Table of Contents
ON THE COVER: Kanaan Dern [feeble] photography :: Stephen Knight CONTENTS: Taylor Nawrocki [back tail] photography :: Mike Heikkila
2014 | September/October VOLUME Ten ISSUE Five
forewords FRuSTRaTiNgly bEauTiFul
fresh find THOMaS guMpHREy
guest editor NiCO MagEllaN
fresh find JOHN SHaNaHaN
insta-faves iNSTagRaM pullS
behind the lens liaM aNNiS
hammertime TRiCK OF THE MONTH
30 CHEESESTEaK gRiND
42 MaNNy SaNTiagO
32 baREFOOT bONaNza
humble bragging humble bragging
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS BUDDY BLECKLEY, ANDREW CANNON, LUKE DARIGAN, RYAN GEE, Claire Laver, CHRIS NIERATKO, STEPHEN OLIVEIRA, ALEX PAPKE, ZANDER TAKETOMO, XENO TSARNAS Interested in Advertising and Supporting your Local Scene?
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Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/FocusSkateMag Join us on Twitter at twitter.com/FocusSkateMag Join us on YouTube at youtube.com/FocusSkateMag Join us on Instagram at @FocusSkateMag Read full issues online at issuu.com/FocusSkateMag Focus Skateboarding Magazine is published bi-monthly, six times a year by Focus Skateboarding Magazine Inc. All contents are copyrighted by Focus Skateboarding Magazine Inc. 2014. Reproduction of any material requires the written consent from the publishers. All letters, photos, editorial contributions, and advertisements are accepted upon the representation that they are original materials by the author and/or advertiser. The author and/or advertiser accept full responsibility for the entire content and subject matter of their ads and/or editorial contributions. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author and may not reflect the views and opinions of the editor, staff, or advertisers of Focus Skateboarding Magazine. Any similarities between persons or places mentioned or alluded to in the fiction and real places or persons living or dead are purely coincidental. Advertisers assume full responsibility for the entire content and subject matter of their advertisements. The author and/or advertisers also will indemnify and save Focus Skateboarding Magazine harmless from any legal claims. Now either read this magazine, or go skate!
Daewon Song | Photo: Acosta knoxhardwaremfg.com
Anthony Biggs keeps his creative juices flowing without too much frustration while he performs this beautiful front shuv to fakie.
The Frustratingly Beautiful World of Skateboarding WORDS :: Mazur I often have a really hard time writing these intros for every issue of Focus. Maybe it’s ‘cause I wait ‘til last minute to do them and the stress of just getting it done hinders my ability to write anything. Just like when learning a new trick, I often times type up a million different opening paragraphs before feeling I finally nailed it. This is actually the first attempt at this one, so let’s see where we end up.
Running a skateboarding magazine is no easy task! From an outsiders perspective it seems like it would probably be pretty easy, and quite fun… But there are just so many moving parts to it, that often times, things slip through the cracks no matter how much you try and pay attention to detail. I swear there are more moving parts to running and distributing a magazine than the NASA spaceship has. But, it is incredible how some of the most difficult tasks just fall into place so easily, while other things you’d peg as easy seem to always be the toughest. I guess you could sort of relate it to how some people can do frontside flips easily, but have a harder time with backside flips, and vice versa.
Over the years I have learned that the actual art of skateboarding will lead you to live a more full and interesting life. You have experiences that can’t even be explained to someone outside of the skateboarding world. You’ll travel all over and see all sorts of different cultures, even if just local ones, and have more of an appreciation for life. It keeps the creative juices of your mind flowing. Even if you can’t skate some monster
rail or natural skate obstacle, you’ll still have dreams and visions of tricks that would look good on them. I know I’ll definitely be some 65-year-old man one day pretending my hands are a board doing a trick as I walk down a set of stairs. And because I am that old I won’t have to explain why I look so goofy. Skateboarding is forever young! But the business side of skateboarding will just eat away at your soul. It has to be one of the hardest businesses to survive in. I mean, in my opinion, if you can make a business survive in skateboarding—and I mean ANY business, whether it be a shop, park, magazine, board company, etc.—then you can pretty much accomplish anything else life can throw at you. One thing about the skateboarding business is almost anyone can get involved in it. As skateboarders, we are all pretty independent people and often times have to learn through our own mistakes on how to do something right. This is the gift that the actual process of skateboarding bestows upon you. You’re not afraid to make a few mistakes in order to learn how to do things right. It’s a frustratingly beautiful thing… If that makes sense. Sometimes things just come easy and other times things take a lot of work and multiple tries to figure out. Like this intro for instance… As I said before, usually it takes many attempts to get something solid down, but this time I think I nailed it first try. And, I believe this is probably the first time in the nine years of publishing Focus I did this, too.
EXCLUSIVE TO SKATESHOPS WORLDWIDE
PURA PURA SKATEPARK BUILD — LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
Slave To the Board WORDS :: Nico Magellan
Take a couple seconds and try to visualize the most incredible ‘thing’ in your world. It could be absolutely anything really, but let it be the most meaningful and most liberating thing. Something you would never turn your back on in a billion years. Now visualize a missile coming down and vaporizing that thing into a fiery hell storm of nothingness. Every remnant of a hope or dream vanishes in a flash as you crumble downward, crippled by the pain. On March 15, 2013, fate’s heavy hammer came down on me similar to how Earth might accept a meteor. I planted my foot wrong coming off a large hubba with a gap at the bottom, my knee crumbled and I made a noise that was probably heard by the Yeti’s on Uranus. Soon after, I found out that my ACL had snapped like a rubber band and I wasn’t going to be rolling again for a long time. In our world, two days without skateboarding is a long time. So, to have someone tell you it will be at least 6-8 months before you can roll again was devastating. It’s pretty much the ultimate slam for any growing skateboarder on the road to freedom, but it’s an experience that’s survivable. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, although faint, it is real. For most of us, skateboarding is our ‘thing’ because it gives us the motivation to power through and overcome gnarly challenges, and injuries are part of that. There’s a lot to learn from this particular injury and recovery, but there’s a few key things that got me all the way through to a full recovery. Be grateful all the time. Not just for good things but for bad things too. They will guide you in the right direction. Every experience has played a part in leading you to where you are right now and they will continue leading you. Be grateful for family and friends and the time you spend with them. Be with them. Put down the phone and take advantage of their company because they are all you really have in this lifetime. Be grateful you can walk around. Be grateful you can take a shit, or piss on your own. These things become impossible when you’re laid up in bed after getting your leg cut open and your knee swapped out with some dead guy’s piece.
Respect more. Not only your elders, or others you may know nothing about, but also yourself. The body is the real temple on this planet. It allows you to do anything you want if you take care of it. It can heal itself in almost any circumstance if you offer it the proper time and energy, and it’s really good at moving around so use it. Try to practice yoga and meditate, get sunlight, drink clean water, and eat healthy food - do it because your body is a fun place to live. I learned quickly that there are few things more miserable than feeling like you’re in a useless body.
The final, most important thing to take away from all of this is the grand realization that, as skateboarders, we are masters of our own realities. We get to see our thoughts and intentions translate immediately into the physical world. If you carry doubt and worry you will most likely beef it, on a board or in life. Almost everyone starts out with that fear, but it’s the cleansing of it that matters. When your absolute confidence is perfectly in tune with your ability, you can do anything. I could have let all the fear of not skating anymore drown myself the day my knee blew out, but I didn’t and I won’t because skateboarding, at the very least, teaches you to stand by your convictions and forge forward. The late, great, Robin Williams put it perfectly. “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” Not in a billion years. Cheers.
No ACLs were snapped during the making of this gap to crook.
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KEVIN TIERNEY 50-50
SEE MORE OF KEVIN AT ZOOYORK.COM
insTa-faves #FOCuSSKaTE a Mag #EaSTCOaSTExCEllENCE aTE
1. @necksnapper photo: @easternlogic 2. @friendan413 photo: @tsavvv 3. @skoutelas16
4. alex Barber photo: @midgebones
the mission is simple, if you’d like to see your handy work featured in Focus as part of our, “Insta-Faves,” you better start following us (@FocusSkateMag) and use the hashtags: #FocusSkateMag and #EastCoastExcellence on your rad photos. We’re always browsing and reposting finds from our hashtags, and in addition to that, we’re also picking 9 each issue to put in the mag. here’s your chance for 15 minutes of internet fame to be solidified in print for a lifetime.
5. @theslimelord photo: @hectorpapicony 6. photo: @denniscoleman 7. @mikemag photo: @michael_breitmaier 8. @shadygriff photo: @street_skater97 9. @kevinliedtke photo: @lukedarigan
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[360 Flip DOublE FOOTplaNT] WorDS :: MazuR
I originally had a different hammertime chosen for this month, but when Chris McDonald sent in this gem I decided to change it up. I’ve seen richie Jackson parts from time to time… and, while he might dress as if he’s living in an austin powers movie, he simply doesn’t seem to give two fucks what anyone thinks. he shows that in his skateboarding as well. I don’t personally know him at all, but he seems to really just enjoy skateboarding and doing his own tricks. this tre flip double foot plant might not be the gnarliest thing ever done, but it just makes skateboarding look like so much fun. So, for that reason, we decided to mix it up a little this month and base the hammertime more off the fun-factor of skateboarding than the gnarliest trick.
Skating with a bulky wallet is some bullshit!
Keep it slim.
Hometown: Frederick, MD Sponsors: PITCREW Skateshop, Coda Skateboards, Emerica (flow) Spot you’re sick of seeing in videos: Gnarly kinked rails Trick that always gets you a letter in S.K.A.T.E.: Hardflip Guilty Pleasures: Superheroes Worst injury: Four broken ribs and a lacerated my spleen One word to describe the future of skateboarding: Crazy
“Tom is the kind of person that when he walks into a room, you know that he is there. It’s like an intercom goes off and lets you know that he is here. When he talks, you are eager to find out what he’s going to say. He has a very distinctive sense of humor. If he does not fart at or around you than you must not be good enough friends. Don’t get him started about superheroes or you will never get anything done. His opinions shine through in everything that he says or does. Get him on a skateboard and he will crush it, or his skateboard, whatever comes first.”
~Brent Porterfield Pitcrew, shop manager/teammate
[kickflip back tail]
~Alex Papke Photographer/Friend
Hometown: East Stroudsburg, PA Sponsors: Homebase Skateshop, Mishka Clothing, DC (flow) Spot you’re sick of seeing in videos: Gerard 3-block Trick that always gets you a letter in S.K.A.T.E.: Hardflips Guilty Pleasures: Wendy’s Worst injury: K.O. One word to describe the future of skateboarding: Internet [backside 180]
“John is one of those dudes that you really get hyped on whenever you hear they are coming out to skate. I met John not too long ago through our mutual friend Jake when he brought him to Pittsburgh a couple months back. Right off the bat we clicked. Alongside being an awesome homie and skateboarder, John shoots some really tight photos. Shooting primarily 35mm film, it automatically gave us something to talk about that wasn’t just skateboarding. John is extremely motivated with everything he does and will have a bright future doing whatever it is he decides to pursue.”
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Liam Annis WORDS :: Mazur
Liam Annis [frontside noseslide 180 transfer]
Let’s get some of the basics outta the way to start... Name, age, hometown, favorite ice cream and blonde, brunette or red-head? I’m Liam Annis, 19 years old, Portsmouth NH, my favorite ice cream is death by chocolate, which is chocolate ice cream with brownies and chocolate chips. I’m a blonde, but I like all three. How did you first get into skateboarding? I first got into skating from playing Tony Hawk’s Project 8. I used to just waste my time mashing buttons and staring at the TV. But finally, after a couple visits to my local skate shop (Identity), I fell in love and bought a board. My good friend Mike was also a big influence for me at the time, he was like the first kid I saw riding a skateboard that I can remember. He was a big part in pushing me to start skating. When did skate photography start for you? So, I’ve always been intrigued by cameras and photography growing up. I used to take my mom’s point and shoot and just take photos. Then one day my really good friend Duncan, who I skated with everyday, told me I should just bring it out and take skate photos. After that I would beg my mom to use her camera every time I was about to go skate. I started shooting about half a year after I started skating. They came as a package deal into my life and I’m stoked.
What was your first camera and first photo you shot that you were really impressed by? I got my first camera for Christmas in 7th grade while I was on probation. It was a Nikon D40 and I loved it. This thing saved me from being a bad kid, I think. I was really on a bad path in school, just being a dick and not really knowing what the fuck I was doing. I got this camera and just started shooting. I didn’t really care about anything else but skating and taking pictures.
Funny thing is, where I’m from, they have a Seacoast Crime Stoppers Magazine, and the vice principle of my middle school was in charge of it. She ended up using a photo of mine while I was on probation for the cover of that magazine. I thought that was pretty funny. What sort of equipment are you rolling with today? Right now, if you opened up my bag, you would find a Nikon D300s, with a fisheye, a 50mm and 30mm lens, a 18-55mm and a 70-300mm zoom lenses. I also carry around two flashes with light stands and a few triggers to get them going. And, plenty of batteries! But I usually just use RAW’s when I’m rolling up.
How do you feel about the future of skateboarding and skate photography? Whoa, that’s a tricky question. With all the media attention and political gain that skateboarding has received lately, I think the sky’s the limit for the future of skateboarding. You got people jumping down 3 story drops, people doing tricks-in tricks-out, and sometimes even a trick in the middle of the in-and-out, kids just looking cool, people are making a living riding a skateboard. I honestly think skateboarding is one of the only things happening today where some new shit happens everyday, whether it be a new trick, that frontside flip at MACBA, or that huge melon that kid did out of that park in SF. There is really just so much skateboarding going on in the world right now and it’s fucking awesome! There is rich talent everywhere and with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and etc, people are seeing it instantly. Skaters at all levels can show direct support to their sponsors through tagging the companies online when they post a photo or a rad clip. So skateboarding as a whole is growing and pushing forward from my point of view. As for the photography INSTAGRAM is all I really need to say! Whether a photo gets published in a magazine, or used for a website, ad, etc. They always seem to end up on The ‘Gram eventually. This doesn’t mean I think INSTAGRAM is gonna take over skate photography, but I think it is just helping push it along. It’s allowing photographers from around the world to connect on a daily basis through their artistic eye. All in all the future is bright, and it’s bright for everyone. But you gotta see the light to have a bright road ahead of you. Shout outs? My Family, Rice at Identity, SGOD, Shitpark, everyone that’s ever shot a photo with me, everyone that skates Eggs, Orchard, Zeb Weisman, Brian Delaney, James Nickerson, Brian Reid, Dana Ericson, Leeroy, Waffle, Curt Daley, AP, Steve Costello and Kevin Susienka at RAW, Will Mazzari, Duncan Cowgill, Nickodem, Benny G, Aidan Chenard, Shawn Mac, Dillon Buss, Cwiz, Tusky, Mike G, Jimmy Lake at Cornerstore, Remi, Tree Givers, Massart, Tsav, TD, SM, and RC for all the photographic inspiration, everyone at Focus, and anyone who has ever helped motivate and support me. Thank you! Words of Wisdom? Be grateful for every single thing you have in life. Sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned, but the way you look at the situation can make it into a wonderful thing. Stay positive!
LIGHTWEIGHT CUSHIONING meets iconic boƒrdfeel
nike sb ƒpp P r o g r e s s . C o n n e c t. R e s p e c t
s k ƒt e e v e ry d ƒ m n d ƒy
n i k e . c o m / s k ƒt e b o ƒ r d i n g
philly CheesesTeak grind WorDS & photography :: aNDRE RuCKER
Neil Herrick [ride-on 50-50]
A homie hit me up to get a photo downtown, and after a couple of weeks we finally agreed on a night to knock it out. We decided to meet up at Love Park, so I grabbed my gear and headed out. After we skated some flat for a while we decided to see if we could get a session on this little gold handrail hiding in plain sight on the side of City Hall. Besides City Hall historically being somewhat of a bust to begin with, because of construction, this is one of the only parts of City Hall you can skate right now… Period. As if that wasn’t enough, the door that this little stair set and walkway leads to, is the security desk. I had made an attempt to get some photos on this rail a few years ago and I never even got my camera out before we got the boot. We cruised over to the spot and as we rolled up, some guy on the street mumbled something like, “They gon’ lock y’all up for skatin’ here.” I thanked him for his concern, and just when I started to take my flashes out of my bag, it began to look like a repeat of my last attempt to take photos here. The security guard walked out onto the steps. First I tried to act like I didn’t even see him but he wasn’t having that. He gave us the disapproving head shake that we all know so well, followed by some verbal confirmation that this wasn’t going to happen. Disappointed, I started packing up so we can try our luck at a different spot. Some different ideas were getting thrown around about where to go next and a bike cop pulled up to us. We started wondering how many times we can get kicked out of
the same spot within the same two minutes. He asked if we had gotten any good photos, and we told him we didn’t even get to that part because the security guard told us to leave. Then, something miraculous happened. The cop told us we should stay and get the photos. We all just looked at each other, trying to figure out if we were getting setup or if it was some kind of joke, but he insisted that we would be fine so we took his word for it and I set up again. The session started off on the handrail and it didn’t take long before Neil started looking at this ride-on rail with a super sketchy drop on one side, that we’d never seen anyone touch. When our homie was done with the handrail and we amazingly hadn’t had anyone else tell us to leave, so I told Neil I was down to move the lights over and get the ride-on photo. I hopped into the doorway for my angle, literally crouched down against the glass door a few feet from the security desk. Then of course he sticks it perfectly first try, which is kind of your only option on this thing. You’ll have some problems if you don’t make it all the way to the other side. When it was all said and done, aside from some light drizzle, we got to leave of our own choosing. It’s cool to see something different go down at one of Philadelphia’s most famous skate spots, a spot that you know tons of skateboarders have been riding by for decades and no one has looked at in that way. We also need to find that cop so he can come to every spot with us.
Zane Timpson [barefoot nosepick]
barefooT bonanza WorDS & photography :: alEx papKE
growing up in the suburbs and skateboarding was very limiting in sense that I did not have much available to me. When I became interested in it, the only spot that I had access to on a regular basis was my street in front of my house and maybe the occasional trip to the school down the street. Because of where I was and the lack of knowledge on my parent’s side about skate parks, I was confined to these few spots for my first few months on a board… giving me a very limited perspective to what skateboarding was. Before I started, my initial thought process to it was that I was going to step on a board and skate full size transition no problem like I saw the pros on television skate. the only problem in my head, however, was that I never had access to any of this. It wasn’t until a year into skateboarding that I realized I had local parks all around me that were in driving distance from my house, and which my dad was reluctantly accepting in driving me to on the weekends. My biggest problem at this point was that I had never even stepped on a quarter pipe and had no idea how difficult it is to seriously skate vert, or any transition for that matter. Because of this limiting mind-set, none of my neighborhood skateboarding friends, including myself, learned anything on quarterpipes minus the basic drop in on a four-foot ramp (which we thought was pretty cool at the time). however, sometime right before I started high school, a town over from me had finally built a park that was more than just prefab ramps with the rare jersey barrier or box; it actually had concrete bowls, a street course with rails, ledges, hubbas, and everything else that I could hope for, along with a full-size metal vert ramp. the vert ramp was always a bit intimidating to my friends and I since we never really messed with tranny, let alone a full size metal ramp that I didn’t even want to slide down from the top. throughout my years of skating at that park, it was rare if we ever saw anyone skating that ramp. I think in my time there I might have seen four or five people seriously skate it, but besides that, the ramp was just a very expensive paperweight. It wasn’t until just a couple of weeks ago that I was actually lucky enough to see one of my friends skate it to its full potential. While my homie Zane was in town from San Diego, we took him to the park one morning to warm up and to my surprise he was more than excited to see the half pipe when we rolled in to the parking lot. he got out of the car, walked right over to the ramp and dropped in and skated it like it was nothing. Believe it or not, after going back and fourth a couple of times, Zane sat at the flat bottom, took off his shoes and socks, walked up the stairs to the top deck and dropped in totally un-phased by his bare feet. once he got comfortable and I got my camera from the car, Zane started doing barefoot nosepicks like it was a video game. after shooting about 6 of them, we were all eager to see how the photo turned out and Zane was more than hyped to see the image. granted seven years ago I thought that ramp was a huge waste, I’m glad I was able to shoot one gnarly photo on that metal beast.
Scot Criv // Josh Littlefield
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Young Willie Wilson attends several schools, though only one is for book learning. The other ones he gets his street smarts from, like this heelflip boardslide.
Lam Le is so technical that he rarely ever skates stairs. So, when we got here I was surprised to see him hyped to skate it and get this 360 flip with security right on us.
WORDS CAPTIONS :: Tommy Bohn PHOTOGRAPHY :: Stephen Knight
After finishing my first full-length video in October of 2012, my buddies and I decided to jump right into another one. We initially had the plan to film for exactly one year and be done October 2013. This being our second project together, we had the mind set of continuing right through this one, too. Now, almost two years later, we are still filming for it with a set release date coming in October 2014. Right when you think you’re getting close to being done, there’s always something that can set it back.
The main thing I wanted for this video was for it to just be different from the last. From the filming/editing, the spot selection, to who will have parts. With almost everything now being filmed on HD cameras, I decided to keep with the vx1000 and some Super 8. With the cost of tape and film prices as well as camera repairs every couple months, it can really throw things off, but the end-look and feel of the footage is always worth it. I really wanted to base theme of the video around that. I’ve also completely put off going to school and have barely been getting by without working a real job the entire time. That has definitely made it tough, but with all the experiences I’ve had while filming for this video, I wouldn’t change a thing.
With numerous kick-outs across several occasions of trying to skate this hubba that leads straight off of a tour boat dock, Dalton Dern was able to get this noseslide, and a swim in the lake, in time before moving west.
this rough brick run up doesn’t help make this an easy spot to skate, especially in addition to the typical bust factor of a gated neighborhood pool. JuSTiN lEE made quick work of this smith grind, before anyone had the chance to kick us out.
Living 30 miles away from everyone else can make it a bit difficult to meet up with everyone regularly. Since I’m so far away from everyone else, going out to film can be unpredictable at times. With everyone working different jobs with different hours and responsibilities, it’s hard really to have a set schedule. a couple people moved or were just always on other trips too, and that’s not even accounting for the weather. Being from Central Florida, where it rains the majority of the summer, can really be a bummer. In the morning it’s sunny, then at 3pm a thunderstorm hits. So, we have to try to take every opportunity we can to get to film while also working jobs and having responsibilities to take care of. While the majority of this video has
been filmed in Florida, we’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot more for this one. When leaving the state to skate spots that aren’t in your hometown, it can sometimes be harder to get clips that are usable. For instance, as nice as California is, filming there was really hard because everything has either been done, or is a bust. So just being able to get a trick or two out there each time is a success. another big challenge filming for this video was the fact that everyone’s style of skating is so different. Skating with a crew who all skate so differently can be pretty hectic. From huge handrails, to ledges, to crusty alleyway spots, everyone brings something different to the video, and that’s actually what I’m most hyped on. It’s amazing to
thinking our successful weekend trip was at an end, after witnessing his battle on the 24-step rail on the cover, KaNaaN DERN ollied this double set in two tries and less than an hour later on our way out of town.
see how many different situations you can end up in and how it all does, or doesn’t, work out. Like making several trips to a spot trying to get one trick, or having successfully planned missions or insane tricks happen completely spur of the moment. Sometimes you get lucky with cool cops or have to deal with super hero security, or have mellow night sessions around the city versus pushing our luck, going for it, and jumping fences at schools while we were all on probation for trespassing skating a school. It’s been an insane process and I’m happy the way everything’s come together. thanks to everyone in the video who put up with me, and anyone who has helped along the way!
this front-shuv boardslide was TJ HaRRiS’ last weekend in Florida while it was cool out. It was probably also the last time he saw any rain.
one of the easiest people to film, billy DuNN bulldozes through the roughest spots, like this hefty front board pole jam. Mont stand up!
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LIBERTY MOUNTAIN SKATE PARK
FIND YOUR Liberty Mountain Skate Park is a high-performance park for skateboarders, inline skaters, and BMX riders of all skill levels. Check us out today! Hours: Monday-Friday: Noon-Midnight Saturday: 10 a.m.-Midnight Sunday: 2 p.m.-Midnight
(434) 592-3444 3700 Candlers Mountain Road Lynchburg, Va. 24502
Manny, you are a total rock star now. I see stuff of you everywhere. Did you ever think it get this big for you? I wouldn’t like to use, or think of, the word rock star. I would say just I’m a human being that works hard and is dedicated to his craft. Where are you calling home these days? You know me, wherever my board is at is home. But as of right now, my board is in The Valley (Los Angeles, CA). Do you think you’ll ever move back to the New England area? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m in Cali now, and then I hope to move to Puerto Rico later in life. I still go back to Lowell, MA from time to time to see my Ma. What would you say growing up on the East Coast taught you the most about skateboarding? I would say we came up through the worst spots, even worse weather, and never mind everything being out in California. I am very proud to say I’m from the North East! You seem to be very good at marketing yourself in the skateboard world; did you learn that from anyone or have any inside advice? I mean from day one I have always wanted to show why skateboarding is so much fun to me, hence what I do with MannySlaysAll.com or any MSA Social Media platforms. Felix played a big part in the branding and business decisions of MSA. He is Yoda, except he doesn’t talk backwards… What are your future plans for MSA? Do you want to continue to grow it into a bigger brand? I don’t know what I want yet. It is what it is... Just a way to show people skating through my eyes. How does it feel when you meet some of your skateboarding idols you looked up to as a kid now? It’s wild because I still bug out and get super hyped! One thing about skating is, you can be friends and understand those who you admired because they are the only people that know how you feel when you skate.
Any chance at telling us what your newest trick is you’re working on? Well, I can’t let the cat out the bag, at this point in my career I have to hold on to those tricks and film them for parts. Things are a lot different when you get to this level. I want to keep evolving my abilities and leave my dent in skateboarding.
WORDS :: Mazur
Well, any chance letting us know that secret trick that will always get you a letter in S.K.A.T.E.? That one hasn’t changed! Switch backside flips!
Traveling all over the world for skateboarding is so amazing. What have been some of your favorite locations? Anywhere I’m able to go is amazing, even just down the street to skate good flat or the driveway. As for favorite, going to PUERTO RICO is always my favorite! You’ve done a lot for the Puerto Rican skateboarding community in the past. Care to discuss some of your projects and future ones? Well we do a yearly event, “Prince Of Puerto Rico,” which this year will be the 4th annual one. It’s a skate contest to bring awareness to the skate scene and talent of PR. Also, to get them exposure through the trip videos so that can help them with sponsors. We try and bring various Pros every year on top of trying to help either the local park or shop. So, if you did ever move to PR, do you think you’d open a shop or anything like that? I already have a distribution with my good friend Fico Rodriguez. It’s called “Sk8Hop,” short for Skate and Hip-Hop.
How do you feel about healthy eating? Is it something you do or follow? Do you have any sort of special diet? I feel it’s really important, not just for skateboarders, but just for your wellbeing. I want to be around for the first hover board! My diet is a simple one: no muscle tissue in my stomach. I try and cut bread and cheese out as well. Veggies and Acai baby!
What companies are you riding for these days? *AMMO* Skateboards, Ecko Unltd, GrizzlyGrip, Diamond Hardware, Tensor Trucks, Bliss Wheels, Andale Bearings, Rockstar, Flat Fitty Hats, Etcetera Insoles, iONCamers, OC Ramps, MSA. Thanks? Thanks to you and Focus for the opportunity, Felix, Ben, Sheldon, Arnaldo, SEEMORIAH, Ocean, all my sponsors and all the readers and fans! Without you, there’s no me. THANK YOU! Lasting words of wisdom? Smile, while it is still free.
“In the 1600’s, the US was colonized by several European parties. In 1980’s a Puerto Rican Family colonized a home in Lowell, Mass... 1776 the US declared its independence from Great Britain and became the most influential country in the world... In 2010 a child from a Puerto Rican family who had started their colony in Lowell, Massachusetts declared his Independence by beating all the best skateboarders in the world at the Crossroads Best Trick in Carlsbad, CA... I use this preface to attempt analogize the vision, hunger and spirit it takes to break away from the pack. A person who can leave normalcy behind, ignore all risk and heartache to become a fearless leader. A child who became a man practicing a hobby that decided skateboarding was gonna be his vehicle to not only take care of himself, friends, family, it was gonna give him the means to create a family while inspiring a whole culture. Manny Santiago is not only a professional skateboarder, he is a growing icon with only himself as the mediator to how this story ends. He is one of my greatest inspirations and most importantly my friend... Respect is earned before its given. Respect Manny.” ~Felix Arguelles Friend/Mentor
Manny Santiago [kickflip]
Max Catasus [front 50-50]
Justin Fyle [bump to 50-50]
Brian Reid [back 50-50 the distance]
KevinBachinsky Tierney [switch 5-0] Dave [hardflip]
Marshall Stinson [backside hurricane]
John Pankus [ollie]
MOOSE KICKFLIP. PHOTO: BUDDY BLECKLEY @FILAMENT_BRAND
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