Pioneer: Sean Sheffey, Full Interview—Power From The East

There was the Zero Two Shoes and all that right?
Exactly. But it was only a matter of time until I got influenced by the team and started wearing Vans Half Cabs and Adidas. Just changing shoes made it a lot easier to learn a lot of the technical stuff.

People always bring up the switch tre you tried down the big three at EMB in the Finally (FTC Video 1, ’93) credits. When did you learn switch tres? It seemed like you learned them and then tried to do them down steps like you were ollieng a table.
(Laughs). Right around that time. I would be coming in and out of town up there. Mikey (Carroll) was always really ahead. He would come down to San Diego too and we would skate. He was so fluid. But there were two or three tricks I became known for. When you would go up to SF they were ahead of everybody. They were really progressive.

Sean ollies his son to start off his second Plan B part in Virtual Reality (1993).

Did you ever do any pressure flips? I don’t think you ever had one on film.
I might have done one version of the backside pressure shove-it. I had that one (Laughs). But not too much.

Did you ever try anything down the Gonz gap?
I think I tried it once. It had a really big crack ahead of it. I don’t think I made it.

I remember you had the one photo in Big Brother with your one pant leg rolled up. The caption said something like, “Sean Sheffey with East Coast style pants or something.” Everybody I knew started rolling one leg up after that. It was almost like the new chain wallet. What got you to do that?
(Laughs) It was kind of influenced by Wu-Tang style at that point; a New Yorkish, city type of flow. The Wu-Tang freshness influence came into skating around that time. It was kind of a hip hop style.

Sean’s first Girl ad when Girl was still out of X-Large. 1994.

People also credit you with the first straight on 50-50s on rails. You had that photo Skin shot in TWS (August ’96). What was the thought process for that? Had you seen anyone do it?
I’m not necessarily sure. It was something I came up with and went with it. Like, “That would be neat to do that.”

You had footage of a different one in Mouse (’96) too. Now that’s sort of a standard trick.
Right. I had thought about it for a while. I think I had talked to Rick (Howard) about it and he was like, “Yeah. That would be really cool. You should get it for the video.” It came to a point where I needed a beastly move and Rick sent Tim Dowling down to San Diego. That was one of the things I wanted to get. It was a pretty trippy rail that I first ollied over the top of. I was afraid of landing on it and not having the board all the way under me. It was one of those things you really had to commit to. The first one I landed on the rail, I got on and the grind started to spin me 180. It just locked me in and twisted me. My front leg went way over to the side and behind me as I was still going forward. I ran out backwards and my knee got really stiff, but I was sure I could do it after that. I just had to get it before my knee swelled up. You know how you might twist your ankle but you still have that little window before it sets in. I went back up and got it after two more tries. But my knee was wrecked for weeks after that.

What about your whole switchstance period? You had only switch tricks in The Chocolate Tour (’99).
Oh yeah. You know what was cool about that? I was in San Francisco and I had learned a bunch of the switchstance tricks at the Greyhound station over the bump-to-bump in San Diego. But when I went up to Frisco, I really focused on skating everything switch. Skating spot-to-spot switch and skating the hills switch. I really just tried to incorporate it into everything. I had felt pretty successful at the time with my regular stance. It just seemed cool to try and throw yourself into this new goofy mold and never turn back. I actually wanted to be equal on both sides.

More Fort Miley. Backside flip from a July 1994 TWS cover.