Year's Best Am 2009: Tyler Bledsoe
Words: Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, March 2010
Ask anyone who knows Tyler Bledsoe and they’ll tell you that on the rare occasions he actually does speak, it’s usually the funniest, most epic utterance of the day. They’ll also tell you how gifted of a skateboarder he is… which is no bullshit. In fact, despite it’s complimentary nature, is still probably an understatement.
Tyler is a simple young lad who is wise beyond his years… both in life and in skateboarding, which is something that could serve us all a little better, should we be able to achieve such an enlightened state of being. Since we have him being a little chatty for once, lets just get to it, shall we? Ladies and gentleman, we present to you, The Skateboard Mag’s 2009 Year’s Best Am… Mr. Tyler Bledsoe.
Tyler! Whatcha doing?
I’m just chilling at home… a little sick.
No, not yet.
Do you get bummed during winter?
I used to. But I appreciate the wintertime now because I was in California for so long and they don’t have seasons. I like the rain now.
How does it feel to be Year’s Best Am?
It’s kind of a surprise. I didn’t even know I was in the running for it. You just randomly told me. I thought you were joking. I’m stoked.
I heard you have your own place now.
I just moved in this month. It’s cool. I’ve lived on my own pretty much for the last three years… just being on trips and stuff, so it wasn’t that big of a change. I’m still pretty close to home and go there all the time.
When you need food or something?
Yeah. Cleaning supplies and all that.
“Hey mom! I’m hungry.”
Call her ahead of time to get dinner cooking.
Does having your own apartment trigger the OCD at all?
When I leave it kinda freaks me out. I’m afraid something’s gonna happen and my place will catch on fire. That’s the thing that triggers the OCD.
So when I see you pull the hotel room door closed five extra times… that gives you the comfort that a disaster wont happen?
Yeah, exactly. I don’t get all paranoid if I do it five times. I’ve actually overcome it a little bit. But it was pretty gnarly for a while.
What were the worst things you did?
Just checking everything before I leave… the sink, the locks, the light switches… everything.
I’ve been there. But as I got less stressed about things it started disappearing. Also being busier and not having so much free time…
Yeah, that actually happened with me. ‘Cause I would have to leave somewhere and I couldn’t spend 10 or 15 minutes checking the shit so I’d have to learn to block it out.
What’s your favorite thing about your new apartment?
Just being able to be lazy and not do anything.
Watching Curb Your Enthusiasm…
Yeah. Pretty much 24/7.
What’s your favorite episode?
This one called “The Carpool Lane.” Larry David smokes weed with his dad and a hooker. It’s pretty epic.
While driving in the carpool lane?
He picks up this prostitute so he can use the carpool lane on his way to a baseball game then ends up buying weed for his dad for his glaucoma or something… then he bugs out.
Do you have any new YouTube videos to recommend?
I’ve been watching a lot of faceplant montages. Those are always pretty entertaining.
I heard you were vegetarian for a while?
I was never a vegetarian. I’ve always been down for meat.
Most people have all these harsh rumors going around about them… but the one about you is that you used to be a vegetarian.
I haven’t really heard anything too crazy about me. I’m sure it’s coming though.
Why you don’t like swimming?
Ever since I was young I didn’t really like water. I’m down for hot tubs but not swimming or jumping off cliffs. I was a good swimmer, but I just don’t go into the water.
I’ve lived next to the ocean for three years and I’ve never been in it. I just don’t think it’s necessary. I just sit there and look at it.
Yeah. I’d rather just chill on the beach. Of all the times I’ve been to California I’ve never been in the ocean.
I heard you and Lucas room together on Fourstar tours and play SKATE a lot. What trick can you always get him with?
He has pretty much every trick. I think the inward heels are his weakness. That one gets a lot of people though.
What changed for you after Mind Field? Are people recognizing you more?
That was the first real video I’ve had a full part in. It was a pretty big change… a little overwhelming and weird. Everyone knew who I was almost overnight. But I think it’s a good thing.
What are some of the advantages of you being “the quiet guy?”
You don’t have to talk to as many people. It’s more entertaining to just observe.
Do you just sit back and watch all of us loud people run our mouths and act like total assholes?
Yeah. That’s the whole point. It’s like watching a TV show.
The real Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Exactly. Also, people listen to you more if you’re quiet and all of a sudden you say something. Most people talk and it goes in one ear and out the other.
Wasn’t there a phase where you almost got booted off Alien?
Yeah. There was a weird period where I almost got kicked off of everyone because I was up in Oregon and didn’t really know what I was doing. I hadn’t really had any coverage and Alien didn’t know what I was doing up here.
So you got a call from someone telling you you’re blowing it?
Yeah, I got a warning. Like a six-month trial period…
That’s kind of cool. Instead of just getting cut.
Yeah it was good ‘cause it got me motivated. I was like, “Shit, I need to do get to Cali again and do something.” It all worked out in the end.
What’s the secret to holding a hurricane grind for so long? The people wanna know.
Haha. I think you just pretend it’s a feeble grind and hold it as long as you can… except you’re going backwards.
Two months from now everyone will be able to hurricane 50 feet.
That’d be sick!
I’ve seen you compared to Guy Mariano a few times. Perhaps the way you guys skate ledges or something?
He was a pretty big inspiration for me. One of my favorite all-time skaters, so I kinda relate to his skating I guess.
When was your last big meltdown?
About two weeks ago.
There was a week where I couldn’t land anything. I think I freaked out every day. It was kind of a big blur. I tried to block it out of my head. I was cursed.
I’ve seen you battle for a trick, melt down, land it perfect then sneak away into he van and still be bummed.
Well, just because I land it doesn’t mean I’m not still pissed that it took so long. Or if it’s something that I can usually do easily and it takes me two hours I’ll be pissed even if I do land it.
What bums you out about the skate industry?
All the gossip and shit. It gets kind of old. That’s what’s nice about being up here. I never hear anything about the industry up here. If I do it’s like a month and a half late.
I remember being a kid who couldn’t get enough skate gossip. Now when I don’t hear it until two months later I’m kind of proud.
Yeah, that’s how I was. I would check all the skate sites and videos when I was younger… now I could really care less.
Do you think that’s better for your skating creatively? All those influences or standards or “rules” are absent from your mentality… No barriers.
That’s exactly what it is. If you watch skating all the time and know the tricks everyone is doing, you’re gonna start doing those tricks too. Or you’re gonna copy what’s happening. But if you don’t watch, you don’t know what’s going on and you’re just gonna try and think up your own shit to do.
Otherwise you just end up doing impossibles and crails.
Yeah, and turn that into the next hot shit.
How about your fake ID mishap?
That wasn’t one of my finer moments in life. We went to some random street in L.A. and you just go up to these sketchy dudes. We didn’t even get out of the car… they just came up to us like, “Fake IDs? Fake IDs?”
I was like, “Shit. That was easy!” I put down all my info. But I was nervous, ‘cuz it was sketchy and I fucked up on the date. It said I was 20, not 21. I got another one made but it cost another 60 bucks. But I could’ve had a fake 21st birthday if I wanted with the 20-year-old ID though. That was the only good thing.
How about when you puked spaghetti and meatballs all over the tour van in Tampa? That’s my favorite Tyler night.
I ruined my Ninja Turtles shirt that night.
You threw it in the bushes. I kinda wanted to save it for you, but it was covered in…
I got too much puke on it. It’s okay. It was worth it for a good story.
About 20 people told me I wouldn’t get a word out of you for this interview.
I think I’m getting better at interviews. Plus, I’m sipping on a White Russian so I think it’s helping. Yesterday I had a White Russian and watched The Big Lebowski.
You have the life! This interview makes me wanna move to Portland.
Yeah, I’m just trying to keep it pinnacle right now.
The cover shot:
"Letter from the editor" portrait: