How did you get into skateboarding originally? When did it become the main thing you were doing?

The Tony Hawk Pro Skater games were the first introduction I had. In the game you could collect little videotapes and you’d actually be able to see the real skateboarders’ footage. I saw that and instantly started begging my mom. I definitely got more immersed in the skate scene—being more fully into it and having it take over my life—probably in 11th grade of high school. I had been skating for a few years but I got to a point where I had been with my girlfriend for a while, so I wasn’t out doing other things. I was more focused on skating, and I’d always thought, ‘I want to do something more with skating, and I want to do something to be in the skate industry somehow,’ so that’s when I started actually thinking about it.

Skateboarding just made its Olympic debut. Do you think it’s changed the perception of the sport and the skills it takes to master it?

Yeah, definitely. It’s changed people’s perception in a positive way, as to where maybe 10 years ago skaters weren’t as openly accepted. We’d have to work harder to get our own spaces to be able to skate, and get skate parks in our cities funded by the cities when there were always basketball courts and other things available. Now that it’s an accessible sport, people will want to support it more. As far as the skill level, for me, it’s kind of difficult because I’ve never been good at grading skateboarding. There’s people who are really good that have no opportunity to get to the Olympics and it’s hard to say what skill level it takes to get to the level to be at the Olympics. There are some people in the Olympics that aren’t as good as people—skill level, [technicality]—that I know that are in a small city that don’t even care to try to go to the Olympics.

How has the skateboarding culture in the Triangle evolved since you got on the scene?

In the last five years, there’s been a really good connection between all of these different cities. People have always known about the other skate scenes in the Triangle, but not everybody would travel to the other cities and befriend each other as much as they do today. There were a lot of smaller cliques—there was never any type of nobody getting along, but it wasn’t always a big, huge community. I feel like it’s probably the most united it’s ever been.

Do you have advice for folks who want to become part of the Triangle skate scene, or any parents whose kids want to get into skateboarding?

Even though I don’t have kids of my own, but being an older figure at the skatepark and working at Manifest [Skate Shop] and being able to communicate with all these different parents, the biggest advice I would say—just from the examples I’ve seen, from these really good parents that come in—is just being as totally supportive as you can. Not to say just do everything that your kids want you to do and not take any precautions.

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