When did you start skating?
When I was maybe 5 years old. I remember watching my older brothers skate at the Winchester Skate Park in Campbell, California. This would have been around 1978. Everything was larger than life and the place just freaked me out. It wasn’t the kind of location I really wanted hang out at. Honestly, I was scared of falling over the edge and dying in the bottom of the bowl. It was that or Captain Kangroo was on and I was pissed for having to go with mom to pickup my older brothers. I was too young to relate I guess.
But in a family of 4 boys, the skateboard was never very far away. The first board that I tried to ride was this wooden plank with steel wheels on it. My brothers used this antique beast to take out the trashcans and tow each other on it with our Schwinn Stingray. During one of their “sessions,” they somehow convinced me to grab the rope and take a turn. The pain and blood from that moment were intense. 6 years old, ankle meat clearly shredded off to the bone, a sink filled with blood and parents yelling at me to stop screaming. Ya that’s when I started.
What was your first skateboard?
From the steel wheel plank of death, I graduated to the Kmart banana board. While this wasn’t a huge improvement, at least the wheels weren’t metal. It’s funny to see in 2015 these penny boards have made a resurgence. It is bizarre that people still want to ride these things. I say: Fuck you hipsters, those boards suck. The skateboard progressed for a reason.
Anyway, with the new yellow technology, I would launch off our deck and eat shit because there wasn’t much else to do on a board like that. This was around 1983. At the time, my oldest brother had a Fiberflex and some HUGE wheels. We would skate in the driveway and somehow I managed to get hooked. We were just cruising and ripping up elbows at this point, but it was a blast.
Somewhere during 1984, my brother upped the game and got a Barfoot with some wheels that didn’t stop unexpectedly. The board was wide and had a sense of style. The power slides he could do on that board were blew my mind. But what blew my mind even more was the movie he brought home from the skate shop that we watched on a rented VCR. I can remember the opening scene with Lance Mountain launching off the top of a house and thinking, “What the hell…he did that?” Then straight to the pool session. Everything sped up after that. My best friends started getting into it and my parents let me spend the $150 in my saving account on my first board. It was a black Tony Hawk deck (1984) with Independent Trucks and Clear 85a Ratbones wheels. It had black rails, a black tail skid, copers, and a lapper. Man, that was a day I will never forget
When did you stop or slow down significantly?
I started to slow down my senior year in high school, 1992. It had been happening earlier than that though. It’s probably because I changed school districts and none of my skate friends where around. I still skated but just not as regularly. There was definitely none of the skating from sun up to sundown. During 1990, I met some non skate friends who were just getting into surfing. One night after a bender in the Santa Cruz Mountains, these guys told me I should come for a surf. It was 5:30am. I caught my first wave and it was pretty much the nail in the skateboard coffin. After high school, I moved to Santa Cruz with my best friend. We just worked, surfed, studied and partied. We still skated Derby Park and some backyard ramps, but nothing could compare to the feeling of surfing. Eventually, skating started to hurt too much and the skateboard went into the closet.
What do you do for a living?
I am a video editor. Like my introduction to skating, I have my brothers to thank for getting into TV. I can remember them making Super 8 films when I was a little kid. They would take hollow plastic horses and stuff them with firecrackers, light them on fire and then film the whole thing. Or they would throw dummies filled with blood bags off the roof. That was twisted stuff for this 6 year old. I pretty much wanted in from then on. I never looked back. I had a Super 8 camera when I was 13 and filmed some my friends skating but I really sucked at camera. The whole process of getting the film developed was a pain too. Once I found editing, I locked on with a death grip.
Skating re-emerged for me in 2005 when I became the editor for a skate show on Current TV. While my board of choice at this time was still surfboard, I realized my identification as a skater really never left. Now, fast-forward to 2015 and the skateboard is a weekly thing.
When you are not skating, how often do you think about skateboarding?
Thanks to a recent friendship, I think about skating a lot. I think about how I managed to dislocate my right shoulder in a parking lot at the tender age of 40. I think about how long it took for me to brush my teeth or wipe my ass normally after that fall. There is a reason most people stop skating. It’s because it fucking hurts. It hurts because we suck. Because we suck and we fall. Because we fall we go to physical therapy to avoid surgery. Ya, I think about skating all the time and how stupid it is that I am probably going to the park next Tuesday. Thanks John for enabling my midlife crisis.
How did skateboarding affect the direction of your life?
I don’t think it really changed the direction of my life so much as it taught me who I was and wasn’t. I can remember some of my non-skate friends who played baseball. I would go and watch them get yelled at during the games to the point at which they would cry. To me, that was the most messed up thing in the world. It was Saturday and they were standing there getting yelled at by someone else’s parents. Maybe they liked it that way. Maybe their parents didn’t yell at them enough. All I knew was my parents yelled at me plenty.
For me, skating was freedom. It was exploration. It was looking at the world and trying to figure out a way to turn it into something else. To that end, skateboarding probably helped me strengthen my desire to break popular conventions. Skateboarding fostered in me an acceptance of letting people be who they are. Everybody skates his or her own way and skaters for the most part support being different. That was a very powerful lesson for me growing up. I think a lot of this still carries through in my day-to-day life as an adult.
What is the connection between skateboarding and creativity?
The creative process is all about potential. It’s a curiosity with what could happen when we decide to manipulate the mediums we are playing with. Skateboarding is exactly the same. We play with our environment in both our minds and physical space, imagining what could happen if we do this or that in a particular order and in a particular space.
The creative process is limitless and so to is skateboarding. There aren’t any rules that need to be followed with skateboarding and so it will keep evolving and changing.