Words: Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, September 2008
Kyle Leeper always looks like he’s on a vacation. He’s one of the funniest, most quotable people you’ll ever meet—without even trying to be. He’s a simpleton who doesn’t sweat the small stuff… or even the big stuff. He’ll instantly lighten up a session or situation if he sees it getting too intense.
He’ll give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. One time I happily returned the favor when he needed to take a shit at a spot but had nothing to wipe with.
He’s patient and makes everything look effortless… from rocking a plaid pair of shorts with slip-ons, a v-neck tee and some goofy sunglasses, to insanely teched-out no comply variations on flat or skating some weird-ass obscure spot. To be quite honest, skateboarding needs more people like Kyle.
You did a Black Label demo yesterday. Do kids ask who the hell you are?
All the time, dude. They think I’m like, the team manager. Is this going well? I feel lightheaded. Interviews freak me out. Are we halfway done yet? [Laughter]
Dude, we’re on the second question. When’s the last time you hit the dentist?
Twelve years ago.
Do your teeth hurt?
Yeah. When I eat cold shit and mouthwash.
Mouthwash is like alcohol burning your open tooth.
Open sores! It’s just been so long that I know it’s gonna be bad. Last time they said to come back soon and get my wisdom teeth out and fillings filled. I never went. My shit’s gonna be falling out soon.
Tell us about science.
I don’t know anything about it. I just like it.
How many unread emails are in your inbox right now?
I deleted some, but I think it was down to 409 this morning. Look at this dog…
Do you need another dog bonding break right now?
Do you ever think you’ll get a new iPod?
I’ll probably wait. I got three iPods and they’re all like six years old. Two of them have to be plugged in to work. They can’t even hold a charge. Soon as they aren’t plugged in they stop.
Would you consider yourself old fashioned? You’re not rushing to get the hottest phone…
This phone is tight, dude! It has to be used on speakerphone only for it to work.
You seem to get some deranged and silly pleasure from introducing EskimoTube to people who don’t know about it.
It’s free porn, man. Everyone should know about it.
You never hesitate to buy poor, hungry kids food while on tour, either.
I was that guy for a long time. I know how it is.
Explain why Beez is the best video ever.
I’ve never seen anything like it. They’re just doing shit that’s never been done. I don’t know where they come up with it. A few weeks ago, Eric Fletcher was staying with me. We woke up to get him to the airport and my girlfriend was like, “What’s this video on our doorstep?” It was Beez 3.
Of course we had to put it in because we were so psyched on Beez 2. We started watching it and Fletcher was so bummed that he had to leave. He almost missed his flight over Beez 3.
Why do you like Jesus?
I don’t know anything about the dude. I just find him fun to talk negatively about because you get such a gnarly reaction from people.
You always end up in the back of the tour van…
Every trip I’ve ever been on. The only thing that sucks about is it is you end up being the last one to get out.
Is that like the class clown spot?
Maybe, but I’m not that dude. I just like to sit in back and do my own thing. Which is nothing.
What are you and Fletcher always laughing about back there?
We’re probably making fun of everyone. That’s why we sit in the back… to make fun of everyone.
How important is it that you do other things in life besides skating? I know you surf and golf.
I garden. I just planted some palm trees the other day. While I was at the demo, my girl went out and spent a G on palm trees.
Yeah, her sister is getting married and they are having some kind of wedding party at my house. So the yard’s gotta look nice.
Does she consult you about it first? Did you know about the palm trees?
I don’t really care. I gave her the okay. I didn’t know how much she was going to spend, but that shit looks tight, dude.
Do your flat feet fuck up your skating?
Stefan [Janoski] told me he noticed I had flat feet. He said I look different on my board. I can’t do proper kick-flips because of it. Some people say it’s bad for your back. My back’s already hurting.
Have you ever talked about the “34” tattoo on your wrist in interviews before?
It was a number I always saw everywhere. I’d be looking at the clock at 11:34. I thought it was a good luck thing. So for some reason I put it on my fucking arm. I don’t want to talk about this. I want it fucking removed.
You’re very self-aware about your place in skateboarding. You joke about being older and not jumping down shit.
I’ve come to accept it. I wish I could jump down shit, but it’s been so long. I’d get hurt. I’ve never really jumped down things and I don’t think anyone expects me to. I ain’t jumpin’ down shit, dude. I’ve made it this far, whatever that means.
Do you feel pressure to do different stuff? Like “all these guys are skating this rail spot. What am I gonna do here?”
I usually figure out something. When I go to a spot and everyone is skating the stairs, I’ll cruise around and find something. If I can’t, then I’ll sit there and complain until we leave.
I’ve never seen you meltdown. What’s your favorite meltdown to witness?
Fletcher comes to mind because I’ve been hanging out with him a bunch. Fletcher is pretty good at meltdowns. Fletcher, you need to slow your roll, buddy! He will try something sooooo hard for like five minutes and then his shoes are on the roof, his board is in 25 pieces and he’s in the corner so pissed.
Lookin’ at the ground. Hangin’ a butt. Bleeding.
Yeah, and it sucks dude. I think some people are really talented and expect shit to come just like that. I accept that I’m just gonna have to film a trick for a fuckin’ hour or two. As shitty as that is, at the end of the day if you go home with a line, you’re psyched. Who cares if it took five hours?
Explain your method of breaking up a dogfight?
Dogs are crazy. You can’t break them up. I’ve tried to break up dogfights before I knew this theory and it’s really hard. I’ve never tried this, but supposedly if you jam your thumb up their ass it stops the fight. It makes perfect sense. Because if you were doing anything and someone shoved a thumb up your ass then you would stop, jump and turn the other direction, know what I mean?
How do you know which dog to ass thumb?
Whatever comes first.
What if it attacks you after?
Nah, it won’t.
Not only do you have dog shit from a dog’s ass on you, but then he attacks you for it.
At least you saved a dog’s life.
Listen to this story I got. “Leeper spent a month in Japan a long time ago and a team manager at the time got drunk and tried to make out with all his teamriders.”
Where the hell did you get this data from? I don’t want to talk about that!
Dude, I got sources. What’s the last book you read?
I’ve started a bunch. Who told you to ask this question?
I ask everybody because skaters never read and it’s funny. I’m not sure how I even make a living.
The only book I’ve ever finished was a Wu-Tang book.
What’s your idea of paradise?
A mini-ramp on a tropical island. As gay as that sounds, it also sounds pretty tight.
What’s the gnarliest thing you’ve ever seen?
Shit. I fucking saw my dog get hit by a car. That was the worst thing I ever had to deal with. It was fucking terrible. And that’s my last fucking memory of him. It might not be a big deal to some people, but it’s like my fucking best friend died and I saw it happen.
Here’s a quote from someone you know. “Kyle Leeper is a chronic liar but two seconds after he…”
“…tells you a lie that he absolutely has nothing to gain from, he tells you the truth.” How’d you know?
Because he always trips out on it.
Omar Salazar told me the same story. You just do that to bust people’s balls?
Yeah. Entertainment I guess.
What’s the last trick you learned?
It doesn’t even have a name yet. Like a backside no-comply bigspin revert.
Call it “the Meltdown.”
“The tittie fucker.”
How about life for you after pro skating?
I wish I knew. I’m probably going to do something cool, though.
There’s someone you told me you wanted to thank?
Yeah, Jason Maxwell. I owe him a “thank you.”