It's rare that a kid from New Jersey blows up like Ishod Wair has. Don't hold me to this, because I suck at math, but it probably only happens like, once per decade.
In the best way possible, Ishod is a skate rat with skateboarding on the brain 110 percent of the time. Which probably explains why he didn’t know when he officially got on Real and postpones late night filming missions because he forgets to clip his toenails.
Easily forgivable offenses when you consider the reward is a bonkers part in Real’s Since Day One from one of the most notable ams of the last couple of years.
He's a kid you wish you could skate like. He’s a kid you wish you could skate as much as. Talking to him makes you realize you sweat the small stuff way too much. He even has a cookie sponsor. Curb your jealousy for the time being and enjoy a brief moment in time with Ishod Wair.
Hey Ishod, how long have you been on Real?
I started getting flow right after Tampa Am, like two and a half years ago. I was there passing out my DVD. I guess I skated well and they liked my footage and I officially got on last April. But I didn’t know that ‘til yesterday. I thought I got on when my first ad came out a few months ago. I just found out that I’ve been on for a year rather than for three months.
What? Weird. So then how did getting on Nike happen?
Same as with Real. I gave them my DVD at Tampa Am that year.
So one day you’re some skate rat from Jersey and all of a sudden you’re out here in Cali on Real and Nike and kids want your autograph and you win Phoenix Am and Maloof and everyone’s waiting to see your video part …
It’s crazy. Sometimes when I think about it too much I get dizzy. You know how you’re sitting down for a long time and then you stand up, and you get light-headed? I didn’t think it would come this quick at all.
It usually doesn’t.
It’s just shocking. I can’t even put it into words.
And you ride for Anthony’s Cookies?
Yeah. It’s a cookie store in San Francisco on Valencia and 24th. I like cookies and I’d always talk about how good they were. So Darin [Real Team Manager] happened to know the owner and got me sponsored by ‘em.
If I’m in SF and go to Anthony’s Cookies, what cookie should I get?
The cookies n’ cream cookie.
Done deal. Do they send you packages?
They don’t send me boxes but Darin will randomly go there and send a box to my house, which is awesome.
You moving out west to live the dream?
I like it here in New Jersey. I don’t think I’m gonna move any time soon. I feel like I’d be productive out west but my friends are over here and I still skate as much as I would be skating out there, it’s just that over there the spots are cooler.
When I moved out west, I was surprised how common it is to be a skater in Cali compared to back home in Jersey.
Yeah, I realize that so much. Everybody has skate shoes and knows about skating in some way. In New Jersey it’s all mainstream sports like baseball and football and basketball. But over here it’s really normal to be a skateboarder. I just see so many people skating down the street all the time.
I was one of like, five skateboarders in my whole high school.
Yeah, in my town it was like five, too … [starts screaming] Oh my fucking god! That was scary! Oh my god!
What just happened?
Dude, the biggest swarm of bees was just over me, dude. It was like, the whole entire backyard. I thought they were gonna attack me. I was so scared. Oh my god!
Is there a hive around? Are you okay?
Dude, I don’t even know, dude. That was insane. It was a hundred, maybe thousands of bees. There were so many. It was the biggest swarm. I was walking along the edge of the backyard and I just hear “bzzzzzzzzzz” and then I look up and maybe five feet above my head there’s the biggest cloud of bees.
I’m seriously like, so confused.
Have you ever been stung before?
When I was younger I stepped on one once. And it stung the bottom of my foot. I got stung by wasps a couple times. That sucks because it just hurts so long. They are like, toxic or something.
How about your nickname, “tails”?
Oh my god. I hate that, dude.
I think Pete Eldridge or someone said I was following him around the skatepark once. I wasn’t. I was in the skatepark first and I was just doing the same line that everybody does in that skatepark, always. He didn’t realize so he was like, “This kid keeps following me.”
Someone was telling me you’re hard on yourself despite being super consistent.
I’ve always liked to do things over and over. When I started skating I would always try to do a trick as many times as I could so I can do it always—so my mind knows I can do that.
If I fall or if I’m having a bad day I can tell right away. And it just pisses me off because I know in my head I can do it, but it’s just not clicking for some reason.
What’s your go-to when you get to a big set or rail? What helps you know if you’re gonna have a good day or not?
It changes. Usually it’s a tre flip, switch flip or kickflip. But sometimes it’s a hardflip or frontside flip. I randomly won’t be able to kickflip at all and then I’ll be able to hardflip good. And in two weeks I’ll be able to kickflip and I can’t hardflip anything. It’s crazy.
Do you ever get mistaken for anyone else?
Dude, I saw Theotis the other day, he got super tall.
Well the first time I saw him, he’s a lot taller from then to now—or from now to then —whatever.
Tell me the story about not being able to skate a rail in Philly because your toenails were too long.
That happens a lot. Sometimes I forget to cut my toenails for a while. It sounds kind of gross. They won’t even be that long but it’s just the way my toenails are. If they get too long, they hit my shoe. If I’m skating the whole day it’ll start to hurt pretty bad. It’s not like they’re even that long but after I cut ‘em it just feels so much better.
But yeah, that was at this bump to rail and my toes were hurting me. Lately I’ve been real good with cutting my toenails because I know when they’re too long now. But back then, we were just skating and at the end of the day my toes were just so sore. I was like, “Dude, I can’t skate unless I cut my toenails.” So I had to go find a place that sold toenail clippers.
Probably better off to make sure your toes don’t hurt or your mind isn’t distracted while jumping down big stuff, right?
Sometimes I think about the worst-case scenarios … but that doesn’t bother me for some reason. I think about hitting my face and go like, “Okay, I don’t think this is gonna happen.” Usually the likelihood of that actually happening is really low so it helps me block it out.
What was one of the most embarrassing moments of your life?
I used to wear big shirts and I peed on my shirt in school a whole bunch of times. My shirt falls over my penis and I just pee on my shirt. I used the dryer to fix it up so no one really sees it. I dry it up.
Did you wring the shirt out over the urinal after you peed it?
Yeah and then I air dry it. No one ever finds out about that because I dry it out with the hand dryer.
You’re resourceful for sure. So you were in that van that got hit by the train, right?
Oh yeah, that was pretty crazy. I was in there but I didn’t see that happen.
The whole day sucked. It was raining and it sucked and we’re just waiting to get back to Double Rock because that’s where we’re staying. So we’re two blocks away and we really didn’t know where we were going so we’re listening to the GPS and the train system was kind of new. I guess the GPS didn’t know about the train so it told us to make a left where we couldn’t make a left. Then the train hit us.
Dude. Getting hit by a train, that’s like the one thing you worry about your whole life. Having a car stall out on the train tracks or something.
Yeah, dude. It wasn’t going that fast but it was really gnarly. It could’ve been worse, luckily no one died or anything.
Were you on the side of the van where the train hit?
Yeah, but I was in the back and the train hit in the front. It was really loud. The windows busted out and crashed so loud and then glass was everywhere, followed by screeching and then a train was halfway in the van window. It was insane. I don’t remember how long it was, but we got dragged by the train for a bit.
Speaking of crazy, what’s the craziest thing you’ve seen done on a skateboard?
I can’t say it’s the craziest thing, but I can say that every time I see Tom Asta skate, it is insane. All those tricks that you see him do and all the lines and all the tricks he does in his parts, he does ‘em so easy. I’ve seen him nollie heel front crook a good portion of a box in one try. He’ll go up and do it so many times.
He’s one of those guys that’s better than most people know.
Exactly. He’s so good in footage, but you don’t realize how easy he does all that stuff until you see him in real life.
Is there anyone else coming up that we should know about?
My boy Ed Duff is good. He’s really good. He’s gnarly. Edward Duff from Doylestown, PA. He’s gnarly.
Ishod's toenail incident, as told by Dan Wolfe:
On a filming trip to Philly in August 2010, we end up at the bump to flat rail in the Italian Market that Anthony Pappalardo front boarded in 2001. Ishod wants to skate it so we set up the generator, the lights, get three video cameras going and Gabe sets up a few flashes as well. We even have a little metal sign for the weird crack just before the bump set up for him. Then Ishod mumbles something.
"What?" Someone in our crew asks.
Then Ishod speaks up: "My toes hurt, I think my toenails are too long."
Someone else asks, "Are you serious?"
Turns out there's a discount store on the corner where you start the approach to hit the spot so, Gabe says, "Go in there and see if they have nail clippers."
Ishod answers, "I don't have any money."
Someone gives him a dollar, either me or Darin—I forget. And there's an old Chinese guy out front sweeping because they are closing down but they let Ishod in and they have nail clippers. So after the purchase, Ishod sits on the curb, takes off his shoes and socks and cuts his toenails. Once the shoes and socks are back on, he takes a few ride-ups to the rail and then proceeds to rip it a new asshole:
Boardslide, boardslide fakie, backside 50/50, backside smith and backside lipslide ... each trick two or three times to boot. Weirdo.
Festivus: Maloof Money Cup ‘09
Words: Rob Brink The Skateboard Mag, October 2009
On the weekend of July 10, 2009, deep within the Orange Curtain, buried inside the OC fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California, alongside funnel cakes and giant turkey legs, white trash, reality TV stars and Kobe Bryant, Botox and silicon-injected numbskulls, imitation Ed Hardy attire, Snoop Dee-Oh-double-Gee, tribal armband tattoos, tramp stamps and pill-popping swingers with Bentleys; amidst a skateboarding spectacle like no other, one of the best disposable short-term skate plazas on the planet and a whole lotta money; between the shadows of a bevy of contest heavies like Chris Cole, Ryan Sheckler, Greg Lutzka, Nyjah Huston, Chaz Ortiz and Paul Rodriguez… something very memorable was brewing…
The aforementioned cluster of skateboarding super-pros all semi-frantically and systematically did what most contest onlookers would expect of them. They ripped hard. Consistently throwing down trick after trick after trick and jumping off roofs with barely any roll away before picking up their board and charging back up the stairs for another go… stacking up points with the judges while wooing cameras and crowds.
Then night fell… and Peter Ramondetta happened. The “speak softly and carry a big stick” ideology epitomized.
It came from out of nowhere. And suddenly, everything else seemed pale.
These feelings… they don’t happen very often. Especially in skateboarding. But from up above and behind and off to the side and below, from those who’d been relatively quiet all day because they’ve seen it all before, came the sincerest stokeage you’d ever hear at a skateboarding contest from those who wanted Peter to know they watching and loving every second of it.
“Fuckkkkkk yeahhh Peterrrrrrr!” It was contagious. Others couldn’t help but join in.
Jim Thiebaud once told me of Peter’s skating:
“Then you see him bust and it's like, 'Holy shit where did that come from?' And not in a totally aggro 'Look at how big I'm going' way. It's natural. It's clean. It's subtle and huge. Like a freight train coming out of the fog and heading right at you."
Have you ever heard “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me” by Buddy Guy? It’s slow and steady and menacing and massive. It’s a sonic hurricane. There’s no wasted space or airtime. And that was Peter. He was skating and ripping and sweating and gasping for air and slamming and puking and just flat-out murdering it. Similar to Leo Romero at Maloof in 2008, Peter was the silent, slow-motion sock to the face that everyone needed to see coming right at them, but be unable to dodge, in order to wake the fuck up and realize that hidden within our new and inevitable narcissistic, materialistic, generation bling, peacocking, squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease, celebriphiliac skateboarding world are certain undeniable truths that keep the “I don’t give a fuck, just get out of my way and let me skate” spirit of skateboarding alive.
The internets already informed you about Chris Cole winning the damn thing by a mile… and boy did he deserve it. Alex Perelson being the fourth human to throw down a 900 (in his run, mind you) was pretty damn impressive too. It’s not every day, or even every five years, for that matter, that a new vert kid pops up and you actually like watching him.
So, when was the last time you skated ‘til you puked?
When all was said and done at Dew Tour in Boston a few weekends ago, you might have noticed someone different up there on the podium. Not because he’s a stranger to placing high or winning contests… but because he’s relatively new to the pro contest scene. That person would be Ryan Decenzo.
With his new Globe United by Fate part having just dropped (nollie down El Toro, anyone?), a second place finish in Boston and a free ride to the next stop in Portland… things are looking pretty good for Decenzo. Take a few minutes to get familiar with him because he’s not going away anytime soon.
Ryan! Where you at right now?
Corona, British Columbia.
Right on. Are you still on tour?
Yeah, I’m on the RDS tour right now. We were just in Alberta and now we’re doing BC.
Who are you rolling with?
Me and my bro. Paul Trep, Ryan Oughton, Sascha Daley Micky Papa and Machnau.
Are you guys doing demos or filming?
We’re filming. We’ve been street skating but we’re shooting with Nick Scurich from Thrasher. We’re doing demos and stuff. Doing it all.
So, was Dew Tour Boston your first pro contest?
No, I went to Slam City Jam last in Calgary a few years ago. I got third place or whatever. I like pro contests because it’s fun to be with dudes who are better than you and pushing it. Sometimes when you’re stuck with people in a lower level, it’s like you’re just doing your own shit and being lazy because it’s easy or whatever.
Have you ever skated against guys like Cole, Sheckler and Rodriguez before?
I dunno if I’ve skated with all of those heavy hitters in one place like Dew Tour, but for sure I’ve skated with them all in different contests.
Do you skate a differently when you’re going against these gnarly contest pros or is it the same as you would at Tampa Am or something?
It would be the same thing except you get more fired up when they’re landing more shit and you’re seeing them do it. So you want to land your stuff more consistently and have your tricks on lock better.
How much did you win in Boston?
I was supposed to win ten grand but I didn’t have a social security number or whatever they have in America, so I had 35 percent in taxes taken off. It’s still fucking awesome and I can’t complain.
So, you’re automatically qualified for the next Dew stop in Portland?
I think I’m automatically in the finals for the next one. I hope so. It was a struggle getting through all that qualifying. But if I have to do it again, I’ll do it again!
So, you and Chet [Thomas] are talking about going pro for Darkstar?
Yeah, I don’t really know when it’s gonna happen. Maybe when we figure out some graphics and stuff. Things are kind of stagnant right now with the economy. Chet’s not in any hurry. We’ll figure it out. We wanna come out with a sick, solid graphic. We don’t want to just throw anything out there.
So that’s the end of am contests for you!
I’ve been kind of over them for a couple years now. A couple people convinced me to skate Maloof so I did.
You were in the am contest there?
Yeah, I got third. But we had to skate in the middle of the day and it was like a million degrees and I was like puking the whole time.
Oh, you were one of the pukers! There were a lot of them. It was awesome.
I was probably the first person to puke. It was just that hot.
I was actually keeping a running count of everyone who was puking all weekend. Peter Ramondetta, Torey, Dyet… a bunch of people.
Everyone was pushing it man, if you’re not skating ‘till you’re puking, then you’re not skating hard enough.
So do you prefer a plaza course like Maloof or more of a transitioned skatepark course like Dew Tour?
On the Dew Tour course you can flow a lot better. You don’t have to worry about always running back up the stairs to try another trick. That wears you out a lot.
Where you living now?
In Huntington Beach with Dyet. It’s pretty sick. Haven’t been up in Vancouver too much lately.
How old are you?
So how is living with Dyet?
It’s pretty good. We don’t see each other all the time. We’re on trips… I’m in Canada and he’s in Utah. We’re pretty all over the place.
He’s got good energy.
Yeah, he’s pretty funny.
When he won the bronze at X Games he was just running around cheering all day afterward. It was rad.
He should be psyched. He’s always telling me that. “I’m gonna kill it at the X Games!” and I’m like, “You better kill it and you better quit smoking for a couple days before or whatever will help you win.” I’m pretty stoked for him.
So do you have any good stories from Boston when you guys were there?
There was one night where Gentry was super wasted and saying, “Follow me, follow me!” He had a chant going and there were like, twenty people coming out of the bar just following him.
Just wiling out. Did you see in Tampa this year when he started a riot?
Who, Gentry did?
He like, smashed some girl’s windshield in the middle of the street and jumped on her car. I hadn’t heard from that dude in years and all of a sudden he’s shattering windshields in Ybor City. It was pretty cool.
So what’s a trick that your brother can always get you on in a game of S.K.A.T.E.?
Man, there are so many. Switch backside flips. He’s got those every try and I don’t have those like he does.
How about one that you can always get him on?
For sure a nollie impossible.
Oh man. Is he younger than you?
Three years younger.
How does his skating differ from yours
He can approach stuff switch with a lot of control. Which some days I can, but he can do it every day of the week so it’s pretty sweet for him. But he really doesn’t jump down stairs as much as I do, so like if I’m skating some stairs and he’s trying to skate ‘em with me, he’s like, “Fuck man, I’m not used to this shit!”
Were you skating before him or did you guys pick it up at the same time?
We picked it up the exact same day. We were always into the same hobbies. It went from cruising around on BMX bikes to grabbing skateboards, which was way more fun.
What do you like better about Cali than Vancouver and what do you miss about Vancouver that you don’t have in Cali?
There are a million things that you don’t have in Cali that you have in Canada. You’ve got a lower drinking age here and all the outdoor skateparks and no helmet laws. Just way more lenient street skating here… those sorts of things. But like, when it rains or when it snows… it sucks. So being in Cali I can just wake up every morning and know the sun is shining. Sometimes you wake up in Canada and you look outside and it’s just a bummer.
It’ll rain for weeks.
So do you have a girlfriend?
Yeah. She’s from Montreal.
What’s the difference between American or California girls compared to Canadian girls? I used to have a girlfriend in Vancouver and it seemed that Canadian girls were a lot friendlier.
Yeah, I think they are for sure. The girls in Cali are kinda stuck up. They don’t wanna talk to you or they think they’re too cool. I don’t know what it is.
How does a Red Dragons tour differ from a Darkstar or Globe tour?
Let’s just say that there’s a lot more beer flowing. Since RDS tours are always in Canada we get pretty wild. We have homies here and stuff.
I’m thinking way back to the old Whiskey series of videos. That was the beginning of the RDS crew right?
So are you like, third generation Red Dragon?
We’re the third generation for sure. Maybe we even got the fourth generation here.
Are you guys recruiting and training the fifth? Do you have some 15-year-olds ready to go?
Yeah, we got some.
You just had your Globe United by Fate part drop and it’s pretty sick. But are you filming anything else right now or was that the last one?
Yeah, we’re filming for another RDS video. Everybody’s got parts. I think I almost got a part.
What was the most embarrassing day of your life?
Hard to tell. Maybe when I’m skating around at the Dew Tour and people are just yelling “Ryan!” all the time and I turn around and Sheckler is standing right beside me and I’m like, “Fuck! I always keep forgetting.” And I’m looking directly at these people who are yelling “Ryan!” There’s probably just some awkward situations where I was looking at these people and they’re like, “Why the fuck are you looking at me?”
Kind of like if you yell, “Hey asshole!” in public and a bunch of people turn around.
Yeah, for sure.
That’s all I got for you. Thanks for taking out the time to do this.
No problem, I’m just shopping at Wal Mart… getting socks and boxers for this trip.
Mandatory tour supplies! What’s been your strangest purchase on a tour so far?
Probably a little potato gun. It was pretty awesome while it lasted… until it got clogged up with potatoes.