Evan Smith Interview
Four-billion years ago, errant meteorites slammed into the lifeless lump of stone that is planet Earth, sprinkling their cosmic crud like so much dandruff and sparking what would eventually become Orlando, Florida (and the rest of life as we know it), though all of that took a hell of a lot of time. It was there that a young Evan Smith picked up a skateboard toy, his instant mastery of which leads us to believe that he’d somehow absorbed a little more than his fair share of that original space gunk. Or maybe it was just concentrated in the Orlando city drinking water. Florida’s notoriously sloppy with issues of infrastructure like that. Either way, dude is out of this world. Or more specifically, he’s got a little extra-terrestrial-ity about him. He’s like us, but with a touch of something special—something weird and wonderful. Endlessly curious, freakishly good at whatever he tries, possessing relentless PMA—looks like a goddamned ET too, come to think of it. Star. Head. Body. Evan Smith, folks, live from outer space!
What are you doing right now?
I’m in Pittsburgh and I just got done unpacking and now I’m repacking.
Where’d you go? Where are you going next?
This year has been fucking mental. I’ve been all over the globe, which is such an awesome experience. We went to Barcelona for a month, we went to Australia, went to South America multiple times, just went to Brazil with DC. The reason why we’ve been traveling so much is because Element is making a video and I’m trying to put out a Thrasher part in January. With the combination of those two things, I’ve been going nonstop.
Dude, that’s crazy.
So I just unpacked and then I’m going to repack and I’m going to leave on the fourth to Minneapolis and Australia, then come back for the holidays and then I’m gonna go to Costa Rica and then in January I’m throwing a party in LA.
What kind of party? What’s the occasion?
I’m releasing a shoe, so I’m gonna try to throw a party for it for all my friends. Because it’s cool that I’m getting a shoe and all, but I wanna give something back to all my buddies so they can have a place and a time to enjoy it together and hopefully use it as an opportunity to bring people like you and Cole and Dave Hoang and all my closest friends in the industry together to celebrate our existence!
Is the party gonna have any special theme or twist to it?
No, I’m hoping there’ll be some rock ‘n’ roll bands so that people can mosh around. I’m hoping there will be an open bar of some sort so everyone can drink.
What goes through your head when thinking about your own shoe?
I’m just stoked that I have a shoe. Having the opportunity to sell something that you like with your name on it is humongous, you know what I mean? Obviously with DC’s technical support and my idea for sort of a classic hightop mixed with a boat shoe type of thing, we’ve combined some really cool technology with some really relaxed features. Those were the things that were going through my head, like, “How can I like make a comfy shoe that lasts a long time that skates great?” You know what I mean? It’s, like, I want kids to be stoked on skating, regardless. If I can add to that in any way this is an opportunity for me. I was all, “Yeah, let’s make a shoe!” I already had a hundred ideas ready to go. Let’s just say I had a couple ideas because my brain works way too quick when it comes to creating. So I’m lucky. That’s how I feel at this moment. That’s how I feel at this exact moment—I feel extremely lucky to be able to contribute to our skateboarding industry.
Backside 180 nosegrind, 180 into bank. Photo: Broach
And you wrote and directed a commercial for this shoe? Tell me about that.
Actually, me and Cole Matthews wrote the commercial idea together and we conformed it to make it work with actual visual arts and stuff. We got to do some post-production on it which is—it gets really pricey when you get into post-production. But I actually had the opportunity to direct it firsthand. So usually Chris Ray and the light dudes are, like, “Alright, we need you to do this.” So me and this guy Devon directed it. But they were definitely giving me full creative control at that moment so it was a beautiful thing. They asked me, “So what should we do?” And I was, like, “Oh my God, everyone wants to listen to me. This is crazy!” So I was, like, “Alright, let’s do this,” and I nailed it out. We had an awesome weekend of shooting at Pacific Drive—that’s where the commercial was filmed, in San Diego. I’m really excited to see the finished product. It’s being edited at the moment and I haven’t seen even one little bit of it, but I know just from the pure fact of our storyboard that the commercial is pretty funny and it builds a little bit of character, kind of going for the vibe of the original DC video. You know how there’s a little bit of cameos in it of Big Black and AVE, there’s a little bit of personality building? I’d like to go into that in the future with marketing at DC. It was a really, really cool vibe and I really like the aspect of what these dudes are offering skateboarding at that moment. And it’s really cool to see cameos when you’re a little kid. I don’t know, when you’re a little kid you see skating all the time but getting some personality from these people is a really special thing and I don’t want that to be lost. So that was kind of my goal with the commercial aside from a really cool storyline. I don’t want to give up the story. I’d like for you to see it and be, like, “Oh, that’s cool,” or “I don’t like it.” That’s fine with me, too.
Kickflip back lip. Photo: Blabac
I understand that you had a little bit of a crisis of conscience thinking about all the leather that was going to be used for you shoe. What were you tripping on?
Yeah, this is a great fucking question. Actually, originally I declined using Super Suede completely on my shoe just due to the fact that animal hides are being used and because of the leather trade. They manufacture out of China, but the treated leather comes from Southeast Asia or India. So I was over it. I didn’t want the idea of hide on my shoe even though it’s the best and it lasts longest. It freaked me out completely. And then, through all the ups and downs as far as durability testing, I couldn’t find anything else that would work. And I’m still searching right now. So if I do revise the model at all in the future, I’m gonna continue to research with the goal of making it completely suede free. But I ended up, unfortunately, using bits of suede for the toe and we came up with this rubber-backed canvas, which is my secondary material, so any spot that doesn’t have to be suede for durability, we can use the canvas and it’s rubber backed so it’s not just gonna rip right away. It lasts at least four times as long as canvas normally lasts. You know canvas, how easy it is to rip. So with that trade off and all that stuff it’s, like, really, really hard. I don’t want to support the slaughtering of any animal for anything that has to do with anything like that. I’m not interested in being one to benefit off the slaughtering of animals. I think it’s complete bullshit and garbage. I mean, I’m pretty bummed on myself for even using suede in the first place. I am. I’m actually bummed on myself and everyone who’s reading this should be super bummed on me for using suede. And you should put that in the fuckin’ interview.
How would it feel to see Danny Way in a pair of your shoes?
Dude, I would be stoked. I would love to see him fuckin’ triple flip indy 900 over the mini gap and then into a double flip front blunt on a soccer goal to take out Bob Burnquist in the new Evan Smiths. I would be so stoked.
Kickflip frontside wallride. Photo: Broach
Okay, so you directed this commercial which we can’t wait to see. I understand you’re also working on a movie?
Yeah, it’s kind of on the back burner. I have an idea. I’m really interested in photography and I’m really into making anything, pretty much. I worked on a project with my buddy Chris Blake, which is like a cross-country doc/mockumentary type of thing of just visual art, in a way. And that got me super sparked on the idea to have something filmed someday. So I started writing a storyline and stuff and maybe in the next five-to-ten years maybe I can accomplish a movie or something. I might need to hit up Ty Evans or Spike Jonze so I can get some C4.
C4, like the explosive.
Okay, wow. But you’ve got this Thrasher part coming out and then don’t you have a cross-country road trip video that you made with your buddies this year, too?
Yeah, but that’s not a movie. I’m talking about a real movie. I want to make, like, a legit movie someday because I think it’s fun. I want to see people acting and I want to produce them and I want to light them and film them and write the story. That sounds great—right up my alley.
What are your favorite movies right now? Do you have a favorite movie of all time?
Pulp Fiction is fucking awesome and Dazed and Confused. Those two movies are two of my all-time favorites.
Yeah, those are good. I love Linklater, too. So let me ask you this, has your relationship with Nyjah changed a little bit over the years? I heard maybe you’ve gone soft with him.
Ah, dude, I haven’t gone soft with him. Who fuckin’ told you that?
That’s just some shit I heard.
No. Okay, I like him.
Do you still give him guff like an older brother?
Oh, fuck yeah, dude, I love giving him shit. It’s been the best thing ever getting in Street League because now I have the opportunity to actually fuck with him multiple times a year, which is so fuckin’ sick! And with him switching to Nike I lost a couple trips with him, you know? So now that I’ve got him in the League I’m gonna cut his little Achilles tendon and take his money! No, I’m just kidding.
Evan will find the air. Photo: Blabac
You don’t seem like a very competitive person. How are you doing in the League?
It’s a really interesting dynamic being involved in Street League. It’s a little bit outside of where I ever saw myself going with skateboarding. But I feel like, with that being said, maybe I could give those 2,000 people that go to each event—not the people that are watching on TV, not all that TV stuff, I’m just talking about the actual 2,000 people that show up in that arena and are watching skateboarding from the stands—maybe giving them inspiration outside of just, like, dumbing down your tricks to land them in the contest. My goal is to fly as high and as far as possible and slam as hard as possible just to show them that that is part of skateboarding. If I have to get taken out by a fucking ambulance in an event in an arena then so be it. That’s why I do this. I’m personally interested in showing that skateboarding can be big and you can grind really far. Not to discredit any of the tricks that are being done, it’s just it’s a different style of skateboarding; more like rails and flip tricks down stairs and hitting the ledges. It looks small from the top of the stadium, is all that I’m getting at. Slowly but surely they’ve been building more large quarter pipes so people like Ryan Sheckler are fucking launching off of them and people are getting so happy and hyped because of all that shit.
They lifted the ban on air time over there?
Exactly. They’re expanding their skateboarding to involve more air time, which is amazing. And that’s exactly what I like about watching skateboarding. When I watch videos of Neil Blender he’d go longer and farther and it’s shit where you’re thinking, “Wow, I knew he could do that trick, but, dude, he did it 20 feet longer than I could have ever imagined somebody doing it!” Uh, there’s a shooting in San Bernardino, California, up to 20 victims reported according to fire department. The world is crazy and we’re just thinking about skating. What’s going on?
It’s nuts. So do you think that you’ve ever gotten in Nyjah’s head at the contest?
No, those dudes know that when the time comes, even if I get into the finals or something, I haven’t really put anything together ever in my life. So I would doubt that those dudes could be scared of me doing well. Like, I’m not interested. I’m just interested in skating as hard as possible. Like, whatever comes, that’s sick. If I have a good day of skating, that’s rad, I’ll take your fuckin’ money, Nyjah. But at the same time, that’s not what I’m interested in. I’m interested in hanging out with a bunch of rad people behind the scenes. What most people don’t know about Street League is that there’s a bunch of sick-ass cunts working all over that place. You know, there are a bunch of cool people that are our friends—your friends and my friends, you know?
No comply finger flip board skidder. Photo: Broach
So do you still owe Nyjah eight grand for his hotel room you wrecked?
No, Monster paid for it. Thank God for Monster.
What happened? You soiled his towels?
Alright, so this was a long time ago. What happened was we were outside of a Victoria’s Secret trade show party of some sort. It was like a model party or some shit; some big deal. We’re sitting across the street, me and my buddies. It was me, Ethan Loy, Nick Garcia, Greyson and we’re kind of backed up against the wall. We’re kind of just sitting there watching people walk into this party and every time the door would open we’d see all of these babes and be, like, “Oh my God! How are we going to get in this? This is fucking insane.” And then Nyjah came over with this girl. I think it was one of his friends at the time. They were at the door. And then he left her to go into the party ‘cause she couldn’t get in. And I was all, “What in the hell? How could he ever do that?” Maybe we misunderstood the situation. Maybe she just had to go home or something like that, but we were, like, “Fuck this!” Ethan had Nyjah’s hotel-room key and I was, like, “Dude, if we can’t get into this party, let’s at least go have a bottle from Nyjah’s mini bar!” This was my idea. So we go to the fucking hotel and I started going to the mini bar. We drink one of the bottles, then we drank another bottle. We drink another bottle and then we drank everything in the mini bar. By the end of it we’re lit and we’re amped! It was a super nice hotel in New York right next to Max Fish and he’s got a super nice room. So us being lit, we decided to trash his room a little bit. One thing led to another until eventually we took every single item that was in the room and stuffed it into the bathroom. And then we broke his board. I broke his board and put it in the bathroom, and the last thing I remember is us walking out of this place and Nick grabs a thing of popcorn and a bag of chips and crushes them up with his hand and it all spirals everywhere. Then I take a bottle of water and throw it at the TV and water gets all over the TV and then something else happened and then we all just left. We just shut the door. And it just so happens that Nyjah brought back a girl. It was the craziest situation. We were walking back from his hotel and he shows up and Ethan gets a call from D-Loy, pissed as fuck, talking about their dad and stuff—all this shit like he’s getting grounded. And I was, like, “Dude, don’t even trip. It’s all going to be fine. It’s all going to be okay.” And sure enough, everything was okay and we got to destroy Nyjah’s hotel room at one time in our lives and we got super fucked up! Now I’m not pumped on the fact that there’s a lot of problems when it comes to destroying hotel rooms. There’s a lot of stuff you have to deal with after that. We got into some serious trouble, but me personally, I think it was worth it. I had a blast.
Did you apologize?
Yeah. Well, the only thing I apologized for is breaking his board. I don’t mind dealing with the cost of breaking a hotel room and all that. I just knew he wanted to keep that board and I broke it, so I apologized to him for that. I would never do something like that to him again. I expect him to destroy my life someday and that’s fine. I’m fuckin’ ready. I’m ready for him to come to Pittsburgh and try to fuck with my home. We’ll see what happens.
How good are you at starting fire the old fashioned way? You’re super into that stuff, right?
Oh, you think I’m good at starting fire?
Feeble to a back Smith. Photo: Blabac
What’s the most difficult scenario that you’ve managed to produce fire in?
Oh my God. No, usually we just do it for fun. I just practice. I did one vision quest, so yeah you’d think I’m super good at it. I tried to go out in the woods for a night with just a knife and a fire kit, just to do some sort of quest because Elemental Awareness is a program through Element where they brings survival skills to skateboarders. That’s their main goal: bringing survival awareness to up-and-coming skaters. And I’ve been obsessed with it ever since I found out what it was. I love nature. I love fire. I love survival. I love being out and I love making stuff. So the combination of all that is exactly what the program offers. So I’m actually in training right now. I’m gonna go to tracker school sometime this next year and get certified so that I can become a teacher. Then I can teach friction fire and shelter and easy ways to find water and make water drinkable. So I went on this vision quest...
For the people who don’t know, what’s a vision quest?
A vision quest is some sort of quest that someone would tell you to go on to try to bring you to enlightenment. And through this you learn a lot of stuff about yourself and nature and what you’re capable of and what you’re not capable of, how your mind and your body react to nature when you’re in a situation with no water and all you have is a knife and it’s dark out. My quest was to build a shelter, make a fire and stay for the night then come back. What ended up happening was I went out, I made my shelter—I leaned a log against a tree and I put a bunch of other sticks on the outside of it. I put pine needles on the outside of that and made kind of like a large sleeping bag that I could slide my whole body into. And I’m a tall gentleman so it was a pretty long stick. There’s a lot of little things that you need to keep in mind when building a shelter, but I finished my shelter and everything turned out super smooth and then I started to build my fire. I had a kindling kit to help start it, a tinder bundle, which is an actual piece that you blow fire out of and my actual teepee structure, which is where you put all your fire once you make it. So I had it all ready to go. I tried 15 times out by myself on this vision quest. I’d made fire multiple times for fun with my friends but now I tried 15 times and my hands were bleeding! I was using a hand drill—that’s what it’s called when you have a spindle and it goes into a notch that you cut out of another piece of wood. So I was going for it. I did it for, like, three hours trying to get this fire going. My hands are bleeding and I’m just, like, “Well, I guess it’s just not meant to be. That’s okay. I came to grips with it and now I’m okay.” So it was around one in the morning and I was out there. I was just messing around by my camp and then I realized that I had the opportunity to hang out with a bunch of friends who I’m not gonna be able to see for another year and I realized that maybe my calling was that I should go back to the camp and confess my love for my friends! ‘Cause I live for my friends and my family. It’s my favorite part of life and half of our skating is how we have such a crazy network. And our circle expands constantly, you know, our circle is growing nonstop and any time you meet another skater from another location it grows bigger and bigger. Everyone has their circles. But at that moment I just wanted to tell everyone that I respect them so much and I want to be there for them as much as they’ve been there for me. So I packed up my camp and walked back to Sequoia in misery because I didn’t complete my quest. But in the end I did, because I got back to camp and I sat in front of the fire and then someone handed me a friction fire kit and I was, like, “If this is meant to be, then fuck the fire,” and I tossed it in the fire. So Earth and life and the universe gave me the sense of connection and that, I guess, is what a vision quest is. You need to come out of it learning something and that was the one thing I learned is that I love you, Burndog. I love Cole Matthews. I love Nick and Julian and Greyson and my friends—my people. I am doing this for my people. That’s what spoke to me the most. I hope that anyone reading this takes inspiration to go out and do some sort of vision quest. It can be something simple, you know, go out and pick up trash, go out and help someone, it can be a quest of any sort. Mine was specifically to find a vision and that was my vision that I love you. Which is really cool and I’m not afraid to say it at all.
That’s awesome. Your great revelation was that you should hang with your bros. That’s really nice. For some reason I thought you’re supposed to get out there and half starve and get loopy and see a spirit animal or something or have some sort of extra-sensory experience.
Well, there’s definitely the kind of quest where people go fasting for 12 days straight in the woods. That’s a dehydration visual, what you’re talking about. At the moment I just wanted to make a fire by myself and catch a fish and cook it, you know, that was my goal.
Did you catch the fish?
No, I didn’t. Well, I didn’t have anything to catch it with so I was trying to find a snare trap. You hook a piece of twine to a tree and you put bait on this thing and you can catch fish out of the water by doing it with these traps, but I’m not as skilled as I would like to be, especially in that moment. And it was a huge lake so I couldn’t spear anything. So I settled for raw pine nuts from pine cones which you can find all over King’s Canyon. So I harvested a pile of those and I just ate those for dinner.
Backyard stalefish. Photo: Blabac
Tell me about the magical properties of crystals.
I’m not completely sure, exactly. My girlfriend is super familiar with crystals. I know they’re for healing and light. Maybe I can find something on them in the future, but yeah, I just don’t want to give anyone any false information.
But you dig crystals, right?
I think they’re cool, yeah. I just don’t know how to use them for healing or anything. I think that might be what they’re used for—for spiritual healing of different sorts, you know. Interesting Thrasher interview we’re having here, huh?
I like it.
I do too. I think it’s really cool. I think there’s a lot of information out there that a lot of skateboarders don’t know about. There’s a lot of cool things in this world, man. All these kids need to open their brains and bring more information to their circle. That’s what everyone needs to be doing right now is learning as much as they can about their place in this planet and then bring it back to their circle and then everyone can use the information wisely. But I need to do the same, obviously, because I don’t know how to heal someone with the crystals and I would like to know that.
Exactly. Well let’s get back to a little bit of skate talk, closer to home. Did you think Element was gonna win King of the Road last year?
Dude, I was feeling really good about it, man. We tried our freaking hardest didn’t we, Burndog? We tried our freaking hardest, we worked nonstop, we had long hours, we had awesome ideas, awesome tricks, awesome photos, but fuckin’ Birdhouse—I guess they had a really good year! They had an awesome year. I’m not bummed because I don’t know if I would have wanted to go again this year. Maybe in the future I’ll do it, but two years back to back? Holy shit. For people that don’t understand King of the Road, I just want to let them know that it’s really, really hard to accomplish that much skateboarding in a 15-day period. Trips are usually like ten days and then people get burnt. This was 16 days.
The path never taken at Fort Miley. Photo: Broach
It wasn’t 16 days; it was ten.
Yeah, right! It was fuckin’ way longer than you think. You’re wrong.
I know we made a big deal when you did the nollie 360 flip front board. Can you get yourself to do pretty much any trick that you want to? Do you have that power?
I don’t know.
I feel like you can. I feel like if we ask you real nicely and put it in front of you, you can pretty much do any trick.
It has to be the spot, though. I don’t think about tricks before the spot. What I think about is what trick is sick for the spot, you know? Or like coming up with a new trick that hasn’t been done at the spot or utilizing a different aspect of it. Something like that, that’s just me and my aesthetic. You gotta find something new to offer skating, you know?
I like that thought.
So was it weird to have a list of all these exact tricks in the King of the Road book? What did you think about that?
I mean, yeah, from what I just said about the spot telling me what to do. Yeah, it’s super strange because we were trying to bring a list of tricks to a spot, so it’s completely different dynamic from what I’m used to. And some tricks were fucking ridiculous, like, front-foot impossible blunt to fakie. Chad Knight did it! You’re, like, “What, dude?”
I got a confession. I put that in there because I knew Chad Knight could do it.
Oh, that’s how Thrasher works. You guys are shystie as fuck.
There’s shit in that book for everybody. There was definitely a trick I put in there because I knew you could do it.
What? Was it the Benihana 50-50?
I don’t remember. But you can look through the book and be, like, “Oh, that’s for that guy.” The idea is not to bum everybody out. The idea is to have stuff that people are, like, “Yes!”
And they have to push themselves to get, because I heard that front foot impossible blunt fakie was a mission and it was a good session. He worked for it. At that party you could tell he was happy. And I was looking at him, like, “Man, Chad Knight.” Dude, King of the Road is the shit, man. I had a blast. I want to do it again one day.
Wallride. Photo: Blabac
Think about how hyped T-Bone was when he did the nollie inward heel. Or what was it?
Nollie hardflip—that was 100 percent written for the Bone. You know that, right?
Think how hyped he was! He was so hyped. He almost cried.
He did. He was literally in tears.
Yeah, see. That’s what we get out of it, right?
It gets you so hyped. It’s very good overall. Usually at the end of it everybody is stoked because they did something brand new. Or they’re not stoked because they flipped and landed on a rock 15 feet down to their heads.
Speaking of shystie Thrasher shit, who do you think our Skater of the Year should be?
Dude, me personally, I think Ben Raybourn, man.
That’s my fuckin’ dude. I love his skating so much. I would be bummed if anyone else got it. You know a lot of people have been killing this year, but he’s one of my personal favorite skateboarders to watch.
How good is he? He’s amazing.
He’s the sickest, dude. I back him so hard it’s ridiculous.
He’ll do an air on something that people couldn’t even get to the top of.
How about that Gou Miyagi part in King of the Road? He destroyed, dude. How good was that? It was so sick!
He just did it perfectly.
Killed it. That was my favorite thing about King of the Road. You know what my second favorite part about King of the Road is? It’s that Birdhouse got most of their make outs in Pittsburgh, ‘cause that’s where I live.
Let’s talk about your girlfriend. What’s it like to date Hulk Hogan’s granddaughter?
Dude, that is not even who it is. Where do you get this information from?
That was a joke so that you could correct me! Tell me about your girlfriend.
Dude, my girlfriend is super cool and I’m really lucky that I met her ‘cause I’ve been really happy and I haven’t had a girlfriend in a while. It’s nice to have something that motivates you and inspires you. And I hope all the people with girlfriends out there know what I’m talking about. But you know, single life is pretty cool and you know, you’ve got to make sacrifices in life.
You’ve got some crazy shit going in Pittsburgh. You guys have been building your music venue and expanding on it. What’s going on over there?
Oh my goodness. I’ve got it on my mind. Let’s just narrow it down. Maybe the past year, past two years, we tore down our skatepark and we brought all the lumber over to the venue and then we attached a two-story building that attaches to the outside of the church which is the music venue. We interiorized it, we made it an actual interior building, then we put in a restaurant and hardwood and a break room and basically like a massive DJ stand in this break room. Then you can walk through the windows of the church Harry-Potter style on to another balcony, still in the church. So this has been a development that I’ve been working on for the past few years and it’s really come to a head and now it’s completely functional. We upped our capacity from 650 to 800. It’s been an awesome jump as far as day-to-day business goes. And we’ve been using the money we’ve made off of that and some skateboard money into building new sidewalks and new railings. So now we have new sidewalks on the whole property which look gorgeous. And then my aunt put another down payment on the church across the street which we are building a restaurant in next year. So this is a family business and we’ve been developing it for 15 years, but in just the past year it’s taken off.
Kickflip nosegrind. Photo: Gaberman
So could you never be a pro skater again and just do this for your life? I mean, is it a financially viable project? Is it satisfying to you?
Yes. I mean, we don’t make tons of money off of it yet due to the fact of paying off our debts for the property and taxes and all the things that go along with business and being in a philanthropy situation where you’re doing it yourself. My uncle has been heading this off since college when I was way too young to even perceive what was going on. Then as I’ve been growing up my uncle’s been, like, “Hey, you want to come up here and help me rebuild my skatepark?” And I was, like, “Hell yeah!” and I came up there and helped him rebuild the park and then I stayed and I’ve been living here ever since. And I’ve been traveling out of Pittsburgh to go on skate trips, so skateboarding has been kind of like a bonus for me. And that’s why I feel really free and creative in skating. Because I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to abide by any guidelines and make sure that I make a whole living off of skateboarding, because it’s almost impossible to make a real living off of skateboarding. It’s a really hard thing to do and I don’t think that every kid understands that you have to watch your back and you can’t think that skateboarding is gonna give you everything because it will take it away just as fast. Like every industry, it’s not bashing skateboarding at all, every industry needs ups and downs to perpetuate. I understand that. But, dude, if I could just skate for fun, that’s an awesome idea for me, like, that’s great. I love skating. I do it because I love it and I’m gonna do it until I can’t. I’m not gonna put music before skateboarding. I’ll be able to work at the music venue later in life when I can’t skate. But look at people like Lance. I want to be able to skate for a while, dude. Think about Tony! That fool still does 540 body jars! C’mon! I can’t do that and that was a King of the Road challenge.
Yeah, why didn’t you get that?
Because I suck, man. I suck, alright!
I think of you as a very positive person. How do you keep your positive mental attitude?
Well, thank you, Burndog. I get inspired by other people. This world is interweaved. Doing something nice for someone now—on a different plain, 30,000 years from now, who know what that could effect? The world is all slight vibrations and to be positive is way more valuable. Watching my friends and family spread love, they set the bar. I choose positive energy. To effect the world in a positive way is so valuable
How do you want to end this thing?
The only thing I want to say is lay down your guns! Just lay down your fuckin’ guns, dudes! Chill. Lay them down!
6/07/2018Last night at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, Tyson Peterson was surprised with his first pro board for Element and all his homies showed up. Hell, his mom was even there!
5/29/2018Yep, KOTR is back! Real, Element and Foundation jump in the van for a two-week odyssey of weirdness, wild moves and plenty of good ol’ fashioned skateboard torture. The TV series starts July 10th on Viceland. Buckle up!
3/26/2018Old crusty spots separate the men from the boys. Parque de Carolinas in Quito, Ecuador has been there for 40 years. It ain't going nowhere. I took the best of '97 there and it went off—cops, broads, beers and busting. The next time I went 20 years later, the kids that grew up with the mag wanted some Eccy juice. Took the now dudes and, needless to say, Hellride was on, "Rocky Mountain Way" all the way. —Jake Phelps
3/26/2018The last three years I’ve been starting out the year with a trip to South America. Following the Sun in life is a good rule. –Jake Phelps
3/22/2018It's that time of the year again… Winners, losers, snoozers and boozers—they're all in here. If we left somebody out, let us know in the comments below. And remember, there's no such thing as bad press.