Interview by Farran Golding
On the tail-end of his recovery from an injury, we spoke to Trung about Asian representation in skate videos, “2010 tricks,” Gwen Stefani, and the skatepark that Aaron Loreth made famous ;)
Toan Nguyen — Shorty’s: Guilty (2001)
I picked him as my #1 because of my representation as a Vietnamese skater. I grew up in conservative Texas. I didn’t really meet anyone Asian who skated until high school. I started when I was four, but it was a weird thing where predominantly everyone around me who skated – and everyone I saw on video, the X-Games, in the media – it was all white skaters.
I was a big fan of Shorty’s from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Chad Muska was my favorite skater and my first real board at seven-years-old was a Shorty’s board. Shout out to my parents for getting that one right. One day I got a Shorty’s poster; I think it came with my board, and I noticed one of the skater’s had my last name. It was the crew standing there with their last names underneath so that stuck out. I had to do some investigation to find out what his first name was. I went to Limewire, found the Shorty’s videos.
It was really important. He solidified that kids like me can skate. Although I didn’t see it in person, it reassured me that I’m doing okay, you know? I felt like a black sheep in my family and with my Asian friends at the temple. No one skated, so I couldn’t talk about that to anybody. [With Toan], I had someone to look up to.
Even as an adult, rewatching it, he’s an incredible skater. The Shorty’s crew was poppin’. He does a kickflip back tail fakie then he does switch flip back tail to regular. He mirrors the kickflip back tail, which is like his trick. It’s already a really hard trick. To do it switch and in a line – that’s curated. It shows something, like, “What’s up? Keep up with me.”
The suburbs [in the go-kart skit at the beginning — ed.] kind of looked like my neighborhood growing up, actually. I guess I saw myself in that also. He seemed like a funny dude with a personality who doesn’t take things too seriously.
Brent Atchley — Element: Elementality Volume 1 (2005)
Growing up, we had a pre-fab metal park. You see them all over, it’s kind of a trendy thing that everyone is L.A. is skating – those blue metal ramps. We had a mini-ramp, but I didn’t know anything about transition skating. Brent Atchley was like a street skater who knew how to skate transition very well. He brought a street style to skating these concrete parks and I only wished I had a park like that to skate.
It was all style. Tasteful transition tricks and his lines — he would flow through them. The first clip, he’s skating that concrete park and that line really sets the tone. It’s an incredible line through the park and then makes his way to the bowl. The tricks he’s doing are simple, but they’re like you’ve never seen them before. He tre flips up then immediately kickflips down. The kickflip was, like, rocket and I fuck with that. Then he just flows, does these funny things like he pushes in mid-air over a little funbox. To me, you’ve gotta really enjoy skateboarding to be that creative. The whole time, he just owns that line.
There’s a long lens line where he disappears into this bowl then he comes out of nowhere and front tails [the extension] and it’s so sick. There’s this one bit where he does a fakie nosebone and it’s so proper. He’s not just doing ollies and simple things. He busts the biggest nollie on that hip at Burnside where his feet aren’t really on the board and it just works out for him.
Also, I think the first time I saw Dunks was in a Transworld ad – green Dunk Highs – and I think it was him wearing them. So, you know, I like Dunks.
Signing/Demo Montage — Adio Footwear: Rock Adio (2005)
[part plays from 8:48]
Of course it’s a joke, but they used Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani. [In the] mid-2000s, everyone was trying to be a hipster and skate to obscure music. Here’s a video where they’re using the most in your face mainstream pop song. That blew my friends and I away.
Evan Okeson — Boyish by Jackson Casey (2011)
Before Evan’s part, the trailer was mind-blowing. I really like SALEM and that was my introduction. I’ll say it – fuck it – that’s the best trailer ever made. It’s an indie skate video, it’s not backed by a company, and there aren’t too many hands in the pot like a separate filmer and editor. It’s just one dude, Jackson Casey. He had the best use of that style of editing at the time: ramp slow-mos, editing to [the beat of] the track, and the skating was incredible. They really bumped the bar higher. In my opinion, it shook the skate industry because these kids just came out with this. I didn’t know a lot of the people in the video and they threw down the hardest hammers; just these normal teenagers. That was kind of the beginning of skateboarding on YouTube and people being, like, “this is us” besides just the pros.
Evan Okeson: one of my favorite parts of a skate video, and I usually judge a harshly on it, is if they have a good opener. A lot of my favorite parts are opening parts. They used the best song. Ever made. In the world. [“So High” by The Dayton Family.] All the bangers went on beat with the ramp slow-mo. I had no idea who he was at the time, I didn’t know what to expect. It hit me hard like I got hit by a car or it blew the TV up.
After throwing hammers down stairs, handrails and hubbas, he’s doing tricks that are very unique and it’s also very creative. He’s doing the “2010 tricks,” like the switch frontside big spin down the stairs, but then doing a wallride kickflip or tre flip out. I hadn’t seen that before. After displaying that he’s a good skater, it’s like he invented something. All to the best song and editing possible.
Those Arizona kids really stepped it up.
Aaron Loreth — 917: #2 (2019)
I forced myself to pick a part that was modern. Naturally, and I think other people would say this, we pick parts from our childhood. But The 917 Video #1 and #2, they’re my favorite videos for sure. The whole time I was filming for RESPECTFULLY — literally every morning I’d watch those videos, be skating with these songs playing in my head, have fun and film.
Cyrus Bennett’s ender was fucked up: the C-rail  then The Courthouse. I picked Aaron Loreth’s part because that might have been my favorite song and in a video [“Candy Pop” by Len]. It’s crazy how much music has an influence on a part. The first song is also good. I can’t find it anywhere, so it’s okay if [Aaron’s part] is the only place it can live for me. Aside from the songs, a lot of things about that part are great.
There’s a clip where he’s trying to feed cows with grass. I love that clip, I don’t know why. I guess I’m just tired of seeing a lot of the same B-roll in videos like the Super-8, building shots, filmburns… There’s nothing wrong with it but, to me, it’s getting old now.
The park footage, that’s one of the coolest skateparks because of what he and the Ventura locals made of it. I relate to that because I grew up with a very pre-fab park and me, my friends, and the locals made the best of it and made it special. When he’s skating West Park, that’s what that communicates to me. He incorporates his local park and even though it’s not this perfect skatepark, he’s making it dope. I’m sure that [difficulty] is a big reason why. That nollie cab flip that’s not a nollie cab flip on that bank-to-wall, that’s fucked. An illusion.
A tall skater doing manuals is interesting and there’s a grace to his skating. He doesn’t look like he’d tip over. He’s skating his local spots in Ventura, which we don’t see. He makes the spot, the spot. He doesn’t need to go to the typical spots and prove himself, he can just do it on his local manny pad in the parking lot of an office building.
I love his style, his taste in clothes – he dresses very well. I listen to that song a lot in the car when I’m about to go surf and I think about that part a lot. It doesn’t have to be insane bangers, it can just be a good vibe. Everything about the part is put together really nice.
Previously: Nick Boserio, Elissa Steamer, Casper Brooker, John Gardner, Bobshirt, Brandon Turner, Shari White, Nick Jensen, Tony Hawk, Naquan Rollings, Jack O’Grady, Josh Wilson, Maité Steenhoudt, Jahmir Brown, Una Farrar, Chris Jones, Mason Silva, Beatrice Domond, Mark Suciu, Justin Henry, Breana Geering, Sage Elsesser, Bobby Worrest, Nik Stain, Anthony Van Engelen, Dom Henry, Bing Liu, Andrew Reynolds, Cyrus Bennett, Jacob Harris, Jamal Smith, Paul Rodriguez, Gilbert Crockett, Ben Chadourne, Tom Knox, Louie Lopez, The Chrome Ball Incident, The Bunt, Lacey Baker, Andrew Allen, GX1000, Brian Anderson, Gino Iannucci, Josh Kalis, Sean Pablo, Wade Desarmo, Chris Milic, Chad Muska, Hjalte Halberg, Danny Brady, Bill Strobeck, Aaron Herrington, Jerry Hsu, Brad Cromer, Brandon Westgate, Jim Greco, Jake Johnson, Scott Johnston, Josh Stewart, Eric Koston, Karl Watson, Josh Friedberg, John Cardiel, Pontus Alv, Alex Olson, Jahmal Williams