Push Skateshop ripper and lifetime Asheville, NC resident talks about the skate scene he is apart of.
Interview by Travis Knapp-Prasek // Photos by Mike Belleme // Video by Ramon Hess
How long have you been working at Push for?
I’ve been working there about 5 years I guess.
Were you there at the beginning?
I wasn’t. I’ve been skating for them since they opened and then I started working there probably a little over a year after they opened. We’ve been open for 6 1/2 years now.
What has it been like seeing the evolution of a skate shop? How has it affected skate scene?
It’s made a pretty big difference as far as you know just trying to do different things, to give back to the community and you know with doing that in return getting the support of them. Having art shows every other month or so that bring people in and getting them to experience that. Building a team from the very beginning to now, seeing the changes in that and the cycle in skating in Asheville over the years. Having the shops older guys getting back into skating and starting to come in there and getting to know people from different generations than mine. Younger kids, more and more kids starting to skate and witnessing that . Over 6 1/2 years getting to see kids just grow up. Even some of the guys on the team like Justin and George, who were super young when they started skating for the shop. Now they are all adults and stuff, grown doods. So that’s pretty cool just seeing that many years of skateboarding in Asheville.
What do you think Asheville would be like without a skate shop?
I honestly don’t know if there would be as many people skating. It would definitely be a lot different, not as much of a community with skating where people feel like apart of a scene. It’s really brought a lot of guys who ride for the shop together which has made us all grow and become really good friends.
For sure. It’s almost scary to think of what a city would be like without a skate shop. Growing up around them it’s kinda like your home away from home.
What’s been the best thing for your personal life about being involved with a skate shop?
There’s been a couple of things, really getting to know everybody. Going on trips with them, working on the Push video, spending 3 years filming for that , out skating all the time. I’ve been doing skate camp in the summer for the past 4 years. We have a lot of kids who come through for that. Ages 5 to 13 or 14. Just getting to see kids just starting out skating, it reminds you how fun skating is and why you got into it. Them getting to experience new things all the time, learning new tricks, when somebody like me, I’ve been skating for 15 years so it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced that and since my friends have experienced that. We are at a different place in skateboarding since we have been doing it so long. So that’s been a really cool part, seeing the next generation of it and knowing that one day they will be like me and my friends looking back. They would have had had all these experiences and stories and good times because of skating.
When you teach kids skating what do you try to pass on to them that you personally live by?
Kinda of that there is no set right or wrong way of skating or what you should or should not be learning. It’s up to personal preference. Do whatever kind of skating you enjoy and not to get hung up on having to progress at a certain level or doing these tricks or doing certain things because other people are doing them. Just kind of like learning whatever they want to learn because that ‘s what kind of skating they enjoy.
Word up. What ‘s the greatest part about traveling with groups of people and where has it taken you?
A lot of different places, been fortunate enough to pretty much since I was like 15 and dropped outta school to skateboard and hang out with my friends and make that my life. I traveled a ton around the Southeast, that’s how I met you, just traveling to Raleigh a bunch and just all around the South. As I got a little bit older fortunate enough to get to go to San Francisco and stay with friends and skate around the city. The past few years I have more and more friends move up to NY, so I took a half a dozen trips up there over the past couple of years to visit with people. It’s just always fun traveling with different people and even having different groups of friends come into Asheville and showing them our city and our spots. Getting to see others peoples perspective on how they view a city and a spot through their skating . Everybody has a different way of pushing and looking at a spot and just figuring out what they want to do there.
Fosho. You dropped out of high school?
I did, yea.
Were your parents supportive of that and how did that come about?
Yea my parents were always super supporting of skating and they knew that was pretty obvious what I wanted to do with my life, just skateboarding. Yea, I just always hated school even as a little kid, even in first grade I had an ulcer from being so nervous from having to go to school and was super bummed every morning, having to wake up everyday having to go to school. I made a big deal everyday for years and years about having to go. So it was definitely no surprise as soon I was old enough I was gonna drop out, especially once I found skateboarding. I was spending all my time doing that. I actually quit school when I was 15, a few months before i turned 16. I failed my freshman year of high school. It was just pretty clear I was not gonna make it through school.
That’s rad. I wish I woulda left the last 2 years of high school. I fucking hated it. Looking back I wonder why we keep doing things we hate just because we are told to because its the social norm. You and Justin Brock are the two people I know who said fuck it, I’m gonna skate, and that’s what I want to do (over going to school).
So now you are working at Push, doing art shows, filming videos… do you have any more plans? I know you mentioned in the past about getting a house in Ashveville, what is the future with Push?
Continuing doing the art shows, we are about to relaunch our website, and with that hoping to constantly update it with photos and shop news, putting out web edits, putting stuff out there on the internet world for anybody to check out. Trying to do some more stuff for kids that skate in this area, a lot of people have been working at the little foundation spot we got down by the river. That has grown a lot in the past few months and hopefully that will keep happening. It just gives everyone a place they can go and have fun skating. Hoping with moving into that house trying to put the invite out there to come and visit and check out Asheville. It’s a good city to come skate in , check out the mountains.
With that foundation spot is still underground or does the city know about it and they are letting it ride?
The city knows, it seems that whoever owns the spot isn’t doing anything with it now and they don’t seem to mind for the time being. We’ve had it for a couple years now. The cops will actually come down there and check on us and make sure nothing too crazy going on.
That’s cool the community supports it, that is so key for diy spots. I think every city should have a spot where you can just go build skate shit and just let it evolve organically.
Yea it’s been nice , we have a Thrashville warehouse now too with an amazing bowl that our friend Ben and a handful of other guys built, We’ve been skating that a bunch. we are gonna build a little street course in there but honestly right now we have one of the best bowls in the Southeast I feel like. That’s been a lot of fun. We have more and more people coming through visiting and skating that. It’s a key holder bowl with about 30 different guys who have keys who are stoked to use that.
The key holder idea is great that everyone trusts each other , it says a lot about a community.
Moving on to another subject, in Carolina Love did you, Mical Swett and Ty Rohde decide to put your footage together or was that James Tupper?
It was kind of James. I had been sending James all my footy, Ty was supposed to have a part. I guess Ty had just put out a part in an Interstate video so he used a lot of his good footage from Atlanta, so Ty had some room in his part, and at the time he, Mike and I had been skating together a lot , going on trips, and James just put it all together. That was pretty interesting too, for me looking back on that, all of my footage for the most part except for a couple things you filmed out here from Western Carolina were all from San Francisco. I spent the summer out there before the video and I gave James all of that. Most of my footy wasn’t even from Carolina, it was out there.
That was to this day, I have to thank James for that, and you, that was one of the things i was most proud to be apart of, in life and skating. Thats just great skateboarders and good friends, I still see guys that were in that, we are all just always going to have a special bond between all of us based upon being apart of that and that being such and influential video and time in North Carolina skateboarding.
Yea, I want to have a Carolina Love reunion one day. Get everyone together to skate something. Time will tell.
Yea, that would be sick.