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Lee Smith Explores the Legend of Yaje Popson in Mission Statement 11



Yaje Popson played at Tompkins Square Park as a little kid before honing his skills there as an adolescent. During his formative years, he developed a spontaneity with his skating that can only be achieved through growing up pushing through traffic. He had already shut down much of the city, and was a step away from riding for Chocolate; when he injured his knee circa 2011. This resulted in a trip to Brazil for surgery.

Yaje traveled through South America during his recovery, and discovered gardening, cooking, and Ayahuasca. Upon returning to New York rejuvenated around 2014, he began filming what would become his part in DANY [2016]. The comeback was spectacular; and he’s put out several parts since. In the process, Yaje has emerged as one of the cornerstones of the current generation of Alien Workshop and the newly-reformed Sovereign Sect.

If the criteria for being considered a legend is being remembered for your craft, Yaje has likely achieved that status already. But beyond the flips and grinds, he has a great story of self discovery and overcoming mental and physical adversity to realize his full potential. Lee Smith takes a deep dive into Yaje’s narrative in Episode 11 of Mission Statement.


‘The Nine Club Experience’ Airs its Final Episode



After five years, “The Nine Club Experience” podcast comes to an end.

In the emotional final episode, Chris Roberts talked about his friend and former roommate Robbie McKinley, who recently died for undisclosed reasons.

The main “The Nine Club” podcast, however, will still continue.

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Kelly Bird Opens Up in Latest The Nine Club Episode



Nike SB Global Brand Manager Kelly Bird opens up about growing up in Houston, getting into skateboarding, becoming a pro, and eventually transitioning to the industry side of skateboarding.

Before he became the global brand manager of Nike SB, Kelly worked for DC Shoes and Lakai Footwear.

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Catch Up with Mariah Duran in the Latest Nine Club Episode



Pro skater Mariah Duran has always been into sports as a young kid, she revealed in the latest episode of The Nine Club.

The goofy-footed skater from Albuquerque, New Mexico got introduced to skateboarding when she was around 10. Initially, she would borrow his brother’s board, but her mom eventually bought her a board.

She was also into softball when she was younger and basketball when she was in high school. Later on, she shifted her focus to skateboarding.

Mariah won the USA Skateboarding National Championships Womens Street in 2019, and 2021. She placed 4th in the most recent competition.

She is also a two-time X Games gold medalist for Women’s Street Skateboarding.

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