These days, skateboarding is as much about surfing the web as it is skating the streets. In an age dominated by message boards, YouTube, and Facebook, defaulting on or cultivating your virtual obligations can either mean social suicide or, in Andrew Cannon’s case, building a pro skateboarding career. While you’re out there hating on the latest “webtage” or posting status updates, Andrew Cannon is busy practicing yoga, eating well, staying sober, and overall, just killing it in life (not to mention, reading your YouTube comments). As of late, Andrew has been working hard, putting the finishing touches on his upcoming World Industries video part, working for ESPN, and just “making skateboarding awesome for everybody.” I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Andrew and I have to say, skateboarding could use a bit more “Cannon fodder.”
Interview by Joey Lee
Photos by Chris Ortiz
So you’re all into yoga then?
You know what, today was the first time I ever went. I’ve been doing a little bit on my own just through videos. The last video I got was of a woman and she’s like talking and all of a sudden goes, “This is a nice pose for menstruation.”, and I’m like, “What the f—k? Dammit!” I felt like a total clown. I’m just trying to get in the best shape that I can so that I can skate the best that I can.
Yeah, you’re definitely going about it the best way. Yoga works it all out.
I was psyched. It was weird because they were like, “Yeah, we recommend you take your shirt off.” I’m kinda fat, so taking my shirt off isn’t necessarily P.C. [laughs]. At first, I was like, “I dont know.”, but then I was like “F—k it, everyone else is so…” It was wild.
Is this all part of the new “Andrew Cannon: getting in shape, eating right” program?
Kinda. Its been a process for a while. I stopped drinking over a year ago. I just want to be the best skateboarder that I can be. The more that I’ve been skating and stuff and I’m filming a part for the new World [Industries] video and everything, it just makes sense. You get older. I’m 25 and my body has been through a lot.
You’ve still got your youth.
It’s just a matter of responsibility. I’m sick of being the dude that everyone says, “Oh yeah, that dude is good…for a fat guy.” [laughs] I just want to be a good skateboarder, that’s all. [laughs]
So is skateboarding the main thing that influenced the sobriety?
Um, no. I’m an alcoholic so I had to quit; that was more of a life sort of a thing. I would just go out and drink too much. I was a Jekyl-Hyde drunk, not every time even, but I’d just drink too much and be stupid. It was irresponsible of me and I’m an adult and, I mean I think it’s fun to party and stuff like that, but at the same time, the past year of my life has been the best year of my life. Not drinking, I’m super psyched on it.
It’s kinda crazy because you have some companies that are like “just party man” and I just see some of those dudes and the problems that some of them have and I’m like, “f—k that.” We should be telling kids not to do that, but ya know, whatever.
It seems that you’ve got a good handle on life. You’ve got your degree, you’ve got a new gig at ESPN, you’re sober, and you’re killing it on a skateboard. Do you think that it’s your job, as someone that kids look up to, to be a role model?
Of course. I do think that it is the responsibility of a professional skateboarder to be a role model because, as someone who is getting interviews and being in magazines, kids look up to you. You want to be someone that kids look up to and parents look up to and are like, “You know what, I want my kid to be like that guy because he’s a nice person.” At the end of the day, I think that’s really what matters, is just being a good person.
I have a really great group of friends and really great parents and they always raised me to care a lot about other people. I’ve always been very lucky in that sense. It’s all supposed to be fun. I feel like sometimes people try to make it too serious and make it too cool. I’m a 25-year old man who rides a skateboard for a job. The truth of the matter is, we’re all skateboarders and we’re just trying to make this awesome for everybody.
Do you think it helps you to cope with times of uncertainty in the skateboarding world to have other career opportunities?
That’s one thing that’s always been super nice. No matter how rough it gets, there’s always an out for me. Although, honestly, I don’t want it. I really want to make this my career and I want to put out more than just this next video part. Its just very comforting to know that I have these other things, not on the backburner, but other things that I’m doing like the ESPN stuff, Dew Tour announcing, and I found out the other day that I’m going to be doing the Street League announcing and ya know, that stuff to me is nice because I’m really into balance and it makes skateboarding more fun for me.
On that note, having gone in and out of school and picking up these other jobs, have you had to reorient your priorities at all? Was there ever a point where you thought that skateboarding was not going to be a viable option for you?
Oh yeah, totally. In every aspect of life I am very confident, except for skateboarding, which is so wrong because I’m a pro skateboarder [laughs]! You know what it is, I’ve gone through periods of getting bummed because you see the progression and you see the way people are these days. There are times where I’m totally like, “Aw man, I’m not cut out for this,” but for the most part, I’ve always known that this is what I’ve wanted to do and I look at it like this: I love skateboarding, I’m going to keeping doing it the way that I am and as long as people are stoked on it and the people I’m riding for are being positive, I’m going to keep doing it.
I check the message boards, not often, but my outlook is: you gotta know your audience. If 95-percent are like, “get this dude out of skating, he sucks,” then you bow out gracefully and say thank you [laughs].But for now it’s been very positive and I’m having a lot of fun. I’m always going to skateboard no matter what and whether I’m teaching or writing for ESPN or who knows, skateboarding has been there for me since I was 11 years old and its going to be there for me until I can’t do it anymore.
For all those out there who don’t know, what’s the deal with ESPN?
I do stuff for the skateboarding Web site. I’ll call people for interviews and film; its all just trying to keep current. I do this piece called, “Cannon Fodder.” I’m psyched because its fun and my whole thing is like, I never want anyone to come off badly in an interview. I always want to keep it positive and I always want people to pick up the phone when I call.
Because there is so much demand for coverage, do you think that it’s harder to produce because you’ve got so many other things going on outside of skateboarding?
No I think this is the way that I work the best. Just because I just kinda have to give myself that extra pressure. I’m just stoked to have skateboarding as a job, and I’m really excited to be doing what I’m doing and I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.
You know with Web sites like Facebook and Twitter, even though I think all that stuff is kinda funny, it has a purpose in marketing, so I do it. Look at Manny Santiago, like, “wow, Manny Slays All!” Yeah he does! He’s the sickest! Its just one of those things.
I mean, I know where I fall in skateboarding and I’m not a Reynolds or one of those dudes that everyone is going to be so psyched for their next video part [laughs]. I’m lucky when people watch it, ya know? [laughs]. I’m stoked on the whole internet thing because if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t have skateboarding career.
Any advice for the kids? Last words?
Stay in school. Keep skateboarding. College is an excuse to skate for four more years and pay for it later. Just remember that life is about having a good time making memories with good people. Its about coexisting with people and making life better, not just for yourself but for the people around you.