Zered Bassett has been sitting pretty lately: He was able to avoid massive layoffs at Zoo York, he’s received nearly as much media attention as Paris Hilton, and he did the unthinkable by turning down Zoo’s offer to go pro. Until now, that is. After cultivating his skate steez as a youngster in Cape Cod, the nineteen-year-old Manhattanite is now one of skateboarding’s hottest pro properties. “Dr. Z,” as they call him, is ready to operate.

 

You must run into a lot of crazies living in Manhattan.

Just lurkers getting up in my face when I skate. They’ll act like they’re not watching me, and then right when I’m about to do my trick, they’ll pop out at me. They don’t think I see them, but they’re more distracting to me when they pull that sneaky shit. I get so irritated that I end up breaking my board. So I guess that’s a phobia of mine.

So do you have stage fright?

Nah, not even. I just get pissed when dudes on the street stare at me. I’m like, “What the f—k are you doing?” But I never really say anything to them, and I just keep going and going and going until I reach the point where I explode at them in the end. You know, I don’t give a f—k if people watch, ’cause we’re both in each other’s way. It’s only the weird lurkers that bug me out.

Do you miss the tranquility of Cape Cod?

I don’t really miss too much about that place, other than that it’s a nice place to relax. I’m nineteen now, so there’s really nothing for me to do there. That’s why I’m in NYC. It’s fun here, man. I just woke up, and it’s six p.m. here in New York. It was Jamie Reyes’ birthday last night, so a bunch of us just got completely faded.

But Cape Cod has to have some good things about it.

Well, it’s cool when you’re younger and you don’t need much to do to have fun. My friends and I would always do dumb shit to keep busy, like throwing rocks through windows and shit. It was all a waste of time, really.

What about Cali skating? Not to get into an East Coast/West Coast thing, but are you feeling the streets of Cali?

Yeah, every time I go down there I have a lot of fun. Of course, the driving thing is weird because it takes so long to get anywhere. But when you finally get to the spot, the atmosphere is always good. I like skating Cali—I don’t really have a preference between Northern or Southern California. I just rush random spots whenever we’re on Zoo tours.

You had the opportunity to turn pro last year, but you wanted to wait it out. Was that just a marketing gimmick, or were you really being humble?

That’s me having really high expectations for myself. If I had a pro board out and I kept going out skating like shit, I would be super bummed about myself. But it’s good times now. I didn’t want to blow up the spot: I feel like too many dudes turned pro too quick last year.

So are you officially pro now?

Um, I’ve skated a few pro contests, like Tampa Pro last year and Slam City, and I’m working on my graphic right now … so I guess so. But I don’t have a board yet.

Do you feel different now that you’re pro? You know: It doesn’t mean shit when you turn twenty, but when you turn 21, you’re big pimpin’.

Not really. I’m definitely gonna be weirded out when I see a board with my name on it, but I don’t feel that much is going to change. I’m just going to skate harder, I guess.

Were you scared skating in your first pro contest?

I actually liked it better, because I know more of the older dudes. It’s weird, ’cause I skated a lot better in the pro contests that I entered than the am contests.

Let’s get off-subject for a second. Are you pissed that Alex Rodriguez went to the Yankees?

I don’t really care about any of that shit, dude. (Laughs) I mean, I’ll watch baseball if it’s a good game or some shit, if I’m just hanging with my friends drinking br or whatever, but I never check up on the news. Like, “Aw man, they lost!”—I don’t have time for that shit.

There’s really no loyalty in sports anymore.

I know. It’s just about buying your team these days.

How does the solidarity of the Zoo team compare to last year? Is the army feeling a bit depleted now?

I guess it’s cool to start rebuilding things, but all the drama before the rebuilding started totally sucked. You’re putting me in a difficult spot, so I don’t really know how to answer that.

So is Zoo planning on adding anybody new to its roster?

Zoo’s basically taking their time with things. You know, we don’t want to put anyone on too fast and then be in the position of not really feeling them later on. Everybody on Zoo right now is super good friends, so we don’t really want random dudes popping in. Shit will happen. You’ll see.

Do you still spend as much time with Danny Supa and everyone else?

Yeah. I’ve been out with Supa a couple times over the past few months while I was in Cali. And we skate a lot when he comes out to New York. I see Todd (Jordan) around a lot, and we get together as much as we can. But I haven’t seen (Anthony) Correa in a while. I’m sure I’ll see him the next time I’m in Miami or some shit. You know, I obviously don’t see those dudes nearly as much, but I’m still cool with everybody for sure.

How do you feel about Vans calling Tony Trujillo’s new shoe the “Dr. T?”

Dude, that’s a funny one.

Don’t you think that’s a little too close to “Dr. Z”?

I don’t know, man. What ever happened to “TnT?” In my next Zoo ad, I’m comin’ out with some new ZnZ shit.

You should get Etnies to make you a ZnZ pro model. What about you and P.J. Ladd? Are you two friends yet?

I don’t know why this keeps being brought up, man.

Because people like watching skate soap operas, Zered.

Dude, there’s nothing really there. If I see him or whatever, I’ll say what’s up and shit, but it pretty much ends there.

So you were never curious as to why he disliked you?

I don’t really care. I don’t know why he doesn’t like me, and I’m definitely not gonna go up to him and ask him. He’s just one dude.

Do you have a lot of enemies?

I try not to have any enemies. I’d rather be friends with you, but if you’re gonna be a dick, I’m gonna be a dick right back.

What kind of tricks are your enemies?

Dude, I finally learned how to land 360 flips yesterday. I’m serious. I could never land those things. I mean, I could do them switch, but never regular, so 360 flips were my enemy. Whenever I tried them, I could never catch ‘em. I just didn’t know how to kick my back foot out. Then somebody told me how to do it. Problem solved.

Does your short stature give you an advantage when you fall?

It depends. It’s all balance basically, ’cause there are plenty of big dudes who fall a lot and never end up getting hurt.

What’s your bail-out technique?

I’ve got a few secret bail techniques. It all depends on how I’m falling (laughs). And if you’re skating a pool versus a rail, there’s a huge difference right there.

Does that Sole Tech juice in the soles of your Etnies really work?

I just got my first pair this week, and I haven’t skated ‘em yet. I’m sure they’ll be all right. I haven’t been to their testing lab, so I don’t know what to expect.

Do you read skate magazines?

I just kinda flip through ‘em. I don’t really obsess over what people are doing.

What made you sadder: the downfall of Big Brother or the downfall of Strength?

Um, both really. I grew up reading each of ‘em, so I was bummed when they went out of business. Strength seemed to have a good thing going.

Do you remember which magazine published the first photo of you?

I believe it was Skateboarder, and it was me getting grabbed by a security guard. I had a bald head, and Ben Colen shot the photo. I think that incident was also in the end of 411. That happened in Boston when I was trying to do this noseblunt or whatever, and the security guard rushed me and grabbed my shirt. The dude wouldn’t let go of it, so I f—kin’ took my shirt off and skated away. Dude just had my shirt in his hand, and everyone was screaming at him saying they were gonna kick his ass.

Have you ever had a cover before?

I had one with Skateboarder a couple years ago, and I was super psyched. That was a big surprise.

How would you feel if you got one with TransWorld?

Aw man, I try not to stress about that stuff, but it would be pretty dope if that happened.

irst photo of you?

I believe it was Skateboarder, and it was me getting grabbed by a security guard. I had a bald head, and Ben Colen shot the photo. I think that incident was also in the end of 411. That happened in Boston when I was trying to do this noseblunt or whatever, and the security guard rushed me and grabbed my shirt. The dude wouldn’t let go of it, so I f—kin’ took my shirt off and skated away. Dude just had my shirt in his hand, and everyone was screaming at him saying they were gonna kick his ass.

Have you ever had a cover before?

I had one with Skateboarder a couple years ago, and I was super psyched. That was a big surprise.

How would you feel if you got one with TransWorld?

Aw man, I try not to stress about that stuff, but it would be pretty dope if that happened.