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True East: The Unbreakable Story of Zered Bassett

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Zered Bassett’s tenure as a central figure of East Coast skateboarding spans generations. In many ways, he represents the bridge between the old New York and the new. The fact that he has endured longer than many of the brands that he’s been associated with is a testament to his dedication to his craft, and shows a resiliency that mirrors the streets where he honed it.

Originally from Cape Cod, Zered was a child prodigy who was discovered at an Invisible demo in Massachusetts as a tween. This landed him on Sixteen, and later flow for World Industries. It was during this era that Brian Brown’s brother sent Zered’s tape to Zoo York, where it landed in the hands of Jeff Pang. He was offered a spot on the team, which was accepted after getting some solid advice from Jahmal Williams.

From there, Dr. Z made the move to the Big Apple, where he was molded into the legend that he would ultimately become under the tutelage of Harold Hunter, Danny Supa, Vinny Ponte, and the rest of the O.G. Zoo heads. His progression is well-documented in RB Umali’s E.S.T. video series, and culminated in Vicious Cycle, which is still considered by many to be his magnum opus.

Zered would ultimately spend a decade as a card-carrying member of the Zoo York Institute. During this time, he turned pro, received a signature shoe from DVS, and a sponsorship from Red Bull. In addition to becoming the face of New York’s next generation, he was easily in the top-tier tax bracket for professional skaters. This afforded him luxuries, including an apartment in the city and a Cadillac Escalade. But all that glitters is not gold. And the rapper’s lifestyle is rarely built to last.

By the end of the aughts, Zoo discontinued Zered’s contract; DVS released him from its roster; and Red Bull followed suit a few years later. He was on the verge of packing up, and moving back to Cape Cod. But the New York hustle sustained him via collaborative projects with UXA and Uniqlo before landing spots on the rosters at Expedition and Converse.

Currently, Zered is comfortably chilling as a pro for Alltimers, has a couple of signature Converse shoes under his belt, and is pursing his art and photography in Brooklyn. Lee covers all of the bases of Dr. Z’s legendary story during Episode 21 of Mission Statement.

PODCASTS

Unleashed Podcast Features Matt Berger

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Matt Berger opened up about how he got into skateboarding as a young kid in Canada and how he eventually became a pro in this latest podcast episode of Unleashed with Dingo and Danny.

Raised in a small town in British Columbia, Matt Berger asked for his first skateboard at age 5. Supported by his father, who also captured his son’s ahead-of-his-age tricks on camera, the prodigy earned his first flow sponsorship at age 10. Endorsed by skateboard icon Rodney Mullen, he moved on to full-blown sponsored status at eleven – and proceeded to make his mark as one of the most technical (and consistent) riders on the circuit.

Berger won Damn Am Canada in 2009 and made history in 2014 as the first amateur to compete with big-ticket pros on the Street League Skateboarding (SLS) series. Pro since 2015, he’s earned two X Games medals, dropped legendary video parts, and represented Canada in the Tokyo Olympics.

Produced by Monster Energy, Unleashed is hosted by the dynamic duo of Australian action sports personality Luke “The Dingo” Trembath and professional snowboarder Danny Kass, with Brittney Palmer.

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PODCASTS

Jake Darwen Talks About Getting Own Colorway in The Nine Club

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Skateboard photographer Jake Darwen narrated how he got his signature colorway for New Balance in this episode of The Nine Club Podcast.

Jake Darwen’s New Balance signature colorway

He also talked about he went from skateboarding to photography after getting injured multiple times and moving to the US from New Zealand.

Visit The 440 by Jake Darwen (jakedarwen440.com) to see his works for New Balance.

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INTERVIEWS

The Nine Club Features Elliot Sloan

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Elliot Sloan narrated how he injured his neck while doing a 900 and his other worst slams on the ramp in this episode of The Nine Club podcast.

He also talked about getting into vert and then mega ramp, building his own vert and mini mega ramp in his own backyard, and hosting the X Games in his backyard among other things in the two-hour podcast.

Sloan is a four-time X Games Big Air gold medalist. In the recent X Games held in his backyard, he landed second place in the debut of the Mega Ramp category and first in the Skateboard Vert Best Trick.

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