and then it was gone… but that part lives on forever. So yeah, I was pretty ashamed of that one for a while.

It’s funny, though, because all the stuff that I used to hate about it are now the reasons why I think it’s so sick. It’s like having a little souvenir from that era. It’s like bad footage that’s sick!

It probably helps that I’m older now, too.


No offense but I figured you’d say Right to Skate.  

That’s a weird part because I didn’t even really want to do that one, which is funny. But yeah, I was a little embarrassed of that one, too. Not because of the actual video but more because it was Union Wheels. Sorry, Metiver, but I remember being almost ashamed while I was filming for it and it hadn’t even come out yet. But I ended up getting some footage together for it and figured that I might as well. Sure.

But honestly, when the video came out, it was actually pretty okay. It’s not like it was some amazing production but there was some decent skating in it.

Markovich’s part was incredible!

Oh, so gnarly! And that’s what I mean, it ended up being something pretty cool! I was hyped! Like, “Dude, I’m kinda stoked! I’m actually glad to be part of this!” (laughs)

Favorite part?

That’s hard because while Yeah Right! is definitely a favorite, I don’t want to disregard Menikmati and all of Fred’s work during that time. Same thing with Chomp. I love that one, too. There was a lot that went into those. We’re talking about years and years of work, back when you could do that. There was a lot of travel and a lot of good times had making those things.

Honestly, that whole time period almost seems like one part for me… which would easily be my favorite. I know it’s kinda cheating for an answer but that’s how it is in my mind, if that makes sense.


What would you say is the biggest regret of your career?

Not taking any energy drink sponsors! (laughs)

Not really but those do sting, I’m not gonna lie. And I’ve turned down them all! I’ve walked away from a lot of cash… not that I’m saying, “Oh, poor me!” but there’s definitely a part of me that starts to think, “Goddamn, those dudes are getting paid! But fuck, I don’t want to wear that logo on my head!”

I could’ve put away some real cash had I said yes but I’m okay with that. I’m definitely not losing sleep over that shit but it is pretty funny to think about

Honestly, my biggest regret came and went pretty fast so this is more in hindsight but I’d say Quatro Wheels.

I forgot about that one!

Straight up, dude paid me a lot of money. It was like energy drinks for wheels! I couldn’t say no.

I mean, it had potential and I was semi-into it… just never fully into it. It never felt totally good. Part of me always felt like I was taking money. But, like I said, it came and went pretty quickly… Probably because I busted their budget getting paid all of that money! I probably killed the company! (laughs)


(laughs) But has there ever been a time where you found it hard being “Eric Koston”? That you’d proven yourself at such a level over the years where it became difficult being “Sparkles” at the session?

You mean as far as expectations running high? I’m not going to say that I’ve always handled it the best. Not always. There’s times that I do okay and then there’s times where I admittedly have a piss-poor attitude. Sometimes I can’t hide my emotions and have definitely been an asshole about things. That’s just being human, though. There are times where everybody just feels like, “Fuck this.”

When that shit happens at a demo somewhere, kids are gonna be like, “Koston’s a dick.” I’m sorry about that, but it happens. Your emotions get the best of you.  

But usually I’m having too much fun to really think about the weight of all that.


Is that where the dorking around comes from? As a way of dealing with expectations?

Sometimes but usually not. I just like dorking around because it’s fun. Those are fun tricks to do. I also think it’s an influence of the early street guys, like Lance, Mark Gonzales, John Lucero and Neil Blender. Those guys were my favorites when I started and I always loved watching them do their fuck-around tricks in contests and photos. That was always the stuff I wanted to learn. That little quirky trick that Blender did, probably as an afterthought… I’ve always gravitated towards that stuff.


Which feeds into the legend of the Fandangle. Was it shocking that so many fans weren’t in on the joke? I’ve met more than a few people that have sworn to seeing you make it.

I think I actually did it at Girl one day. We built a ledge in the warehouse and I think I might’ve done it in there. I feel like after the ad came out that I really tried it, just messing around. Nollie 180 switch crooks and stick your leg out… because if you get it in there with the right pinch of the crook, it can happen. I’m pretty sure I did it once.

Because there was that Tampa Pro right when the Fandangle was fresh. I’d taken a run and totally flailed but there was a hubba there and people started to do that “one more try” thing. So I figured I’d jump on one, basically as a joke… but somehow, I got into it first try and ended up grinding down the whole damn thing one-footed. The place went crazy!

“Holy shit, the Fandangle!”

So I just start playing it up at this point, total WWF-style. I’m posing the shit out of it but fuck it, I’ll throw my finger up this time for one more try. The crowd’s going nuts and I know full-well that I’m not going to make it. But yeah, I run back and try it again…. Same thing happens! Shit, I almost made this fucking thing! So I feel like maybe from there, I figured that I might actually try it again some other time.

Obviously the ad is a total bail. I’m doing a stand-up nosegrind on a round rail in the center of my truck. That’s totally not happening but the photo was just too good.

But what’s funny is that Fabrizio Santos and Bob started taking their legs off grinds not too long after that. I always wondered if that was my fault. (laughs)


Going back now, was it difficult being the “new blood” on H-Street when the team were already so large? Being El Gato’s guy and from the Valley didn’t exactly give you the most street cred at the time either.

That was definitely a scary time for me back then. Intimidating, for sure. The team was probably already too large and super gnarly… but at the same time, I was super stoked. H-Street was my dream sponsor back then! So yeah, it was a weird mixture of scared-to-death and total wet boner. I basically just channeled all that into learning as many tricks as I could.

But no, I never got vibed by anyone, which is kind of a miracle as Ternasky wasn’t always the best with introducing new dudes into the mix. But I was never aware of any vibes. Maybe people were bummed and I didn’t know but everyone seemed pretty welcoming.

You gotta think, I first got on when H-Street was fully pumping. The Plan B exodus wasn’t even a thing yet… not that I saw that coming at all. I was probably still too young and out of the loop.

Ternasky threw your name out as an OG option, right?

He did, which is crazy to me! I didn’t even know. He actually asked me about it afterwards at the Back to the Bay contest. I’d gone there to turn pro for H-Street when Ternasky hits me up beforehand, wanting me not to turn pro and ride for Plan B instead as an amateur! I was shocked!

He told me the whole plan that day. He wanted me to be an amateur along with Duffy… I didn’t even know who Pat Duffy was at the time! He hadn’t even brought in Ryan Fabry yet.


But I thought the riders voted against you?

All I know is what Ternasky told me. I know that he had brought me up to the guys and they weren’t that into it but he was still asking me anyway. That’s how MT was, man. Plan B was his deal and since he’s the guy, I’m not sure how much he even cared what those other guys had to say. That was Ternasky, dude.

But I was tripping. I had literally just driven hours to the contest with Eddie, the guy who had gotten me on H-Street to begin with. I just couldn’t do that to him. It sounded amazing but I couldn’t bail on Eddie and T-Mag at that point.

So did you go into Next as it being your big debut? Because they’ve already turned you pro at this point and the part itself is one of the longer sections in the video…

It’s a little hard to say because I definitely wanted to step it up after those guys left. I knew that I’d have a board coming out soon and that it was up to us to really make a go of it for H-Street so I’m sure there was a little of that.

But at the same time, I was just young and skating. It’s kind of like how I see Antonio Durao now. He’s not going out there thinking about anything, he’s just unleashing. He sees a spot and goes for it, in the most pure way. That’s where he’s at right now, which is kinda where I was back then. I was just lucky to be filming… I went out and filmed everything. Going out to see how many new tricks I could film in-front of that camera. That’s was it like.


How did 101 come about?

I think Berra planted that seed with Natas back when he rode for 101 briefly. I don’t even think we’d met yet but he’d seen me at a few NSA am contests and had told Natas to put me on.

Moving forward a few months after Next, I was still on H-Street but times were getting rough. Alf and I were out skating with Danny Way one day and I just remember Danny being like, “Dude, you guys gotta get on World or something. Let me call Rocco right now.”

You gotta remember, this is 1992… nobody really had cell phones yet. But Danny pulls out this giant Motorola brick and calls Rocco right there in front of us. We’re just standing there in disbelief.

A few seconds later…

“Rocco said Natas wants Eric to ride for 101.”

Woah! I couldn’t believe Natas even knew who I was, let alone wanting me to ride for his company. Oh fuck… let me think about this for a second. How serious of an offer is this? I mean, it’s literally just Danny standing there, talking on a brick phone. I’m not even on the line.

I didn’t make the move that day but after that, the thought was planted in my brain. 101 was going to be a big change but it became obvious that it was what I wanted to do.


Something that’s always driven my generation crazy: the noseslide nollie flip transfer sequence that ran in TWS. Was there ever footage of that? And was that a nollie front-foot flip?

Yeah, that was a nollie front-foot flip transfer but no, there was never footage of that. There wasn’t even a filmer there that day.

That wasn’t a shoot or anything. We were just skating that spot when Steve Sherman showed up with the Powell team to shoot some stuff. He just happened to be there as I was trying it and shot a sequence of the make. So yeah, I was pretty stoked.

How come you never filmed it?

I did, actually. I went back with Scott Sorenson to film it but I didn’t like how I did it so the footage never came out. It was pretty shitty and by that point, I was over it. I guess I just never got around to trying it again.


What are some of your personal favorite graphics from the 101 days?  

There’s so many good ones from back then. I feel like I had some of the gnarlier ones, too, with the crazy scenes… the one at the zoo where the monkey steals the security guard’s gun and shoots the kid? That’s insane. (laughs)

The hockey melee is a crazy one, too… or even theranover guy and his dog!

(laughs) That was a graphic they’d already had, they just put my name on it. That was my first 101 graphic.  I think that was McKee.

“You can use this one? It has a steamroller as the top graphic.”

“Okay, sure.”

They did that a lot back then. Draw a bunch of stuff and attach a name to it later. That one might’ve even been for someone else.

But my favorite 101 graphic is that full graffiti slick bottom by Slick. The photo of that 24-foot high mural with the Mickey Mouse Death? That one is so sick. Just a big ogre stepping on Mickey Mouse, wearing Mickey’s scalp on his head. I was hyped on that one.


My favorite part of yours: Falling Down. How did you go about putting together such a heavy part after having already made 3 parts prior in the last 12 months? That’s literally your fourth part in a year.

That’s just where I was at back then. This is back where I’d just go to different places and try tricks in front of the camera that I’d never done before. That was really it. Trick lists didn’t come into it until Menikmati.

It’s crazy to think about filming 4 parts so close together like that now but at the time, a year seemed like an eternity! Skating is all that I did! I didn’t have any other responsibilities at the time!

Video parts were a lot different back then, too. They weren’t these big productions yet. If footage wasn’t bro-cam then it was just random filmers… Adam McNatt’s homie or whoever. Natas had a camera that you borrowed and just gave to anybody to point at you. Schlossbach did step in towards the end of Falling Down which helped out a lot. He was more of a legit filmer. He’d come pick me up to film and had spots, too. But yeah, that just came from going out everyday for a few months. Probably around 3 months or so on that one.


Did you go to SF specifically for switch 360 flipping the 7?

Not at all. Again, it was basically just something going down and happening to have Natas’ camera.

Alf and I had gone up there to work on a Slap article with Lance Dawes. That’s all that was planned: skating SF, staying with Jordan Richter and Justin Girard and shooting some photos.

The switch tre just kinda happened. I’d originally gone over there just to look at it but as I got thinking, I figured I might as well try a few, just to see. So I winged a couple and it felt pretty good.

“Hey Lance, I know we’re shooting photos for this article but would you mind filming this instead?” (laughs)

Dawes was down, though. He didn’t care. It was pretty dark anyway, skateable but barely any light. Nobody was there. Let’s give this a shot.

It’s funny because somehow Jovontae turned up. He was driving by and saw someone skating so he pulled over. He saw it go down. I remember him coming up to me right after I landed it and making fun of my pants. (laughs)

I’d gone to Deluxe while I was there for some product. This was during the heyday of 40’s so I got some, which were like this weird slate blue color. They were a little slimmer-fitting for the time, but they were still probably huge. So yeah, I’m wearing them. I just switch tre’d the seven and I’m stoked. I’m rolling away.

“What’s up with them pants, blood? Shit’s hella tight.”

Totally brought down to Earth. That was EMB, dude. (laughs)


How many times did you guys try that Carlsbad spit take with the switch backside 180?

Oh man, that was Leigh Petersen! I didn’t even know he was doing that! He was making fun of that earlier 101 clip with McNatt or whatever but I had no idea! I was just trying to get the trick and hopefully have him film it. But we’re watching it afterwards and he’s literally spitting before every try until I finally land one!

How were you approached for Girl?

I was skating with Rick and Guy at the Robinsons-May spot in Beverly Hills when Rick brings it up out of the blue to us.

“Hey, we’re gonna start a company and we want you to ride for it. It’s called Girl.”

He ran down the whole team and everything.


Were you surprised at being asked? Because it’s come out that there were some potentially weird vibes there... I mean, several of these same guys denied you for Plan B not too long beforehand.

Honestly, I really wasn’t aware of any of that until way later… like years afterwards. It was definitely a little awkward to find out when I did, though. I don’t know if it would’ve ultimately made a difference with my joining Girl but it probably would’ve changed things on the day-to-day, for sure.

Were you feeling the same pains at 101 that the Plan B guys have spoken of? I remember you being very critical of Rocco after leaving.

Yeah, but I was more suspicious of Rocco, not really Natas.

We all knew what we were facing with Rocco, even going back to Mark’s situation with Blind. Everything was always 51% Rocco… or who knows how much more.

Rocco just always had money. Money to throw at us. Betting that we couldn’t do tricks. We’d always hustle him out of a quick $100 bucks because he didn’t care. Like that weird photo of me ollieing 10 boards? That was for a $100 bucks. It was like grocery money for us.

We never knew the real story but we didn’t trust him. We were young and living check-to-check and this guy’s got a pocket full of hundreds to throw? It’s easy to start presuming how he’s getting all this dough. We’re hearing all of these different things and who knows if it’s even true but we believed it. But if this dude is ripping us off, fuck it, let’s do this on our own.

None of us were really making anything over our minimums. And obviously Megan is the one plugged into sales. If she and Rick are saying that Rocco’s ripping us off, that just feeds into our already existing suspicions.

Not that we respected the situation back then. We were totally little shits. Breaking into the board closet to steal shit and sell it down at the beach. We weren’t exactly innocent in all this either.

The fact is that regardless of what the real truth is, it was easy to for us to leave. It would be awesome to talk to Rocco about all of this now. I’d love to know what the real truth is. I don’t even care at this point, it was so long ago. I do know, for his side, that he believes that he was in the right. That he doesn’t think he was ripping us off.


Was there any truth to the rumor that your early 411 Spotlight was originally supposed to be your part in Snuff?

I was never going to have a part in Snuff. I’m sure there was some lingering 101 footage that might’ve ended up in there but not much. Definitely not a whole part’s worth.

How was the Super Cock graphic born?

That was actually a belt buckle someone had found in a thrift store, we just knocked it off. “Cock” was my writer name back when I was out in the streets! It’s funny to think about but Cock really was my nickname for a long time. This is back when those dudes were out tagging, I remember thinking to myself, “Shit, I gotta think of a name!” (laughs)

“Cock” is what I came up with! Nobody’s out there drawing dicks! Yeah, while everybody else is out there doing their thing, I’m gonna draw this kinda limp dick and write “Cock” beside it just because it was the most offensive word for a dick that I could think of back then… seeing it on a wall like that was so harsh. (laughs)


You were easily the most productive rider out of Girl, coverage-wise. Were you ever tempted to ease up at times to possibly acquire more of a Gino or Guy-type of mystique?

(laughs) I know what you’re saying, though I never looked at those guys as to why I would feel that way. If anything, I’d feel like it was all a bit too much at times. Oh, here’s a cover. A few months later, here’s another cover… people are gonna be sick of seeing me! I gotta chill out because I’m even getting sick of me. So yeah, there were times where I consciously made the decision to not get coverage. To just go skate.

But skating was in the process of evolving into always having a filmer around. This just lent itself to that. I mean, if we’re all there and I’m doing something, we might as well document it, right? We just had to find the right balance.


What’s the best thing you ever saw Guy do that was never documented?

I was there when he switch tre’d the El Segundo double-set. He did it perfectly but Soc missed it. It was incredible, though. He whipped it out there, caught it perfect and was just flying. This was back in the Blind days.

I still remember Soc screaming, “Aw, I didn’t get it!”

Guy tried it a few more times but by then, he was over it.

I was there a few years later when he almost did switch tre’d the Santa Monica triple-set, too. He was catching it perfectly and I remember him sticking one, he just couldn’t roll away. I think it was just too hectic down there.

The thing with Guy, especially back then, is that he’d always end up being like, “Ehhh…” and then he was over it. It was always so crazy how he could just walk away from stuff.

“Alright, fuck it. Whatever… Maybe we’ll come back. We’ll be on the westside again, I’ll try it again some other time.”

I’d be losing my mind in the same position.

“Oh my God, I’m so close! I gotta get it!”

Not Guy… just an “Eh.” (laughs)


Were you aware of what Guy was coming through with for his Mouse part at the time? Because even though you won SOTY that year, I’ve always felt that part of yours was underrated, largely because of Guy’s inclusion.

Yeah, but Guy’s part was crazy!

I was there for a lot of it but he was also solo sessioning it pretty hard with Tim Dowling, too. He was very driven at the time. Consciously wanting to try things and being pro-active about getting footage, especially for how he normally was back then. He was getting up and going out early to film, when he knew people wouldn’t be around. He didn’t want to feel like people were waiting on him to get a trick.

That’s why Tim Dowling was key. It was just those two, for the most part.
Guy didn’t have to worry about getting his stuff done to free the filmer up to go shoot somebody else. No eyeballs, no pressure.

But yeah, I knew what was happening. We’d typically meet up afterwards and I couldn’t help but ask about what all he got earlier.

“What did you do? What did you get?” (laughs)


Is the Master P song in Chocolate Tour serious or a piss take? I could honestly never tell.

No, I was super into No Limit back then! I still am! Master P!?! C-Murder!?! Souljah Slim, RIP!?! I loved it, dude!

That shit came on the scene and actually felt quite shocking in the hip-hop world! But it was so sick, man. I was totally down.

But then it goes into that weird song from The Omen with the monks? Where did that come from?

I have no idea! That had to be Meza’s idea to trip it all out with weird sacrificial slo-mo! Drink the lamb’s blood! (laughs)


How long did that nollie heel noseslide down Arco take? Because you look truly stoked there.

Honestly, that one happened pretty quick, which is why I probably reacted like that. I don’t remember how many tries but it couldn’t have been too many because you don’t have that long there. You have to try shit immediately if you want to get it at all because you have maybe 5, 10 minutes, tops. So I just started winging it up there and it worked out. I got it that day.

Rowley showed up just as I was starting and actually shot the second angle up top, long lens.

Many point to McCrank’s influence for your Menikmati part, specifically with all the handrail stuff. Thoughts?

I think that’s pretty spot-on. McCrank’s influence on me during that time was pretty huge. Rail-wise, I feel like I was getting into that stuff anyway but having him around definitely served as a motivator, for sure. He was so confident on those things, which helped me get up enough nerve to try some shit, too.

It wasn’t just rails, though. I remember that he’d actually been filming for a while before I even started. He was already stacking shit and I didn’t have a damn thing. I just wasn’t motivated.

“We’ve been out filming a lot for this thing, man. You gotta get your shit together!”

Kinda joking but with some truth to it, too. I knew he was right…  And then I saw what footage he had and I couldn’t believe it!

“Holy shit, you’re murdering it! I gotta start working on shit!”

McCrank’s footage literally brought me back to reality! He definitely served as the motivator for Menikmati, for sure.


What did you think of the finished project with the voiceovers and music?

I liked the idea and the concept of it. I thought what Fred was trying to accomplish was cool. The voiceovers were super hard to do. Filming for all that audio was brutal but I thought that stuff was good… like a really long skit.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t super hyped on the music but I understand the timing of it. Those were the days when we just started having to get music rights and we were all struggling with it. So there was some settling with songs. Things that worked with the edit but nothing that we ever really loved. It became one of those things where it just had to get done. There are deadlines and you’re dealing with limitations, you just have to make it work. So no, it’s not the best music but I still love what Fred was able to do.

And you rolled right into Yeah Right after that?

Yeah, straight into Yeah Right. I was already in the mode so I just kept it going. That’s all basically one long video part for me… kinda like Menikmati, Part 2. There’s definitely a continuation there, with lists and everything. Things getting a bit more refined.


Down to getting your ender-ender on the night before the premiere. How conscious were you of this need for an ender-ender?

It was a big thing. I kept watching all of these different edits and I just knew, in the back of my mind, that I didn’t have the end where I wanted it to be. It didn’t feel finished to me. I needed to get that final trick to make me feel alright with the whole thing. I knew that I needed to close it out right and it just wasn’t there yet… so I stressed out about it for months. I’d get a couple more things that I felt might be it but still didn’t feel right. Finally, I just had to head out to San Marcos the night before the premiere… which is still crazy to me.

But there were so many things in motion with that part, even down to the song. I’d thrown out that Frank Black song earlier as an option but the original edit we were working with used Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” That’s the song I really wanted but, again, we just couldn’t get the rights. Prince songs were super gnarly to get back then. He shut it down.


Whatever came of the wallet stuff anyway? And did you know that it was going to be in the final edit?

No, I didn’t know it was going to be in there. I was so pissed that I didn’t even realize Ty was filming at the time.

That was just some junkie in Vancouver. We were at Hastings Skatepark with Tony Ferguson and McCrank. We were actually getting ready to leave when we hear this big commotion.

“Hey! That guy’s breaking into cars!”

We see this guy running away with a gym bag full of loot! I look over at the van to see the window smashed out with the glove compartment wide open and I realize I’d left my wallet and phone in there… fuck! So I just start running after the guy!

I corner him in this loading area before charging after him. I knew he had my shit and I wasn’t about to start canceling credit cards and all that. Give me my shit back!

So I’m yelling at him and after a minute or so, I start to hear the sirens coming so I’m basically just holding him there. But it was so disgusting. He had all of these track marks all over him. His arms are just riddled with holes. I figure that I’ll hit him if he tries to get away but I’m definitely not going to bearhug him or anything like that to keep him there. (laughs)

We found out later when the cops came that this dude was accused of smashing and grabbing downtown earlier that day but they couldn’t pin it on him. So they drove him out to the suburbs where Hastings is and chucked him out of the car there. They just wanted to get him out of downtown at that point but he ended up going on a spree out there, too.

After all that, it turns out that he never actually took my wallet, he’d just taken the money out and thrown my wallet in the back of van. He only had my money and my phone on him but I got all that back. The cops knew that he had way more money on him now than he did a few hours prior. They just asked me what I was missing and gave it back to me.


So how do you go from Prince to GG Allin for Chomp? And how much of that was throwaway or dork stuff from the previous videos? Like, did you go out at all for Chomp?

There’s some throwaway stuff in there. A few warm-up tricks at rails, stuff like that. But I did go out filming for Chomp. There’s actually a lot of stuff in there that I did specifically for Chomp. A lot of the funnier stuff… like the 5 manuals line in the garage? I wanted that one really bad. (laughs)

I loved that part, man. I mean, the ridiculous manual stuff and all that? Where else could you get away with that stuff? It was so much fun after Menikmati and Yeah Right.

GG came from us getting super into watching Hated, the documentary that Todd Phillips did about him. I’ve always been into the myth of GG since I was young. I’d heard his music and heard all of the stories. I knew he was a psychopath and it was fun to joke around with my friends about but it wasn’t until that documentary that I was able to see his performances for myself and it totally lived up to all the hype that had been swirling around in my head for years. I used to watch that documentary over and over again.

So, of course, I had to go with “Bite It” for my part! Just for the humor in it and that nobody would ever expect me to use it. To make things a little more fun and unexpected.


How did you find yourself involved in Fully Flared? Did you just get hyped on the project and want to be part of it? And how difficult was it for you coming in during the middle and playing catch-up with such an elite team?

I was hyped on Fully Flared because it was something new. Lakai was such a change for me after all those years on eS and Fully Flared already had so much momentum going. Of course, I wanted to be part of that, especially now as part owner of the company. I was pumped to get in there and get going.

I was definitely behind with jumping in as late as I did but it wasn’t so completely out of my comfort zone. Everybody on the team was either Girl, Chocolate or close enough. It wasn’t some weird departure for me or anything. It was already pretty comfortable for me, there just wasn’t as much time. But I was realistic about it. I just wanted to have a part in the video, I definitely wasn’t trying to close the motherfucker out. There was no expectation of that on my part.


The Jordan influence was obvious in your eS designs but we’ve also seen that old photo of you with the shirt and that hand drawn circle-and-line through the Nike logo. What made for your change of heart?

It’s funny because I’m pretty sure that photo came from a post-demo signing on an eS tour. I was literally doing that same thing to every shirt that wasn’t a sponsor of mine at the time. It was just for fun. I drew that circle-and-line thing on Element shirts, Billabong shirts, you name it. I was just fucking around. Straight up, being a little shit. But, of course, no one bothers to dig up any photos of me holding up the crossed-out Billabong shirt. (laughs)

By no means was it some kind of Consolidated “Don’t Do It” stance. Any company that wasn’t Girl or eS got the same treatment.

I’m not sure if that photo was before or after Paul left eS for Nike but I will admit being salty after that. I was definitely bummed on that but at the same time, I knew what they were going to do with Paul and I couldn’t blame him for wanting that. I had other friends that were already riding for Nike by then and I understood what all they were capable of doing for their riders. I knew once Paul was on the team, they were going to make him the man… and at Nike, too. That’s huge. I saw both sides of it, despite being salty.

This was a few years in and I felt they’d already proven themselves able to do some cool shit. This wasn’t the Choad anymore. This was different. At the same time, I was already collecting and chilling in Dunks on my own. I thought they were so sick. And I started to get a little envious of dudes skating around in them, too.

Honestly, my change of heart came from the series of events I went through leading up to my eventual departure. It’s not like I had Nike in mind as my ultimate destination, not at all.

For years on eS, I had a standing offer at Lakai. And this was not only to be part of something with my friends, but also as part owner! Partial ownership of eS for me was never an option, I was only ever going to be a contracted rider there. But that only lasts for so long. After that, I’m done. Ronnie Creager only had a contract. His contract ended and now he’s no longer on eS. The same thing could happen to me. I don’t want to be caught with my dick in my hand because I didn’t make the move. I want to be part of this industry, part of something I’m into that allows me to be creative and not necessarily on my board. So that was that.

I left a pretty big contract at eS but I had to be realistic about things. I made the decision that I needed to be an owner and be part of this thing forever. But obviously, that changed. In reality, it’s not as pretty as it sounds. Owning shit is not that great, especially with partners that are questionable. So as things deteriorated for me at Lakai, it became hard to ignore how well Nike was treating my friends that rode for them.

Things got to a point at Lakai where I felt that we had to take things out of Podium for the sake of the business. I felt that if it didn’t leave that building, it was going to tank. I saw what was happening at our board meetings. I was looking at our cash flow and seeing where the money was going. The things that we were cutting back on versus where I felt we should be putting money towards. I saw it all. Plus, I had people looking into things as well. I learned a lot on this one.

When the decision was made that Lakai would not be leaving Podium at this point, that was the dealbreaker for me. That’s when I made the decision to leave. And nobody liked that, for sure. (laughs)

At the end of it all, I really didn’t make any money at Lakai, only put money in. It was tough. And after everything, I just gave back my ownership of the company. There was no buy-out or anything.

“Here you go. Take it. It’s all yours. I’m out.”

So that’s how I got on Nike. I had every intention of being on Lakai for the rest of my career, it just didn’t work out that way.


I understand if you don’t want to get into this but what are your thoughts on Carroll’s reaction to MJ’s departure? Because that very well could’ve been you…

No shit, right? That very easily could’ve been me. That thought definitely came to mind… though I don’t think, in any way, that I did anything to warrant that type of lashing.

That was a bummer, man. That one hurt. Just knowing the situation and how fragile Marc can be. I don’t think that it was okay to go public with all that stuff.

But you’ve been known to speak your mind on social media as well. Do you have any regrets with how you’ve handled anything on there in the past? Because you know that you can never win an argument online, right?

(laughs) Yeah, it just becomes this endless thing.

I’ve definitely said some crazy shit on social media, for sure. I’m not going to deny that. I’ve found myself getting emotional about shit and a little pissed off. And yeah, there are times where I wish I would’ve handled things a little better. A little quieter… and you learn from that. But at the same time, it’s hard not to retaliate when you’re pissed off about something.

“Alright motherfucker, here’s what I think about that!” (laughs)

You’re reacting with passion and that’s when the fire comes out.


Is there a specific instance you regret?

Probably the thing with Alex. I was pissed... but this is my friend! And now it’s all out in the public and everything!?! Fuck!

People don’t realize that I talked to him the very next day once I cooled off a little and it was resolved. It’s all good. We just didn’t make a further public spectacle of the resolution. We got on the phone and now we’re good. I’m not even sure people realize, to this day, that we’re all good. But that’s one I regret, for sure.

The thing is that it used to be so fun back in the day. You could talk all the shit you wanted, just to poke at people really. Sure, it was harsh but skaters are harsh. It’s fun! It was never anything too serious. But as Insta built up, it became more of a public forum where people didn’t necessarily understand our inside jokes. They’re seeing it at face value and reacting to the harshness without knowing the real story. So things get misconstrued and completely blown out of proportion to where you just can’t do it anymore.

So why leave Girl in 2016? When did you ultimately make the decision and how did you go about doing so?

(laughs) Well, there was point where I made it very clear that I was thinking about leaving but would be willing to stay if certain things were addressed and taken care of. I honestly can’t get into everything but I will say that the acquisition of everything represented a huge question mark for me personally because I did not get a lot of information about things before or after. So as a partial owner, that was concerning to me.

Simply put, I just didn’t want to go along with it. But it happened anyway and I wasn’t happy with the way it all unfolded. I never wanted to go start a company at age 40. That was never in the plans. For the longest time, I never thought that I would ever leave Girl but things changed.


How did you go about getting Numbers off the ground? Because we all know it took a minute. Was all this according to plan?

(laughs) By no means did everything go according to plan. There wasn’t even a plan. There was a lot of figuring things out as we went. What are we even doing? When are we launching this? Who’s on the team? I mean, Guy wasn’t even originally supposed to be part of this. When all this began, I figured he was stuck over there and that’s where he was going to be. That I was going to be on my own putting together the whole deal.

Guy’s situation at Girl was very similar to mine, just delayed. Obviously being friends, we talked about things and once we realized that we were both going through the exact same stuff, the heartbreak and the disappointing news, we knew that we had to go through this together.

Antonio was actually the first guy that I was able to lasso in, way before Guy.

But no, nothing has gone exactly “smooth”. Everything’s been a scramble. I think we’ve been late on almost everything. Not to mention that we launched the brand in December, the most horrific time to sell a new hardgoods brand. But we had to do it. It’s a skateboard brand, you can only plan so much. You have to get out there, take your lumps, learn from things and evolve.


How did Miles and TX get involved?

Well, we were hearing the rumblings about Organika possibly going down. Just thinking about this dude Miles Silva having no board sponsor and he’s insane… shit, I’ll throw my hat in there! (laughs)

“Hey, I want to start this thing. There’s really no “thing” yet. No name or anything. But it’s going to happen. I just gotta put it all together. Would you be down?”

I’m sure he was getting attacked on all sides but he was interested. He hung out and I totally appreciate that. I think that really shows his character. Same with Antonio.

Things just evolved from there. Guy and I met with him right before the Adidas premiere and were able to finally elaborate on everything. I remember asking him if there were any guys that he’d be interested in putting on the team and he didn’t say anything at that moment but he did bring up TX a little bit later.

I’m hyped on it because it was unexpected. Guy became enamored with the idea of myself and TX being back together again from the Menikmati days. And the fact that his skateboarding has never skipped a beat. He's the man!


Anybody else lined up for Numbers currently? Any new member that you’re about to announce?

It kinda leaked because we put it in our sales .pdf but Kyron Davis and Magnus Bordewick. We just haven’t gone through our “public” roll-out yet. But yeah, Magnus and Kyron are the new additions.


We’re still growing... we’ll see.  

Rad. So now that Numbers has launched and everything is rolling.. what’s next? What are you working on now, Eric?

More Numbers! We gotta grow this thing, man. It’s still an infant at this point! We’re still establishing the branding on this. It’s gonna be a long road but we gotta let people know what’s all going on with this thing. We gotta keep it going. Film more. Take more trips with the team. More edits with the guys… More cool shit!

special thanks to Kaspar Van Lierop and Eric for taking the time. 

11 comments:

SG said...

If U don't like Koston's Chromeball U can go F#CK YER FACE

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

GOAT.

APPL3 said...

Tight read.

Anonymous said...

"I remember him coming up to me right after I landed it and making fun of my pants."

Too funny... a great read as usual

Anonymous said...

Is Karl Salah going to be on Numbers?

Anonymous said...

Fuck yeah Magnus!!

Anonymous said...

What was the specific instance with Alex he was talking about?

sanisidro said...

yeah,cool read as usual!
the "anybody else?" linked to Larry david's suspicious staredown compilation was just genius.

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