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Q&A WITH EVAN MOCK Balancing skating, surfing, California, Hawaii and Paris Fashion Week

Photos: Arto Saari, Delone

Born and bred on the North Shore of Oahu, Evan Mock draws unique lines from water to concrete. Evan recently cruised by What Youth HQ for a roll on the ramp and some coffee. We dove into the roots of his first legit deck, Paris Fashion Week, and living on the mainland.

 

Everyone is surfing and also skateboarding these days. What did you start doing first?

I started surfing first, but since I had the skate park across the street from my house I just got hooked on skating, and then I didn’t even think about the water for a few years. I was homeschooled, so I would go surf before school, and then all day after school too.

You ever compete in surfing?

I’ve never had the desire to surf contests. I focused on getting as good as I could at skating.

Are you stoked on the route you took?

I like it. I’m still so influenced by surfers, that will always be part of my life. I surf all the time. Sometimes I have more fun doing that than skating.

What was your home break?

I grew up at Gas Chambers so I surfed there for the first five or six years of my life. Then we moved to Waimea, so I surfed that strip from Rocky’s to Ehukai, and even Logs.

How is skateboarding on the North shore?

There’s a couple mini ramps, the Cholo’s Bowl, but street spots are pretty non-existent.

How about the South Shore?

Yeah mostly town for street stuff. The North Shore has way less concrete.

Are there still more spots to explore?

There’s spots popping up, especially in Town. I just had the Palace team there for two weeks and they were into it…they were like, ‘this is even better than London.’

What made you move to the mainland?

As I got a little better, I knew I had to move. Not particularly to California, but just away from the North Shore. You get to a certain level, then you start planning on moving, just switching up your lifestyle. I still go out and visit my sister all the time, and my brother’s about to graduate from High School.

Do you think surfing is going the Street League route with wave pools?

I definitely think that is the route surfing is going, and I am not amped on it, but that’s the way it is. Everything has to change. Everyone who has been there says, ‘I would rather surf the wave pool than my favorite spot on the North Shore.’  It’s so perfect, how could you not like it? It’s the only way you can take surfing to a global scale. It’s already international, but now you can have a wave pool in the middle of Europe or Idaho. It’s the only way it can be up there with MLB or NBA. I feel everything new is weird at first, but in a couple years it’s just going to be a normal thing, especially when they expand.

What do you think about the skateboarding culture in CA versus HI?

Pretty similar actually. There’s a lot bigger skate culture in Hawaii than you might think. There’s some kids that skate that don’t even surf, and they’ve lived there (HI) their whole lives. It’s pretty sick. The only difference is that if you wanna make it skating, you have to move away from The Rock. The original formula – to make it in Hawaii – is a lot harder now than it was back in the day. Living out here (CA) is cool, you never know who you’re going to sit next to at dinner.

How hard is it to make it as a pro skateboarder from Hawaii?

I think it’s an advantage actually. You stick out way more. When someone discovers you’re from Hawaii they are instantly intrigued.

Who’s your biggest influences outside of skateboarding?       

Anyone creative. I like musicians and every type of music. Even if you don’t like someone you can still have an appreciation for them. I like Julian Klincewicz, the videographer. He films and he has collaborated with guys like Kanye and Jay Z. He’s done art and he has a band.

 Do you like being referred to as a skater?

You don’t have to be pigeonholed as a surfer, skater, or an artist. You can be anything now. With social media these days you are not just a content creator, but a creative consultant. No title, that’s the best thing.

Does skating ever get old?

I like having my hand in many different things, keeping my mind busy…like my project, “Sorry.” After you go on a skate trip for a week, the body is so toasted by the end of it. So, I chill and let my body recoup with art, and surfing, then get back to skating again. It’s cool to keep the mind busy so it isn’t just skating, skating and skating.

Tell us more about Sorry?

It’s just a passion project. My friend Joe, Kelia Moniz’s husband and I were driving around town taking shots for a polaroid series of old cars in Hawaii. Then, Joe does art over them. So, we were in the streets and we saw a tag, Sorryon this building with nothing else around it. I was like, “Damn let’s run with that.” So, we started drawing it in different ways. I want it to be very mysterious. I want it to be in people’s heads.

Why are there so many abandoned cars on the North Shore?

Because everyone is riding dirty [laughs]. They may be getting pulled over with no license. They just ditch the car and leave. What are you going to do? It’s an island.

How else do you see surfers vs. skaters?

Some of the best skaters are so into surfing. They are realizing how much sicker surfing is than skating, like falling in the water versus concrete. My friend moved to France to surf more, and Arto [Saari] went from living on Hollywood and Fairfax to living right behind Pupukea Grill on the North Shore. He says it’s for his daughter. He’s building a fortress there.

Do you ever get any grief for being a skater and also a surfer?

The real core skate homies do, but that’s the way I was raised, doing both. I went to Sweden a couple years ago and saw these kids riding scooters everywhere. So, if your friends scooter, then you’re going to scooter. if you live in S.F. you’re going to grow up bombing hills. When you are young, you’re not thinking too much, you’re just doing things to have fun.

What was your first skateboard?

My first legit skateboard was a Tony Hawk complete. My cousin used to work at the distribution center for Baker and Birdhouse. So, he set me up with a complete. My very first skateboard was from Walmart and I waxed the grip tape with surf wax because I thought it would be grippier. I quickly found out that was not what you’re supposed to do.

What do you think about skateboarding in the Olympics?

I think it’s going to be good for skaters, because it’s going to be on national television. Skateboarding could definitely use that right now. Still, it’s a little weird to me.

Who’s the best surfer/skater right now?

Kalani David. He’s such a rock star…just so sick. He had some issues, but everyone does. He’s a freak. He can do a 540 on a vert ramp and do a backside full rotation at Rocky Rights. He’s that good. Skill-wise he’s probably the best of both worlds. Second passion pick is Raven Tershy.

Does he surf good?

I’ve been surfing with him in Hawaii and he charges, let’s just say that.

 Who else?

Arto obviously is super frothy. He wakes up at 5 am, surfs for 2 hours, and then drops his kid off at school at 8.

Would you rather do a 540 or get a big barrel?

Big barrel for sure. 100 percent. In skateboarding when you land a trick, you’re stoked, but at the same time you don’t want to do that same trick ever again. A big barrel at Chopes would never get old.

Where’s a perfect surf and skate trip?

Hawaii is pretty good for that. Then Australia or Bali. I’ve been trying to get a Bali trip for a minute with Arto. There’s waves and parks. In the past 2 years, a bunch of DIY spots and parks have been popping up there. Bali is growing, it’s cool.

Are you psyched or scared to go on KOTR?

Both. I would definitely have to do it. I’ve heard nothing but bad things from King of the Road [laughs]. I showed some teams around in Hawaii last year. If I had an opportunity to go, I would go, 100 percent. I know it’s going to be gnarly. Just come out with a shaved eyebrow, a tattoo on your face, kissing grandmas.

What’s next for you?

I’ll be working with Welcome (Skateboards), which is really cool, to have a board company backing you. Living here, it’s easier to link up with the team after trips, keep the trip going. I’m going to London in a couple months to film The Jetlag Brothers edit with the Palace dudes. And then going back and forth to Hawaii, shooting with Arto, and surfing. I like going home and recouping because it’s pretty lonely out here. It’s a good recharge. Family time. I love being in Hawaii.

What about fashion?

I plan to go to Paris Fashion Week. I texted Hedi Slimane this morning and he said I could go to his show. He handles men’s wear for Celine. He’s the dude who brought YSL to L.A. and dropped the Y…it was a big ordeal. They profit like, 500 million a year, so gnarly. To go to a show like that is going to be special. I really look forward to that, I love all that fashion shit. It’s my other favorite hobby.

How would you like to be remembered?

Just being nice and spreading aloha. And as a pro athlete who was caring to people, especially those who’ve loved and cared for me. I’m trying to creatively build my brand right now, in every way. You only have a certain window, the “Jason Dill window,” as they say. Hopefully I would be described as someone who brought something new to the table.– WY

 

Check out Evan in “Some Kind of Vacation”

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