How would you describe the Boston skateboard scene and its community?
I haven’t been part of the Boston skate scene since the late 1980s. (I moved to San Diego in 1992.) I’ll say this about the scene tho: it’s hard core and resilient because it has to be. It’s freezing cold or snowing or raining or dark for the majority of the year. If you wanna skate, you’ve got to work for it. Find a way or make a way. We used to shovel off the vert ramp that we built ourselves, then light kerosene on the flat bottom to melt the ice. THEN we could skate.
How is this community seen from the West coast?
West coast skaters will never understand. Until you’ve skated thru a winter with the bitter cold and the harsh gritty spots and the sand and salt in your bearings, you just won’t get it. By comparison, skating is easy in SoCal. Smooth new roads/spots, sunny warm days all winter long, no rain ever. Public skateparks everywhere. Skate PE in High School. It’s just part of the culture. It’s why I live here.
‘If you wanna skate, you’ve got to work for it. Find a way or make a way.’
What are some of your Boston underground heroes?
Growing up in Boston I looked up to the Loud Ones. Kevin Day and Fred Smith in particular. Fred was from RI and I think the first pro I ever met. He is the one that gave me the nickname “Wonder Boy”.
At what point in your career did you leave the East Coast and why?
I drove to San Diego after I graduated high school. If you wanna be a movie star, you go to Hollywood. Pro Skateboarder in 1992? San Diego.
Do you think you would not have the amazing career you did if you stayed?
If I had stayed in Boston, I would not have become a professional skateboarder. Simple as that. Especially in the 1990s the magazines, the industry (sponsors) and all the opportunities were in California. To this day, it’s harder to make a living as a pro skater from anywhere but CA.
Do you feel you have been fully supported by the Boston skate community throughout your career?
I was supported by my friends in the Boston skate scene in the 80s after I left but that’s it and I didn’t expect any different. Boston will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I’m from, but I’ve lived in San Diego now much longer than I lived in Boston.
‘If I had stayed in Boston, I would not have become a professional skateboarder. Simple as that.’
What is your connection with Boston today?
Today: my mother still lives in Boston and a few good old friends from high school and the 80s skate scene. And the pizza is still better than you can get out West.
In 1999 you delivered an anti-drug speech at the White House that was preceded by skateboarding down the marble floor of the hallway. Has it crossed your mind in doing a trick too?
White House skate was just to be able to say I was the first to do it. Just a simple roll. Besides if I had started cracking Ollie’s I would have gotten tackled for sure.
Last question. If you could interview a person, who would it be and why?
I’d love to talk to Alex Honnold about his free solo climb of El Cap. I’ve always been fascinated by people that are willing to put it all on the line and have complete confidence in their own abilities.
‘Boston will always have a special place in my heart’