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Make sure to pick up a copy of Nooks and Crannies here or at your local skateshop.

Posted by jay on October 16th, 2014

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Posted by jay on August 22nd, 2014

ROGER INTRO

JC: Where are you originally from and what was it like growing up and skateboarding there?
RK: I was born in Collinwood, a neighborhood on the East Side of Cleveland. We lived there for a short period of time and moved around that area quite a bit. When I was about 7 my mom, sister, and myself moved to Euclid, OH and that’s where I got my first taste of skateboarding. My mom rented a house on Abby and E.185th Street, probably the best part of town in Euclid. 185th runs from Lakeshore down to St. Clair, the other side of the tracks, it’s the sketchiest part of town I guess. But 185th was great, lots of activity around that time…CD Game Exchange, Adriatic pet shop, 185th st. Fair, National City curbs, Medic etc. There was always something going on. My first board was a rip off Value City style Variflex, (it just had that little variflex sticker on the tail) with solar system graphics, plastic wheels, plastic trucks, all the good stuff. I remember taking the board apart because it was shrink wrapped in plastic, it was stuck in the hardware and it annoyed me, so that’s when I learned how to disassemble my board and put it back together. That board didn’t last to long, and I eventually did enough yard work to upgrade to another plastic type board, it was red and had a bunch of diamond shape holes in it, I think my mom got it from Dicks sporting goods, either way it had metal trucks, semi soft cruiser type wheels and way better bearings so I was stoked. I rode that thing up and down the street and all over daily. It wasn’t long before a really good friend of mine by the name of Richard Willrich aka Grady saw me across the street from the barber shop he worked at, cruising around my house on my board. Now I can go on and on about how awesome of a dude Grady is, but it would take days and my answer to this first question is already long. The 185th st. Mayor does his name justice, and he’s a chicken wing and skateboard connoisseur, he gave me a nickname as well (lunchmeat) it stuck, there’s still a select few that call me that. Long story short he gave me my first real 7ply maple wood, hand me down, skateboard decks, they were both Elements, can’t remember what series. But I was stoked, I went and changed over to one right away and got rid of that heap of plastic. I skated those boards until they weren’t anymore. From then on I’d pop over to the barbershop sweatin’ Grady for more hand me downs, annoying the hell out of him with questions about skateboarding, and flipping through the Thrashers he had laying around. I couldn’t get enough, skateboarding was ingrained in my mind. Grady introduced me to a few local rippers up at our local Euclid skatepark, Jeff Weisenburg, Jacob Edwards, Matt “skillet” Lonzereda. The park was all metal, a couple quarter pipes, flat bar, box, launch ramp, concrete pyramid you know, the good stuff! I skated there just about every day. They had been talking about taking a trip to Columbus and I wanted in! My Mom wanted me to get a haircut and I took that as a great opportunity to meet Grady, so we went over to the barbershop and they got to meet. I begged her to let me go to Columbus to skate with them and she finally budged, that was my first skate trip, I think I was 9 maybe 10, got to skate my first real concrete parks and it was a blast. From then on I called those guys every day seeing if they wanted to skate.
 JC: We are both from the Northeastern Ohio skateboarding scene. What makes skateboarding in Ohio so rad?
RK: Northeast Ohio is different than any place I’ve been, when you think of California, it’s California, or New York and it’s New York. Ohio is kinda unique I guess you can say, the people, the scenery, the culture. I think Ohio has a little bit of everything. When you start doing something/anything here you basically suck the life out of whatever it is because you’ve finally found something to do in this place to keep your mind occupied and busy, but the great thing about Ohio is that the crust and the grit keeps whatever your doing fresh because it’s a little harder and takes a little more work to finesse whatever your goals are with whatever your doing. The skateboard scene here just keeps on pushing! People here are involved, and want to see skateboarding, skateboarders, and the community progress, everyone feeds off that energy. You , Vince Franz, and many others stick out in my head as people that make shit happen here, and it doesn’t go unnoticed, it’s very much appreciated!
JC: What is your earliest memory of skateboarding?
RK: Probably taking off that plastic on my first board, and itching to get it off so I can go push around on that thing
JC: How would you describe skateboarding to someone who has never seen it before?
RK: Well the first words that would probably come out of my mouth is that it’s mega fun and you should try it. It’s kinda hard to explain to someone who doesn’t know anything about it, but I’d try to explain the many feelings of satisfaction that I get from it and just hope they’d understand enough to get out and step foot on a skateboard.

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JC: If you could only skate one spot for the rest of your life what would it be?
RK: Weird, I was actually thinking about this the other day when I was skating the PR Banks on the Eastside of Cleveland. It’s a fun natural bank/pyramid spot, with hips, gritty ground, slide able, not really grind able, but there’s a random parking block someone brought up there to get your slappy on if your feeling that. I hear it’s getting ripped out, hopefully not, but that would probably be it, and I couldn’t ask for more.
JC: Where is the craziest place skateboarding has taken you so far? A place where you said to yourself ” man, I can’t believe I’m here because of skateboarding”
RK: I’d have to say San Francisco. Portland, Oregon was rad too. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to live in both places, Portland was first and I lived there for about 2 years. Right after I graduated high school I left Cleveland and hit the road to Oregon to stay with a couple people from Cleveland that already had a house out there, Josh Moore and Julia Tozser are great people. I got a call from a friend Lenny Henderson, who is from Chicago, but has lived in SF for a bit, and he told me to come out, he had a valet gig for me and a place to crash until I got on my feet so I took him up on it. I got out there and had a job right away, I couldn’t have been more grateful. I stayed on a sleeping mat on the kitchen floor in his studio apartment on the corner of Van Ness and Eddy..right down the street from the library. Lenny, his wife, and daughter were all there and it was crazy packed but everyone was chill with me being there, it was awesome, they had a free babysitter and I had a rad place to stay. A few months went by and a friend had an open spot right down the street in the TL on Polk and Eddy, I jumped on it. Rent out there is hella expensive, and space is tight but it’s totally worth it. Needless to say I rented a walk in closet, packed all my shit along with myself in that little room and I was stoked.

Skateboarding in San Francisco is amazing, it’s like no other place. The hills, the spots, the crazy encounters with crazy people, the skateboard community out there is massive, and everyone is chill. I had a great time out there and I can’t wait to get back, that’s definitely a goal of mine. I still have many years to live, and a lot more places that I’m sure skateboarding will take me, but for now SF is the craziest place skateboarding has taken me so far.
JC: So what’s up with Snack Skateboards? 
RK: Snack Skateboards is what’s up! Adam is the big, big homie. I met him while I was living in SF, I’m pretty sure Waylon Bone introduced us, it’s kinda hard to remember, but either way Adam is a rad dude, he’s been helping me out tremendously for a couple years now. Adam is Midwest as well, he’s from Milwaukee, and he reps it. I’m pretty sure he lived in Chicago for a period of time as well, but lives and kills it in SF now. Shit started rolling for Snack in SF, and from the looks of it everyone including myself is hyped on the company. Adam is definitely involved, he’s always doing events, premiers, little pop up high Ollie contests around the city to keep shit rolling, it’s sick.

Last year me, Adam, Mike Baptista, Sean Cullen, Jesus Arellanes, who are all Snack affiliates, got to skate in the Chicago All City Showdown, it was a blast..Adam put us up heavy and held it down for everyone out there and that shit was super fun, hopefully we are going to do it again this year. Regardless Adam is always doing what he can for us, were planning on taking a trip to Japan in October of this year, it’s a great opportunity for everyone including the company to get out and see new shit, it’s going to be rad. I’m super stoked to be a part of Snack, good things are coming.
JC: For those that don’t know about Ohio Surf and Skate can you please explain it a little and tell everyone about the owner Tim Rigby?
RK: Man, Ohio Surf and Skate was awesome. That was the first shop I rode for, and the first legitimate skateboard shop that I ever went to. Tim was a shop owner for over 20 years, he knows skateboarding in and out. Tim is a great man, I owe so much to Tim for the rest of my days. He put me on the team at a Vans Warped tour, I think Grady and Jeff had mentioned this little kid named Lunchmeat to him a couple times, and he had seen my face in the shop a few times as well.

Anyway, I would go to the shop all the time and I had heard about that ramp they set up at the warped tour so I asked Tim about it at the shop one day and he hooked it up with some tickets and a wristband to skate the ramp. I went and we all skated, by the end of the event it started pouring rain, so I squeezed my way into the Surf and Skate tent that they had set up and he pulled me aside. He must have had a few too many beers and decided to put this little kid named Lunchmeat on the Ohio Surf and Skate team, he hooked me up with a Consolidated board, I just tried to look up what board it was but I couldn’t find it…there was a roach getting smashed on it, help me out if you remember, and another board, I think it was an Alien Workshop. But I just remember thinking, “damn this Consolidated board is awesome” and I was stoked.

I gripped the boards under the tent with a pop can because I didn’t have anything else. And from then on I showed up at the shop everyday making Tim regret ever putting me on the team. Eventually I was working there with my best friend Johnny Grogan, it’s the best job I ever had. He taught us a lot, and I speak for both of us because I know we both learned a thing or two from Tim. Best thing he ever told me was when he put me on the team, he looked me dead in the eyes and said don’t be big headed or your fucked, thanks Tim. He helped so many people, and I think he helped to much sometimes, he always put others first before himself and I think it hurt him in the long run. Unfortunately the shop no longer exists and it fucking sucks. But it is what it is, nothing great lasts forever.

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JC: What’s your daily motivation?What gets you up and out of bed every morning?
RK: Well I guess at this point in my life the ultimate morning motivation on the weekdays is getting up for work. It keeps me busy, out of trouble, and making money to survive in this wild country. I’m doing my best to save for a trip to Japan, I’ve gotta make it happen. On the Weekends my motivation is to get up in the morning before all the yuppies get to Rising Star so I can grab a cup of coffee in peace and chop it up with Jewlz for a bit before I go skate.
JC: Who are some of your influences in skateboarding? 
RK: I’d say big influences to me are the people that I grew up skateboarding with like Grady, Jacob, Dan Byler, Nate Malinsky, Jay Croft*, Marc Scott, Johnny Grogan, Dale Busta, and people that I didn’t grow up with but Definitely look up to are Gabe Peterson, Taylor Nawrocki, Aaron Herrington, Bobby Worrest, Dennis Busenitz. There are so many people and so many more that have been a huge influence to me in skateboarding, I’m just grateful to have that and still be a part of skateboarding and some of these peoples lives, it’s an awesome feeling.
JC: So what else are you into besides skateboarding? 
RK: I Definitely enjoy other stuff, I live and breathe skateboarding for the most part, but I love mashin’ my bike around the city, swimming in a nice river is the shit, I don’t do it that often but I enjoy fishing, work definitely takes up a big portion of my time, 40 hours a week. I Definitely like the art of trying to figure out a female or at least where she wants to eat or what the hell she wants to do for the day, but that’s a whole other struggle. There’s endless possibilities, I try to keep an open mind and try new things as much as possible.
JC: Is there anything you have learned from skateboarding besides tricks?
RK: Man, I learn something new from skateboarding every day, just being out in these streets cruising around and seeing shit, searching for new things to skate, running into sketchy or not so sketchy people, I mean a day skating downtown we probably see more shit than a lot of people see in a year or two. A good analogy I heard from my room mate (Cuzins) when I was going thru it in SF was ” you fall on your skateboard and get back up do it again and again, same with life just get back up and do that shit again, you’re all good don’t sweat it “. It really makes you think simpler, and simple is good.
JC: Whats does skateboarding mean to you?
RK: I wouldn’t be anywhere without skateboarding, I’d probably be getting into trouble somewhere. I guess I’d never really know what it was like if I didn’t end up skateboarding, but I feel like I have a good idea. Skateboarding is right up there with family when it comes to meaningful things in my life. To me it’s not just a material piece of wood with wheels that is a lot of fun, I say material because meaningful things to me aren’t material, and skateboarding has brought me nothing but a passion and a shitload of experience..that’s meaningful.
JC: Any words of wisdom or life lessons that you have learned that you would like to share?
RK: I would say to all the young cats out there that are looking for something to do, pick up a skateboard and ride it around. Also, when your homies and basically everyone around you is hinting to you, or straight up telling you something over and over again then you should probably listen. Read books, have fun while your young. Keep an open mind, take responsibility for your shit… Live life, have fun, enjoy yourself.

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Shouts to my mom, Mandy and Brian at Westside skates, Adam Egre at Snack, Lenny Henderson, Charlie Rockwood, Tim Rigby, Jesse Braun, Derek Ironwing  Matt Brack, John Stashik, James Anderson, Joey Johnson, dude at Fulton foods, Korrie and Jarrod Scholl, Marc Scott, Ryan Poorman, Herald Martin, Dan Byler, Damien Guess, Jacob Edwards, Isaac Edwards, Jeff Weisenburg, Grady Willrich and Sarah Willrich, my sister Eva, Richard Pedder, Christopher Merritt, Lowcard Rob, skatejawn, Waylon Bone, Mike Baptista, Federico Chicago, Drew Connors, Josh Rego, Eddy Hernandez, Yt small axe, Regge Jesse, Richard Blackshaw, Nate Malinsky, Joe Charlton, Taylor Nawrocki, Ryan and Bridgette Dunbar  my PO, Jay Croft, damn it’s hard to remember everyone, big John Johns and Karen for keeping it real, Jakprints for holding me down with a job, Dustin Sheesely and Emily, Brian, Aaron Herrington, Brian and Shawn Mowell and Julie, Carlos Canãs, Eric Viccarone, Johnny Grogan, Joe Bressler, lil Joe, lip dawg at work for buying my ps3 so I can pay for a passport, Ryan Webb for buying the TV  Adam king, Nick Levi, Rudy, Dylan Dumbrowski, Nick Perry, Julia Tozser, Tristan B in Portland, pupusafool, this list is getting long..my family, and anyone I forgot. Much love.

Street Canoe would like to send out an extra special thanks to Roger, Jeff Weisenburg, Dan Byler, Jesse Braun, Ryan Poorman and Herald Martin.

Now enjoy this Street Canoe exclusive brought to you by Roger and Jesse Braun. Forward Motion forever.

Posted by jay on August 15th, 2014

 

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Posted by jay on July 28th, 2014

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Posted by jay on June 17th, 2014

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Posted by jay on April 15th, 2014

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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!

Thanks Jay at Street Canoe for the interview, Damon at Politic, Mike and Jack at Nike, James at Labor and Eric at Embassy. Thanks to everyone for their support. Hopefully you enjoy El•Sol.

Posted by jay on March 17th, 2014

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Skateboarding makes me smile because even if I’m having a rough day at school, my Welcome broom is waiting for me at home and wants me to shred it. I might still only be a beginner but there can be lots of happiness in learning something rad.
- Daniel
Skateboarding makes me smile because of its creative outlet, it’s ability to keep me from drinking all the time, and of course the community aspect of it!
- Patrick
 I was never very talented on a skateboard but what made me happier than anything was finding a huge hill and bombing that son of a bitch as fast as I could and praying that the speed wobbles wouldn’t kill me. Once I conquered them it was rocks or holes and at night they are difficult to avoid. Road rash was always welcome and it never hurt bad enough to walk back up and do it again and avoid those bastards! Blowing through intersections and stop signs without a care in the world!
- Mike
 Skating makes me more than smile. It completes me. I’ve always looked for something to fill In this void in my life. I’ve used drugs, sex, and other things. Only skating has brought me unlimited memories, great friends, good health, and just a better life.  I feel free from life’s trials when I skate. Just me and my friends getting down.  No problems from the world, just wheel bite. Skating does more than makes me smile. It’s my way of living. I owe it all to skating.
- Aaron
 Skateboarding makes me smile because it has always been there for me when nothing else was. And the feeling of possibility from what would seem useless by the normal eye of society. I can’t ride my skateboard without smiling.
- Jonathan
 Skateboarding makes me happy because I feel the heavy weights of life float into the sky, off my shoulders, as I glide freely on four 54 millimeter wheels and push myself faster and faster. The simple push from point a to b is all I need.
- Roy
 Skateboarding makes me smile cuz its my best friend. Indifferent to my joy or anguish, a constant ant companion who asks no questions of we’re you been or what’s wrong, only let’s fucken roll brother!
- Alan
 Skateboarding makes me smile cause it’s the best thing ever. Stickers also make me smile! The feeling I get when being out with all the friends, traveling to new places is crazy! I feel iv learned more things through skateboarding and friends then I have from school! My whole life revolves around skateboarding and that’s what keeps me smiling and so happy! Why else would I go play outside in this 10 degree weather!
- Thomas
 I would also like to add that skateboarding makes me smile because that’s what it’s supposed to make you do! Ha.. For me personally it’s a few things: It’s a fresh griptape job, putting stickers on your board, hooking up a nice new set of wheels, and the anticipation of riding your new setup for the first time. It’s that anticipation and the journey into an uncharted area that makes me smile. As long as those feelings are still there, I’ll be smiling for a long time!
- Mike
 This thing that i love so much has unlimited ways of making me happy: it allows me to challenge myself, be free, meet new friends, get artsy, travel to different places while having hook-ups through the world wide skate family and that just scratching the surface.
- Mike
 Skateboarding makes me smile because it releases a surge of dopamine into my synaptic cleft, causing me to experience a bout of pleasure and heightened motivation. This is also why it is so addicting. Skateboarding allows me to take a fresh perspective and create every day that I want to.
- Erik
 Skateboarding makes me smile because it represents a break from the drama, constraints, pretension, and frustration. skateboarding makes me smile because it’s a connection to the good times, characters, and places from the past, present, and future.
- Rex
Cause there aint nothing funner!
- Gordon
It’s hard to believe that I struggled writing a response to this question. After writing full responses on  three occasions, I started to think that my college philosophy classes had finally gotten the best of me. But, then I realized that skateboarding has literally taught me more about life then school could ever teach me. For example I’ve learned, that falling and getting back up is only normal, having the balls to try it again is extraordinary. I’ve learned the value of competition; not everyone is your friend, especially when they’re all out trying to one up you. I’ve also realized that through skate videos, I have seen to more cities and countries then most people could ever imagine, not only have i seen these places, but I’ve realized that the architecture that make up these cities are things to seriously be marveled at. This is why skateboarding makes me smile! These daily occurrences bring new countries, art, pain,joy, and  friends into my life that I couldn’t get anywhere else.

Thank you skateboarding, you’re killing it!!!
- Kevin
Skateboarding makes me smile because you can learn it for life, and you get to learn it with your best friends.  It’s an endless amount of joy and pain, success and failure, it’s easy and it’s hard, it’s up and it’s down.  It’s like a great movie that never ends, and there’s actually a camaraderie between skateboarders that allows for REAL happiness and connection with others.  You don’t have to WIN. . . You just get to go skate and be you.
- Joe
 From a young age to now 37, from learning/landing a new trick to just goofing with my friends, skateboarding has always made me smile.  Friends and fam, have come and gone but skateboarding has always been there, to put a smile on my face. I have met and continue to be friends with some of the greatest people I know who I probably would not have ever met, had skateboarding not been a part of my life.
Just the other day I was watching an old friend rip and caught myself with the biggest grin on my face. It’s powerful.
-Cary
 Skateboarding makes me smile because as much as people want to turn it into a sport and rank people within, it’ll never fit the ‘sport’ mold. Because its as true of an art as you can get. Everyone has their style. Skateboarding’s principles can be learned but I’ll always own the way I skate and I may only land a certain trick once in a day or once in a lifetime. Dude, I might break a few bones on the journey but you’ll never stop me from pushing to the end. Friends come and go, but skateboarding is for life.
-Nate

Posted by jay on January 29th, 2014

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LB: Brad, what’s good, where are you at right now?
BW: I’m in Brooklyn, NY right now.  Just got back here from a week between Baltimore and Richmond.  Things are great!  Skateboarding and freight trains!
LB: Rad!!  What’s good in New York with Matt Price and the Brimley squad?
BW: Arizona pretty much decided to take over New York for the month of June.  Peter Vlad rented a place in Bed-Stuy for a month and the entire Brimley squad and adjoining homies came along for the ride.  It’s been so rad to see so many friends out here skating together in New York.  Reminds me of old Tempe park sessions.
 

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: Since I worked at the skate shop in town, I know you had a pretty close crew as a young kid, where are all those guys now?  How did you make it out compared to a few of the places some of those guys ended up?
BW: I had a good crew of friends to skate with when I was really young (10-13yrs old) but as it always happens…some of my close friends started to skate less and instead engage in some self-destructive shit.  It’s something that was really hard for me to understand at a young age and is still difficult for me to understand now.  Myself and others tried to get these guys back out skating, but to no avail.  People are going to do what they want to do regardless.  The last I’ve heard is that a few of those guys are doing a lot better, but I have mostly lost touch with all of my original crew except Sean Waeiss and Casson Valiyi who are still out there skating and killing it. I have never dabbled in drinking/smoking/drugs but would not categorize myself as straight edge…it was just a conscious decision I made at a very young age to stay away from that shit.  I am still so grateful for the older skateboarders I had to look up to who purely skated and didn’t fuck around with anything else, and I think I definitely owe those dudes a lot because without those positive influences, things might have ended up a lot differently.
LB: When did you start traveling to skate and where were some of your first trips too?
BW: My first out-of-state trip occurred when I was 13 years old.  I always wanted to skate shit outside of my hometown and the older guys would always go skate the park in Louisville that was lit 24 hours a day.  We made it through a lot of winters by carpooling to Ollie’s skate park in Florence, KY.  Each year during school breaks I would travel further and further away to Arizona, California, and Florida.  The most influential trip though was when at age 15, I convinced my parents to call me out of school to spend 9 days skating in Arizona.
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LB: Who else was on these trips?
BW: Oh man, too many people to name.  We would just pack into as many cars as we could.  Buddy, Rick, you, Hutch, Tony, and Ryan Smith were always the dudes I remember spearheading the Louisville and Ollie’s sessions.  My trips to California and Florida were usually with Sean’s family and Casson went on a few of those too.  We would just skate around and explore without knowing anyone or where any spots were.  As we would come across them we would skate until we got kicked out and move on.  The first Arizona trip was Nathan Schmaltz, Tim Devlin, and myself.  We got a hotel in Mesa and no one was old enough to rent a car, but you were there to save us and ended up driving us around for the whole trip.  We took the bus to the Wedge a couple times when you were working but you came through so hard!  Thanks!!!
 

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: Do your parents know that’s why you choose Arizona?
BW: They definitely were surprised as I am the oldest child and they didn’t expect me to move across the US.  More than anything though, I think they were just excited that I was pursuing further education.  We all laugh about it now, but skateboarding was a great vehicle to get me interested in psychology, which is what I eventually went on to study at Arizona State University.
 

LB: Who are or were some of your influences now?  You seem to cover a very broad sect of skating. One day you’re with a few guys that are both 40+ bucketing pools on the west side of Phoenix and the next, you’re jumping down stairs with kids that are 3 or 4 years younger than you in Tucson.  How is it comparatively speaking, skating with Hoss Rogers and Wez Lundry one day and then skating with someone like Chris Millic the next?
BW: As far as influences in skateboarding goes, my friends are the ones who get me more stoked than anything else.  It’s great to get older with your friends and keep skating all the way through it.  My favorite part about skateboarding is that it has no age cut-off.  Older dudes might not still be jumping down stairs but it doesn’t mean they can’t get the same feeling out of skating by turning to pools, ramps, and skate parks.  One of my good friends Hoss Rogers is 52 years old and still grinds pools every week.  Wez Lundry is getting older too, but is always ripping!  When I first moved out to Arizona Tim Ward introduced me to the younger dudes who skated street and you introduced me to some of the older dudes who skated pools. Even though I couldn’t skate pools well at first, I was so intrigued by the different backyards we would trespass in while skating pools and as a photographer really enjoyed the ever-changing scenery and process that goes along with finding, cleaning, and then covertly skating pools.  There’s just something sacred about the whole process.  Typically, a lot more goes into skating a pool than does driving downtown to skate a ledge.  It was also really fun to go out street skating with all of the dudes my age and spend all day exploring downtown Phoenix and ending up at a skate park at the end of the night.  I just like to try and skate everything which is the reason why I go out with the older dudes to skate  pools some days and then the younger street skating guys other days.

LB: You’re all over the place with hobbies/issues, besides skating, what else are you into and how did you get into it?
BW: I’m definitely into too much random shit and need 2 lifetimes to sit down and focus on things.  Skateboarding is awesome at exposing kids to other creative endeavors and ways of thinking.  I was exposed to a lot of different people who then imparted bits and pieces of themselves onto me.   In 7th grade, I remember getting really really into Minor Threat which was kicked down from Rick Eusey to his little brother who then turned me onto it.  I spent a lot of my free time researching music which is still something I love doing.  When I started going on skate trips at 13, I began to take disposable cameras along because I really wanted to bring those memories home.  Eventually I bought a 35mm Canon slr and began shooting anytime I went out skating or on trips.  Taking some photo classes in high school really solidified me as a photographer.  I’m also really into documenting freight train graffiti and oilbar monikers.  Through learning about the history of oilbar monikers, I began reading about the depression era hobos and their migration by freight trains in search of work.  It got to the point where I wanted to ride a train and felt comfortable attempting it, as I knew how to carry myself due to spending a lot of time in train yards photographing the graffiti and monikers.  My good friend Ceech took me on my first train ride in the summer of 2009 and I’ve been riding any chance I get since then.  I’m also very involved in Jai Tanju’s Filmporvida Print Exchange Program.
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LB: Hopping trains seems pretty far outta place for someone from Indiana, doesnt it?
BW: Well, the funny thing is that I moved out West and started to get really into the freight train culture but there are far more trains in the Midwest!  Almost all of the riding I’ve done has been on the West coast but I definitely want to do some Midwest and East coast rides in the next year.

LB: What is Black Butte, CA?
BW: Black Butte is a small stretch of land between Mount Shasta and Weed, CA. There is a small black lava butte, along with the Black Butte Center For Railroad Culture (which is a railroad museum some of my friends run) which borders the Union Pacific mainline tracks and is across from a 1920s era water tower that was used for steam locomotives.  The BBCRC has retained some historical old cabooses and wooden boxcars that are on site and have renovated them into libraries/movie rooms/galleries/stages.  They also have extensive gardens and forest restoration projects.  The whole area is so rich in railroad history. Black Butte is one of the favorite places I’ve traveled to and I always look forward to my yearly stops by the BBCRC.  If interested, check out bbcrc for more info.

LB: And what about photography, where did that come from and what have you been able to do with it as of late?  Ive seen a few zines youve made and a few others that you were highlighted in, care to explain?
BW: I got into photography from going on skate trips and wanting to take the scenes from the road home with me.  I didn’t have any understanding about the technical aspects about photography, but read a lot and learned a ton from my amazing high school photo teacher Kevin Daly.  Even though I had completed his class, he would talk with administration each semester and tell them that I would be doing an independent study with him for the semester.  We ended up running this scam all 4 years of high school, so I pretty much had my own private darkroom and free reign to print whatever I wanted.  I really fell in love with photography during this time and gained a deep appreciation for the darkroom processes that go along with silver gelatin printing.  I didn’t buy a digital camera until my sophomore year of high school when I started experimenting with flash photography in skateboarding.  I shoot almost all film photos but use my digital camera when shooting skating with flashes.  I do an annual zine called Over & Out that is full of skateboarding, mail art, freight train riding, as well as monikers and graffiti but have taken the last year off to work on other projects.  I’ve worked with some other photo collectives and done some other zines over the past few years.  I think zines are really important because photos that are posted online or on instagram just get lost in the digital abyss.  It’s so nice to be able to hold something in your hands and put it in your bookshelf to pull out and look at for years to come.

LB: Do you plan on taking that anywhere else in life?
BW: It’s hard to say.  I would love to make a living as a photographer without doing anything much different than what I’m already doing…which is the main reason why I haven’t pursued it too hard.  To me it feels a lot more pure to just be making photos for photography’s sake without any other bells and whistles involved (deadlines, assignments, etc.).  I will never stop taking photographs and currently work another full time job in order to fund my addiction to photography and traveling.  There’s no money in making zines, it’s just a way to put your work on paper and trade it with other like minded individuals.  I’m eventually going to put out a book, but that is a long way down the road.  I still do enjoy shooting skate photos and trying to find them homes in magazines and other publications.
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LB: I almost forgot, you set up a traveling railroad art show that started in Alabama of all places, where’s it going next and when?
BW: Yeah, that turned out really awesome.  I partnered with my amazing friend Byron Sonnier from Birmingham to do a show called Reading the Rails and we both began to contact railroad related artists who sent in work from all over the US and Canada, while Byron located a gallery that gave us free range to do anything we wanted for an entire month.  Byron and Albert Kuhne played an instrumental role in setting up the show and handling all of the business on the ground.  The result was unbelievable!  The amount of freight train folklore present in one gallery was astounding.  We hope to do one show out East and one show out West and are currently brainstorming on how to fund it and make that happen.
 

LB: Is this something you plan on doing for a while?

BW: With proper funding, I think that would be something really fun to take around.  People would really appreciate the variety of work in the show.
 
LB: What would you suggest to younger guys , or older, looking to get in to something like this?
BW: If you want to do an art show, just spend some time networking with other artists.  Get to know some of the folks who run galleries in your city.  Look at other people’s work as much as possible and try to stay current on what people are making out in the world.
 
LB: You also teach, what’s the details on that?
BW: I am very lucky to work with kids with special needs during the school year.  You remember when teachers always asked you what you wanted to be when you were older?  I could never come up with an answer but knew that I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle all day, didn’t want to sell anyone anything, and wanted to have genuine human interaction while working a job.  As I got older and was going through college, I realized that I wanted to eventually teach and work in the schools.  My job is really great.  I get to work with a lot of amazing kids who bring me so much joy.  The other great part about my job is that I have a lot of school related breaks which works well with traveling around by freight or for skate trips.  My last day of work was on May 23rd and I came out to NYC on May 24th and will be traveling all summer until school starts back up.
 
LB: I know how hobbies/lifestyles, whatever you want to call it, can take over your life, but how do you find time to teach, skate, shoot photos, ride trains and everything else you do?
BW: Ahh man, trying to find a balance is the hardest part of my life.  It’s really stressful sometimes but I guess I’d rather be overwhelmed than bored.  I try and keep things as simple as possible but that can be hard.  When I’m in Arizona working most of the year, a typical day for me is working until 3pm, scanning some film when I get home, sending out some postcards, grabbing some pizza, skating a park or pool with some homies, and walking through the train yard to end my night.  Getting in a good routine while I’m back home in AZ working really helps me as a photographer.  I shoot a ton while I’m out on the road and when I come home I spend a lot of time archiving my film and deciding what I want to do with my images.
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LB: Will you tell me about your most recent train ride and the train stopping before the conductor came running down the tracks screaming at the top of his lungs?
BW: I was riding trains through the desert and I caught an eastbound night train in an open boxcar and everything was going great.  I dozed off to sleep but was abruptly awoken up by the train slamming to a harsh stop as the train was traveling at 55mph.  I immediately knew something was wrong.  Freight trains go into “emergency” which is when all of the brakes lock up and the train stops all at once.  This may happen for several reasons, such as an air hose breaking, a coupler snapping apart, or a train getting into an accident.  I got off of my boxcar and quickly realized that I was pretty much in the middle of desert farmland but could make out some housing from a small town on the other side of my train.  I found a small concrete full pipe to hide in on farm property close to the train.  I watched the conductor get out of the engine at the front of the train and begin walking the train with his flashlight.  At this point I was assuming he was just trying to locate the defective train car and fix it.  He came up to a train car that was only 5 or so cars in front of my boxcar and started screaming and crying at the top of his lungs, “fuck fuck fuck fuck, help help help!!!!!”  I have never heard a human make sounds like the screaming and crying he was making, and my initial suspicion was confirmed that our train had struck, dismembered, and likely killed someone.  Minutes later the area was crawling with police and I had to hide out with the fear of being caught and somehow implicated.  It was a pretty terrifying experience.  As daylight broke, my suspicions were confirmed…a local man had stepped out in front of our train and been struck and killed.
LB: How have those events changed how you look at life or even your priorities with what’s important to you?
BW: Well anytime I’ve been around death, it just makes me appreciate being alive that much more.   I’ll never get the conductors screams and cries out of my head though.  I think a lot of people have painted quite an unrealistic picture of train hopping when in reality it is a very dangerous activity for a multitude of reasons, even though that dude stepped out in front of our train.
 
LB: Being a teacher, what do you plan on doing the rest of the summer?
BW: Well, I’ll be out East here for a little while longer and then I’m headed back out West and traveling up the coast of California into Oregon and then on into Vancouver, BC.  I’m just traveling alone and meeting up with friends all along the way.  It’s really nice not to have no agenda other than to be back to Arizona in a few months to start working again.  I’ll just be skating, riding trains, shooting photos, hanging out with good friends, and eating lots of good food.
LB: You’re still young, but how long do you see that this can last?
BW: I’ll move around like this until I can’t walk anymore, but even then I’ll still try and get out there.  For me it’s just the key to happiness.  It’s simply wanderlust.  I’m never content…there is too much shit to see and skate.  I’m only working 182 days a year in the schools, which leaves me over half the year to get out into the world and make shit happen.
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LB: What do you want from skateboarding?
BW: Skateboarding has given me everything I could ever have asked for.  I never really cared about “making it” as a skateboarder and always knew it would be a very long process that I wasn’t really interested in pursuing.  These days, it’s nice to just skate for fun all the time without being worried about filming and putting together video parts.  There are also a lot of other great things out there in the world besides skateboarding, so I would encourage other skateboarders to seek those things out and find something else to put your energy into while you’re not out skating.
LB: At this point in your life, what dreams have you actually lived out? Dreams you thought you would never accomplish, but have and do on a daily basis.
BW: I just put it into perspective how stoked my 10-year-old self would be about what I am doing these days and what I have done leading up to the present.  I never imagined where skateboarding would take me and all of the amazing friends I would make through it.  I am definitely really grateful for all of the amazing humans that are a part of my life.
 
LB: Is there anything else, any stories, ideas, or dreams you want to live out, share, or explain?
BW: I definitely want to ride trains in Mexico, as well as doing some longer hops from West to East and back.  Those are things on my checklist for sure.  There are a couple of skate spots on my radar that I really want to seek out and skate.  I’ve also been working on a book that will be coming out in a few years.
 

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.

theend

 

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.

Posted by jay on January 2nd, 2014

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Posted by jay on December 26th, 2013