6.08.2015

chrome ball interview #82: mike blabac

chops and blaze sit down for conversation.


Starting off with an easy one, Mike: What was your first published skate photo?

My first ever published skate photo was a Scott Johnston Pure Wheels ad.

The one in Big Brother where they screwed up and put the Simon Evans Experience shit on it by mistake?

Wow, that’s insane that you knew that! Yeah, that’s the one! That was the first published thing I ever got paid for.

Were you bummed they fucked it up?

(laughs) Not really. I was more stoked it was actually used and I made money shooting photos of my friend.

My first editorial photo was of Joey Bast doing a nollie front noseslide at Black Rock for Transworld, which I thought was insane at the time.

Shot from underneath, I remember that one. So I know the story goes that you came up in Michigan shooting Kalis as a young dude. How seriously did you take your photography back then?

Yeah, I moved to Michigan from Ohio when I was 12, which was around the time I first started picking up a camera… but for whatever reason, I always tried to keep my interests in skating and photography separate. I didn’t usually shoot skating back then. I was always out taking photos of the dumb shit I saw in photo magazines that I was trying to copy. Shooting trees like I was Ansel Adams or whatever.

But once I’d gotten to know all of the dudes in the Michigan scene through skating, I did start taking my camera out every now and then to shoot. Sean Sheffey was around, in his transition from Santa Monica Airlines to Life phase and Kalis was already sponsored at the time, too. They all needed photos and I had a camera so I figured I’d give it a shot but it really wasn’t this big thing for me.

The same thing basically happened all over again a few years later when I moved to San Francisco. I got to know everyone in the city through skating way before I started taking photos. Nobody knew I even took photos except for my close friends. It just so happened that one day while I was working at the Gap, Scott Johnston came in wanting to shoot an ad because his photographer flaked on him.

That’s really how all of this came about. That’s when the lightbulb came on. As much as I didn’t want to mix skating and photography, it’s a lot better than folding shirts for the Gap at 5 in the morning.

You were never even thought about becoming a skate photographer for all those years? Even after shooting with Sheffey and Kalis back in Michigan?

No, never. But it wasn’t like I didn’t take my photography seriously, I was super into it. I just never thought that there was a career as a skate photographer. I’m not sure why that was, it seems so obvious now. I think it had more to do with being such a skate rat at the time, I couldn’t imagine taking so much time away from skating just to take photos of it.

It’s funny because I regret all those years that I wasn’t out there taking photos. I remember skating the DMV curbs with Jim and Tommy after I had moved to SF. Natas would come through, too. It was insane. I’m shooting myself in the foot for not ever thinking to capture those moments. Skating down at Embarcadero with the dudes rather than documenting things with my camera like I should’ve been. You take that stuff for granted when you’re young. I was just more into being a part of the moment and skating back then.

I’m sure there was an overall lifestyle improvement from Michigan in there as well.

San Francisco was the epicenter of skating back then. It just so happened that a friend of mine was moving out there at the time and I just went with him. I’d never even been there before but I moved out anyway and got that job at the Gap, which still allowed me to skate everyday. It wasn’t like I was trying to go pro, either. I just wanted to be a part of everything and not be in Michigan. I think the windchill was -35 degrees when I left that February. A few days later, I’m in a place where I can skate everyday and possibly even see dudes like Mike Carroll and Jovontae Turner. What more could I ask for?

I definitely didn’t plan out this whole thing where I‘d be shooting skate photos for the next 20+ years of my life. It never once occurred to me.

So you basically owe your entire career to the fact that Scott Johnston’s photographer flaked one day.

(laughs) Yeah, kinda. I mean, I had so many friends around town who were always asking me why I wasn’t trying to shoot skate photos… people like Meza, Karl Watson and Joe Brooke. It was all so obvious to them! But it  did work out. Going back to what I said earlier, I could’ve shown up one day at Embarcadero with all my camera gear, got robbed and that would’ve been it. Just some kid from the Midwest trying to point his camera at everybody probably wouldn’t have been good.

Was your move out west at all coordinated with Kalis? SF seemed to be the prime of his most gangster phase with the Tek-9 earrings and everything. Were you down with all that?

Honestly, Kalis and I didn’t link back up again until I was walking out of the Gap one day for my lunch break and I saw him sitting on the ground next to Jamie Thomas.

"Woah! What are you doing here?"

"Dude! What are you doing here?"

It’s funny because I definitely remember making a few comments about those earrings at the time but I still didn’t really know him super good. Like, if I saw him wearing some crazy shit like that now, I’d fucking let him have it. But back then, not so much.

I do have a couple of photos of him with the earrings and a Sophisto jacket. That switch crook down mini-Hubba where he’s fitted to the 9’s with super baggy clothes. Tek-9 earring in one ear and a pot leaf in the other… and he didn’t even really smoke that much weed! (laughs)

It was awesome.

So good. You were also shooting a lot with Drake Jones during this time, too. 

Yeah, I remember the first time I saw Drake skate was at Wallenberg. He was skating the ledges and I remember thinking just how fascinating he was to watch. It was insane how effortless his style was… which is probably why people still talk about him all these years later.

Did you ever get the impression that he was going to fade out like he did? Possibly being overly picky or maybe even not at all?

Towards the end, yes. Drake is one of those guys who’s talented at anything he tries. Therefore, I think it’s difficult for dudes like that to keep with something once the thrill of learning it is gone. Once you’ve figured something out and it’s wired, it’s kinda over for them.

During the tail end of his career when he was about to ride for 23, you could tell he was over it. I was going to a pool hall everynight for a while there and he started going, too. He ended up getting really into it. I know that he’s super into golf now but in-between skating and that for him was playing pool.

I remember literally dragging him out of a pool hall to shoot one of his only 23 ads. Pleading with him to manufacture this thing for me with the promise that we’d go back and play some more pool afterwards. Luckily, there was a spot directly across the street from us. I think that might’ve been the last skate photo he ever had. He was just over it.

You shot a few of Lennie Kirk’s classic photos as well. What was he like to shoot with? And was this before or after he hit his head?

It was mostly before but I knew him after as well. I always kept Lennie at an arm’s length. I’m a pretty mellow dude and the thing with Lennie, he’s always causing a rukus. He was causing a rukus before he hit his head and even after he hit his head and got all into religion, he was still causing a rukus. I’m not the dude to stir things up. If he’s sitting in the back of the bus, I’m up front. I wasn’t trying to be with that dude. But I will say that I loved shooting him. The way he charged, such an amazing skater.

One of my favorite sequences ever is that drop 50 Workshop ad we worked on. The trick itself and then all the frames after where he’s carving around the car in the forground. So sick.

Lennie would always preach out front of the liquor store across the street from my apartment. I would have to time my getting beer to when he was busy preaching to someone so I could sprint over and duck inside. I remember the dude working the counter would always start yelling at me.

“Dude, get your boy out of here!”

“He’s not my boy. I live across the street and I’m here to buy beer. I know this dude from skating but that’s it. I’m sorry, man. I can’t help you.”

What about that back 50 photo of his past the tree? Such an amazing shot but I always wished there was video, too. How’d that one go down?

That was on Oak Street right by my house.

Skating was so different back then. We’d just go out for fun. I remember bringing it up to him while we were skating one day. He just saw it and charged. That was it. He didn’t even really think about it. Grinded through it all sketchy, didn’t take him long at all.

That photo actually got ran through the wrong chemicals. That’s why it’s cross-processed, the lab I went to put it through the print film C41 chemicals. I remember picking them up and totally losing it on them. I was so pissed. But later on after I got a print of it, I started to realize that it was actually kinda tight. (laughs)

How did Mad Circle enter the picture?

Mad Circle was seriously just a one-man operation. Justin did everything. He did the ads, he did the team, everything. I feel like I got in there because he basically needed an assistant and a photographer… just anything, a voice of reason maybe? I ended up living with him during those days so I saw it all firsthand.

Scott is really the one who got me the Mad Circle job. I was doing random things for Deluxe at the time but they already had Gabe and there really wasn’t a need for extra dudes shooting photos for a company back then. But through that, Scott brought up the possibility of working for Mad Circle instead and, of course, I was down. It was an amazing company and plus, I’d get a paycheck every month. So that’s how that happened.

Coincidentally, Justin also needed a roommate at the time so that’s basically when I began waking, eating, and sleeping Mad Circle for the next 3 years.

Were you more than just photos? Probably helping out a little with creative direction alongside Justin, right?

Yeah, I mean, by no means do I take credit for that stuff as it was all Justin and Scott but I did help out wherever I could. That was the dope thing about doing everything of Mad Circle in the house: we’d work on stuff all day and then Wing Ding, Scott and everyone else would come over to hang out and look at stuff. To look at what all we did that day. It was so sick.

Justin was really mindful and ahead of his time as far as giving the company a direction. Plus, one of the original art directors for the company who actually drew the logo was Barry McGee.

Yeah, that’s not bad.

The company just had such a heavy foundation and always looked strong. I remember Justin having this huge box of Barry’s artwork, all these mad balls and random screws and things he had drawn. Justin asked me if I wanted to take any of it and I didn’t.

“Nah, maybe later…”  

I wish I had that artwork now! (laughs)

One thing I always liked about Mad Circle was that the ads were never just a skate photo. There was always some kind of premise behind everything, like little photo essays. SJ’s Uncommonly Smooth whiskey glass and Pontus Alv throwing Caution with the orange cone. Was that stuff planned beforehand or retrofitted afterwards with the photos?

It was a mixture of both. It’s funny you bring up the Pontus ad because he had kickflipped over that cone and just from working with Justin for so long and knowing how he is, I knew enough to grab the cone and take it home. I knew I’d need it. It was really close to my house so I just grabbed and shot it with slide film later.  I remember thinking how sick it would be to have a black-and-white ad with this crazy orange cone. Justin liked the idea and that’s what we did. I really like how that one turned out.

What’s your favorite Mad Circle ad?

Fuck, that’s a tough one.

One that immediately comes to mind is that Scott Johnston sequence of him doing the 180 to switch backside 5-0 at Brown Marble the hard way. That’s one of my favorites, for sure. Definitely ahead of its time. I like a lot of the black and white stuff, too. Justin had an ad of an ollie at Santa Rosa park that was nice.

But if I had to pick one, it would be that Scott sequence… or that one of Karl doing the switch backtail where we put the sticker on there that everyone thinks we photoshopped.

That’s one of your classic shots.

Yeah, I love the belt. But those ads are definitely up there for me, for sure.

I know SJ has said that he kinda held back at first when shooting with you, just in case you blew it. Could you sense that at the time with him and possibly others?

I think Scott was the only one who really felt like that. But it’s not like he kept that a secret from me. He always thought I was way too stoned to shoot photos. (laughs)

He’s so meticulous at everything he does, which is why he’s good at everything. But we worked well together. He’s such a wound-up dude and I’m definitely not, especially in those days.

There was one time when he had a Droors ad due and we were out trying to shoot it. He just kept asking me over and over again, “Dude, do you got this? Are you sure? Are you sure you got this?”

“If you keep on worrying about me, you’re not going to even be able to skate!”

“I don’t know, man. I mean, I know Ballard is coming up…”

“Well then fuck, dude! Go shoot with Ballard then. I don’t give a shit.”

I remember turning around and seeing Bobby Puleo and Brad Staba over in Union Square, thinking to myself, “Fuck this, I’m gonna go shoot those guys instead!”

And that’s what I did. We went and put food all over the ground and I shot them rolling through pigeons. That’s how that photo came about. I was supposed to shoot a Droors ad with Scott and shot a bunch of birds instead.

I love Scott. That’s just how we worked. And after a while, he did start to trust in that I knew what I was doing.

But that SJ Parking Meter shot is a classic! Did you go out that day looking try this technique or did the idea just pop in your head at the spot?

We were just out skating. We were skating the Pier and had gotten kicked out. That ledge was just up the street so we always ended up skating there a good bit. That particular parking meter looked like it had been hit by a car and caught my eye. I didn’t even notice it had a Deluxe sticker on it while I was shooting. Scott was skating that ledge and that’s just how I decided to shoot it that day.

Did Scott even realize you were shooting it composed like that?

No, he had no idea. He was worried that I was even shooting something so basic like a back smith.

“Dude! Don’t shoot a photo of this!”

“Scott, trust me, man! You do your thing and I’ll do mine.”

Did you see the end of Mad Circle coming?

No, no one did. That was something where Giant just pulled the plug on it. I don’t even know to this day what I’m really comfortable saying about all that but it was definitely not the best how it went down.

We had just put out the 5 Flavors video only a couple months before. It was still firing on all cylinders so nobody expected it to come to an end like it did. I know that Justin had some differences with the people there and I think it was just a situation where they wanted all of their brands under one roof. I mean, Mad Circle was basically just this one dude out in SF. But I do feel Mad Circle could’ve gone on for several more years. It could still be a board company to this day.

Agreed. I know it was after that when you moved down to LA and got hooked up with Girl for a bit before your current gig at DC. Granted, you only shot there for a year or two but it was that legendary Chocolate Tour-era where those dudes were absolutely killing it. Do you have a particular favorite memory that stands out from your time at Girl?

It’s hard to pick out one moment. It was such a great time to be a part of all that and be friends with those guys.

If anything, I’d have to pick this trip we all took to Vancouver for Slam City Jam that year. Just all of us in a van: me, Gino, Sheffey, Keenan, Chico, Carroll, Rick, Koston and Meza smashed into this van like sardines. It was the funnest drive. I have so many great photos from just being in the van on that trip. I remember Meza giving Eric shit the whole way up from LA to SF about how he’d better back noseblunt Hubba when we got there. Just talking shit for hours. He’d bust on Eric and then do shit like tap me on the shoulder in front of Eric to ask how I was planning on shooting him do it. All with that classic smirk that Meza always has. So good. But, of course, he ended up doing it.  

So Koston’s back noseblunt down Hubba basically came about through peer pressure?

Something like that, yeah.

I heard he didn’t even like it when he did it.

No, he wasn’t overly thrilled about it. Not at all. But I certainly was.

I remember having so much anxiety over that photo, not knowing what it looked like. It was insane. I thought about it everyday for the whole two weeks until I finally got home. I walked around with that roll in my pocket the whole time because I wasn’t about to go to some random lab in Vancouver. I wasn’t going to a place that I didn’t know but then I started to worry about possibly losing the film as well. What if something happened to it? It was psycho but it all worked out.  

Talk a little about how you started coming out to Philadelphia and Love. Did it feel like some new golden era for the city at the time?

To be honest, for the first year I went out there, it wasn’t that readily apparent to me, even though I was definitely still tripping on all the stuff that was going down. Granted hindsight is always 20/20 but knowing what that place means to skating now is insane. Kalis and I were just talking a few days ago about what it was like to be there at the time and be part of it. Something that people look back on 15 years later and it still holds up. It’s still people’s favorite.

I was lucky. Kalis was getting a shoe and I had just started working for DC… I remember Kelly Bird telling me straight-up, “Get ready. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in Philly.”

I was down. Kalis and Stevie had this super shitty apartment together and I’d go stay on their couch for weeks at a time. Hang out with all of Stevie’s homies, go skate and grab a cheesesteak on the way home. Go out everyday, shooting everything that was going down at Love that day… and if there wasn’t much on that particular day, going up to Stevie or Josh to make something happen.

“Hey man, can we shoot a photo? I’ve been sitting here all day.” (laughs)

That’s actually how that switch front nose went down of Stevie’s. Clear everyone off the ledge and boom! Just like that.

Two of Love’s most iconic shots gotta be the Kalis tre over the can and the Wenning switch heel off the ledge over the can. You can’t tell me those were also shot of out boredom, right?

No… well, the Wenning one was kinda like that. We were skating at night and the idea just popped in my head. I thought it would be dope because we were always there during the day. No one had filming lights or anything like that back then. Definitely not in Philly. You never saw night photos at Love back then so we thought we’d gave it a shot. There was no production whatsoever…. which is kind of the cool thing about it. We just did it one night.

The tre flip was a little different. I remember being at Dyrdek and Ave’s apartment in LA when Kalis told me about it. I couldn’t even believe it. I can’t remember the name but somebody had already shot a photo of it. The problem was the angle they shot it from was straight-on. With all due respect to whoever that was, that was not a good photo. I remember seeing it for the first time and telling Josh, “Fuck that. We’re going back to do it. We have to get that one right.”

That’s something that had to be shot from the side so you can see the distance. So you can see the catch and the can.

So we went back the next week and I got a sequence of it. I basically flew out there almost specifically for that trick.

Was it difficult shooting Danny Way and vert skating at first after so many years of being out in the streets? Did you go back and study old photos or possibly even hit up some older photogs for pointers?

I definitely looked at some older photos for inspiration and I’m constantly asking Grant questions anyway. Even back when I was just starting, I’d write him letters to get his two cents on things and he’d write me back. But yeah, I’d ask Grant a lot of questions prior to the session and then just be figuring things out on the fly with whoever was skating.

“What are you doing again? Where are you going?”

Unfortunately, Danny gave me a lot of practice because when he was filming for the DC Video, he’d be out there for up to 7 hours sometimes.

But you had to be terrified at first with all that Mega Ramp stuff, right?  Then probably strangely comfortable with the whole scenario… 

Honestly, at this point, I feel like I almost have as much confidence in Danny’s skating as he does. I remember in the past doubting certain things he’d say but I’ve learned over the years to not ever do that. Take that rail, for example.

“You’re going 45mph straight at this huge uncapped piece of steel and you’re going to front crook it? Really? … Alright.”

But then he does it.

How involved were you in the planning?

I wasn’t there for any of the building. That was kept under wraps because Ken didn’t want a lot of people knowing about it. I just remember Greg coming up to me and saying, “Hey dude, this is going to be fun. There’s something gnarly going down.” (laughs)

I remember going there and just being blown away. I think I’m actually the one who came up with the name “Mega Ramp”, even though it’s long been trademarked. But I remember seeing it and thinking that it was literally bigger than a building.

But I was there the first time he skated it… he slammed and slid on his stomach all the way down. It was obviously sketchy but he just powered through and figured it all out. It’s amazing that the dimensions were  right considering he just eyeballed it as it was being built. Build it here, this high with this certain amount of transition and it should be good.

That’s crazy.

There were definitely some trials though, for sure. That box-type ledge thing he skated for a while before the rail? That thing was psycho. He just looked at like a big ledge but imagine going 45mph into a front feeble accidently when you’re trying a 50-50? That’s scary even on a curb going regular speed!

The slams he took on that thing were insane but he’s like a cat. He’d just spin around and knee slide on his elbows backwards. He never goes into anything blind. He always knows what he’s doing.

How do you even go about figuring out angles for that thing? It’s gotta be easy to get lost while trying to shoot something that huge…

Greg and I talked a lot about that. I mean, it’s almost next to impossible to convey how truly gnarly that stuff is. The average person can’t possibly wrap their heads around it.

I think we lucked out that it was built in an area where we could get really far back and give it a sense of scale. We could use long lenses and show it for what it really was, the best we could. When you shoot something long of that enormity, it’s the same thought as to why you don’t shoot a 20-stair rail with a fisheye lens. It’s 20-stairs, you don’t need to polish that turd up. It’s already gnarly. You just try to show it for what it is.

The Dyrdek Big Brother Cover and subsequent DC campaign with all the stuffed animals… what the hell was going on there? Was that just being purposefully over-the-top for fun’s sake? Were the skaters into it?

Those ads were nuts and I think about half of the skaters were really into it. But it’s funny because people still to this day talk about wanting to redo those.

Most of that came from working with Ken. I remember doing the one with Dyrdek and the wolf and Ken talking to me about how these really weren’t so far out of the realm of what could actually happen.

“You know Dyrdek probably will end up having a Lamborghini and hell, he’ll probably buy a wolf, too. That’s funny. These are supposed to be funny. But at least make that Lambo yellow, you dumbass! That way it’ll show off more at night!”

The original idea for Dyrdek’s cover was him just wanting something outrageous, which we definitely succeeded at. But originally there were supposed to be 3 girls in there, only 1 showed up. Gnarly b-grade porn chicks we hired through Flynt.

We got the cheetah from this taxidermy spot nearby. I’ve actually seen those exact same animals from there over and over again at different things…. even at the DC 20-Year party! Those same penguins are still making money for that place 20 years later.

But what was it like shooting the DC team in the early 2000s in general? A booming time in skateboarding as a whole and that team in particular was almost like a rap group. I mean, you’re shooting Rob Dyrdek with a face full of diamonds…

(laughs) I was just making the most of it. It was an insane amount of fun but I do feel that so much of it was done well enough to where even your super-cynical Jason Dills could still appreciate it on some level. They got the joke. Some of that stuff was so insane that it’s really no surprise people are still talking about it. So much of that can be attributed to how smart Ken is. He really knows how to get people’s attention. DC was smart enough to recognize what was funny, sick or just looked cool.

I truly miss working with someone as brilliant as Ken. It just goes to show that you can have a ton of amazing photos but unless you’re working with the right people, they won’t know what to do with them. They won’t get used in the right way, if at all. It’ll come and go like a fart in the wind.

The Nick Dompierre backside noseblunt on the cover of Transworld… be honest, was that a make? 

No, it’s not. He was basically landing and starting to roll away but he never fully made it. The ground there is so slippery and he kept sliding out. But he was so close. I could’ve used a sequence of it, that’s how close he was. He just wasn’t making it well enough for footage. There was no question of whether he could do it or not, it was more about him actually going back to do it.

This was right when Nick got on DC but it just so happened to be right before his career took kind of a downturn and he never went back to film it. Even though I’m not one to normally use something that gnarly if it’s not a make, there was no question in my mind at the time that he could and would go back to do it.

Most extreme lengths you’ve gone to in order to get a photo?

The first thing that comes to mind is AVE’s nollie crook backside 180 out at the USC ledges, a sequence for his shoe ad. I was living down in San Diego at the time and had to drove up four days straight to get it. It became this crazy battle where AVE got in a fight with some random dude at the spot and the guy ended up coming back that night and smashing the whole ledge out with a fucking sledgehammer! He just smashed it to pieces.

Holy shit!

Yeah, so we went there the first day and didn’t get it. AVE gets in a fight. Drive up from San Diego the next day to find the ledge totally smashed and unskateable. I turn around and go back home while AVE goes out on the hunt, trying to find this guy. Drive back the third day after Greg and those guys bondo’d the ledge but there was still something wrong with it and we still didn’t get it. On the fourth day, we got it.

Remember that I’m still shooting film at this point and every single try was a roll of film. It was such a long trick. He’d nollie crook the whole thing and I wanted him rolling in and out of the frame so it was a full roll sequence. I probably went through a 100+ rolls of film for that one.

So much of what makes early skate photos great is a lack of rules and a sense of exploration, something that still shines through in your photos over the years. How do you feel about skate photography as a whole in the digital age of 2015? And how does print media dying affect this?

It’s kind of a two-part answer. As far as photography is concerned, you have to keep searching. Keep trying and learning so you can get better. Even tonight, I’m shooting this In Transition thing and we’re going to a fucking skatepark. But I’m excited because I went to Grant’s and borrowed some stuff. I’m gonna be using 10 flashes to line up the park and shoot into them. Just having fun with it. That’s how I keep myself psyched on skate photography.

I’ve been guilty of digital magic. It’s easy. You have everything right there and you can just keep making photos technically better and better. At one point in my career, I had a digital Hasselblad and a studio strobe to shoot skating… shit they use to shoot fucking Vogue covers with. You don’t need that for skating. You can get just as rad of a photo with one flash and a fisheye lens. Seeing the back of your camera and knowing how everything could be that much better through this or that, that’s what people get in the cycle of doing. I’ve been guilty of it and had to take myself out of that space. Going back to thinking about things as they happen. Pushing stops. Because no matter how technically perfect a photo is, it’s all about the end result anyway. Some of my personal favorite photos were shot with really shitty equipment. I mean, Koston’s back noseblunt down Hubba was shot with Konica 3200 speed print film that I bought at Walgreens. Rick and Eric were skating both sides of Hubba during that session so I couldn’t set up flashes. I bought print film instead. That’s what I had to do.  

I think some of the magic gets lost with all of this technology. Just by leaving the shutter open and exploring the unknown of what something could look like is so important. Those experiences are what made it all so magical to me. That’s why I keep trying to push myself with different techniques, having fun. Throughout my career, the things I’m most stoked on are the things that I was just having fun with. That’s what I feel ends up looking the best.

Not to wax poetic or anything. That’s just how it is.

As far as print media dying, I like Instagram and I post things regularly there but there is a sense of things becoming less special. That sucks. Too much crap floods the brain and doesn’t let the significant stuff really shine. Same thing with videos. Getting a photo in a print magazine is still a very special thing but that just might be my own antiquated view.

The internet puts more pressure on the magazines, which is tough. I think some are doing a better job than others as far as reacting to it. I think what the Skateboard Mag did recently was smart. Making something tangible that you want to hang on to… that is exactly what every magazine was when we were younger. Something you want to keep that is significant. There needs to be more of that.

big thanks to Mike for taking the time. 

5.15.2015

gutter flashes


Friend of the CBI and all-around renaissance man/good dude, Mark Whiteley recently begat a second book of his lovely skateboarding imagery you'll definitely want to get your grubby mitts on. Focusing this time on collecting the best of Marky's trick flicks from over the years, Gutter features a virtual "who's who" from both the Bay Area and beyond, all out in the streets and doing their thing. It also features an introduction by little old me. (blush)

Get it here and if you happen to be in San Jose tomorrow, stop by and say hello.

4.16.2015

skate free: sean malto



A bit in-between things right now but regardless, here's another one of these Day in the Life-style pieces I was able to do for Nike SB. Sean's seriously the best dude... even though the Kansas City cuisine was not as accommodating for me. Hope you enjoy.

Extra credit for those who catch the CBI Cruiser BGPs in Sean's house. Was super stoked/shocked to see that lying around.

3.07.2015

chrome ball interview #81: andrew reynolds

Chops and the Boss sit down for conversation.


Alright Drew, gonna start this off with something that definitely has me stoked and I figure you’re the guy to ask: Spanky’s pro board is back on Baker with what looks to be a heavy part coming up in Made 2. Looks like we have a reinvigorated Mr. Long rolling around. Great to see but how did that go down?

I mean, he’s always been super talented, that was never really the problem. He’s always been good. For a while there, he was able to be a pro skater, be good and get the job done but I think maybe he just got a little sidetracked with partying and by life in general. Just getting distracted by growing up can end up being pretty heavy sometimes.

I think the biggest turning point for him came after he had decided to quit drinking and started to see how much stuff he could get done without that partying lifestyle. Fortunately, he’s still super young and can make such a big change in time so that he’s still able to get out there and kill it.

Do you think Baker taking away his board served as sort of wake-up call for all of this?

I think it was a lot of things coming together. I don’t want to get too into his personal life but I’m sure losing his board was a part of it.

Coming from my own experience and struggles with alcohol and things, there’s no real way to say what it is that happens to you to make the decision and stay with it. It’s just like one day, you’re ready. It can’t come from anybody else. Not your friends or your family. It is up to you to make that decision and it’s different for everybody. One person might have to end up on the streets with nothing and another person just might have to feel a little shitty inside one morning to turn it around. It’s just how it is. So, I’m sure there were some things that just started happening where he began to realize that it was time to get his shit together.


Was there like a trial period there before you brought his board back to see how serious he was?

The thing is that I’ve never really had to take people’s boards away on Baker. Having to call dudes up like, “You’re not gonna have a pro board anymore, man. The time’s up.” It really sucked. That was my first time ever having to do that and it definitely does not feel good.

The fact is that you can’t be a professional skateboarder forever. I’m not going to be one forever. Spanky’s not. Nobody is. But Spanky’s just been skating so much. A year went by and you can still see how serious he’s taking it. He’s filming so hard for this Emerica video when at first, we honestly weren’t so sure about it. But he’s out there skating like a professional skateboarder, bringing his board back felt like the right thing to do.

The Baker crew cannot be an easy team to manage. How do you balance working with friends while simultaneously trying to do good for your business? I know there was some stress with those roster changes a little while back, let alone trying to deal with dudes like Antwuan while you’re also turning Riley and Cyril pro… What’s the fine line there?

I think that it just comes down to an honest approach. I’d love to have everyone from the original Baker still on the team. Guys like Evan Hernandez, I’d love to have them on there forever. It’s just that some people take a different path.

Honestly, I don’t really look at it as my responsibility. If you don’t want to work at being a pro skater, that’s not my problem. That’s your problem. I’m trying to have a team of pro skaters, not people who don’t skate.

At the end of the day, you see what I’ve been doing all of these years, do that. Do what Riley Hawk does. That’s what being a pro skater is. So much of it comes down to the personal attitude of that guy. That’s how skateboarding is.

Baker is a family. It is. The problem is that you have these guys who end up falling off or whatever and they’re mad. That’s the common story. Certain people can own up to it and then try to do something about it. But some people can’t or just won’t admit it.

That’s what was so cool about Spanky when the whole thing happened. It came down to where I asked him what he’d been doing for the last couple years and he owned up to the fact. “It’s on me. You’re right. I’m taking responsibility for it.”

Other people didn’t take it as well.

Photo: O'Dell

Definitely not an easy thing to do. How’s your Made 2 part coming along? Is there a deadline for that thing yet?

We have a year left to film but honestly, I don’t really have much footage for it at all. I don’t know if it’s just the point where I’m at in my life right now or how many times I’ve done this same process over and over… but right now, I’m just kinda cool skating skateparks with my friends, pushing myself to do a ledge trick that I’ve never done before. To tell the truth, I’m finding it kinda hard to figure out what to film for this one. 

I’ve read where you want this part to be a little more fun compared to how you did things with Stay Gold. Are you sticking to that? Are you almost afraid of setting things off down that madness path once again?

Not really. I mean, just running through things real quick, I came up skating during that whole Eastern Exposure thing: being out in the streets, cruising around, ollieing trash cans and that whole thing. That’s how I grew up skating.

It wasn’t too long after that when I started looking up to Jamie Thomas, Chad Muska and Tom Penny, who were all more about putting together these really sick video parts. So I basically just started doing that, too. Focusing really hard on that aspect of my skating and how I wanted my video parts to look. That’s how I went about doing things with Baker 3, Stay Gold and my Emerica video parts.

All during that time, the way my mind works, if I’m gonna do a back heel for my part, I want to do the best back heel that I can possibly do. That’s what I did. I did that all the way into my early 30’s. The problem is that now I’m 36, I can’t outdo what I’ve already done already. I can’t kickflip something bigger than Davis. I know that. I’ll end up in the hospital.

So what do I do? I’m not gonna be as tech as Guy Mariano because I don’t know how to do that. That’s not how I skate.

Then you start to hear your friends say stuff like, “It doesn’t matter. People just want to see you skate.”

Thank you. That’s cool and I appreciate that. But it’s hard because I’ve always gone so gung-ho with these things. It’s hard not to do that. But at this point, I don’t think I can do that anymore. My body can’t physically outdo the jumping aspect of what I did in Stay Gold. I just can’t. So that’s out. Flipping in and out of tricks is out, I don’t even know how to do that. What do I do?

I have to figure out how I go about making another part that’s different than Stay Gold but that I still feel good about. That’s what I’m going up against.


Has seeing all the coverage surrounding your “madness” helped improve that and possibly made you rethink any of that stuff as its happening?

Right now, I’m doing a lot better with that. I honestly don’t care about it right now. If it looks sketchy, I’ll try to redo it but I’m not in that mode anymore of trying to get it absolutely perfect. I’m just doing backtails on skatepark ledges.

My big thing with that was that I’ve never been clinically diagnosed for OCD. I never talked to a doctor or anything about it. People that actually have OCD really suffer from it and it’s really bad. I don’t want to be looked at as someone who has any knowledge of what having OCD is like. I can’t help people with it. I’ve actually had kids come up to me who really suffer and they’ll want to ask me questions about it, hoping I can help them. I just don’t know. Mine just has to do with my skating. Once I’m not on my board, that stuff basically goes away for me.

Many skaters have a bit of madness but do you think your case during those years could have possibly been an unfortunate byproduct of your sobriety? Free from the numbing effects of drugs and alcohol, this new hyperactivity came to the surface almost as a coping mechanism? Because going back over old footage, you weren’t afraid to put a hand down every now and then prior…

Sobriety is just a mandatory thing for me to live. Without being sober, there would be no Stay Gold or any of that. All that stuff like me being a freak at the bottom of some stairs, doing things over and over, really came from a set goal that I had made for myself with that video part. I had this idea where I wanted it to seem like the big things I was doing were easy. Like, how is he doing this? I wanted things to look like they weren’t that hard. So if it looked sketchy, that made it look harder and I didn’t want that. So I’d redo it.

I know that a hand down or a little extra swag can be great. Just that little extra whatever, that’s such a part of skating. I know that. I see it in a lot of skateboarders. But I was sticking to my goal.


Thoughts on the term “Baker Maker”?

Oh, I love “Baker Maker”. I’m not sure but I think that might have come from Jamie Thomas. But yeah, I love it. It’s funny.

Just the other day, I put a little video on Instagram where Jerry, Spanky and I were doing these nollie 360 heelflips with the body turning as well. Mine was just awful to where I’m basically laying down on the floor, barely doing it. Daniel Lutheran actually commented on there, “Baker Maker” and he was totally right! It was the biggest Baker Maker ever!

I like it because since the beginning, Baker has always been known as being this odd crew. Whether it’s people on drugs or just looking different, it’s always been this weird group of people. So, of course, the skating that is going to happen with such a crew will reflect that. It’s never going to be perfect. I mean, Dustin’s lucky to roll away at all half the time. I think it’s awesome.

We’ve talked so much about video parts already and how they’ve been your main focus for so many years, what’s your process for filming like? Do you sit down and make lists or just kinda wing it? And has that changed over the years? Baker 3 and Stay Gold seem almost like two completely different animals.

I’ve always had somewhat of a list going of tricks I want to get for a part, be it in my head or if I took the time to actually write it down on paper. Baker 3 was a much different time for me back then. It was before I had a kid and I just had less responsibilities. It was easier for me to travel back then. Because of that, I’d end up being at more spots which leads to more skating. I was just filming everywhere I went.

With Stay Gold, I really had to think it out. If I want to go on this filming trip, that means I’m going to have to pay the nanny in order to go so I better do something cool or I’m just wasting my money. It’s funny but it really was the truth.

If I’m going out and doing something that doesn’t have anything to do with hanging out with my kid versus being at home, I don’t see the point in doing it. Unless its something that’s going to benefit either my job or my skating, I don’t really care. It kinda sucks in a way because I don’t even know what to do with my free time. It’s weird.


Which of your video parts would you say is your personal favorite and is there one you really don’t care about for whatever reason? Is there one you consider your “prime” even though you’ve consistently one-upped yourself with each one?

Honestly, I kinda like them all. I think they’re all pretty good.

As far as a “prime” goes, I realize things now looking back on parts that I didn’t really notice at the time because I was 20 years-old. Like when I first moved to California and was filming 411 profiles and things like that, I had a certain power in the way I could kickflip down a set of stairs. I look back on it now and I can’t believe it. It’s not the same anymore. I can’t just go up and kickflip a picnic table like it’s nothing now. I have to actually try. Back then, your tricks just pop. No problem. You don’t even have to really think about it. As you get older, you reach a point where you have to decide to really give it a little extra something. It’s not just automatic. (laughs)

But focus-wise and overall mentally, definitely Stay Gold is the one. That’s the only time that will happen in my life. For 2 years, nothing could get in my way. I was at home, working out by myself for two hours everyday. Pouring sweat. And skating was really fun for me at the time, too. But it’s funny because once the video was done, that was it. All that other stuff was done, too. I didn’t want to ride my exercise bike anymore. It was over. I was cool with it… but I was done.

What’s your process like with gaps anyway? Do you build up with a straight ollie, 180 ollie, kickflip and so on or do you just go for broke straight away?

Some of the ones I did for Stay Gold like the back 3, the back heel and the shuv-it heel, I actually trained on that one trick. In my park in the back of my house or I’d go to Biebel’s or whatever and just do that one trick over and over to where I could do it every single time. Just getting it down, as fast as I wanted. From there, I’d take to a 5 or 6-stair and get comfortable with it there as well. That’s all you really need.

Once I got to the spot, I’d warm-up with an ollie or something but that’s about it. Ollie it 3 times and if it feels good, I go for it. If the ollies are feeling soft on my feet and I’m landing pretty light, I’ll start throwing it out. The thing that’s weird is one day, you can ollie 15 stairs and it feels like every bone in your foot is crunching as you land and your board can barely take it, but the next day, you can ollie it and it feels like a 3-stair. You can’t really call it.


You’ve definitely done your thing down some of skateboarding’s more infamous gaps like Wallenberg, Carlsbad, Hollywood High and Wilshire, which have definitely been your go-tos while branching out with a few tricks down Love and the Santa Monica Triple-Set as well. Which one of these gaps would you say is your personal favorite and is there one that still kinda freaks you out?

Oh man, I don’t think I can say any of them would be my favorite because they’re all just big and painful. But if I had to pick one, I’d say probably Hollywood High is my favorite. Just because it’s close to my house and is a classic LA spot.

For me, it’s always easier to go a little bit taller and shorter than to go longer. The Santa Monica Triple Set is really long to me. I’d rather take a longer drop down than me having to go faster, farther out.


The frontside flip down the Love Gap. Did you fly out there specifically for that? Had you ever skated that thing before? And was keeping the leather jacket on a conscious decision?

The leather jacket thing just kinda happened… basically because it was so cold. But no, I’d never skated that gap before. Shany Heyl had moved out to Philly so I was around every now and then but the whole thing is kinda crazy how it worked out. I just did it. I was in Philly but had gone to the airport to fly home and fallen asleep. We’d been drinking that morning and I ended up missing my flight. So I had to go back to Philly and somewhere within that whole mix, I ended up doing it. There was no process or practicing, we just went to check it out and I did it real quick. That was it.

You can see that I was drinking a lot when you watch the footage because of how crazy I did it.


Growing up in the public spotlight, first as a little dude for G&S before sharing amateur duties with Ocean Howell on Birdhouse, did you ever feel almost pigeon-holed in a way as you got older as “the little kid”? Was there a point where you realized your style was maturing and that you were starting to come into your own? 4-Wheel Drive perhaps?

How crazy was it that the ams for Birdhouse at the time were literally Ocean Howell from the H-Street videos, skating to the Doors and all that, and me. That blew me away at the time. I was just the little kid Willy got on the team… Tony hadn’t even seen me skate yet and here’s Ocean, one of the coolest skaters ever.  That was insane. Ocean’s just the best.  

But I never really thought about that little kid stuff. I just wanted to skate and focus on whatever project I was working on. I wanted to film and show people what I could do. I just wanted to kill it.

4-Wheel Drive is still kinda little kid style to me. The thing that sticks out to me is in I think a 411 where I do a kickflip and a frontside flip over a rail at UCI. I was skating this big board, like an 8.5 or something. I remember going home to watch the footage and thinking to myself how that big board just seems to fucking fly! I really could see a difference. After that, I just started kickflipping everything and it went on from there.

Talk a little bit about your filming of The End, with all the skits and shooting on actual film. Did you realize at the time it was about to detonate your career like it did with SOTY honors and all that?

I honestly didn’t even really think about it at the time. Tony said that this is what we were going to do and I wanted to do good. That’s all it really was. I had tricks in mind that I wanted to do and we went out and got them. The film stuff was a bit different but I didn’t really care. I was more focused on just skating well. That other stuff will take care of itself.

As far as blowing up like it did, I did like that part. I thought it was good but as far as Skater of the Year goes, it was so much different back then. Honestly, nobody really cared about it much at the time. It was literally somebody calling up to tell me that I had won and it was just like, “Okay… cool.” It wasn’t this big surprise or even that much of a big deal. It’s not like I was “in the running” for it or anything. They didn’t even have any of that. I think Jake saw that kickflip I did in Paris off the blocks and he made his decision off of that. He called me and that was it. I mean, it was cool. I still have the trophy and everything. It just wasn’t like the way it is now.


Why the Chimp?

Oh man, I still don’t really know. That was their idea. We had all these skits and everything… it was something to do, I guess. It was based on that Clint Eastwood movie with the chimpanzee. I still don’t even know it but that’s what it’s based off of. That was the theme.

I wasn’t really that into it but I’m not the type of person to make a big fuss. They were putting me in this amazing video, fuck it. Whatever you want.
How was the idea for Baker born? What made you want to start your own company instead of plugging into a dynasty-style company like Girl?

Jim Greco, J Strickland and myself… we weren’t really deeply involved with the Birdhouse team. I mean, we always respected Tony and everything but we never really skated with Willy, Klein or even Heath back then. We kinda had our own group of friends that we hung out with. Growing up and seeing companies like Girl and Chocolate start up, these small new companies that were really cool, that was more of what we were into.

At the time, it was like this whole drugged-out, Piss Drunx kinda-thing that we were representing. We didn’t want to be this clean-cut company like Girl or Chocolate. We were doing our own thing and wanted our company to represent that.


You, in particular, seemed to make a pretty heavy transformation at this time from a hip-hop-flavored deal with the bucket hats and everything to a more punk rock aesthetic on your own mission… which was largely in direct opposition to the then-status quo of skateboarding.  I’ve always wondered if there was a sort of “us against the world” vibe in the Piss Drunx gang during this time? Did you guys feel like you were, in a sense, rebelling against how “safe” skateboarding had started to become around this time?

I can see what you’re saying but we honestly never thought anything like that at the time. That just didn’t cross our minds at all.

One thing that I’m most proud about with Baker is how honest it’s always been and continues to be. That is just who we are. We’re not scared to put stuff in our videos where we possibly look really stupid. I think that’s what makes it better. If somebody looks goofy or somebody looks cool, we just show it.  But it’s not a thing that we really think about. It’s just who we are. We got Jim looking crazy. He looks like nobody else in skateboarding right now. Let’s show it off. But at the same time, we still had Terry Kennedy in there. We still had Andre Nickatina in our video.

But going from Fourstar and all that to the early days of Baker, I think it just came from being around Ali Boulala more. Hanging out with Jim and Punker Matt… along with the drinking and drugs. Stuff just gets dirtier the more you get into that stuff. It just kinda happens. You care less about clothes. But I feel like I’ve always been hip-hop though. No matter what, I’m hip-hop, straight up. (laughs)


What happened between Baker and Bootleg to where it became so adversarial? It was always supposed to be two companies but once the split happened, you guys were going after each other in ads and things. What happened there?

As far as the ad thing goes, I would never do that. If you’ve ever seen a Baker ad where I’m trying to call somebody out like that, show it to me because I don’t do that sort of thing. I remember reading the bottoms of these Bootleg ads with J trying to say all this shit towards us. He was so mad.

What happened was J felt like he wanted more money. I guess he could see that Baker was somewhat successful… even though having a successful skateboard company is really nothing. You don’t make money off decks, that’s just the way it is. But he saw that we were doing good and wanted more. The people I talked to, who were also part of the business, saw what he wanted as impossible. What he wanted as a Brand Manager, it just didn’t work that way. So I took their advice.

The original idea was to start Bootleg alongside Baker out of Blitz. Side by side, which makes sense. This is actually how we ended up doing Baker and DeathWish. We get to support each other and earn money together. This was the idea back then with Bootleg at the beginning but Blitz didn’t want to do it with him. So he started shopping it around elsewhere and ended up with NHS. It just became this thing where he was being paid to be a Brand Manager at Baker while he was basically doing the same art and graphics for a company he was doing out of NHS as well. It didn’t make any sense.

When DeathWish does good, we all do good because it’s all under Baker Boys. Same thing with Baker, the whole distribution does good. That makes sense. No offense to Santa Cruz but if Creature starts doing really well for NHS, it doesn’t benefit me or our family. So with Bootleg under NHS, it didn’t work. It became so much about money and after a while, it was obvious that I couldn’t afford to keep doing it that way. I had to let him go. That was the end of it.


Talk a little about the recruitment strategy for ams that Baker initially tried with all that super young talent. Was it possibly because you, Dustin and even Ali started out so young? So much of the responsibility falls on the rider but looking back, do you think you guys were in any position to really try managing young kids with all that was going on in your own lives?

There is no way that we were in any position to do that. We could probably be in jail right now for some of the things we did with those kids. Just by taking them on those trips with us back then, it could’ve been really bad. But that’s the way it happened and you learn from that. But no, you shouldn’t have a bunch of 12 or 14-year-old kids around all that drinking and drugs.

As far as the decision to recruit all those younger kids, it wasn’t really because of the way we started. It had more to do with just how this thing works. You try to sponsor young guys that rip and hope they work out. That you can build together. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

If you want to have cool riders, you’re going to try and hook up a few good young ones that can grow with your company. If not, your company is gonna be lame and it’s gonna go out of business. 

Who is one person you regret not putting on Baker in retrospect?

I did have the opportunity to put Ishod on Baker at one point. I know, I know… that’s a bad one. I don’t know if it just wasn’t the right time or we had too many young guys already but it didn’t work out for whatever reason. He was getting boards there for a second and I do look back on that one from time to time like, “Damn… that dude is so good.”

I probably blew it on that one but I strongly believe that everything happens the ways it’s supposed to. He’s supposed to be on Real with those guys.


What was the story behind all the jokes on Chad Fernandez? The prank calls about him getting on the team and the undercover filming missions from the bushes?

With Chad, we were all living in Huntington Beach at the time and skating a lot together. We skated with Chad all the time back then. He was riding for Creature and was definitely ripping. The thing is, and I don’t know why this is, but you know how there’s always certain people in a group that just seem to attract more shit from their friends? The guy that, for whatever reason, people just love to pick on? That was Chad. We were all friends and I’m still cool with Chad. But Knox, man… he was just such a little punk. Especially to Chad. He just loved picking on that guy. Always prank calling him and everything. It was kinda messed up.

I remember whenever we were editing that video and J had put all that Chad Fernandez stuff in there… it was right there along with Jamie Thomas’ sponsor-me video! I just remember watching it at J’s and knowing that it was pretty fucked up to put it in there but it was just so funny. Not that the sponsor-me video was even all that bad, it just looked like everybody else’s first sponsor-me video, just kinda funny little kid stuff. But I knew putting that stuff in there was both the right and wrong thing to do at the same time. (laughs)

It was just so good. It’s exactly what a skate video should be!

Classic shit.

But yeah, Jamie made us take it out. We ended up having to cover it up because he was gonna sue us. It’s still funny though.


Another infamous tale, what is your side of the events surrounding the Gershon Mosley altercation?

Oh yes, of course. I’ll tell you exactly what happened.

I was on the verge of being blackout drunk. Totally loaded. I was at some video premier in San Diego and was just talking shit and being loud. I think I was rapping, too… I don’t know what all I was doing. But Anthony Mosley was with us, just hanging out and I kept on referring to him by his last name. Mosley this, Mosley that.

I think that Gershon may have thought I was talking about him when I was talking to a completely different person. But he came over and basically stepped to me. Now I don’t start fights but when I used to drink, I would get into it every now and then. I was loaded that night and said something like, “Get the fuck outta my face!” or whatever. He just socked me.

To be honest, I probably deserved it because I was being pretty shitty to him when he came over but my point was that I wasn’t even talking to him at all for him to step to me like that. I was talking to my friend Anthony Mosley. It was all a big misunderstanding.

But yeah, he punched me and I swirled around and whacked my face on a bus bench, cracking me teeth. I remember picking up this metal garbage can lid, trying to whack him with that. I was probably 10-feet away (laughs). In my mind, I was gonna get him but in reality, I was falling all over the place and I couldn’t even really see anybody. It was a mess. My friends end up pulling me off and I woke up the next day bummed. Typical shit that happens when I drink: get in a fight, crack my teeth… that’s why I don’t drink because everytime I did, I’d end up in jail, on drugs, my teeth cracked or something. Every single time. I could never really drink and have a good time. It was always a mess.

But I saw him the next day at the tradeshow. I figured I’d walk up to him and apologize because I was probably out of line. I’m the one with the bloody mouth. So I go up to him and am just like, “Hey, man, I’m sorry about that last night…” But I could see that he was literally beginning to shake and his eyes were getting all red. He was about ready to attack me again!

“Ok, I’m outta here.” (laughs)

I’m getting the hell away from that guy! Dude’s about ready to kill me!


Crazy, man. So you’re now over a decade deep as a company owner, what’s your biggest regret or lesson learned?

Biggest regret I’d say is promoting drugs. I don’t do it and I don’t put weed or alcohol in any ads, videos or on decks anymore. Nothing. No more.

How do you wrestle your own personal convictions within your company with that of the riders’? What about those riders who aren’t on the wagon, like Dustin, for example? Baker will always be the Piss Drunx to some degree, right?

Here’s what I have to say about that: if Nuge personally says that he wants a bunch of pot leaves on his board, then I’m going to say okay. If he brings it up to me personally that this is what he wants on his board, that’s fine. It’s his model. If that’s somebody’s thing and is what they want, then yes. Of course. I have to let my team have their freedom, even if it does come at a cost to some of my personal views. They can have whatever they want. I’m just saying that we’re not going to put it on there just because.

If people are partying, that’s up to them. That doesn’t affect me. But I’m not trying to be some sneaky businessman where I’m putting weed on everything just to make a dollar. If I can avoid it, I will. There’s a fine line. I want my riders to be happy and feel like they ride for the coolest company that exists, but at the same time, I just don’t want to promote that stuff. For me, personally, I’m always talking about my sobriety and how I’m against drinking and drugs as much as I can because I feel that’s my job. I feel like I have to put that out there for people. But I can’t control what other people do. I don’t want to.


We discussed your Made 2 part earlier and where your skating is heading, is it possible we’d see a Heath-style retirement from you at some point? Where do you see your career in 10 years?

That retirement thing was more of his personality. That’s how he had to do it. I’m okay with being the old dude who skates. These video parts have always been for my own personal satisfaction, so you can walk around with your head up high. I’m happy with that.

You still see Huf around, doing his thing. He hangs and it’s cool. Tony’s still putting out amazing video parts. I’m just gonna skate and try to make Baker cool. I don’t think there would be any reason for me to have some retirement thing because I skate. That’s what I do. I hope companies will still want to sponsor me when I’m 60. I want to stay in skating, no matter what.

I’m just going to keep on skating as long as I can and push my skating where I can. Skating for fun. Try to find a good new zone to tap into that I haven’t before… something that doesn’t have to be jumping off 15s. That sounds nice.


Thanks to Patrick O'Dell, Goldy and Andrew for taking the time. 

R.I.P. Murray.