20 QUESTIONS – AARON SUSKI

AARON SUSKI: 20 QUESTIONS-ALL MIC’D UP!

“That’s just the way I did my backside five-0s quite honestly-it was just a good lock. I learned regular backside five-0s finally-after a trick was named after me.”

I think the myth of “Sasquatch” is common in many cultures. Exactly where the “Sasquatch” concept originated isn’t all that clear. The Native Americans did have stories about Sasquatch, but I do believe he was considered a spiritual entity. The idea that bears walking on their hind leg generated Bigfoot reports does seem compelling to me. When you’re out in the middle of nowhere seeing a bear come out of the underbrush, it’s one heck of an experience-I speak from personal experience here. However, when very experienced outdoorsmen say they’ve seen something

“different,” that’s when I don’t know what to think. Aaron Suski is just that, different-one who is of the realm of spirit entities and myth, so when you see this beast, get ready for something different and enjoy one of the last of the Mohicans.-Steve Rodriguez

1. Did living in essentially two different places that are not only on opposite sides of the country, but also opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to way of life, make you a better and/or smarter person?

Well, better or smarter? I don’t know. Maybe more aware of different lifestyles and different ways of living. I wouldn’t say better or smarter, (but) more aware and broader. You definitely broaden your horizons, your mind, seeing different landscapes, different people.

I’ve been bouncing between Tucson (Arizona) and New York for ten to twelve years. You go to the city and it’s so fast paced, such a buzz, and then coming back to Arizona it’s really mellow. It’s definitely two different paces.

2. When you’re in the fifth month of being in one place, do you feel burnt-out and get anxious to leave?

Only because you know you’re leaving. If you were there (staying), you wouldn’t feel like you’re getting burnt-out. But you know you’re leaving, so therefore it’s like, “Okay, it’s time to go. Weather’s changing, leaves are turnin’, I gotta go!” I guess that’s the only reason why. It’s really strange, I haven’t lived in one place and been consistent about it in so long. It’s kind of shocking.

3. What tips can you offer to someone looking to live the nomadic life? What have you learned by constantly being on the move?

Tips, huh? Good question. Pack light (laughs). Try to find your peace of mind wherever you are. It’s hard. At this point I’ve been doing it for so long, I’ve just recently been getting the itch to get a place. Last winter I stayed in my bus in my friend’s plush backyard-electricity, all that jazz, really discreet. But I just sold my bus the other day, so I don’t really have a place. I’m just staying with people. I’m itching to get a place, a sanctuary if you will. It’s just getting hard. I just want it. I think it would be really healthy for my mind-to know I have a place and my stuff is there, to go back and relax.

4. So this is something you’ve been without for the last twelve years?

I’ve had it and I’ve dealt with it, but it’s been a state of mind. Much respect to everybody I’ve stayed with. It’s been cool, it’s been mellow. There hasn’t been too much craziness, hasn’t been too wild. It’s been really nice, but after a while you just start thinking about it. Plant a seed and it kind of grows-“Wow, I just need a place.” I still got my head together. I just feel like it needs a little more reassurance of … something solid.

5. What happened with your bus?

I’ve had my bus for a while. I lived in it for a few months last winter in the back of my friend’s house in the desert. It was a perfect spot. I could get around easy on my bike, ’cause I couldn’t drive it (the bus). It was off-road. The insurance was up, the registration was up, so I just posted up. You know, pop-top. And it was awesome. I had electricity, a little heater, a nice yard, my fend’s dog. I took care of the yard a little bit. Him and his girlfriend would go to work and I could use the shower. It was interesting, it was nice. I had fun. But he blazed, he left me hanging! I had nowhere to put my bus, and I was on the street, so I had to sell it the other day-nobody had a nice yard I could post up in and then be on my way, you know?

Well, I like to say I sold it, but I really just gave it away. It was kind of a barter system for having my friend store a lot of my belongings in his house. He was interested, so, “Well, here you go. Thanks for letting me store my stuff at your house.” A little trade-off if you will.

6. So without a bus and without a home, where are you looking to make your sanctuary then-your place to live?

I haven’t got there yet, man. The reason why I’m not looking for a place right now is ’cause I know I’m going to be on the road. We’re filming for the Birdhouse video, and I know there’s going to be a lot of trips and it’s going to be really busy for the next six to eight months, so I’m not even going there. I’m gonna try to keep my head together and keep myself content by being on the road and staying with people-finish that up and then I’ll start contemplating a place. But Arizona’s pretty cheap, it seems pretty tactical, it’s close to California, it’s nice in the wintertime. I think I could handle rent and be able to go to New York for however many months and not be … you know.

7. You talked about wanting a place to store your stuff. What does your “stuff” consist of?

I guess memories. I’m kind of a pack rat. I try not to be too much, but I do have some things. It’s like old skateboards and friends’ skateboards, good graphics, old music, musical instruments, clothes that I don’t want to part with for some reason, even though I’ve been away from ’em for a couple months, forgotten about ’em, and could totally live without ’em. You just pack it away like, “I’m gonna use this someday.” It’s a treasure chest, ’cause when I go back there it’s like, “Whoa! I forgot I had this!”

8. Before joining Birdhouse, you were courted many times by numerous large companies. What made you stay loyal to 5boro all those years?

Just what it was about-what I was about. The team is so tight, the people behind it-Steve (Rodriguez) and (Mark) Nardelli, good people. It’s 100-percent skateboarding. And I know everything is, but it wasn’t all in the spotlight, it was underground, it was more of a core thing, and it was pretty unique to be a part of it. They just did so much with and for skateboarding. The demos were always so amazing, really intimate. It was just a good vibe all around. I loved what they’re about and still do. Steve is still doing a great job-the team is killing it. It’s behind the scenes, but it’s in there and it’s a strong force. I felt it, for sure.

When I got on 5boro, I turned pro within three months as well. I was their first pro since the company had been around, and that was already for three years at that point. So to stay with them, it was like I’ve seen a lot of growth. You see this small company grow into a bigger, more solid company where there are more options. I did my part, and everyone put in, and it was amazing to be a part of something that you helped grow, and that’s why it was a really hard thing to leave, and that’s the same reason why I stayed (for so long).

9. What made you decide the time was right to leave?

Opportunity, I guess. More travel and more opportunities in the long run-more of a stable company. I mean, 5boro is stable, but Birdhouse is obviously successful. And I think Birdhouse is going through a change as well by putting (Steve) Nesser on and switching up some of the am team. They sought me out, and if they’re going through changes, I wanted to see what would happen by putting myself in there and having this big company that hasn’t flatlined, but has just been kind of there. I just wanted to see a change, and be part of that change as well, see it grow like I did with 5boro-watch it grow in a new, different direction. But it was just time, it was just time.

10. Now that you’re on Birdhouse are you more excited to say you’re on the same team as Jeremy Klein or to say you’re on the same team as Tony Hawk?

(Laughs) That’s a weird question. Tony for sure, but much respect to Jeremy, as well. It’s pretty awesome. They’ve been around since I started skating. Well, Jeremy I didn’t find out about ’til ’91, but I started in ’88-but Tony, definitely. It’s pretty epic, pretty amazing. I have a lot of respect for those two for doing this for so long and still killing it.

11. Did you know Tony before getting on Birdhouse and have you hung out with him since getting on?

No, I didn’t. And I haven’t hung out with him much. I haven’t talked to him at all quite honestly! (Laughs) But I know he’s out there, and he knows I’m out there. We check up on each other through Seamus, our team manager.

12. Do you think that not having the biggest, most national board sponsor made some companies reluctant to back you in the past?

A little bit, but they did back me. The companies and people that I’ve been riding for for years-Volcom, Emerica, and Indy-they all have always supported me, been willing to throw down cash for trips, any random trips with 5boro or any trips where we needed to bring a photographer. But by being on Birdhouse, I’m sure that offers me a little bit more stability. That’s the name of the game, you know?

13. You enjoy playing the guitar a lot and always seem to have it by your side. If you were sitting around the campfire, what five songs would you break out that everyone would surely know? And what song would someone potentially request that you probably should know but don’t?

It all depends on the mood-gotta feel out the vibes around the campfire. Usually the vibes around the campfire are good, so some Johnny Cash-“The Ring Of Fire” is always a good little sing-along. Probably some Dylan-your surefire campfire songs. Neil Young. I’d probably sing some of mine that I’ve written. Maybe some friends’ songs, some regular jams, some repetitious rhythms where people can just go off and sing their own things. As far as what I don’t know, there’s millions. Somebody always seems to call out “Freebird” at some point in the night (laughs).

14. Obviously you seem to be a mellow, modest person who wouldn’t actually name the “Suski” grind after yourself, but who’s responsible for naming the grind after you?

To my knowledge, I think it was you, Eric, captioning my trick. I think the first time was when it was actually classified as a Suski grind was in Strength. The first time it was noticed might have been in Australia, over this double-set. It wasn’t classified as a “Suski” grind, it was like the sidewinder or something like that. But as a matter of fact, it was you.

15. Interesting, that’s news to me if so, and I’d have to at least lay partial blame on Matt Deak, our art director at the time, as we’d also refer to ’em as Kevin Taylor grinds, but anyway, did you ever see anyone grind like that before you did?

Nah, never. That’s just the way I did my backside five-0s quite honestly-it was just a good lock. I learned regular backside five-0s finally-after a trick was named after me (laughs). But I’m still a big fan of that grind, it’s a good lock.

16. It’s not a trick you see a lot of people do. Do you accept it with pride when people refer to it as such or do you take on a more “what the hell are they talking about?” attitude?

Actually, a lot of people over the last year. It’s kind of funny, my name pops up-it’s very humbling. It’s kind of cool. It’s cool to be a part of history. I never asked for it, but f-k, it’s there, it’s cool. I’m psyched on it.

17. How do you maintain being so calm when you live a hectic life as far as living on the road? How do you keep your wits about you?

Damn, t of that change as well, see it grow like I did with 5boro-watch it grow in a new, different direction. But it was just time, it was just time.

10. Now that you’re on Birdhouse are you more excited to say you’re on the same team as Jeremy Klein or to say you’re on the same team as Tony Hawk?

(Laughs) That’s a weird question. Tony for sure, but much respect to Jeremy, as well. It’s pretty awesome. They’ve been around since I started skating. Well, Jeremy I didn’t find out about ’til ’91, but I started in ’88-but Tony, definitely. It’s pretty epic, pretty amazing. I have a lot of respect for those two for doing this for so long and still killing it.

11. Did you know Tony before getting on Birdhouse and have you hung out with him since getting on?

No, I didn’t. And I haven’t hung out with him much. I haven’t talked to him at all quite honestly! (Laughs) But I know he’s out there, and he knows I’m out there. We check up on each other through Seamus, our team manager.

12. Do you think that not having the biggest, most national board sponsor made some companies reluctant to back you in the past?

A little bit, but they did back me. The companies and people that I’ve been riding for for years-Volcom, Emerica, and Indy-they all have always supported me, been willing to throw down cash for trips, any random trips with 5boro or any trips where we needed to bring a photographer. But by being on Birdhouse, I’m sure that offers me a little bit more stability. That’s the name of the game, you know?

13. You enjoy playing the guitar a lot and always seem to have it by your side. If you were sitting around the campfire, what five songs would you break out that everyone would surely know? And what song would someone potentially request that you probably should know but don’t?

It all depends on the mood-gotta feel out the vibes around the campfire. Usually the vibes around the campfire are good, so some Johnny Cash-“The Ring Of Fire” is always a good little sing-along. Probably some Dylan-your surefire campfire songs. Neil Young. I’d probably sing some of mine that I’ve written. Maybe some friends’ songs, some regular jams, some repetitious rhythms where people can just go off and sing their own things. As far as what I don’t know, there’s millions. Somebody always seems to call out “Freebird” at some point in the night (laughs).

14. Obviously you seem to be a mellow, modest person who wouldn’t actually name the “Suski” grind after yourself, but who’s responsible for naming the grind after you?

To my knowledge, I think it was you, Eric, captioning my trick. I think the first time was when it was actually classified as a Suski grind was in Strength. The first time it was noticed might have been in Australia, over this double-set. It wasn’t classified as a “Suski” grind, it was like the sidewinder or something like that. But as a matter of fact, it was you.

15. Interesting, that’s news to me if so, and I’d have to at least lay partial blame on Matt Deak, our art director at the time, as we’d also refer to ’em as Kevin Taylor grinds, but anyway, did you ever see anyone grind like that before you did?

Nah, never. That’s just the way I did my backside five-0s quite honestly-it was just a good lock. I learned regular backside five-0s finally-after a trick was named after me (laughs). But I’m still a big fan of that grind, it’s a good lock.

16. It’s not a trick you see a lot of people do. Do you accept it with pride when people refer to it as such or do you take on a more “what the hell are they talking about?” attitude?

Actually, a lot of people over the last year. It’s kind of funny, my name pops up-it’s very humbling. It’s kind of cool. It’s cool to be a part of history. I never asked for it, but f-k, it’s there, it’s cool. I’m psyched on it.

17. How do you maintain being so calm when you live a hectic life as far as living on the road? How do you keep your wits about you?

Damn, I don’t know if I do. I think I do. Yeah, I think I do a pretty good job. Home is where the heart is. It’s something you gotta learn, but there’re so many new places you go, and so many new experiences to keep you busy and keep you in the mix as far as keeping your head straight. You’re always occupied with new things, so that always keeps you level-headed. New experiences are learning how to keep the mind going. It keeps you pretty sane.

I’m definitely trying to take advantage of my situation-traveling. I’ve been to so many amazing places that have just opened up my eyes like, “Wow!” South America has definitely had one of the biggest impacts on me. I’ve been there five times in the past three years, and it’s been amazing each time. I’m really psyched on going down there. We just got back from a trip to Panama and Peru with Volcom. You see a lot of different ways of life, different living, people who’re less fortunate. I mean, you have it here, too, but over there it’s tenfold. It’s crazy when you go over and witness things like the poverty in the shantytowns and have this feeling that you get like, “Whoa, man, I’m so fortunate. I gotta take advantage of my situation.” But I get back to the States and I have it in my head still. You get back up in the mix and you forget about it. Well, you don’t forget about it, but you lose that feeling that you had.

18. What is there never enough time to do?

Nothing really. I have a lot of time. It just depends on how early I wake up, I guess. My schedule changes all the time depending where I am. It’s ever-changing. If I wanted to, I could probably do all the things I need to do. You just have to learn how to utilize it and make every minute count if you want to be progressive and productive. It’s an everyday reoccurring thing.

19. In this never-ending work in progress of life, what are you aiming to do in the new year?

It’s a slow process right now, but hopefully by the new year I’ll be taking better care of myself. I have some bad habits, just need to weed ’em out, plant some new seeds. Take care of my stretching, stop smoking cigarettes, or at least stop smoking as many as I do, cut down. There are a lot of things, but basically to utilize my time better through skateboarding and other things-my guitar or whatever that may be.

20. How would you recommend a kid go out there and get the skateboarding dream done?

With skating, I never thought about being in the position I’m in now. I made a sponsor-me video a long time ago, and it was just for fun. I never sent it out. I just skated and the cards fell where they fell, and here I am. It’s pretty awesome. A lot of kids these days have a disillusioned view of it. It’s a good motive to have, to be like, “Yeah, I want to get sponsored. Yeah, I want to do this.” Life is great (as a sponsored skateboarder), but you gotta take one step at a time and enjoy going out with your friends on small road trips and enjoy doing what you do.

(That last italics part I want to run a bit bigger than the rest of the text, good ender.)

mn, I don’t know if I do. I think I do. Yeah, I think I do a pretty good job. Home is where the heart is. It’s something you gotta learn, but there’re so many new places you go, and so many new experiences to keep you busy and keep you in the mix as far as keeping your head straight. You’re always occupied with new things, so that always keeps you level-headed. New experiences are learning how to keep the mind going. It keeps you pretty sane.

I’m definitely trying to take advantage of my situation-traveling. I’ve been to so many amazing places that have just opened up my eyes like, “Wow!” South America has definitely had one of the biggest impacts on me. I’ve been there five times in the past three years, and it’s been amazing each time. I’m really psyched on going down there. We just got back from a trip to Panama and Peru with Volcom. You see a lot of different ways of life, different living, people who’re less fortunate. I mean, you have it here, too, but over there it’s tenfold. It’s crazy when you go over and witness things like the poverty in the shantytowns and have this feeling that you get like, “Whoa, man, I’m so fortunate. I gotta take advantage of my situation.” But I get back to the States and I have it in my head still. You get back up in the mix and you forget about it. Well, you don’t forget about it, but you lose that feeling that you had.

18. What is there never enough time to do?

Nothing really. I have a lot of time. It just depends on how early I wake up, I guess. My schedule changes all the time depending where I am. It’s ever-changing. If I wanted to, I could probably do all the things I need to do. You just have to learn how to utilize it and make every minute count if you want to be progressive and productive. It’s an everyday reoccurring thing.

19. In this never-ending work in progress of life, what are you aiming to do in the new year?

It’s a slow process right now, but hopefully by the new year I’ll be taking better care of myself. I have some bad habits, just need to weed ’em out, plant some new seeds. Take care of my stretching, stop smoking cigarettes, or at least stop smoking as many as I do, cut down. There are a lot of things, but basically to utilize my time better through skateboarding and other things-my guitar or whatever that may be.

20. How would you recommend a kid go out there and get the skateboarding dream done?

With skating, I never thought about being in the position I’m in now. I made a sponsor-me video a long time ago, and it was just for fun. I never sent it out. I just skated and the cards fell where they fell, and here I am. It’s pretty awesome. A lot of kids these days have a disillusioned view of it. It’s a good motive to have, to be like, “Yeah, I want to get sponsored. Yeah, I want to do this.” Life is great (as a sponsored skateboarder), but you gotta take one step at a time and enjoy going out with your friends on small road trips and enjoy doing what you do.

(That last italics part I want to run a bit bigger than the rest of the text, good ender.)