📝 Interview by Adam Abada
After a bout of phone tag, we got the famously smartphone-averse Wes Kremer on the horn for a Five Favorite Parts installment. But rather than getting right into the list, the preluding conversation felt worth sharing with the world. Shout out to D-Blaze.
Yo Wes, glad I got you.
Yeah! I missed my flight to Korea at the gate and I’m here in Hawaii. Flying out tomorrow. At first I was tripping, trying to get a new flight and everything. But then, once I got that sorted out and stepped outside, I realized, “Hey, I got an extra day in Hawaii now.” That’s a good deal.
Where in Hawaii are you?
I’m in Honolulu, man. Right now I actually got a proper Hono-view-view. I’m looking at Diamondhead right now up on a hill, staying with some homies. I’m marinating. Got all day today, and then I leave tomorrow at 1:45.
What are you doing in Korea?
My homie works for a research company and got relocated to Korea. I don’t even know what kind of research. He’s a skater homie who shoots photos and is doing a photo art show with a shop out there. He was able to get me a flight to get out there for an event they’re doing this weekend. I’m going for a couple weeks. Was supposed to do a little demo two days in a row, but I’m going to miss the first day because I missed this flight. So I’ll hit the second one. It’s gonna be hectic man. Not bringing trees or anything. Cleaning up my act!
Replace it with a taste of Soju, perhaps.
You better believe it. You better believe the cap off that Soju is gonna be missing. The balance is gonna be off!
You filming at all?
Oh, definitely. My friend said he has some filmer homies, so I’ll definitely be hitting the streets. I’ve never been there before, this is my first time.
Been traveling a lot?
Oh yeah, I was in Argentina for a month. I was only supposed to be there for a bit, but then I kept changing my flight for a dollar.
Is traveling something you are trying to actively do at this point in your skate career, or is it separate?
Well, it’s half and half. I always try to move around and if I’m going anywhere, I’m bringing my skateboard. I’ll bring my skateboard if I’m going to Antarctica. At the end of 2022, my nice little beach cottage I had with a few roommates – it was epic – the landlord wanted to do renovations so we had to get out. And all the prices in San Diego got super high and it was super competitive. I hit up my parents and asked them if I could store my stuff at their place and they were amazingly down. Good people. So, I dropped my stuff off with them and it was the exact same time that trips had been picking up. Since then, I’ve been gone.
Did your parents hook you up when you started skating too?
When I started skating in August of 1996, I was six. All the neighborhood kids were rollin’ around, skating or rollerblading. And my neighbor had this old Variflex board that just said “rad” on it. I had just learned that word, so that’s why I went for the skateboard.
I started cruising around my cul-de-sac and Ma Dukes asked if I wanted to go to skate camp. And I was like, “Wait, there’s a camp for skateboarding?”
She said that it was at the skatepark. I was like “Wait, there’s a park for skateboarding?”
Boom. I went there and it was over with. I wanted to catch air. I wanted to fly. There was this launch ramp and I would roll down to it, hit it, and literally just jump off my board and fly and get smoked. It was so fun.
What do you remember about coming up skating?
Those parts that we grow up watching man. That was the [Instagram] feed. You had to wait like two years for the feed to be updated. And then – boom! – the video comes out and it’s a massive production. In most cases, you’re gonna feel the part. A good track, good skating, good editing. You could get into the part and there’s emotion. There’s still video parts you can watch and you feel emotion. Like in Tony Trujillo’s part in In Bloom – the skating with the song, “Kickstart My Heart” – I love when the part slows down and Cardiel does that frontside shifty or whatever. Every time I watch it, I get goosebumps. Even if I’m just listening to the song and thinking about it, I get goosebumps. Those songs stick. You could hear the song nowadays and you think about it. To hype myself up for a contest, you better believe I was putting that Tony T. on repeat.
I think that’s the first time I heard that song.
Oh, speaking of Argentina! So I’m in Buenos Aires, and I see that Mötley Crüe is playing in a week. I check my ticket and boom – one dollar to extend. It was out of control. Like 10,000 heads at this big park in the middle of the city. It was them and Def Leppard. That music sticks.
Can we expect any more signature parts from you?
Ha, hey man, you know — it don’t stop. There’s always gonna be another new part. I would love to work on a part and do something strong.
Is the focus still on parts?
No, not at all. There’s a high demand for content nowadays, which means you have to produce skating more than ever. In some cases, it gets to be quantity over quality. In some cases, your sponsor needs a trick and you’ll just send them a trick from the skatepark. Even though it’s at a park, when you do the same trick in the streets, people aren’t going to be as surprised because they saw something similar on the feed.
How do you navigate that as a sponsored skater without social media?
Honestly, I have really good friends who will help me out and film me. If I need to post it, they’ll give it to whoever. Also, you need to understand sponsors. When the ‘gram shit was happening, I fought it to the point where it somehow became irrelevant for me. It comes and goes. I’ll be left alone and then it’ll come back around: “We need more presence of you on social media.” I’m like, “Huh? Who?”
I mean, I get it. I get the game. In my understanding of pro skating, this wasn’t a part of it, so I acted like I didn’t need to do it. It’s not necessarily the best way to approach it. I have to figure out ways to be involved without being involved. As long as I’m showing up on the feed, sponsors are happy.
Thanks for updating me.
I’m glad you got a hold of me, because if I didn’t miss this flight, my phone [would be] off. I saw your missed call last week, and I was like “I think that’s him.”
Yeah, we were playing phone tag a bit. Then it was 4/20 and I didn’t want to call you then.
That’s a worldwide holiday, come on man. I’m not making any calls; I’m not picking up any calls. I’m not using the phone.
Funny side story about 4/20: There was this homie from San Diego named D-Blaze who used to roll around with Smolik back in the day. D-mothafucking-Blaze. He was Smolik’s designated driver because he didn’t drink. He just smoked. D-Blaze moved to Portland like 10-plus years ago, but he keeps in contact. And he hits me up on every 4/20. He hits me up at 4:20 in the day and 4:20 in the morning, so I’m using my phone then. You best believe I’m talking to D-Blaze. That’s my only phone call. He’ll call and be like “Awww, yeah — you know what time it is. Sk8 Mafia for life!”
Dan Drehobl- Think Skateboards: Damaged (1996)
I gotta go with the first one that comes to my head right now: Dan Drehobl, man. Damaged. I remember this line: he does a hippie jump over a two stair bar then ollies over a motorcycle and right as he does that, a gardening truck almost sideswipes it, then he backside carves that, doesn’t get hit, ollies back up onto the curb, then ollies onto this ledge and does this gnarly gap to lipslide to like head high drop. It’s insane. Any time we are watching video parts, I always throw on this one. Drehobl is a fuckin smoker, dude. Good man. I love watching him skate.
Bastien Salabanzi – Flip Skateboards: Sorry (2002)
Peep that shit and try and keep up with it. Growing up in that era, those were the skate videos. Sorry was that video. When that video came out, everyone was shitting their pants. We need that reminder. Shuffle that video around and any part could have been anywhere. A Penny part!? But Bastien, man. Kickflip front board a 16. That’s it right there. Hell yeah.
Danny Way – The DC Video (2003)
You gotta be kidding me, dude! He set up the Hot Wheels course! Rolling switch down an 80 foot roll-in! I know it’s gotta be less than that, but come on! Rolling switch down a narrow mountain to launching over a fifty foot gap switch – no worries!
Unfortunately, I’ve never skated the mega ramp. I was at Bob’s [Burnquist’s] house once, but it was pre mega-ramp, though. It’s entertainment, for sure. I’d want to skate it just for the theatrics. Just for the hangtime over the gap. If you could hang on and make it to the other side: hell yeah! I don’t want to hit that quarter pipe, though. I don’t want to hit that. That’s too gnarly.
Jake Phelps – Thrasher Magazine: Built For Speed (2011)
That shit is full power. It always gets me fired up. The initial roll in is it — that pool to wall on the east coast where he does that initial backside roll in. And all the tricks he has on the Widowmaker, his old vert ramp.
The track is unphaseable: Lemmy “Built for Speed” live. Skating with Jake was fucking hilarious. If he was on the session, he was yelling at you and yelling at everyone. The first time I saw him skating was probably a bit less than 15 years ago at Potrero Park. He was skating around, waving a golf club, going “Blaggghhh!” yelling at us. It was like, “Oh shit, that’s Jake? Better stay out of his way.”
Brandon Turner – Sk8Mafia Promo (2021) and Sk8Mafia 2020
Part begins @ 1:50
Part begins @ 2:10
I’m gonna put them both as one combined. The one part was Brandon’s insane video part after just getting out of jail. I’ve known Brandon for almost 20 years and there’s been three times in my life where I didn’t think I was going to see him for a long time. And this last time I thought, “Damn, I’m not going to be seeing him for a long, long time.” But then to see him get out and just kill it that way — you gotta shed a tear for that.
And that switch hard on Wallenberg, of course. That’s monumental. That’s all time. To see where he’s been and what he’s doing now is super inspirational.
He taught me how to roll a blunt when I was 14. My man! He shows up, picks me up in his Beamer and says “Get in. You know how to roll a blunt?” And I’m all like “Huh?” He puts a magazine in my lap [with] a handful of weed and a blunt, and goes “roll a blunt.” Then he showed me how somehow, like gutted it perfectly and I rolled one up. B-Money magic right there. And somehow, the thing worked, from the start to the finish.
Honorable Mentions: Pat Duffy in Plan B’s Questionable (1992) & John Rosenkranz and Ryan Zammit in Pacific Drive’s Garage Days (2005).
Previously: Jordan Trahan, Ariana Spencer, Elijah Odom, Greg Hunt, Zered Bassett, Neil Herrick, Trung Nguyen, 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