Mark Nardelli

I’ve been consciously not making this site overly skate industry focused. While I did work in “the industry,” I’m hyper aware that there are many amazing creative people beyond this circle who have been brought up as skateboarders. Mark Nardelli is one where I’m proud to be veering off the course. 5Boro has been a shinning light from the East coast and has been true to real street skateboarding since it’s creation.

mark-nardelli-portrait mark-nardelli-jump-ramp

When did you start skating? What was your first skateboard?
Got my first board in the 80s, it was a G&S Chris Miller given to me by my Grandfather as a X-mas gift. I guess it was the skating trend when “Fat Boards” as they were called then had become popular. It was just as vert tricks started popping on the street, street plants, ollie to 50-50 stalls, launch ramps, the beginning of street skating. I had that G&S board for a while and would use it to bomb hills in my neighborhood. My friends and I all had boards and we would see how far we could roll without touching the ground starting at the top of the hill. It wasn’t till a few years later that I actually got bit by the skate bug and went hard at learning tricks, reading magazines and really becoming a skateboarder.

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Matt Flynt

Meet designer, mechanic, handyman and all around good guy Matt Flynt. I worked with Matt when we both worked at Black Box Dist. Matt juggled the chaos like a pro, always doing whatever it took to get the job done.

Matt-Flynt-portrait Matt-Flynt-ollie

When did you start skating?
Messing around on uncles’ setups at 5 (1985). Through the 80s it was skating or BMX every day. I got serious about skateboarding around 1992, after watching ‘Now N’ Later’ and ‘Questionable’.

What was your first skateboard?
It was a T&C (as in T&C Surf Designs) called “Primal Urge”. Dark red veneers with fluro blue rock-wall looking custom grip job thanks to mom. Indys and lime green Rat Bones. It was a good board, but a weird brand. First “legit” brand board was a Sims Staab mad scientist mini. White dip, huge Oingo Boingo sticker on the tail. I think that was christmas ’87.

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Peter Hoffman

Peter-Hoffman-ollie Peter-Hoffman-portrait

When did you start skating?
I was 12, I think. I never thought of it as something that interested me until some kids in my neighborhood started picking them up and I would see them skating in front of their house until it got dark out.

What was your first skateboard?
I saved up 60$ as soon as I could to buy a Nash from Sports Authority and wore that thing out really quickly. By the time I was done with it I had taught myself to ollie, heelflip, kickflip, shove-it all on a board that hardly rolled forward. My first real board was an Alien Workshop Spectrum slick with green based Grind King trucks, followed by Ray Barbee’s duck model from the Firm. I could go on, I made a coffee table out of my old broken decks and trucks etc. I love those things.


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From the Web: Ian MacKaye – About Skateboarding

I saw this first on Jenkem Mag

Also, Mr. MacKaye did a interview with Atiba Jefferson in the May 2010 issue of the Skateboard reprinted this interview online. Here’s a chunk from that interview…

What I can say about skateboarding is that I really learned how to reassign properties to the world around me. This was not a conscious practice, but still it was occurring. Suddenly the weather means something completely different to you. Swimming pools take on a new potential reality. You’re not just taking a swim anymore. If you go into a parking lot and there’s a little bank on the side of it, you make a mental note of it. The surface of the streets, are they rough or smooth? There are any number of lines that you start to see.

I think when skaters walk down the street, they’re looking at it with an entirely different grid in their minds. I think this practice enabled me to redefine the world around me—to take what was given and then readjust it to make it work. When I got into music, specifically punk rock, that sort of redefinition was central. I would look at a situation, the circumstances that had been presented, and think, “Okay, I’m just going to change all of this, or at least change the way I’m thinking about it.” I come at things from a different place, and I think that’s something I really developed through skating.

To this day I swim to the bottom of swimming pools just to check out the transition. It just feels good; it makes me think about how nice it would be to ride.

One last thing—and I’ll be straight up about this—I was never a great skater, but I rode and I don’t think that experience will ever leave me. Whether or not I step on a board again, a part of me will always be a skateboarder.

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Justin Santora

Justin-Santora-with-cats Justin-Santora-backtail_logan

When did you start skating?
I started skateboarding in the summer of 1996. I was twelve years old. My childhood best friend went on vacation to California, and he came back really interested in skateboarding. It wasn’t long before we were messing around in his driveway on skateboards.

What was your first skateboard?
My aforementioned childhood friend gave me his old setup when he got a new one. It was a cheap toy store brand and if I remember correctly, I don’t think it even had griptape on it. Instead, there was some coarse grit adhered to the top of the board, which was painted black. I learned how to ollie on it, and then some friends insisted I take a third-hand Flip deck from them. I swapped it out and didn’t look back.

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Adam Salo

adam-salo-retro adam-salo-bs-disaster

When did you start skating?
I’ve had a board since I was 8 or so but started trying tricks and all that at about 13. That would be 1991.

What was your first skateboard?
My first board ever was a Toys ‘R’ Us complete with a demon doing a wallride while smashing a skeleton with a mace as the graphic. When I got really interested in skating, beyond just a fad, I was given a hand-me-down Santa Cruz from a kid in the neighborhood. It was an ’80s shape with a slightly kicked up nose. The board was a few years old already when I got it but I didn’t know any better. The first board I picked out myself was a New Deal Danny Sargent pro model slick-bottom with a graphic ripping off a Too Short album cover. I had Venture trucks and, if memory serves, Real “Little Bunny Shit” wheels that were maybe 38 millimeter. If skateboarding hadn’t evolved back to bigger setups and cleaner tricks, I probably would have quit. Shout out to Jerry Fisher for selling me my first set of “big” wheels at Love Park for $6 in 1993. I think those were 50 millimeters. Ridiculous.

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From the Web: Rodney Mullen – A Beautiful Mind

Originally on the Berrics

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Andrew Brodhead

Andrew-Brodhead-fs-air Andrew-Brodhead-portrait

When did you start skating?
I started skating when I was about 14 years old.

What was your first skateboard?
My first skateboard was a Zoo York deck 7.75 with thunder trucks and 52mm spitfire wheels.

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Dallas Clayton

Dallas Clayton hit my awareness when his viral sensation started flying around the internet and in Google’s TV spot. It made me smile, like it did for millions of others. Recently I had the pleasure of seeing him speak–he was very awesome in person and pulled the crowd into his world. After the talk, I had the chance to shake his hand and learned that skateboarding played a role in his shaping his awesome life.

dallas-clayton-mobbed dallas-clayton-new-feelings

When did you start skating?
Honestly, I grew up around skating since maybe age 10, 11 – I mean I had a skateboard when I was very young but never did anything with it. Then most of my good friends got into skating pretty heavy around 13. So from 13 to 16 just going to spots every other night and hanging out in parking lots and having fun. The strange thing is, I never really got into it then. I watched the videos, I pushed around, I was super into the culture of it but I was always just on the sidelines. Maybe this logic makes sense, maybe it doesn’t, but by the time I was 13 or 14 I just figured, “Oh, I’m not really any good at it, I’ll just leave it to them.” Then around 16 or 17 I looked around and said “Man, if I’d have really started skating then, I’d probably be a lot better now, but now there’s no reason to start.” This sort of logic, I think keeps a lot of people from doing a lot of fun things.

By the time I was 18 I felt like I’d been around skating for so long that I had definitely missed the window to enjoy it to its fullest – I just kind of watched everything from the sidelines.  Fast forward a few years and I move to LA and end up making friends with a handful of skaters, so it’s just all around me but still not something I’m active in. Then when my son was born around 23, 24, – for some reason it just made sense like “if you don’t participate in this, you’re missing out on something that is super fun.” Skateboarding is so interesting, because as much of a brotherhood as it provides it can be pretty scary if you haven’t ever really done it. It’s not like basketball or something where the worst case scenario is you miss a shot. The older you get, the harder it becomes to convince yourself that falling off things is worth it, but the part that made it easy for me was just skating around with my son. He was so young that we could just go to a tennis court or a parking lot and push around, and then from there just find the freedom and the fun in being in control and falling down and getting back up. Since then I’d say I’m as much of a skater now as I’ve ever been, but would hardly throw myself into the same category as kids who grew up doing it every day. I feel like I skate the same way I ride a bike, for pure fun, transportation, to get out into the world.

What was your first skateboard?
As I said, I don’t really have a “first board” story. I always just had whatever showed up at my house. By the time I was a teenager that meant lots of New Deal and Plan B and Hook Ups decks. There was a point where I was 16 or so and took a trip to SF and through a family friend I ended up at Max Schaaf’s house. He gave me a huge stack of used decks –  maybe 10 or 15, tons of old Real decks, and just random decks that had been left there by various SF guys. They were totally thrashed but I remember being so stoked to bring them back and give them out to all my friends. This was all pre-internet, so the only way people were getting stuff that wasn’t at our tiny local shops was through CCS and no one had any money cause we were all in high school. I remember bringing all those decks back and it was like a stack of gold bars to my friends.

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Jay Yarow

I met Jay on the basketball court. We played in a low-skill high-fun league and we became quick friends or enemies, depending on how the teams shaped up. His energy, intelligence  and creativity was pretty evident and it didn’t totally shock me when I started seeing him on the news as a pop-up tech guy just a few years later.


When did you start skating?
I started skating in the 80s, around the time of ‘Gleaming the Cube’ and Powell Peralta. I took 4-5 years off, then tried it again for a short while with tiny wheels and a slick deck. I really became obsessed in 1995.

What was your first skateboard?
A yellow mini Caballero deck with black/grey Gullwing trucks and Rat Bone wheels.

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