Where Are They Now?
By the time last year’s Am Issue hit the stands, Arto was hitting the streets on his new pro model from Flip. The skateboarding world seemed to agree that this extremely talented Finnish kid was a rising force. So once armed with his pro status, Arto invaded the European contest circuit, proving he was legit by capturing first place for best trick at Radlands with a kickflip backside lipslide across and down the flatbar (which was butta smooth, by the way.) Since then he’s picked up some more sponsors including Ricta Wheels, Diakka Watches, and Rusty Clothing.
Arto has also been tearing it up on tours around the world¿one of his favorite spots is Japan: “The people were really nice there, and the kids were just super stoked on everything. You do a 50-50 on a ledge or something, and they just go off.” But when he’s not traveling he’ll usually start the day warming up at the Huntington Beach Skatepark for some “flatbar training” and then ask himself, “Should I film for the éS video or the Flip video today?” And while we’re all impatiently waiting to peep his video parts, Arto will probably be working on designing his signature shoe. Damn, not bad for a Finnish kid.¿Shad
As an amateur Brian proved that he meant bizniss. At his first Tampa Am contest he placed fourth, which he improved on the next year by capturing third. From there didn’t take long for this kid hailing from Liverpool, England to get noticed. He might have just recently turned pro for Birdhouse in February, but if you ever talked to him you might think he’s been pro for years. He possesses the confidence of veteran, while at the same time speaks about skateboarding with the spark and energy of someone who just started, “You have to just love to skating and have the need to skate. Kids who just want to be pro for the image aren’t going to make it¿turning pro for me was just the natural next step. As a pro I expect way more from myself, but I always expected more as an am also.” Currently, Brian is throwing down for his first pro video part and getting ready to be dad. That’s right, he was recently married, and the happy couple are expecting a kid. Don’t expect this to slow him down, though, he seems to take this skateboarding stuff seriously.¿Shad
“Contests are all right, but I like to just skate with everybody.” This probably explains why Jeff Lenoce has been bouncing all over the globe on his quest to film. His most recent work in Static was almost entirely filmed in his home state of Florida, but right now Jeff’s traveling to Australia for his current project, Baker Bootleg 2000. Jeff sounds pretty stoked about it, “This part will be the best video part I’ve ever had.” And the word on the streets is that you can also expect a bunch of hi-jinx in the mix, but that’s to be expected. Sponsor-wise Jeff’s got some new foot protection via Lakai and seems to be stoked to get back on the Left Coast. “I’m actually going to be staying out there California for a while.” And you know what that means¿we’re going to see more of Jeff and quite possibly a pro model in the future.¿Shad
Neal’s had an interesting year since his interview in the 1999 Am Issue. It started disastrously, while on the Route 66 tour for TransWorld; Neal slammed on his face, breaking his wrist in two places and requiring 100 stitches under and around his right eye. His injury mandated he sit the entire summer out, but by September his full-arm cast was replaced with a half cast, and Neal headed up to Vancouver for a week to skate and get away from the hectic pace of Southern California. By the new year, Neal was fully recovered and as in demand as before. He switched shoe sponsors from DC to Axion; he got on Deca, Momentum wheels, Spy sunglasses, Apollo backpacks, and Indy trucks; and he quit Pacific Drive to ride for RDS. In February 2000 his first pro-model board came outt on Deca, which Neal referred to as a “serious highlight” in a year which started out on a down note. Presently, the Jacksonville, Florida-transplant is filming for a Deca video, which he says Daewon already has at least 40 tricks filmed for, and he’s getting ready for a ton of traveling to places like Europe, Japan, Australia, Panama, and Canada in the next six months.¿Joel
Since his interview appeared in the last year’s Am Issue, Alex has been busy. Shortly after that issue came out he entered and placed well in Slam City Jam 6 in his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia. A month or so later he flew to Europe to do the annual summer contest circuit on the Continent, where his amazing skatepark skills kept him in the top ranks. In December Alex spent three weeks touring Australia with Brian Patch, Carlos de Andrade, and Elissa Steamer. In late ’99 he had video parts in Skate Canada #5 and Viva Sessions. In February 2000, Alex moved with Paul Machnau into a place in Vancouver, and the same month he left the Sessions team to ride for Quiksilver. At the Tampa Pro Contest in March, Alex dislocated his ring finger on his left hand, but still managed to place 23rd. He’s currently recouping at home with his finger splinted between two plastic spoons, getting ready for Slam City Jam 7 and summer Euro contests, and preparing to start filming for a Flip video, which could be out as early as the end of the summer.¿Joel
After James’ interview appeared in the last Amateur Issue, he continued as he had before, getting coverage and working on building his name. After a Thrasher magazine tour with the Blind team in March of ’99, he attended the Tampa Pro contest “just to check it out.” A month or so after Tampa, James left on a full-scale Blind tour of the U.S. In September, he moved into a two-bedroom place in Placentia, California (Orange County) with Gershon Mosley, and the two new roommates started skating together quite a bit. James spent most the winter going on filming missions with the Blind Team for an upcoming Blind video, working on a video part for Logic, and shooting photos for an interview in Strength. In January 2000 he entered the Tampa Am contest, missing the cut from 150 to 24 by only four places. In February James quit DVS to ride for Circa, and on March 1, 2000 his first-ever pro-model board came out on Blind. Unfortunately, right around the same time, while trying to kickflip a triple-set, he landed funny and found himself with a minor knee injury, which he’s currently nursing back to health.¿Joel