With the shift towards smaller board brands over the last few years do you think the ‘small company’ model is sustainable in the long run?
I think it just depends on which company you’re talking about really. To tell you the truth I have no idea. To me it makes sense. I think a lot people are paying attention to those brands and they’re smaller now but if people keep paying attention to them they’re just going to make more money and then maybe they wont be such a small brand. Maybe they’ll stick to that ideology of being small, I think that will probably help them, but who knows. Five years ago we wouldn’t have known these small brands are doing so well so who knows what will happen in another five.
Quasi is small but at the same time they’re not doing small numbers. There isn’t that many people working there and I don’t think they plan to have too many people working there anytime soon or moving anywhere or to a bigger facility. I don’t really think it needs to grow too much more.
How often do you get back to Ohio to see Chad and the other guys?
Once or twice a year, probably, it just depends on what we’re working on. Chad also helps me with Vans apparel. There’s a collection out right now and then there will be another one after it. Chad is a good person to work with on things like that too because I’ll give him an idea of something that is old, that I like, and he has a fresh take on those things like putting a couple of more details on it. He’s pretty good with that and that’s usually what we work on. I’ve always been really obsessive about shoes and clothes so it’s a dream come true for me to be able to design shoes and clothes.
Is there anyone on Vans that has influenced you regarding the way you handle having a skateboarding career as much as the way you skate?
Absolutely. AVE is the person I look up to a lot with things like that. He takes it seriously and at the same time he has fun with it too. It’s fun to be on trips with him but I think he sets a pretty high standard. He works so hard and to get Skater of the Year when he did is just insane. I can’t help but look up to him, even though I already did before I met him.
I’m sure you’ll get asked this no end of times over the next two days but can you run me through the details of your new shoe?
(Laughs), yeah. The sole is an update version of the older one, it’s a new Wafflecup. The tread is different on that, on the sidewall and on the bottom. The last is a little bit narrower than the first one but not to say it’s a really narrow shoe or anything. The panels are different, the seams are different – to me it just feels like an update. When you wear an old shoe for a super long time, no matter what it is, you eventually think, “Now I’m looking for a bit of a shorter toe” or maybe a little bit more narrow. With this thing we brought the laces in a bit so the eyelets are a little bit closer and then the toe is a little bit shorter and definitely added a bunch of details that I’m really into. It kind of gives it a modern, sporty skate shoe feel, which is what I wanted to make.
I’ll be honest, you come across as quite humble to the point where you wouldn’t be too into talking about yourself in these sort of situations.
It’s a little weird for me but generally as long as it’s respectable and easy to do I don’t have a problem with it at all. It freaks me out sometimes when I have to go these events and show face or whatever but as long as people are genuine, like yourself, it’s pretty easy. Sometimes people freak me out when they’re just weirdos and staring at me but I don’t have any of that going on right now, which is good, (laughs).
A few mellow ones to round this off – favourite video part of all time?
Probably [Anthony] Pappalardo in Mosaic [2003, Habitat Skateboards]. Everything about it – it’s filmed really well, the music, good editing and that’s the type of skating that I love. He’s doing lines with manuals and ledge tricks that are solid then he’s also grinding double kinks too which I think is so sick. He’s skating a lot of different types of shit.
All time favourite skateboarder?
Shit, that’s terribly hard… I’ll say AVE.
Favourite skateboarder from Richmond?
Ty Beall. Most of the guys I’ve known for about the same time but him and I go back. He used to skip school and pick me up in someone else’s truck that he stole from the school parking lot and we would go fishing. We’ve been fucking around for a really long time.
Are you and him kind of the ‘hometown heroes’ as you’re both pro and ride for the shop?
Shit, I guess so. There’s another pro. Trent Hazelwood is another pro in Richmond, I might as well shout him out! He rides for Shipwreck Skateboards.
Favourite Magnolia Electric Co. song?
Fuck! Really hard one too. Let me look for a just a second. It always changes too anyway… Do you listen to them much?
Yeah, I actually got into them through Old Dominion, (laughs).
Oh sick, that’s awesome! Texas 71 – I’ll say that one.
All time favourite board graphic?
Damn, that’s tough too! Probably some sort of Workshop board but I can’t even think right now. Jake Johnson’s first Workshop board? Actually that is absolutely what I would say! We used to have a running joke about that board that is still going on. Everyone where I live was obsessed with it when it came out. Everyone would buy them and all of sudden they were all gone and everyone just wanted to get a hold of them. People were saying they could skate better with his board; it was pretty funny, (laughs).
Most influential figure to you outside of skateboarding?
Damn, that’s a tough one. Outside of skateboarding… I would have to say Will Oldham. I’ve read in some of his books how he talks about layering things and I think he’s really good at keeping it sort of mysterious. I really admire the way he goes by different names and the way he has different sounds in his music. A lot of different imagery. He’s very versatile and almost enigmatic where there’s so much mystery to it. You don’t know everything about him, which is so cool in this day and age. He’s not on the internet, not on social media and shit. I think that’s cool and I like that with skating too. I almost wish that I could do that more with skating where people just see your skating. How it used to be back in the day when people didn’t know everything about professionals. You would see footage and be curious about everything. “Why does he look like this?” “Why does he skate like this?” What’s this music?” Nowadays everything is so accessible that you can’t really do that and I think that he does a really good job of keeping things interesting. I admire that a lot and he’s so creative at the same time.