Readers’ Choice Award: Mark Appleyard

With back-to-back awards on his side, Mark Appleyard is the skateboarder that skateboarding loves.

Words by Eric Stricker

Just one year ago Mark took the TransWorld Street Skater Of The Year award-an award chosen by his colleagues in the professional ranks. Now, this year Mark has followed it up by winning the award selected by the readers of this magazine-the Readers’ Choice award.

Of the two awards, Mark is seemingly more shocked to have won the latter: “I expected someone that’s more well known(to win). Don’t kids know a lot about people on TV and video games like Bam, Tony Hawk, and that kind of stuff?” Maybe Mark doesn’t realize neither Bam nor Tony put out video parts this last year. Well, that’s a little bit of his humble self shining through. And yes, Mark, we really did count all those votes.

Since Mark had the mega-Pro-Spotlight-banger-whatever-the-hot-word-is-today interview last year to celebrate his award, we figured we’d tone it down and focus on something that most might not know: Mark is an international man of travel.

When I called you and first said I wanted to talk about your travels, you seemed to open up and get really excited. What’s it about, seeing what’s out there?

First of all, I’m not really too hyped on this little town I live in(Huntington Beach). I don’t know, man. I know there’s stuff to skate in every part of the world, and I want to get out there and skate as many places as I can. I just want to do it, and that’s it. It’s healthy for your mind to be seeing new things in different places. I don’t like sitting in one spot for too long.

Are you into traveling strictly for skating places or are you into traveling for the sake of traveling?

I’m into traveling just for the sake of traveling, too. I’ve taken my board everywhere I’ve gone, but some places I’ve been there wasn’t anything to skate. I went to Fiji and didn’t find anything. I went to Egypt, and the only thing I skated was the airport for an hour upon arriving and an hour before our flight out. I’m always down. That’s what I’m going to do with any spare money and time in the future, just go traveling around.

Where have you gone that others would shy away from?

I mean, I’m not really Kenny Reed or nothing-he’s been all over.

Don’t lie, we’ve got a photo of you on a camel over here.

Yeah, yeah … then I saw a photo of Kenny Reed on the cover of a Slap ollieing a barrier in front of the pyramids. I was like, “What?” So I guess there is stuff to skate out there, and he proves it. He definitely goes the distance and finds it.

If you could have one person with you to travel the world, who would it be?

Somebody who skates-that’s for sure.

So a girl would be out of the question?

Unless she’s down to skate.(Laughs) Nah, I’d take a girl and a dude to skate with. I don’t know. Don’t use the word “dude,” though. I don’t say that. That’s not part of my vocab(laughs).

What would keep you from going to a certain locale?

I might not go to Iraq ’cause I fear getting bombed.

But anywhere else is fair game?

Yeah man, I’m down. I’m down to go traveling.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve knowingly eaten that you actually liked?

I’ve seen a lot of my friends eat some weird shit-like horse tongue in Japan. I’m usually the one getting sick because I refuse to eat that stuff. I’ll eat rice for two weeks and end up getting real weak. I don’t eat anything too crazy.

Is traveling easier for a Canadian as opposed to an American?

I think so-in some places. I’ve heard both sides of the stories. I’ve talked to a lot of people who don’t know-like it’s a trend to hate on the States. Canada’s just so neutral in the world. No one really has any problems with them, so I guess you do get easier vibes from the locals. But not in the skate world. Skateboarding’s a bunch of people who want to skate and don’t give a shit where you’re from.

Have you ever been nervous while arrivving in a certain country?

Uh … yeah. A lot of times I’ve been nervous coming into the States before I had my visa. They took me in a room, turned on some video camera for some reason, checked out all my gear, asked me all these questions. They interrogate you: “Are you working in the States? Where do you get your money? Why are you going back so soon?” They’re so protective of who they let in. But I’ve never had any weird searches of me or anything(laughs).

Do you feel safer traveling with a small or a large group?

It’s not a matter of feeling safe, it’s just a matter of if you’re going to have a good time with the right people. I don’t really care about feeling safe.

Looking at you there’s that would let people know your such a world traveler. Do you think if you put on an eclectic hat and carried a man purse you’d have won this award and/or sold more boards?

What, be some crazy-image dude? Nah. I don’t know. It got bad for a while. A few years back it seemed pro skating was not even cool, or not even skating anymore. It seemed so image-conscious. It wasn’t real. It was so laughable. There was no appeal to even wanting to have that pro status. Everyone was just wearing weird shit, thinking they’re someone they’re not. The rock -star life. I’m over that.

Which is more frightening, getting up in front of all those people to accept a skateboarding award, or going to a country that you know little about for the first time?

I’d say getting up in front of a large group of people. I get anxiety around that many people.

But that’s where the drinks come in, right?

Yeah. If you’re getting on stage, you have to do that.

Any more camel-riding plans in the near future?

I got no real plans. I want to go to India. I want to go all over. I just kind of wing it.