Rick McCrank – Pro Spotlight

Pulled from a perfect life of imperfection, Rick McCrank’s take one will likely be the best take.

Not unlike something tugged straight from the earth, fresh from the oven, or jotted down on scraps, this take-one McCrank may be all you’re getting. Hell, it may even be all Rick’s getting. But as a race of produce eaters who’ve never tasted olid soil; a constituency raised on preserved loaves of seven-grain; and the PowerPoint literate, hungrily ingesting sweetly edited news, weather, and sports–it’s difficult for us to have firsthand knowledge of this abstraction. And this is because as long as the fortieth or four-hundredth take is smoother or silkier, we tend to opt out of the flubs, stutters, and beauties of “now” and instead take the do-over in hopes of something else.

But if McCrank’s take one is willing to put deliberate effort into whatever he happens to encounter, why then shouldn’t we attempt to keep our finger off the reset button and stumble and trip through mortality right along with him?

Take one, it’s free!

Do you like pickles?

I despise pickles.

Really?

Yeah.

See, I bet no one ever knew that. We really delve deep in these TransWorld interviews.

I don’t gag or anything, though.

But pickles are a definite no?

Yeah, they overpower the food. I don’t like that.

Do you do all the responsible-person things like pay your bills on time and take the garbage out?

I’m okay with bills, it’s the garbage thing–I miss it every week.

What about laundry?

I’m bad at laundry. I’ll wash some clothes, then leave them in the washer for like two days, and they get all musty.

So you’re a pretty busy man?

I’d say yeah.

What are some of the big things you have on your plate right now?

Mainly just being a dad and hanging out with my daughter. She doesn’t live with me full-time. Her mom lives close to Whistler, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays she goes skiing. I can pretty much only see her on weekends now. That’s done in March, though.

How far away is Whistler from you?

It’s about a three-hour drive. We usually meet halfway, so it’s only about an hour and a half drive.

What’s her name?

Kalea.

That’s an awesome name.

She’s an awesome girl.

Are you a creature of habit or a creature of change?

I’d say “change” ’cause I’ve gone through some pretty heavy changes.

Like what?

Mainly not being with my daughter anymore. That was one of the hardest things in the world to do. When me and her mom broke up, she just left town and went to Whistler with my daughter. Kalea used to live with me full-time, and then my schedule started goin’ crazy, so her mom wanted my daughter to live with her. That’s how it is for now. There’s nothing in the world that I want more than to have her live with me. I’m hoping one day her mom will move back to the city and make our lives easier. We meet halfway, but my daughter has to do the whole drive, point A to point B. It sucks.

Try to explain to me what it’s like being a father.

To me, it was like waking up. Everything has a purpose now, where before, there was nothing. Nothing really mattered. Now everything matters, you know? I don’t know–it’s when you really find out what love means, I guess.

Is it different than you thought it would be?

The funny thing is, when I was a new dad, I was horrible–I didn’t do anything. I was like, “She’s crying; she doesn’t want to be with me.” It’s t that I disliked my daughter or anything, I just didn’t do enough work. Whereas now, I consider myself the best dad I know.

When you look back, does it seem like you were a different person?

Yeah, I’ve changed a lot. I’m a whole new person than I was before. Another part is that I’m vegetarian–that’s another change.

How old is Kalea now?

She’ll be five on May 31.

Have you ever caught yourself doing stuff you saw your parents doing and you said you’d never do?

No, ’cause my dad wasn’t around for me. I was the last kid born. My parents broke up when I was around four. My dad would probably drink and be lame, and I don’t drink, so I can’t do that. My mom didn’t really do all that much–she just took care of us and let us be free. Everyone always says we raised ourselves.

As a father, a professional athlete, and now businessman, do you still have things you do in life that don’t have a purpose–things you do for the sole joy of just doing them?

Not so much. I’ve had issues with that lately. Everything kind of piles up and builds up. When you go away, you have to come home, hack away the pile, and then you might have time to do something. I’ve gotten into riding old motorcycles. I have a 1972 Norton Commando, which is really nice.

Was it restored when you bought it?

No. It wasn’t as good as the owner said it was , so I put some more money into it. But I love the bike.

It’s not like a museum piece, though. You ride it, right?

Oh, yeah, but not as much as I want to. I guess I can get up early and go for a roll. This summer I plan on going on a lot of trips–you know, camping trips. It’s pretty fun.

Who goes camping?

We have a huge crew. So many people ride motorbikes around here. Pretty much all my friends own motorbikes. My girlfriend has one, all my friends and their friends. We all have our garages that we call “man rooms.” Tools, posters up, punching bags, the whole kit.

No beer in there, right?

Not for me, but everyone else gets good and drunk while they’re working on their bikes.

How have you gotten to be 27 and never smoked, drank, or done any drugs?

I’m just starting to really figure it out. It all stems back to just having my dad. Being who he used to be, which was a really gnarly drunk, a really bad person. It’s funny now, ’cause I’ve been talking to him lately–he called me personally for the very first time about two weeks ago. He’s always called our house, but he’s never called me. So we’ve started a relationship up, which I think is awesome. He changed his ways after a while, too, which is good.

Where does he live?

In Edmonton. He drives a city bus. He always talks to the skater kids or whatever. He says he’s a mini celebrity with the skater kids.

Is that where you got your last name, McCrank?

Yeah, that’s his name.

What nationality is that?

It’s Irish.

When you were a kid did you ever think you wanted to open your own skate shop?

No. That’s funny. Lately, even before I opened the store, I’d swear I’d never open a skate shop. It’s something I didn’t want to do. And then my girlfriend Michelle and a friend of hers, Laura, said they wanted do one. I’d sit in their meetings, give them pointers, and tell them what I knew about the business. Then I started getting more and more interested. Laura ended up not wanting to do it anymore, so I was like, “I think I might want to join in this.” Now I’m psyched, I love it. Especially the gallery part of it.

What’s the significance of the shop’s name, “Anti Social”?

Michelle and Laura were trying to come up with a name. We were at some café, and I was just throwing out names off the top of my head. Skaters aren’t really liked by society, like antisocial. And they were just like, “That’s it.” It’s about skaters and society, but it’s not really what that word means. It’s the way I just interpreted it.

Is it in the downtown area?

No, it’s just outside the downtown area on the east side, which is kind of like the poor part of Vancouver. It’s a weird place to start a business, but this is where we live, and this is where our friends are. This is where we like to be.

When you moved from the east to west, was that the move of a Canadian nationalist? Or was it just the way things went?

I lived in Ottawa, which is in eastern Canada, and the winters there are really harsh and the summers are really hot. There’s not many places to skate there. I was really into snowboarding at the time. I was always into skating, but snowboarding was really fun, too. A lot of my friends moved to Whistler ’cause that’s the best place to go snowboarding. Whistler’s on the west coast, and I decided I was going to move there, too, go snowboarding, then go to the city in the summer. I got sponsored for skateboarding when I lived in Whistler. I had no idea I’d ever be a sponsored skateboarder. I never thought I could do that. I just wanted to go snowboarding for fun. I never even dreamed of being a sponsored snowboarder, it’s just something I did for fun.

How many years ago was this?

That was in the end of ’95. I think I was just about to turn eighteen when I left. I’m 27 now. That would be nine years ago. There was a bowl there. In the summer, I’d skate the bowl. Loved it and ended up learning a lot of skateboarding tricks there.

When did you move full-time to Vancouver?

Almost five years ago. This is where I belong, you know? I’ve been pretty much everywhere you can go, and I don’t feel as at home anywhere else but here.

Everyone knows about Vancouver–the Slam City contests, and so many skaters are from there or have moved there. What’s something about Vancouver that no one knows about?

I’d say mainly the people. There’re a lot of honest, mellow people who are just themselves. They’re not trying to be anything else but that–forward-thinking healthy people.

Vancouver used to be really famous for its street stuff, but not so much anymore.

Street here is completely extinct. Whenever I skateboard at home, maybe two percent of it is street skating versus just going to skateparks for fun.

Do you think it’s going to be that way all over the world eventually?

I can almost guarantee it. It really worked here. You just can’t skateboard anywhere here. All you can do is ollie over knobbed rails down stairs, you know? Everything that’s left is really haggard–really rough spots. We can always just pop the caps off, which has been happening, but they just put them back on. It’s a struggle.

They say if you work around wealth–around money–it sticks to you and you become wealthy. If you skateboard around people who are a lot better than you, will that rub off on you as well?

Yeah, for sure. Definitely.

Have you ever felt that happening?

Yeah, every time I skate with Eric Koston. I get to skate with him almost every time I go on a trip. The guy’s always on it. You gotta be on it or you’re just gonna feel like a pile of shit . There’re no excuses, he’s just as old as I am, skated for as long as I have, he jumps down just as many stairs as I do.

the shop’s name, “Anti Social”?

Michelle and Laura were trying to come up with a name. We were at some café, and I was just throwing out names off the top of my head. Skaters aren’t really liked by society, like antisocial. And they were just like, “That’s it.” It’s about skaters and society, but it’s not really what that word means. It’s the way I just interpreted it.

Is it in the downtown area?

No, it’s just outside the downtown area on the east side, which is kind of like the poor part of Vancouver. It’s a weird place to start a business, but this is where we live, and this is where our friends are. This is where we like to be.

When you moved from the east to west, was that the move of a Canadian nationalist? Or was it just the way things went?

I lived in Ottawa, which is in eastern Canada, and the winters there are really harsh and the summers are really hot. There’s not many places to skate there. I was really into snowboarding at the time. I was always into skating, but snowboarding was really fun, too. A lot of my friends moved to Whistler ’cause that’s the best place to go snowboarding. Whistler’s on the west coast, and I decided I was going to move there, too, go snowboarding, then go to the city in the summer. I got sponsored for skateboarding when I lived in Whistler. I had no idea I’d ever be a sponsored skateboarder. I never thought I could do that. I just wanted to go snowboarding for fun. I never even dreamed of being a sponsored snowboarder, it’s just something I did for fun.

How many years ago was this?

That was in the end of ’95. I think I was just about to turn eighteen when I left. I’m 27 now. That would be nine years ago. There was a bowl there. In the summer, I’d skate the bowl. Loved it and ended up learning a lot of skateboarding tricks there.

When did you move full-time to Vancouver?

Almost five years ago. This is where I belong, you know? I’ve been pretty much everywhere you can go, and I don’t feel as at home anywhere else but here.

Everyone knows about Vancouver–the Slam City contests, and so many skaters are from there or have moved there. What’s something about Vancouver that no one knows about?

I’d say mainly the people. There’re a lot of honest, mellow people who are just themselves. They’re not trying to be anything else but that–forward-thinking healthy people.

Vancouver used to be really famous for its street stuff, but not so much anymore.

Street here is completely extinct. Whenever I skateboard at home, maybe two percent of it is street skating versus just going to skateparks for fun.

Do you think it’s going to be that way all over the world eventually?

I can almost guarantee it. It really worked here. You just can’t skateboard anywhere here. All you can do is ollie over knobbed rails down stairs, you know? Everything that’s left is really haggard–really rough spots. We can always just pop the caps off, which has been happening, but they just put them back on. It’s a struggle.

They say if you work around wealth–around money–it sticks to you and you become wealthy. If you skateboard around people who are a lot better than you, will that rub off on you as well?

Yeah, for sure. Definitely.

Have you ever felt that happening?

Yeah, every time I skate with Eric Koston. I get to skate with him almost every time I go on a trip. The guy’s always on it. You gotta be on it or you’re just gonna feel like a pile of shit . There’re no excuses, he’s just as old as I am, skated for as long as I have, he jumps down just as many stairs as I do.

Are you where you want to be as far as your skating goes?

At this moment in time, no way. It’s very off the ball right now. For the past two years, I’ve had some pretty crappy injuries, like, consistently. Ankles, heels, back, everything you can think of, you know? My main problem is that I try to skate through it. Atiba’s always telling me, “You just gotta not skate. You’re a skater, that’s your problem.” messed my confidence up, and my body’s kind of different now–I can’t do a kickflip as good as I used to. I’ve had some bad ones. I really hurt my heel in that Harsh Euro Barge video. I jumped down some stairs, and that was probably the worst heel injury I’ve ever had.

Skateboarders have traditionally been anti-training. Is that something you subscribe to?

What, like working out or doing 5,000 kickflips in the garage?

No, training, like building yourself. The kind of skateboarding you do tends to break a body down.

Yeah, that’s what has happened to me. I was never anti training, I just didn’t need it, you know? That’s what I’m doing now, though. I’m starting to do physical therapy. I’ve been seeing this chiropractor after I hurt my back, and he’s telling me all this stuff. You just need the right people to tell you what’s going on. I’m ignorant to it all, really.

Other than making it harder to skate, how does being hurt hinder skateboarding?

It’s all confidence. You can’t do what you used to do, and that’s really frustrating. Everybody talks about losing tricks, and that sucks. You don’t want to put that foot down, you know? It hurts. You gotta know you can do it. That’s pretty much how it is–you can’t question it. And there’re some really confident people out there right now.

Do you think it’s ignorance?

I wouldn’t say it’s ignorance. If you think about what can happen, I think it would happen easier. There’re some things I’ve been doing that I used to think were insane, but now it’s like, “There’s no way I’ll get hurt. I’ll just do this roll-out thing if I have to.” I’ve run down like twenty-stair rails before, and I’m not even scared of it. I step down at the bottom, and I’m like, “Okay, go back up and try it again.” It’s not like “Whoa, dude! That’s just how it is.

Do you think you look forward more than you look backward?

I don’t look either way–I look at where I am. I think that could be a problem with me, actually. I don’t plan ahead.

As you’re getting older, have you noticed that your approach toward filming for a video has changed?

With the way videos have been lately, it’s almost like a movie. You have a schedule and a script–which would be your trick list that you have to get. You know, like, “I wanna do a nollie heelflip lipslide on Wilshire to fakie manual.” A lot of dudes are doing it–you just write out a list. That’s to help you get motivated. To me, right now, that sucks–I hate it. Back in day, it was just, “Go skating with whoever’s got a camera,” you know? That’s why you’re you.

What’s gonna produce a better video?

I don’t know, I like to watch Gonz, and I don’t think he has a list . No lists, actually. I’m kind of over the polished movies. That’s personal, though. It used to be that you wanted to outdo yourself, and now everybody’s trying to outdo everyone else. That’s not why you’re skating, it’s to push yourself and all that stuff. It’s a weird spot for me right now.

Do you have a favorite thing to skate?

No. Just depends on the moment. I’ve had some fun times in skateparks, ledges, ramps, and alleys–just wherever you are. Freestyle sessions on a carpet. It’s all good.

Do you feel your life is something that’s happened to you or something you’ve made happen?

Totally happened to me. That’s how life is–you can’t plan it. And the people who think they are doing it are fools. They’re just going through their routine that’s pretty much already set up.

Let’s talk about Girl. You’ve been on the team for four years?

I don’t even know how many years, it seems like forever.

It seems like you’re pretty well entrenched in that camp now. Did things change for you when you started riding for them?

Again, I think it had to do with confidence. And I was just happy, you know? Rick Howard is my boss, if you can say there’s a boss, ’cause there really isn’t. But you can make a joke about it. Rick’s the raddest dude ever. I don’t think of Girl as a company, I think of it as a group of friends and an art project. They’re doin’ what they want to, and they’re all happy doing it. I read somewhere that Chico said if Chocolate ever went out of business, that would be it, no more board sponsors for him. Nothing. Done. And that’s pretty much how I’m thinking, you know? I’m not gonna ride for any other board company. Everybody on the team is rad, the art department is an inspiration to me. The people who sell the stuff are awesome, too.

That’s refreshing today–you don’t hear that too much.

Yeah, it’s a lot more business oriented, you know. It’s more like a business to ride for a company. Or a career move .

Did you just kind of fall into riding for Girl?

When Plan B went out, I wanted to ride for Girl, but at the time, I couldn’t. That’s another thing, they have to know you and kind of be down with you to get on the team. It’s a friendship thing. I went and rode for Birdhouse and gained popularity. I was in their video–they helped me out a lot. I started to have a friendship with Eric , and then Colin talked to Rick.

I was like, “I’m not gonna have a board sponsor for a while, this is where I want to be.” I was in limbo for a couple weeks, maybe three weeks to a month. It works out if it works out–it did for me.

So this is your last board sponsor?

Yeah, this is my last board sponsor. I’ll never ride for anybody else.

you where you want to be as far as your skating goes?

At this moment in time, no way. It’s very off the ball right now. For the past two years, I’ve had some pretty crappy injuries, like, consistently. Ankles, heels, back, everything you can think of, you know? My main problem is that I try to skate through it. Atiba’s always telling me, “You just gotta not skate. You’re a skater, that’s your problem.” messed my confidence up, and my body’s kind of different now–I can’t do a kickflip as good as I used to. I’ve had some bad ones. I really hurt my heel in that Harsh Euro Barge video. I jumped down some stairs, and that was probably the worst heel injury I’ve ever had.

Skateboarders have traditionally been anti-training. Is that something you subscribe to?

What, like working out or doing 5,000 kickflips in the garage?

No, training, like building yourself. The kind of skateboarding you do tends to break a body down.

Yeah, that’s what has happened to me. I was never anti training, I just didn’t need it, you know? That’s what I’m doing now, though. I’m starting to do physical therapy. I’ve been seeing this chiropractor after I hurt my back, and he’s telling me all this stuff. You just need the right people to tell you what’s going on. I’m ignorant to it all, really.

Other than making it harder to skate, how does being hurt hinder skateboarding?

It’s all confidence. You can’t do what you used to do, and that’s really frustrating. Everybody talks about losing tricks, and that sucks. You don’t want to put that foot down, you know? It hurts. You gotta know you can do it. That’s pretty much how it is–you can’t question it. And there’re some really confident people out there right now.

Do you think it’s ignorance?

I wouldn’t say it’s ignorance. If you think about what can happen, I think it would happen easier. There’re some things I’ve been doing that I used to think were insane, but now it’s like, “There’s no way I’ll get hurt. I’ll just do this roll-out thing if I have to.” I’ve run down like twenty-stair rails before, and I’m not even scared of it. I step down at the bottom, and I’m like, “Okay, go back up and try it again.” It’s not like “Whoa, dude! That’s just how it is.

Do you think you look forward more than you look backward?

I don’t look either way–I look at where I am. I think that could be a problem with me, actually. I don’t plan ahead.

As you’re getting older, have you noticed that your approach toward filming for a video has changed?

With the way videos have been lately, it’s almost like a movie. You have a schedule and a script–which would be your trick list that you have to get. You know, like, “I wanna do a nollie heelflip lipslide on Wilshire to fakie manual.” A lot of dudes are doing it–you just write out a list. That’s to help you get motivated. To me, right now, that sucks–I hate it. Back in day, it was just, “Go skating with whoever’s got a camera,” you know? That’s why you’re you.

What’s gonna produce a better video?

I don’t know, I like to watch Gonz, and I don’t think he has a list . No lists, actually. I’m kind of over the polished movies. That’s personal, though. It used to be that you wanted to outdo yourself, and now everybody’s trying to outdo everyone else. That’s not why you’re skating, it’s to push yourself and all that stuff. It’s a weird spot for me right now.

Do you have a favorite thing to skate?

No. Just depends on the moment. I’ve had some fun times in skateparks, ledges, ramps, and alleys–just wherever you are. Freestyle sessions on a carpet. It’s all good.

Do you feel your life is something that’s happened to you or something you’ve made happen?

Totally happened to me. That’s how life is–you can’t plan it. And the people who think they are doing it are fools. They’re just going through their routine that’s pretty much already set up.

Let’s talk about Girl. You’ve been on the team for four years?

I don’t even know how many years, it seems like forever.

It seems like you’re pretty well entrenched in that camp now. Did things change for you when you started riding for them?

Again, I think it had to do with confidence. And I was just happy, you know? Rick Howard is my boss, if you can say there’s a boss, ’cause there really isn’t. But you can make a joke about it. Rick’s the raddest dude ever. I don’t think of Girl as a company, I think of it as a group of friends and an art project. They’re doin’ what they want to, and they’re all happy doing it. I read somewhere that Chico said if Chocolate ever went out of business, that would be it, no more board sponsors for him. Nothing. Done. And that’s pretty much how I’m thinking, you know? I’m not gonna ride for any other board company. Everybody on the team is rad, the art department is an inspiration to me. The people who sell the stuff are awesome, too.

That’s refreshing today–you don’t hear that too much.

Yeah, it’s a lot more business oriented, you know. It’s more like a business to ride for a company. Or a career move .

Did you just kind of fall into riding for Girl?

When Plan B went out, I wanted to ride for Girl, but at the time, I couldn’t. That’s another thing, they have to know you and kind of be down with you to get on the team. It’s a friendship thing. I went and rode for Birdhouse and gained popularity. I was in their video–they helped me out a lot. I started to have a friendship with Eric , and then Colin talked to Rick.

I was like, “I’m not gonna have a board sponsor for a while, this is where I want to be.” I was in limbo for a couple weeks, maybe three weeks to a month. It works out if it works out–it did for me.

So this is your last board sponsor?

Yeah, this is my last board sponsor. I’ll never ride for anybody else.

No. Just depends on the moment. I’ve had some fun times in skateparks, ledges, ramps, and alleys–just wherever you are. Freestyle sessions on a carpet. It’s all good.

Do you feel your life is something that’s happened to you or something you’ve made happen?

Totally happened to me. That’s how life is–you can’t plan it. And the people who think they are doing it are fools. They’re just going through their routine that’s pretty much already set up.

Let’s talk about Girl. You’ve been on the team for four years?

I don’t even know how many years, it seems like forever.

It seems like you’re pretty well entrenched in that camp now. Did things change for you when you started riding for them?

Again, I think it had to do with confidence. And I was just happy, you know? Rick Howard is my boss, if you can say there’s a boss, ’cause there really isn’t. But you can make a joke about it. Rick’s the raddest dude ever. I don’t think of Girl as a company, I think of it as a group of friends and an art project. They’re doin’ what they want to, and they’re all happy doing it. I read somewhere that Chico said if Chocolate ever went out of business, that would be it, no more board sponsors for him. Nothing. Done. And that’s pretty much how I’m thinking, you know? I’m not gonna ride for any other board company. Everybody on the team is rad, the art department is an inspiration to me. The people who sell the stuff are awesome, too.

That’s refreshing today–you don’t hear that too much.

Yeah, it’s a lot more business oriented, you know. It’s more like a business to ride for a company. Or a career move .

Did you just kind of fall into riding for Girl?

When Plan B went out, I wanted to ride for Girl, but at the time, I couldn’t. That’s another thing, they have to know you and kind of be down with you to get on the team. It’s a friendship thing. I went and rode for Birdhouse and gained popularity. I was in their video–they helped me out a lot. I started to have a friendship with Eric , and then Colin talked to Rick.

I was like, “I’m not gonna have a board sponsor for a while, this is where I want to be.” I was in limbo for a couple weeks, maybe three weeks to a month. It works out if it works out–it did for me.

So this is your last board sponsor?

Yeah, this is my last board sponsor. I’ll never ride for anybody else.

CATEGORIZED: Features, Magazine, Photos