Some skaters are born with opportunities, while others have to work their asses off for it. Joey LaRock has had to overcome a number of challenges to get where he is today and now that he’s here, he’s not about to waste any time.
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You’re in the prime of your life: you have a routine in small-town Saskatchewan working grueling hours to make crazy amounts of money. It’s snowy for three quarters of the year, but you’re living the life of a fat cat. Then you kinda forget what a skateboard even looks like. So is it worth leaving it all to move to Vancouver, only to live in a basement, week to week, skating as much as you want, loving and savouring every minute of your young life? This is probably one of the heaviest decisions Cory Lakeman has ever had to make, but that’s not saying it wasn’t also the best decision he ever made. After meeting the dude for the first time right before the summer, I learned that he is one of the few people that can stay so positive while being so out of commission. Having hurt himself three times over the course of putting together this interview, you can’t help but agree this guy is ripping like nobody’s business.
It’s amazing how Alexis Lacroix manages to do so much and still look like he isn’t even trying. His messed up hair and laidback attitude makes you think he is some kind of lunatic hippie, but one must never judge by appearances. Behind the beard, this young skateboarder from Montreal is also a brilliant musician, a fashion model, has studied business management and helps out with the family business. The world discovered Alexis when his sensational part in Broke Am was released on the web in spring 2011, but it’s his next part in the third video installment from the Dimestore crew that is one of the most anticipated. I caught up with Alexis on his way back from a cross-Canada tour with Emerica and before he left for a trip to Woodstock with his band. The following interview is but a mere glimpse at the last year of Alexis’ existence, so just imagine the rest. I would recommend not comparing your life to his because you may find that yours sucks ass. So just get inspired… I’m sure it’s what he would want.
‘Trust’ Matt Patafie to make you laugh, make you paranoid and make you a believer in his talents on a skateboard. Ottawa represent.
“I first heard of Matt Patafie and his fear of earthquakes about a year ago and was instantly intrigued. This past winter I finally got to skate with him and found out there is a lot more to this 19-year-old than just bump-to-bars. Matt is a man of many talents (though going frontside is not one of them), and he can spot an Illuminati plot from a mile away. He’s as foul-mouthed and quick as a comedian and as outspoken and controversial as any politician you might find around his hometown of Ottawa, ON. When talking to Matt it can be tough to get a word in between his claims to fame and stories of Ja Rule, but these old wives-tales he spouts are sure to keep you smiling. The next time you get busted by the cops skating in the Ottawa area, make sure to use his name, everyone else is (according to Matt)...”
In this day and age, when skateboarders have fallen victim to, “I’m sooo positive,” Mr. Bong keeps it real and will tell you to piss off if he doesn’t like the sound of your voice. You call it lame? I call it character. Justin is a very unique individual. He’s passionate in every direction—even more so when he’s wrong. He seems to habitually cross the line and yet, always gets back into the good books (well mine at least). At ten years younger than me, Justin could still kick the living shit out of me. I don’t think he would, but he could… just sayin’. If you pull a knife on him and then decide to change your tune to, “I’m sorry dude,” that ain’t gonna fly. Consider yourself toasted. For the record, Bong is never allowed to quit riding for Green Apple. It’s a non-negotiable life sentence. Whether you like it or not, we love you Bong man! —mike mcdermott
You just turned 18, high school is finally over, and you are skating better than ever before. The world is your oyster. There’s no limit to what you can do; where you can go. This is pure possibility, a blank canvas. But it’s also a bit frightening. You’re staring down that endless void, and all of the long, winding roads ahead. Where will they take you? What will you face along the way? Untold, unbounded, possibility; this is the limitless young world of Dustin Henry.
To land a full interview in a skateboard magazine before many people have even seen you skate, let alone know your name, is rare. But for Andrew Summersides, ‘fame before fame’ is an ongoing theme. While working on this interview there were a couple of occasions where people mistook Andrew for someone famous. First, outside of a Penticton school, a trio of eleventeen-year-old girls walked up after the skate session giggling and asking for his autograph. Andrew, having never autographed something before, simply smiled, took their pen, and asked the young’uns what to write.The second brush with celebrity occured while we were shooting portraits, this time involving a couple of foreign gentlemen who approached Andrew on the bridge we were on, and requested a chance to have their photo taken with Mr. Summersides. Again, he just smiled and obliged them. This attention from strangers has been confusing indeed, but it was clear why we we wanted to meet Andrew. His casual free-flowing style is a thrill to watch, and his ‘let’s go’ attitude is always refreshing. It’s the reason he’s causing such a stir.
When I was asked to set up questions for this interview, I was stuck trying to find similarities between the two guys. I wasn’t sure how I would make the interview apply to both of them without the questions being too broad. I had a few things jotted down on paper, but for the most part was able to do some free styling with a little help from Sandro Grison and Joel Dufresne. I’d already known Skylar for a couple years, and had seen Dan around from time to time. From what I can see, the two couldn’t be more different. Yes, they have both spent some years living in the fine beach town of Penticton B.C. but just about every other aspect of their lives differ. The morning of the interview, I texted Dan saying we’d be meeting up at 6pm at the Color office, to which he confirmed. Skylar called me around 11:30am stating that he’d be there and that he’d already started drinking. Dan’s day was pretty standard for him. He made some coffee, browsed a few hip hop blogs for the days playlist, skated to work, and bombed home to hit the bong before meeting me at Color, on time. Skylar on the other hand (I knew might have needed a reminder), was MIA. After some calling around, I ended up talking to his roommate on Facebook who gave me a random girl’s number, finally getting through to him. By this point he could barely put his sentences together but had agreed to meet me on Granville Street so we could head up to the office. When he arrived at the bus stop, he came with a girl on his arm, someone else’s sunglasses, and pink lipstick all over his face and neck.
Alexander Mitchell is from the middle of nowhere. It’s the kind of place where kids grow up dreaming of one thing and one thing only: escape. I looked up New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, the town of 9,000 that Alexander hails from, on Google Maps streetview and even after a few minutes of lazy clicking around its downtown, I myself felt that very same overwhelming urge to just get the hell out of there. After just watching Alexander’s jaw-dropping sponsor me tape, it was hard to believe a kid from the boring streets I was looking at could get so damn good. Seriously, what does he skate? Isn’t it like winter all the time there? And whipped with hurricanes for the rest of the year? Well, obviously he’s skating something, because this past year Alexander went on a tear that included first place finishes in both the DC Nationals and Am Getting Paid qualifiers in Halifax, and a spectacular 3rd place in DC’s King of Montreal, where he bested some of Canada’s most seasoned and hungry amateurs, thus vaulting himself from absolute obscurity to a prominent place on the radar of skaters and skate media across the country.
I find interviews with people you already know rather awkward, so I picked up a six-pack of tallies to split with Mike to help take the edge off a bit. It turns out that I didn’t really know Mike that well at all. I learned that he just went to his first concert, just got back from his first trip to Montreal, and that he just got his first lap dance while he was out there. I also learned that he can shotgun tall cans like a man. Our drinking festivities lasted long past the recorded interview, and I later learned that Mike became very motivated to skate by his father’s passing due to Huntington’s disease…
He appeared in Vancouver on Go Skate Day and made everyone wonder just who he was and where he was from. Sandro Grison finds out what made this Canadian born, Las Vegas raised Am make a northern crossing.
How do you set up an interview with someone who doesn’t have a phone? Torey Goodall posted up at a bar surrounded by pitchers of beer simply hoping that Mike Fyfe would show. Find out if he did eventually turn up or if Torey just drank enough by himself to manufacture answers for the mysterious Am from Quebec.
Mystery is an attractive quality. We all know one of those crusty, dirtbag type of dudes who manage to keep a stable of attractive women on deck, simply by instilling in them that sense of curiosity that we all so desperately long for. This phenomenon plays out the same way in the skateboard world. The most admired, man-crushed skateboarders are the strange, unaccountable ones—the guys with the few and far between video parts, with magazine interviews once every decade or so. You know, the Gino Iannucci, Julian Stranger effect.
Torey Goodall introduces Luc Baslanti, an Am who skates like The Beast he’s known to be.
[ o ] SYDLOWSKI
wordsby simon bruyn
Next to pure talent and balls, personality goes a long way for a skateboarder. As much as everyone loves someone who’ll do something they’ve never seen before, they also appreciate someone who has something to say. This isn’t just isolated to skateboarding either. Sure Lebron is the star, but everyone roots for Dwight Howard ‘cause he’s the guy you’d want to hang out with.
Maybe Jamie Tancowny should have studied a bit more, but we’ll let you decide…
Click here to gather wisdom from Tim Gavin and Vincent Alvarez, eavesdrop on Chany Jeanguenin and Spencer Hamilton here, and here for Erik Ellington and Sammy Baca.
Five Legends Test Five Icons of Tomorrow
wordsby dylan doubt
Five grizzled veterans assault rising-stars with head-scratching skateboard trivia. Erik Ellington tests Sammy Baca, Chany Jeanguenin learns Spencer Hamilton, Eric Mercier confuses Antoine Asselin, Tim Gavin educates Vincent Alvarez, and Jamie Thomas smartens up Jamie Tancowny.
Erik “The Mule” Ellington:
“All right, this is a weird one. If you did three consecutive units on a ramp, what direction would you be facing?”
“A unit… fucking going straight? I dunno. That’s like a math question. I dunno, what the fuck? Straight?”
[ o ] COMBER
wordsby jay revelle
Who cares about Frank Sinatra these days? Few of us do; however, more of us should, and this man, Charles Rivard, is leading the revolution.
Ever since his father left a Sinatra CD in the family home computer, the charming vocals of Ol’ Blue Eyes began to reverberate throughout Rivard’s daily soundtrack. Whether it’s “Strangers in the Night” for a nighttime photo session or the Godfather theme song for when it’s time to kick some ass, Rivard is indeed in charge and he’s still charging. Unknown by few, loved by lots, and probably envied by many, introducing Mr. Charles Rivard.
[ o ] COMBER
BRANDON DEL BIANCO
wordsby jay revelle
We all love controversy, but despite my attempts to find it in young Brandon Del Bianco, there isn’t much dirt swirling around. As one of the skaters on the Toronto Shoot to Thrill team, he gave a stellar performance in a film that not only portrays great skateboarding, but also aims to enlighten us all on the virtues of proper skate etiquette. “Beaming”, “spot blocking”, and the “mall grab” are all covered. I always admire great manners, but it completely disarms my attempts to illicit any controversy. Del Bianco threw down this interview during the Shoot To Thrill weekend – a weekend that wasn’t much different than any other weekend for him.
[ o ] NORTON
wordsby mike mcdermott interviewby pat o’rourke
I’d hoped for this to sound different than any other intro but I’m not counting on it. I saw Paul’s footage a few months ago and immediatly got on the horn with him. He didn’t say much more than what I needed to hear and I was fine with that. I met him in Toronto recently. He removed his front tooth for a second and I told him to lose it for good because it looked raw. That comment went right over his head. I was fine with that as well. Paul rips… I don’t know what else to say.
THE SUBTLE DICHOTOMY OF MORGAN SMITH
wordsby matthew meadows photosby andrew norton
There’s nothing subtle about having the title for “longest backside tailslide”, or riding for a company as famed as Blind Skateboards. This amateur Ontario native isn’t one to waste time, and isn’t in a hurry to jump ship either. He’s skateboarding now, and he’s doing it well. Here you witness the fittness of another understated expert in the field of nothing and everything all at once…
BIG BABY JAMES’ FIRST STEPS
wordsby dylan doubt photoby ryan lusteg
Tracking down Jamie Tancowny has proven to be no small task. The photos were no problem, it seems that he has been on a bit of a tear as of late getting ads with Zero, Emerica, and Independent. Having him sit still and answer some questions, on the other hand, has been another story. You see, ‘Baby Jamie’ has been absorbed in the hectic schedule of a young upwardly-mobile skate commodity, on the move and not the easiest kid to pin down. Faced with such a challenge, I decided to search elsewhere, asking others how they felt about our little buddy. I think that Ryan Smith said it best, and this will serve as an appropriate intro…