Portrait: Ben Colen

Ollie into bank. Paris, France. Photo: Alex Pires *click for larger image

Backside 50-50, Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Ben Colen *click for larger image

Big questions, small questions, irrelevant questions, important questions—Cyrus Bennett runs through the pantheon. Amidst serious as death topics like world peace and light as frolic topics like new color-ways, Cyrus paints his day-to-day journey from September's 917 video (9.17) to October's Nike part (10.19). Honest to a fault, Bennett is perhaps the polar opposite of many of his more media trained—sports-sound-byte-generating Nike teammates. But no matter the level of seriousness, all his answers come straight from the heart. Anchored to the rural west with family roots in Colorado, and rooted to the urban east with his friends and current home in Brooklyn, Bennett has spent the last year adding international scope to his already nationwide perspective. Now, if he can just get past those seasonal allergies.—Mackenzie Eisenhour

Hey Cyrus, how are things?
Good. I've been moving around. Traveling a little bit. I'm pretty exhausted to be honest.

Long summer on the road?
Yeah. And then I kind of developed seasonal allergies a few years ago. I get worked whenever it changes into fall. Then—come spring—I get fucked up for like a whole month again.

Just pollen and stuff?
I don't even know. Maybe it's just the pollution and the temperature change. This time of year sometimes it will be like 60 degrees and then all of a sudden it will be like 85. The change fucks me up.

The (917) video has been online for a month. How have you felt about the way the video was received?
I really liked it actually. I thought it was pretty sick. I have to admit I kind of had my doubts. But it came out really good. I visited with Logan (Lara) when he was editing and it all sort of looked like a mess. He was editing part-by-part and I was like, "How the fuck are you going to put all of this together?" And he's like, "I don't know." Then I just felt like it was so nice and continuous when it was done. Everything has good transitions and flow—it was sick.

All the riders make sense together. It has that skate crew video vibe.
Yeah. I also laughed really hard the first time watching it. I thought it was funny as hell. It's kind of weird. I feel like people kept talking about it and asking about it. It got so annoying. After a while I just didn't care. I was ready to not even like it. But then I saw it and was just like, "Wow, that was cool."

Were you satisfied with your part?
Yeah. But I already feel like I've progressed since then, which is also good, I guess. It's always weird watching your own footage. I never know what to think. Sometimes I just think it looks whack. I like some tricks but it's always super weird when it's your own.

Yeah, like hearing your own voice or something. You never really hear it like others do. But I guess it would be weirder if it weren't weird. Like if you were super into yourself.
There are actually a lot of people who are like that. But overall I just like that all my friends are in there. I might be totally wrong but I'd like to think people who don't know us could catch like a "friend vibe" too. Hopefully it's not all inside jokes. I like Stu (Kirst) and Nolan (Benfield)'s part the best I think. They're not really even full-time skaters. They just film and skate with us at times.

They skate to one of my favorite Pavement songs ("Frontwards", 1992). But I know what you mean. Like they're not all jaded. Just stoked to be out skating.

You also have another full part dropping 10.19 from NikeSB—when your Dunk Hi colorway is releasing correct? How did you split up the parts?
I still don't really know. I think there's going to be a lot of homies in it and then I'll probably have like three minutes of footage. It's all new stuff. I had filmed one trick before the 917 video came out but everything else is from after. I don't want to jinx myself but I feel more solid skating recently. I feel like I'm on a better roll right now than I was. Having something to work towards—having a deadline—just knowing that it has to happen has been helpful. Then we've been on a bunch of trips where we got to bring our homies. So I think all the people that came along will have some tricks too and then it will be a Johnny (Wilson) edit. I have to choose the song right now and they're having the usual issues with music rights so we'll see how that goes.

Did you get to pick out your colorway? Any approach to that?
No real approach. You get to have a say in the colors. You can't modify the design or anything. I went and met with the designers and they have a whole process for it. But it's cool. We sent some samples and they had their ideas. It's cool that they even asked me to do that. Not everyone gets asked to do that.

Where did you travel for this?
We did Olso and Copenhagen and then we did Paris and SF. They were all pretty short. Olso was beautiful. Flying into Norway is so sick looking. It's obviously very cool over there. But the fucking kids are savages. They party so hard there. It might have just been like Karsten (Kleppan)'s homies. I have no idea. But I feel like Europeans are gnarlier in general. They stay up all night no matter what.

Scandinavians in the summer are a breed of their own. I mean they wait through six months of snow and darkness for it. No way they are going to sleep.
Yeah. It was the same in Copenhagen. I probably have a skewed perspective of what real life is over there. But it's just super nice in Scandinavia and people don't kick you out of spots. Karsten is the man though. He was like our TM. Driving us all over and taking us around. He's from just outside Olso. After Olso we were in Copenhagen for a bit. I took a long break then went to Paris last month and then to SF for a week after that.

The photos for this are probably from all of those trips then.
Probably. I know there was a couple from Paris. Then a couple from SF. The Paris trip fucked me up though. I had a hard time getting acclimated from the jet lag. After a week in Paris then a week in SF trying to skate every day then I got back here and the allergies set in. I thought I was about to die or something. I had terrible anxiety. It just spun me out all crazy. I'm chilling now though.

Did you just get a car out in Brooklyn? Does that help open up the city?
Yeah. I've been driving a lot lately which has been sick. But then it's hard too because we have a lot of friends—we all hang out on a daily basis. So every day it's just way too many people to go in a car so you have to make a plan and dip real early before people start showing up. Otherwise I'm just waking up and there are ten people on my stoop like, "Where are we skating?" Sometimes it's hard but it's cool. I'm thankful for the group of friends I have.

Frontside lipslide. San Francisco, CA. Photo: Ben Colen *click for larger image

Do you make trips back to Colorado? You have family back there?
Yeah. Sometimes. But not to skate. I don't even think I brought my board last time I went out there. My mom, dad, grandma, my step mom, and my little sisters are all back there. My mom and grandma live in Colorado Springs. Then my dad lives on a farm with like chickens and horses.

That's a long way from Brooklyn.
It is pretty nice going out there. I hate flying there though. Colorado Springs is okay but where my dad lives you have to get on the really small plane and then the Front Range out of Denver is always one of the windiest parts of the country. At the altitude that the planes fly you get whipped everywhere. I get motion sickness. And it's mad expensive too just because the airports are smaller. Colorado is good though.

Have you used you Industrial Design degree since last time we talked?
Not really. I used to have a little more time for it. Skating has kind of taken over to be honest.

Has there been any talk of yourself or Max (Palmer) getting boards after the 917 video? [ed: update]
I don't know. People keep asking me that all the time. Alex doesn't even have a board (on 917). Alex is the only one who is technically pro. Maybe some people will get boards. I think Alex needs to get someone to help him with shit. He has too much going and I think he gets easily distracted. He gets bogged down in details so he can't accomplish the big picture sometimes. He has a lot on his plate. And he's already like super ADD.

I guess the way the video was broken up it seemed like Max and yourself were in the running.
I don't know. It's a good question. I'm kind of scared if I got one what my graphic would be because I don't really like any of the graphics.

You could do the all black board. Like shiny black.
I'd actually be down for that. There was one like that—the Scott Oster Bianca board. I like those boards. I like the wood grain boards too. Everybody is doing the emboss or deboss shit on graphics. I like that idea but just on wood grain.

Have smartphones ruined humanity or made it better?
Obviously they make people a little lazier and maybe a little dumber. But then it's also cool that someone can get a smartphone and get a camera from like the middle of nowhere and be able to share their skating worldwide. Not everybody has a computer or access to everything. But overall I feel like technology is kind of getting psycho.

I still disconnect from it when I skate. I put my phone away and don't look at it. But I wonder for people who don't skate or do any sports, do they ever really disconnect?
I see a lot of skaters who are on their phone. I'm probably on my phone a lot too. It's pretty bad. I see kids skate across the park looking at their phone. Then skate back and sit down. It's gnarly. It's such a distraction. And I'm not innocent of anything either. I fucking look at this thing too much. I have little sisters and I see how glued to it they are. For homework, if I was a kid now I would be cheating on everything. You don't have to remember shit anymore. You just look it up on your phone. You don't even have to use your brain. Maybe kids are more aware of what is going on in the world I guess. For better or for worse.

Right. Or they're just reading some conspiracy theory bullshit.
That shit is bad too.

Most important thing outside of skateboarding?
I think just having the space to be alone at times. Being able to decompress—read or draw. There's always someone breathing down my neck nowadays. It's really nice to just have alone time. I really like just hanging out in my room.

Everybody needs some quiet time. Last one. Path to world peace circa 2017?
I don't know. It's obviously impossible. I think our brains are just too complex for peace. Maybe if we were like ants we could all be peaceful. I don't know. There are just too many fucking people. There is always going to be some power hungry person out there. I don't understand what the fuck all these dictators want. Kim Jong-un, Trump, and Putin—they're not going to live forever. What are they doing everything for?

I think they're just scared and crazy. That's all they know. If they're not dominating other people they don't know what to do with themselves.
I don't know. Our brains are super complex but then at the same time we're also super small. We might as well be ants. That's a hard question to answer. World peace is pretty hard to achieve. But I do think within a small community like skateboarding it's easier.

Maybe we can just make peace within our little crew and everybody else can do the same with theirs.
That's the best you can do really. It's hard to impact the whole world. But you can make the changes you want right now in your immediate surroundings. Skaters are all over the world. And most of us are like-minded. You can go anywhere and a skater will take you in and show you his town. That's the best part about skating. Maybe world peace can start from there.

*Cyrus went pro as we shipped this issue. Congrats Cyrus!

Backside Smith grind, Paris, France. Photo: Alex Pires *click for larger image

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