Right then Wes, can you give us a step-by-step breakdown of the design process that went into creating your first DC shoe?
Basically, about a year and a half ago, DC told me that they wanted to help me out with a shoe. I don’t know how the idea came about, but somehow they thought of me when it came to a shoe. So they asked me what I wanted and I said ‘something simple’. They gave me a couple shoe outlines and told me to mock a couple out. When I went back in, they had a shoe mocked up for me. I showed them my drawing and we pretty much were on the same page. From there we just personalised the shoe they had mocked up. We just added some stuff, toned down some stuff, threw in some Mafia and it was good to go.
From first sketches to the finished product reaching stores, how long did the design process take?
I think it took like a year and a half from the drawing board to the finished product. Pretty much the first samples that came in were on point straight out of the gates. All we had to do was make a couple modifications and they were set in stone.
Can you tell us a bit about the features of your shoe please? In your opinion, what separates it from the other shoes that are currently available on the market?
The best feature about my shoe is the ‘everything’ feature. You can wear them anytime, anywhere, and every occasion. Skate-wise - new shoes, old board, no worries. They break in while not breaking out. They’re perfect for your daily low impact, high fun obstacles while giving you support if you choose to go for the high impact, low fun obstacles.
Off board, they’re perfect for your daily walk to the supermarket, laundry or bottle shop. They can survive in any environment. They can withstand rain, shine, snow, mud, swamps, earthquakes, typhoons, bars, clubs, Vegas, etc. They’ve been personally tested in five continents under the listed conditions. They withstood all the tests and survived through all the conditions.
How do you see your pro shoes developing from here on in? For your next shoe are you planning on sticking to a similar style, or will you be starting again from scratch?
I’m pushing for them to make a slipper. One you can actually push in.
Other than the ones you’ve designed yourself, what would you say are your all time favourite skate shoes?
All-time favourite would be the Danny Way 1’s, vulcanized. Other than that, Arto’s first Etnies shoe, the éS Accel shoe, the Axion KCK’s, and these adidas indoor soccer shoes that I had when I was 9. Oh yeah, and the D3.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, what would you say were the worst/weirdest pair of shoes you’ve ever skated in?
D3 2001’s for sure.
Can you remember the first pair of skate shoes you ever owned? What are the main differences between that very first pair and the shoes you’d previously had on your feet?
Yeah, they were the Emerica Ed Templeton's. Those kicks were the shit. The shoes I had before were adidas indoor soccer shoes that my dad had kept together with shoe-goo for two years until I got the Ed T’s. The main difference is that they were ‘skate’ shoes and they were from a ‘skate’ brand. They made me feel like a ‘skateboarder’. They were just that much cooler than your average kicks.
Tell us about your section with Josef on the latest Sweet/Sk8Mafia production ‘Stee’ – how was filming for that video, and what are some of your favourite memories from those missions?
Filming for the video was us putting out the video to just go out and skate with our friends. We would all just go out and skate, the way we grew up skating. Meet up with your crew, go skate whatever ‘til whenever. From curbs to quarterpipes, mannies to trannys, another hip, then dip. We don’t even skate half the time; we’re all kicking it together anyways.
Both Sweet and the Mafia are on the same page. The best memories from the missions are when both crews collided and we all got to hang out. They came out to SD a couple years back and sparked the connection, then Surrey, B. Turner and I visited them out in Sweden for two weeks, they took care of us. The next winter, the Sweet dudes came back and reopened Club Sweet in Pacific Beach, and then we did a big SweetMafia Scandinavia to Eastern Europe road trip, which was insane. Then a couple Sweet heads came out the following winter to do a Vegas and San Francisco road trip. There are too many legendary memories from the road with these heads. I can’t wait until the future adventures with the Euros.
How happy with you on how yours and Josef’s part came out? And what was the one trick or piece of footage that you are the most pleased with?
Yeah I’m hyped on the way the part turned out and I had Josef there to make me look good. The piece of footage I am most pleased with is probably the Fast Times intro. That probably happens every time Josef and I hop in and out of a car. That clip and of course, Josef’s skating in general. He’s G.
Since filming for Stee ended, how have you being mainly spending your days? Have you managed to have any time away from your board, or have you jumped head first into filming for the next project?
I’ve been jumping head first into a plane, train, van, or bus. I’ve just been staying on the move. In the last 4 months I’ve been home for about two week’s total. I went on a camping trip, Canada trip, Euro trip, Asia trip, now I’m in Hong Kong about to go down to South Africa for five days. Then I’m flying back to Shanghai to meet up with some of the Mafia homies. Good times. They can’t stop us.
Out of everything you’ve done over the course of 2013, what have been your top five personal highlights?
Let’s see, I don’t really remember what happened in 2013. This year has just been flying by. I don’t think I personally did anything remarkable. If anything, it was somebody else doing something remarkable with me in the background. For starters, I’d like to thank DC for helping me out and making a shoe with my name on it. I didn’t think it’d ever be real or be possible. That’s pretty much five of my personal highlights in one.
Lastly, and ending on an obvious one – looking forward to the next twelve months, what does 2014 have in store for you right now?
Hopefully I’m still in one piece and healthy. I hope to be in another one of the weird and crazy places that skateboarding takes you to. Oh, and of course it’s going to be with the homies.