The Newton Interviews By Alex Newton
Alex Newton has brought us a compilation of interviews with some incredibly talented and well known riders and it’s all here, available through Concrete Wave Magazine and here on the AXS Gear Website. Interviews include Axel Serrat, Cote Costa, Kevin LeFrank, Lauren Suchocki, Sean Graves, Richard Steven Sanchez, and Andre M. Bruni.
Age: 24 Location: Barcelona, Spain Sponsors: Original Skateboards, Dyslexia Clothing
Influences: Mark Gonzales, Marcos Gomez, Louis Pilloni … anyone who loves skateboarding because of skateboarding.
When and how did you start skating? I used to skateboard with a regular skateboard until 2008, then I started longboarding.
What does skateboarding do for you? Oh, man, there are too many good things about skateboarding. It’s funny how it changes my way to liveWhat do you do for skating? I don’t really know … I just try to enjoy what I do, and of course do it with passion. I’m the president of Barcelonian longboard club, Longskate; we try to make events and make longboarding closer to the population. I also have a project with some friends, All Around Skate. It’s a website we made one year ago. We try to put all the European media together; we think it’s a good way to make [the scene] grow up. I also make videos and ride for Original Skateboards. I keep working with something I love.
Skate trip diet: When you are Catalan, this question is quick to answer: bread with spread tomato, salt and oil and some sausage on top.
Craziest story: There’s too many. In 2009 we were coming back from a Euro trip. We were so tired, and at the last part of the trip a big storm was following us – hard rain and strong wind. Suddenly, the van goes from the first lane to the third. That was sketchy! We almost died on that trip.
When off your board, what are you doing? What do you mean? There’s more to do than just ride a board? I’ve studied sound engineering, and I love to make videos.
Good session requirements: Helmet on, and have fun.
Favorite type of terrain to skate: Love to cruise my city. I always go to the top, [have an] intense session of freeriding, and after, a good session of freestyling at the bottom of the city. I love Barcelona.
Favorite trick: Backside stalefish slide – such a big nuts to do it!
Least favorite part of skateboarding: Falls, haters, people who don’t love skateboarding, people too cool, injuries … but I keep thinking positive – I don’t care.
Location: Bristol, Rhode Island Occupation: Nothing at the moment. Sponsors: Water Brothers, Greenside Skatepark, and Gullwing hooks me up with trucks sometimes.
Influences: Sammy Baca is one of my favorite skaters. My sponsor Sid “The Package” Abruzzi; dude’s a legend. He’s been there since the beginning and always did things his way. Such a nice guy … once you’re in with him, you’re family. He keeps the rock ’n’ roll aspect of skating strong.When and how did you start skating? Actually my first skateboard was pretty old-school. It was a flat deck with no grip, and there was a Martian graphic on top. It had metal handlebars like a scooter. I took the bars off it and that was my first board. When I was like 4 or 5, I moved into my neighborhood down Fales Road; that’s when I really started skating. I met Matt Krushnowski – he lived right behind me and he skated too. We used to build ramps and makeshift rails on his road, all day every day. I knew even then that’s all I really wanted to do.
What does skateboarding do for you? Ah, so much, man. It’s one of the best ways I know for self-expression. Everyone’s got their own style with it; it’s like a physical art form. I love landing, I love falling – it’s all good. It’s a fountain of youth. If you skate, you’ll never truly grow up. Plus traveling, finding new spots, new inspiration. And I’ve met so many awesome people through it.
What do you do for skating? I don’t know – I do what I can. I try to keep it fun and creative. Once it gets too serious is when things start getting lame. It’s all about having a good time, getting out of the rat race for a bit.
Skate trip diet: Oh, geez, mostly like water, beer, fast food and cigarettes.
Craziest story: Damn, there’s a lot of crazy stories. We got kicked out of our hotel the first night of the Surf Expo. My room was trying to get some rest before the comp the next day, and a couple of the older guys from the team went to the bar and came to our door at like 2:00 in the morning trying to kick it in. The next night we got another room with my fake ID. Got kicked out of that one on our own – knives in the wall, chair in the wall, sticker everything, yada yada. We left our mark.
When off your board, what are you doing? When I’m off my board, I’m usually just hanging out, being an idiot with friends … nothing too special.
Good session requirements: Good energy. Good people and water. If you got those, doesn’t matter what you’re skating – it’ll be a good time.
Favorite type of terrain to skate: I’m a tranosaurus. I love bowls, quarters, banks, pipes, anything. Love going fast.
Favorite trick: Madonna to tail, or Ollie Norths.
Least favorite part of skateboarding: Zumiez kids, and Street League … it’s like the MLB of skating.
Age: 24 Location: Montreal Occupation: Skateboard design/manufacturing
Sponsors: Kebbek, FFASHOP.com, mom and dad
Influences: Friends and family play a big part, as well as some unique skate videos: Subject to Change, Fully Flared, Cheese and Crackers.
When and how did you start skating? It wasn’t until I was 13 that I got my first board. My cousin gave it to me without my mom finding out. She would have killed me if she knew I had one. I had it for a good month or so before she ever caught on. After that I always kept it going.
What does skateboarding do for you? Growing up, it kept me out of trouble, and out of organized sports. I am a fan of skateboarding being an art of its own. No matter what you do with the board, you are exercising your mind and pushing your own personal limits. You are never skating alone, either; total strangers are always just as happy to be skating as you are, which is great. What do you do for skating? I’ve tried to put back as much as I feel I’ve been given from skateboarding. I will never be able to give enough, but I have been a part of several skateboard park planning programs. [Teaching] skateboard lessons for the City of London and privately for a few years. Events I’ve thrown and several other things. I started a company named Ambitious, trying to push the innovation of different skateboard products. Through that I’ve created a few different sponsorship packages for people to help them get through part of their own seasons.
Skate trip diet: It used to be tuna. Don’t buy tuna and wraps if you plan on being in a car with the windows up — that is my advice. Now it’s more whatever comes at the side of the highway. I like to avoid fast food but it’s inevitable … and delicious.
Craziest story: I have a pretty good story for you, actually. I went to Vermont with a few friends. We met up with some locals and were riding all day. I remember it was so hot that day, and someone mentioned there was a swimming hole at the bottom of the mountain pass — waterfall, rapids waterslide and cliff jumping. This place was the real deal. No one brought any swimsuits, so we went in our boxers. Also, we didn’t have a change of clothes to get dry in, so everyone ended up leaving except for my car. There were three of us. We were swimming and chilling a bit longer, and then I came up with a brilliant idea: “Hey, guys, let’s go do a run in our boxers and dry off.” Seemed like a good idea: high-speed clothes dryer and I get to skate? Hell, yeah. We started our descent down the hill and starting thinking, “Wow, this feels pretty fast.” It’s just a sweeping road, so there is only one corner you actually have to slow down for. What we didn’t realize is during the day we had been skating in a headwind, so the max we ever hit while pack riding was 70km/h. Now that the sun was setting and the wind was gone, we were doing just over 90km/h.
I had never fallen in a speed wobble before, and I was riding really loose that day, as we weren’t going over 70. Usually I get them under control. So the first few times the board wobbled I thought nothing of it, but eventually they got me. My board just flipped over and I hit the ground at 90km/h in boxers and a T-shirt. The fall was perfect; I landed in a push-up position, gloves on the ground, and slid on the toes of my brand new shoes. However, my body hit the ground for just an instant. At those speeds that’s all you need. I lost the first layer or two of skin down my entire right leg from ankle to ass cheek. It was a pretty big mess. Also, despite the opinion of your friends, follow this rule: “If you think it’s broken, go get an X-ray.” I definitely broke a knuckle when I put it between the road and my slide puck. My leg healed great, though, and only took about three weeks. The thing that amazes me is that just before we went to Vermont that day, I sent in my order for some NJK leathers.
When off your board, what are you doing? Well, I do a lot of work and hanging out with friends. I’m not as much of an Internet troll as I used to be, and I don’t have cable, so video games are a great pastime as well.
Good session requirements: A couple of friends, possibly a kicker, and just a good, sun-filled hill.
Favorite type of terrain to skate: Transition is great – any nice, flowing ramp or park. Freeriding is a big favorite.
Favorite trick: No matter how technical a session gets, a big clean backside 180 always saves the day. Check out Bob Burnquist’s Mega Ramp stuff and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Throw in a melon grab, or even a kickflip floater.
Least favorite part of skateboarding: The feeling you get when a skate trip has come to an end and you still have a five- to 10-hour travel time home.
Age: 23 Location: Holyoke, Massachusetts Occupation: Professional job huntsman, skater, cat whisperer Sponsors: Surf-Rodz
Influences: All of my pals. We all influence each other.
When and how did you start skating? Nearly two years back, I was sucked into it through friends at school. Soldiers of Downhill 2010 opened my mind and inspired me to go faster.What does skateboarding do for you? Skateboarding keeps me content and it’s constantly pressing my physical and mental limits. With skating there comes self-confidence, incredible friends, travel and passion. True good times had.
What do you do for skating? I enjoy it completely with everything I have. I like to get out and meet as many local shredders as I can, and I do my best to represent and support those who support me.
Skate trip diet: Any sort of morsels I can get my hands on. Maybe some candy and black coffee.
Craziest story: In January, I escaped the cold hardships of Massachusetts for the California sunshine and hills. We spent a weekend in Santa Gnarbara and I had the chance to skate a road through some low-hanging clouds as we descended. Being a relatively new skater from the East Coast and still experiencing these places, that was up on my list of insanely wonderful. In fact, that whole trip was insanely wonderful; Amanda [Powell] and I strapped our boards to the back of her little 80cc scooter in a strong attempt to make it to the Malibu hills. I’m pretty sure we had plenty of double-takes that day.
When off your board, what are you doing? Hard at lurk. Just recently out of school, so I’m looking for a job that will allow me to save the planet while being in a shred-friendly area.
Good session requirements: Laughing is a serious requirement. If you aren’t enjoying yourself or others, then the moment is fruitless! Positivism breeds positivism.
Favorite type of terrain to skate: Toughie. It has to be those swirly mountain roads.
Favorite trick: Trick? You mean stunts and stuff? I’ve been told I created the backwards cricket.
Least favorite part of skateboarding: Injuring oneself to the point where skating has to be put on hold for the sake of healing. No more of that!
Age: 28 Location: Frederick, Maryland Occupation: I work for a bank. Sponsors: Soda Factory Skateboards, Phat Deanz Wheels, Rayzor Tattoos and Skate Shop.
Influences: Anyone I’ve ever skated with.
When and how did you start skating? I started skating late in life in early 2005. I got into it because I had always wanted to as a kid but was too busy doing sports. I finally made the time and bought my first board, and it has been on ongoing addiction since then.
What does skateboarding do for you? It provides a peaceful place for me and helps to feed my need for adrenaline. It also keeps me sane.
What do you do for skating? I try to get involved in anything and everything I can. I have organized and run multiple outlaws and have been running a race called the Mustache Derby for the last four years. I also helped organize and bring back one of the most fun races, the Soldiers of Downhill, in Bainbridge, Ohio. I test out wheels and boards, and I am working on bringing up the next generation of skaters in my kids.
Skate trip diet: Bananas, water, bread and peanut butter. I keep it simple and easy to pack. I’d rather be skating than eating.
Craziest story: I have a lifetime restraining order from a high school – and no, I’m not a pedophile.
When off your board, what are you doing? I work a full-time job, have been married for seven years to an awesome wife and have four kids. So I do the responsible adult thing when I’m not on board.
Good session requirements: Good people. Phat Dean and his truck.
Favorite type of terrain to skate: Hills that scare me.
Favorite trick: Other than the highspeed wave, I have no clue. I don’t care or know what any tricks are called; it’s a waste of time. I like having fun.
Least favorite part of skateboarding: The repetition of slide jams and 180s makes me want to stab myself in the eyes. I also really hate the circle jerk. With my life, I have a limited time to skate, so I hate standing around and would rather just skate till it hurts.
Richard Steven Sanchez
Age: 21 Location: Mother earth! Occupation: HVAC tech Sponsors: Bustin, Longboard Living, Boz, Triple 8, Surf-Rodz, Brooklyn workshop
Influences: Rodney Mullen, Mike Vallely, Ethan Cochard, Sergio Yuppie and son.
When and how did you start skating? I started skating when I was 12. I was really into technical tricks at first. Then skating wasn’t fast enough, and I couldn’t ride skateparks too well, so I turned to scooters. After five years I picked up a longboard and was hooked ever since.
What does skateboarding do for you? It’s my yoga, meditation and workout.
What do you do for skating? I donate my boards to friends so they can enjoy riding around.
Skate trip diet: I try to stay away from fast foods, but when there’s a budget I have no choice. But I load up on protein and carbs.
Craziest story: My first downhill race, am division. I made it all the way to the finals, and right at the last turn I lost focus because the guy behind me bumped me. I fell, broke my pinky and face-planted into the grass, but still got up to steal second place.
When off your board, what are you doing? Playing video games, cooking food with friends, listening to music.
Good session requirements: Friends, helmet, slide gloves and a steep hill!
Favorite type of terrain to skate? Everything! I love all aspects of skating.
Favorite trick: 360 slide to big spin, 720 flat spins.
Least favorite part of skateboarding: Injuries suck, but it’s going to happen … like it or not.
Andre M. Bruni
Age: 30 Location: Hallandale Beach, Florida Sponsors: Unsponsored Occupation: Bartender
Influences: Concrete, gravel, cement, the ocean, Ray Barbee, Steve Rocco and Edmond Bacon.
When and how did you start skating? I think it was like 1990. I saw the movie Gleaming the Cube and wanted to bomb hills sideways and ollie over police cars. I was 9 years old and there are no hills in South Florida, so I got a board and started skating street.
What does skateboarding do for you? It’s green, free transportation. It motivates me to be active and, more recently, to take my skate to new places. It also gives me a chance to decompress from daily life. When you skate you need to focus only on what you are doing, while you are doing it. Everything else just falls away.What do you do for skating? I pride myself in being a core skateboarder. I try my best to spread my stoke evenly. I learned a lot about the way I want to represent skateboarding from all the events and races I’ve attended — particularly watching Paul Kent at the Adrenalina marathons. The guy is an outstanding brand representative. He takes the same time and interest in talking to a hardcore, avid skater as he would with a grom or noob asking annoying questions about setups. I think being humble and accepting is the way to represent what you are passionate about.
Skate trip diet: I’m a vegetarian but I still eat seafood (pescatarian), so foraging for food while on the road for races is usually a little more complicated than I want it to be. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches have become a staple. Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbs and are packed with more vitamins
than anything else in the produce section. I also love a good fish taco when I can get one.
Craziest story: About four hours before the Miami Death Race I got into a fight and had to get five stitches on my left cheekbone — even though I won! I still had limited visibility in my left eye, but I decided to race anyway. With more than 60 people, the race was like 12 heats until the finals — a true endurance race. Somehow I was able to finish third, behind Brian Cortright and Zac Sharp of HGR.
When off your board, what are you doing? Spending time with my family and my girlfriend Alicia. Dreaming about skateboarding! I also wakeskate, skimboard, SUP board and surf (when Florida waves give me a chance).Good session requirements: Trying something new. Landing something new. Seeing some blood. Skating with someone new.
Favorite type of terrain to skate: Rough, steep and fast! A smooth concrete skatepark or New York City.
Favorite trick: Anything that gets my wheels off the ground. Pressure popping over everything in my way makes me feel unstoppable.
Least favorite part of skateboarding: Equipment maintenance.