Who are the crew on your average vert session around Carlsbad?
The thing is, there are about 6 vert ramps in San Diego, all within 25-30 minutes of each other so it’s likely that there may be three or four different sessions going on at the same time on the same day! A session at Tony Hawk’s ramp will differ from a session at Elliot sloan’s place, which will also differ from a session at the Y in Encinitas for example. It’s crazy how spoilt for choice we are. I love that I can skate a different ramp or park for every day of the week. I usually skate with Jimmy Wilkins, PLG, Danny Mayer, Elliot Sloan, Mitchie Brusco, Marcelo Bastos, Alex Perelson, Sam Beckett, along with a crew of the ladies like Mimi Knoop, Lizzie Armanto and Allysha Bergado. You’ll find professional BMX rider and fellow Brit Simon Tabron riding with all of us as well. The list goes on. There’s also a big crew of Brazilian rippers who usually skate at Mancha’s (Evandro Menezes) backyard ramp in Vista. Those sessions are wicked. Not to mention you’ll find guys like Paul Wisniewski, Owen Nieder, Scott Taylor, Tony Magnusson and Bucky Lasek who will often be skating at Bucky’s own gigantic bowl. So much choice!
You also snowboard, did you start doing that whilst still in the UK or did it come about after moving States-side?
I learned to snowboard when I lived in the UK. I’m not that good but it’s a fun hobby. The closest mountains are about 2-3 hours away from my house so there’s no excuse not to get up there for a bit during the winter. SoCal is one of the few places where you can surf, snowboard and skate all in the same day if you want to.
I’d imagine that skating vert at an internationally competitive level means a different approach to injuries than for the average skater in the street, who may be more tempted to say ‘f* it’, ignore it and keep trying to skate. Do you have to take a couple of months to rehabilitate injuries, or do you bounce back fairly quickly?
It usually depends how gnarly the injury is. I definitely don’t want to go into a contest feeling uncertain. If it’s something I can power through then that’s fine but if it’s more serious then I’ll get it looked at properly and make sure to give it as much time as it needs to heal. If that means having to miss a contest or two then I can deal with it. Rehabilitation is definitely important and so is listening to the body. I also do some extra workout stuff as well as skateboarding for injury prevention.
Staying on the subject of vert living, how much of your time is taken up by the contest circuit? Do you have any tips to dealing with the rigours of regular touring/contests?
There aren’t as many vert contests as there were about 5 years ago so probably only a month and a half, if that, is spent traveling to contests during the year. I’ve been fortunate enough to get a few demo gigs the past couple of years however. I did a 3 month demo tour across America with ASA visiting high schools at the end of last year and at the end of 2013. You definitely have to love traveling and you have to deal with the good and the bad.