Peter Smolik Interview

“It’s funny, say you meet a girl and she’s like, ‘What do you do?’ I just skate. ‘Where do you go to school?’ I don’t go to school. I try to explain it to her, and if she’s simpleminded, she’ll think, ‘Oh, you’re stupid, you’re not going to get anywhere.’ She doesn’t understand. So I don’t even try to think how anyone else thinks. I just try to think about coming up and being original.”

Say your name, Peter. Ol’ Dirty Smolik.

How old are you? Twenty years old.

When’s your birthday? November 20.

Coming up kind of soon. Ready to be 21? Yep, that’ll be crazy.

No more problems with the ID?

No, that’s gonna be sick.

Do you have a fake one right now? No. I wish.

You kind of look like your brother, does he have the same color eyes? I think his eyes are brown. I could get some contacts, though.

How old is your brother? Twenty-one.

You skate with him a lot, right? Yeah. As much as we can. We used to like every day.

That’s rad. Did your brother skate before you? No, we started skating at the same time. I got a skateboard down the street from my house-a little wooden one. Then he got one that was fiberglass with some crazy-ass Vision wheels. It was pretty sick, though. We used to just bomb around on that. Eventually, our parents got us better skateboards, so then we just started skating, skating, and skating.

What footed are you, and what footed is he? He’s regular, and I’m goofy.

See, that’s how me and my brother are. It’s fun, but at the same time you learn different tricks when you go to different spots. Sometimes you want to do the same thing. That’s why you have to learn to skate both ways.

Yeah, exactly. Do you skate switch a lot? Yeah.

Have you always tried to keep up on that? Every trick I do regular, I want to do switch. I want to learn every trick in skateboarding there ever was. I like inventing my own tricks, too. But I think it’s important to accomplish something different.

It’s hard now days, don’t you think? It is, dude, but that’s what makes it fun. It’s more complicated; you have to adapt so much quicker. That’s the fun about it-you have to be on point all the time.

How was it filming for the new Shorty’s video Fulfill The Dream? It was fun. In my part, I was kind of messing around. On some tricks I was serious; on other ones I messed around, because I didn’t have the capability to drive somewhere and plan something out. I wasn’t really trying to stress out and film all crazy-I was just bustin’ shit.

When I get my car and have the ability to travel places, then I’ll start bustin’ twice as hard. I’ll be able to skate all the bomb-ass spots all the time, instead of waking up and being stuck without a ride. What do we do? Go skate flat ground at Mervyns? That ain’t shit. It’s like when I don’t have my car, I’m on everyone else’s time.

It’s definitely a hassle to get stuff done without a car. Do you guys even have a filmer down here?

Yeah. My brother films, but then again, he has his own shit to do. Just like I said, I was on his time. He’d work at the stadium, and when he got off he’d go skate, and he wouldn’t want to go to spots I wanted to go to. Danny Minnick films, but he doesn’t have a ride, either, so it’s hard for me to connect with him. I like filming with Minnick, he’s sick. Then there’s Steve Celentani, but he was always busy filming the Osiris dudes. So, I hooked up with Dave Schlossbach in the end. It was pretty sick.

Schloss was the first big-time filmer I ever filmed with. I met him at Mervyns in Clairemont Mesa San Diego. Kanten Russell was skating there, and I was tripping. I was like, “Whoa, I can’t believe Kanten’s skating here.”

I think Dave had seen all of us skating there before. He probably said, “Hey Kanten, there’s a group of people skating at Mervyns, you should check it out.” That was back when Kanten was on Chapter 7.<So that was like five years ago, maybe? Probably six or seven. It was a while ago. Schloss is sick, because he doesn’t discriminate against anybody’s skating. If you’re trying your hardest to pull a trick, even if he isn’t too stoked on it, he would film it, because he’d rather encourage you.

Filmers should have the same vibe as you. If they’re pissed off or stressed out about time, they’re throwing out the worst vibe for you. And you don’t even want to be thinking about that.

This is your first pro part, is there any pressure? In a way, I didn’t go all out for it. I was just warming up, so there really wasn’t that much pressure. It was fun, but then again, I was pissed off because I didn’t have a car. It was like having weights on my ankles confining me to all the ghetto spots.

So, instead of going to all these spots, I did tricks I’ve wanted to do all my life, like kickflip backside tailslide kickflip out. Shit like that. Flip to flip tricks. I’m stoked on that, because I did that to accomplish it for myself.

You’ve skated since you were six, so you’ve seen a lot of eras go by. Yeah, I skated launch ramps back in the day, but I was really young. Then I just started skating street. It was super, super technical back in the day. You know what trips me out, dude? Kids nowadays don’t even know the roots of skating. They just see the new videos, and they’re like, “Okay, cool.” They don’t know that the people in the new videos are doing the same tricks people were doing in Hockus Pocus. That’s what was sick. All the H-Street videos back in the day, that was San Diego shit. It would hype me up so much, because it was all local.

Which era did you have the most fun in?

The late shove-it era was fun. The noseslide nosegrind era was fun, too, because you had to go so fast on the curb. It was like dancing-so many different combinations. The flip-trick era was fun, because it built your brain to understand board control. When you first try to learn pressure flips, you’re like, “What the f-k?” You couldn’t understand them.

I think the funnest era is probably right now, because everyone went so technical, it just blew their brains. We were getting so crazy and sloppy just to land tricks. Then everything went back to the original, clean skating. Now it’s getting super technical and super big. It’s crazy. You have little kids bomb-dropping off roofs and shit-I mean crazy. I think it’s good for little kids to bomb-drop off roofs when they’re young, because they don’t get hurt as much. They don’t weigh that much, so they won’t get as wrecked as we will jumping off shit.

But still you gotta be careful. Nowadays it seems like it’s at a perfect point because everything is there. Like you can do a bomb-drop, you can do a switch flip switch backside tailslide switch shove-it out.

Now it’s just crazy combinations. It takes so much mind control to do a flip to flip trick in. It takes so much mind control, so much precision.

Where do you see yourself trick-wise, style-wise, in your skating a couple years from now? Trying to do my own shit. Not really trying to follow any trends. TransWorld Trick Tips are cool, because they teach everyone a trick, and they can use that trick for future reference on something even bigger. I see myself trying to do as many technical tricks as I possibly can. Then some good manual tricks, because manual tricks are crazy. That’s super balance. When you try to do manual tricks, that’s when you realize where your balance is. Manual tricks don’t get enough credit. There’re going to be so many crazy manual tricks coming up. It’s gonna be crazy. It’s so hard to flip out of a nosemanual, or do nollie backside flip out of a manual. Crazy.

Are you guys working on another video right after this, or are you going to take a little break? We’ll give it a little break, just chill out. We’ll have it the next video twice as planned out. Now that we know where we’re coming from, we know where we’re going to be. I think skateboarding is going to be a worldwide battle zone, with people traveling to different countries just to do one trick. It’s gonna be crazy.

There’s crazy original stuff to skate in Europe. That’s why I think everyone is going to start bumping over there to film, that’s what I’d want to do-go film my whole part in Czech.

That’s a good idea. I mean, how long can you see San Diego school yards? That’s why I don’t even try to skate all the spots. I don’t really try to skate those spots that get all blown up. I just want to skate the ghetto shit I’ve never skated. Things no one’s ever seen.

Are you picky about spots? Or can you pretty much get used to whatever? I could, if I forced myself, but if I’m going to work on a real technical trick, everything has to be perfect. There can’t be one thing messing with me, because if there’s one thing wrong, it’ll just mess me up.

Do you get mad easily when you skate? I used to get all mad, but that was back in the pressure-flip days. I think everyone gets mad, once they start getting hurt. The only reason I get pissed is if I can’t figure something out. Or if I want to do something, but the vibe is not there.

But then again, I don’t really like calling tricks. I’d rather just go somewhere and skate around, then all of a sudden bust something. That’s how I do it. It creeps on to me, then it’s, “Oh, shit, here it goes.” That’s when you bust that shit out of nowhere.

Where did you grow up? Born and raised in San Diego.

How is that, do you think you’ll stay here forever? Once I get a vehicle, I’m just gonna bomb everywhere. I’ll probably stay other places, but I’ll always live in San Diego, because it has the best weather anywhere. It’s so perfect. Sun seven-eighths of the year, it barely ever rains, and when it does, it’s cool.

San Diego is sick. It’s all underground. When people look at the West Coast they look right at L.A. and San Francisco-they got props back in the day. S.D. never got props. Therefore, people that come out of San Diego come out so crazy. Because we’re under L.A., we’re underrated-that’s the mentality of people.

Do you like skating in L.A.? Yeah, but if I lived in L.A., I don’t even know where my head would be. You can just walk out your front door and skate anything-picnic tables, handrails, anything and everything is so close together, you can go anywhere. Down here in San Diego, you have to go on a mission, you always have to drive, and when you get to a spot, you’re all tired from driving. So, you go skate then drive to the next spot.

Did they just turn you pro before this video? Yeah. They’ve been on my ass to get my board out, but I’ve been lagging.

Have you been getting paid as a pro? Yeah.

You’ve been entering contests, too, right? Yeah, but I don’t really take contests seriously. Contests are fun, because there’re contests all over the world, so you can go check out the world and the contests. The only time I skate ramps, or transitions, or anything like that is when I’m at contests. Then you have all the dudes who skate ramps all the time, so they can demolish the contests. That’s sick. They know how to throw on the ramps, skate off trannies, and things like that. I wish I had the opportunity to have a public skatepark right next to me.

So it’s hard to get super into it.

Yeah. If I go to a contest, and I don’t like anything obstacles there, I’ll let someone else win, because I ain’t gonna try. It would be fun to win a contest. You’d be stoked on yourself, because you connected a crazy line.

Do you consider contest skating part of your job as a pro?
I think the only thing you need to do is show up to a contest, represent, and practice. I just skate to have fun, and that’s about it.

When you look back on your career as a professional skateboarder, what do you want to have accomplished?we’re coming from, we know where we’re going to be. I think skateboarding is going to be a worldwide battle zone, with people traveling to different countries just to do one trick. It’s gonna be crazy.

There’s crazy original stuff to skate in Europe. That’s why I think everyone is going to start bumping over there to film, that’s what I’d want to do-go film my whole part in Czech.

That’s a good idea. I mean, how long can you see San Diego school yards? That’s why I don’t even try to skate all the spots. I don’t really try to skate those spots that get all blown up. I just want to skate the ghetto shit I’ve never skated. Things no one’s ever seen.

Are you picky about spots? Or can you pretty much get used to whatever? I could, if I forced myself, but if I’m going to work on a real technical trick, everything has to be perfect. There can’t be one thing messing with me, because if there’s one thing wrong, it’ll just mess me up.

Do you get mad easily when you skate? I used to get all mad, but that was back in the pressure-flip days. I think everyone gets mad, once they start getting hurt. The only reason I get pissed is if I can’t figure something out. Or if I want to do something, but the vibe is not there.

But then again, I don’t really like calling tricks. I’d rather just go somewhere and skate around, then all of a sudden bust something. That’s how I do it. It creeps on to me, then it’s, “Oh, shit, here it goes.” That’s when you bust that shit out of nowhere.

Where did you grow up? Born and raised in San Diego.

How is that, do you think you’ll stay here forever? Once I get a vehicle, I’m just gonna bomb everywhere. I’ll probably stay other places, but I’ll always live in San Diego, because it has the best weather anywhere. It’s so perfect. Sun seven-eighths of the year, it barely ever rains, and when it does, it’s cool.

San Diego is sick. It’s all underground. When people look at the West Coast they look right at L.A. and San Francisco-they got props back in the day. S.D. never got props. Therefore, people that come out of San Diego come out so crazy. Because we’re under L.A., we’re underrated-that’s the mentality of people.

Do you like skating in L.A.? Yeah, but if I lived in L.A., I don’t even know where my head would be. You can just walk out your front door and skate anything-picnic tables, handrails, anything and everything is so close together, you can go anywhere. Down here in San Diego, you have to go on a mission, you always have to drive, and when you get to a spot, you’re all tired from driving. So, you go skate then drive to the next spot.

Did they just turn you pro before this video? Yeah. They’ve been on my ass to get my board out, but I’ve been lagging.

Have you been getting paid as a pro? Yeah.

You’ve been entering contests, too, right? Yeah, but I don’t really take contests seriously. Contests are fun, because there’re contests all over the world, so you can go check out the world and the contests. The only time I skate ramps, or transitions, or anything like that is when I’m at contests. Then you have all the dudes who skate ramps all the time, so they can demolish the contests. That’s sick. They know how to throw on the ramps, skate off trannies, and things like that. I wish I had the opportunity to have a public skatepark right next to me.

So it’s hard to get super into it.

Yeah. If I go to a contest, and I don’t like anything obstacles there, I’ll let someone else win, because I ain’t gonna try. It would be fun to win a contest. You’d be stoked on yourself, because you connected a crazy line.

Do you consider contest skating part of your job as a pro?
I think the only thing you need to do is show up to a contest, represent, and practice. I just skate to have fun, and that’s about it.

When you look back on your career as a professional skateboarder, what do you want to have accomplished? I really don’t look at myself as a professional skater. I try to look at myself as an inventor of skateboard tricks. I don’t try to get all psyched out. I just try to do crazy, original tricks.

Maybe through me showing people that it’s possible to do a certain trick, they can do that trick with a variation. I want to show people they can do these tricks, just to hype them up. If they see me being original, then they know they can be original, too.

When you do demos do you feel the pressure of being a role model when the kids are around? Demos are cool, but then again, some demos make you feel like you’re in a show-like a rat in a cage. Everyone’s looking at you from the minute you get to the demo. You just drove so far and got out of the car, you’re so tired, you’re trying to warm up, and people are looking at you like, “What’s he gonna do next?” So many crazy vibes at demos. But demos are cool, that’s why you have to block out all those crazy vibes and get into your own mind.

When I go to spots and skate, I get pissed when everyone else sits down. I get stoked when people are skating and having fun with me. I also don’t really like filming and having everyone watching me-that gets annoying.

What would you say is the funnest part of skating for you? The funnest part of skating is traveling. If you’re a skateboarder, you’re going to travel-you’ll go anywhere. Traveling to different places in so much quicker time than walking somewhere. It’s just the joy of being on a skateboard-just cruising, having fun.

Did you graduate from high school? Yeah.

Did you go to college? College isn’t important to me, because right now they don’t have shit they can teach me. If you want to be a success at school, in the beginning you have to set your mind. You can’t half step. The same is true for anything anyone does-they have to be focused on that one goal they want to accomplish. Right now, I skate, skate, skate. I don’t even want to do anything anyone else’s way. That’s what I’m about-doing it my own way.

Instead of taking a business class to learn business, I’d rather meet somebody who has already gone through business classes. They could teach me from their point of view, instead of one teacher trying to teach a whole classroom of people. I’d rather sit down with someone and learn.

It’s funny, say you meet a girl and she’s like, “What do you do?” I just skate. “Where do you go to school?” I don’t go to school. I try to explain it to her, and if she’s simpleminded she’ll think, “Oh, you’re stupid, you’re not going to get anywhere.” She doesn’t understand. So I don’t even try to think how anyone else thinks. I just try to think about coming up and being original.

Who are some of your influences in skating? Gino Iannucci. He’s been sick from day one. He’s super technical and he just does shit from out of nowhere. He stokes me out. We chilled way back in the day-he’s cool. Sal Barbier got me all stoked. My brother. The local homies I skate with. Matt Hensely was sick back in the day. Guy Mariano is sick as f-k. Anyone who progresses stokes me out. That’s who I give props to, the progressers. Not the people doing the same shit for the rest of their lives.

How would you describe Peter Smolik? Not really making plans, just doing shit spontaneously, trying to surprise people and surprise myself.

Is there a key to making tricks? Is there some little thing you do when you’re having problems with a trick? If someone is filming you, you could sit there and visualize. Kind of like premeditated déjà vu. You can think, “Okay, this is how it’s gonna look in the video.” You have to be so on point with your thoughts when you’re trying a trick. If you’re going to backside flip twenty stairs, that’s the only thing you’re thinking about. In that moment, your whole life consists of doing perfect backside kickflips. That’s what I try to get into.

People get mad at themselves, because they can’t pull a tri

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