Ryan Gallant Pro Spotlight

Interview By Nate Sherwood and Eric Stricker

As evidenced by his being hand-selected by Danny Way and Colin McKay for the recent relaunch of Plan B skateboards (as if the DC status wasn’t enough), and now sitting alongside old homey PJ Ladd, as well as Paul Rodriguez, on the aforementioned team, Ryan Gallant is absolutely one of the premier young pros in skateboarding. Some have likened this new Plan B to a “dream team” of sorts, as it, well, is, but for Ryan, he’s just blown aback that he would be included among his favorite skateboarders in such a venture. After all, he’s just an average kid from the suburbs of Boston, extremely humble to the point where, even when overwhelmed with video projects and professional obligations, he didn’t even think about saying “no” to Jon Holland when Jon approached him to be a part of the latest TransWorld video, First Love.

Now, with an absolutely amazing video part set to The Five Stairsteps’ “O-o-h Child” in First Love, as well as the photo portion of this interview behind him, Ryan can breathe-but only for a minute. Right now he has to step up to the questions of good skate pal Nate Sherwood, and then after that, it’s on to more DC filming and the new Plan B video. And yep, the rumors of the size of the pro paycheck are real, and with a schedule that never seems to stop, you can’t say Ryan Gallant doesn’t deserve every last cent.-Eric Stricker

The following interview took place early June 2005 in Ryan Gallant’s home, which is actually Chany Jeanguenin’s home, in La Costa, California.

Nate: There’s been a mass exodus out of San Diego as of late. A lot of people are moving north: Rob Dyrdek, PJ Ladd, et cetera. What’s keeping you in the North County San Diego area since there’re so many spots that are capped?

Why haven’t you migraskated north?

Gallant: The whole San Diego move wasn’t so planned. It’s not like I was sitting back in Boston thinking how badly I wanted to live in San Diego and couldn’t wait to get here. At the time it was winter, and there were no skateparks. I had a girlfriend out here, so it was just kinda the right time to relocate. It was either that or sit in snow and get drunk every day. So I ended up here-all my sponsors are out here, it’s mellow, I get to hang out at DC, skate all their skateparks. It’s been fun, but now I’ve been here for a year, and I can’t really take it much more, so I’m just trying to figure out where my next spot’s going to be. I’m not just gonna move somewhere for no reason. I have nothing in L.A. I mean, what am I gonna do in L.A.?

Well, besides battle 50-million other skaters for a ledge for the week.?

I knew it was culture shock for me to move to San Diego from Portland, from a more urban city. It kind of felt like the part in GoodFellas when the guys got reloskated after the mafia and met other people who were reloskated from the mafia. Did you kind of feel the same vibe when you came to northern San Diego?

Dude, I kind of felt like I got dropped off in the Truman Show or maybe Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Everyone was so friendly, and it was so sunny every day.?

Stricker: Who was your first connection out here?

In the beginning, it was Expedition. I got on Expedition, and Troy (Morgan) flew me out here, and I stayed with Chany (Jeanguenin) and (Chris) Lambert, and that’s how I started meeting the dudes from DC and meeting Colin (McKay) and seeing Danny (Way) around at the park. Then once I was fully on Expedition and DC, it just seemed right at the time. Everyone was telling me I should be near my sponsors, and like I said, it was winter and I really didn’t have much else going on. So I gave it a shot, and I just haven’t really done anything since. I’ve been stuck here, just waiting, dude, waiting to get out.

Do you feel you’re stuck here?

Do you feel like you’re in purgatory?

Yeah, but I love it sometimes. In the evening, I’ll be in my car driving towards the ocean, and I’ll see palm trees and the sun goi down. It’s kind of a trip coming from the scenery I had at my house, and I’ll feel like I’m on a permanent vacation, like, “I can’t believe I live here.” But then other times I hate it, man. I can’t stand being here, but I don’t know why I’m here, I can’t get out-drive around on the same roads and skate the same spots.

What are the things you don’t like about it here?

Well … if it rains, your house might fall into the street.

(Laughs) I heard about how you were gonna evacuskate because of the flooding.There’s a whole row of houses down the street, and I believe that people have to move out, right?

Is that the story?

I guess the houses are sliding into the streets slowly, so all these people just had to move out. To me, that’s pretty lame. I kinda want to buy a house soon, too, and it’s like, “Oh, I can buy a house here, but then it might rain for three days and it’s gonna end up falling down the hill or something.” Or an earthquake. Either that, or it won’t rain for another two years and someone’s going to throw a cigarette out the window and the whole block’s gonna light on fire.

That’s a brilliant point.

I mean, there’s the spots-San Diego looked like the best place, back in the day, when all the videos I watched were coming up. But now that I’m here, it’s like with how big skating is and how many kids skate out here, all the spots are just so killed. It’s not really like how I like to skate. I don’t really like to show up to some spot and get all rushed, like “Dude, you got ten tries.”

I can’t do that either, I feel your pain. Why is it that you and PJ and some other cats from the outskirts of Boston don’t have that “I … I … go to Hahvahd Square, go to Chee-ahs and get a bee-ah.” How do you escape that accent, or is that just a stereotype we have, as people on the West Coast?

Like the classic “Pahk the cah … “?

That one?

Oh shit! Is that a switch, can you just turn it on and off?

I know a lot of British guys who can do that.

I don’t talk like that at all, but it’s imitated pretty easily. My dad has it really bad, a super thick New England accent. I always thought it was funny as a kid, like why does he say that?

So it kind of turned me off from it. I kind of purposely developed some sort of normal talk. I’ve actually had people tell me they thought I was from the South, like, “Your accent sounds like you’re from the South.” I probably have a little bit of an accent. There’re probably some words I say that I don’t say my “R” fully or something.

Tell me about Chany and his sword collection. Does he still wake up in the middle of the night and practice in the yard?

I don’t know. Well, yes, he does play with swords. When I was just in Spain recently, I flew back, and he didn’t know when I was getting home or when I wasn’t, but I knew he was here. I came in and couldn’t find him, so I went down in the garage and opened the door, and he was in full sword practice with the door open. Like, “Oh, I didn’t know you were home”-all casual, just put his swords down and talked to me. It must have looked pretty crazy to the neighbors-some seriously sharp swords and this Swiss dude swinging them in the alley at midnight.

Do you ever feel like you don’t have to lock the doors because you have an expert with a blade living in your house?

No, I feel like I never have to lock the doors because I live in f-king Pleasantville, La Costa. Do you lock your doors?

It’s mellow. I feel like someone will say, “Oh, their door is unlocked,” and come in and do the dishes and lock the door for me and write me a pleasant note or something.

What’s up with skateboarders having little dogs lately?

I love dogs, first of all. Well, actually all animals, cats, whatever. I moved out here, and my girlfriend really wanted one of these dogs. It’s a Yorkshire terrier, and she told me about it, so I wanted a dog and I decided to get one. I wasn’t really sure what my living situation was gonna be and I might end up in apartments, so I couldn’t really get a pit bull or something, and since she wanted it, I was like, “All right, we can get one of these little dogs, but we gotta get a boy, at least.” So I went up to a breeder to check him out, and the thing was the size of my thumb. It was ridiculous, so I just bought him. He’s cute, whatever, he’s a tiny little animal. The thing’s funny. You know, he’s a real bundle of joy!

Why don’t you drive the Mitsubishi Galant?

If I had a car named the Sherwood, I would roll the shit out of it.Well, I don’t like Mitsubishis first of all. It’s just not really my style, and that’s pretty lame. You might run a Sherwood, but I wouldn’t run a Galant. I don’t know, I wouldn’t want my name on my car, and plus they spell it wrong. I got two “Ls,” buddy, that thing’s only got one. And like I said earlier, I think I might get kicked off DC if I drove a Mitsubishi. It’s like an unwritten rule or something. Well, that’s a complete joke, ’cause I’ve thought about getting a hybrid, a Honda hybrid.

Sometimes I realize I’m a Gemini with my choices. I’ve been thinking about what I really want-I was thinking either a Porsche Cayenne or a Honda hybrid, and those are like complete opposites, like eight miles a gallon and a decade a gallon.

Since we’re on the subject of mechanics and cars, what’s the deal with all these people in the skate industry having Audis?

Is it kind of like the Freemasons or some kind of secret handshake?

‘Cause every time I go by any major shoe company or board company it looks like a dealership. Let’s hear from someone on the inside of the Audi world.I don’t know. I didn’t really know it was a skate thing, to be honest.

Did you have your Audi before you moved out here?

Yeah, I bought it back in Massachusetts, so it’s got Massachusetts plates and stuff. I haven’t completely sold out. I may have a San Diego phone number, but I have Massachusetts plates and a Massachusetts license.

How do you avoid the cops with the tags and stuff?

Oh, I got pulled over one night. This was f-king sketchy. I did nothing wrong, and I fully saw him in my mirror do a U-turn and then pull me over, and the first question he asked was if it was my car. He had me roll down my window, and he was like, “Is this your car?

And you probably had a Boston hat on, too.

Yeah, yeah. And then he asked for my license, and it was a Massachusetts license, and he still asked if this was my car! But that’s how this neighborhood is-everybody’s in their house by like, what, 9:30, I’d say?

So I was rollin’ around like 11:00, 11:30 with some rims and some tinted windows, looking pretty suspicious. I looked like a young kid, I guess. So he thought it was stolen, and then once I told him it wasn’t, he let me go.

I was watching your video parts: Got Gold, Wonderful Life, DC, et cetera, and I notice that you always rock a hat. Is there ever a time that you feel like you have to take it off to skate ’cause it’s so hot?

Yeah, I take it off.

Just not when you film?

I hardly really ever film, so if I go filming, I’m going to do something. It’s not like I’ve been skating for two hours and I’m hot and sweaty. You might want to leave a hoody on and make it look like you just rolled up and it’s only taken two tries and you’re not even sweaty enough to take your sweatshirt off.

Ha! It’s an illusion-illusion here! You’re getting sweaty from 20,000 tries of trying to switch tre flip down nine stairs.

Nah, that’s a complete joke, I just like hats.

Do you like golfing, or did you just start golfing because you live near a golf course?

I just went golfing three days ago for my first time on my birthday. I went with Lambert and Chany. They took me, and uh, yeah, it was kinda cool. I got pretty frustrated the entire time, but driving the golf cart was amazing. I’m not much of a golfer. That golf course has nothing to get me excited. Actually, I hate it, because someone’s golf ball came over and hitt end up in apartments, so I couldn’t really get a pit bull or something, and since she wanted it, I was like, “All right, we can get one of these little dogs, but we gotta get a boy, at least.” So I went up to a breeder to check him out, and the thing was the size of my thumb. It was ridiculous, so I just bought him. He’s cute, whatever, he’s a tiny little animal. The thing’s funny. You know, he’s a real bundle of joy!

Why don’t you drive the Mitsubishi Galant?

If I had a car named the Sherwood, I would roll the shit out of it.Well, I don’t like Mitsubishis first of all. It’s just not really my style, and that’s pretty lame. You might run a Sherwood, but I wouldn’t run a Galant. I don’t know, I wouldn’t want my name on my car, and plus they spell it wrong. I got two “Ls,” buddy, that thing’s only got one. And like I said earlier, I think I might get kicked off DC if I drove a Mitsubishi. It’s like an unwritten rule or something. Well, that’s a complete joke, ’cause I’ve thought about getting a hybrid, a Honda hybrid.

Sometimes I realize I’m a Gemini with my choices. I’ve been thinking about what I really want-I was thinking either a Porsche Cayenne or a Honda hybrid, and those are like complete opposites, like eight miles a gallon and a decade a gallon.

Since we’re on the subject of mechanics and cars, what’s the deal with all these people in the skate industry having Audis?

Is it kind of like the Freemasons or some kind of secret handshake?

‘Cause every time I go by any major shoe company or board company it looks like a dealership. Let’s hear from someone on the inside of the Audi world.I don’t know. I didn’t really know it was a skate thing, to be honest.

Did you have your Audi before you moved out here?

Yeah, I bought it back in Massachusetts, so it’s got Massachusetts plates and stuff. I haven’t completely sold out. I may have a San Diego phone number, but I have Massachusetts plates and a Massachusetts license.

How do you avoid the cops with the tags and stuff?

Oh, I got pulled over one night. This was f-king sketchy. I did nothing wrong, and I fully saw him in my mirror do a U-turn and then pull me over, and the first question he asked was if it was my car. He had me roll down my window, and he was like, “Is this your car?

And you probably had a Boston hat on, too.

Yeah, yeah. And then he asked for my license, and it was a Massachusetts license, and he still asked if this was my car! But that’s how this neighborhood is-everybody’s in their house by like, what, 9:30, I’d say?

So I was rollin’ around like 11:00, 11:30 with some rims and some tinted windows, looking pretty suspicious. I looked like a young kid, I guess. So he thought it was stolen, and then once I told him it wasn’t, he let me go.

I was watching your video parts: Got Gold, Wonderful Life, DC, et cetera, and I notice that you always rock a hat. Is there ever a time that you feel like you have to take it off to skate ’cause it’s so hot?

Yeah, I take it off.

Just not when you film?

I hardly really ever film, so if I go filming, I’m going to do something. It’s not like I’ve been skating for two hours and I’m hot and sweaty. You might want to leave a hoody on and make it look like you just rolled up and it’s only taken two tries and you’re not even sweaty enough to take your sweatshirt off.

Ha! It’s an illusion-illusion here! You’re getting sweaty from 20,000 tries of trying to switch tre flip down nine stairs.

Nah, that’s a complete joke, I just like hats.

Do you like golfing, or did you just start golfing because you live near a golf course?

I just went golfing three days ago for my first time on my birthday. I went with Lambert and Chany. They took me, and uh, yeah, it was kinda cool. I got pretty frustrated the entire time, but driving the golf cart was amazing. I’m not much of a golfer. That golf course has nothing to get me excited. Actually, I hate it, because someone’s golf ball came over and hit my car, and I have a dent above the wheel that I still haven’t gotten fixed. If you go downstairs, there’re golf balls always in the front yard-people shank ’em over here.

Are you more of a vegetarian because of health concerns or because you feel bad for stopping a beating heart?

No, I just stopped when I was younger. I was pretty young when I became a vegetarian. I just didn’t really like the taste of meat too much-the thought of sticking a fork in the side of an animal, I think that’s what I thought of. I think if anything I’d be way healthier if I ate meat.

Are you feeling the stress of the DC promo and the T-dub video drop at the same time?

Do Jon (Holland) and Greg (Hunt) ever wrestle over footage?

At first, DC didn’t really want me to do the TransWorld part. They wanted me to concentrate on that video part, but I had already told Jon I would, and I like filming with him a lot, so I just decided to do it. And you know it was stressful for a while, but then I think they’re actually pushing the DC video back a tiny bit, and Greg just gave Jon some of my footage. So it kind of mellowed it out for me. But yeah, I’m pretty much over filming video parts-filming in the streets is just stressful. And then now, to have to do the DC one, and then after that I got the Plan B video. I just want to chill and try to learn some tricks.

Where do you feel your job lies as a professional skateboarder from here on out or after those video parts?

Or even just day to day anyway, without videos? It’s like a green card lottery you can’t win

Do you feel the pressures of being a professional skateboarder?

Kind of. I mean, skateboarding itself will never be a job, but obviously times like right now … Like this is my last weekend before the TransWorld video, you know?

There’s things I’d much rather be doing than going skating, but, you know, obviously I need to go and try some of this shit, because I have to have a video part come out in six days.

You rock your DC ring hard. Are you gonna get a Plan B medallion made like PJ did?

Yeah, I got the DC ring-they gave me that one. So I didn’t get this one made, that was a gift. Thank you, DC, keep ’em comin’. I’ll wear any diamonds you give me. But, no, I don’t have any plans in the immediate future for a Plan B medallion whatsoever.

Unless they give it to you, you mean.No, no, I might get one sometime, but buying diamonds is not the first thing on my list. I kind of want to get a house or something.

Do you own any jewelry that you put around your neck?

None, I got no necklaces.

See that might confuse some people. They see the pinky ring, matching hat, matching shoes … and no medallion?

Well, yeah, I mean, it’s good to try to match sometimes.

I was gonna say, people see Ryan Gallant, they probably think like, “He’s all super into hip-hop and stuff.” What’s the misconception with that?

You don’t even really listen to a lot of hip-hop, do you?

No, I mean, I do. I’d say I probably listen to more hip-hop than anything else. But my whole younger years, through middle school and high school, I was going to hardcore shows like Minor Threat and Straight Edge. There were all these big metal bands coming out of Massachusetts, and my brother was real into it, so I listened to some serious death metal, too. I listen to anything, dude. I like it all. All music’s good.

How did you first feel when you found out you were skating to Pegboy for The DC Video?

I don’t even really remember much about it then. It was stressful times for Greg putting together the video. I was just trying to get some tricks, and I remember he played the song for me and was like, “Ah, it’s cool, dude, you know, remember they used to play it in old skate videos.” I was like, “Yeah, whatever, it sounds sick.” Yeah, yeah, it wasn’t my full part, so it wasn’t really up to me, so I was like, “Yeah, it sounds cool with me.”

Were you bummed, or did you know you weren’t gonna have a full part or your own part in The DC Video?