Rick McCrank Recalls His Journey From Industry Outlier to Cultural Icon

Rick McCrank has an unlikely success story. It begins in Ottawa in the ‘80s. The timing and location don’t provide a clearly visible path to skateboarding superstardom. The culture was still in its infancy; and Ottawa might as well have been Mars in terms of getting on anyone’s radar during those wonder years before the invention of the World Wide Web.

His circumstances would shape McCrank’s approach to his craft. He spent years paying no attention to any sort of skate media, and subsequently developed a style that was uninfluenced by the trends of the day. This made him an outlier for much of his early career. He was known as the ramp guy in his hometown. He turned pro for a snowboard bolt company called Cherry Bombs. And he was the guy that showed up to pro contests doing switch behihanas over the pyramid. Rick Howard would rename the trick a cherry bomb as a result.

McCrank overcame those early indiscretions, and went on to have a 24 years and counting professional career with a resume of sponsors that includes: Plan B, Birdhouse, éS, Girl, and Lakai. And he managed to do so without switching up his style of skating or image in the process. It’s an untouchable legacy that will intertwine McCrank’s name with skateboarding for decades to come. But the story doesn’t end there.

17 years ago, McCrank cofounded Antisocial with Michelle Pezel. The shop has become an internationally known hub for the Vancouver scene, and influenced generations of skaters in the city that McCrank would make his home. Its grassroots approach of community first and profit second is something that’s becoming increasingly rare. McCrank and Pezel’s dedication to Antisocial, and its core principals, speak volumes about their passion and integrity.

Clearly an ambassador based on the previously mentioned accolades, the title took on a more literal definition several years ago with the introduction of McCrank’s work with Viceland on Abandoned and Post Radical. His television series are bridging the gap between our subculture and a more mainstream audience in a very unique and positive way. The true impact won’t be measurable until the not-so-distant future when pros start mentioning these shows as their introduction to skateboarding. While Post Radical won’t be returning, another season of Abandoned has been greenlit. So expect more of Crankers on the small screen in 2020, and hopefully beyond.

Outside of that, McCrank is gearing up for a trip to Australia to give Melbourne a try for a few months, and preparing to start work on his next video part now that he’s recovered from a foot injury. After a two month hiatus, Lee Smith returns to Mona Liza studio to get the full story in Episode 14 of Mission Statement.