Ron Deily is a fine East Coaster who bleeds thick New Jersey blood, and in most ways, he's just like you and me—from his heart-stopping phobia of E.T. to owning his very own skate shop at the young age of 14 all the way to bailing on his first year of college for a 40-day Euro trip. Pretty normal stuff, right? Ron has been hitting the streets hard lately, stacking clips in the city with the Zoo York crew or on his own free-flowing solo missions. With a new part dropping this month and a recent pinch from the all-adoring skate bug, this dude clearly isn't stopping anytime soon. And for that, we're thankful.—Brian Blakely
Photos by Sean Cronan
Tell me about this E.T. phobia that you have? Is it true that you freak out at even the slightest glimpse of him?
Yeah, it still creeps me out, but it's not like it used to be. When I was super young I was deathly afraid of him, and I would have these night terrors that I thought were completely real. I can't prove it to myself, even now, that it wasn't real because I seriously didn't sleep for days. But yeah, E.T. was pretty much fucking trying to hang out with me every night for like seven years when I was little [laughs].
Have you ever watched the whole movie, or were you not even able to sit through it all?
Yeah, I don't know. I think I might've saw the first couple minutes of it, but I've never watched it all the way through. I saw that first glimpse, and I think it was just instantly horrifying [laughs].
You rep New Jersey pretty hard, but you're originally from Pennsylvania, right?
Yeah, I'm from Allentown, PA, but I moved to Jersey when I was like one or two.
What was the skate scene like growing up?
It was interesting. We were pretty poor growing up. I got like one skateboard a year. Growing up I had my one buddy who would skate in my basement with me for the first three years. There were just a lot of groups of friends and stages that I went through. Kids that were in and out of it, some would go away and new dudes would come in. It was pretty chill until we found the Eatontown Roller Rink. That was the meeting place for years. The rink was a serious spot back then.
"I JUST CANCELED EVERYTHING AND WENT ON THIS SKATEBOARD TRIP, AND I REALLY HAVEN'T TOUCHED A SCHOOLBOOK SINCE."
What would you guys skate there?
It was just a roller rink that on Friday nights they would bring out a couple jump ramps and some boxes and shit, and everyone in the area would roll through. There'd be pro dudes there, like Tim O'Connor would show up, dudes from the city would be there. It was cool to just watch all the dudes skate. Everyone had their own little cliques and shit, it was fun. It was super rad growing up there. And it's awesome to see all the old footage from that place nowadays. It's just like a blast from the past. It's pretty awesome.
How are things going over at Zoo York?
Things are good. We're doing a lot of stuff and working on a lot of different projects. Our team manager is doing so much for us that I feel bad even hitting him up for boards sometimes just knowing how busy things are [laughs]. But yeah, there's just a lot of cool stuff going on.
What are you focusing on specifically? Any video projects or anything?
I'm filming a part that comes out sometime in August. We're calling it Under The Hudson because I take the PATH train every day to the city and it goes under the Hudson River. We're going to try and do a board that comes out with the part and make it like The Magic School Bus, but it'll be a PATH train going underwater. It should be sick.
Do you roll with the Zoo crew fairly often, or is everyone usually off doing their own thing?
Everyone is usually always mingling around. It's been pretty easy to meet up. R.B. [Umali] has been on it lately. Everyone has their own little parts coming out, so we're all on the hustle right now. Everyone's just feeding off of each other, which is nice.
When did professional skating fully become your routine?
It's been a while. I had a free ride for college to the point where I was all signed up, went to the orientation the week before class, like, I was fully in school mode. I was ready to get it done, and I remember somebody randomly bailed out of this 40-day Euro trip and I had never been to Europe. It was this big Zoo trip through England and Germany and Prague, and all these crazy countries, so I just canceled everything and went on this skateboard trip, and I really haven't touched a schoolbook since.
What are some jobs you could picture yourself doing after skateboarding? Would you bring back Skateboard City?
[Laughs] I don't know! That seems like a tough business to get ahead in these days. My dad was actually talking about that recently, saying it would be cool to kind of mesh with Nieratko [NJ Skateshop] and call it Skateboard City, New Jersey. It'd be like, Skateboard City, NJ. But yeah, I don't think it's going to happen. We actually still have the original storefront sign in our backyard.
So give me the story behind Skateboard City? Was it really a skate shop that you owned when you were 12?
I was 14 I think. I don't know what made my dad want to do it, but he was down. Maybe he had a good year or something. My uncle owned the building that we had the store in, so we were getting a great deal on the rent and just figured we'd go for it.
So it was actually a straight-up skate shop? It wasn't just some little pop-up shop at your house or something?
Oh yeah, yeah. It was good times. We had like Zorlac boards, a bunch of 151, old Foundation stuff, like old Tum Yeto stuff in there… Dynasty boards [laughs]. It was crazy.
That's nuts. Who were the employees? Just you and your dad?
Me and my friends were the employees. It was fucking awesome. A lot of great times happened in there. If we wanted to go skate or something, we'd close it down, go skate, come back. Life was good.
Living the dream! How long did it last?
It lasted a good five years. We did all right. But there was something wrong; we weren't doing our taxes or something [laughs], so we got shut down. Something silly. But yeah, my dad just got over it.
What do you have planned the rest of the year?
Just keep on shredding. In this day in age, you just have to keep the footage coming. You just have to keep it moving. You gotta know that the winter is coming and that you only have so much time, you know? Just stay hyped, stack up your footage, and when the winter comes figure out what to do with it. Bang some parts out and make a trip somewhere.
Peep Ron Deily’s footage in Zoo York: Under The Hudson.