When did you start grinding up hubbas and smaller rails?
I don’t know. I’ve always done that out of nowhere, just like “I’ll give that a shot.” The only time people started to take notice was at the Maloof Money Cup (2008).
What inspired you to do that?
To me, it was like skating a ledge or a flat bar, going back and forth like, “Oh, I’ll see if can grind up something.” I didn’t look at it like going up anything major anyway. I just saw it like, “I can’t go backside at it, so I have to go up it.”
Did anyone that you know of do it before you?
I don’t think I was the first one to ever do any of that stuff. I’m sure people have been fucking going up shit forever, dude. But, the person I saw doing it who seemed gnarly to me was Brandon Westgate. When I saw him at demos, he would grind up rails and ollie up stairs. I think that’s insane.
How did the whole Skateboarder cover mission come about?
It wasn’t even a mission (laughter). It wasn’t planned out at all. It just happened. That’s how most good things happen—spontaneous. It was actually my roommate Cricket, who films, and a photographer named John Bradford shot it. They wanted me to go there and do it. I was like, “No, I hate that spot. I don’t want to go there. Let’s go somewhere else.” They were like, “All right, let’s go check out this other spot.” Then we went to that same rail they were talking about, cuz I didn’t know how to get there, and they were like, “Come on, we’re here. You might as well try it.” They basically forced me into doing it.
So they tricked you?
Yeah, they tricked me, basically.
What’s the name of that rail?
I don’t know. It’s in Santa Monica, I think.
Did you have to wax the rail?
Yeah, I waxed the shit out of it. I even wax rails that I skate down. I just like waxing shit up. Skating really fast up to something, skating on it and not losing your speed is really fun to me.
How many tries did it take for you to make it?
It took a little bit, man. A couple of sacks. I don’t know how many tries.
How did you feel when you first landed it?
Did you bust out a fist-pump when you rolled away?
No, I wish.
Do you have any plans to grind up anything bigger in the future?
I don’t know, maybe. It’s hard to say. I tried another rail in Denver, but there wasn’t enough roll-up to it. But, we’ll see.
Let's talk about your new Emerica shoe, the Romero. Which past shoes or anything else inspired or influenced your design?
The design came from a shoe Trevor had in his office: a vulcanized, sporty, soccer-type shoe.
How long did you work on designing and refining it?
Maybe a couple of months or so.
Did you design the Romero yourself? Who helped?
Mainly me and Trevor.
What, if anything, inspired or influenced your choice of colorways?
Timothy’s crazy ass. They always want to push a pro shoe with some story behind it, so they came up with a red colorway with black stripes and an SS on it, like my Chevelle, but I guess the SS wouldn’t go over too well in Germany, because they’re still bent out of shape by the whole Hitler thing.
So, what year was your Chevelle made?
It's a 1971 Chevelle 454 death trap. I saw it on eBay in Arizona. They wanted $22,000, but I told them I’d give them half that in cash. They said all right, so I picked it up and drove it home. I always wanted one as a kid. To this day, I don’t know too much about cars. If a problem comes up, I learn as I go along.
What kind of colorways will we see on the Romero in the future?
Usually, Trevor and I throw new colorways on there and I pretty much forget about ’em until they come out.
Are you going to keep riding your first shoe, the Leo?
I’ll keep riding my first shoe, but I want to plug my upcoming third shoe, which should be the money shot.
Have you got very far designing that one?
Yeah, I’m getting samples pretty soon.
We're looking forward to that. All right, broski. Shakas and high-fives all around. Thanks for the interview.