JC: So How long have you been in Spain and filming for El Sol?
TN: I was in Valencia from January 16th to March 12th. Now I’m in Milan, chilling.
JC: When you left for Spain was this something that you wanted to do when you went over there or was it something that just kind of happened?
TN: I came here knowing that Alejandro (Marco) wanted to work on a project. The initial invite came over an Instagram comment. Maybe it was reckless going across the world on the strength of an IG comment, but you can’t half step something like that. Plus I was watching The Secret Basement before we even met, I knew I’d like skating in Valencia.
JC: What has been you’re main motivation for filming El Sol?
TN: Basically just trying to get the most out of skipping a New York winter. From what I can tell, it was a good one to miss. Also, getting my money’s worth, paying for this shit yourself is motivation enough. Going to these countries and producing something is like a visual passport stamp in a way. In the future, it’ll be cool to look back and have something to watch.
JC: What was the hardest trick for you to get while filming?
TN: Maybe it wasn’t a trick so much as the situations. When people think Spanish skateboarding, they think Barcelona or Madrid. Which puts Valencia under the radar. That means the people aren’t as used to skaters, they don’t know how to handle it. Towards the end there’s a traditional Valencia holiday called the “Fallas”. People from all over come to Valencia to see fire works, party, music, festivals, then at the end they set everything on fire. You can’t skate, it’s insane.
JC: Are they any crazy stories or incidents that happened while filming?
TN: Our homie broke Alex’s camera. I was kinda stressing because nobody else had one in Valencia. Luckily Marcos Gomez in Barcelona came through with a VX. Marcos is an OG too man, one of my favorites. He rode for Santa Cruz back in the day. So an extra special shout out to Marcos.
JC: You seem to put together video parts easily and quite often where it takes most people years to film for one part. What do you think allows you to do this so easily?
TN: I think filming keeps me active. If somebody has an idea, I want to execute it with them. It’s a collaborative effort. Also, I don’t want to pile out.
JC: How has it been filming with Alejandro Marcos?
TN: He’s the best man. I’ve got respect for someone who skates everyday, has a vision and makes it happen, patient enough to deal with me being a baby and he balances it with his other life, being an artist.
JC: So what’s up with the soundtrack? Word on the street is that it was specifically made for the edit? Where did the inspiration come for that?
TN: I’m excited about the soundtrack for a couple reasons. I started skating in 2000 so Photosynthesis played a major part in my introduction to skating. If you remember all the songs in the Habitat section were done by Mr. Dibbs. The songs were edited perfectly to match the skating. I think Joe Castrucci and Mr. Dibbs got together in the same room and put everything together at the same time. So we decided to do the same thing with El•Sol. If you saw Alejandro’s last project, Voodoo, our friend Quique made a couple songs for that. They’re both from Valencia, like Mr. Dibbs and Joe Castrucci are both from Cincinnati. It will make the project stronger. Hopefully El•Sol will be nostalgic for skaters from my generation.
JC: And finally are there any shout outs or thanks that you would like to say?
TN: Shout out to Alejandro Marco first and foremost. He laced me up with everything. His wonderful girlfriend, Victoria for housing and feeding me. Hugo, Joaquin, Ricci, Cok, Gerardo, Scott, Ricardo, Quique, Ruben, Julio and Mario. Everyone else I met along the way, thank you. I have a special place in my heart for Valencia, I hope to see everyone soon. I love you all.
Marcos Gomez for the VX, without him, El•Sol wouldn’t have happened. Thank you!
LB: Alright, we have a ton of history skating together, but instead of me telling everyone about you, why don’t you fill us in with you. Where are you from? When did you start skating? Who were your influences at a young age?
BW: I’m from Indianapolis and started rolling around on a shitty Toys-R-Us skateboard in my unfinished basement on rainy days when I was 10 years old. I spent a good 3 months messing around with skating without any outside influence or knowledge about the skateboard industry (magazines, videos, etc…). Eventually all of my neighborhood friends also got skateboards and we started rolling around together trying to learn how to ollie all day long. I was really lucky that my friend Tom Eusey went to the same elementary school and introduced me to Rise Skateboard Shop and all of the older guys that skated, and pretty much showed me the way. My influences at a young age were mostly local Indiana skateboarders like Rick Eusey, Buddy Best, Nate Olp, Scott Wilson, Tony Allanson, Mike McGiness, you (Lee Bender), Ryan Smith and some others as well.
LB: How did you end up living in Arizona and why did you choose the college you did?
BW: When I was a senior in high school I wasn’t really planning on going to college. I had a halfway decent job in Indy with promise of promotion and felt good about the Indiana skate scene at the time. I thought long and hard but realized that there was a lot more out there that I wanted to discover. I love Indiana, but I would have fallen into monotony with my job and the same routine, so I made a decision to start applying to colleges in other states in hopes of starting something brand new. I was accepted to a couple of schools in the Midwest as well as some schools out West. As I weighed my options, Arizona just kept coming up in my head. I graduated high school in June of 2007 and moved into a small one-bedroom apartment in Tempe, Arizona on August 1st 2007. I chose an Arizona school because it just made sense to me as I would be able to skate everything; pools, ditches, street spots, and the plethora of well lit skateparks. I didn’t know many folks out there but you, Tim Ward, and Michael Tubbs were my guides into the Arizona skate scene. Moving to Arizona was easily the best life decision I’ve made thus far.
LB: Is this something you plan on doing for a while?
LB: Who do you want to thank after all these… well, you’re still young as hell, but after this past decade of skating, traveling, and train hopping?
BW: So many people have helped me out over the years and I could write about it for days. I’ll thank my amazing family for all of their support over the years. I’ll thank you (Lee Bender) for getting me out of Indiana and everything else you’ve done for me. Buddy Best, Rick Eusey, Hutch, Ryan Smith, Tim Devlin, Tony Allanson, Rob Walker and all of the other Indiana dudes that played a positive role in my youth and helped me out so much along the way. I’ll thank all of my East Coast friends such as Jersey Drew, Phil Jackson, Steve Marino, and Bruce B for putting me up and showing me the ways. My friends in the North West Erik Ursin and Kevin Willrick who continue to put me up year after year. Kevin Erst and Melissa Rodriguez for saving my life. All of my brothers in the railroad are constant inspirations and have contributed a lot to the culture. All of the NSL boys in Vancouver. My friends down south in RVA and Birmingham. Neil Shoemaker, Tim Ward, Ari Shiffrin, Matt Price, Nich Kunz, Jai Tanju and all of the film por vida family, the BOTY homies, the LFL boys, Benji Wagner at Poler, Sean Waeiss, Casson Valiyi, Dylan Messer, Brett Reed, Wez Lundry, and Hoss Rogers. I feel like I’m leaving some folks out but I just feel grateful for all of you! At the end of the day, my friends are the ones that really inspire me and keep me moving forward. Keep skating, doing whatever creative things you all do, and continue to leave your marks in the world.
Street Canoe would like to send out an extra special thanks to Brad and Lee. It’s skateboarders like them that make me happy to be alive and proud to be a skateboarder. Forward motion until the end my friends.
Check out the video below featuring Shawn, Tony Manfre, Brian Warner and Ben Gore as they skate around San Francisco and stop at some of their favorite spots along the way.
Portrait photo by Bryce Kanights
Five minutes prior to the skies opening up, the crew & I decided to venture to a nearby field with my 1950′s Speed Graphic camera. This portrait was taken in the heart of Amish country, Pennsylvania. Because the Amish never want kids running out in their fields, we had to be quick. Evan is one of my favorite people & his relentless positivity always seems to outweigh any potential disaster. In this photo, Evan points towards his bright future while holding the ominous storm clouds against his back.
Living a block away from the new Odd Future pop up store on Fairfax instantly introduced me to an entire crew of new kids. Regardless of how successful Tyler & his friends are, I can assure you there is nothing they would rather do than sit in front of a store all day and talk shit to each other.
When I think if there is a person who embodies skateboarding, Dressen is the first to come to mind. Genuine & humble don’t even justify how epic Eric truly is. These polaroids were taken one night when he decided that it would be cool to tattoo me after the shop closed. He had absolutely no problems with staying late because he knew how stoked I was & he viewed me as a friend over a customer. When it boils down to it, Dressen is a great human who has dedicated his life to skateboarding.
Above are the first portraits which I have shot of these two. I feel that it is important to state that they are my first portraits of Ben & Arto, because it looks like I will be shooting many more with them as I am currently moving to LA to work for Flip. The opportunity to be with a team that I idolized as a child, is more than I could have wished for.
Although there is so much work to be done, the future looks very promising & I feel incredibly fortunate that I have been able to surround myself with the best people. I thank skateboarding for all of these images, simply because I know that becoming a skateboarder was the best thing to ever happen to me.