Enter right now on the contest page for a chance to win two pairs of Emerica Europe team rider Vaughan Baker's limited-edition Emerica Trans-Em Blueprint shoes and one Emerica + Blueprint Vaughan Baker deck. When the contest is over on June 1, 2007, we'll choose two winners! After you're entered, read this interview with Vaughan Baker!
Vaughan Baker Interview
Mum's the word. Photo by Neil Chester.
Where are you originally from?
How and when did you start skating?
I started skating in the summer of 1991. My younger brother had a skateboard, a few kids from school were into it, and my uncle was skating a bit around that time, too, so it started from there, really.
Do you remember what kind of board it was?
My first set-up was just some cheap thing from a toy store. Then I got an SMA Natas board off my uncle.
Did you start out skating in the streets or at a skatepark?
I've always skated all sorts of terrain.
Who were you skating with at first?
My brother and uncle, then when I went to high school, there was one lad who skated and I got to know him, then I met kids from his area who were into it, too.
Were there any early influences on your skating? Who did you look up to?
Not really. To start with, I only looked up to the guys who were in my town, but then a few guys from Birmingham like Danny Wainwright and Tom Penny used to come through to skate this halfpipe at a youth centre. They were the first people from outside of the county I lived in that I saw skate. Obviously, those guys were good. I just remember being so blown away. This was back in about 1993.
Back nose. Photo by Leo Sharp.
Do you enjoy skating in contests and demos?
I quite like doing demos, because its just you and your friends on your teams havin' a shred. But, I feel people take contests too seriously, so that really turns me off of them!
How could contests be improved?
Don't be so serious! I don't know. It annoys me when I see guys who claim they're in the contest for fun, but practice their runs all weekend. Just don't lie about it! You can see the bloody Euro signs twinkling in their eyes, for Christ’s sake!
What do you like about being able to make some money from skating? What’s not so cool?
Well, it makes my life a whole lot easier, as far as getting to skate every day is concerned, but I would be skating anyway--money or no money. So, at the same time, some days it would just be easier not to have the pressure to have to push myself and just enjoy skateboarding for what it is.
What do you think of skate videos these days?
It’s kinda turning around a little now. I suppose things got a bit bland with the old hammer-hammer-hammer thing, even though I still enjoyed watching the people with the right personality for that kind of skateboarding. But when every Tom, Dick and Harry is doing that thing, it kinda gets a little crap, really. I like the way terrain is getting all mixed in together again--it’s a bit more exciting.
Do you enjoy filming video parts yourself?
I think it has its ups and downs, like everyone else, really. I always tend to find faults in what I do, which is the main struggle. Trips are rad, though, just hanging out with a good crew and enjoying getting the job done!
Emerica Vaughan Baker ad. Photo enlarges.
Do you skate vert ramps or bowls much?
I skate bowls as much as I can. The UK is finally coming up to speed as far as providing some concrete for us to skate. I haven't properly skated vert for about five years, but I've been considering dusting off the old knee pads and getting on it. (I say that every year.)
What do you think of the skateparks in Europe?
I've only really skated a few, so my opinion on that would be invalid.
Should skateparks copy real street spots like MACBA or have more trannies?
Mix and match everything and have continuous lines--none of this stop / start rubbish--with some quirky stuff, too.
What do you like about Emerica?
I've always been into the team in the States and the image. But, mainly the fact that it’s ran by skaters for skaters, so it has a real approach.
Which Emerica shoe do you like? Why?
I skate the Reynolds 2 and 3 and the Ridgemont. I like the vulcanized soles, because you have better board feel, but I also skate the Reynolds 2 if I feel I need something a bit bulkier. I’m trying to stay away from those heel bruises.
Who do you skate with now?
It depends. It changes a lot. I suppose when I'm in London, I skate with Jensen, Olly Todd, Seth Curtis and Grandad Shier if he’s around, and when I'm back in Worcester, I skate with my brother Dan a lot.
Front tail to fakie. Photo by Eric Antoine.
Who are your favorite skaters of all time?
There are too many, really. I guess Tom Penny has to be in there, and so does Carl Shipman. To name a few more, I would have to say AVE, Andrew Reynolds, Jim Greco, Jason Dill, Chico Brenes, Mike Carrol, Dan Drehobol--too many to name.
What have been the highlights of your skateboarding career?
It’s not over yet, I hope! Just getting the chance to be where I am--traveling, meeting people and having good sponsors who have really looked after me. I'll be forever grateful for that.
Skateboarding professionally also means a lot of traveling! What does that mean to you?
Just that I've been lucky to get the opportunity to do these things! I meet people all the time--even in my family--who haven't scratched the surface of what I've seen and experienced, which I find crazy. Their sense of the world is so much smaller than someone who’s seen and been to a lot of places.
What do you enjoy besides skating?
I paint and draw a little, I listen to a lot of music and just have fun hanging with my friends and family.
What are your future goals?
To skate and enjoy that for as long as I can, and then take it from there, really. I would love to have the opportunity to give something back to skateboarders and skateboarding.
Non-self portrait. Photo by Leo Sharp.