Rising Stars in Action

January 17, 2011

rob brink 944 magazine lyn z adams hawkins

Rising Stars in Action
Words: Rob Brink
944, January 2011

Progression, like time, waits for no one. If you don’t do it, someone else will beat you to it. Period.

Actions sports are no different, however, progression isn’t always about winning a medal, being number one or the money. Most times, it’s simply for the greater good—to push the envelope.

The athletes involved are intensely creative, dedicated, persistent, innovative and expressive individuals. Even in an event as high profile as the X Games or US Open, they are most likely battling themselves, not the other competitors.

Lyn-z Adams Hawkins, Kyle Loza and Brett Simpson are all in “the window” right now. It’s the age and place in their careers where they’ve accomplished more than most will ever dream. They’re at top of their game, but still rising stars and we don’t mind staring up at them. Not one bit.

Lyn-z Adams Hawkins: Professional Skateboarder
Age 21, Cardiff By the Sea

Lyn-z Adams Hawkins owns eight X Games Women’s Skateboarding medals—three of them are gold.

She’s the first female in history to land a 540 on a halfpipe and has never played her own character in Tony Hawk’s latest Activision release, Shred, because she’s “not too big on video games.”

Humble much? Yes, Lyn-z is in video games while most are just playing them.

Hawkins is currently traveling the globe with Travis Pastrana on the Nitro Circus Live tour and somehow still finds time to be a 21-year-old: chilling with her boyfriend (who has his own backyard skatepark), surfing, snowboarding and learning to ride dirt bikes.

“It’s still a man’s world,” Hawkins says of action sports, “but we're working hard and it’s slowly but surely changing for the better. We [men and women] are built very differently but I don’t see why girls can’t be as good as the guys one day.”

What will you be up to when you’re 30 and no longer eligible to be in this article?
I’m working on figuring that out right now. I’m sure I’ll still be skating. I plan on being a mother too.

Well, you certainly have time … of all your contest wins, which is the most special to you?
My first X Games medal. I was 14. My father died between the previous X Games and the year I won, so I did it for him.

No better reason to win than that. So you’re on tour right now?
Yeah. I just spent the last six weeks in Australia skating the Nitro Circus tour. Next is three weeks in New Zealand, a few more weeks in Australia, then Europe and the States. I’ve been learning how to ride a dirt bike too and I’m lovin’ it!

What’s a common misconception about your job from people outside your industry?
A lot of people think I was just handed everything on a silver platter, but I worked hard to get where I am— and I still work hard.

Traveling is a lot more tiring and stressful than people think. It’s not its all cracked up to be but it’s still better than a real job. As much as I have to be places, I’m kind of on my own schedule, My job allows me to do whatever I want as long as I’m performing well when I need to.

How incredible is it being the first female to land a 540?
It was a big step for women’s vert. I would have been just as ecstatic if another girl had done it but I’m stoked it was me. I like to help grow the sport and pave the way for all the younger girls coming up who will soon be passing me by.

rob brink 944 magazine lbrett simpson

Brett Simpson: Professional Surfer
Age 25, Huntington Beach

When your father spends five seasons as a professional Safety for the LA Rams, being thrust into the world of little league sports is inevitable. Two-time US Open champion, Brett Simpson, was no different. That is, until he stepped on his first surfboard at age 11.

“We went to Seal Beach and were just messing around,” Simpson says. “My buddy had a surfboard and that was the first time I ever did it. That Christmas I asked my parents for a surfboard, got one, and from that point I was hooked.”

There are hundreds of pro surfers out there, but only 32 make the World Tour. Simpson is one of them. He’s competitive and focused on staying at the top, but not in the “intense alpha male at a pickup game who only cares about winning and ruins the afternoon for everyone else” kind of way. It’s part of Brett’s charm actually.

When you’re on tour what do you miss most about Huntington?
We stay at some cool places around the world, but tend to return to a lot of the same spots. You miss your own bed and the food back home after a while.

Hard to argue. Of all your contest wins, which is the most special?
The first US Open win was definitely my breakthrough. But to go back-to-back proved it wasn’t just a fluke. The first year I also won “Breakthrough Performer of the Year” at the Surfer Poll Awards. Any award there is a big achievement.

How does life change after two US Open wins?
You’re definitely a bit more recognized than before. You dream of it when you’re young but don’t really understand what comes with it until it happens. It’s meant a lot to me and has given me the drive to do well. I’ve committed a lot of my life to contests and the Tour.

Do you actually “train” for contests or do you surf like you would for fun?
It’s definitely a simulation. When you’re surfing a heat you only get 30 minutes to perform well on two good waves. That’s the hardest part. It’s what separates a good surfer from a top surfer. Plenty of guys surf really well, but the guy that can consistently surf well in 30 minutes … that’s been the toughest part for me. That’s what I’m practicing. Consistency is huge at this level.

What will you be doing when you’re 30 and no longer eligible for this article?
Hopefully, I’m still on the Tour. Kelly Slater is 38 and just won his 10th title. Careers are maturing later these days. Hopefully my body is healthy and I’m still competing at a high level and still wanting it.
rob brink 944 magazine kyle loza

Kyle Loza: Professional Moto X Freestyle Rider
Age 24, Rancho Santa Margarita

Kyle Loza only showed up at the X Games three times. Each time he walked away with a gold medal in Moto X Best Trick. You know why?

Innovation.

Loza doesn’t do amazing tricks like everyone else—instead, he invents them.

Years later, no one else has been able to learn Loza’s signature moves—a few are trying though. And what he’s currently working on is going to change Moto X forever—again.

It’s the stuff legends are made of. But, at 24, Kyle’s no one-trick-a-year pony. He designs his own signature line of footwear and apparel with etnies; builds furniture by hand with a friend; is a tattoo artist; plays in a band with his wife (sister to Audrina Patridge of The Hills fame) and records in their home studio with Rhianna’s producer. Did we mention he’s got two babies, the eldest being two and a half years old?

Explain how fatherhood impacts your life.
Every way you could imagine your life changing, it changes. It’s ridiculous. It’s the greatest thing ever, but then you start realizing that if you don’t find a way to get some sleep, you’re gonna die.

How did you initially get invited to the X Games?
I made up a trick called “The Volt.” My agent showed a video to some dudes at ESPN and they were super pumped on it. I hadn’t landed it to dirt yet. I tried it for two years, broke a bunch of bones and beat the hell out of myself. ESPN is a giant company that wanted a rad back-story and a rad trick. Everything turned out perfect.

Have other riders learned your tricks yet?
I think there have been two guys trying “Volts” for a while now, but haven’t landed it. It’s been pretty rad. I enjoy watching. No one’s touched an “Electric Doom” yet.

Tell us about this new video project you’re working on with etnies.
We’re trying to bring motocross out of its box and into the streets. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it’s basically jumping off stairs, landing on roofs of schools, airing off roofs down sets of stairs. It’s about finding new stuff that’s totally possible to do. Nobody really does it yet. There’s a way to try any trick—anything you could ever imagine—anything’s possible.

What’s your advice for anyone considering a face tat?
Make sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it’s not gonna affect you making money. You don’t want to get married one day and have a face tattoo and screw your family over because you’re ignorant.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
My friend Toby, who passed away four years ago, gave me this advice for riding but I relate it to anything I do life that I want to succeed at and move forward in. Every day I rode he said, “Make sure you either ride through five gallons of gas, crash three times or ride until you throw up.”

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Free Lunch: Dave Carnie

January 5, 2011

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Behind the Bush: A Conversation With Gino Durante

December 31, 2010

Behind the Bush: A Conversation With Gino Durante
Words: Rob Brink
Already Been Done, December 2010

Gino Durante used to post sponsor-me footage on my Facebook page. I never really paid much mind, not to be a dick, but because there isn’t much I can do other than forward it to a TM at Sole Tech if it's worth their time. And believe me, they are already inundated with sponsor-me tapes.

Fast forward a few months and he posts another video called “My Fucking Bush.”

I watched it, had a laugh and went on my way. Didn’t even realize it was Gino in the video. Videos of skateboarders getting harassed pop up all the time, right?

A few days later, the clip had spread like wildfire. Friends who don’t even skate were texting me and emailing me the clip, asking me if I knew Gino, since he and I are both from North Jersey.

I watched the clip a few more times and had some questions, so the only thing left to do was give Gino a call and get the story behind the year’s most infamous viral skateboarding video.

So now that you’re Internet famous, what’s it been like?
Dude, I just skate around town because I hate driving. Just kick around and have fun by myself with my headphones and shit and this guy pulls over and he’s like, “Hey, you.”

And I’m like, “Oh shit, what the hell did I do to this guy?”

“You’re Gino?” He says. “That video was wild, man, I can’t believe that asshole did that to you.”

So most people get it?
Yeah, pretty much. It’s been crazy, bro. I walked into this local t-shirt place because I wanted to get “How fast? Real fast!” t-shirts made and ruin this guy’s life and the owner is talking to his wife on the phone and he’s like, “Honey, I gotta go. The famous skateboarder just walked in.”

You’re like Ferris Bueller. The whole city was backing him even though they shouldn’t have.
That’s basically what it is. I heard 50 Cent was Twittering about me. I’ve always felt my claim to fame would be skating or something stupid I do. But I never thought it’d be me being a pussy on camera getting attacked by some wild man.

I think you played it smart because skaters never fucking win. You or the filmer could’ve easily clocked the guy. But then you would’ve been fucked no matter what the tape shows.
Yeah. This guy is a real big name. He’s the richest dude in town. Thank God I didn’t hit him because I would’ve lost my house and everything like that.

We were filming all day so the tape ended as soon as the cops came. But they came up like, “What’s going on?”

“This guy attacked me,” I said. “I don’t know what the hell his deal is.”

They were like, “Did you rip up the bush?”

I said, “I didn’t rip up the bush. I got here and it was like that, I just moved it over.”

“So you ripped up the bush.” They said.

I stood up and he puts me up against the brick wall, cuffs me and goes, “You’re under arrest for criminal mischief.” I was read no rights or anything. They took me to a holding cell. The guy put the cuffs on super tight. They always do.

I’ve been there. Your hands go numb.
Yeah. This happened maybe 9:30 at night. I got out at four in the morning and they made me walk home. Took me another hour.

When I woke up my mom’s like, “Why’d you get home so late?”

I’m like, “You know what, mom? I’m not even gonna tell you what happened. Here’s the video.”

It took my stepfather a week to watch it because he was so pissed off. We counter-sued the guy for assault and harassment. His wife took my keys so that’s grand theft auto and I had him on a civil suit too. I didn’t even bring up the fifth suit—he falsified a police report. He said that I hit him and tried to run and that’s why he restrained me.

So my lawyer shows up an hour late to the mediation where this all could’ve been settled. My lawyer called the guy a fucking asshole in the courtroom and screamed at him. I’m sitting there laughing, like, “Why didn’t I have my camera for this one.”

So it gets rescheduled. They sent it straight to case and my lawyer shows up an hour late for that too. I’m like, “What the hell is wrong with this guy?”

We get there and the judge is like, “I don’t get this. For a bush? Really? This is childish. I want you to go out in the hallway and settle this amongst yourselves.”

So the guy comes up to me, “I’m ready for you to pay me for the bush now.”

I was like, “Are you kidding me?” And my stepfather almost choked the guy out—started screaming at him.

My lawyer jumps in the middle, brings him over to the corner of the waiting room and says, “This kid’s not paying for shit, he’s got a video and you’re basically screwed.”

The guy’s like, “Well since there’s a video, I’ll just drop the charges on him and you just drop the charges on me.”

I’m like, “Really? This is how it’s gonna go down?”

So we go back in the courtroom. The judge, this fucking heinous Santa Clause-looking jerk off, goes “Have you guys come to an agreement?”

My lawyer’s like, “Yes, sir, all the charges are dropped.”

I was like, “Fine, you guys wanna play like that? Check this out.”

I walked out of the courtroom; made a phone call and the video went up on YouTube. It took that guy like 50 years to build a business and have an awesome name in Livingston and now his life is ruined.

What’s been the backlash against him?
Dude, kids in high school are ripping on his kids so bad. His kids are mortified. And now it’s gonna get even better because I’m making "How fast? Real fast." t-shirts and every kid in high school is gonna buy the shirt and wear ‘em to school. So his kids are just completely screwed.

He owns a shoe store in Livingston?
He’s got three of ‘em and now they’re just all being ruined.

I saw all the negative reviews people are leaving on Google and Yelp! Pretty funny.
It’s retarded. He just overprices shit and that’s how he makes his money because he’s a rich fuck.

Let’s say it was the middle of the day and some mom was inside the store and her kids were outside playing in the bushes …
Are you ready for this? That actually happened. Maybe five or six years back, the Cub Scouts were going around putting up signs and doing their thing for their boxcar derby or some dinner they had. They stuck a sign in the soil and he flipped out. He screamed at all these little kids and it was a big thing in the paper. It was wild.

How do you freak out on the Cub Scouts? Who does that? Also, that’s not even his property. It’s the town’s property and it’s the town’s bush. He owns the building but not the bush.

I understand it could be frustrating for him. I get where you were in the wrong, but how bad has it been that this was the last straw for him?
The straw that broke the camel’s back. I don’t know, I mean, I know other people skate there because it’s a pretty epic gap.

You guys should make a documentary, "Behind the Bush."
"Back to the Bush" instead of "Back to the ‘Burg." For Go Skate Day I wanna have "Back to the Bush" and see how many people can throw hammers down that gap.

Was he spitting while he was in all your face yelling?
Oh for sure. There was one point where I was really pissed off. But I’m not a fighter. I ain’t running anywhere either. He was screaming—so heated and spitting. There was mucus coming out of his mouth. Like if you look at my face, I was kinda bummed on him.

How were you not laughing? It pisses people off so bad if you just laugh at them.
Of course, but I’ve never been attacked like that before. I was in shock. I raised my voice a couple times because I was pretty pissed off. I was just completely bummed on the situation. I couldn’t even scream at the guy let alone laugh in his face. I hope Tosh.0 gives me a web redemption. I’m hoping for that. I want a web redemption!

I saw a letter from a detective on YouTube saying that the video had to come down.
So I get a call and my friend is like, “Dude, I gotta leave school right away. The detectives called me and they were screaming. They’re gonna come and arrest me for harassment and death threats because of the video.”

The detective called my stepfather too, and my stepfather’s like, “Get outta here. They’re not taking the video down.”

But if the trial is over and all is squashed, you’re allowed to have the video up, right?
Yeah because it’s my video. He could’ve bought it for $300,000 but he chose not to. He was being an arrogant fuck. And so many other people had the video by the time the detectives called anyway. I have the original copy of the video, so I just started passing it out. Fuck that.

People ruin their own lives; all we do is document it.
Yeah, pretty much, man. It’s so ridiculous. I don’t know, man, I think he’ll just call the cops next time.

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Kill Fee

December 31, 2010

rob brink already been done dylan rieder
Kill Fee
Words: Rob Brink
Already Been Done, December 2010

Because 2010 was the dawn of the online pro video part being a new standard in skateboarding, a few months ago we started an article on the "Top 5 online video parts of 2010" and got in touch with some of the skaters who made those parts. Then, about a week ago, the entire skate blogosphere published "Top Online Video Parts of 2010" articles ....

So we scrapped ours.

However, having already spoken with Daewon Song and Shane O'Neill and noticing that none of the other articles decided to do anything of the sort, we figured that not using their commentary would be a disservice to our readers, and sorta rude, considering the two of them made the time to speak to us. So, in no particular order, here they are:

dylan rieder rob brink already been done

"I remember watching Dylan's part at 3 a.m. and thinking 'Wow, this part is amazing.' I couldn't believe it was just a web video! The next morning watched it again. Such a great part."
-Daewon

"Dylan's part was so amazing. I liked how it was put together—really easy on the eyes. Dylan has been absolutely killing it and it was amazing to finally see the footage of all those gnarly photos we saw come out in the mags. The frontside tailslide kickflip was the best. That was, hands down, the best one of those I'll ever see."
-Shane

shane o'neill rob brink already been done

"Seen this part in Texas. Chico showed me! I tried to pretend it wasn't real, haha. But this part definitely put Shane in the spotlight and it's well deserved! He killed it!! I would have paid three bucks."
-Daewon

daewon song rob brink already been done

"Daewon's part was awesome. How he went back to all the spots and re-did the lines was awesome. Me and my friends filmed the same tricks we did years ago back in Melbourne like that sometimes. Then, after that section there are tricks in there that I thought wouldn't be going down anytime soon, but he does them with such power and control. Switch frontside shuv krooks to bigflip? That's insane."
-Shane

vincent alvarez rob brink already been done

"Vincent's always fun to watch! He charges and kills everything. So stoked to see him skate the way he does and always seems to be having fun! Everyone at Girl and Chocolate rip and having Vincent just adds so much extra!"
-Daewon

"Vincent's Lakai commercial was amazing. I liked the way it was put together and it just all flowed so quickly. Vincent is a ripper!"
-Shane

paul rodriguez rob brin kalready been done

"What an awesome part. He skates the way he's always skated, but always steps it up, up, up and is so solid! He always steps his shit up!"
-Daewon

"Paul's part was my favorite. It reminded me so much of Paul in In Bloom back in the day, which is my favorite video. I like the nollie hardflip he did down that 12 stair. That's the best. That trick is so hard, let alone doing it down a 12 stair. And he made it look so good."
-Shane

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Festivus: Damn Am Costa Mesa 2010

December 20, 2010

the skateboard mag damn am costa mesa 2010 rob brink
Festivus: Damn Am Costa Mesa 2010
Words: Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, February 2010

“Crime has increased during every recession since the late 1950s.”
—Sociologists interviewed by Reuters, October 2008.

First, it was the disappearance of Andrew Cannon’s bike.

When a dude comes up to you in a full-on penguin suit telling you his bike got stolen and he doesn’t even seem that mad, you can’t help but feel for the guy, then wonder if you’re as good at not sweating the small stuff as he is.

Poor little penguin.

Then, it was the cracked-out chef in a Santa Cruz “screaming hand” apron, who, in between grilling shifts, bullied various members of the SPoT crew into giving him free product and looted the Volcom box truck.

“He got in my face about getting some free shirts and was smelling like rotten beer at like, 11 am,” says Ryan Clements. “I gave him one and then he demanded another. Pretty lame.”

“That dude was on something else other than beer,” says Jorge Angel. “He demanded we give him shirts or we else wouldn’t eat.”

“Later that day, he took a pile of Indy stickers and shirts out of the Volcom truck,” says Rob Meronek. “I was entering scores, glanced up, wondered why a 45-year-old drunk fuck was taking shirts and went back to entering scores. A few minutes later he came back trying to start a fight with me, claiming he’s riding for Indy for 25 years. All this while I'm wearing a fucking Wonder Woman costume.”

the skateboard mag damn am costa mesa 2010 rob brink

Next was Jereme Knibbs, who won 5th place in the Best Trick contest. When he put his backpack full of prizes down for a moment to throw some product out to the kids during the product toss, the backpack disappeared.

This isn’t a lecture. This isn’t moralizing. It’s just the facts.

I wasn’t at the Costa Mesa Damn Am finals for more than 10 minutes before the three aforementioned stories of thievery came my way.

Is the shitty economy or some Costa Mesa-area low-lifes to blame? Was it the mischievous Halloween vibe or are people just plain assholes? Is some free crap that you don’t deserve so important that you gotta steal it from a kid who just won it and ruin his proud moment?

When all was said and done, the few people who earned their keep were Kyle Walker, David Loy and Tommy Fynn. Kyle is now the 10th Annual Damn Am Costa Mesa winner. Loy took Best Trick and Tommy won the Zumiez Destroyer award. Congrats, fellas.

On my way out of the contest, I was walking behind a pack of young kids carrying armfuls of tees and stickers and random schwag. They seemed about 9 or 10 years old.

There was a skateboard on the ground between two parked cars and one of the kids, without even breaking stride, picked it up and kept walking, at which point, his friend asked, “Was that yours?”

“No, but it is now,” he replied excitedly, and kept on walking.

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Free Lunch: Kelly Hart

December 15, 2010

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An unseen interview with Skater of the Year, Leo Romero

November 29, 2010

leo romero toy machine rob brink

Leo Romero
April 8, 2009
Words: Rob Brink

The following conversation took place in April of 2009, the week Leo Romero left Baker to ride for Toy Machine. It was intended to be an audio interview for The Skateboard Mag's website, accompanying his photo-only feature that ran in the mag that month, in which case, it would have been his first interview discussing all that you're about to read.

Much to my dismay (especially when I found out there'd be no paycheck for me as a result), Leo requested that only the photos run and I've been sitting on this for over a year and a half.

My apologies in advance if you've read some of this info in interviews that have since been published by other mags or websites. I figured since he's the new SOTY, it's a good time to publish regardless. Enjoy, and congrats, Leo! Well deserved.

I have this theory that you’re really into slamming and pain. Am I wrong?
I mean, no one likes pain. I wanna make the trick obviously, but part of the fun of skateboarding is scraping your elbow and falling on your knees. As a kid walking around with scabs all over me, I was like, “Fuck yeah! I’m a dirty skater!” You know what I mean? To me, that’s skateboarding.

I remember you came up to me once and said, “Why do you always put slams of me on the Internet?”
Yeah, ‘cause I saw this clip you made of a RVCA demo and it was all slams and only two makes. I was like, “Fuck, I swear I made more than two tricks.”

Well, you seem to commit slamming. You don’t put your arms down. You fall to your shoulders and your head all the time. I was just like, “This guy is crazy in a really good way.”
Everyone learns how to slam and that’s just the way I fall I guess. Look at Corey Duffel, he’s broken many a bone. I don’t think he likes pain. I’m sure at a demo people like to see someone fall though.

I’ve never seen anyone skate a demo as hard as you. You can barely walk by the end. But kids see that and take it with them. You went for it while the other guy was sitting in the van not skating.
Yeah, I don’t do it to shine above anybody. I do it ‘cause those kids are there to see you skate. I remember seeing pros not even skating a demo when I was younger and I was like, “Fuck dude, why isn’t that guy skating? I’m here to see him skate.”

They finally turn pro and get a board. Then they get a shoe and an apparel line and all of a sudden they’re too cool to skate a demo. And you’re like “Wow, only two years and you’re over it?”
Yeah, it’s so funny to see that ‘cause it’s like, “What exactly are you too cool for? You’re obviously collecting the checks but you’re too cool to do a kickflip for the kids who are buying your board?” I think it’s fucking funny, man.

I don’t want a kid leaving a demo and saying, “Why didn’t Leo skate?” I wanna skate like they see me in a video or a magazine, not pussyfoot it just because it’s a demo.

So you’re the hot news item this week. People probably want to know why you quit Baker for Toy Machine.
Just a change of pace I guess.

It seems a common reaction is “Why would you ever leave Baker?” As if you are making a mistake or something.
I can see that. But I didn’t even get that reaction from Andrew. He was as cool as anything. I was already feeling weird because I was thinking about quitting. I didn’t want to go behind his back or whatever. Calling Andrew Reynolds and quitting his company is kinda scary, you know what I mean? When I told him he was like, “Oh, that’s cool man, who are you gonna ride for?”

He thought it was cool that I was riding for Toy instead of some lame company. I never had any second guesses about quitting but his reaction just reassured me that it was a good decision on my part.

Amazing that he’s a real friend in that situation and not just your boss.
That’s how I look at it. He’s not mad at me for quitting his company. He’s happy for me and that’s fucking awesome.

It seemed like a lot of people thought you were a perfect fit on Baker when you went there. I’m wondering if all along you were feeling differently?
It’s just weird. When you get older things change. When I was on Foundation, people thought I was good on there and then I was on Baker and people thought I was good on there. Now that I’m on Toy Machine people think it’s good.

You once said that your boards don’t sell on Baker. I know quitting wasn’t a money thing, but it sort of got me thinking that you might shine brighter on Toy Machine in a way …
I’ve heard people talk about that, like, “Oh, you want to be bigger on Toy Machine.” But it’s not that. I don’t care if my boards don't sell. When I put out graphics I’m not trying to put out top sellers—I put graphics out that I think are funny. There are a lot of good people on Toy Machine. Just like there are a lot of good people on Baker. I didn’t switch to be like, “the main guy” or anything ‘cause that’s the last thing I want. Before me, Toy Machine was still fucking awesome. I’m not really bringing anything to the table that isn’t already there.

leo romero toy machine rob brink

As far as Emerica is concerned, there are a lot of the same riders. What’s different about being on Emerica than Baker?
I’ve been on Emerica since I was a fucking kid. They’ve helped me out a lot. It’s different. With Baker it’s like I was joining the cool guys—like the skate stars. And with Emerica it was always like family. I just want to be happy. Not that I wasn’t happy with Baker. It’s nothing that they did. I just wasn’t happy, period.

How would things be different if you had never left Foundation?
That’s hard to say. Maybe the same. Even a month ago at a signing, kids were like “Oh you’re on Baker? Why did you quit Foundation?” And I was like, “That happened three years ago.”

I think with me people don’t really identify my skateboarding with a board company. They just see me as being on Emerica.

It could even be said about this interview and how much we’re talking about Baker and Toy Machine, but are people thinking way too hard about skateboarding these days?
I totally think so. Like, who cares man? People quit companies like all the time. But you can even see it in ads and stuff. People just standing there and looking cool.

I think it’s gotten to that point where certain people think they’re celebrities and it’s like, “You’re not a celebrity, dude, you’re just some retard skater guy. We all are.”

You’ve explained in other interviews a sort of ugly aftermath with Tod Swank when you left Foundation. Are you on a different level with him now, going back to the Tum Yeto umbrella?
I’m not like, good friends with Tod or anything but I was still holding a grudge from back in the day and being a little fuck. I’ve always liked Toy Machine and the only reason I didn’t get on sooner was because of me being an idiot about that whole deal. Towards the end of me being on Baker I was talking to Ed and jokingly was like, “Yeah, if you guys make him put an ad out saying he’s a dick, I’m down to do it.” So Ed’s like, “Alright, let me call him.”

That’s more like how skateboarding was in the early nineties.
I think it’s funny and cool on Tod’s part to do that ad. So I was like, “Alright cool, fuck it.”

Rocco stole Richard Mulder from Foundation back in the day and ran a pretty funny ad with Richard driving his Porsche announcing it.
It just makes it more fun. It’s not too serious, you know what I mean? I think Tod used to kick people off in ads, right?

Yeah, Ronnie Creager got kicked off Foundation in an ad. Do you ever feel that you need to get away from skateboarding, whether it’s the people or the filming or whatever?
I never get to the point where I’m like “Oh dude, skating is such a drag. I’m over it for a week.” It’s more like, “What are we doing this weekend? We’re going to the swap meet? Fuck yeah, let’s do it! Let’s play some guitar today. Lets ride some bikes!”

I’m never putting down my board because I’m sick or tired of skating. I’m just putting it down ‘cause something else comes up—like the weekend.

What’s something you need to work on to improve yourself as a person?
I guess people sometimes think I’m a dick because I don’t really like talking to many people. But like, Austin Stephens doesn’t talk to many people and he’s not a dick. I’m sure I’ve got things to work out but I don’t really know. I guess that’s a question I should ask people … “Hey man, how am I lame?”

I heard that you’re not the best person to go riding Harleys with because you just get on your bike and go 100 miles an hour and leave everyone in the dust.
I’m a very impatient person. If people are lagging I’m like, “Fuck this I’m outta here.”

If you could fight any famous person who would it be?
God I dunno, that’s a hard one. Probably Rocky Balboa. Yeah, ‘cause it would be the last fight of the movie and it would be a pretty big deal.

But you’d probably get your ass kicked.
Yeah, but it’s worth it if it’s Rocky, dude.

See, but that goes back to the pain thing I was asking earlier.
Sometimes it’s worth it to get a little broken up to have some fun.

What do you hate right now?
I’m a pretty simple guy. Not too much shit bothers me but I hate going to overcrowded bars and they’re overcharging you for beer. I hate that.

So on the other side all that, what makes you happy on a daily basis?
The same things as everybody else I think: Playing guitar, listening to music, barbecuing on a summer day, finishing up some cold ones, fucking girls.

Beer, food and women …
And music and skateboarding. Pretty simple.

Imagine everyone in the world was that simple? How awesome would that be?
Yeah, everybody would be drinking, barbecuing and out for poon.

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Free Lunch: Ronnie Creager

November 17, 2010

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Free Lunch: Andrew Cannon

November 5, 2010

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Festivus: Emerica Stay Gold Premiere

October 28, 2010

emerica stay gold the skateboard mag rob brink

Festivus: Stay Gold Premiere
Words: Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, December 2010

When was the last time you waited five years for something?

Like, really really waited.

Five years is an eternity when you’re counting down the days ‘til you get your driver’s license.

It seems even longer while you’re waiting to turn 21 so you can go grab a beer without any hassles or get into a bar so you can step up your game with the ladies.

Other than that, there isn’t much else in life young skateboarding folk yearn for, is there?

The interesting thing about skateboarders, more than any other lot of people out there today—except maybe the dweebs holding their breath for the next Star Wars film to be announced—is how long they will endure the wait for a new video to come out, despite cock tease after cock tease from ads, trailers, release date delays and so on.

These days, it takes a little something extra to drum up this kind of anticipation from the skateboard community. We saw it happen with Fully Flared in 2008; then with Mind Field in 2009. Now, in 2010, thankfully, we have Emerica’s Stay Gold.

When the next “big one” will be is hard to tell. These videos are kinda like earthquakes, ya know? Good earthquakes, though.

You wait, you worry, you get little tremors here and there, then it hits you—blows your mind—changes your life for a little while or maybe longer … to the point where its burned into your brain. Forever.

And then the wait begins. Again.

And sometimes you worry that nothing as good will ever come your way again—but you hope it does.

I’ve heard various people say that Stay Gold might be the “last great skateboarding video” as we currently know them (i.e., long-awaited DVDs for purchase at skate shops.)

Maybe so.

But what better way to debut “the last great skateboarding video” than with an open-air premiere at the Henry Ford Amphitheater, live performances by Earthless and Dead Meadow, followed by one of the greatest and most-anticipated skate films of the decade and a surprise “turning pro” party for Justin Figueroa?

No better way. Congrats, Figgy.

Emerica dudes—Jon Miner, Mike Manzoori Jeff Henderson and of course, the team riders—a hat tip and much gratitude for presenting us with the gift that gets seemingly harder and harder to give the world as time rolls on—an incredible skateboarding film.

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