The Legend of Boxton Square

September 4, 2009

etnies skate and create boxton square rob brink

The Legend of Boxton Square
Skate and Create II: etnies
Words: Rob Brink
TransWorld Skateboarding, October 2009

According to English legend, just outside of Sherwood Forest, where the fog breaks and the mountain breeze carries in the songs of the sparrow, lies a small and curious little village known to the locals as Boxton Square...

As the story goes, eighty-six years ago today, at the stroke of midnight, a great storm came upon Boxton—twenty-three full days and nights of rain and wind and hail fell from the heavens. Tremendous floods engulfed the entire village. Houses, shops, farms and families were destroyed. In the tumultuous aftermath, those who remained built small temporary shelters out of leftover cardboard and metal supports donated from a neighboring town. However, the people of Boxton Square all lived in constant fear of the next great storm. As a result, a unanimous decision was made by the townspeople that a new and permanent village wouldn’t be built until the residents were certain it would not be destroyed by the weather again.

etnies skate and create boxton square rob brink

As time passed, fear of another flood remained, but life needed to carry on. So, with the little money they had, the Boxtonians began constructing more of what they needed out of the available cardboard and metal. Small groceries, banks, offices, pubs, roads and trains began popping up. All of this construction occurred during the day, as the locals feared nighttime because that’s when the last devastating storm struck.

But one young lad, named Sean Malto, wasn’t afraid of the night at all. In fact, he preferred it to the muggy, noisy, crowded, busy Boxton days where he rode his skateboard throughout town helping his father—a local postman—deliver packages. He was a happy kid that most everyone in the village knew and liked. And although they could never put a finger on exactly what it was… they always felt he was a wee bit strange.

etnies skate and create boxton square rob brink

As dinner was ending and the sun set each evening, Sean would wait for his father to fall asleep. And, as a loud snoring eventually came from the corner of their cardboard home, Sean would quietly grab his skateboard and creep out the back door.

Once outside, while the rest of the town was sleeping, Sean could ride his skateboard through Boxton Square at his leisure. All the spots he would see being built during the day were now his own. There was no hot sun beating on him and the temperature was perfect. The full moon and clear starry skies lit everything up perfectly. There were no people in the way or police to tell him where he could and couldn’t be. The ever-changing and growing Boxton landscape of offered limitless amounts of terrain to be skated on—transition-sided buildings, metal monorail tracks, infinite configurations of ledges and manuals and embankments all just waiting to be sessioned.

etnies skate and create boxton square rob brink

But, as with all things in life, there was a catch. The perpetual reconstruction of Boxton Square meant that something that was perfectly skateable one night, may not exist the following evening. In short, when night fell on Boxton Square, it became Sean’s own secret world for the taking. However, taking advantage of it quickly was a must.

Oh… and there’s one more thing. As the story goes, a handful of other skateboarders also sometimes appeared at night in Boxton. No one knows where they came from or where they went once the sun came up. In fact, they were as unpredictable as the terrain was on any given evening. Their names were Kyle Leeper, Mikey Taylor, Tyler Bledsoe and Davis Torgerson.

etnies skate and create boxton square rob brink

Some lore depicts them as ghosts of boys lost in the flood. Other stories suggest they were imaginary friends Sean daydreamed up so that he wouldn’t have to skate such a wonderful city alone. Supposedly the five would venture out at night in search of their long lost friends, Ryan Sheckler, Jose Rojo and Devine Calloway, who may have also been victims of the flood... or figments of Sean’s vivid and youthful imagination... or even youngsters from a neighboring town who would sneak over to Boxton while their parents were asleep too.

But, in the spirit of any true skateboarder, they did what came natural to them… the group converged on Boxton Square and skated everything it had to offer as if it was the last time they’d ever skate it, or skate together, again.

etnies skate and create boxton square rob brink

Frontside ollies on rooftops, disasters on skyscrapers, fakie 5-0s on train tracks, backside tailslides and backside noseblunt slides on footbridges, carves around overpasses, tailslides on rooftops, hardflips and switch heels off of buildings.

They took turns leading the way as the others would joyfully follow. They laughed together. They learned new things from one another and helped anyone who would fall down or become injured. All this, and they wouldn’t stop until the sparrows began to chirp… their first reminder that daytime was on the horizon.

etnies skate and create boxton square rob brink

And by morning, when the heat of the early sun would dry the morning mist off of the city’s surface, the boys were nowhere to be found… except for Sean. By then, he’d be asleep, next to his skateboard, in his cardboard bed as his father was waking up for work.
The people of Boxton Square would be going about their business. Houses and buildings would be moved, rebuilt and taken down. After a few hours of rest Sean would join his dad for a few afternoon deliveries. He would skate about town, keeping his eyes peeled, quietly hoping that his favorite spots from the night before might remain in tact, while also witnessing the birth of new spots that he’d be able to show his friends come nightfall.

Over the years, some have even speculated that all of this was a dream. A dream of a legend that Sean experienced one night in his sleep. Layer upon layer of one young skateboarder’s fantasyland, passed on by word of mouth through the generations of those who choose to believe that such a magical world can, and has, existed.

etnies skate and create boxton square rob brink

There’s a common saying in skateboarding… some of you may have heard it before, but it goes, “Skate today because tomorrow it might rain.” And if you’ve ever wondered where it came from, well… The Legend of Boxton Square might just be the answer. But, like many of skateboarding’s other best-kept secrets… you didn’t hear it from me.

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Kenny Hoyle

July 28, 2009

rob brink kenny hoyle the skateboard mag

Kenny Hoyle
By Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, September 2009

You might not know too much about Kenny Hoyle, but that’s not his fault. He can’t be blamed for a half dozen prior interviews talking about his missing finger and the Celtics. If it were up to him, he would’ve spoken about real shit… grown up shit. Because Kenny Hoyle is officially an adult now. You know why? ‘Cuz he’s developed anxiety, he’s over hating on other skateboarders, he wants people to stop sweating the small stuff, he knows Britney Spears shouldn’t be on the news unless she finds a cure for cancer and he’s completely secure with the fact that he’s still an amateur skateboarder, putting in his time underneath pros he’s got tons of respect for.

I hear you think you’re the worst dude on Altamont.
I really do. Drew puts all these different kids on with different styles. Like Garrett Hill, Slash, Sammy, me, Theotis, Herman, Figgy… Theo’s fucking awesome. Everyone loves the dude. Then I’ll watch Garrett fucking three flip five-o a fucking hubba the first night of the Altamont SXSW tour we just did and I’m like “Fuck! This dude’s already putting down hammers.”

I always saw you as the clean-cut kid on the team.
Yeah, me and Theo. I got a phone call from Reynolds two years ago and he asked me to ride for Altamont and I’m like “Fuck yeah, I’m down!” Altamont is the best fucking clothing company. So then I go on these tours and I wanna produce and be myself and skate, but everyone’s super sick and I get gnarly anxiety about getting tricks. It’s been two years that I’m feeling this way—ever since I’ve been traveling more.

Isn’t it weird how it develops? You’re a kid and you hear about it in other people and you’re like, “Whatever! Life’s good, old man! Just deal with it.
Yeah. Until you actually feel yourself tripping. I’m around the team, Reno, Beagle… fucking all these dope-ass people, but at the same time I don’t know why I’m feeling this. Anxiety is fucking crazy.

rob brink kenny hoyle the skateboard mag

What do you and Theotis get up to when you room together?
He has to watch skate videos. He just loves skateboarding. That’s exactly why I room with the dude, ‘cause there’s way too much hating in skateboarding. Being on tours, you go from one company to the next and one company will have things to say about the next company. It’s kind of crazy ‘cause I just wanna skate and chill.

Then a few days later you end up chilling with the dude everyone in your van was baggin’ on.
Exactly. I don’t even know what to say right now ‘cause I don’t want to say anything bad about anybody.

It’s kind of old. Nobody ends up saying anything to anyone’s face anyway. They see it on the web or in a mag and then hate on it anonymously.
Yeah, O’Dell was just saying how people were watching his videos and they’re like “I bet O’Dell doesn’t even skate.” And O’Dell, for the record, was fucking killing it at the Albuquerque park on this tour.

There’s no way he could do Epicly Later’d the way he does if he didn’t skate.
Exactly. You think Reynolds, Heath, Guy and Cardiel would put up with him if he was a mark? He knows his shit.

So are you religious and celebrating Easter this weekend?
I was raised Catholic. I went to a private school from kindergarten through the eight grade, then to public high school. I’m more religious than not, but I don’t go to church every Sunday. I just live my life and try not to be bad.

You seem to have a really good family life.
I do. And I’m grateful. In skateboarding there’s a lot of broken homes.

Everyone’s a mess. It’s the new “normal.”
When I was in high school, kids I skated with were all from broken homes. One kid hadn’t seen his mom in three years. I’m like “Damn. I’ve got a good family.”

kenny hoyle rob brink the skateboard mag

Do you remember the most embarrassing day of your life?
I was a freshman. Standing there with all these kids waiting for class at like 7:30 in the morning and my dad shows up right next me. I’m like, “How did you find me? You were walking around the whole campus looking for me?”

So he gives me my lunch in a brown paper bag in front of everyone and I’m like, “Oh, thanks.” Back then I didn’t want people to see that.

My first day of high school… straight outta Catholic school... new in town… I was in first period gym class. No one knew me and some jock comes and yanks my pants down. I was wearing green briefs and I came to be known as “Aqua Brink” for a while.
See! That’s a gnarly-ass story. I can totally picture me being in the crowd and seeing that. You gotta just look back on that one and laugh.

Hell yeah. So you’re almost 23? Man am age!
Yeah. I’m getting there.

But you’ve had more interviews than any am I’ve ever talked to.
It seems like time flies and you don’t realize everything you’ve done. You’re just going through the motions. I’ve been am on Expedition for three years now. I’m psyched. I like being like under Richard Angelides, Welsh, and Chany ‘cause I go skate with these dudes and I can’t do some of the shit they do. I still got a lot more to learn.

What’s the worst thing people ask in interviews?
About my finger. Shiloh’s got a missing finger and I’ve read interviews with that dude and no one’s ever asks him.

I read seven interviews with you and six asked about your finger. I thought skateboarding was supposed to be original.
Yeah, that’s how everything works. That’s how every line from every shoe company is made. Everything is like, bootlegged from something before.

kenny hoyle rob brink the skateboard mag

The other night I called and you wanted to talk about “real shit.”
I was hanging out with the homies, just talking about life and drinking, you know?

So if I were to ask if you ever pee sitting down, is that dumb?
No. Don’t you pee when you take a shit? On the Altamont trip we were 20 miles outside of our destination and everyone wanted to just get there, but I had to pee so bad ‘cause I drank two tall cans. So I’m trying to go in this bottle and people are in the van and I just can’t go. Talk about anxiety. It was a fucking mental block. It was like, the worst thing in my life.

Catholic school… peeing… anxiety… this interview is getting real!
More real than fucking talking about my finger, dude.

You played roller hockey?
Just for half a semester. I didn’t even have my own skates. I played mad ice hockey between third and seventh grade. Roller hockey sucks; ice hockey is the shit. Have you ever been to a hockey game before?

I had season tickets to the NJ Devils when I was a kid. It’s not like football or baseball…
Football is the fucking worst man! Its like, “Oh, here we go! Oh, now we stop.” Baseball is even worse. Hockey and basketball are the fucking best.

So you’re in Palm Springs with your girl’s family… do you bring your board on these little vacations?
No. I wanted to take three days off.

I skate better if I take a few days off.
It’s proven! The biggest influence on my skateboarding is that, when I’m not skateboarding… I want to be skateboarding.

That shit’s deep, man. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Reda will be like, “Just stick with the people you feel comfortable with. When you got a good thing, just know that you got a good thing.”

kenny hoyle rob brink the skateboard mag

What bums you out?
Bullshit. Shit that shouldn’t be an issue. Shit that doesn’t matter the next day when you’re not gonna fucking care or remember it. Quit making a fucking big deal of it. Just fucking let the small things go. I also can’t stand the people who care about celebrities’ lives and not their own. You’ve got some shit that’s really happening with your own life and you buy US Weekly and get lost in some shit straight out of celebrities’ lives. That’s the worst thing in the world.

The evening news used to be about war and murder and robberies. Now they talk about Britney Spears.
Like, unless she cures cancer, she shouldn’t be on the news.

What’s your favorite trick to do?
180 no comply. Like right out the car. Or nollie heelflips.

Weird! Justin Regan just told me that Herman showed Andrew your It’s Official video part and a 360 no comply and a nollie heel over a trash can sealed the deal for getting you on Altamont.
Really? They told me about the nollie heel. Herman was psyched on that and I was like, “You’re fried fool.” But the 360 no comply up the curb… that was probably one of those things that wasn’t supposed to make it and people are psyched on that.

Everything happens for a reason right?
It totally does and that’s the weirdest part.

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Pro Tec Pool Party 2009

July 28, 2009

rob brink pro tec pool party 2009 the skateboard mag

Pro-Tec Pool Party 2009
By Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, September 2009

Frosted, dirty blonde white trash mullet wig; allover print Speedo with the image of a woman’s face across his genitals; shirtless with a large bleeding cross carved into the center of his chest. (Safe to say the procedure wasn’t done with a precision, sterile, pain-minimizing instrument like a scalpel either.)

Apart from a watch, socks and red Vox shoes, this comprised Mark “Red” Scott’s Pro-Tec Pool Party contest attire. Shocking, hilarious, disturbing, absurd, brilliant… and he hadn’t even dropped in yet.

And no… he wasn’t wearing pads, you pussy.

Slayer was most likely blaring out of the speakers, filling the entire skatepark and mall parking lots with dissonance, while hundreds looked up from their iPhones, stopped talking to the person next to them, ceased chewing their free hot dogs, stood up, screamed, applauded… in other words… respected.

But if I had to take an educated guess, I’d say something other than Slayer was playing in Red’s head when he dropped in. Something way gnarlier than "Angel of Death" or "Reign in Blood." Perhaps the sounds of Boeing 747s colliding in mid-air while hundreds of passengers on board were screaming and puking. Or nuclear bombs detonating and nearby houses exploding and disintegrating into dust. Or dinosaurs scattering, stumbling, running for their lives, wailing and burning to death, as an asteroid was about to hit the Earth.

Or maybe there was nothing playing in his head at all—like an absolute peace. Silent.

Or, you know, like those scenes in movies when you’re supposed to be experiencing an attempt at the juxtaposition of utter turmoil mixed with serenity for some sort of dramatic effect? All sorts of people dying and suffering and crying while Louis Armstrong’s "What a Wonderful World" plays? Ya… that sorta thing.

Red’s complete disregard for just about everything in the building, including his own well-being, was easily the number one highlight in Pro-Tec Pool Party history… and dare I say a fine example of skateboarding in it’s purest form. He landed a few tricks, carved and grinded a bit, bailed a few tricks… but it really didn’t matter. Even better, the look on his face the entire time seemed to say, “Fuck you skateboarding. I love you.”

He pushed as fast as he could around the deck of the entire pool with a fervor unlike most have ever seen, taking out photographers, bloggers, videographers, industry infiltrators, women, fellow skateboarders and himself. Then sealed the deal by bailing some sort of strange mach 12, haywire air to boneless-type thing that wouldn’t, and couldn’t, have been landed in a million years. Breathtaking.

In "Northwest," a film by the Rick Charnoski and Coan Nichols about hand-sculpted concrete skateparks in the Pacific Northwest and the skaters who build and ride them, skateboarder and skatepark builder Red says:

“If you build a skatepark and it’s just the same old shit… it sucks. But if it’s different and it’s got some unique features… there you go… it’s different and it’s unique. That’s what people need to do. Make stuff that hasn’t been done before. We gotta take it to new levels.”

Thanks, Red.

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Tony Tave

July 28, 2009

rob brink tony tave the skateboard mag

Tony Tave
By Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, September 2009

Tony Tave is 22 years old. Apart from his obvious knack for catching flip tricks in a very enviable way, he has an equally desirable Utopian view of the world. “Life is like a dream… just have fun… why can’t we all just be happy?” aren’t uncommon utterances from Mr. Tave. These qualities might be the result of his sunny Orange County, California upbringing, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Tony’s the kinda guy who’d say, “Why not?” while everyone else is saying “Why?” And he’s definitely the type of guy you want to roll with if you’re looking to round up a cougar or have a thing for your neighbor’s hot wife.

Where you been since the last Circa and Element videos?
Just skating, dude. Having fun for myself. That’s what life’s all about. It’s more than just riding a skateboard, even though skateboarding is the most important part.

Can we talk about chicks or will that bum out your girlfriend?
Nah, we can talk about chicks, dude. I’ve been around the world.

Last time we spoke, you and Windsor were going out in Laguna to pick up some cougs and you wanted me to roll.
That was a good day actually. I met a chick at this bar called the Wicked Garden. She was like 33. She hit me up the other day randomly. I was like “Damn, a little too late.” I would have smashed. She was bangin’.

Where are the best spots to pick up cougars and MILFs in Orange County?
Laguna Beach. You gotta get the rich ones. Go to where all those mansions and the MILF bars are. Salt Creek Grill is the one I was calling you from. Me and Windsor were drinking red wine. Just being high class. But only having one glass ‘cause they’re like 20 bucks each.

Are you hitting on the cougars or are they hitting on you?
Dude, the cougars hit on you! That’s the beauty of it. They’re genetic time clock is ticking so they’re ready to pounce! The next thing you know you’re rolling in her ex-husband’s Ferrari.

rob brink tony tave the skateboard mag

Have you ever had any situations with married couples or swingers?
Yeah, my neighbor. She’s probably like 36 or something.

No way dude…
Dude, it was fucking crazy. She was married and used to hit on me. She came over asking for me one night when Windsor answered the door. Started talking to me about some barbeque she’s gonna have and salsa she’s making and shit. I just didn’t really pay attention. But we started talking more and one night she was like, “Hey do you wanna come pick up this computer table?”

I figured something sketchy might happen so I put Dennis Durrant’s iPhone in my pocket so I could record the conversation. We talked for a bit and I went to leave and she just slammed the door on me and threw me against it and started making out with me. She was humping my leg where the phone was. She just got buck wild and shit. You can hear her moaning on the recording. I definitely copped a feel and she was telling me to fuck her. I should have, but I was like “Hey, you can’t fucking do this! Your kid is upstairs. You got a husband.” She was like, “Just use my toys on me.”

That’s like every teenage boy’s fantasy. Do you prefer fake boobs or real boobs?
I hate fake tits, man. They’re the worst things ever. You look at them and you’re like, “They’re not real.” These chicks have so much insecurity that they cake on makeup and then it comes down to fake tits. You’re not supposed to have fake tits if your tits are nice.

Everyone’s wearing a mask. They’re all liars. They have to cover themselves up behind fake tits, which is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

What’s your favorite part of the female anatomy?
Dude, the entire female anatomy is.

So tell us about your girl.
She runs a drive through coffee stand with chicks in bikinis near the Bellevue Washington skate plaza. I’m psyched on her. She’s one of those chicks that gets it and she’s doing her thing.

So Circa sponsored a Bikini contest, the team judged it and that’s how you met her?
Hell yeah. It was in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While we were there, some dude committed suicide ‘cause his wife cheated on him. He overdosed on pills in one of the suites. Marriage is kinda crazy. He was in there dead for a week and his body exploded. All his guts and shit were everywhere. I was smoking a joint with the custodian dude from the hotel and he told me how he had to throw the body in a river. In Mexico, once you’re gone, you’re gone. You don’t get your ceremony. You don’t get shit.

rob brink tony tave the skateboard mag

How about the time you were dating two ladies and told them each about the other so they could decide who got to be with you?
I’m just a chill person. I feel like life is a dream so you’re just on a path of doing whatever you want. If someone wants to come on the ride with me, then let’s go. I don’t like drama. So if people get it they get it. And that’s what it came down to with these chicks. It was funny. They pretty much bailed. But it’s all good. There’s plenty more out there. Chicks are crazy man.

At least you were honest. But it couldn’t have ended well.
It was seriously eating me up alive. I finally told them each about each other and they were just like, “What the fuck? I can find better!”

But instead of choosing one and dumping of the other, you made them choose? That’s ballsy.
Yeah. Like, figure it out. We can all live together. I mean… I know those people got busted for polygamy in Utah or something… but I don’t see why a girl would get mad at another girl for loving the same person. If we all had love everything would be balanced. Its life, man. Don’t take it so serious. Enjoy it.

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3 Minutes with Devine Calloway

July 22, 2009

devine calloway rob brink

3 Minutes with Devine Calloway
By Rob Brink May 2009

Top three frontside bigspins in skateboarding:
1. Carroll
2. Malto
3. Willow

Top three backside bigspins in skateboarding:
1. Carroll
2. Willow
3. Lotti

Top three favorite tricks to do:
1. Switch tre
2. Kickflip
3. Switch flip

Top three that you suck at:
1. Nollie heel
2. Front board
3. Tre flips

Top three reasons (or excuses) you missed your flight to the Europe tour:
1. Don’t wanna go
2. Tried
3. Didn’t wake up

First three things you did once you got there:
1. Got off the plane
2. Went to spot
3. Took a shower

Top three things you hate right now:
1. Nothing
2. Nobody
3. No one

Top three things about having a brother who skates:
1. I always have a buddy to skate with
2. I always have some one to have my back
3. I always have some one to play skate with

Top three things you love right now:
1. Life
2. Skating
3. Friends

Top three favorite Chocolate riders of all time:
1. Everyone
2. Everyone
3. Everyone

Top three things about being low-key in skateboarding:
1. Everything
2. Everything
3. Everything

Top three favorite skate videos:
1. Any Girl
2. Any Chocolate
3. Any FTC

Top three favorite people to skate with:
1. Everen
2. Sid
3. Heath

Top three things you are afraid of:
1. My mom
2. My mom
3. My mom

Top three favorite foods:
1. KFC (You want the CHICKEN!)
2. Sushi
3. Pizza

Top three good things about living with your girl:
1. She sexy
2. She makes me happy
3. And I love her

Top three memories of your first etnies tour so far:
1. Davis getting lost
2. Kyle’s laugh
3. And being with the team

Top three things to never leave home without:
1. Clothing
2. Skateboards
3. Homies

Top three reasons you decided to ride for etnies:
1. Friends
2. etnies
3. Shoes

Top three favorite shoes:
1. RSS
2. Malto
3. Taylor

Top three things you want to do before you die:
1. Everything
2. Everything
3. Everything

Top three movies:
1. How High
2. Half Baked
3. Fast Times

Top three ex- City Stars riders:
1. Roger
2. Mikey
3. Everybody

Top three embarrassing things you do:
1. Nothing
2. Nothing
3. Nothing

Top three things about Anaheim:
1. Disneyland
2. Skatepark
3. Homies

Give one favorite or funny thing about Mikey, Malto and Heath:
1. Too many

Top three things that you could be doing instead of this interview:
1. Smoking some trees
2. Skating
3. Chillin’

Top three favorite hats:
1. Elm
2. New Era
3. Top hats

Top three ways to end this:
1. I’m out
2. Holla at me
3. Kick rocks

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Chris Cole

July 20, 2009

chris cole rob brink maloof

Chris Cole
By Rob Brink

Last weekend, Chris Cole played a huge part in making one of the greatest contests in skateboarding history, just that—one of the greatest contests in skateboarding history. But, with the Maloof Money Cup ’09 title, $100 grand and a new Les Paul under his belt, Cole only has about a week to recover and relax from the intensity that was the MMC before shipping out to Boston for his first-ever attempt at the Dew Tour contest, against Dew veterans like Lutzka, Sheckler, Chaz Ortiz and former Maloof Money Cup champ, Paul Rodriguez.

Whilst making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for his son Wyatt, and strumming his new guitar, Cole took a few minutes to talk to us about his Maloof experience, his soon-to-be Dew Tour experience and the state of the skateboarding industry in general.

How much of the 100 grand that you won at Maloof do you lose to taxes?
I didn’t even add it up yet but it’s a pretty good amount. It’s probably like 30 grand or more.

Seems like every time you win a contest these days you end up getting another guitar for your collection. How many does that make in your collection now?
Like high 20’s maybe 30’s. I was actually playing the one I won at Maloof when you called, but yeah, most of them I have in storage. Right now I have seven out.

So when you win a new one is it like a new toy? Are you like, “Oh I wanna get home and play with this?”
Yeah, totally. I came home and it was really busy for the first couple days, but right when I got around to tuning it and stuff, I started playing it. I don’t have a Les Paul as of now, I have an Epiphone, which is like an early Les Paul, it’s a little different but it’s pretty cool to play this one. It sounds totally different. It’s a pretty guitar.

So when you’re out there skating a contest like Maloof for that much money, how much of you is thinking about winning versus having fun on the course and skating with people?
It’s almost like a “self contest” where you’re like, “How much stuff can I get done as fast as possible? Can I make all of it? “How fast can I make it and how good can I make it?” And then it’s almost like, you’re not bummed if you don’t win because of the money or because of anything except you’ll be bummed that you didn’t do your best. ‘Cause if you do your best and you didn’t win that’s fine. I was out there and I had an awesome time.

Well it’s interesting that you say that because when you started the first heat in the finals, you rifled out like 30 tricks within a minute and a half. It was gnarly.
You only have a little bit and everybody is going for it. They’re not gonna let up so you can’t either. When your heat alone… just your heat… is P-Rod, Sheckler, Nyjah and Malto, how do you slow up? ‘Cause they’re gonna be right behind you with those switch kickflip back tails on the rail.

I always think the first burst is so funny, ‘cause you have either five dudes all land a trick in a row or it’s a jumbled mess…
It’s like a car crash. Yeah, it’s actually really funny. It’s almost like you see the dudes too… when you’re standing up there and they’re like, “Let’s count it down! Nine, eight, seven…” and like right when they get to “four” everybody is like pumping their front knee, like, “How long is it gonna take me to ride to the obstacle?” So right at “one” the dudes wanna be about to pop their first trick.

As far as Maloof is concerned, what is the funnest part of that contest for you?
Honestly, warming up for the contest is the funnest part because you get to skate this totally awesome setup and you’re pumped and you’re motivated to rip. So it’s almost like you’re doing a demo on this totally awesome course…

Except that you don’t have to impress anyone like you do at a demo?
Yeah, I do Unfortunately.

During warm ups?
Yeah, always. It’s almost like first impressions... Kids are there all day. There were so many people there before the contest even started. This sounds like a “goody two shoes” answer, but the reason I even skate the thing as hard as I do is because I want to win the contest, but also because I wanna skate super hard for everybody that showed up. Like a demo.

Oh, that’s rad.
They’re sitting in the heat too. If I’m just sitting there and kicking it on my board acting like I’m too cool for this thing or not trying, it just does a disservice to them and myself.

For sure. So, as a fan of other skaters, when you’re at something like Maloof who are you watching and getting psyched on?
Well, all those contest dudes rip. I mean they’re undeniably good. But Paul Rodriguez, the way he skates, like his style and the tricks that he does, to me, are really hard. First go. Switch heel switch manual. And things like switch back tails on the hubbas first go. I’m really impressed by that. I love to watch it. I also love to watch Lutzka, I like that he’s so talented turning frontside. Frontside seems retarded to me. Like, to do a frontside 270 noseblunt seems crazy to me. To do a switch frontside 270 to bluntslide seems way more logical to me. Because that’s the way my body turns.

I can see that.
But with how much ease he has. Maloof is awesome because you get to see other dudes you don’t usually see. Because I’m gonna see Sheckler and P-Rod and Lutzka and everyone like always… but to see Tommy Guns; to see Ramondetta, and Dennis and Pete Eldridge.

It’s like a surprise… a real treat.
Yeah, and I was rooting for Pete from the beginning too. “Like, you gotta get this dude in! Vote him in!” And he got the wild card and got in, I was psyched.

It was also sick to see people like Mike Vallely out there too. Because Mike’s not out there to win the contest. He’s out there to represent his style. While everybody might be getting a taste of skateboarding regularly, they’re not getting a taste of his side of skateboarding. I thought that it was cool that he came out and showed people there’s a different type.

Yeah, for sure. I thought that was a good segway coming from The Battle at The Berrics match with you.
Yeah, exactly. I think it’s really rad and different. He’s coming into what everybody else is doing, but doing it his way. I think that’s sick.

Prior to the Maloof or Wallenberg or any big contest? Do you have an interaction with Jamie Thomas? Is there any sort of conversations or pep talks or anything like that?
Yeah, I know what you mean, almost like coach-style.

Yeah, but not so jockish…
Yeah… no we don’t. I didn’t talk to him for a couple days prior to Maloof and he’s definitely a good person to talk to about that stuff. But it’s not something that we normally do. I usually try to talk to nobody. Something like Maloof where you know everyone is bringing the heat… the more someone talks about it, the more nerve-wracking it is. That’s kind of hard. My family… my in-laws were in town, and they’re awesome, but they’re so awesome that they’re trying to accommodate me make me feel good and they’re like “How do you feel? Would you like us to make you breakfast?”

And I’m like, “That’s awesome, but let’s just pretend it’s not happening.” I Just don’t want to be bombarded and pampered before the thing.

Where does something like Maloof rank as far as a proud moment with you?
Well, it’s almost like, as time goes by there’s things that lessen or increase in your mind depending on the day. Some days I’m like, “It’s cool, I won the X Games!” And other days it’s kind of surreal. Like one point in my life I was able to do it. Even if I’m not able to tomorrow, at some point in my life I was… and without the use of steroids. [Laughs].

I was thinking back to early footage of you, maybe eight or nine years ago. At City Hall in Philly. Your World Industries days. Would you ever have thought back then that you would be on this level? You win this contest and you’re on the phone afterwards for days, for lack of a better term, doing press with people like me…
No, that really never, ever occurred to me. I didn’t even think that that was like…

It didn’t even exist back then.
Exactly, there wasn’t even an option. Skateboarding is a legitimate sport almost like basketball and football and baseball now.

So you’re headed to dew tour next weekend? This will be like your first time skating Dew Tour and I hear that there are a lot other of dudes that haven’t been in it. Busenitz and Dompierre and you will be joining the regulars like, Sheckler, Chaz, Lutzka and P-Rod.
Oh, really? That’s awesome.

So how did it come about? Dew Tour has been around for a while now.
Well, you know what? I was never invited.

Oh, is that all it was?
It’s funny; people are like, “Oh, how come you didn’t do the Dew Tour? And I’m like, “I never knew when it was.” But then I actually thought about it… skateboarding as a whole, you need to support it. And you can wish that skateboarding was better off and the economy wasn’t hurting skateboarding so bad…

I think we’re kind of getting to a point where you have to accept that skateboarding has changed and you cant just keep crying about who’s going into the X Games and who is “keeping it real.”
You know what? I feel that way too, and I’m actually very surprised that you said that ‘cause I’ve had that conversation a couple of times recently.

I’ve always turned my back on non-skateboarding sponsorships and drink sponsors and things like that, and you know the hats that everybody wears to promote their drink sponsors at contests? I see kids wearing them on the streets or in Target and I’m like, “That hat is what people wear to get paid.”

And then I realize that skateboarding has changed. These kids are growing up now and they don’t know any difference between the old school core and dudes wearing big logos. I still don’t wanna wear a big logo on the front of my body that I don’t really believe in. Like something I don’t even like the taste of… but I mean, having a sponsorship from someone who is willing to put money into skateboarding is a pretty good deal, and to walk away from that to quote unquote “keep it real…” well you end up keeping it real for the dudes on the message boards that don’t buy anything. And they’re like “Hey, remember that guy? He was tight, what’s he doing? Oh, he’s a road rep now for some company.”

I remember I really liked a couple skateboarders back when I was coming up and I asked a couple of people, “Where the hell is that guy?” And they’re like, “Oh, well he’s our sales rep. He calls us up and sees if we need any stuff,” and I’m like, “Dang! That dude was sick too! He didn’t make any money from skating. He didn’t make any to invest… nothing.”

I’m always shocked at the ex-pros that I meet, that work at all the skate companies… I’m like, “God, I sweated your video part so hard when I was 14.”
And they’re so humbled by that. Or most of them, because they’re like, “No way man, really?” They didn’t get compensated for it back then, you know what I mean?”

I guess we’re the last generation to see the actual core world. But I think anyone who can’t accept it now is just gonna suffer business-wise. I see companies that people would consider “mainstream” doing more for skating or just as much as the supposed “core” companies.
Oh, absolutely. I totally agree. And I think it’s important to keep mom and pop skate shops around. But there’s definitely a line between selling out and getting paid for doing what you love. And if somebody wants to put some money into skateboarding, I’ll take it. I don’t have to do something that I feel is compromising and that I’m spreading myself too thin, or I just feel embarrassed about. And you know what I’m talking about… some of those things have to be off the record, but a couple of those fools, it’s harsh when you’re watching it and you’re like, “I wanna quit skating right now.”

It’s like that shirt: “I love skateboarding so much I want it to die.” It’s like that push and pull, love and hate about how I feel about skateboarding on any given day, depending what I’m watching.
Oh, absolutely. When you see some dudes, or some stuff… or when you see actors pretending to be hardcore skaters… but they’re like, super pretty actors, I’m like, “I don’t know how I feel about that.”

Second hand embarrassment.
I love "The Office," but sometimes I gotta turn away cause the second hand embarrassment is so bad it’s just I wish I could disappear… like I wasn’t watching it.

So you’re looking at X Games, and four or five other big Dew Tour contests in the next two or three months?
Yeah, it’s pretty gnarly. It’s gnarly to come off of Wallenberg and try to skate like a normal professional skateboarder. I go out and try to shoot photos and get some tricks for the videos im working on or whatever and then go to the Maloof and then one week after that go into Dew Tour and then it’s X Games and then it’s Dew Tour again… it’s pretty gnarly. I didn’t really think about that when I planned out my summer. ‘Cause I jammed it. I have a Cayman Islands trip this week and then those contests and some stuff at Woodward East.

That’s another conversation I’m constantly having… I cant say no to going on tours. It’s completely exhausting, but hard to say no.
Oh absolutely. And how long are you gonna be compensated for traveling the world? You’re like, “Okay, where are we going?” And if it’s like Australia, you’re like, “Well, I’ve been to Australia six times.” So that’s something you might pass up, But like Japan, I haven’t been to Japan in six years or maybe more…

And you certainly don’t wanna spend out of your own pocket when someone is willing to send you.
Oh my goodness, yeah. Imagine that. Imagine paying for the flight to Japan, just because you wanted to go, that’s like unheard of…

It’s like a few grand.
Yeah, just breaking the bank to get there. Especially after all these years of having someone fly you there, you’re like, “Wait, how much is that?” I lose track of how much I spend because I fly my family. Like we fly back and forth from the East Coast a lot. Plane tickets aren’t getting any cheaper, I’ll tell you that. Well, they try to pretend they’re cheaper and then they charge you per bag.

Last question and I’m gonna let you go eat peanut butter and jelly with Wyatt. Do you think the Maloof Money Cup was the catalyst for things like the X Games and Dew Tour changing up their courses, formats, list of riders and obviously their prize purses?
I think that those things wouldn’t have changed if someone hadn’t stepped up to the table. Because skateboarders are gonna skate for peanuts and corporate America will give you just that. They’ll give you peanuts, and you can sit back and battle and argue with corporate America as much as you want. But if you’re gonna show up and skate for a bad course and whatever else, they’re gonna continue to do it.

So for the Maloof brothers to step up before anybody had to like, boycott and freak out and make a big stink out of it… They just stepped in and said “We’re gonna do something awesome.” And I’m not one of those dudes that’s kissing their butt because I’m a basketball fan or because they have money… but I think that what they do is awesome. I think that they knocked it out of the park.

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Flick: Proof

July 13, 2009

Flick: Proof
By Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, August 2009

rob brink proof the skateboard mag

In the summer of 2005, when Forecast was released, Paul Rodriguez introduced Mike Mo Capaldi’s part by saying, “You guys will be seeing a lot more of him in the very near future.”

Not many people in skateboardland knew who Mike Mo was back then… but safe to say, everyone knows him now. A solid “forecast,” so to speak. Hard to believe that was already over four years ago, huh?

So maybe not everyone in Forecast has become a skateboarding superstar on the level that Mike Mo has. Most of ‘em are familiar names, still around and on the radar though.

Hell, fucking weathermen are wrong more than half the time. So are financial analysts, doctors, psychics and so on. Not to mention they have educations and satellites and computers and sixth senses and billions of dollars worth of equipment handing them data on silver platters all day long and they still blow it on the regular.

I suppose the point is: if Paul (or anyone else for that matter) can help introduce us to a Mike Mo every few years with one of his videos and a keen eye for skateboarding talent, without needing billons of dollars of equipment and ruining our day because we didn’t know to bring an umbrella or a warm jacket, then by all means Mr. Rodriguez… please bring it. Thank you.

Enter Proof, Paul’s newest video venture, presented with some help from his good friend Nigel Alexander, and, of course, the skaters—some of whom you know and some who may be new to you.

Familiar names include Torey Pudwill, Darrell, Chaz Ortiz, Justin Schulte, Sammy Baptista, Terell Robinson and Paul himself. Hot damn, Torey’s got snap and some crazy new tricks! (Or maybe they should be referred to as “combos.”)

But back to the original point of this writing. For example, Proof may be your very first sampling of someone like Keelan Dadd, who’s part is a nice “from out of nowhere” surprise that’ll leave you wondering how long you’ll have to wait for another part from him.

And for every 10 or 20 or 30 up-and-coming skaters you watch at a contest or in videos and might not be too jazzed by, finding one like Keelan makes it all worth it. You suddenly find yourself hyped on that one great part or one new dude, rather than bitching about the bunches of others who didn’t appeal to you.

And that’s why videos like Proof are a necessity in skateboarding now. Sometimes they’re even more important in hindsight—looking back on Mike Mo’s Forecast part now, post-Fully Flared, when you may have not even thought twice about him or known anything about him beforehand.

Check out Proof and expose yourself to something new for a change. This way, when everyone is going nuts over some dude’s sick part in a four or five years, you can be like, “Yeah man, remember his part in Proof back in 2009? Didn’t know who he was back then, but that part was tight!”

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Tampa Pro '09

June 17, 2009

Tampa Pro '09
Photos by Rob Brink
Kingpin, June 2009

Normally I don't really post any published photo work as part of my portfolio, 'cuz I'd never dare call myself a "photographer," but Kingpin asked me for some photos from Tampa Pro this year and ended up making it a full-pager, plus I've never really been featured in Kingpin before, so I figured it was worth it.

rob brink kingpin tampa pro

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3 Minutes with Davis Torgerson

April 22, 2009

etnies davis torgerson rob brink

3 Minutes with Davis Torgerson
By Rob Brink April 2009

Last September on the Japan tour, Sean Malto was raving over this one video part he saw on YouTube—bringing his laptop into everyone’s rooms and making us watch. After witnessing four and a half minutes of some of more stylish ripping we’d seen in a while, followed by the nollie frontside hurricane ender, we were all pretty blown away.

“Oh isn’t that the kid who nollie heeled the Brooklyn Banks rail?” Someone said. A web clip here, a photo there, an in-person spotting at Tampa Am or the Brooklyn Banks… as it turns out, we all kinda knew about Davis in one form or another.

It wasn’t long before everyone was saying “We need to get Davis on etnies!” And lucky for us, he was down to join the crew. We took him to Florida last month and it felt like he’d been on the team for years. There was no weirdness, no “getting to know you” nonsense… just skating and good times.

The way Davis skates doesn’t need to be compared to anyone else out there. He’s not the “If you mixed Skater X with Skater Y and a little of Skater Z you get Davis Torgerson” type of dude. We’re just flat-out down for him and looking forward to our future with him. Welcome to the etnies team, Davis.

Top three reasons Minnesota is better than California:
1. Lakes
2. Seasons
3. Homies

Top three reasons California is better than Minnesota:
1. Ocean
2. Weather
3. More homies

Top three Midwest cities that aren't in Minnesota:
1. Chicago
2. Kansas City
3. Denver (if considered Midwest)

Top three things about being Norwegian:
1. Eating Lefsa
2. Having an excuse for always being so pale
3. Metal

Top three reasons to wrestle Malto in a hotel room:
1. Video documentation of Malto’s head under a mattress
2. Getting choked by two fingers
3. Actually, there is no reason

Top three nollie heels in skateboarding:
1. Kenny Hoyle
2. Mike Carroll
3. Dennis Busenitz

Top three reasons you are so much like your dad:
1. Short
2. Similar mannerisms
3. Golf!

Top three favorite tricks to do:
1. Tre flip
2. Nollie flip
3. Powerslide

Top three that you suck at:
1. Frontside flips
2. Hardflips
3. Front bigspins

etnies davis torgerson rob brink

Top three things you hate right now:
1. The cold
2. Mosquitoes
3. Stupid people

Top three things you love right now:
1. Basketball
2. Spring
3. Coffee

Top three favorite skate videos:
1. Sorry
2. Yeah Right
3. Shitheads Vol. 8

Top three favorite people to skate with:
1. David Jaimes
2. Josh Folley
3. Dan Narloch

Top three things you are afraid of:
1. Venomous spiders
2. Venomous snakes
3. Sharks

Top three favorite foods:
1. Burritos
2. Chinese
3. Ribs

Top three memories of your first etnies tour:
1. Sean falling on the folding chair
2. “Seagulls”
3. Mochi balls in Bill’s hair

Top three things to never leave home without:
1. Wallet
2. Phone
3. Keys

Top three reasons you decided to ride for etnies:
1. Team
2. Awesome people
3. Great shoes

Top three things you want to do before you die:
1. Triple flip El Toro
2. Knife fight a bear
3. Date a supermodel

Top three movies:
1. Pulp Fiction
2. Sin City
3. Burn After Reading

Top three DLX employees:
1. Wang
2. Alex
3. Jim

Top three embarrassing things you do:
1. Constantly spilling on my shirt
2. Awkward handshakes/high fives
3. Stressing about stupid shit

Top three things about Sam McGuire:
1. There’s no way to limit to three favorite things about Sam
2. He
3. Kills it

Give one favorite or funny thing about Jose, Mikey and Tyler:
1. Jose's “going pro” Cake
2. Mikey's mini that I never got to skate
3. Tyler's spaghetti incident

Top three things that you could be doing instead of this interview:
1. Barbecuing
2. Playing Rock Band
3. Cleaning my room

Top three ways to end this:
1. Stop
2. Answering
3. These

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Festivus: YBAm / Damn Am Awards

March 25, 2009

the skateboard mag fesitvus rob brink ybam damn am

Festivus: YBAm / Damn Am Awards
By Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, May 2009

Skateboarders totally deserve awards.

I mean, after all, we’re the best, right? Plus, winning is utterly important. You’re cool if you win stuff. When you win, kids (and even adults in some cases) all over the world want to be like you. Chicks want you to penetrate them. People throw money and free crap at you. You don’t have to wait in line to get into cool parties, and then, once you’re in the party, everyone will buy you free drinks and stare at you and want to stand by you… the possibilities are endless when you’re a winner in this world.

Don’t ever be a loser or your life will suck. You will fail at everything and get pimples and girls will ignore you and your friends and total strangers will ostracize you until you cry and there will be YouTube videos of you doing embarrassing stuff and you’ll want to Elliot Smith yourself. Just ask someone you know who’s a loser. They’ll tell you it sucks. Not every loser is cool and triumphant like Napoleon Dynamite. He’s a romanticized and idealized utopian loser. Real losers don’t come out on top of the world and catch a delicious bass to give to their girl in the end like he did. Real losers are miserable and have the worst luck ever and would never catch a delicious bass. They’d end up reeling in an old shoe or a tire and just as they are doing that, some winner will run up behind them and push them into the mucky, brackish lake.

You usually have to be really good at skateboarding to win an award these days. Or have a good video part or a really cool contest run or the best outfit. No fair! But there’s more to skateboarding than that!

The Skateboard Mag, along with the Skatepark of Tampa wanted to make more winners out of skateboarders and add to the amount of opportunity there is to be a winner every year. But rather than hold some ego-stroking awards ceremony that mimics the Oscars or the Country Music Awards, TSM and SPoT decided to do an awards show at ASR in January that was fun and different and honored some of the lesser-celebrated things in our little skateboarding bubble.

And these awards are powerful. For example, Chris Troy winning the “Most Annoying” award will automatically make him cool, and probably less annoying in the eyes of anyone who knows he won an award. An instant winner! As for runners up Tyler Adams Hawkins and Nick Merlino… well, they might have to keep being annoying in 2009 and gun for next year’s Most Annoying award to make it to un-annoying winner status.

Rumor has it a few new awards will be added next year so stay tuned. They include: “Hottest MILF,” “Largest Weight Gain,” “Welcome to Puberty,” “Come Out of the Closet Already,” “Oldest Virgin,” “Please Leave Skateboarding Now,” “Best Image Makeover,” “Skates Like a Girl,” “Your Agent/Skoach/Manager/Skate Dad Sucks,” “Drinking and Smoking Pot Doesn’t Make You That Cool So Stop Bragging About it” and “The Dude Most Likely to Never Win an Award” award.

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