Sheldon Meleshinski Interview

Here’s an experiment for you to try: First, find some stairs, a gap, or a handrail. Now skate it. Try whatever trick you want-a 360 flip or a Smith grind will work just fine. Now, place a patch over one eye and try your trick again. Record your results. (And you’ll probably need to find yourself a ride to the hospital, too.) This may be the only way to truly grasp the natural talent Sheldon Meleshinski possesses. Whether he’s bunking it at the Black Box dormitories or holding it down at his new place in Vancouver, Sheldon’s skating is quickly taking him up the Zero army ranks. Nothing can hold this am back from tearing apart the streets, even if he lost his other eye.

Words by Ben Kelly
Photography by Shigeo

What’s up with your new place in Vancouver?
I just moved into this six-bedroom house with my homeys, and it’s super sick.

There are six people living there? All the rooms are filled?
Yeah, it’s a bunch of skate homeys. It’s a big house. The main floor is strictly living and then there’re four bedrooms upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs-it’s turned into a skate house pretty much.

What’s rent like up there?
I pay like 500 bucks Canadian a month for my room, which is probably the average going rate right now for a one-bedroom rental.

While down in San Diego we’re paying 700 or 800 dollars.
Yeah, and that’s in U.S. dollars, too.

Before you moved into your place, you had some girl lined up, right?
What (laughs)? Yeah, we don’t need to talk about that right now.

What, it didn’t work out?
No, everything’s tight, it’s just kinda personal.

Greg (Zero TM) told me to ask you about it. I wasn’t sure if I should bring it up, but he said you’d go off about it.
Usually when I’m with my friends I’ll go off, but…

But not to a magazine?
Yeah, f-k Greg (laughs). What you doin’?

There’s a good amount of Native Americans up there, right?
Oh yeah, I’m part Native, too. I used to get free hot lunch in high school.

Why, ’cause you’re part Indian?
I guess they had this Native program at my high school and they didn’t have enough people to fill the program, so they got people who were kind of Native, like my brother and me. Sometimes, I’d be in class and this Native council would come up and dismiss me to go to a powwow or something.

Do you even know what tribe you’re part of?
No, I think it’s like Cree or Blackfoot or something. I think my mom told me, but I’m not sure.

What would you do at the powwows?
I was always super nervous to go just ’cause I didn’t know the people. Somehow they asked me if I would take this class called First Nations Studies and I said, “Yeah, sure.” The class was so slacked. All we did was soapstone carving and went to the Native Cultural Center-it was super mellow.

Why do your parents live in a trailer that’s parked out front of their own house?
We got this house that my whole family lived in, like two of my brothers and my brother’s girlfriend. As the years gone by, we all moved out, so it was just my parents left in the house. They started renting out the upstairs and then they decided to get a new fifth-wheel. So they were just psyched on that thing and decided to rent out the whole house, which is paying off the house for them and now they’re just posted up on the front lawn, I guess (laughs). I don’t even think I have a place to stay.

Is there room in the trailer for you?
I might have to pitch a tent like out back or something (laughs). I don’t even know what I’m gonna do if I go visit them.

How’d you meet Jamie and get hooked up with Zero?
I met Jamie as a kid and knew Ryan Smith, and it kinda worked out that way. I’d go down (to San Diego) and go skate with the all the dudes and filmed for my video part, and somehow it all worked out.

When you first got on Zero, did you come stay down in San Diego for a bit?
I used to take ttrips down there and stay at the old Zero house before the Black Box rooms got put in. It used to be Bobier, Murphy, and Matt Winterberg the flimer. I would just go down there and chill-those guys are super rad. It was really easy for me to come back and skate with them and whatnot.

What was your first experience like showing up at that house?
The first day I came down there was the after a serious party, and I heard they were breaking bottles and throwing bottles at the neighbor ’cause he came over saying it was super rowdy or something over there.

What other antics went down while you were staying there?
Oh man, my friend Pat Burke from Virginia Beach would always go there too and sometimes we’d get stuck at the house ’cause it’s outta the way and you can’t really can’t just skate down the street or else you’ll get hit by a car, but we’d get super bored and go buy BB guns and go shoot some stuff.

Like what? Animals? Each other?
Yeah, we’d shoot each other sometimes (laughs). Matt Winterberg had this old car that we used to beat up-it was parked out on the front yard and all that was wrong with it was it had a blown out transmission or something. But one day when we had the BB guns, we were shooting stuff in the yard, then we started shooting the car. We’d shoot the window and it’d just deflect off the window. Then one of the shots hit the back window and it shattered the whole thing and we were just like, “Ooooh sh-t.” Then the next day we got bored and started shooing it again and the next thing you know the car was demolished. The doors were bent backward, people were smashing it with shovels. We tried to flip it, but it probably would have rolled into the neighbor’s yard.

Matt wasn’t pissed when he came back and his car was annihilated?
He was kinda bummed for a second, but then we just bought him a six-pack and he was psyched.

But everybody moved out of that house right?
Yeah, once we got Black Box and the little bunkered area, as soon as that came into play they stopped renting that house. That used to be the spot for riders to stay, but now everyone can just go to Black Box.

What’s the dirtiest thing you’ve seen at the Black Box barracks?
I don’t know if I can speak of it (laughs). I’ve seen some pretty crude stuff involving some really weird girls and some really trashed kids. Stuff where I just had to get up outta my bed and leave the room. It’s nothing weird or sketchy, it’s just… you know (laughs).

When you first started skating with the Black Box guys, do you think having a glass eye was part of your appeal? Like, did it add to your gnar factor?
Well, I guess that comes into play to a certain degree, but obviously you’re gonna have to know how to skateboard-be able to do something, you know? I can’t just use my eye to pass me through all the sh-t. I’m not trying to sell my eye to get me going, you know?

Have you ever pulled it out and dropped it or had it roll around on the floor?
Ahh dude, for some reason in elementary school, I pulled out my eye and I had it in my hand and was twirling it around and it accidentally slipped out of my fingers. It was winter and there was snow everywhere and I could not find my eyeball for like a half hour (laughs). I almost started crying, and I sat down on the ground super bummed and then my brother found it and wouldn’t give it back to me. He kept laughing at me.

But you’re over people wanting you to pull it out and mess around with it?
Yeah, I don’t usually just pull it out, but I’ll just get these moments where I want to take it out and show someone, but if someone asked me to see it, I’ll be like, “F-k you.” I’ll pull it out when I pull it out.