Throughout the 2000s, it seemed like the majority of Canadian skateboard media making it over the country’s southern border was from Vancouver. British Columbia was the most common lens through which we observed Canada’s often superior breed of skateboarder. Ironically, as Canada became a shining beacon of culture, #views, sorrys and glory challenges for Americans throughout the 2010s, Vancouver took a backseat to the country’s eastern cities.
Antosh’s videos and the extended family behind the elusive Clubgear umbrella have been one of our main portals into the Vancouver skate scene as the east has taken the spotlight. The spots from Baby Steps might be capped, but the spirit remains strong.
Where are you from and how did you get into skateboarding?
I’m from a town called Tsawwassen that’s 45 minutes outside of Vancouver. There’s downtown Vancouver and there’s greater Vancouver, which can be almost two hours out. I started skating with a few of my friends around grade three, doing airs off a piece of plywood on some bricks, skating a flatbar and whatever else in my friends driveway. A couple of years ago, I moved downtown and started filming way more, and not leaving downtown as much.
Would you venture out to the city when you lived in Tsawwassen?
I’d go downtown when I was 12 or 13. I remember the first time we went, this homeless lady came running towards us yelling and asking if she wanted us to see her masturbate. Downtown Vancouver used to be a bit more recognized in bigger skate videos, like all the Girl dudes would come up and skate it a lot before everything got capped. Once those spots started getting harder to find, people started skating differently.
It feels like when I was growing up, the focus on Canadian skateboarding was always in Vancouver. In the past few years, it feels like it moved towards Toronto and Montreal. Did that actually happen or am I making it up?
Vancouver definitely seemed like more of a hub for skating a while back. I’m not sure if it had to do with everything getting capped or people realizing there were more spots in Toronto and Montreal, but honestly, Vancouver doesn’t have spots. You just have to skate whatever. It’s hard to find a ledge in Vancouver. If one pops up, it’s there for a week, and then it gets capped. Things get built here in a way that understands people are going to skate on them, so they make it harder.
There used to be a larger crew here, but it feels like everyone moved to different areas these past few years. A lot of dudes are from Calgary, and move to Vancouver because it’s pretty close, but eventually shift out east. Montreal was always the place to move to but more people are moving to Toronto now, too.
But I imagine there still are a lot of people who would rather stay out west?
It ends up being fun for the same reason. Whether there’s four or fifteen of us, we just hang out downtown and skate all day. A lot of the people who skate in Vancouver skate big sets or rails, so they’ll end up driving around in the outskirts of the city. None of us have cars, so we all end up meeting downtown and skating whatever we can. It makes you think about spots differently. Most skaters in Vancouver aren’t skating downtown every day; they’re getting into a car and going to the suburbs. For us, it’s difficult to skate that way and it can be hard to make the generic spots look interesting. They’re grey schools that look like they could be anywhere.
How did you get into filming and making videos?
In grade eight, I took a media arts class. I’d go to the skatepark and make little edits for it. I feel like I’ve always been into documenting what’s around me.
Jake Kuzyk, who films all the Anti Social videos, is one of the main filmers who would be downtown a lot. People would always be trying to get clips with him, but there’s so many of homies that I ended up filming a lot of the same people over time. My friend Dylan, who’s in all the edits, had a VX that he wasn’t using, and I didn’t have a camera either, so I’ve been borrowing his for the past two years. I don’t officially even have a camera yet.
There are always a lot of recurring faces in the edits. How did your crew come together?
I guess it had to do with Clubgear, Dave Livingston’s company, in that it was a group of friends who would all hang out together downtown. Dylan [Fulford] and Will [Blakely] didn’t really have anyone to film with when they moved here, so it kind of just came together. A lot of people move here from Kelowna, Edmonton and Calgary, so we all met by skating downtown.
What is Clubgear? I feel like I end up calling your videos “Clubgear videos,” but don’t exactly know what it is.
Dave, who started Clubgear, made graphics and put them on tees for his friends, and I feel like people just started to hear about it a bit more outside of Canada. He actually just moved out to Toronto. It’s a group of friends who go to the club and go skating.
You definitely have your own aesthetic across all your videos. What have your inspirations been, video-wise?
It’s cool to see Jake Kuzyk’s videos, the LurkNYC videos, the Bronze videos and Johnny’s videos. It’s nice seeing groups of friends instead of things that are company-based. There’s also an influence from the older guys we skate with who we see when we go out. They play house music and the type of music that ends up in the videos. The music will always end up getting some comments in each video. People would leave comments like “this is something you would hear in a Hollister store.”
A lot of that slower BPM house stuff has been around in skate videos for a few years now, but it feels like you will sometimes use faster, full-on dance songs. How did you decide to take that route for your videos?
I used a lot of my friend Pat’s music, who releases stuff under the name Project Pablo. I always thought it was sick to use your homie’s music and expose it a bit more. It’s a bit dreamier and mellow, not super hard or anything. His roommate does all of the logos for the videos, and he knows a ton of music. He’ll always pass on songs to me, like “This would be tight to use for an edit,” and I’ll end up having a little bank of them. Music in skate videos always go through phases. I’ve never really been into rock music too much, or stuff that people would typically use in edits.
The last video was mainly in Europe, have you been traveling specifically to film and skate?
It’s my third year of photo school and I applied for an exchange program. I ended up getting into a school in Stockholm and met some of the skaters out there. I did the same thing I would’ve been doing in Vancouver with that crew of guys. Then, while I was living out there, my friends Don and Dylan wanted to take a trip to Europe, and we were all able to meet and crash in London. It was never like a GX thing where we travel to film, and I’m definitely excited to be back in Vancouver again.
Do you have any future plans with your videos? Would you ever do a full-length or anything?
I’m just rolling with it. A full-length would be cool, but it’s hard because we never film with the intention of being part-oriented. If I held the footage from those past three videos, it could be a full-length, but then Will and Dylan would have eight-minute parts each. It’s hard to film that way for us. I feel like people are more into watching a seven-minute video rather than a full-length, especially if it’s not for a company. I’m more into just putting stuff out.
Follow Antosh via Antosh.ca.