John Igei

Which motivates you more–what you’ve seen and what has been done by past pros at a certain spot, or what the new kids are doing and knowing what they’re capable of?

I guess a little of both–the past pros used to be the new kids. But more the past pros, because innovation used to mean tricks that haven’t been done yet. Now I think being innovative is taking old tricks to a new level. What really motivates me is watching skating in real life–watching somebody work for a trick and then getting it. I work most of my tricks. I’m no natural. I can’t learn a new trick in five minutes.

You’re no stranger to the “am issue” and you’re not the new jack kid. Are you the struggling am who is so often talked about in skateboarding? Do you have to hold a job?

I’m definitely a struggling am. I’ve got three jobs including skating. And I’m still broke.

Being a purveyor of the types of skateboarding that aren’t the coolest thing right now–not skating handrails–do you even bother watching all the new videos that come out that you know are going to be mostly that?

To me, the type of skating I do is the coolest thing right now, or I wouldn’t be doing it. But I love watching all the new videos. Just because I don’t skate rails doesn’t mean I don’t like watching people skate them. In the new 411, Mike Taylor does an overcrook down a rail. It was beautiful.

Are companies scared to back the “older” guy?

I think that depends on who the older guy is. If someone is older, the company knows what they’re getting into. They either want him or they don’t. If it’s somebody who’s been around for a while and has skills, originality and soul, they should want to back him.

Since you’re a holder of a good switch hardflip, this should be a good question for you: at what point is a hardflip just an illusion flip?

There’s a thin line between love and hate.

Who owns Pulaski Park?

Pepe Martinez.

And the Pier?

Rob Welsh.

How many tricks does it take to make a good line?

It’s one banger for a good line.

What’s the best advice that Chris Hall has ever given you?

“Why you skating in them Jordans?”

Do you take on the attitude that it’s now or never, or are you just skateboarding and not giving a f–k?

I’ve been just skating and not giving a f–k my whole life. But now or never has been on my mind lately.

Should there be certain requirements to be pro?

A pro’s requirement would be to sell products and make both himself and the company money. To me, being pro is a job, not how good you are. But basically, pay your dues and maintain.

You’ve lived through a time when skateboarding was just skateboarding in the sense that there weren’t any crazy fashion trends, everyone pretty much either wore Half Cabs or Sals, reasonably fitting pants, a sweatshirt, and maybe a ball cap. Is skateboarding too segregated right now?

No. Who wants to look like everybody else?

What do you think when you watch a video part like Danny Way’s–someone who you obviously had to look up to growing up?

He’s definitely leaving his mark. It’s entertaining. He’s the champ. Danny Way is the best or at least one of the best in every type of skating: street, vert, parks, pools, and giant DC ramps. And he’s had the best video part in every one of those types of skating.

Which is worse, skate shoes that are too wide or too narrow?

Narrow, I have wide feet.

Name one pro or am skateboarder who isn’t as appreciated as he should be among the skatebboarding public.

Darren Harper from D.C.

What’s going to be the one major thing that changes skateboarding in the next ten years?

If I knew that, I’d be rich.

What kind of mark do you want to leave on skateboarding?

I’m proud of where I’m from. So I just hope the old and the new generations remember me in Washington D.C.