If you’re born right into the middle of the hotbed of skateboard industry and history, I could forgive you if you turn away from it all. Instead, Culver City, Los Angeles County native Evan Wasser managed to live alongside it, receiving a skate education by osmosis that’s in his bones rather than his head. At only 23-years-old, he’s been skating as long as I have. He turned heads last year with his shared Frog part and has popped up in a bunch of in-the-moment New York edits, so we wanted to get him on the record.
Skateboarding was obviously something going on around your childhood, but how’d you start?
I have two older sisters. One is 13 years older than me. She had liberty spikes in her hair and all her friends were really cool. She also had a Blind skateboard with black Kreper trucks and pink Spitfire wheels. We had neighbors across the street who she was best friends with that skated. She would run away all the time and I just wanted to be around her. I was really into them and my dad saw that I was into skating, and would take me to the skatepark and stuff.
So your sister is a teenager at this point pretty much. How old were you?
At the beginning I was really young, like two! My parents forced her to look after me and take me around pretty much. I wanted to impress her and do what she was interested in. I thought she was cool as fuck. She basically used it as transportation; she didn’t have a car, so she skated everywhere she went. That’s how it was for her, but she’s super aware I wouldn’t even have gotten into skating if not for her. She’s pretty up-to-date with skating, I would say. My other sister is super hyped and proud of me. Everyone was really supportive and hyped on me skating.
How does your skate progression go from there?
My dad would take me everywhere. We went to the skatepark in Venice a lot, which was that really small one at the time. Then, this park opened up called The Cove in Santa Monica. It was Elijah Berle’s local park – I grew up skating with his little brother. I got into skating bowls because they had a pool there. There was a ramp called the Lincoln Ramp in Venice that was built at this church, and the pastor was actually super cool. In Stay Gold, Andrew Reynolds does a melon fakie and then a full cab on it. A lot of people grew up going there: Kevin Bradley, Kevin White, some local legends like Matty Lemond. Some kids didn’t have homes and the pastor would let the kids stay there.
Lots of ramps and transition, it sounds like, which make sense for a younger skater.
The west side had a lot of bowl culture. Like, I’m skating the Cove with Lizzie [Armanto] at five. I’d see Eric Dressen or whomever and not know who he was. I was just a stupid little kid who didn’t know what the fuck was going on.
When did sponsorship come about?
My first sponsor was this kids board company that a lot of people make fun of called Termite.
Ah yes, Termite. No disrespect — a lot of people came up that way.
Yeah, dude. Austyn Gillette, Curren Caples! I thought it was so cool. I had the DVDs they would send out and I thought the art was cool. I thought the weird termite bite grips the boards came with were cool. I was sponsored by them when I was 10. Them and Grind King.
What did sponsorship from Termite even entail?
I was just getting boxes. There wasn’t any older dude showing me how to skate or anything. It was just taking boards. They put a picture of me on one of their shipping boxes once, which was pretty sick. This kid I knew forever, Charlie Van Lent – he’s in Daniel Dent’s new video – I’ve known him since I was nine or ten and he was also on Termite. It’s so cool we’re still friends.
Where’d you go from Termite?
This dude named Chris Eidem who worked for Termite and Dogtown — they were under the same distribution — started working for Dwindle. I started getting discount-priced Almost boards and Globes, but I had to show this dude my grades and they had to be good grades! I skated in Globes forever. I wanted to skate other shoes so badly, but my dad said he wasn’t gonna pay full price for shoes that weren’t going to last. So it was Globe for a long time.
And then, when I was 14 or 15 I met Jim Thiebaud, an awesome dude. He started sending me Deluxe stuff for so long. That was so awesome and I was lucky to get hooked up like that.
And then [when I got] a bit older, around 19, my friend Robert Blazek moved to L.A. and was friends with the WKND dudes, so I went on that launch ramp trip with the Frog dudes, but it was a WKND trip and they started giving me boards. And then I started getting Frog stuff because those were the people I was skating with most of the time. But I’m still super hyped on WKND. Everyone is super dope over there. I look up to Trevor Thompson so much and Grant is so cool. Max Wheeler is cool. Everyone over there is cool as shit.
How do you see Frog as a brand? Everyone’s got opinions, you know…
Well, my perspective on Frog… I feel like everyone on Frog really likes to skate. A lot of other skate companies are advertised in a serious way, but not taken that seriously. Frog is simply trying to come from a fun, relatable place. Why does skating need to be taken so seriously? In reality, it’s just really fun. No one’s cool and it’s just fun.
Or… we’re all cool!? Anyway, what kind of things outside of skateboarding are you into? I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like I haven’t seen your mom’s YouTube account with your high school musical theater performances…
There’s definitely a lot of old shit up there. When I was younger, I really hated it. There was more musical theater on there that I would cry to my mom to take off but she wouldn’t.
I’m in a band and I really like listening to music. My bandmates – Aiden Yobear on drums and Evan Lytle A.K.A. Kodak Moment on guitar – show me some really cool music. We’re called Branching Out. It’s emo. It’s not like ‘90s emo; it’s just corny emo. I don’t know how people are gonna like it, but I don’t really care.
Do you still perform in plays anymore?
Ugh, I miss it so much. I’ve been thinking about auditioning for musicals or something. It’d be so awesome. I don’t even know how it works; I need to step into it and figure it out. I spent so much time growing up doing theater and acting. I did a lot of auditioning growing up in L.A. I did some commercial stuff, like barely any TV stuff. Since moving to New York I’ve kind of stopped, but I’d like to get back into it. It’s super fun. Musical theater gets made fun of by everyone, so I didn’t tell a lot of my friends that I was into it, but there’s a lot of space for cool relatable stories with music that aren’t necessarily “musical theater.”
In 2021, you moved to New York. Let’s get some good New York v.s. Los Angeles out of you – what’s the difference in your perspective?
Los Angeles is kind of isolating and you’re pretty secluded to the group of people you choose to be around. New York is the exact opposite, where you’re going to be around a bunch of people, including ones you don’t want to be around. But you’re going to be around your really good friends at the same time.
You sticking around? How does it affect your skating?
I don’t know how long I’m going to stay in New York. I’ve had a hard time trying to skate here. You have to be really specific with the things you want to skate, as opposed to skating the stuff that everyone else is skating. But my roommate Chris Ramos just got a camera and our goal — once it gets warmer — is to go out [and film]. There’s so much shit in Brooklyn and Queens where people won’t dare go that far out.
It’s wild that that’s still the refrain. At least there’s more than one borough in the conversation now.
Yeah, it’s crazy. People that live in [Manhattan] like, don’t leave.
I honestly have barely any stuff here. It’s all spread out between different filmers. It’s been a bit frustrating. I feel like everyone that’s out all the time has to be filming for a specific project. Though after this winter, I think it will be different. My roommate and I are gonna go out and do our thing and my friend Kei who does Homies Network is super down to film. The goal is to film a Frog video, too. I’m planning to stay here through the summer and really film a New York based part.
What kind of stuff are you gonna fill your New York based part with?
I really like taildrops and dropping in on stuff. But, really, I want to do more lines. And skate house spots in New York — the way people skate L.A. house spots, I feel like there’s spots in New York that you never see. Dude, Maspeth has spots.
How do you balance the serious aspect of filming and skating as “a job” with the fun? Do you ever feel pressure?
I put the pressure on myself! It’s super fun, though, because what I really want to do is film video parts. My approach to it is based on the spot. Daniel Dent has really opened my mind to thinking about what the spot looks like. Does it look nice? Do you want footage of a boring, gray school? Or do you want to see some great greenery in the background and a cool looking spot? He’ll say things like “the sun is bad right now, there’s no point in filming this now. Let’s come back for the last hour of sunlight.” That little bit of extra thought shows in the videos. And it becomes fun when it’s a little adventure and you know no one else has skated the spot.
I think we’ve covered a bunch. Let’s see. How about those orange shorts? Those your favorite pants?
Well, I can’t wear ‘em now, it’s too cold. Those are really fun to wear, though. I definitely wear those a lot.