Photography and interview by Graham Tait


What have you been up to since you got back from Miami?

I can't even remember how long ago that trip was, but I got back from that and started a string of injuries and I've just recently in the last few days gotten back on my skateboard. After Miami, I fell on my head. I rolled over my head pretty bad and I had a pretty traumatic neck injury and was immobile for almost a couple months. Getting MRIs and going to different doctors and physical therapists and whatnot and trying to get myself sorted. I've recovered quite a bit and started skating again. So I've just been working on that.


How did that happen?

It was at this school where there's a bench on top of a bank and my wheels went on top of the bench instead of locking into a grind. So I flipped back and rolled down the bank and landed at the bottom kind of sideways on my head. That didn't fully do it, but then about a week later I was doing like 360 flip over a post and I bailed. And when I landed flatfooted, I felt just an eruption of fire through my spine, in the base of my neck up to the base of my skull. It was pretty scary. So yeah, had to figure all that out. And then through that I got prescribed painkillers and then I still had to go to my job at night cooking in the kitchen. So I was eating a bunch of painkillers and then going to work and I was just fucked. I had a few dark weeks, but have since seen the light and have been working back from it.


So it wasn't even another slam, it was just the impact of landing something solid?

It was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had compounding injuries on one of the first Static trips, I dislocated my shoulder and my collarbone and it never really mended itself right. And so there was just a lot of pulling on my muscles and everything back there. So it's just pulling my neck and then this one just threw it over the edge. But I started going to this really good physical therapist who's actually the doctor for the LA Clippers, which is a basketball team here in LA. And he did some body work on me, gave me a regimen of exercise and I've been recovering since and it's good. I was jumping over tables with Austin [Gillette] just a couple days ago and I was really worried that I was gonna wake up the next day with all that pain and cramping but it wasn't there. So I'm happy to be able to strengthen up and start skating again. My legs got super weak though. 


Just from that time off?

Yeah. I mean, when I do skate, all my skating is just a hundred percent using all the power in my legs. So my muscles kind of just atrophied so I have had to fight back from that. I had to start eating some red meat again and I noticed it kind of helped me strengthen up a little bit or fatigue a little less. I'm gonna try and figure out a way to supplement all that out so I can still be plant-based. But now for the recovery I'm dabbling in carnivorous affairs.


Did you hurt your hand recently as well?

Yeah! So actually the first day back on a skateboard after the time off from my neck we had to shoot a skit for the WKND video. I have a brand-new skateboard with fresh grip tape and brand-new shoes, so just grippy as hell. And they're just filming me do some background tricks, but stationary in the warehouse and it was in a bit of a confined space and I just popped one kickflip. There's just too much grip and I couldn't kick it out cause there was no space, and only one of my feet landed on the board and it just shot the board straight into my hand, my right hand. And it just instantly ballooned. It was gigantic! And then they were like, all right, let's film. So I had to put on a green screen suit that's a super tight spandex suit and my hand's swelling up in this thing. We filmed for two hours and then I call outta work and drive to the hospital to get an X-ray. But while I was there, the roof of a construction site down the road caved in and a bunch of workers fell off the roof. So they all came to that emergency room. So they're like, yeah, your hand's not broken. Like, just get the fuck outta here, we got bigger fish to fry. So yeah, I didn't even get an ice pack or any Ibuprofen, Tylenol, nothing. I just drove home, like holding my hand up.


Must've been good to have some downtime with your cats though, how many do you have?

Yeah, we've got like nine, well, not like nine, we have nine. Three of 'em don't go outside at all. They're fully indoor. One of them's heavily handicapped, so we've spent a lot of time with her. Four of them come and go as they please inside and outside. And then there's two other ones that just stay outside. We leave the door open for them to come in and they don't want to, so... 


Backside lipslide


That's like a full-time job in itself.

Yeah. We also have a possum that lives under the house and then a family of raccoons in one of our trees, and they all come up on the porch and eat the leftovers pretty much every night. And they all just stare at each other and kind of cohabitate. It's pretty nice.


You said one of your cats is disabled, what's wrong with them?

Okay, so when she was born, her mom had a virus that affected the development in the womb. So her cerebellum never fully developed so what she has is called cerebellar hypoplasia. So she's just wonky. She's not very coordinated. So she stumbles a lot, flips over and loses her spatial awareness. She also has some slighted vision and only a couple teeth. So her development is just super slow from birth as well as her physical disabilities. She's happy, the whole room is carpeted and padded and everything like that. She's never in pain from what she has, she just takes more time to get stuff done. The vets originally told us that she was fully blind and then maybe when she was about six to eight months old, I was playing with the laser pens with her brothers and they were chasing the pens. And then I just ran it in front of her face or on the floor in front of her and she started chasing it and was on all fours and running at full speed chasing this laser pointer. And me and my wife, we just both started crying. It was like the coolest thing we'd ever seen because we knew she had vision. It was the fastest we'd ever seen her move and act like a normal cat too. So she's pretty normal. When our friends come over, they're always kind of taken aback by it, but once we explain the situation and they get comfortable with her, it's normal. I just have to hold up when she goes to the toilet. So we do have to be home, you know, someone checks in every four to six hours and, and helps her. She kind of has a certain call or a certain fall so we know the signals when she needs anything.


Your wife is a photographer right? How do your schedules work out for cat duties?

I would challenge anyone to say that we don't have a kid at this point because we have nine cats, you know, and this one takes a lot of time and we really fucking care. So it's like we have an actual child, so the way any parent would allocate their time there's no thinking about it, it's just done. We do have the good fortune of our jobs allowing us to be around a little more often. So my wife is a photographer, but with that, there's a lot of edit days and she has a home office, so she gets to be around. There are days where, I mean, I work in the kitchen, but I work at nights, so if I'm not out skating, I'm around, I can be around during the day. A lot of skaters in LA they're not ready to go until in the afternoon. And I do wake up early. So our schedules just work. 


You just adapt and that's how you kind of live your life.

Yeah. And then my wife's twin sister has a pretty good relationship with the cats as well, so she can pop in and check on stuff and take care of them as well. And then also when we go on trips, it's pretty hard to find a sitter for nine cats plus the disabilities. So we're real fortunate for having someone like my sister-in-law in our network that can help out and cares.


Fakie Ollie


[Loud noises] What's kicking off in there?

I think it's a trash truck driving into a wall or something. It's been getting kind of hectic in my neighbourhood lately. There's been a lot of the streets cornered off by police at night and a lot of activity has played out. I mean, they never mess with us. It's all isolated gang shit, but we're in very close proximity to it right now. 


Is that only recently it's started like being like that?

Yeah. A bunch of people got locked up 10, 15 years ago when they did a giant raid out here. And now a lot of 'em are getting out and they just dunno how the fuck to react and, and you know, their neighbourhood has turned into coffee shops and tapas bars and they're not having a good time with it.


Big changes in LA in the last 15, 20 years for sure.

Yeah. So they're lashing out a bit.

What area do you live in?

I live in Cypress Park, so it's northeast LA.


I just watched a video on YouTube about you and your job in the kitchen. That’s your friends place right?

Yeah. My friend Keegan. I initially met him years ago. I used to skate for the clothing company Insight, and he worked for them and he knew my wife just from around the industry. Him and his mom would do a noodle cart and sell noodles. He came from the skate industry, never worked in restaurants at all and just opened the place. My wife told me to try and get a job there, she told me it would be a mellow job to try out. And I think she emailed him and said that I was a chef, which was a lie. And we both just fell into the trap and we've been working together for over four years now. The place opened just before Covid and then we had to deal with that whole thing, but it worked out. I think if you could start a business during Covid and survive, then your business is pretty strong, so I think it'll be going for quite a while. It's becoming like its own brand, it's really cool. And it's exactly what Keegan's mission was, so it's pretty sick to see that happen for him. There’s opening a second location in the summer too.


The pandemic was make or break for a lot of people, especially in that industry. So to see the second locations open up must be like pretty rad. You must be proud to be part of it as well if you've been there the whole time.

Yeah, it's sick. It's personal clout to be an OG in the kitchen there.


Top dog.

Just me and the old Vietnamese guy holding it down back there for a long time now. We don't speak, we're like bitter old men. An elbow in the back every once in a while, it's pretty sick, but everyone else there is lovely and charming. It's a good place to go eat.

 BS Melon for the cover of North 37


Let's talk about Globe.

I skate for Globe. I thankfully I have a friend in high place, you know, I'm pretty close with Austin [Gillette]. My wife is pretty close with Austin. And it just seemed like a golden opportunity when he got in there. I saw the brand going in a direction of something that I would really like to be part of. Something kind of mellow and classy that I saw the industry sort of lacking. But besides that, I just wanted to work with my friend. You know, we skated together on WKND and he left and I felt like our time skating together and traveling together was kind of cut. So when I saw an opportunity to slide in there I did and it worked out. I was real stoked. I actually got the call from the team manager, Aaron [Brown], when I was working one night and I was like, should I walk out of this right now? Like, I might be chilling. I'm glad I didn't because I need to stay grounded and have the job, but yeah, I'm super stoked. I'm super stoked to skate for Globe. 

I'm doing some colourways. I think I have the first one coming out in the fall. And hopefully just keep plugging away with them. I don't know what the plan is to do as far as a video, but just skate, keep my head down and whatever they wanna do, I'll do it. But it's been really cool. I've been in design meetings already and working on stuff myself and then sending it in and having constant feedback and seeing changes instantly made that I would request, even minimal things, and it goes through. So it's just a really nice thing to be a part of. And now I'm closer with another set of guys like Sammy [Montano], Aaron, and photographer Alex Papke. It's just cool to have another crew to be able to go out with.


Did your wife shoot the photos for your insoles?

That's for my second colourway.


Probably can't talk about that yet.

I don't give a shit. Create a buzz, make this thing sell! But yeah, my second colourway, It's kind of a tribute to my wife just because I like her a lot. I had a photo of hers put in the insole that kind of matches the whole theme. So I'll be stoked for that when to come out. And it might keep me out of the doghouse for like 15 extra minutes.


Published in our special Theories in Miami issue in North 37

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