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Thrasher – August 2019.pdf

2 Thrasher
SCARE THE BOYS..........................................
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Thrasher – August 2019.pdf

  3. 3. 2 Thrasher CONTENTS/THRASHER MAGAZINE/AUGUST 2019/ISSUE 469 FEATURES SCARE THE BOYS.......................................................................42 Suck the life out of everyone HIGH ‘N’ DRY....................................................................................60 Coppertone wafting through the air DONOVON PISCOPO..............................................................78 Love your life INTO THE PIT!...................................................................................94 Burning the candle at both ends POCKET FULL OF SHRAPNEL.................................112 Time doesn’t even exist HEADS-BARKER........................................................................128 You feel a vibe HEADS-PABICH..........................................................................134 Never painted my nails OVER IT..................................................................................................146 For me it was terrible GIRL ON SMOKO IN MELBOURNE................162 Fell in love with it again MARK SUCIU.................................................................................176 Only a tech guy SCHOOLBOY Q...........................................................................196 Testing my boundaries THE SPECIALS..............................................................................198 Singing with stitches PANDA BEAR................................................................................200 You can’t really define it DEICIDE/NOTES.........................................................................202 It was almost nice MAIL..............................................................................................................20 The legend will live on EPIC SPOTS..........................................................................................30 Persistent pee smell CANVAS....................................................................................................36 Youthful admiration FIVE GREATS.....................................................................................48 I am not down ABNORMAL COMMUNICATION...........................54 Joe Purvert PHOTO-G..............................................................................................220 Bird of prey RIP.................................................................................................................222 Ben Raemers TRASH......................................................................................................228 Fake kidnap them FIRING LINE....................................................................................232 Hell nah ELSE............................................................................................................234 A dino’s tail DEPARTMENTS Cover: Fleet of foot and full of grace, Mark Suciu reenters the spotlight with a quick-up to back 50 in New York City. Welcome back, Mark. Photo: Taketomo Contents: He may have popped up the grate to get onto this beast, but Didrik “Deedz” Galasso ain’t out of the woods yet. If the pole, pedestrians or 33 stairs don’t take him out, there’s always that bus. Photo: Garta “At that moment I told myself that the party was over, for good” — Chad Muska, P. 158
  4. 4. 3
  6. 6. ©2019 Vans, Inc.
  7. 7. Editor In Chief Michael Burnett Managing Editor Michael Sieben Art Director Cameron Padgett Associate Art Director Adam Creagan Agency Designer Alán González, Max Stern Image Processor Dan Zaslavsky Digital Media Coordinator Cole Mathews Online Content Manager Greg Smith Senior Videographers Ewan Bowman, Preston Maigetter Videographers Matt Bublitz, Dan Stolling Chief Technical Officer Nicholas Lattner Music Editor & Assistant Online Content Manager Jordan Joseffer Motion & Web Designer Tom Dunnam Staff Writers & Photographers David Broach, Joe Brook, Brock Fetch, Andy Harris, Joe Hammeke Sam Hitz, Atiba Jefferson, Wez Lundry, Chris Rooney, Dan Zaslavsky Contributing Editors Lui Elliott, Mark Gonzales, Miles Long, C Moneydale Robin Steele, Steve Randall Contributing Photographers & Illustrators Olga Aguilar, Tim Aguilar, Lacopo Bigagli, Mia Bolton, Jason Cakebread, Ben Colen Tobias Coughlin-Bogue, Jon Coulthard, Jake Darwen, Ryan Flynn, Oli Gagnon Lars Garta, Nick Ghobashi, Bryce Golder, Mike Heikkila, Kylie Henson Norma Ibarra, Jazz Leeb, Blake Matthews, Sam McGuire, Zorah Olivia Sem Rubio, Nick Sayers, Mac Shafer, Jared Sherbert, John Shirley Cameron Strand, Zander Taketomo, Ed Templeton, Seu Trinh Contributing Writers Tim Aguilar, Louie Barletta, Tobias Coughlin-Bogue, Nate Denver, Jason Dill Kyle Eustice, Mike Gigliotti, Josh Landau, Traci Putkey, Valerie Jerque Zachary “Ducky” Kovacs, Rick McCrank, Jared Sherbert, Alex White Advertising Director Eben Sterling ( Advertising Sales Mike Stalter ( Events & Marketing Director Jerome Case ( Ad Operations Manager Michael Breslin Marketing & Event Manager Sally Vitello Executive Assistant Doug Waitrovich Chief Financial Officer Jeff Rafnson Mail Order/Customer Service Marsha Howard Archivist Tom Shattuck Product Sales Manager Rick Rotsært (415) 671–2426 Product Sales Freddy Levy (415) 671-2465 Product Procurement John Dujmovic Shipping Kenneth Elayba, Madeline Manson Charlie Pravel, Ian Seager, Adam Yim Accounting Manager Kelly Ma Circulation Consultant John Morthanos Engineer Ely Agustin HIGH SPEED PRODUCTIONS, INC. 1303 UNDERWOOD AVE., SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 94124 Thrasher welcomes all editorial submissions; however, return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts, art, drawings, and photographic materials if they are to be returned. No responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. All letters and art will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and subject to Thrasher’s right to edit and comment editorially. All rights reserved on entire contents; nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author. Any similarities between persons or places mentioned or alluded to in the fiction and real places or persons living or dead is purely coincidental. CHRISTIAN MAALOUF HOPS THE FENCE IN THE HARLEM STRAPPED. PHOTO: AMBER CHAVEZ. DON’T JUDGE US Jake Phelps 1962-2019 Still Watchin’ Curtis Hsiang 1963–2000 Ruben Orkin 1969–1999 Phil Shao 1973–1998 Preston Maigetter 1972–2017
  8. 8. “To this day I still wonder if that frog’s soul was taken in place of mine. I’ll never know for sure” 20 Thrasher Mail Drop c/o THRASHER PO Box 884570 San Francisco, CA 94188–4570 Spirits, ghosts, phantoms who roll. Those skaters who have passed, still reside in your soul. You can also e-mail us letters and art via: FLASH BACK Skating was the last thing I was thinking about until the guy in the cell next to mine slid a Thrasher under my door and said, “Here’s something to look at.” He could not have known what my reaction would be. It put me right back on my board. I can taste freedom. I can feel the pain in my right arm I broke. Every good or bad memory came back to me. Skating saved my life. I would have been dead 100 times over. I don’t ever regret anything, but reading about the King of the Road in this beat up old Thrasher makes me wish I would have stuck to skating instead of this crazy life I can’t stay away from. I forgot how free and at peace I was. This mag took me out of my cell for a while. I get out November 1st and the first thing I’m going to do is hug my mom and then skate. This letter is thanking anyone and everyone involved in skating. From my heart to all of yours, thank you for making me feel free again. Skate the lightning, and sleep with the angels and the skeletons in your closet for good measure. Johnny Powers Skating can transport you. Body and soul. —T-ed PIPE DAMAGE I’m reaching out for help solving a mystery of my past which involves a magazine, a full-pipe and a frog. It was August 1998. I was 18 years get help. Those were mostly the pre-cell phone ‘pager’ days. Just then, some other skaters showed up. Luckily, one of them had a cell phone and called 911. I stayed with you until paramedics came and helped hoist you out.” After hearing all of this, needless to say, I was blown away. I only remember being there, then waking up in the hospital. Thank God for good friends, random skaters with a cell phone, and the life of a frog. To this day I still wonder if that frog’s soul was taken in place of mine. I’ll never know for sure. Here is the part of the mystery that only you can help me old, just another beautiful day in SoCal. A few friends and I decided to fill an ice chest with beers and spend the day skating. Just living the dream. We went to the infamous Baldy full-pipe. It’s a bad-ass drainage pipe that opens up into a 2-level aqueduct. So, many beers and pipe carves later, I took a nasty spill head-first down into the lower level of the aqueduct. It was filled with boulders and broken beer bottles. I nearly broke my neck and back, went into a coma for 10 days, and got 8 staples and 42 stitches. Afterwards, when I met up with one of my buddies, Shay, he told me this account: “When you fell, I saw you mangled and unconscious. I climbed down and you were leaking blood. I leaned you up against the wall and wrapped my shirt around your head. I started to clean up the wounds. Just then you became awake, opened your eyes and said, ‘kill the frog, kill the frog.’ And then you fell back unconscious again. I was tripping and thought you were just mumbling bullshit. But I looked around us anyway and sure enough, there was a frog there! So, I killed it. It was a crazy thing to do, but I felt I had to. Everyone was panicking about what to do because we had no way to LEFT TO RIGHT: DAPHNE NAVA, NEW BRAUNFELS, TX / MALCOHM O’NEILL, SALEM, OR LEFT TO RIGHT: DAPHNE NAVA, NEW BRAUNFELS, TX / MALCOHM O’NEILL, SALEM, OR with. Not too long later, I was told by a couple of friends that I was in Thrasher, or at least something about my fall was mentioned. The random skaters that showed up in the nick of time and called for help must have submitted something about what happened. I’m guessing it was Hall of Meat but I’m not sure. I’ve never seen it, I would like to. I’d love to have a copy of that issue, if it exists. Maybe I could learn who these guys were that saved my ass. Timothy Fessler Barstow, CA Glad you survived but that frog was straight-up murdered. —T-ed
  9. 9. CHINESE DEMOCRACY I wrote to you a few months ago about the sinicization (when cultures adopt Chinese influences) of making skate magazines. Now I have some new ideas. It’s not just about magazines, it’s about your products. I hope we can reach a cooperation. First of all, I have some questions that haunt me all the time. Does Thrasher have an agent in China? Maybe I should talk about my plan. First, I want to promote skateboarding in China and be a “bridge” between China and USA. Do you know Yao Ming? He plays basketball in the NBA. I want to be him. You and I are two sides of the bridge. Second, I want to raise the level of the Chinese skater. We’re reaching a training agreement with you to send the best Chinese skaters to your place for training. I think it’s a win-win thing. Also, I’m fighting for Jackie Chan’s son to be my partner and I’m working on it. What is in it for you? Four things. 1) We will set up a company in China. You will own 30%. I can tell you all the proportions. I’m sure Chan will be my partner and make a very big profit. You don’t even need to worry about the quality of the product, we will make joint payments only. 2) You’re going to be famous in China. We’re going to make a famous brand. I know you are already very famous, but I believe that having China can help you become another Supreme. 3) You will have the potential to become an official partner and have designated training in China. 4) In addition to Chinese companies, you can also make a profit from the training agreement. There’s basically no loss for you, whether it’s money or fame. So, if you don’t have an agent in China, can I represent? If you already have an agent, can you give me a “joint right”? I don’t know if that’s the right word. Thank you. Y. Hyde Every business plan needs a pie chart. —T-ed ROLL ON I recently went to pay my respects at Pablo Ramirez’ memorial at Twin Peaks in SF. Afterwards, some friends and I bombed the backside in his honor. A lot of my friends knew him and skated with him. I didn’t know him personally but everything Pablo did in his life is so admirable and an inspiration to me and clearly so many other people. It’s incredible how one human being with so much love and such a big heart can affect as many people that he did. He left a positive mark on the world. Pablo had so much life left in him but his energy lives on through the kids of the city and it is still radiating like crazy. It’s like he laid out the blueprint for how to live life and left it all behind for us to figure out how to reach the level of Nirvana he had. The legend will live on and on and on. All love. Tyler Hinton With every extra push, his spirit lives. —T-ed TIME’S UP I think we’re about four years away from skaters acting exactly like other professional athletes: Contract negotiations, cheating scandals, performance enhancing drugs, “training” in private facilities exclusively for competitions. This skate evolution all started in the early 2000s. I think the 1990s will be regarded as the last pure era of skating. Andre Howard You should just watch every 411 on a loop. —T-ed 22 Thrasher Envelope of the Month winners receive a free shirt and stickers. Include shirt-size. Inmates must give a separate address for the prize to go to. ENVELOPE OF THE MONTH: TARA LAYER / Marlin, Texas LEFT TO RIGHT: VINNIE HAGER, SEVERNA PARK, MD / RYAN BEAVERS, OAKLAND, CA “It’s like he laid out the blueprint for how to live life and left it all behind for us”
  14. 14. 30 Thrasher Like the Rock of Gibraltar, the infamous O’Side Hubba looms monolithic between the bosom of the Pacific and the free-living, raw-dog denizens of Oceanside, California’s main drag. A stone’s throw from the Bandshell, site of several ‘80s streetstyle events (think, Gonz’ boneless off brightly-colored table), it may just be the lingering aura of Natas’ first documented handrail boardslide (attempt) that infects the air with a dash of “get some” in addition to salt, cocoa butter and a persistent pee smell. A slapped-together wooden skatepark popped up nearby in the early aughts, and it didn’t take the kids long to put two and two together. Coulda been local boy Jermaine Wright who first mounted her icy back, while others point to JT Aultz or even Australian phenom Cale Nuske, but soon the floodgates were as open as a container beneath the overpass—tricks stacked like shanks in a hobo’s bundle. J-Lay caught the nosegrind, front blunt and noseblunt, while Duffel snagged the cover of the Bible with a back lip before earning two broken arms on a follow-up back tail for the other guys. Slash’s kickflip front board holds the gold standard for many, while others applaud Nick Dompierre’s first-try kickflip crooks as top maneuver. Rowan Z fronted once again with a Barley and Alec Majerus got the locals fired up with a perfect kicky back tail. Glick cashed the check on Dompierre’s back noseblunt transworld cover bail and through subsequent cappings and jailbreaks this shiny chunk of gnar endures—every success ending with that fabulous downhill glory ride, past the train tracks, straight to Bub’s. Typically, the greatest challenge facing would-be conquerers of the O’Side Hubba is not the cracks, cops or even the neck-high ledge itself. Instead, it’s something as mundane as seaside real estate. Luxury apartments are sprouting up on all sides as this mag goes to press. New. Glittering. Boring. Could the days of ledge-side parties, lady-hobo mosh pits and the occasional public dook be numbered? Is this the end? Can O’Side truly be Kept Cutty? Ask the waves. —Valerie Jerque EPIC SPOTS O’SIDE HUBBA Vincent Milou came all the way from France to get a Bub’s Michelada. Oh, and a switch 5-0
  15. 15. Repeat customer AJ Zavala knows it’s O’Side… always. Front shove crooks, bound for glory 31 PHOTOS: RHINO “Could the days of ledge-side parties, lady-hobo mosh pits and the occasional public dook be numbered?”
  16. 16. SUBSCRIBE SUBSCRIBE or call: 1 (415) 671-2416 mon–fri 8:30 am to 4:30 pm PT TO AND SCORE A FREE T-SHIRT TO AND SCORE A FREE T-SHIRT GET TWISTED... Yuto Horigome, nollie backside 180 switch 50-50 $ 1795 12 issues + free shirt from only JONES
  18. 18. hen I first started skating as a wee Seattle teen, the University of Washington’s Red Square was the spot, and Zach Rockstad was the dude. He was that super cool, older dude who could kickflip back tail anything, and I lionized him. Usually those guys aren’t worthy of your youthful admiration in the long run, but the more I’ve gotten to know Zach— both as a person and an artist—the more I’ve learned that he absolutely is. His work touches on everything from the hypocrisy of organized religion to the deep loneliness of a rain-soaked Seattle gas station at midnight. Nowadays, when he’s not making big money painting murals for Starbucks, he’s working on a series called “Sex Appeal” where he uses freight trains as a canvas—kind of reversing the graffiti-to-gallery pipeline, and instead doing fine art on freight. Keep an eye out for the forthcoming photo book and check out more of his work at —Tobias Coughlin-Bogue 36 Thrasher COUGHLIN-BOGUE ZACH ROCKSTAD Crooked grind W
  19. 19. 37 “Reversing the graffiti-to-gallery pipeline”
  20. 20. 42 Thrasher n an era of stale skateboarding events that segregate contestants from fans and suck the life out of everyone involved, Wheels of Fortune (WOF) in Seattle, Washington, is a shining beacon of hope. Over the last ten years, Kristin Ebeling, Executive Director of Skate Like a Girl, has grown her humble idea to have a community-building, inclusive, not-so- serious skate contest into an all out three-day skateboarding festival. The grass is greener in the Emerald City for Louise Alban Pris calls the shots at the Sage Williams Memorial Queer and Trans Skate Jam Breezy does ‘em easy—impossible I BY ALEX WHITE WHEELS OF FORTUNE 10 HENSON OLIVIA IBARRA IBARRA
  21. 21. Una Farrar does her own stunts—five points for Team Smell The Magic IBARRA
  22. 22. 44 Thrasher Una on a front board at Garfield Angie Crum nabs ten points by sliding into the Muska Challenge Poppy Starr Olsen bomb drops at ATS IN BEET JUICE” “EATING A TAMPON SOAKED AGUILAR AGUILAR GAGNON OLIVIA IBARRA
  23. 23. 45 The weekend’s festivities included the fourth annual Witch Hunt, a King of the Road-inspired skateboarding scavenger hunt. The Witch Hunt is arguably the best part of the weekend with crews barging around Seattle getting points for doing things like FaceTiming Ryan Sheckler, skating a street rail as a tribute to Saecha Clarke or eating a tampon soaked in beet juice. Twenty-nine teams signed their day over to the Witches and at the end of the contest all the teams met up at Cal Anderson Park for the Sage Williams Memorial Queer and Trans skate jam. What started as a small, local event with 25 entries has blossomed into a massive skateboarding festival of more than 300 participants. That is undoubtedly a testament to the power of this community and the volunteers that make it happen each year. Hope to see you all in 2020! #WOF4EVER The Skate Witches zine founders Kristin Ebeling and Shari White Verónica Zamudio came from Mexico to blast over the patriarchy BOLTON OLIVIA OLIVIA IBARRA IBARRA
  24. 24. 48 Thrasher JAMIE FOY’S FOODS THAT NEED TO DIE 5 GREAT nce I learned how to say no to certain foods my mom would always tell me, “Well, you’re either gonna eat it, or you’re gonna make your food yourself.” So after that I’d just go to the fridge and grab some chicken nuggets and pop them in the toaster oven and be good to go. I’ve eaten more chicken nuggets in my life than is countable. Growing up, every time I’d make at least 20. I hope one day I’ll grow to like more vegetables, but so far it’s not happening. O CANNED TUNA I’ve always hated it. The smell of it! It looks like cat food and it reminds me of that smell. A lot of these are gonna be based off of smell. I’m also not a big fan of mayonnaise and it seems like those two go hand in hand. Tuna mixed with mayonnaise? I am not down. My mom told me a story that when I was seven years old I was always at my homie’s house and his mom asked my mom, “Hey, is Jamie really allergic to tuna fish?” My mom’s like, “No, why?” I guess I lied to my friend’s mom. She’d always try to get me to eat tuna fish so I figured out if I said I was allergic she’d never ask me again. ARTICHOKES It literally has “choke” in the name, so I’m good on those. It looks like a fruit from the beginning but once it’s cooked it smells so bad. My mom would always cook it and the house would reek! I’d have to go outside! CAULIFLOWER I don’t even like broccoli so cauliflower is like broccoli’s bland cousin—straight white, boring and bland. It has no flavor and has no nothing and I don’t like it. I even tried broccoli with a bunch of cheese on it once and I didn’t like that. I’m good on both of those. OYSTERS I am not down. For me, a lot of it has to do with consistency. All the slimy stuff—forget it. I’m from Florida but oysters and stuff like that, I am not down. I only like to eat fish that I catch. I want to know where it came from! BRUSSEL SPROUTS The only thing worse than cauliflower is Brussel sprouts. They had those at the King of the Road finale and they smelled so bad. And then Andy was putting them into his mouth and trying to make us eat ‘em. Disgusting. Now every time I think of a Brussel sprout I think of a saliva- covered Brussel sprout coming out of Andy Roy’s mouth. So gross. I’m so glad I didn’t have to eat one of those. Instead I got surprised with my pro board. BONUS: FOY’S LAST SUPPER If I had one last meal on earth I’d probably go with a good steak, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese as well. Then to end it off, my favorite dessert is a warm fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream on top. Can’t go wrong!
  25. 25. Skate or diabetes! Fakie back lip past the artichoke holder 49 DARWEN “Every time I think of a Brussel sprout I think of a saliva-covered Brussel sprout coming out of Andy Roy’s mouth”
  26. 26. 92
  28. 28. R V C A . C O M | # R V C A Q A
  30. 30. 54 Thrasher
  31. 31. 55
  32. 32. WWW.CARHARTT-WIP.COM Josh Pall – Kickflip Picture – Thom Josh Pall – Kickflip Picture – Thom
  33. 33. mas Robinson mas Robinson
  34. 34. 60 Thrasher T he summer scent of Coppertone wafting through the air, a lonely Band-Aid floating gently by, the delighted screams of children sliding down fiberglass chutes, plunging into blue pools below—to the average asshole, this is what comes to mind when envisioning a water park. But to a skateboarder—scaling chain-link fences, precariously climbing over razor wire, hiding from cops and security guards, watching our friends dive headfirst into drained tanks—that’s what pops into our heads. H2O is our common enemy and a bone-dry water park must be skated at all costs. So when we saw that Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs had been drained, we damn sure barged it for a sunset session! Who in the hell would have guessed that our renegade mission would end with us catching some carves with one of the new co-owners of the park? It ain’t wet but it’s definitely wild! Chris Gregson teeters on the edge with a bluntslide—gnar factor 11
  35. 35. Enter the vortex. Lizzie Armanto scorches a FSA on the Pacific Sun BY TIM AGUILAR
  36. 36. Tom Remillard, frontside air in the danger zone 62 Thrasher Hawk down! must be skated at all costs” “a bone-dry water park
  37. 37. Kowalski, over-vert crail at the end of the ride 63 Leave it to Kevin Kowalksi to find an imaginary loop—corkscrew 360, tranny to tranny
  38. 38. 64 Thrasher Of course Jaws found the biggest drop—and then did a 30-yard manual into it Tristan Rennie, nosegrind tailgrab before cooling off “We damn sure barged it for a sunset session!”
  39. 39. Provost provides paradise with a Smith
  40. 40. anything we wanted— “We were given free reign to skate and you better believe we did!” Daewon palms it while T-Puds kickflips. Thank you, guys
  41. 41. 67 No coping? No problem. Lizzie, backside boneless The loop wasn’t hard enough, so Kevin threw in an inverted ollie. Must be nice... Off duty What started as some light trespassing turned into a week-long permission session. The powers that be rolled out the red carpet for a week of slams, jams and NBDs. Some of the gnarliest transition skaters of our time ventured out to the desert to try their luck at the Pacific Sun—a 300-foot funnel complete with a mini-mega roll in. The park is being renovated and the Sun will soon be torn out, so this was a for real Holy Grail quest with the timer ticking. No excuses—get some! The session wasn’t just confined to just the funnel, though. We were given free reign to skate anything we wanted—and you better believe we did! The street dogs sniffed out the ledges and rails and the tranny lords terrorized the tunnels. Conquering the main attraction was on everyone’s bucket list, but few overcame the mental barrier to do so. The entire week was epic but the days Tony Hawk showed up were a true spectacle. Entire families watched as a 50-year-old man took the slams and eventually conquered a loop in the wild. Thought he wouldn’t?! Our time in Palm Springs was made possible by taking a chance and luckily finding generosity on the other side of a No Trespassing sign. You never know ’til you barge.
  42. 42. L A . N Y C . S F . J P E S T. 2 0 0 2 J A K E A N D E R S O N D B C
  43. 43. 78 Thrasher B Y J A S O N D I L L
  44. 44. PHOTOS: COLEN
  45. 45. 80 Thrasher hat time did you wake up and what have you done so far today? When I was your age I slept past noon every day. I woke up at 10:30 this morning. I could’ve easily slept ’til the night but I have a checkup at the doctor’s office. Gotta take care of a couple things with the body and mind. Then I ate about five meals and was in and out of the shop all day. Now I gotta go get my legs ready for tomorrow. I wish I could’ve hung out with you during those years but this is great. You’ve taught me what works and what doesn’t. I don’t know if I taught you what works or not. Ha! Shit, you aren’t done learning. I do believe that you are motivated and have a better mindset than six months ago. How do you feel about your place in the world and your responsibilities as a professional skateboarder these days? Are you enjoying yourself? Do you feel happy? Yeah, I still have so much to learn and accept. As far as being a professional skateboarder, I still can’t believe it. It seems so unreal and funny at times, but it’s a dream of a life. I don’t want to take it for granted. I do enjoy it but I do need to work harder at it and with that I know I’ll love it more. It’s wild to see the youth at the shop growing up and finding purpose and a family with it. Thank God for skateboarding. How old were you when you first came to New York? I was 14 years old. That was the first time we met, I think, under that bridge spot in Brooklyn? You rolled up on this sick cruiser board. You were so small, so wide-eyed but very, very mellow. What do you remember about that trip? I know we filmed a bit. I don’t remember much. I remember being really happy. Everything was so new. I fucking loved being able to skate through the city. It was a sick crew. I remember going to bed on time and laughing when Cody would walk into the room after a “fun” night and being able to skate all day. Yes, it seemed like you had a good time being there. I had a good experience. It was a good skate Previous spread: It helps to have homies—tire pivot. RIP, Dylan W “I STILL HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN AND ACCEPT” COLEN
  46. 46. 81 No comply tailslide on the roof of Santa’s western workshop. Might wanna move out the way, ol’ timer ATIBA
  47. 47. 82 Thrasher trip, that’s all I remember—and being culture shocked. Being from Covina, there’s no place like it. Right, you were very young; you were easy to hang out with. Yeah, I feel like I was older then. Do you grocery shop or do you eat at restaurants and take-out? I eat out almost every meal—actually, every meal and it’s usually the same thing from the same spots. If you were to cook at home what’s the one meal that you are good at making? And have you ever cooked for anybody? All I ever cook is bagels with some avocado, pickled beets, tomatoes and hummus. That’s what my lady friend and I were living off of for awhile. Do you believe in God? If so, is there a heaven? I believe in a higher power or something that is bigger than us, but I think heaven and hell is now. I also don’t know anything. What do you mean by heaven and hell is now? When you live with love and good morals and you’re just a good person, that’s heaven. And when you live and accept all the evil, that feels like hell. Do you remember a time when you weren’t able to ride a skateboard? You were basically born into it, correct? My father let it come into my life naturally, before I knew what I liked or thought I liked, and it was a way to be free later on in my life. I’ve been beyond blessed to have a relationship with that board. It’s a real personal relationship but I get lost with it sometimes. But I know it will always be there. I need that thing to feel normal. It saved my life because I don’t know where or what I would be doing without it. It showed me the world and gave me a family that I absolutely love. I mean, shit, two very important things are how you feel about the skateboarding you are putting out and what the people closest to you feel about the human you are. I had that too, though—there was no time before skateboarding. It was just there before I remember much else. Do you think you will ever live anywhere other than Covina? Covina is home, but for now I am happy being home. If I did move away again I’d probably move to Australia or somewhere out of America. I understand. You do not suffer from lack of travel. You have been going and seeing places for most of your life now. It’s bizarre to say I’ve been to the places I’ve been too. I’m thankful. What are a few of your favorite movies right now at this point in your life? A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, There Will Be Blood, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Mindfield and Little Miss Sunshine. You have been filming for a new Nike video for about ten months. It’ll be done by the time this is out I bet. Did you pick your music or did they suggest something? I’m still in the middle of figuring it out. I want to skate to Harry Nilsson or Black Flag but it’s hard to choose. It’s almost harder than picking a spot for the day. I get to choose but I just hope it is something that goes right. Less of a jam, more of a journey— Donovon hits the pipe for a natural high over the fence PHOTOS: COLEN
  48. 48. 83 Fully-dipped back Smith, feels like heaven “I THINK HEAVEN AND HELL IS NOW. I ALSO DON’T KNOW ANYTHING”
  49. 49. 84 Thrasher Raging rooftops! Front blunt in a second-story birdbath, don’t look down PHOTOS: COLEN
  50. 50. 85 “I AM WORKING ON MYSELF, TRYING TO CREATE MY BEST WORK ON THE BOARD” Just don’t skate to anybody’s hits. Use something surprising. Do you have songs you’ve been stoked on? I remember when John and I set tents up in your Hollywood apartment you were playing “Dark End Of The Street” by The Flying Burrito Brothers. I still play that one. I could absolutely think of a few to see if they can get the rights to them. You and John would come from Covina to Hollywood to stay at my place and set up tents in the living room like you were camping. That was great. See how time flies? I’ve always told you, “Watch that time. Do all you can while you can here and now.” I can’t believe how quickly the time flew by. It is scary and it is real. Well, you have done a solid amount of tremendous skateboarding already in your life. I know you’ve really been at it lately and I am so very looking forward to seeing your new shit. I’m glad they got Aaron Meza overseeing that whole project. Have you filmed with him at all, or has it been mostly Ant Travis you’ve been filming with? I appreciate that coming from you. In today’s funny, wild skate scene, you created the best shit out. I am working on myself, trying to create my best work on the board. I’m not sure if it’s my best but I’m trying. Meza is a great man. He’s been super great to speak and work with, but I’ve only been filming with Ant! He’s a sick dude. Hopefully this footage that comes out is just the beginning, but I haven’t had the honor of filming with Meza. What videos do you watch? I don’t imagine you really keep up with new videos. Are there any videos or people’s parts that get you motivated to film these days? I honestly don’t watch much skating these days. I just watch our shit and whatever friends’ stuff that comes out, but other than that, Natas and Jason Lee have been stoking me out lately. He’s got one of the best styles ever. He makes it look real good. Dylan, I watch Dylan. Dylan will forever be my idol. Sometimes I cry watching him. Me too. Not to be like that, but fuck. No, I totally understand. I think it’s a combination of him being just that graceful and exactly what you want to see on a skateboard and the fact that he’s gone. It’s tough not to cry. He thought very highly of you and John. I know he appreciated everything you guys brought to the table. Dylan was such a hard worker. I know he liked seeing that quality in you. He will forever be my hero.
  51. 51. 86 Thrasher Wild and raw kickflip into the balance beam—of course Donny could do it!
  52. 52. 87 When did you first meet Dylan? Were you with us on Alien already or did you meet him before when you were a Zero baby? I was a Zero baby the first time I ever saw his beautiful being. I woke up at that fucked- up Black Box room. I was 12 years old and he was shooting pool to “Hello, Goodbye” by the Beatles at eight in the morning. He kept repeating it and didn’t care I was sitting, watching on the floor, ’cause I was all scared and lonely and shit and wanted to be home. He let me just hang and made peaceful eye contact with me. He made me feel okay and he was also solo. Jon Goemann bailed on him and he was just shooting pool and smiling. I just sat and watched. He made me feel safe with his eyes and a smile. I never knew that. That’s so cool. When I hear “Hello, Goodbye” now it makes me cry a little and smile. Dylan was a true original. Absolutely. God bless the sleeping prince. Amen. What was your first photo in Thrasher? How old were you? A frontside ollie on a water slide. I was 16. Burnett shot it. I remember that photo. I was solo skating and he just came over and shot it. I get embarrassed sometimes skating, so skating solo was my favorite when I was younger. Right? Nobody else around, just you and the photographer. I get it. It’s weird. It’s like looking in a mirror: Oh, fuck, I look like that? When I skate I want it to look natural and if it is forced, I hate it. Fuck that. I like it just to flow and feel good. So when I feel like I’m forcing it, it’s not right. I want it wild and raw. You will never look forced on a board. You are so much better than you know. I feel like most especially talented skateboarders don’t know how good they really are—KB, Gino. There are certain people who don’t know they really could do just about anything. I wanna see you start doin’ nollie frontside flips and tech shit. You can do all the tech shit. You used to say, “Donny could do it.” That made me smile. We still say that when we see some psycho possibility in the streets: “Donny could do that.” Me, AVE and Benny still say that. Those are my guys! Sage gets it a lot from me. I’m always telling him shit I think he could do. Sage is so sick! “Hey, Sage, look, you can get up on this.” Sage is the best. He’s so sweet also. He is. Sage has vicious pop. Basketball pop. I’m gonna wrap this up with a couple questions. I’m nervous. Don’t be. You’ve had good answers. Do you plan on having children in our ever- warming world? Do you think about it much? I want a family. Okay. Who is someone that helped you get where you are that you haven’t thanked enough? I want to thank you, Dill. You helped me and checked me when I needed to be checked. I’m still working on my existence, but thank you. I want to thank my father. He’s done so much for me. Also Steve Chalme, AVE, Benny, my family. I honestly can’t believe I have even had this life. I thank my brothers and sisters, the loved ones that helped me, the loved ones I hope I can help through thick and thin. All I can say is thank you! And lastly, is there anything that you would like to say to the kids out there? Love your life. Right on, Donovon. Have a good night and thank you for doing this interview. Thank you. And love you. “I GET EMBARRASSED SOMETIMES SKATING, SO SKATING SOLO WAS MY FAVORITE” COLEN
  53. 53. MARK APPLEYARD | THE APPLEYARD COLLECTION Designed for skateboarding. Seasonally influenced and tested by Mark. Made to last featuring hemp and organic cotton. Breathable, durable and antibacterial to decrease odor. Mark in his Rage pant, Howler SS shirt and his signature vulcanized skate shoe the Mahalo. Available in new colors at better shops now. @globebrand | GLOBEBRAND.COM | est. Australia 1994
  56. 56. 96 Thrasher ’all don’t listen! I said get the fuck out of Tallahassee!” We had encountered the same female cop twice during our visit to Florida’s capital city and she was pissed. It was not surprising, though. After cutting off skate stoppers, sparking fireworks, getting buck in Chick-fil-A drive-thrus, yelling at frat bros and sorority sisters and skating churches and schools until three in the morning, we were definitely burning the candle at both ends. The van was packed with a heavy crew: Pedro, Clive, Foy, Alexis Ramirez and Winkowski. We had explosives, Bondo, lights, a generator, ample road sodas and we were stoked to brush off the dust of Tampa Pro (as well as the glitter of Mons Venus) and nothing could stop us. It was time to sprint through the South, fueled by fried chicken in search of big terrain! Florida A&M University was a Foy fave. Nosegrind on home turf, Big Pinch always delivers Previous spread: Security wasn’t too stoked but the funeral home director let us skate as long as we left him a good Yelp review. Congrats on 50 years in business, Elmwood’s! Ducky, backside 50-50 “ Y –JamieFoy “What’s skating without a big battle?”
  57. 57. No boardslide is too brutal for Delfino. He landed this one as the cops were rolling up. You can’t kick us out if we’re already leaving
  58. 58. We got the boot but came back for the make—Ducky did not go soft on this boardslide “I wonder if this is how Dustin Dollin feels all the time” –DuckyKovacs,afterbattlingarail 98 Thrasher
  59. 59. NO MAKE IN MACON A busted shoulder, sliced ear, bloody palms—and not rolling away! I went down hard trying to not go soft. I hate to leave business unattended, but I was not coming back for that one. Macon did me dirty. They boys reluctantly convinced me to light a mortar off in the parking lot, which raised my spirits a bit. We continued to blow shit up—stoking the fire—and then it was time to pile back into the van and roll out. With Four Lokos and Smirnoff Ices in hand (none for the driver, duh), we hit the road. Flashing lights soon flooded the vehicle. We had a quick run in with a highway patrolman who pulled us over for speeding, but he let us go. Must be an Indy fan. God bless him. 1. You had a double cheeseburger, fries, hush puppies and two beers after the Macon, GA, demo 2. Jamie says it’s a shitty rail 3. You’re going soft and the Macon ground is hard 4. You have to wrap up your shin so you don’t bleed through your pants (always a bad sign) 5. You can’t afford any more medical supplies for your hand DUCKY’S TOP-FIVE REASONS TO NOT SKATE A HANDRAIL 99
  60. 60. 100 Thrasher GOING SOFT IN ATL Everyone was fired up for Atlanta. Well, everyone except Pedro, Rhino and Big Boy Foy. They wanted to save their energy. The crew that really went spent all their dollar bills on strippers and drinks. Out in front of Magic City (look it up), a homeless guy snatched a $20 bill from Clive and things escalated quickly. They say nothing good happens after midnight—and they’re right. Some of the guys went back to the hotel, but I was on a mission to have some Kelz Kitchen. My thoughts: chicken wings and fries at 4:30 am would ensure I was feeling good the next day. I had a long night paired with a rough morning and pulled it, but I think a big chunk of our crew was going soft in the ATL. You can’t say you visited the Dirty South if you didn’t get dirty. Axel, rail-to-ledge front board while Winkowski sleeps on a bench around the corner. Power naps vs. power moves –AxelCruysberghs,regardingacopthatkickedusout “It’s been awhile since I’ve met someone I hate, but I hate her”
  61. 61. 101 It’s 2019. It’s Alexis Ramirez. It’s switch. The future is now
  62. 62. Alexis christened this virgin rail with a brutal sack. Then he got back up and laid down the backside 5-0— definitely not going soft
  63. 63. 103 Out of the pit, into the fire! We all saw the line but Pedro stepped to it. Ollie into the bank Jesus Christ (air), Erick –PedroDelfino “That’d be so sick to do a frontside air riding a horse”
  64. 64. 104 Thrasher INTO THE PIT Birmingham is home to a lot of heavy things: heavy terrain, heavy history, James Hardy, heavy-up-and-coming skaters and the haunted Sloss Furnaces. In the early 1900s, James “Slag” Wormwood was the foreman running the graveyard shift at Sloss. Under his watch, 47 workers lost their lives—ten times more than during any other shift in the history of the place. In October of 1906, Slag mysteriously plummeted into the pit of Big Alice, the highest furnace at the plant. His body immediately melted! He had never set foot on top of said furnace during his years of employment, and legend has it that he was fed to the melted ore by disgruntled employees. To date, there have been over 100 Birmingham police reports of suspected paranormal activities at the site. We hit it up and it definitely felt haunted as hell. Going “into the pit” became a negative mantra for us on the trip, something one should avoid at all costs. HOW TO GET INTO THE PIT Watch Jamie 50-50 a kinked rail first try Eat at Waffle House after 4 am Leave your board in the van at a spot Go soft after the age of 24 Drink the coffee at Bregguer’s Bagels Watch Jamie get five clips at one spot HOW TO GET OUT OF THE PIT Grind a 28-stair rail Eat at Whataburger after 4 am Play Bad Brains Hang with the other weakest links on the trip Drink Americanos Spend $60 on ibuprofen, KT tape and Band-Aids DUCKY AND PEDRO S PIT OF DESPAIR Fuzzy reception? You might have a Duck on your dish. The author drops into the danger zone. Side note: Ducky literally shit his pants trying this –DuckyKovacs “Dude, I think I could grind this on rollerblades”
  65. 65. 105 Delfino straps into a monstrous 28-stair 50-50, let’s see you Fishbrain that –PedroDelfino,agreeingwithDucky “Totally, I think I’d soul grind it”
  66. 66. 106 Thrasher Axel crushes axles! Post-Zaxby’s 50-50 drop down
  67. 67. 107 Wanna bump with the 8ballr? Here’s a start: 1. Grindline “Runnin Outa Places” 2. Los Ángeles Azules “Mis Sentimientos” 3. Los Destellos “A Patricia” 4. East Trippin “68 Runnin Mate” 5. Grindline “Broken Bottles” 6. CKY “96 Quite Bitter Beings” 7. Skanless “Money” 8. Grindline “I Live My Life” 9. Cyndi Lauper “Boy Blue” 10. RBL Posse “Feels Good To Be A Gangsta” Bonus tracks: Wu-Tang Clan “Gravel Pit” Mark Morrison “Return Of The Mack” The Budos Band “Up From The South” WINKOWSKI’S PLAYLIST Add “Up On The Roof” to the playlist. Winky takes it to the bank on the night shift –DuckyKovacs “I’m annoying no matter what I’m doing”
  68. 68. Tallahassee was flat but Pedro needed speed! He got his fix with this dump truck 108 Thrasher
  69. 69. Tired of staring at your damn phone? Pick up a GD book! Clive’s got five for ya’: TOP FIVE BOOKS TO READ ON THE ROAD He’s in T-Hawk’s flock so you better believe he can fly too! Clive, double-set ollie in FL 1. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe 2. Just Kids by Patti Smith 3. Big Sur by Jack Kerouac 4. For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway 5. Gipsy Moth Circles the World by Francis Chichester Bonus: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway –DuckyKovacs “Can’t tie down the Birdman. He’s gotta fly” 109
  70. 70. 110 Thrasher Foy, frontside 50-50 with a little front-truck hangtime— no chapel services needed
  71. 71. 111 We ended our trip at Elmwood Cemetery & Mausoleum in Birmingham, luckily needing nothing they offered. Despite all of the hairball shit we pulled, we escaped The South needing no chapel services. We avoided the pit on this mission and weren’t looking for a group rate on a six-foot hole in the ground. Battered and bruised, we retreated to our individual homes to lick our wounds and gear up for the next excursion. Just remember: the pit never sleeps! But we’ll be ready. Cue the Bad Brains. Erick, Andrecht over the bench. The pit stood no chance! –JamieFoy “I may look like an egg, but my board shape is a popsicle”
  72. 72. 114 Thrasher It ain’t no fun if the boss can’t get some. AVE, classic FSO in Stuttgart— style never goes out of style
  73. 73. 115 here we all were, sitting in the terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport about to embark on our first ever mega Euro tour. The guys from LA had already been at it for six hours en route to the East Coast. Eighteen dudes, 18 days, four cities: Lisbon, Madrid, Stuttgart and Berlin. None of us had any idea what the next two-plus weeks had in store for us. This was the first time we’d traveled as a whole team and I’ll tell you, prior to launch, I’d never felt so much excitement and terror at the same time. I take that back—I used to love gambling. Touring is a lot like gambling—it’s an emotional rollercoaster that you can’t get enough of. I hoped we wouldn’t lose our chips. “TOURING IS A LOT LIKE GAMBLING— IT’S AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER THAT YOU CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF” T Previous spread: Louie took to the skies on his maiden voyage—ollie over Diego Todd. Is that a coffin wheelie?
  74. 74. KB set his sights on a KF in Lisbon
  75. 75. 117 First stop, Portugal’s coastal capital and probably the most beautiful stop on the tour: Lisbon. After 20 hours of flying, everyone seemed pretty beat, but Aidan’s ambition drove us straight to beach daiquiris right off the plane. It’s 11 am; I think we’re doing the right thing? Ironically, KB was a casualty to daiquiris the night before and missed his flight. He made it out a day late and assumed his position as MVP, per usual. Kevin always wins that title because he’s got a non-stop smile on his face, cracking jokes and ripping the hardest—no matter how hard he went the night before. He has a god-given talent, I mean, god-given talents. “IT’S 11 AM; I THINK WE’RE DOING THE RIGHT THING?” Aidan Mackey, ride-on grind. Those beach daiquiris seem to be working
  76. 76. 118 Thrasher 1. Who is the most hectic person to travel with? Andrew Allen. The guy is a relentless cowboy with a need for speed. 2. Who was missing? Bucky Lasek, Nyjah Huston and Jason Dill. 3. Was this your first trip with Louie Lopez? No, he’s my road dog. 4. What were your interactions with him? Basically just giving him pointers on skate tricks and we held hands a few times. 5. Give me a three-word reply when I name a city: Portugal. Portugal is a country. 6. Madrid Disappointing. 7. Stuttgart Ski-resort town. 8. What was your favorite place? Stuttgart. 9. What did you like about it? No spots but it was really cool to walk around. I climbed a tree. 10. What’s something they have that we don’t? Johnny Wilson. TEN WITH BEN (KADOW) B Y L U I E L L I O T T Kadow, 50-50 after giving Louie some pointers
  77. 77. 119 Madrid is probably the laziest place I’ve ever been to. Goddamn, man, mid day-siesta? Mid-day siesta?! That’s a thing?! Every business in Madrid closes from 2-5 pm. No food, no nothin’ during that time, so you better hope you don’t get hungry. What a jam. Speaking of jam, the only thing to eat is jamón. If you’re not familiar, jamón is dry-cured ham that looks and tastes like scabs. One night I shamefully housed a whole plate of scabs in bed. Disgusted with myself, I took everyone to McDonald’s the next evening for dinner. I think everyone was pretty pissed at first, but if they understood what I went through the night before, they would have done the same. And besides, when you’re feeling beat after a long day and your pants are sagging to the floor with coinage weighing your pockets down, the best thing to do is look into the distance for something familiar, something comforting and reminiscent of home— the Golden Arches. It’s the only thing that can really fuel a tour of this magnitude, washed down with daddy’s milk and Mexican mouthwash. “ONE NIGHT I SHAMEFULLY HOUSED A WHOLE PLATE OF SCABS IN BED” Sean Pablo, backside 180 fakie 5-0 at the Praça do Comércio. King Jose would surely be proud
  78. 78. “WHEN IT COMES TO ENGINEERING, THE GERMANS DEFINITELY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING” Just like the rental bikes, Louie hauls ass! Half Cab bluntslide kickflip out . . .
  79. 79. 121 Day ten and four plane rides later, we arrived in Stuttgart, Germany. Who would’ve thought that such a small city in Germany would be so good for skating? There were cool- looking Disneyland-like spots everywhere and it was nice to finally get out of the van and ride bikes around a little city. We rented electric pedal-assisted bicycles that hauled ass! I got one that had a huge basket for my equipment and the dynamics of the bike were really wild. I gotta say, when it comes to engineering, the Germans definitely know what they’re doing.
  80. 80. 122 Thrasher Andrew Allen, kickflip. This is what it’s all about
  81. 81. 123 On our last day in Stuttgart, we were on our way back home from skating. AVE, Benny, Cody and I split up from everyone unintentionally and took a different route. I was on bike with AVE skating in front of me. I started gaining speed and I saw AVE powersliding. I looked up and saw the most epic view of the city. We were bombing a perfect hill with a majestic overlook. A magic feeling came over me, Wow, this is what it’s all about! Instances like that don’t occur very often in your adult life. I was jealous that I wasn’t on my board, but it was amazing nonetheless. “INSTANCES LIKE THAT DON’T OCCUR VERY OFTEN IN YOUR ADULT LIFE”
  82. 82. 124 Thrasher We all bombed to the bottom, everyone screaming joyously. Moments like that are invigorating and life affirming—especially after long periods on the road when you start to forget who you even are. I mean, really, who are you anymore? You’ve been herded from city to city, taken multiple plane rides, you’re in a new bed every night, stuffing your face with tons of “food.” What day is it? Does it matter? We were lost in Europe. Time doesn’t even exist at that point. All you can do is buckle up and hope you come back alive.
  83. 83. 125 “WHAT DAY IS IT? DOES IT MATTER?” Sage slides right through an existential crisis—front tail heelflip out, the whole damn ledge
  84. 84. Once we got to Berlin, I was comfortable and used to this life. Do we have to go home? I like it here. Where is home? I hope my family loves me when I get back. Do I even have a family? Yes, they’re on their bikes outside waiting to go hit the streets. “I HOPE MY FAMILY LOVES ME WHEN I GET BACK” Diego, massive ollie for the família 126 Thrasher
  85. 85. Jet lag free, Kevin Rodrigues gets heely on a wallie nose press. Euro trip ajourné 127
  86. 86. Backside 180 nosegrind to forwards GHOBASHI
  87. 87. 129 DANE BARKER CATS ARE EASIER INTERVIEW BY MIKE GIGLIOTTI HEADS_BARKER Alright, first off, where are you from? Tacoma, Washington, about 30 minutes outside of Seattle. You moved from there straight to LA? Yeah, I moved there right out of high school. I graduated a year early and I just left. But I just recently moved to Richmond, Virgina. Was there a particular reason you moved there, or was it just to get out of LA? I was in LA for four years and it was cool. I just wanted a change of scenery, maybe something a little bit slower. It reminds me a lot of Seattle/Tacoma here. Also, Gilbert and Will Rosenstock’s crew stays really busy, so I can still be around people who are constantly filming. Do you not like LA? I liked it for a while, then the last year I spent there I think I got bored of the sun every single day. I like to do things outside of skating, and there wasn’t a ton for me there aside from just skating. I know you’re into hardcore music. Is there a better scene and vibe out in VA for all that kind of stuff? Yeah, there’s a better music scene here, in my opinion. There’s definitely a scene in LA, but there it’s at clubs and bars. Here it’s like house shows. But also, if I’m not skating or I’m hurt I like that I can go chill at the river or go hike around train yards, shit like that. Do you like the hardcore scene? I mean, I know you like the music, but do you like being in the scene or do you think it’s kind of cheesy to an extent? I definitely like it. I like it a lot. I don’t know how to put this—in skating people are trying to get sponsored and are trying to live their dream, but hardcore is just for hardcore. You just do it for the scene around you, not for anything in return. Right. So, you feel like there’s not an ulterior motive behind why people are involved outside of them just liking the music. You don’t get famous off of it; you don’t make money off of it. COULTHARD
  88. 88. 130 Thrasher Fakie ollie HEADS_BARKER Speaking of that, did you want to be a sponsored skateboarder or did you have other plans? Yeah, I definitely did. I moved to LA for that reason. I was just done with school and had no aspirations for a job or anything and I figured I would give it a try and so far it’s working out. Do you think moving to VA has made that better or worse with skating as a job for you. Ha! I mean, I hope it didn’t make things worse. My sponsors, Converse and Quasi, are both really supportive of whatever I want to do and they both understand that there are scenes outside the big main cities. For my own self, I feel better being out here. I feel like I have more room to breathe. Right. I’m from LA, and even being an un-sponsored skater you can still tell it’s more competitive here than other cities in the world. Honestly, it’s even the friendly competition too. You see a friend skating a spot on Instagram, then four people go skate it that week. So you try and keep things secret and that shit just got a bit old. Whereas people out here in Richmond are, like, “Man, you skated that spot? That’s so sick. It needed to get skated.” Everyone knows each other here; there aren’t really cliques; everyone’s a lot kinder. Not that people weren’t kind in LA, but you feel a vibe. So you’ve been going on trips the past two years with Cons and more recently Quasi. Yeah, and that’s another reason I was able to move out here. I was privileged enough to get put on trips with Converse in the last year, which has been great. I just got back from a trip to Chicago with Quasi. That was great too. How is it traveling with those guys? You got a good Jake Johnson story? He’s one of those people in skateboarding where I feel like people are just interested in him, even outside of his skating. He seems sort of elusive to some people so they want a story, you know? On this past trip to Chicago he bought a HVX off of Chad Bowers just to film his homies in State College, PA. He showed me some footage on his phone of his friend, who’s like 30, boardsliding his first handrail. It’s really sick to see that someone who’s been in the industry so long still has a such a pure view of skating and still likes it for the same reasons we all liked it growing up. That fuckin’ rules. That’s a good story right there! Yeah, he’s always showing me things he’s trying to buy on Craigslist. He showed me these bowling lanes someone was selling, and was telling me how he wanted to install them on the floor of his garage but it might be too heavy. As far as trips go, how is it being a sober-ass lil’ bitch? You know, when you’re on trips and that is going on, but you don’t partake. I think it’s fine, but I’m not going to go out to the bar every night. On this trip I was just on I hung with Dick and Josh the whole time while they were smoking and drinking. For me, it’s no big deal. I know it’s not that rare these days, but sometimes on trips if the whole crew is partying, and you’re the only guy who’s not, it can make the person feel like the odd man out. I’ve definitely been on trips when it’s a bit alienating, but it’s not too bad. People are always respectful of what I choose to do. It’s not like I’m getting shit on or anything like that. They don’t care what I do, and I don’t care what they do. I’m not trying to pry and get you to talk shit, but Dan Wheatley wanted me to ask: what drives you the most nuts about trying to be a sponsored skater PHOTOS: COULTHARD
  89. 89. Ride-on 50-50, ledge to ledge “NOT THAT PEOPLE WEREN’T KIND IN LA, BUT YOU FEEL A VIBE”
  90. 90. 132 Thrasher HEADS_BARKER these days? I think most everybody’s answer would be Instagram. When you log on you see, like, 40 kids doing tricks you will never do in your life, and it can definitely make you feel inadequate at times. The self-promotional aspect of it is a little weird, but it’s just become the standard now. Yeah, we were recently at a park and saw a group of kids dressed exactly like a particular group of pros, but they were way better than the pros they’re emulating and you’re just, like, Holy shit. Yeah, I see that a lot too. It’s pretty insane. Young skaters, and just kids in general, are so much more aware and style conscious these days. LA is fucked. I’ve seen so many 13 year olds with Gucci headbands and box logos. I feel you. Did you find any of the LA stereotypes to be true? It was definitely different than I thought. People are pretty closed off. I worked in Beverly Hills for a while at a coffee shop and those people are all as soulless as they are made out to be. The richest people were the rudest and never tipped, while the people who also worked in the area were the nicest and always tipped. Who did you skate with when you lived out here and how did you get involved with Quasi and Cons? Well, my first sponsor was Lakai and I rode for them for a bit. When I visited I skated with Daniel Wheatley, so I would hit him up to skate and there was a natural progression there. We had a good dynamic of filming and skating, so most contacts came through him. I think he was the one that hit up Chad at Quasi and then I spoke with Chad on the phone. Then when Wheatley got fired at Lakai—I don’t know if you want to say that. Ha! When they “parted ways,” he was my main contact there so I didn’t feel good staying. So I talked to Bobby de Keyzer, who’s a good friend of mine, and he got me hooked up at Converse pretty quickly after. You skate with Bobby a bunch? Yeah, we go on a bunch of trips together. He lives in Toronto, so we don’t see each other all the time. He’s been a good guide through skateboarding for me, I guess. He has a face that makes him look like he’s a dick, but I heard he’s nice. He’s nice, not too much of a dick. That was my next thing I was going to ask. I always liked those classic kind of questions—who are some current skaters you enjoy watching? That’s sick because I already had an answer for this one just in case it got asked. Mostly my friends, which feels like a cop out, but Jake Johnson, Gilbert Crockett, Alexis Sablone, Bobby de Keyzer and Mike Anderson. Are those current enough? Yes. How about top-five all time? Ready for this one also. In no particular order: Ed Templeton, Anthony Van Engelen, Max Schaaf, Huf and OG Tom Knox because he’s one of the first sober punk dudes that was a skater, to my knowledge. Why do you like cats? Cats are weak. Like the animal? I mean, I like dogs too, but my girlfriend had a cat and now we have two. Cats are easier. How long could someone leave a cat in an apartment? If there was enough water and food, they would probably be fine forever. You could never come back and they wouldn’t even care. Last question: have you seen the movie Dumbass Says No? Maybe. Ollie up, backside 180 “I’VE SEEN SO MANY 13 YEAR OLDS WITH GUCCI HEADBANDS AND BOX LOGOS” COULTHARD
  91. 91. Back Smith into the bank MATTHEWS
  92. 92. 134 Thrasher ROMAN PABICH JUST MAKE BIGGER TRANNY INTERVIEW BY RYE BERES HEADS_PABICH How was China? It was fun, actually. I had a good time there. Hardly anyone went, right? Yeah, there weren’t that many people there. I know Tom Schaar was hurt and Pedro and Ronnie just don’t like China. How was the course? Kinda weird at first. But it was like all the other courses. I really liked the wall that the best trick was on. What would make the courses better? I feel like they got it pretty dialed in, maybe just make bigger tranny. It’s good that there’s not a lot of flatbottom now. If Pedro and those guys were there do you think you still would’ve made the podium? Maybe not the win but probably would’ve been up there, for sure. They gave me a pretty high score. CJ had a sick ass run too. Once you got to the finals did you feel you had it in the bag? I was pretty surprised because in semis I did the same run but they gave me an 87. So the next day I did the same run and got an 88 so I was like, shit, well. Did you feel like crying when you won? Definitely didn’t feel like crying. It was more of a shock factor. How much money do you get for those things nowadays? I won $20,000 and then got $250 for that wallride kickflip in the best-trick contest. Was there an overall winner for best trick? ’Cause yours was crazy. They were just giving out money like at Death Match. I think Wooten did the gnarliest trick. Curren did that sick kickflip pivot too. PHOTOS: BURNETT
  93. 93. Backside boneless
  94. 94. 136 Thrasher So you’re back from China now but you leave tomorrow, right? Yeah, going up to Oregon for that Independent Rip Ride Rally contest. Have you skated Lincoln City before? Yeah, I went a couple years ago on a little Welcome trip. That place is pretty crazy and crusty. Some parts are pretty crusty, but it’s a sick park; lotta concrete! The invite list for the contest is pretty crazy, from Tony Hawk to Kevin Bækkel. Who are you excited to see skate it? I don’t know who’s even going. Shit, Raven would be sick to see. I feel like everyone is gonna be in Europe. Have you been filming for the new Welcome video? I filmed a couple decent clips recently with Richie Valdez. Most of the stuff I’ve been getting lately is for this other part I’ve been working on with you, my guy Rye. Who are some of your favorite dudes—or girl—to travel with on Welcome trips? I fuck with Richie the TM most of the time. I just fuck with him for fun. I like Ryan Townley. He’s super awesome and skates really good too. You make an appearance on any Aaron Goure scores? Yeah, in Europe, actually. He’s one of my favorites on the team. Why aren’t you dying your hair or painting your nails anymore. You over the Welcome look? Whoa, whoa, whoa—I never painted my nails. I dyed my hair one time and it killed my hair so I just kept dying it. I did pink, purple, black Smith grind
  95. 95. 137 HEADS_PABICH “I HAD SMOKED BEFORE THAT BUT NOT BACK TO BACK TO BACK ALL DAY” at one point. You’ve been on a tear lately. Are there any talks of a pro board for Welcome? They’ve talked to me about designing a shape, so I guess its definitely a thought out there. When we first met you were quiet and humble and then we went to Europe and you become a full-blown stoner. I heard Raney was behind that. It was definitely Raney. We were in Australia for Park Series. Me and Ronnie were rooming together and Raney was staying with us too. Raney had a big bag of kush and was rolling up the whole time. I had smoked before that but not back to back to back all day. The day of the contest it was raining so we were chilling on the patio smoking and all I was thinking was, Holy shit, I gotta skate this contest but I’ve never been so high in my life, just hoping the contest gets canceled. After that Raney left so I found some weed and started rolling up on my own. So what happened in Copenhagen? We tried to get into the after party in Malmö and couldn’t get in. Raney was outside and asked what we were gonna do. He handed me a big ball of hash. I didn’t even know what it was and asked, “What is this?” He said, “It’s hash. It’s like weed; you just smoke it.” So how’d you guys smoke it? Herman Moller showed me this technique where you roll it up and squash it on a coin and light it in a cup and it creates smoke in the cup and you lift it up and suck up all the smoke. I remember showing back up to the room to ten little children in a smoke-filled room just dead from hash. That night was sick. When you and Cedric go home to Maryland, are you guys the big hometown heroes now? Kinda, I guess. That’s what my parents say. It’s so small there everyone knows each other so it seems that way. At the skateshop we have huge window displays. You and Ceddy used to travel nonstop together but now you guys are kinda on your own. Is it weird not traveling together anymore? It’s definitely weird but it makes it even more sick when we do get to travel together. We’ve been traveling a lot more now that he’s on Park Series. That first year of Park Series you just kept saying, “I wish Ceddy was here. I don’t wanna skate with any of these people.” Some stops are still kinda like that. Like, Ugghh—I gotta go skate the park with these guys. I got that vibe in China, for sure. Heimana Eggplant PHOTOS: BURNETT
  97. 97. 139 HEADS_PABICH Reynolds was down there with his shirt off with skate tape on every area of his body: his shoulder, wrist, knee, ankle. The only article of clothes he had on were his board shorts and shoes. Can’t forget about those ankle socks. I was watching him skate, like, Oh my God, wishing Cedric or Chucky would come in hot and fire it up. Those dudes are just boring to watch. Over the past year you’ve been developing a lot more style, not just in skating, but in clothes. What would be your dream clothing sponsor? I’m gonna say Burberry. I like their original plaid. Can’t be looking like a golfer in the streets. Golfers can fuck off. Why are they even wearing polos? How’s it been traveling with Frank and the Vans crew? Those are super fun, especially when you’re on the trips. There’s always a good crew on them. The past couple ones I’ve been on have been pretty heavy lineups. Who’s your favorite to have on those trips? Tyson is super fun. He’s like an older bother to me and Cedric. He’s always trying to be outside and keeping it un-boring. Tell us about this awesome body rash you have. I went into this river and then went into a hot tub and got a pretty crazy rash all over my body and on my dick. The doctor checked it out and said I have “hot tub cellulitis.” It’s a bacterial infection. I got it right before China and got all these antibiotics and thought I wasn’t gonna be allowed in. Why didn’t you shower that night? You’re supposed to be the clean Pabich. I was probably too high and fell asleep. Usually I get in the hot tub and go to bed but this time I woke up with a rash all over my body. My mom thought I got the measles. What’s in store for the rest of the year? Just trying to film and skate a lot more. I was filming a lot in the winter and just wanna keep it going. Ronnie’s parents are gonna let us use their RV for the summer. Let’s get this shit going. Yes, RV road trip, for sure. Homies video ’bout to come in hot, son. Homies are taking over, slowly but surely. BURNETT
  99. 99. 142 Thrasher like taking the train in NYC and not really knowing where you’re gonna go. You can’t really do that in LA. Everything is so spread out where I’m from, but in New York you can just hop on the train and go wherever. It’s pretty sick. I like it. The nightlife is sick, too. The city doesn’t sleep. The bars are open ’til 4 am, which can make any night crazy. And you know you can always find the bangin’ halal food truck afterwards too. I know Quim Cardona is from Jersey, but he’s my favorite skater who was around NY. Nollie varial flip at the Brookyn Banks—that’s all I gotta say. I could see moving to NYC for a summer. That’d be sick. But fuck no I couldn’t handle the winter! Previous spread: My board went over the edge of the roof and almost fucking chopped somebody’s head off! It landed just feet away from a guy walking by, staring at his phone. There were some girls on the roof having a little party, smoking weed out of their bong and shit. The run up was harsh. Rooftop boneless Below: This one was crazy, man. John Gardner knew a guy who runs a film lab/photo studio in the city. He skated, so he bowled out both corners and had a quarterpipe roll-in built. Frontside carve I
  100. 100. 143 I wasn’t worried about hitting Madars on this 50-50. I knew he could take a hit! Teamwork makes the dream work, fool! The heel bruise—the good ol’ heel bruise. It didn’t take too long to get this crooked grind. You don’t get too many tries jumping down shit like this. I warmed up with some liquid yoga, some beer yoga “THE BARS ARE OPEN ’TIL 4 AM, WHICH CAN MAKE ANY NIGHT CRAZY”
  101. 101. 145 Opposite: This rail has a wild carve in. You can hit it fast AF. I got to share the session with some BMXers. It was kinda cool watching those fools do it. 5-0 There’s a big apartment building at this spot. The tenants were stoked, especially watching John Gardner getting on the ledge like he was fucking Spiderman. It’s a sick spot. 5-0 180 out. See ya next time, New York! “I COULD SEE MOVING TO NYC FOR A SUMMER. THAT’D BE SICK”
  102. 102. 146 Thrasher Skaters, Drugs & Alcohol B y M i c h a e l B u r n e t t
  103. 103. 147 TEMPLETON
  104. 104. 148 Thrasher ow did you become a user of drugs and/or alcohol? Just being a kid in Florida. Looking for things that were different. Ways to get attention and fit in. The people I looked up to and my role models were into drugs and alcohol. When did you realize you had a problem? When I was going to therapy because I thought I was just crazy and finally the therapist told me I had a problem. It was like six months after I started seeing her I came in with probably my third black eye from falling down drunk. She told me I had a problem. It was like a lightbulb going off. Like a moment of clarity. I had been waiting for someone to tell me that for so long but no one ever did. How bad did it get? What was the breaking point that made you decide it was time to stop/get help? I mean, for the outside world my situation probably didn’t look that bad, but for me it was terrible. I felt so lonely even with a million friends around me at all times. I was completely miserable. Just very dark and alone with what felt like no way out at the time. How did you get sober? I went to a place where everyone was suffering from the same situation at one time and had gotten better. I asked for help. What are the challenges of staying sober? None. It’s challenging to live happy and free of self pity at times, but not drinking and doing drugs just happened as a result of doing the work it takes to stop. What are the rewards of staying sober? Freedom and joy. The ability to change perspective and live in reality. A real feeling of gratitude not just saying I’m grateful. Knowledge that most of my misery was/is of my own making. Helping others. What advice would you give to someone who wants to quit? Hit me up. H ELISSA STEAMER Previous spread: Warner daze, late 90s MCGUIRE FLYNN
  105. 105. 149 “I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO TELL ME THAT FOR SO LONG” Elissa grabs some freedom, blasting kickflip from Gizmo
  106. 106. Handling an overcrooks, with a little help from his friends FLYNN
  107. 107. 151 ow did you become a user of drugs and/or alcohol? What started as recreational use became excessive and self medicating, which I believed was normal behavior at that time. When did you realize you had a problem? Realizing I had a problem was difficult because there were different times in my life, using different substances, at different levels. I also used certain life achievements to validate my behavior. How bad did it get? What was the breaking point that made you decide it was time to stop/get help? Feeling extreme hopelessness and hurting the people closest to me was my bottom. Today I don’t view my past as a problem but as something I gained extreme personal growth from. How did you get sober? I was unsuccessful getting sober on my own. I had close friends around me who intervened and helped get me into a treatment center where I was introduced to the program. What are the challenges of staying sober? Without the self work, I can still suffer from the same psychological mind and behavior, while being sober. For most addicts this is a life-threatening disease that needs continuous treatment. What are the rewards of staying sober? Being there for the people going through it. What advice would you give to someone who wants to quit? Get honest with your feelings and friends. Skateboarding brings together some of the heaviest partiers and sober people on the same teams, vans, trips, etc., not pushing either of their programs or taking inventory, but they are there for each other in a heartbeat. We have a big recovery community and bond. If you speak up around here you’ll get pointed in the right direction. Skateboarders have some of the biggest hearts. H “IF YOU SPEAK UP AROUND HERE YOU’LL GET POINTED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION” GUY MARIANO BURNETT
  108. 108. 152 Thrasher Drink water, hug your kids, bust nose slide pop overs
  109. 109. 153 ow did you become a user of drugs and/or alcohol? Same as most young people probably, started smoking weed and having a few beers, got really drunk at some parties. When did you realize you had a problem? Pretty early on, maybe by age 19. I knew when I drank that shit might get out of control; blacking out and doing things I never would have done sober. Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde! How bad did it get? What was the breaking point that made you decide it was time to stop/get help? I stopped at 24. I’d say the last three-to-four years I started doing harder drugs, and the drinking got worse. I was driving drunk a lot, weed 24/7, getting in more trouble, a few nights in jail here and there, did some serious time (two days). It was really just all so out of my control. I would tell myself I was gonna have one beer with my friends and truly believe it, then three days later I would be suffering, wondering how did this happen again, every time. It sucked. Some of my really close friends had gotten sober and I came home after a little bender and they said, “You need help.” I knew I did. I had been trying to stop on my own for years, I just couldn’t do it. So I listened to them and did what they were doing to stop. How did you get sober? I started taking advice and listening to people who had some time sober, taking direction, realizing I only needed to stay sober one day at a time. What are the challenges of staying sober? This is the best choice I’ve ever made in my life! Any challenges that come up in life are going to come up with or without drinking and drugs, so I’d say the challenge is facing hard situations sober and dealing with things in a better way. Staying sober becomes easy after some time. What are the rewards of staying sober? For me, everything, I wouldn’t have this life— with the relationships, career, Baker, all of it. I wouldn’t be doing this interview. I’d probably be dead. And I’ve came across many people who have been able to stop because they heard I struggled with it too. That’s amazing. What advice would you give to someone who wants to quit? You are never too young or old to stop. You can not do it alone. Be honest with someone and don’t isolate. Sometimes it seems impossible, but it gets easier! H “THIS IS THE BEST CHOICE I’VE EVER MADE IN MY LIFE!” ANDREW REYNOLDS PHOTOS: ATIBA
  110. 110. ow did you become a user of drugs and/or alcohol? I didn’t drink or use drugs until I was post heart surgery at 18. In Finland that’s old to start drinking. It all started casually. When did you realize you had a problem? I think I was around 25? It was the moment where getting high took priority over everything else and I knew I had a problem. There was a moment where it became more important than anything else and then I fell deeper and deeper into it. The partying at some point turned into coping and masking the pain. It wasn’t really about having fun. How bad did it get? What was the breaking point that made you decide it was time to stop/get help? Ohhhh… It got bad. I was going to lose everything—my family, my friends, my contracts. I had screwed up all my finances. It was all coming to an end for me. The last one that brought me to my knees was a five-month bender. The drugs stopped working and I was so over being sick. The chemicals weren’t working anymore, trying to go up or go down, get evened out. One day we were sitting by the bowl. I got an invite to a party and I just said no and I think the next morning I started calling for help. It’s kind of a blur. How did you get sober? Eventually I got myself to a meeting and with the help of friends and family and AA. ARTO SAARI What are the challenges of staying sober? Every day is a challenge. This disease is real. We call it “stinking thinking” in the program and it’s a personality disorder. A lot of it comes down to self love and addicts and skateboarders alike don’t have much of that. And it is a progressive disease. You really have to watch it when shit goes haywire. It creeps up on you. The thoughts get dark. What are the rewards of staying sober? Well, I got my family back. It took some time and convincing, but Ella and Mimi came home after a year of sobriety. I got back to skating and shooting photos. I focused more on photography than ever and people could actually count on me again. It sucks when people write you off, but people also don’t know what to do with addicts. Mimi, who had stood by my side through some bad times, eventually married me and we had a beautiful baby boy named Ragnar. We moved to Hawaii to raise the kids; somewhere filled with surfing and skating and clean oceans. I get to drink a lot of coffee now and I eat way more ice cream than I need to and I found new passions and interests. It was really hard to retain any new information when you’re brain is cooked. I took up surfing at the ripe age of 35 I could never have done that if I was high or using. What advice would you give to someone who wants to quit? As cliché as it sounds it starts with “one day at a time.” Sometimes it’s one minute at a time, one second at a time. The only power you have is over this moment right here, right now. The most important thing you can do is to ask for help. Then try and surround yourself with people that aren’t gonna hand you a beer and a joint and get out of your normal routine for awhile. You could call a stranger that is sober and ask for help and they will help you. If you have an inkling of a feeling that you should quit, then you should quit. There are no mistakes in getting sober. It’s different for everyone, no perfect approach, the important thing is just to try and give yourself that break from whatever monkey is on your back. I’m celebrating my seventh year sober this June. I couldn’t have stayed alive doing what I was doing, so this works better for me. H “IT ALL STARTED CASUALLY” Arto and Ragnar in rock ‘n’ roll paradise SHIRLEY SHIRLEY
  111. 111. 155 TYSHAWN JONES - THE SOTY WHO NEVER STARTED BY LUI ELLIOTT hy don’t you smoke or drink? It’s pointless. You get nothing out of it besides a feeling. I get feelings from living my life. I don’t need drugs or drinks to feel a certain type of way. I’m just high on life. Was there anything in your life that made you want to avoid it? I always heard it was bad. I never wanted to do it. There was never a reason for it. I feel like I was put on this Earth to do certain things, to make a way for my family. All I know is that it would be a distraction to what I’m trying to achieve. It would hold me back, almost as if I were taking two steps forward and five steps in reverse. Have you ever been tempted to experiment? Never. What’s it like to be around wasted people? Does it bother you? It don’t bother me, they can choose what they want to do. I don’t have a say so. I don’t like it in my head but I don’t say anything. I let people live their life the way they want to live it. Have you seen it change people around you at all? Hell yeah. I’ve seen people start drinking and completely fall off compared to when they weren’t. This isn’t just drinking or smoking, it’s whatever, drugs period. They get on that and they start fucking up. What advice would you give to younger skaters feeling pressure to drink and/or smoke? Be yourself. Don’t let nobody pressure you. At the end of the day, you die alone. Why are you trying to impress somebody else? W Always impressive, even when he’s not trying. TJ is on his own path ATIBA
  112. 112. 156 Thrasher ow did you become a user of drugs and/or alcohol? I started drinking when I was 17 or 18. I remember feeling like I was such a late bloomer with that stuff. I started drinking some beers in Europe on a skate trip. Real mellow at first. But once I realized that drinking seemed to alleviate the social anxiety that I always had, I fucking floored it. When did you realize you had a problem? At a certain point I realized that I preferred to be (at least a little bit) fucked up to do anything. So I was kind of drinking all of the time. That seemed like a red flag. But I surrounded myself with people doing the same stuff, so it was kind of sustainable. It wasn’t until a few of my best friends sat me down and expressed to me their genuine concern about the direction my life was going that I fully realized how bad it had become. How bad did it get? What was the breaking point that made you decide it was time to stop/get help? I was blacking out all the time. Months would fly by in a haze. I got set on fire. My skateboarding career was really fizzling out, but I didn’t care to fight for it because I felt like shit, physically. I couldn’t recover from injuries. I thought I was having fun, but it was pretty much the same day over and over. It’s a difficult sentiment to convey, but basically I felt like I had stopped progressing as a person. That was probably the worst part. Wasting time. After my friends sat me down for that informal intervention I saw shit differently and I knew deep down that the party was over. How did you get sober? I started by just trying to be clean for a little bit. But quickly and luckily I felt like it was the right thing for me. I connected with friends who had been through the same thing. I skated a lot. I got obsessed with feeling good physically. I ended some toxic relationships. I went to therapy to address some of the shit I couldn’t figure out by myself. Most importantly, I was just honest with myself. What are the challenges of staying sober? In the beginning I felt emotionally raw. You lose some of that artificial armor. You gotta deal with everything life has to offer. Build real armor. Also, I was very afraid of becoming boring. But I guess becoming an old, uninspired alcoholic is really boring. H KEVIN “SPANKY” LONG PHOTOS: ATIBA
  113. 113. 157 “I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING FUN, BUT IT WAS PRET TY MUCH THE SAME DAY OVER AND OVER” What are the rewards of staying sober? Time. Life is fucking short and I no longer feel like I’m squandering my precious time here. I get to enjoy the good shit in life fully, instead of through the self-medicated haze I was in. Also skateboarding is more fun than it’s ever been. Nothing beats that. What advice would you give to someone who wants to quit? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People everywhere are struggling or have struggled. Skate a lot or do something physical. It takes a lot of time and energy to be a pile, so you’re left with a lot. Use it wisely. Burn or get burnt. Spanky’s comeback has been epic to watch
  114. 114. 158 Thrasher ow did you become a user of drugs and/or alcohol? The first memory I have of drugs and alcohol is from my early youth, around third or fourth grade when I saw some older kids drinking and smoking weed. I devised a plan with my friend to steal a bottle of vodka from his parents and another kid had stolen some weed from his parents. We all met up and got wasted. I was on a mission to continue the party from there on out for a long time. I think that partying has always been glorified in movies and media, so that had an impact. I was especially influenced by older “cool” kids too. When did you realize you had a problem? That was a tricky thing for me to figure out, as I somehow always seemed to keep going while I was partying. Although I have heavily experimented with all types of drugs in my lifetime, I was fortunate enough to mainly only drink alcohol and smoke weed, so for many years I always thought I had them in control. I would take breaks here and there, but eventually I would always find myself back in hardcore party mode. As I got older the effects of partying started to weigh me down. I couldn’t skate like I once did and the hangovers became worse and worse. I started to find myself at a crossroads in life and was uncertain what my future held, so I turned to drinking to try and forget some of the reality I was faced with. This only made things worse though and eventually I drank myself into the darkest state of being I was ever in. I became something I knew I wasn’t and felt like I was in so deep that there was no turning back, so I decided I would try and just party until I died. One night in particular I really went for it and completely blacked out. I woke up the next day with the worst hangover and realized I was still alive. That’s the day where I started to think I really needed to stop. How bad did it get? What was the breaking point that made you decide it was time to stop/get help? My partying definitely had a snowball effect, it just slowly but surely became out of control. Like I said, I had a night where I basically tried to kill myself without putting a gun to my head. I just tried to consume an inhuman amount of alcohol and drugs to do the job, but somehow I survived and started to think it was for a reason, but continued to still party for a few more months. During that time I hurt my back while drinking, made a fool of myself on several occasions and got arrested. Blacking out became a common activity. I woke up the day after getting arrested and was in jail still. I didn’t even remember getting arrested. I didn’t even know I was in jail when I first woke up. At that moment I told myself that the party was over, for good. How did you get sober? I just quit right then and right there, cold turkey as they say. I was done. I just thought to myself, If I died that night would people remember me as this old pro skater who just became a drunk and killed himself, and not remember all the positive things that I was proud of myself for? I didn’t want to be remembered as something that I knew I wasn’t. I wanted to use this mind and body from here on out and not abuse them any longer than I already had. As for most things in my life, if I wanted this done right, I had to make the decision to do it myself. What are the challenges of staying sober? The only challenges of staying sober for me came at first, the first few months, it was the challenge of breaking a routine that I had been on for most of my life. I had to separate myself from a social circle where partying all night long was normal. I had to stop and really look at myself as the person I truly was and not the party animal that I had become along H CHAD MUSKA STRAND
  115. 115. 159 the way, becoming at one with myself away from the skateboarding spotlight, without a cool group of people to surround myself with, I had to take a deep look within, which can be a very difficult thing to do. After I broke free though, nothing feels challenging—everything feels possible. When I see people drinking, I just think of how much of an idiot I become when I drink and how bad the hangover is. Those two thoughts alone give me continued strength. What are the rewards of staying sober? I could go on and on about this! Some of the main things are just the feeling of clarity I live with now. It’s far more of a high than drugs or alcohol could every compare with; the feeling of being in control at all times and not dependent upon an unnecessary factor in my life. I feel so much more healthy and have become more conscious of what food I eat, the energy I surround myself with and the energy I put out into this world. I feel that I have tapped into my mind in a way that I had never done before while partying. I can accept full responsibility in my life and my actions. I have no nights that I am embarrassed about and no behavior that I do not remember. I am alive and grateful for every second of it! What advice would you give to someone who wants to quit? I think that addiction is very different for every single person. Not everyone’s able to just quit without serious help from friends, family, therapy, AA and many other techniques that exist. The first and most important part of the journey really does start with you, though. You have to make the decision that you really want it and are willing to make the changes you need to make in order to be successful. I think that even if you are getting help from others, if you do not make the decision yourself, then you will be weak when your support system is not around. If you really want to be sober, then you will be sober, you just can’t take the easy route. You must remember that more than likely you have spent many years conditioning your body to the drugs and alcohol. You have become dependent on them. It will not be easy, but you can do it. I believe in you! I am no therapist or doctor, so I wouldn’t use the words as professional advice, but hopefully they can help inspire others to get clean too. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; don’t be afraid to take that first step. I can say from experience that it will be the best step of your new life! “IT WILL NOT BE EASY, BUT YOU CAN DO IT. I BELIEVE IN YOU!” Blunt slide in living color, a lifetime away from the Muskalade days STRAND