An Interview With Ross Norman

November 30th, 2017 | 7:23 am | Features & Interviews | 6 Comments

Photo by Corey Rosson

Words & Interview by Frozen in Carbonite

The American archetype of The Cowboy as a metaphor for an “outlaw” lifestyle is around 150 years old. The New Jersey classic, “Wanted Dead or Alive,” which just flat out states “I’m a cowboy” is probably the least subtle example of this. Ross Norman’s 2008 Last of the Mohicans part, on the other hand, is more cerebral. The juxtoposition of the Highwaymen classic “Silver Stallion,” and Norman’s technical-yet-relatable #lowimpact skating stood out in a sea of women’s jeans and Modest Mouse edits.

Through the sands of time, the Mohicans part developed a cult following — devotees including Hjalte Halberg, who stated on the record that he stole all his tricks from Norman. Recently, the dude made a comeback of sorts, going pro for The Vacation and branding himself as a North American plaza specialist, an almost impossible job description. Indeed, based on the current state of North American plaza skating, one could even call him a desperado or some shit.

So we caught up with one of your favorite skater’s favorite skaters to, A) get into what he’s been up to for the past decade, and B) shed some light on one of America’s last standing organic plaza spots.

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Where are you from, and how did you get into skating?

I was born in Torrance and then moved to the Santa Ynez Valley, which is near Santa Barbara, CA. That was when the Powell SkateZone was open. I started going there in 1992 when I was twelve years old, and saw some contests that got me stoked on skating. Kinda started from there, and skating street after that place closed.

How did you link up with Joe Perrin and all those Florida guys?

I skated for Status Skateboards back in the early 2000s, and Mike Rosa was on the team. He’s from Orlando and skated for Westside, so he knew John Buchanan, Dowd, Renaud, all those dudes. I met Rosa on the first Status tour — it was a two-month tour that Van Styles talked about in that Nine Club interview. We went through Florida, so I met Renaud and Nix when they were like fourteen or fifteen — like, tiny little kids. And Josh Dowd skated for DNA, which was the sister company to Status. Dowd moved to Hollywood, Rosa and 80s Joe were staying at his place, and I’d always go and stay with them. Rosa and 80s got their own apartment, and I basically lived on their couch for years.

Who was most influential on your skating coming up in Santa Barbara?

The Church of Skatan guys were the local rippers. Dylan Gardner was kinda like the hometown hero dude. He skated for Neighborhood and was in magazines. He was super sick in the mid-to-late 90s before he got all hesh. I learned nollie flip nose slides just because he did them. But I grew up on 20 Shot, Trilogy, early 411s — all the classic mid-90s videos. L.A. was really close, so I Iooked to that kind of skating as being influential. Gino, Pupecki, Pepe, Welsh… those dudes were and will always be my favorites.

Morning Report

June 30th, 2015 | 5:53 am | Daily News | 4 Comments

huf bronze josh wilson

Both of these missed Monday links yesterday*, and both deserve special attention.

Bronze just dropped a video for their now-available Huf collaboration, chopped up to the plethora of newscasts about footwear-related violence. It’s basically a real good mini Josh Wilson part, which contains a First Annual Regular Stance Heelflip of the Year Candidate. The second GS9 part has Tierney exploring even more griptape colors, and Dick Rizzo furthering the ongoing resuscitation of the Verizon Banks. Dude, why does everyone hate the VX so much these days? ;)

The other day, we were having an office discussion about how Last of the Mohicans is low-key one of the more influential New York videos of the past decade or so. Even though ~75% of the footage was from Florida etc, the New York bits rewired how visitors and recent ex-pats went about filming in the city. It was one of the first vids to entirely ignore skating below triple-digit Manhattan streets. Before Mohicans and those early Dobbin Block montages, few people gave a shit about trekking out to East New York or Morris Heights to skate some rugged brick bank spot you could get stabbed at. Nowadays, that’s some people’s entire M.O. That was one of the first videos to really prioritize sticking its nose in outer borough crust.

ANYWAY, Caddo was a big part of that whole era, and he dropped a wallride-heavy L.A. trip part for Politic yesterday. No music, just urethane screeching against walls. The Politic guys even went the distance of calling it a “casual” part — not like footage has ever done justice to how insane this dude’s skating is anyway :)

ICYMI: There’s a great noseslide in the video that Politic dropped last month, and here’s a .GIF 4 da Tumblr of the Caddo kickflip at the biggest bust in New York.

*Unrelated to this, but related to yesterday’s Monday Links post title: This is still the best Meek Mill song of 2015.