5.31.2022

chrome ball interview #156: evan smith

Chops and Evan grab a beer at Gooski's.

photo: Blabac

So I gotta ask, where does all your positivity come from? And wouldn’t it be easier to just be cynical and “too cool”, instead of putting yourself out there sincerely?  

Yes, putting yourself out there sincerely does have its downfalls, for sure. Cynical and a little more serious would be so much easier. If you’re younger and reading this, that’s probably the way you’re gonna want to go. (laughs)


But when it comes to my energy and where it comes from, I’ve been through some pretty hard things in my life, man. And the fact that I’m doing what I love? I’m stoked. I mean, you and I are about to talk skateboarding for the next few hours. I’m super excited about this. And that’s the kinda thing that fuels me, because I’m proud to be a skateboarder. 


That’s admirable. But I have to imagine as a younger am, this vibe maybe rubbing some people the wrong way? 


Oh, totally. I actually had to learn how to be a dick. 


(laughs) How so?


Because if you’re trying to act like everything is all good, all of the time… life isn’t like that. You can’t be out there, always trying to make everyone happy. Nobody wants that. 


Although I am a positive person, I’ve become a little more jaded over the years. That’s just standard. It happens to everybody. But I can’t let that kill the fruits inside. I still want to bring out some smiles and the good times, I just have a more realistic perspective about it all these days. 


Honestly, the only time I’m truly serious is when I’m skating. Because you gotta have some focus and put that energy towards whatever it is you’re trying to do. 



I feel like you put a lot of importance on “experiences”. Why is that and what are you looking for?  


Because every day is a story, man. Our lives are surreal. The path of a skateboarder, being part of the skateboard family, it’s constantly leading you to the craziest shit.


Even going back to the beginning of all this, hitting my Mom up to see if I could drop out of school because I wanted to go on tour with Danny Montoya… That dude was in my first skate video ever! One Step Beyond! That was the only video I even had growing up and now I’m in the van with him?! What are the odds of that? And it just kept going from there. 


Ask any skateboarder to tell you a story and something incredible is gonna come out of their mouth. You know this probably better than anyone. We live a really unique and exciting lifestyle, so everyone always has these crazy stories. And it all stems from these rad places. We’re really lucky to be able to tell these tales. 

 

So, I’ll go ahead and get this one out of the way... Because how many times do you get asked about eating the turd on King of the Road?


Not that often, actually. I think people forget about things pretty fast, which I’m really thankful for. (laughs) 


And for the record, we did win that year, so it was worth it. 


(laughs) Fair enough. 


If we would’ve lost, I might not look back on the whole thing as fondly. But we won, so I get to take that to the grave. And it’s not like I ate the whole thing, either. It was just the smallest little piece... And it was fucking disgusting. It tastes just like it smells.


photo: Blabac


A lot has been made of you and psychedelics, is that really how you were rolling back then? And what about now? 


Yeah, I do use a lot of mushrooms and LSD, but not in high amounts to where I’m fried. Because I see a lot of people taking it to extreme levels, which really isn’t healthy for you. But I do enjoy psychedelic experiences. I’ve actually studied a lot about the Doors of Perception and the teachings of Don Juan. Peyote-style ceremonies that opened up people’s writing. Even when I was a kid, I remember listening to the Fear & Loathing audiobook at least 20 times because I thought it was cool. I always thought drugs were cool. 


Having said that, being a fried human is not cool. There’s a fine line you have to walk when it comes to mental clarity and exploration. Yes, you can be a human and enjoy the fruits of this planet. Diving into the deeper parts of your mind and allowing yourself to enjoy a psychedelic experience. But at the same time, check yourself before you wreck yourself. Because unfortunately, I have lost a lot of people to drugs. 


Most times, I’m essentially microdosing. But other times, like on a big trip or something, it might turn out to be something more. It’s just what happens. 


But is it common for you to be on hallucinogenics while skating? Like these Thrasher covers we’re about to get into, are you tripping there? 


I mean, we’re always using substances while out skating, but mostly just marijuana. Maybe some beer, but nothing too crazy. Because there are so many factors, especially outside of the actual skateboarding itself… like cops, for example. You don’t want to be in some far-out mentality when you have to deal with shit like that. You want to be in control of the dynamic. 


Honestly, I haven’t really been going for it as much lately in that regard. In a way, I feel like I’ve already kinda peaked with those types of experiences.  


photo: Kershnar

On a similar cosmic tip, you recreated Joe Valdez’s corner ollie at China Banks a few years ago. How’d that go down? 


It’s kinda funny, because I had played a show at the Growlery the night before. And after the show, we were all hanging out and just happened to start playing this game called “What Are The Odds?”


Basically how it works, my buddy Chris asked, “What are the odds you’ll do the Joe Valdez tomorrow?”


I go, “One out of ten.”


So, according to the game, somebody has to count us down and both Chris and I say a number between one and ten. 


Well, we both said “seven”, which means that I now had to do the Valdez or I’d get slapped. And that’s seriously all it was. Anyone else would’ve probably just taken the slap but I happen to really like challenges. I think they’re fun.


So, we go to China Banks the next day and I start eyeing it up. And dude, it is not easy. It wasn’t like it just happened, all fast and easy. It was windy. My palms were all sweaty and shit. I remember even calling out to Valdez in my head, like, “Please help me!” (laughs) 


I know people are gonna wonder why I even put myself through all that for something Joe Valdez had already done? Because of some dumb game? But it had basically become a King of the Road challenge at that point. “Recreate the Joe Valdez” would totally be in the book for, like, 150 points or something 


How long did that take?


Well, I started off by just jumping over the corner. Just to get a feel for it, because it was so windy and there’s that crazy octagon thing on the corner, too. So, for the first couple attempts, I just focused on getting my body over. After a while, I started figuring out how to do it… which, you have to take it wide and really look at the landing. Because you want to land on that ledge and then drop down onto the bench. That’s how he did it, and you kinda have to do it the same way he did it if you’re gonna do it, too.  


But yeah, I made it out alive. Another one to take to the grave. Maders and Chris Blake filmed it while Michael Kershnar shot the photo. Totally random, just because we were playing that game. And just for us, nobody else. 



Talk about how you film a video part. Because I feel like you’ve had one of the most prolific careers in all of skateboarding over these last 10 years or so, with video playing a large part in that. 


Well, that’s a huge honor for you to say that after everyone you’ve interviewed. Thank you. 


I appreciate that, but I’d say it’s pretty undeniable. And that's kudos to you. But how much would you say your process is collaboration-based with the filmer? 


I just like being a productive skateboarder, man. I like coming home from trips with a lot of footage because it feels good, you know? And I’m always going after stuff that feels new and exciting to me. Just to keep things fresh. 


I do love sitting in on the editing process. It’s almost like I’m making an album. I correlate it with audio engineering, in that we really are trying to create a feeling. I want every video part to essentially be the best representation of my sound at that time. 


Collaborating with the cinematographer… Chris Ray, for example. We’ve made a bunch of parts together. I always want to be conscious of allowing him to put his tastes in, in addition to whatever direction I want to give. The only exception would probably be our Cinematographer Project part we did. Chris did that one solely on his own, presenting it to me later, which I thought was badass.


My Peace part with Jon Miner was kinda similar to that, too. He and I spent most of our time together picking out a song, versus actually watching any footage. We focused primarily on the music, settling on the Flaming Lips. But I was pretty hands-off on that edit as well, compared to the rest of them. 


And beyond the big parts, I do enjoy the process of taking throwaway clips and figuring out how to use them into other parts for that year. So, by the end of the year, I know that I really put my heart into my career. Every clip I took the time to battle can be shown. 

 

Having said that, I am taking a different approach this year. Usually, I’ll focus on three video parts and try to make those happen, regardless of if they’re “hammer” parts or whatever. But this year, I’m just going to focus on one part. I’m only going to make one part for DC this year and make it the best that I can.


photo: Blabac

I do appreciate that you’ve been able to inject different vibes into your parts, beyond a typical “trick porn” edit. Some feel a bit more mellow, whereas others, you’re clearly going for the jugular. I love the variety. Because you’ve made a lot of parts, but they’re not all the same part. 


Thanks, but I feel like you kinda have to do that over the course of your career. It has to remain exciting to the viewer. 


For this next part, I have no idea what it’s going to look like. But that’s exciting, versus being in control and putting something out that feels contrived. I’m just gonna let this one fall into place. Stack as much footage as I can and then just drop all of my best stuff in a timeline at the end. Walk away from this past year and all of these injuries that have definitely held me back to an extent. I want to take some comfort in knowing that I made the raddest thing I possibly could. 


So, are you just constantly filming? Are you one of those guys who saves the big stuff until the end?  


Sometimes, but there are a lot of factors that go into it. I tend to film most of my stuff on trips, so a lot of it depends on the spot and who’s filming. What part of the country we’re in. 


Like, I’m about to head over to France and London with DC. And we’re going to be working with the Palace filmer over there, which is pretty exciting. Because I like his camera and the way he uses it. It’s just something different, you know? 


One thing I’ve learned over the years is to really think about who’s filming you. Because you can do the raddest thing in your entire life, but if it’s filmed like shit, it’s gonna look like shit. Maybe wait on your fucking beast tricks until you’re with somebody who can really run them. 


photo: Broach


What about supplying your own music for parts? How does that typically work? 


In the past, I produced a couple of songs specifically for my parts, but I’ve moved away from that as it started to feel a little contrived. You want it all to feel good, you know? Organic. And you can’t force that to happen.


I enjoy making music for parts, but I’ve been focusing more on doing that for other people’s parts now. For my own parts, I want to showcase different bands that I really appreciate. 


Music rights are expensive, though. If you’re making three parts in a year, that’s gonna be about ten grand on music alone. Companies don’t always want to do that, so in the past, I’ve made my own music to help supplement the presentation. Like, if it’s going to be a quicker part for the internet, I have to be smart about all of the different factors involved… because I want to make it the best it can be under each set of circumstances.


With this new part I’m working on, I’m trying to be more realistic about it. This is my one part for the year, let’s buy two rad songs for it. Hopefully, everyone can pitch in. 


photo: Blabac

You always seem to come up with unique interpretations at spots, often finding new lines we’ve never seen before. Do these ideas typically come up over the course of a session or are you a bit more methodical about it? 


It’s pretty organic. I usually just show up and start skating. If I’m feeling good, especially if I’ve had a couple beers in the van on the way over, I’m ready to jump out and fire up some shit. I like to try getting something before the filmer is even set up, just to keep everyone on their toes. 


Do you prefer spots you’ve never seen before or do you like coming in with a mission? 


I prefer spots that I’ve never seen… because I’ve seen a lot of spots. (laughs) 


But even if you miss something the first time, you always end up coming back to the same spots on trips anyway. 


It is a little different when you know that you probably won’t be back to a spot anytime soon. Like shit, this is probably my last chance to get this for the video. That’s when the pressure sets in, making for a harder session. But when you work through all that and finally get it, it’s just the best feeling. Busting your ass for three hours, completely out of gas, you finally get that last one to bring home to the pillow? No one can take that away from you… and you can’t help but crack a little smile that night as you’re laying down. That’s just being a skater. 


photo: Broach

In Time Trap, I love your ride-on at Ft. Miley by the stairs, with the ollie over the rail? How’d that one go down? I’d never seen that before. 


Yeah, that is a dangerous location. 


I think that was my second or third time there, so I was familiar with the spot. I remember getting the backside 180 nosegrind revert on the high bar that day, so I was pretty juiced. I was feeding off that energy while also working closer to a deadline, so I was fired up. It was basically do or die at that point. 


I somehow ended up noticing the little ride on that day and started sussing it out. Because the sketchiest thing about it is this little 90-degree piece of concrete. You can’t just ride onto it, you almost have to grind that little piece of concrete and then drop on to the wall part… making sure that your body gets back over the railing so you don’t die. Just don’t catch your truck on it the wrong way or you’d get totally bodied. You’d get pitched into the wall and then fall on the railing. It’s pretty sketchy. 


I feel like the first time I tried it was on a filmer board, just to know that the wheels would grip. But that’s really all it took. One you figure out how to get your body on it, it’s pretty chill. 


Photo: Broach


Are you typically one to battle tricks? I’m thinking of your kickflip frontside wallride in Barcelona… an hours-long struggle, buying off security and the whole nine. Is that type of scenario common for you? 


Oh, once it’s go time, I’m gonna do everything I possibly can to bring it home to the pillow. 


But the reason I had to keep going in Barcelona is because we’d given those cops tickets to Street League. And they flat-out told us, “You are never coming back here. Also, you owe us $5,000 to replace this glass.”


Because I’d actually landed primo on one attempt and fucked up the glass. It looked like two bulletholes up there. 


They gave us exactly one hour before they were gonna kick us out. Okay, let’s get this fucking clip. If everyone can back off and let me battle this thing for one more hour... Because we’d already been there for an hour-and-a-half at that point. And it ended up taking all the way to minute 58 in the hour we negotiated. Because, believe me, they were definitely keeping track. They couldn’t wait to get us out of there. 


You can see me sitting on that pole in the footage, trying to be positive, but so not positive in my head. I just remember thinking to myself, “Just let it fall down. Stick it no matter what.”


The rest is history. And I never did pay for that window. 


photo: Blabac


Speaking of Zygote, which kickflip wallride came first? Backside or frontside? 


Frontside on the glass came first.


Was it then a conscious choice to get an equally crazy backside one after that? 


Not really. That became more of a thing later on, during editing. I didn’t even think about them being back-to-back like that. 


Cole Mathews put that video together. Just a cool little promo. Basically something good we could use that kickfliip frontside wallride in. Because we’d gone to Europe for three months and came back with all this footage. That was a good one… coming out of that Future Nature-era where everyone was now pro. We're all riding high at that point. We got a house over there and had some really great times. A lot of skate clips, a lot of LSD in the streets. 


Which kickflip wallride was harder? 


The frontside one was a lot harder, mostly due to the situation with the cops and that hour time limit. And the fact that I’m doing it on glass. 


In hindsight, they’re pretty similar. It’s more about traveling a distance and not kickflipping too fast. Making sure your feet are up high on your chest. Because a lot of times, I would catch stiff-legged. You can’t really take that anywhere. Stiff-legging a wall is no good. 


We’re talking about two or three feet of travel there. Not much. But going frontside off that bump, it would just send you into these wonky kickflips. Some of those tries were so hairball, dude. I’d just bugsplat against the glass. 


The backside one was off flat and much easier to control. It really seemed to be working that day. And Blabac was shooting me that day, too. He’s one of my all-time favorite skate photographers, so it was definitely on for me. 


…And Wes had a cold 12-pack of Coronas waiting for me, if I landed it. (laughs)


Post-Kickflip Wallride Celebration. photo: Blabac


Do you believe in illegal tricks? 


Oh yeah, big time. There are definitely some no-no tricks out there, for sure. Stuff that if it were to show up in your video part, you just might be labelled a kook forever. And there’s nothing you can do about it, either. That’s just how it goes. 


Example?


Benihana crooked grind. Don’t do that. (laughs)


But as far as no-no tricks that some people do seriously? Tre flip crooked grinds… which is actually a debatable one due to Street Dreams. 


The Knack. 


Exactly. It could be a really rad trick, but TV kinda made it a little crazy. 


I remember one time trying a tre flip noseslide, which is 100% valid, but it slipped into the Knack realm. I had to look around real quick, hoping nobody saw it. (laughs)


But yeah, I’ve seen that one popping up again lately. I saw one on IG just the other day. I guess it’s trying to mount a little comeback.  


What’s a trick that gives you trouble?


Inward heelflips. 


And the Danny Supa. That big spin inward heelflip he used to do? That’s a lot of trick going on, but I’ve always been a big fan of big flips. Regular or switch, I love those things. And I really wish I could do that one. 


Because switch frontside 360 heelflips are probably my favorite trick, actually. If filmed correctly, they look amazing. Coming right at the camera before swinging around, you end up landing in the gangster pose. It’s probably the best-looking trick ever. 


PJ Ladd. He front 360 heels a set both regular and switch in Wonderful, Horrible Life. That was totally mind-blowing to me as a kid.


You brought up Montoya earlier, how'd you end up on the very Long Beach-centric Listen while living all the way out in Florida? Was that through a sponsor-me tape? 


They actually just rolled through my local skatepark for a demo. Metro skatepark, owned by my friends Simon and Brett... Those guys helped me out so much over the years. Like, I remember Jefferson Pang hitting me up one day through the shop. He’d seen some footage of me somehow and started hooking me up with shoes from DC. And I’ve been with them ever since, for 17 years now. I’m not planning on going anywhere, either. They’ve had my back since day one and I’ll have their back until day zero. 


But as far as Listen goes, Danny Montoya and the crew just came through town one day for a demo. I was skating with them and everything. And they were all so cool. Traveling around in a van, going on tour… it seemed like the best thing ever. Luckily, Danny had seen me skate a good bit by that point, so he just threw it out there.


“Hey, do you want to come on this tour with us?”


The only thing holding me back was school. It just so happens that my uncle is Mike Speranzo, who started the Woodward program and everything. He used to be a sponsored skater, too. So I ask my Mom about dropping out of school and she hits up Uncle Mike about it, like, “Hey, do you think Evan really has what it takes? Can he really do this?”


“Well, there’s only one way to find out. Throw him in the van!”


A legendary move which saved my entire upbringing. 


So yeah, they let me jump in and we take off up the East Coast. I’m skating and meeting people. These dudes are teaching me all about life on the road... Teaching me how to roll spliffs.


This leads to a full West Coast tour with Ezekiel and all of a sudden, I’m in Long Beach. Just connecting the dots, man. Slowly putting everything into perspective and letting everything happen. Next thing I knew, I get a Check Out in Transworld, which I’m super stoked on. And it just kept going from there. 


When’s the last time you watched your DC Skateboarding is Forever part? 


Holy shit! I probably haven’t watched that since the day it came out. (laughs)


Because you’re so young there, is it fair to say that you’re still trying to find your style in that one?


Oh yeah, big time. I feel like that actually takes a long time to figure out. Even at that age, when you really feel like you’re starting to do something, there’s still so much more room for you to progress and evolve. 


At that point, I’d just gone on my first DC trip. It was me, Wes Kremer, Greg Myers and Matt Miller. And it was cool because I felt like I could finally put to use all of the stuff I’d learned with Listen so far. It gave me the confidence to be myself in the van, which isn’t easy. Some huge advice for all the kids out there, dreaming of getting in the van: Just be yourself. Don’t try to act like something else, just to be cool or whatever. At the end of the day, the kids who make it are the ones bringing something new to the table. 


But no, I was definitely still trying to figure things out still…


Wes always tells this story on trips. And I don’t even remember this, but evidently the first time I went to Tampa Am, Wes was about to skate his heat and I was actually out there, too. Skating in his practice, total little shithead-style. I didn’t even know Wes yet, but apparently he got in my way at some point and I screamed, “Fuck you!” at him. (laughs)


Me yelling at my now-best friend before I even knew he was my friend. 


So yeah, however long later, I go to jump on this DC trip and there’s Wes. 


“Oh, you’re that kid…”


I had no idea what he was even talking about, but I knew enough that it wasn’t good. (laughs)


Such a rough start, but now Wes is probably my best friend on this planet. I’ve been through so much shit with that guy. So many miles, so much turf. I’m so glad he got in my way all those years ago. (laughs)


photo: Blabac


Yeah, you were part of both the DC Rediscover and Element Future Nature am waves. Did it help coming up with younger teammates that you could relate to? But I’m sure it also got competitive at times, too… 


That was a definitely a kickstart for us all back then. But no, it never got competitive. That just wasn’t us. None of us are really that type of person. We were all pretty much down for each other. Just trying to make our way through all this crazy shit and have a good time. 


My personal favorite Future Nature trick, the random nosebluntslide through the grass… 


(laughs) Oh, that was a fun one. We were in some random parking lot somewhere, when I just happened to notice this little island. That’s actually astroturf, but everybody always thinks it’s grass. 


I was just at that age where you have so much energy. You’re so stoked to be out there, doing it. Skating everything, every day. To the point where you’re even getting clips while picking up camping supplies. 


So yeah, we all start fucking around on this astroturf island. Just one of those spur of the moment things that can find its way into your part. Some random clip that you don’t even want in your part, which then becomes something everybody asks about. (laughs)


(laughs) You didn’t want that in there? 


No way! I remember seeing that in there the first time and thinking to myself, “…fuck.” (laughs) 


(laughs) Do you think your skating would’ve evolved the same way had you stayed with that Listen/Boulevard crew? 


I think my evolution has always stemmed from more of a “bigger picture” kinda thing. 


Let me explain... Listen was a smaller brand at the time, much like how Uma is now. And they'd always given me that wing over the years. But the way things worked out, they decided that Listen could no longer continue. I remember getting the call from Montoya like it was yesterday. 


“Hey, we’re starting Boulevard and we got Tiago. Do you want come with us?”


I just didn’t know. Because at the time, I’d also gotten a very legitimate offer from Element. And it turns out that I really needed to go to Element so I could meet Cole Mathews. Because straight up, if I’d never met that dude, my career would be completely different. 


So, right around when Bam was starting to fizzle out of Element, they basically hired all of us amateurs to reprogram their brand. This was right around Future Nature. Cole stepped in as team manager and we all just clicked. Me, Nick Garcia, Julian Davidson. I feel like we were the ones actually making all of the decisions, because the pros were busy doing their thing at that point. They didn’t give a shit. They were all making a bunch of money, too, while we weren’t making much of anything. 


I remember when Element finally did bump us up to $3,500 a month, we really thought we’d made it. We just couldn’t believe it. 


But honestly, we were about to take our little checks and start Uma all the way back then. This was eight years ago. I remember all of us being on an Element trip and having a serious conversation about it. Under a stairwell, smoking a cigarette in Berlin. We knew that this was our opportunity to really do something. And we had the start-up money. We’d talked to a few different distributions. The whole thing. It was very real. 


It literally came down to the fact that Element was about to open its budget to us. Because at this point, we were all still amateurs. How are we gonna turn ourselves pro? Element is just about to turn us all pro soon, and when they do, they’re gonna give us a lot of money. We can turn that money and exposure around to help get our careers off the ground, and then we’ll launch our company. 


That’s what I’m talking about when I say “bigger picture” evolution. We made the decision right then and there to play as a team. Because we knew our place. We all realized that we gave away our cool points by riding for Element. It’s not like we were riding for Antihero or something. We knew Element wasn’t cool anymore. It was still hungover from the Bam days. And that’s not a diss to anybody, I’m saying that in a more productive sense. The company was stale and needed to evolve. We decided to be part of that and help get it to where it needed to go. 


So, for the next seven years, we worked on Zygote and then Peace. And through that process, everybody progressed in their own right and turned pro. So when Peace was finally done, everything was to the point where we actually could finally start Uma Landsleds. 


photo: Broach

Was it always gonna be “Uma Landsleds”?


Nah, Cole and I must’ve gone through a hundred names over the years, until we finally just let Thomas Campbell name it. I was over it. (laughs)


Yeah, that’s definitely a T-Moss construction.  


And it’s all been so organic. I’m glad we didn’t start it 8 years ago. Because it now feels like the birth of something fresh, like when Dill and AVE started doing their thing. It’s more personal. 


Dill’s an interesting one, because he definitely talked some shit on Element back then. 


Oh, he hated Element… and I always loved that. Because I agreed with him. He was right! Like, everything he would say, I’d just be thinking to myself, “Yeah, we’re the kooks. How are we ever gonna make it out of this?”


Because I’ve always looked up to Dill as a skater… and now with my role at Uma, I have an all-new appreciation for him as an entrepreneur and businessman, too. 


It was hard with him saying that stuff about Element back then, but I had to realize that it really wasn’t about that being “cool” so much. It’s just skateboarding. We made Peace and it’s full of really good skateboarding. Sometimes you think that skateboarding is about all these other things but it’s not. It just comes down to what you’re putting down at the spot.  


photo: Chami


So back to the root of all this, how did your Cinematographer part come about? Because I feel like that was your real breakout moment. 


Yeah, that was right when Chris Ray and DC started working real closely together. Right before he got picked up by DC, when he was still doing his freelance thing. 


It was Transworld that asked us to do it. Chris and I had already filmed a couple of clips together and it felt really good. And you could kinda tell that this Cinematographer Project idea was going to be big, just with who all they had lined up. That Alien Workshop section with Jake Johnson. It was just a hot era. 


So yeah, we made our little commitment to it and kept things moving. And for some reason, all of the spots we went to ended up looking really cool together. It all lined up. Everything looked really creative and far more advanced than anything else I’d previously done. He did a fantastic job utilizing some songs that I was working on with other musicians at the time, including my aunt and uncle. It just came out amazing.


How long was all that? And did you realize at the time that it was such a huge opportunity for your career? 


I had no idea! It just worked out for me, the way it does. I was just stoked to be doing something with a really rad cinematographer… which, what an amazing idea that video was? I thought that was so cool. That as a cinematographer, you can be just as much a part of skating as the skater is. Because if it wasn’t for these dudes filming me and editing my part, capturing my skating in a certain way, my career wouldn’t be anything. 


But yeah, I think that was about a year-and-a-half or so. Maybe even just a year. It was very cutthroat. Nobody had very long for that one. Because all of the Alien Workshop footage in there was recent. It wasn’t stuff they’d sat on for years or Mind Field throwaways. It was all new, like Jake Johnson’s nollie backside wallride in Pittsburgh. That one always gets my hyped. 


photo: Blabac

You seem a lot looser here. Obviously, that front blunt in Houston was huge, but there’s also the unexpected nose manual - 180 switch firecracker in NYC. 


(laughs) Oh yeah! That’s another one of those clips that I never thought would make the part. But for some reason, I kinda like that you brought that one up… we’re just skaters here, it’s not rocket science. Just having fun. 


I wonder if that Houston Hubba is still there? 


Bobby Worrest had a clip on the rail just last week.


Yep, switch backnoseblunt. But I wonder about the hubba? Because Blake Carpenter completely destroyed that rail, you might as well cut that thing out at this point. Straight up. But I want to go back for that hubba. I got some ideas for that. 


Had anyone skated that before? It’s pretty tall, man. 


I’m not sure. And it’s definitely pretty high. But being a tall skateboarder myself, I feel like I need to skate taller stuff. If I skate smaller stuff, I look like a fucking kook. Things looks even smaller when tall people skate it. Like Jake Johnson, for example. He’s tall and he skates stuff that’s tall. I imagine when he skates smaller stuff, he probably even doesn’t use the clips. 


That’s the only downfall of being tall. You can skate everything, you just can’t use every clip. You look like a fucking giant at certain spots. It’s gross.



You didn’t turn pro when asked after Future Nature and Cinematographer, only to film Experience and turn pro less than a year later. What was your thinking there? 


I can’t believe you know that. Nobody knows that…


I just wanted to make something special for it. With what Cole Mathews and I had in mind for what would eventually become Uma, which we now own together, we were thinking about things in the long-term. And I remember him breaking it down to me back then.


“You have good stuff. You can do whatever you want… but I know you and what you’ll be happiest with in the long run.”


Cole really helped steer me in the right direction, inspiring me to work a little harder and make something I’m truly proud of. Because there’s a certain way to take it. The industry wanted my contributions at that time, but on a personal level, I just didn’t feel like my footage was there. It became more about myself wanting everything to be 100. Like when KWalks won SOTY, he put out the most fucked-up part. It was undeniable. I wanted that same feeling for myself with turning pro. So I took that six months to film some more stuff. Putting out a part that not only I was proud of, but something that could also compare to my Cinematographer Project, too. 


I’ve definitely learned that it’s more about quality than quantity over the years. 


photo: Broach

What about your Thrasher cover with the residential double dip? 


Yeah, that was the same day as the Miley ride-on, over in Oakland. It’s next to my friend Dylan’s parents’ house, who’s actually the team manager of Uma now. 


I don’t know how it came about, but all of a sudden, Thrasher was like, “Yo, you have to shoot a cover.”


“Huh? How is that even a thing?”


“Because your interview is going to be in this issue. Try to shoot something really rad.”


Maybe they were just trying to push me? I feel like they do that with a lot of people… I don’t know. I just remember Dylan showing me a photo of that spot the night before, like “Hey, we’re going to this tomorrow.”


I guess Jud Heald dropped in on it back in the day, so we knew it was possible to ride down it. But what else can you do there? There’s no runway. Ok, what if you go over and into the bank? Just shoot the johnny and you’re in. 


Were the people home? 


The lady living there was actually super supportive. As I was trying, she was seriously gonna let me open up her apartment door and put down some wood for more speed. But she didn’t end up having to because I got lucky on one. Ollieing over, landing in the roll-in… which gives you a blast of speed. And then you’re trying to hit the skinny part, the Jimmy. 


Shoot the Johnny, hit the Jimmy. Check. 


(laughs) Right? But I didn’t even think about the drop at the end, the curb or none of that. I just kinda blacked out. Next thing I know, I’m at the bottom, riding down a hill. And I remember Broach almost breaking his camera on the ground because he was so hyped, which stoked me out even more. Because you know it’s good when the photographer is hyped. Such a good feeling.


…I love this shit, man. 


photo: Broach

Would your teammates influence how you skate on trips? Like, do you find yourself skating more of one way with Wes, another with Nyjah? 


Not really, I just skate whatever spots we go to. I don’t really care who’s there… although, I will admit that sometimes I won’t feel as motivated if Wes isn’t there. Because he’s just the ultimate hypeman. He’s brought out so much love inside of me for what we do. Just in how he skates, you can’t help but think to yourself, “What’s this fool gonna do?”


Because you just don’t know. I feel like only now, all these years later, I’m finally starting to tap into it. I’m starting to get these little feelings, like, “He’s gonna front shuv-it and wallride. I can feel it.”


And that motivates me. It makes me want to hit that wallride, too!


Does Wes bring out the late-shuvs in you or do you bring out the late-shuvs in Wes?


He brings out the late-shuvs in me. Because that fool’s pole jam-late shuv in DC Skateboarding Forever? That’s where mine come from. 


They’re kind of a debatable trick, at least I’ve always thought so. It could be a no-no trick, but then you see Wes do it and they immediately become a yes-yes trick. 


photo: Blabac

I love the mellow vibe of Zygote but how’d that factor into your Peace part, which was only two years later? Because I know you got hurt…


Yeah, that jammed my shit up, big time. I broke my foot in South America on a DC trip. 


The Lisfranc fracture?


Yeah, Corey Duffel was actually a huge help when it came to all that. Because he had one for an entire year and didn’t even know. They’re tricky. You have to put weight on your foot or it won’t show up on your x-ray. You really have to stand on it in order to see it. But it’s a huge break and dislocation, and the only way to fix it is to fuse your first and second metatarsal. That makes it more stable. 


Two years later, I still only have 50% mobility with that foot… which has been holding me back some. But that’s just part of the game. Everyone has the cards they’ve been dealt, that’s just how it is. I’m not complaining, I’m hyped to figure it out. 


But yeah, I remember Jon Miner being really bummed that we made Zygote. Even though Zygote had a different feel from Peace, it did let the consumer in on what direction we were heading in. Because at that point, everyone had a different idea of what Element was. Zygote gave them a little hint at what we were up to. 


Well, Peace is an amazing part, but I know you had a lot more planned for it, too. 


Yeah, I was super bummed that I couldn’t finish it the way I wanted to, but Jon still put it all together in a way where it looked like I didn’t miss out on anything. Because he’s incredible and the Flaming Lips are incredible. That video makes you want to skateboard and that’s the most important thing. That’s really all I care about. 


There will be more video parts that I’ll miss out on due to injuries and hospital stuff. I just gotta keep myself insured. (laughs)


(laughs) A super adult bit of wisdom to end that answer with. 


Totally. Keep yourself insured, please! Because this isn’t going to get any easier. 


photo: Broach

What about the switch frontside wallride over the stairs in Europe? I think Jake had a clip there, too. 


Yeah, Jake got the switch back wallride, I got the switch front wallride. And honestly, Jake was a huge reason why I wanted to get that in the first place. I think that was one of the last things I got on our three-month European vacation. Big time Jake Johnson inspiration on that one. 


It’s just a one-of-a-kind spot. A four block with this humongous wallride down the side of it. The only problem: I didn’t think about the big right you have to make as you’re coming up on it. Rolling in switch, I had turn in toeside around the corner. So just getting to it is hard, before you even got onto the wall. And then it’s all about trying to get the right angle. Because if you get on it the wrong way, you’re gonna go full body bag. Your legs will get tied up… there’s that one slam in there. I actually got out of that one pretty good, but I still smacked my kneecap pretty hard.


You have to throw your shoulder in alignment so that you can hit the wallride, but then open up so you can still pop off it and land. So yeah, I had to fuck around with it for a while, basically until the sun was starting to set. And then it ended up being one of those moments where you make it and feel like you got away with something. Like, “Oh my god, I did it! I’m never trying this again!”


Is it true that you’d never even done a frontside kickflip late shuv before that day at Besos? Because you were gonna try a frontside 360 kickflip but that was ABD, right? 


Yeah, but I’d never done a frontside 360 kickflip before, either. It’s just that Nordberg had already done one over the rail… He actually did it a different way than how I was going to do it, but he did it really good, so it wasn’t like I could step to it. I don’t fuck with that, especially with modern stuff. That isn’t cool. 


So… back to the fucking late-shuv thing, huh? Are they cool? Are they not cool? Is a frontside flip-late shuv cool? I don’t know, but I am stoked to be wearing two different color shoes there. That was definitely part of my LSD mission on that trip. Lots of late nights on that one. 



But how’d you even come up with that trick? 


It was just one those things that had been floating around in my mind. I always have a few trick ideas that I just have to do. Tricks I’ve never seen before... I don’t even know if they’re possible, to be honest. 


Like what?


Backside 360 nosegrab to frontside boardslide on a handrail, to forward. It’s basically a 540 down the stairs, catching a boardslide at the end. That’s the dream anyway. 


For my last part, something I was obsessed with finding a spot for, that backside bigspin 360 nosegrab over the little cone. The OG LA cone. I want to find another spot for that one in my next part as well. Maybe a bump to gap of some sort? We’ll see. 


Were you aware that so many riders were about to leave Element, post-Peace? 


Yeah, I was aware. It was just time, you know? 


Part of it was there being so much talent coming up underneath us. It’s almost like it wasn’t fair for us to hold the limelight. You kinda wanted to make sure that people get brought up correctly, while you went on to do other things. Because Nick, Julian and I already had our time with coming up and getting a board. We had our moment of separating ourselves, the men from the boys. Beyond getting your name on a board, that transition from am to becoming an actual professional. There’s a difference. 


You can try to hold on to your spot forever, but I feel like the writing was on the wall. For the success of Element and the success of those younger riders, there had to be another new wave of some sort. 


So, we started our own brand. Boo went to DGK. Julian went to Deathwish, and Nick Gar decided to stay with Element, making sure those younger guys were all on the right path. 


It’s an intricate thing to talk about… and I bet people are gonna hit me up, wondering why I would fucking say this. But skateboarding is a family. I don’t care what brand you work for, just as long as you’re harboring the success of everything we’ve worked for. Helping it thrive, just like the people who helped me out. I want to pass that on. And that’s what it’s all about. That’s the nitty-gritty. 


photo: Broach

I realize Uma was always the plan, but it still must’ve been difficult to leave Element from a stability standpoint, in addition to getting over that injury. 


It was definitely a high-risk situation, but you just have to follow your gut. We put this plan together almost 10 years ago, harboring the success of all these people. That’s way bigger than just one person. 


You did float around for a bit, was that while Uma got set up on the backend? 


Yeah, starting a new brand is not easy, especially with everything that’s been going on over the past few years. 


But you must’ve gotten a ton of offers elsewhere, right? 


There were a few, for sure. But I’d already put things in motion for Uma. We already had our plan of attack going. 


Honestly, a huge part of it was identity. People associated me so heavily with Element, as they should. Element was a huge portion of my career. But I also knew that we probably needed to put some space between all that before starting this next chapter. 


We obviously didn’t have a real timeline of Uma. It was more wanting it to be done correctly. Because the actual skateboarding is one thing, I really want to be part of this thing forever, man. So I wanted to take my time with Uma and get it right. Whenever it’s ready, it’s ready. 


So yeah, I had a little bit of a flow period. Frankie G hit me up, like “Hey, I’m starting a fake company.”


“Okay, I’ll make a fake part.”


(laughs) I love this. 


Right? It’s still fake and everyone still thinks it’s real. No, all fake. It’s just Antihero and Frank Gerwer. And it’s incredible. Nothing to figure out here. I ride for Uma. I own Uma Landsleds. But Grimple is Frank Gerwer’s baby and I would do anything for Frank’s baby. I will assist with the teething process and help nurture him into his teenage years. 


That little grimple... with its red hair. A most gorgeous child. 


photo: Rhino

I loved you on Grimple. 


Hey, I’m still on Grimple. It’s still a thing. (laughs)


But talk about making that Grimple part, though. How did that work? 


That was post-foot operation for me, so I was in physical therapy. And honestly, my PT was just skating. Strengthening my foot by filming. 


A lot of that stuff was filmed with Davis Hoang, who was really supportive of my recovery. Because I definitely wasn’t at my peak back then. It was a little more strenuous than I would’ve liked it to be. I’d have to pick my battles and really couldn’t skate for long periods of time due to the hardware in my foot… which is still in there. But it’s gotten way better, though. 


The goal was to get something accomplished while I was at my lowest point, trying to make it look like I didn’t skip a beat. Have it look solid with some real validity to it, you know? 


Now Frank’s working on a part for Teddy, which is insane. And not only that, he asked me to score the edit, which is super fun. My friend brought up this cool Bowie song that he was really jiving to. It was part of the Labyrinth soundtrack, called “Chilly Down”. He went super wild and avant garde with it, to where it’s almost too much but still works in the movie. It somehow fits perfectly with all those crazy animatronics. And for whatever reason, I feel like it fits Teddy’s skating perfectly, too. There’s just something about it. 


And “Chilly Up” was born. 



So good. 


I’m gonna put it out on StarHeadBody Spotify. 


But so much of this music stuff comes organically… usually from, “Dude, we don’t want to spend $10,000 on a David Bowie song that we can only use for five years. Can we just make something like it?”


“Let’s go!”


The boardslide sack in the beginning, is that what led to the catheter?


Yes, that’s the sack that ended my next year-and-a-half. I had to go to the hospital and get a suprapubic catheter put in, which I didn’t know was going to have to stay in there for the next 18 months. I just thought it was going to be a couple of days. Nope. 


Where does Modern Frequency fall into all this? 


That came after my Grimple Stix part, because I feel like I’m a little stronger in that one. Grimple Stix and then Modern Frequency, those were the two I focused on that year. I probably could’ve combined them into one part, but since I felt like neither of them were going to be my strongest parts, it didn’t really matter. 


It wasn’t about having my best parts ever at that point. They were just projects I was stoked on as I was recovering.  


photo: Rhino


Talk about the switch flip over the Jacobs Hall hubba. 


The Tom Penny spot! Such a legendary spot and something I’ve always seen over the years. I think it was Wes who brought it up one day. 


“Hey Evs, you gotta go hit this thing, man. This is the shit right here. Tom Penny.”


Penny frontside flipped it back in the day… and Wes ended up switch frontside flipping it that day with me. Because Wes has that trick really good. He got his and then I got my switch flip. 


What’s funny is that I thought it would be smaller. But when we got there, it was actually a pretty big jump. I remember being sore as fuck the next day. I could barely walk. 


Yeah, I checked that out a few months ago and was surprised at how massive it is. 


Right? It’s still pretty big. Because you know how skating is, things progress so quickly. People skate some pretty big stuff nowadays… when did Penny do that?


1995-ish. 


That’s so insane to me. Because going there, I was afraid it might be too small for now, but it’s still totally valid and looks amazing. 


I was hyped to be able to get it that day. Because I definitely didn’t want to have to come back and jump down that thing some more. So yeah, I got lucky that day, Wes got lucky that day, and then we went and had a great night. 



How’d your Scumco Guest Board come about? I was so stoked to see that happen. 


Yes, dude… I know you and Nick are buddies. That makes me so happy. When you told me about hitting up some people back in Pittsburgh for questions, I knew you were gonna hit up that dude. 


That's my dude. And to be fair, anything catheter-related in here was all from Nick. Apparently, he just wanted us to talk about your dick the whole time. (laughs)


(laughs) Oh my god, dude. 


I love Nick. And fucking KT, too. I grew up the biggest fan of that dude. It’s just so sick. Fuckin' Pittsburgh, man. Panza and Austin Kanfoush. That Pittsburgh friend circle is so amazing. Like, if it wasn’t for Austin, there’s no way I’d be hanging out with Grimple and the Antihero guys. They’re way cooler than I am, but now we’re all friends. It’s family. Skating does that. And that’s why I love the Guest Board concept… I actually want to do a lot of Guest Boards for Uma, too.


But yeah, I’ve always been a huge Scumco fan. I love all the riders and everything they put out is so good. I just had to tell Nick one day, “Hey, anything you want to do, I’m down.”


“Let’s make some boards then.”


It was an honor, man. He went and hooked it up at Pennswood with the dyed veneers. That thing is fuckin’ gorgeous. 


Talk about that graphic. 


(laughs) We were always talking about killing the StarHeadBody. We just thought that would be so funny. 


“Let’s kill this thing and fill your body with candy!” 


We had all these ideas we wanted to do... like make a StarHeadBody mascot outfit and chop its head off with a sword. I still want to make that happen. 


photo: Campbell

So how has the Uma experience been so far? I know Thomas Campbell is no longer involved but it seems to be going really well, regardless. 

 

Yeah, we’re still just a baby brand. We’re just now starting to see what our pinky nail looks like. People are expecting Uma to be on that same boutique level as other brands like Supreme. UMA is a fine arts brand. That’s our focus, to shine a light on artists that maybe not many people know about, but they love skateboarding. Hopefully our skateboarding helps showcases that and can also speak for itself. That’s the goal. 


Dylan, Cole and I work solely on making the best layouts and products we can. Stuff that we can sign-off on. So, at the end of the day, we know that we did our job and are pleased with the outcome. 


It's been nothing less than everything I’ve ever dreamed of. We get to bring up skateboarders. We turned Roman pro... the whole vibe just feels so good. No pressure, it’s just about the love and the art. And I love skating with Roman and Cody. It’s always so raw. 


You must’ve asked Wes about possibly riding for Uma, right? 


Of course, I asked Wes! But he’s never leaving Skate Mafia. That’s just how it is. And honestly, he doesn’t have to. Wes can have a million guest boards on Uma, I don’t even care. Wes and Grant Taylor have the free pass. Unlimited Uma Guest Boards. Whatever they want. I want to see Grant’s baby Coco ride a Grant Taylor Uma Guest Board one day. Total family style.  


We talked about the catheter earlier, I couldn’t help but notice there being no rail tricks in your Uma part


Oh yeah, for a very particular reason: if I sacked a rail again, there’s a chance I’d have a catheter for the rest of my life. 


Holy shit.


Yeah, due to the surgery and how they put it in. There are a lot of specs I can get into, but I think everyone probably gets the gist of it. 



Yeah, we can connect the dots. But does that mean no rail tricks at all going forward? Is that a thing?


No way, dude. I can’t just leave it at that.


There was a period of time where I had to be really careful, and that was that period, but I’ve definitely been hitting rails more and more since. It is dangerous for me, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take for what I love. 


Are you skating there with a catheter in?


Yeah, there are a couple catheter clips in that part. But it’s not a catheter through your penis, a suprapubic catheter is different... 


Basically what happened is that I severed my urethra, which was all in my gooch area. Nothing to do with my balls or genitalia, all that was fine. But in the taint area, my urethra had been completely severed. The only way for me to get pee out of my bladder was for them to stab it and put in a catheter. 


So, the doctor was like, “Hey, we have to send you into surgery. We’ll need to use anesthesia in order to knock you out, which is gonna be pretty expensive with your current health insurance...”


“Well, I’m pretty good with pain. Could we just perform the surgery right now, with me awake?”


“I can, but you’ll really have to work with me in order to do it.”


Okay, he signs off on that. And about an hour later, the doctor came in with a scalpel, the catheter and this device that looked like a really long pen. 


I take one look at that thing and I’m like, “Hey, can you hook me up with some morphine here? Let’s get this Michael Jackson juice going!”


Catheter Rip... photo: Papke


He juices me up and I start feeling really euphoric. He takes the scalpel and starts cutting just above the pubic area. Right at the base of my bladder. He cuts me open and I watch him do it, going all the way down to the bladder. And I felt every piece of that… which was really, really gnarly. I mean, I’ve experienced pain before but watching it happen like that was just crazy. 


He grabs the pen-like device… which one factor in all of this is after I slammed, I chugged six beers. Not knowing that I couldn’t pee. 


So, when I try to pee later that day, blood comes out. And I’m out in the woods, 45 minutes on a hike. I went to piss and almost fainted. I end up taking off all of my clothes and jump into a body of water to lower my body temperature. 


“Holy fuck, I need to go to the hospital!”


So, I get out and go directly to the ER. 


At this point, my bladder is the size of a fucking stingray. This thing is juiced up and ready to go. The doctor makes the incision, grabs this pen knife and sticks it inside there. He’s trying to pop my bladder now, so he really starts putting his weight into it. But what’s funny is that there are no nerve endings inside your organs, so I don’t really feel anything. I’m just watching. And he’s putting his whole shoulder into it. Pushing with everything he has on this fucking pen. 


And eventually… POP! Piss goes everywhere! All over the doctor. All over me. All over the walls. It’s like a fucking water balloon exploded in the operating room. 


I’m just laughing, dude. And the doctor can’t help but smile. Piss is all over his face, all over my face. What else can you do?


Then he shoves the catheter in there, blows it up, and we’re done. Just like that. Obviously, I had to get them changed out every so often, but I had no idea this was going to be my life for the next year-and-a-half. 


So yeah, that’s the backstory there. 


So crazy. But what’s your status now? If you sack again, is it still bad news?


Well, there’s no guarantee it’ll never sever again. Because I did have to go through a six-month process with a different type of catheter through my penis. They needed to microstitch it around something that would keep it open as it healed. So, that was strenuous… I definitely wasn’t skating with that in there. No way. But everything did heal up pretty good, besides the fact that there’s scar tissue built up in that area. I think I’m good. 



I appreciate the honesty, man. I know a lot of people don’t like talking about this. 


I’m not the first skater to deal with this and I won’t be the last. You just have to be careful. 


As far as rails go, there are enough people grinding the gnarliest rails on the planet at this point, I have nothing to prove there. I’m still down to skate them but that’s not so much where my motivation is anymore. I just want to get air, man. I love flipping my board around and landing back on it. 


You gotta take it all with a grain of salt. Looking into these different aspects of skating that I also love during periods when I can’t do everything. It is what it is. 


Well, you’ve always had a mean backside 360, but the 540 over that Laguna wall is insane.


Dude, that session was so funny. Because I got the 540, and then seriously four different crews showed up afterwards, one after the other. Pedro also got that frontside 360 indy the same day. It was almost back-to-back. Just a good skate family vibe that day. 


Was your 540 a battle?


It wasn’t too long, maybe a half-hour or so. Not too bad. I was already pretty familiar with that spot. And I’m comfortable with doing back threes off of launch ramps anyway, so I was doing those over it pretty steadily. It’s just that wall is so tall… and it’s kind of a DIY bump. It’s more like a bubble. Super rocky with all types of different angles. You just have to find the sweet spot to pop off of, because it kinda goes into a roll-in at the top.

photo: Papke


Which was harder: getting to that spot on the Bay Bridge or the actual trick?


Oh man, getting to the spot, for sure. I didn’t even know if that was possible. Because we passed by that thing every time we went into the city. Every time we went across the Bay Bridge, I’d see it and be like, “Dude, somebody has to ollie into that thing.”


It’s really not that gnarly when it comes down to it, it’s more about the repercussions of it. Because you’re going to get arrested. That just comes with the territory. There are so many cameras on that thing from suicide attempts, it’s insane. But I just remember us drinking in the van the whole way up there, because we were all so hyped. Fucking skate rat shit, dude. So funny. 


We get let out near the top of Treasure Island and hike down with the gear. It’s me, Ry, Papke and Code Dog. Assessing the situation, I was originally looking at the one on the right, but it didn’t end up having the right landing. There’s a barrier there. And also, the photo we were trying to get needed to be on the other side, because we wanted to see SF in the background… although, we didn’t know it was going to be such a foggy day. We just had to stick to the plan. 


I started rolling around on the turret, feeling everything out. Because I knew the turret part is raptor-lined for rust purposes, I was concerned about the urethane on metal with so much moisture in the air… Okay, this is possible.


Fuck it, it’s go time. It’s literally 5:30. Rush hour. The most traffic on the bridge, but again, that’s all part of the plan, too. Because if people were going full speed, it wouldn’t have been possible. Everyone going so slowly made it possible for Papke to step into the lane and block traffic for each try. Because there was nobody spotting us, it was just us two over there. Ry was on the other side of the bridge, filming. 


Papke realized that for the shot to work, he had to be in the lane. That was the shot… in fucking traffic. We just had to handle it.


So I starting trying the ollie. Everything is fine. I figure out how to ride away from it, because there are those big bolts on the roll-in. You kinda have to dodge the bolts in a way, rolling over them to where it just barely touches your truck. I get the ollie. I get a couple more. And then I start trying a kickflip. 



I was wondering if that came up.


Yeah, and I got really, really close. I actually landed on one and fell down on the roll-in. So I’m running back up to try it again, because I’m fucking hyped, you know? An ollie is one thing but a kickflip photo? Let’s take this to the next level. The problem was, by that point, we’d been there for too long. You really have to be in and out on that thing. 


“Fuck it, I guess we’re going to jail either way.”


Sirens are coming. I don’t get the kickflip but we have the ollie. Cool.


Cops show up. They confiscate Alex’s camera and throw us in jail. Luckily, Papke and I get put in the same cell. And he is pissed.


“Dude, I need my camera back. I have work to do.”


Because he has trips lined up and everything…


We get out of jail six hours later, but our camera is actually in an evidence locker at a separate location. We’re fucked.  


I end up buying Papke a new camera for his upcoming gigs. And we get our court date, which is when we’ll find out they’re gonna wipe the bridge photos off the camera. Because at this point, we just don’t know. 


Our court date comes and we show up in suits! Papke and I are fucking decked out, dude. Ready to go, straight up. And we walk in… the judge has already dismissed our case. We didn’t even have to see him. Sweet. We take our paperwork down to the evidence locker and get the camera back. All of the photos are still there. Fuck yeah!


Just a dream come true, man. We got the trick, we got the clip. Yeah, we had to go to jail but it wasn’t even the worst-case scenario. No felonies. Papke and I were actually making spitballs in our cell with this paper bag we found. Paper airplanes. All good. 


Incredible, man. And an iconic cover, for sure. As we start to wrap this up, what’s next for you? I know you’re about to fly out for the P-Stone Memorial this weekend and you’re also working on that new part…


Yep, so October is my deadline for the editing portion of this new part. I have a bunch of footage already and I’m just going to continue stacking whatever I can. That’s the biggest thing on my radar right now. 


My next stop is the P-Stone Open in honor of our fallen soldier, Preston. We’re throwing a good old-fashioned skate jam to celebrate the life of one of our most legendary filmers and personalities. Just a one-of-a-kind human. 


I’m heading down to San Francisco tomorrow for that and then I’m Europe-bound for the next two months. Hopefully, that’s where the rest of this part comes together. And then I have August and September to pick up a few last-minute locations as we get into crunchtime. Wish me luck.


Another classic, for sure. And thanks so much for doing this. So after all this... what would you say has been the proudest moment and biggest regret of your career so far? 


I guess my proudest accomplishment is that I’m still alive and just as motivated as I’ve ever been to continue letting this be a safe place for all of the young dudes coming up. 


And as far as any regrets go, it always comes back to injuries. We all have those days when you maybe push yourself farther than you should, and that’s when you break your foot. In the future, I just want to keep in mind that it’s okay to step off stuff. Because there will always be another spot. There are a million more spots… and it’s not like I’m gonna quit anytime soon, either. I’m never stopping. So having said that, I just want to make the best shit I can and eventually pass that love on to my kids and the skateboard family at-large… Until the wheels fall off. 


Big thanks to Nick Scumco and Evan for taking the time.