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INTERVIEWS

Read Sage Elsesser’s Ray Barbee Thrasher Interview

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Sage Elsesser and Ray Barbee are a proper pairing. Both are amazing skateboarders and musicians, and represent different generations. The two pros chop it up about their experiences as people of color in our culture for the latest issue of Thrasher. The conversation  yields some great insights into how the Black experience has evolved from the ‘80s through present day.

I often explain to my friends how much skateboarding means to Black people. For me, man, I’m from Mid-City Los Angeles. They say, “You’re going to sell crack, play basketball or rap.” I remember just the hood dudes, they loved seeing that me and my friends were skating and doing something different. And I always express that to people. And I remember recently I was just kind of falling out of love with skateboarding and I spoke to Na-Kel about it and he said, “Man, don’t ever forget how much you love skating and what it did for you.” And as Black people we’re exposed to depression and emotions much earlier. We aren’t given the tools and resources to have a therapist or understand what we’re feeling. We’re more susceptible and if left to our own devices and communities, Black people are more likely to be caught in the web that is systemic racism and lack of resources, but skateboarding kept us out of so much trouble. I’d just like you to speak on what it meant to you to see guys like Kareem, Keenan and Stevie rise to stardom and inspire so many Black youths who wanted to skate.

It all ties back to accessibility, because with accessibility comes involvement. And so with the involvement, abilities and talents are seen and developed. And so when I think about Steve Rocco starting World Industries and the skateboarders that he was sponsoring, the guys that he was turning pro—now it’s giving opportunities to everybody and it brings it down to what it is and not to label it—for me, labels are such a bummer. I’ve always appreciated how I feel that skateboarding doesn’t fit into a label. But what we do is we want to categorize it and we want to label things. And so, I guess what I’m trying to say is the unfortunate thing of saying, “He’s a Black skateboarder,” is that it’s a label. With skateboarding, I didn’t want it to be, “He’s a good skater for being Black.” I always wanted it to be, “Dude, he’s a good skater.”

And so what was so exciting about what street skating ushered in is it peeled away the label and it was just, “Dude, he’s a ripper. He’s a good skater.” We don’t say, “Paulo Diaz, he’s a good Latino skateboarder.” You know what I mean? We don’t do that. You have an emotional connection to him because you appreciate the dude’s ability and the way it inspires you. I feel street skating afforded opportunity for races that weren’t able to be a part of it previously and to develop and have opportunities. The reality is that people are gifted and have abilities that are amazing and that’s not specific to any race. But I’m very grateful for my race and I’m very grateful for our contributions within this landscape. And I’m so encouraged that from the time that I got in, it’s been opened up to where we can have more and be seen more than by race. It’s opened up for everybody to express themselves and show their freedom. It’s not just limited to a certain demographic of people anymore. Dude, it’s open. And now it’s all over the world and because of technology people are on it in real time. So the progression of it and the ability is developing at such a rate where everybody everywhere who wants to ride a skateboard can and we get to see. Again, it goes back to the seasoning. What spices? Here’s another one. Add it into the deal. I don’t know, maybe we could call it just a gumbo.

The full interview was posted online yesterday. Check it out if you missed at the newsstand.

Images Via The New York Times & Skatepark of Tampa

INTERVIEWS

Santa Cruz Skateboards’ ‘True Grit’ features Tom Asta

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In this latest “True Grit” video by Santa Cruz Skateboards, Tom Asta revealed that he never planned on becoming a pro but just enjoyed skating as a teen. He turned out to be one of the best pro skaters we know today.

He talked about growing up in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and also showed his favorite skate spots in his hometown. Town mates Chris Cole and Ian Berry, and other pro skaters spoke about how they met Tom and how they have seen him develop into the skater that he is today.

The “True Grit” video series attempts to get an in-depth look into how skaters came to where they are now by visiting them in their hometowns and interviewing the people around them.

Watch more of Tom Asta in the Santa Cruz Skateboards’ welcome video below.

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INTERVIEWS

Shecks Guests on the Latest ‘The Nine Club’ Episode

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Pro skater Ryan Sheckler talks about growing up in Southern California, starting skateboarding at the tender age of two, his over two decades of career, and his personal struggles in the latest podcast episode of “The Nine Club”.

He also discusses starting his skateboarding company, the Sandlot Times, and the story behind the name.

The Nine Club is a skateboarding podcast started and hosted by professional skateboarder Chris Roberts in 2016. The show is co-hosted by Roger Bagley and Kelly Hart.

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INTERVIEWS

Vans Skateboarding Drops ‘Lizzie’ Video

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Get to know more about Lizzie Armanto through the lens of the persons closest to her in this 35 mm film directed by renowned filmmaker Greg Hunt and presented by Vans Skateboarding.

Lizzie is an X Games gold medalist (Barcelona, 2013) and the first-ever woman to make it to the cover of Transworld Skateboarding in 2016.

She was also the first female skateboarder to do the loop, a 360-degree vertical ramp on which the rider turns completely upside down while maintaining contact between the wheels of the skateboard and the ramp’s surface.

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