From the interview issue in issue 8.4
Boardslide Up - Photo by Kyle Seidler
Childhood dream accomplished. What’s it like to finally go pro?
I don't know if it was my childhood dream to go pro, but more just to be able to support myself skateboarding and to travel. I didn't think I would ever get a board, honestly. But, I'm psyched I did, it's surreal to actually see it. It's crazy. It wouldn't have happened without my dawg Cole Mathews at Element. He was the one that got me on the program over there and made it reality. Major shout-out to Cole and Element for believing in a player.
What’s the main difference between living in Vancouver and in California?
There's a lot of differences between living in Vancouver and California, I’d say driving is the big one though. In LA, a car is pretty necessary to get around and hit different spots. In Vancouver, the transit system rips so you can posse up and hit a lot without a whip. Cities with better transit have a better skate community. Barcelona being the prime example for that, their train system rips so their skate community rips.
What’s the story behind your first board graphic?
I skate with Neen Williams a lot in California, and a year and a half ago he hurt his knee pretty bad and was out for a while. In his spare time he worked on his art and ended doing a five board series for Deathwish and some t-shirts for Altamont. I really liked what he did for Deathwish and I asked him if he'd be down to do my first graphic, and he was hyped do it. It's just rad to have my first board be done by my friend who I skate with on the regs… he's one my best dawgs out there. Thanks Neeno!
Tell us about the hoops you need to jump through to get a Visa to live and work in the United States.
First you need a sponsor to vouch for you, which is pretty tough as a Canadian skateboarder these days. You’re lucky if that even happens, and then you gotta pay for the sucker. P-1 athlete visas run you $5,150, expedited, so it gets processed/finished in two weeks. If you don't pay the fee to do that (which is $1,500) you can wait up six months to get it approved. Along with all that comes getting so much info together for them, all your coverage from the last three years, magazine, video, online… they want it all. Employer history, so much shit it's a headache. But you can do it! (Laughs) Just takes a lot of staying on it, you just need to be on the company and lawyer to make sure everyone's on the same page. I just had probably worst experience of life this year when this visa lawyer stole my money. I had to hunt this fool down to get it back and then go through someone else. My new guy told me it’s super common in the visa lawyer world to scam people; they tell you they’re doing it, then wait for you to leave the country and disappear. I'm pretty over living in the states at the moment because of all this shit I had to deal with this year. I'm going to make Van my home base for a bit and just travel from here.