Tag Archives: Greg Janess


Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s Reno was like most cities. The skate scene consisted of street skating or you might have known of someone who had a ramp. Without all of today’s luxuries of communication, new spots were always by word of mouth. We would drive to Gardnerville, Carson City, Fallon, Dayton, and Tahoe to find new spots. The closest indoor park was in Sacramento Ca. The skate scene was so small and tight, most of the time people were cool with you showing up at their house.
I first heard about 293 while I was living in Fallon. All we knew was it was ramps and props under an old building by some rail road tracks by down town Reno. At first there was a roof over the whole space. It was an area where trains were loaded and unloaded. Eventually the roof was tore down leaving only the foundation. People would bring boxes, quarter pipes, bank ramps, and curbs. It was never a bust, and cops were cool with us most of the time. No bikes. No scooters. No rollerbladers. Imagine that. That’s what made it such a special place. It was made by skateboarders, maintained by skateboarders, and regulated by skateboarders. If you were disrespectful or acted like a dick, to put it lightly, you were made to feel unwelcome.
You take a giant slab of cement that had a loading dock style drop, add a rail road track down it, and the rest was a blank canvas of perfection. The cement was smooth and all the obstacles were taken care of by the locals. If you’re a young buck, you’ll here about 293 as long as there’s skating in Reno. For us older cats, it was one of the best scenes at the time. The 90’s and 293 will always be synonymous with progression and good memories. It was Reno’s first real skatepark that never got too stale. It was easy to move a prop to a different spot or build something new. 293 gained notoriety from the Zorlac video Zero Hero with Rob Hostetter and Denny Franchini destroying the place. It also was featured in 411VM on occasions.
Inevitably we would get burnt on being there so much, just like any spot. In retrospect, I’d take 293 over the majority of our local skateparks that have no soul. 293 didn’t cost a penny from the tax payers and it was designed by skaters with modern skateboarding in mind. As far as the D.I.Y. craze that has taken the skate scene in a different direction, 293 was the blueprint. It is sorely missed and will never be replaced. It was a different time and scene in Reno and 293 was an answer to “where can we skate today without being kicked out?”. I often question how much flavor and style was lost with the current skateparks we have at our disposal. The photo below doesn’t show much of 293 at all. There’s a box going down the loading dock with Toby Riley nose blunt sliding it. Greg Janess and Dills are in the background, and Scott Waters is filming Toby. If you skated 293, the photo speaks volumes on a scene long gone. – ERL

Toby Riley. Chris Carnel photo circa 1996.


Broke not Broken

Hot weather equals a hot temper on occasion. Hockey tempers flare and next thing you know you’re looking down at the board you just focused. A quick stomp and that’s that, broken board. Probably one of the greatest marketing ploys in skateboarding was showing Pros at the time focusing their boards. One by one, all of us started doing it. I’ve seen friends focus boards because the grip got tore up or landing primo and smashing them into the ground. All in all the very act is senseless but, a great way to release the frustrations that come with skateboarding. I’ve seen less fortunate skaters beg others not to break an otherwise perfect condition board.

When you’re a young buck you focus your board because you trying to learn a new trick and it’s just not happening. When you get older you smash your board because your losing the tricks you used to have on lock. It’s ironic because it’s never the boards fault. It’s us who didn’t flip it right, catch it right, or land it right.  Greg Janess, Daryl Dibattista, Scott Waters, Justin Hay-Chapman, Kelly Haugen, Dean Christopher, and Spencer Benavides had some real melt downs back in the day. 

My absolute favorite person to watch get mad was Toby Riley. He would never break or throw his board out of anger. He would however punch himself in the face and head repeatedly. After all, it wasn’t his boards fault he was missing the trick. I’ve always related it to the old saying “A good mechanic never blames his tools”.  Although I can guarantee there are some mechanics that have thrown a tool out of anger. It is temporary satisfaction and a release that can’t be duplicated. Here’s to all our broken boards from days past and the ones in the near future that met an unexpected early retirement. You deserved better but, we love you all the same. -ERL

Life Span is questionable.

Toby Riley

Every city, town, or crew has that one guy who makes an impression on a skateboard. There’s the guy who’s conquered the biggest gap, switch back tailed some rail, or has a laundry list of tricks at the gnarliest spots. Then there’s the guy who shows up from time to time that all the young bucks ask, “Who’s that?”.  Toby Riley has been steadily killing it in Reno over 25 plus years. He’s always had that Julien Stranger vibe and style without trying to have that style at all. I’ve heard the new generation of guys ask “who’s that?” just seeing him ollie  a hip at the park. I always reply, “That’s Toby Riley.” with a smile. Watching Toby skate will do that to you, this is his Wheel Bite interview. -ERL

1. What’s good Toby? I see you stop by Mira Loma from time to time. Where are you skating at these days?

Good – a funny word when you look at it. Good is friends, family, and times, my top three. I have been blessed with all three of them. And that answers the next question as well. I’m skating wherever sounds fun to ride, there being everywhere, and most importantly wherever my dogs are! GRRRRRRR!!!


FS Ollie. Volland photo.

2. In the beginning what made you decide to start skating? Who was your first crew you learned the basics with?

The open canvas that it was at that time, 1985, street skating was being created every day. So everything, everything was being skated and nothing had a label or proper technique. It was too awesome, wild, colorful, and fuckin’ rockin’ out of control. Such a great break from other sports, with so many rules, it’s hard to have fun. Only rule in skateboarding: FUN.

3. It was a big deal back in the day to have a Pro board. Did you start off with a used good board or a new generic board?

My friend Robbie Jackson gave me an Action Sports that I had pimped the grip job checker board. Rode that a couple of months, then he kicked down his Skull Skates Dave Hackett, Grim Reaper in front of skulls, grey. I threw on the XR-2 trucks and two tone wheels and it was over!


Back foot. Volland photo.

4. Who was the first skater you saw in the mags that you looked up to and why?

There are a couple of firsts, Mark Gonzales and Hosoi. Hosoi was blasting ten foot methods and Gonz was writing the book on creativity. Aggression, speed, and creativity was what it was. Having fun while crushing shit to pieces, peacefully!


5. Damn, those two should be on everyone’s list! What was your first experience like at 293? 

Desolate, and quiet. My friend Justin Hay Chapman and I were one of the first. We followed the tracks and skated 292 long before 292. We went to 293 because to the right of the dock was a bank and we did early grabs off of it. Fuckin’ wicked ass judo airs!

Big snaps. Nice flick. Volland photo.

Big snaps. Nice flick. Volland photo.

6. Back in the 293 days when everyone was vibing everything you seemed to be just the opposite. You were always having fun skating and cool to everyone. How was it in the early days of 293?

By then skating in Reno had grown enough to have different crews, groups of friends, and whatever the fuck little some had, have, or whatnot. Mix that with the first D.I.Y. skatepark in Reno and BAM, here come the ego based drama and yada yada. All I wanted to do was hang out and skate all the ramps etc everyone brought and have fun. You can learn a lot from mixing with different crews, styles, colors, if you put your egos aside. Big responsibility and lesson in anarchy and human behavior. First spot and only spot in Reno at that time to skate without getting fucked withand we fucked ourselves. End of spot.

Tre Bomb. Volland Photo.

Tre Bomb. Volland Photo.

7. 293 was a blessing. Most of the newer skatepark generation never skated there, how would you describe 293 to these guys?

It would be like having full control over “the ice rink” pad. Bring ramps, wood, etc and build some new obstacles and have nobody really care, once we talked to the only business nearby at Denny’s Dependable Automotive. Keep it looking clean, regulate yourselves, and like Digital Underground said “Do Watcha Like”!!!

A hard to hit ollie at Fisherman's. Volland photo.

A hard to hit ollie at Fisherman’s. Volland photo.

8. Bombing the hill from your house to downtown was some memorable skate days. What were your regular spots when people were still street skating?

Originally the First Interstate Bank at the bottom of 7th Street with Fred Schultz, Mike Herman, the Lewis Brothers, Jay Nietto, Chris Ghardella, my 8th grade crew. Then hit the bumps and hotel/motel bumps on 4th street. Then downtown, alleys, Pioneer Theater, Circus blocks, Straw Hat alley, the market under Silver Legacy curbs, Pioneer Inn Casino blocks, Court House green bars, the Gauntlet, Saint Marys’s steps, ALL of UNR, the long red curb, the OG double set, Lawlor walls forever, 7th Street ditch, K-Mart ditch, and the phantom Fountain of Youth. Can’t mention any current spots – top secret meccas.

Switch ollie. Volland photo.

Switch ollie. Volland photo.

9. You eventually started getting hooked up in Reno. Who was your first sponsor?

Shop sponsor, World of Toys through Ben Dixon, great person. He had connections though being a skater for years and working at the shop. He got me shop deals with Santa Cruz.

Ollie for the Sinclair Homies. Volland photo.

Ollie for the Sinclair Homies. Volland photo.

10. How did the Consolidated thing come about?

Consolidated formed from OG memebers of Santa Cruz, Keenan, Jason Jessee, Birdo, Moish, etc. A foot in the door from Ben and from Jason Jessee got me on Consolidated. The original line up was the Paez brothers, Doug Saenz, Allen Peterson, Karma, and Andy Roy. One of those dream scenarios. There were differences with Keenan, everyone else was gold. Next was a friend Ozzy Alvarez, he started Human Skateboards. I hung out in San Diego, thanks Ozzy, Peter at Pacific Drive, Greg Janess, my box roomates, Dennis Vierra, Tommy Budjanek, “Rickaholik”, Eric L, Ben Dixon, and Caine Gayle for the San Diego hospitality. It was a great experience. My last was Enemy Skateboards and the 50-50 Board Shop and Out of Bounds.

Japan. Griffin Photo.

Japan. Griffin Photo.

11. I miss SD everyday! In all of your travels, what are some of your favorite cities to skate?

Any city or town you roll into for the first time. Anywhere, anytime. Also San Francisco during the EMB period, we’d drive down and sleep in the car for the weekend. 90-94. It was the epicenter at that time, and got to witness some serious business first hand. Also I like the roughness of good ole Reno, not the best but, it’s what ya make of ‘er. 

Backside Style. Griffin photo.

Backside Style. Griffin photo.

12. What is it about Reno that has always spawned such a solid skate scene?

Reno, the roughness and smallness of it all. Shit will come back around, very small. Makes you kind of man-up  for your actions and whatnot. Leaves you with consequences for your actions, you really see who people are after the fact. That and the fact that it started out everyone hating skateboarders, so you didn’t really have a choice but to unite a little more. Now days every little shit head wants to be a “skater dude”.

Snaps Down Town. Griffin photo.

Snaps Down Town. Griffin photo.

13. Yeah, skating is so accepted now. Too accepted! From when you first started rolling to now, who are the guys that you looked up to?

Peter Chiu, Phil, Boozer Daily, Rob Hostetter, Pat Weiss, Eric Svare, Danny G, Denny Franchini, Rob Roy, Kevin Cox, Spencer B, Tony Hospital, Fred Shulty, Gershon Mosely, John Ludwick, Dean Christopher, Brandon G, Darnelle, Jevelle, D Starkey, Coia, Beau Shaver, John Cardiel, Wade Speyer, Jimmy, Beau Halverson, Shawn Dickerman, Beau Bevier, Lee Pottle, Tyree, Scott Waters, Scott B, Mike H, Mike Langley, Lee, Joey P, Richie, Flip Nasty, Mike Hubert, Ben Bledsoe, Kevin and Nick, Mark Melin, Ouchoe, Oink, Jamie Hustle, Rob, Jake Mutha Fuckin’ Griffin, Joe Rock, Neil B, Worms, Dills, Boyd and Josh Turner, Josh and Claude, Greg Janess, Kearney, Max Alonzo, Mike Edwards, Christian Erickson, Rhodes, Lonny Impossible, Randy Barr, Ralph Parks, Brian S, Damon and Levi Watson,  Eric Lantto, John Gertz, Dave Maine, Austin and McKenna, Doug H. Nut, Kelsey Page, Sara &  Shelby & Ciera Herman, and all the hungry lil’ tigers I see with a good attitude. 

Slide up and out. Volland photo.

Slide up and out. Volland photo.

14. Hell yes, Reno crew! How long have you been skating Indys Toby?

Since about 1990. About 21 years or so….had to try out the rest before I found the best. Everything from Rannali, Gull Wing Super Pro III, Thunder Salamanders, Venture, until one day….

Melon. Volland photo.

Melon. Volland photo.

15. I know you are a real busy guy. What’s a typical week like for you and how do you balance skating into the madness?

I do a lot of running around for the restaurant, Pneumatic Diner.  I usually bring the ole board with me and take advantage of a half hour here on the way to get produce or hour there a few times a week. I love it like the first day, it has saved my life, endangered my life, and I will always be riding so long as I can stand up. It keeps me grounded in a crazy world that would have otherwise made me crazy.

4th Street slider. Volland photo.

4th Street slider. Volland photo.

16. Thanks for taking time out for this Toby. Break down any thanks, shout outs, and all that.

Thanks to those who let it happen, Moms and Pops!! Letting me use power tools from 10+ and teaching me how to use them to build ramps all over the yard and house and letting me skate all day and night. Couldn’t have happened without Charles or Sherry!

Welcome to the Jungle video.

Thanks to Jake Griffin and Kyle Volland for the great photos.

Greg Janess

I don’t really remember the first time I met Greg. The past seems to be getting a bit fuzzy. I do remember the first time I saw him. He was riding a wood grain Roskopp II and was doing boneless variations. At the time though, if you saw another skater you would approach them. There weren’t that many of us, and Fallon was far from skater friendly. Greg had a supportive family and an amazing ramp. To this day skating that ramp with him in the scorching heat is some of my best memories growing up. Watching him excell so fast and the constant road trips made skating so much bigger. From vert, ledges, pools, tech, to big gaps, Greg skated everything on a higher level. Greg also dealt with my ups and downs through out the years and stayed a true friend. I’m very honored to say Greg Janess is my friend and bring you his interview for Wheel Bite. One of Reno’s finest on and off the board! -ERL

Japan style in Reno. Volland Photo.

1. Greg you were the first person I knew that had not only a ramp but, a good ramp. How long after you started skating did you and your Dad build it?

I had been skateboarding a lot for about two years when my dad offered to help build me a half pipe. So that means I was about 14 and it was 1987. I was at a crossroads. My dad had gotten me a motorcycle when I was about 8 and that had become a huge part of my life. I was also really into bmx at the time too. Initially it was a toss up between skateboarding and biking on the ramp. And I rode the motorcycle on it a few times too.

Greg’s backyard was our skatepark. Circa 1987.

2. The Janess Ramp went through several phases of alteration. Your Dad was always supportive and out there sweating in his famous sweater. What were the original dimensions?

At first the ramp wasn’t that great but it was exactly what I needed to learn to compress and do kick turns. At the first phase it was eight feet wide. It had eight-foot transitions and was nine feet tall on one side and eleven on the other. So we’re talking one foot of vert on the low side and three on the other. The higher side was my dad’s attempt to keep us from damaging the satellite dish that was right behind it. That worked for awhile.

Fallon Mini Ramp Contest Circa 1990.

3. What video or mag inspired you to build your own ramp?

My first inspiration was a skate demo I was lucky enough to see at the California State Fair in Sacramento. We had gone to the fair because one of my sisters, Katherine, wanted to go to a ‘Til Tuesday/Rick Springfield concert. Somehow I ended up at that concert with my sister and mom. But anyway there was also a half-pipe demo by Christian Hosoi and Alan Losi. Not at the concert itself but earlier in the day in a large tent. It was the first time I had ever seen skateboarding like that in anything but Thrasher or Transworld. I was completely blown away. I had no idea the human body was capable of such things. Just watching them drop in was the biggest miracle I had ever witnessed. Prior to that I had seen this guy in Fallon, Pete Baratti, ollie over a gutter and that had been amazing. That was the first time I saw anyone ollie anything. I had no idea how he was able to get a skateboard to lift off the ground for almost two feet and to a height of almost four inches. My new goal in life was to ollie up a curb.

4. The first time I saw you skating you had that wood grain Roskopp II. Was that your first board?

My very first board was a hand-me-down from my older brother. Or more like an abandoned relic that was in the toy chest. It was one of those fiberglass ones that was maybe 20-inches long and 5-inches wide. The trucks were so skinny there was no way I could get them to grind the edge of the sidewalk in my front yard. Next was a Locals Only from Gemco in Sparks. My choice was that or an Executioner which I had seen one or two people riding. Either one was crap but it was the next step up from fiberglass and I was beginning to read Thrasher quite a bit. It was full of advertisements and product placement that made me sure I had to get my hands on one of these professional-quality decks. My parents had to be sure this wasn’t a passing interest before they would consider taking me to a regular skate shop.

Circa June of 1985.

5. What inspired you to pick up your first skateboard? 

 My grandmother kept this journal that she would edit and share with the family each year. In it she wrote that at age eight I was interested in all things with wheels and that it would be interesting to see what my choice of transportation would be. It’s true I always loved things with wheels. That love affair had me riding bikes, then motorcycles, then skateboards. Skateboarding has shaped my core philosophy on life and how I see the world.


6. Who was in your first skate crew? I rolled with Jim Allred, Steve Schmitt, and Steve Stubblefield. You had a bit of a younger crew at first right? Although we eventually  became one crew.

It seemed like everyone was skateboarding when I really got into it in 1985. My early skate crew included Matt Robinson, Matt Nelson, Jay Descallar, Jason Crockett, Rob Duvall, Ryan Carey, and Derek Yost. Others too but it’s amazing how the years erase those important connections from childhood.

7. The kids today have it made with skating being so popular. Explain how it was growing up a skater in Fallon NV.

There were no skateparks or skateshops. No X-Games or Internet to see what skateboarders in other places were doing. My only connection to the outside world of skateboarding was through Thrasher, Transworld, and a video rental place that somehow had VHS tapes of the 1985 Vision contests at the Del Mar and Upland skateparks in Southern California. Fallon is such a weird place. You have a lot of hicks plus a Navy base that brings in people from all around the U.S. I’m surprised there has never been some huge battle between the locals and the 18-year-olds who signed up for the Navy and have no idea how they ended up in the Nevada high desert.

Nose slide in Fallon NV. Volland photo.

Nose slide in Fallon NV. Volland photo.

8. There’s nothing lamer than the guys who you used to skate with and they quit, only to talk shit to you for sticking with it. After all your friends quit, why did you stick it out?

I’m not sure how it happened but one day it was cool to skateboard and the next day it wasn’t. There was so much pressure from the jocks and conformers to get everyone who skateboarded to quit. It was a constant onslaught of getting shoved into walls, tripped, and being called a skate fag. We live in a funny country where everyone wants to be an individual but then gets upset when someone is different from them. Many have empty lives without passion. They tend to act out anytime they see someone truly enjoying themselves. I loved skateboarding like nothing before. I wasn’t’ going to give it up without a fight. I take that back. I’m more of a conscientious objector than a fighter. Those with empty lives pushed and hit me quite a bit but they couldn’t break me. Skateboarding was my life. Skateboarding is life.

9. You always came back from skate camp with a whole new bag of tricks. I was pretty jealous I couldn’t go, although I was like 45 at the time. What skate camp did you go to?

I went to the Bobby G camp in Fresno twice and then then the Sequoia Lake YMCA camp once. Going to skate camp was a huge motivating factor for me. It was my first opportunity to skate a real vert ramp, a spine ramp, a good street course. It was so inspiring to skate shoulder-to-shoulder with pro skateboarders I had only see in magazines. It turns out they were real people and they weren’t perfect in every way. They were way better than me, of course, but I discovered they don’t land everything on every try. Most of them were really nice and were happy to give me tips and trick ideas.

The summer of my 16th birthday I had appendicitis and almost died. I was supposed to go to skate camp in a week and that’s all I cared about. The day after emergency surgery I was asking my mom to call them and see if it was possible to go to later camp session. It all worked out and was amazing. I got to skate with Jeremy Wray that week at camp. At the time he wasn’t yet sponsored but it was so obvious he was going to be a big deal.

10. I know when you got your drivers license, you started hitting the road quick. First it was Reno 293 trips right? How soon did you start hitting up SF to skate EMB?

Nose pick in Fallon NV. Volland photo.

Living in Fallon without a car is like being in a mosquito-infested prison in the middle of nowhere. Occasionally you could escape to the real world when someone with a car would drive you the 60 miles to Reno. Then you were at least somewhere that had some influences besides farming and the military. With my license I could finally escape most days of the week. Most evenings of my junior and senior years in high school were spent driving to Reno to skate until the sun went down before driving right back to Fallon. That means most of the school year I was driving an hour to skate for an hour in Reno at 293. Then it was an hour back to Fallon to have dinner with my parents and to skate my ramp after that. I know a lot of the skaters at 293 didn’t like me at first because I was so focused on getting in that skate time before driving back home. Making friends would have been great if I had the time for it. I think they started to warm up to me some in the Spring months when I had a bit more time to hang out. Although for that to happen I had to convince my parents that I shouldn’t have to be home for dinner. Not the easiest thing to do. Especially when my dad had spent all that time helping me build the ramp. He couldn’t quite understand why I would need to skateboard somewhere else.

I had been to EMB one other time just before the ’89 earthquake that took out the Embarcadero freeway. Ray Henderson, from Carson City, drove me down. I believe Eric Dado was their too. I had to figure out a way to skate there much more. It took a lot of convincing but eventually my parents let me drive myself to SF to skateboard for a weekend. Daryl Dibattista was with me on some of those early trips and he knew some girls who had an apartment in the City. Sometimes we were able to stay with them for the Saturday night. Other times we slept in the car and used the Hyatt bathrooms in the morning to freshen up. I was lucky that parents ever let me do all that. In hindsight that’s a crazy amount of responsibility for them to give me.

11. The vibe their was pretty harsh with all the “T Dog” craze. You seemed to fit in fairly quit for a small town white boy. What was skating there like for you?

Every trip to EMB was all about seeing what crazy tricks Mike Carroll and Henry Sanchez were doing. Pressure flips and hard flips were all the rage at this point and it was mind blowing to see those two doing them down the 7. A lot of the guys there were vibers but I somehow got in pretty quickly with Karl Watson and Mike York. They were seriously good and respected by the others. The other locals weren’t too bad if you were aware enough to stay out of their way. I’m pretty sure my best skating there was late at night when the place cleared out some. I have many fond memories of skating there with you, Daryl, Mark Carlisle, Kelly Haugen, and John Strickland. Were you there that time James Kelch gave us new decks for giving him a ride home?

Five O to fakie at Ozzy’s Ramp. ERL photo.

12. I missed that trip but, James did a similar deal with me. More of a “cash today, product tomorrow” type deal. EMB was blowing up at that time. I remember you went to San Diego on one trip. Things changed after that. Is that the trip you met Ozzy (Alvarez)?

Daryl (DiBattista) convinced me to give Rob Hostetter a ride to SD for the Zorlac premiere of Zero Hero. Honestly I was still rather green at the time and intimidated by the idea of having a SAP in my car for such a long drive. Rob turned out to be a really great guy and I had been worried without reason. He introduced me to Ozzy at the premiere and we hit it off right away. He had just turned pro for Zorlac and moved from Georgia. He was still in the process of getting things going there and he offered me a place to stay anytime I visited. He also said he could help me out with skate gear if I needed it. I probably took advantage of those offers much more than I should have.

13. Yeah but at the time you were focusing a lot of boards! I remember you invited me on the next SD trip. When you said it was an 8 hour drive, I thought you were nuts. When did you start getting hooked up from skate companies. Although the Polaroid’s we sent to Skull Skates didn’t pan out too well!

I think I remember us sending Polaroids to Small Room too. The very first company to hook me up was Firewood which was Daryl’s company out of Bikes and Boards in Reno. Daryl was cutting boards out of the blanks the skate shop used to be able to get. I think they were something like 11 x 33 pressed rectangular blanks that had concave with a tail and nose kick. Not much nose kick since noses were really short around this time. Anyway, he would cut the shape himself and then file and buff the edges. He would also add some graphics with a marker. I think Mike Huntsman was skating for him too at this point. That was a huge deal to me. Before that my only sponsor had been my parents.

Toby Riley and Greg in Heckler Magazine cira 1997. Chris Carnell photo.

14. Break it down Greg. Who were your sponsors? From shops to the big boys?

Let’s see. Bikes and Boards/Firewood, Karl Watson when he had an extra board (he skated for Think when it first started), Ozzy giving me Zorlac boards, ridiculously large pants, and small wheels (it was 1991 after all), Entity, Gullwing, Pacific Drive, Vision Shoes, World of Toys (Ben Dickson rules), Pacific Drive, Addiction, Human Skateboards, Clean Skateboards (flow from Kyle Volland), Venture Trucks (flow from Greg Carroll), Jeff and Damian at Out of Bounds. There were many others who helped me on the way. You have helped me numerous times and still do today. Scott Waters hooked me up with boards and shoes more times than I can count. Caine Gayle and Gershon Mosely helped me a lot too. I’ve been really lucky to have had so many great people in my life.

15. I think it was at the 93 Back to the City Contest in SF that Ozzy called you out at Hubba Hide Out. Something along the lines of “get down to business on this giant hubba and you’ll be fully on Entity” type deal. I know we were flowing you at the time. Ozzy always pushed you and Scott Waters. How did that all go down and what did you do on Hubba Hide Out that day?

We had skated Fort Miley for quite a bit that day and then someone said we should go to Hubba. I don’t think we intended to try anything on it at first. It was more of a reconnoissance mission to size it up and think about things we hoped to try on it in the future. I remember popping an ollie down the stairs but not having any real thoughts about trying anything on the ledge. Then Ozzy says something like, “Do something on that ledge and I’ll put you on Entity.” He was dead serious and it was the exact thing I needed for the motivation to try. I can’t remember how many times I rolled up to it before trying the first trick but it suddenly all came together. I locked into a noseslide and realized I had more in me than I thought. By the end of the session I had pulled a 50-50, a boardslide, a noseslide, noseslide to fakie, noselide to 270 shove-it, a 180 nosegrind, and a 180 nosegrind to fakie. That day got me on the team on a lot of what we filmed that day ended up in the Entity video. I was on cloud 9.

Entity Skateboards ad. Hubba sessions.

16. All those years of skate camp paid off son! I realized you stepped it up a few notches at the big four in SD. You were trying BS Nollie Flips, getting wheel bite, and ripping your back to shreds. Sal Barbier and Sean Sheffey rolled up and you quit trying. Sal Kicked Flipped them and Sheffey Heel Flipped them that day. A lot of people took you for a conceited guy, when in fact you were a shy kid. Although you did jump back up there with them. Not too long after that Ozzy asked you to turn Pro right?

I knew I had gotten a lot better but I hadn’t moved past being a small-town kid. Those two rolled up and all I could do was watch in awe. You have to understand this was when H-Street was a huge deal and Plan B was brand new. I knew I had a lot of potential but I wasn’t so sure I could ever be anything like them.

Mira Loma Session

17. Ozzy had your Pro Model all ready and last minute you said no. I’ve never really asked you seriously about that. Why did you pull the plug. Most people would kill for that opportunity?

This is really hard to answer. Turning pro didn’t feel right to me at the time but in hindsight I realize it was my only chance. Ozzy believed in me but I wasn’t liking the constant pressure to perform. My love for skateboarding was very important and I was afraid turning it into a job would kill that love. I wanted to take a step back to focus again on why skateboarding was so important to me. Basically I was afraid of losing my one true passion and also didn’t realize I would never have another chance. I don’t regret my decision but of course there is that big “what if” that will never be answered.

Entity Skateboards ad. Switch flip.


18. That’s a hard decision but, it seemed to work out in the long run. I think you still deserved a Pro Model. After that, did your mindset change a bit towards skating?

Removing that pressure to perform felt really good. My favorite people to skate with were in Reno and I never quite felt like I completely belonged in San Diego anyway. It was always in the back of my mind that I would need to move back to San Diego or to San Francisco to get coverage if I wanted to try to get another chance at being pro. That never happened but I have lots of fond memories of many great times.

19. What are some of your greatest memories of skating after all this time?

I skated the Pipeline skatepark in Upland when I was 13. It was the first skatepark I ever skated and then it was torn down soon after.

Funny this popped in my head but I think you were at the Plan B ramp when we got to skate it for a bit. I dropped in on the 17-foot extension without pads and then had no idea what to do with the speed when I hit the other wall. I slowed down as much as I could but still probably went about three or four feet over the other wall before kicking my board away. Then I kind of landed on my feet for a second before sliding down the transition on my butt.

Skating the ramp at Tony Hawk’s house was incredible. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined being at his house and skating that ramp. It was unreal.

20. Tony Hawk’s ramp was definitely insane. We were still in the fan out stage for a lot of Pros back then. What are you doing these days? You went full circle and move to SF?

I’m living in San Francisco and skateboarding when I have time. I’m kept pretty busy doing computer tech support job for a book publisher on weekdays and from long bikes rides to places North of the Golden Gate Bridge a few times a week. Recently I started playing bass guitar in a band, Ritual Debris, after finally getting around to playing music again a few years back (I was in marching/concert band from about 5th to 12th grade but took a music hiatus for about 15 years). I’m dating a woman, Mel, who means the world to me. We’re planning on doing a camping/bike tour of Europe for 4+ months next Spring. My father passed away last July and I’ve been visiting my mom in Fallon whenever possible.

Welcome to the Jungle video.

21. Thank you Greg for not being a quitter and being my oldest skate bud! Now is your time to thank the people out there.

I’ve mentioned many of them earlier in the interview but they deserve to be mentioned again. First and foremost I would like to thank my parents for being supportive of anything I ever wanted to do. They may have not always liked it but they hid that well. I love and miss my dad very much. Many thanks to you for many years of friendship. We had a falling out in the past but we made it through and I’m very happy to have you in my life. Thank you to Daryl Dibattista, Todd Schroeder, Steve Stubblefield (RIP), Ben Dickson, Karl Watson, Toby Riley, Sherry Riley, Josh Riley, Ozzy Alvarez, Ray Underhill(RIP), Steve Saiz, Walt Teidge, John Ludwick, Scott Waters, Beau Shaver(RIP), Spencer Benavides, Lisa and Alan Sprague, Justin Hay-Chapman, Jeff Goforth, Damian Ruff, Andy Haney, Stan Byers, Mike Huntsman, Kyle Volland, Peter Jiminez, Scott Waters, Classic Skate Shop, and so many others. You know who you are so please give me a hard time if I forgot to mention you by name.

Time Warp.

I’m very proud I can say skateboarding has made me who I am. It exposed me to the larger world and introduced me to thousands of great people. Thanks for reading. Now get out there and go skateboarding.

Catching up with Scott Waters

I first met Scott Waters as the guy who I thought stole a spine ramp from our skate spot in Fallon NV. Weird way to meet a guy who would end up a good friend. As the years went by and I skated 293, I got to know him better and we became good friends. It was only a matter of time until his skating got him noticed in the skateboard industry. I still skate with Scott to this day and his skills are as sharp as ever. I recently sat down with him to start the interview process and Kyle Volland came through with the photos. Check out www.skatenv.com for Scott’s sequences. To start the Wheel Bite Blog off, here is Reno’s own Scott Waters. -ERL

1. Scott, what year did you start skating and what was your get first real set up? I had a Sears special back in the 5th grade, but didn’t really start skating until the summer before 7th grade.  I  wanna say that was 1988.  My first real set up was a Bill Danforth with Indys, and OJ’s.

2. I know you skated Sparks a lot at first, who were you skating with at the beginning? In the beginning I was just skating with my firend Brian who got me into skateboarding.  Then he moved away and I was skating with Chris Siedler, Sean Stringfellow, Beau Bevier, Blake, Josh Stockwell, Steve Galicia, Jason Inman, Brian Medley, Spencer Benavides.  Sometimes Boozer and his crew would roll by to skate my launch ramp and just destroy it.  Those guys were doing all the cool stuff back then the rest of us would watch and then try all of their tricks when they left.  Later on the Sparks crew I chilled out with was pretty steady with Dean Christopher, Spencer Benavides, Tim Leosch, Josh Stockwell, Rob Allen, and Scott Brown who was way ahead of his time and seriously underrated.
3. What pros were inspiring you at the time? What made them stand out to you?  I was a big fan of Frankie Hill because he was doing stuff that was mind blowing at the time and Steve Caballero because he had the smooth style.  Kris Markovich and Sean Sheffey around the time of the A1 Meats Video and Soldiers Story (1991) got me really stoked because they both skated so fast.
4. When 293 hit, you were a local. That was a great time in Reno skating. When did you start getting hooked up?  Yeah, 293 was awesome.  I was more of a local there during its second  coming after the roof was gone.  We used to skate that place everyday for hours.  I remember teams that were on tour would always end up there so it wasn’t all that uncommon to see sponsored skaters show up to skate.  My first sponsor was World of Toys (thanks Ben) which was back in 1992.  Then I got sponsored by Simple Shoes and Venice Clothing which was a funny company run by some OG type guys out of Venice Beach, but they were really cool and hooked me up pretty fat.  Gershon helped me with both of those two hook ups.

FS Tail Slide to Fakie

5. You started to stack up quite a few sponsors, what were some companies you rode for?  I rode for G&S, Standard Trucks, NC Board Shop, Pacific Drive Board Shop, Duffs Shoes, Venture Trucks, Chikara/Red Line/Competition Wheels, I was on GullWing for a minute, Simple Shoes, Human Skateboards, Republic Skateboards, New Deal, Flow from Vita Shoes, Flow from NC Clothing….I know I am missing something.  You have been there with me most of the way, I am sure you can add something I forgot…oh yeah, and MadKap Skateboards.

6. Did you get to get on any tours? Yeah, I got to go on a few.  I did a US tour with Republic which was awesome.  It was Ozzy Alvarez, Johnny Fonseca, Paul Zitzer, Tommy Bujanec, Ricky Dixon, Billy Joe Yarbourough, and Me.  We got into all kinds of trouble in every city we visited.  I remember sleeping at a rest stop in Florida or something on the floor of the tour van because we spent all of the tour money at a club.  I did a South West Tour with Human and Enemy Skateboards.  Gershon, Tommy, Patrick Melcher, Preston, Me, and a couple of others.  On that trip is when I met Steve-O.  At a party after a demo he taught me how to blow fireballs with rubbing alcohol.  I accidentally caught his hair on fire…bad night for him I guess.  I did a few other smaller trips to demos for Venture, Human, Duffs, Chikara, etc.  I had a lot of fun on the Vegas trip for the Chikara demo with you, Janess, Caine, and Peter from PD.

7. What were some of your favorite photo shoots? It seems like a lot of pressure might hit when your at a shoot.  I always liked shooting with Atiba and Pete Thompson.  Both those guys are really chill and don’t put a lot of pressure on you.  I remember my first shoot with Atiba, I was so nervous because the trick (Heel Shuv for a Republic Ad) was taking me a little while.  After a while it got to the point where I didn’t feel the pressure as much, but it was always there.  Sometimes the pressure was a good thing and made me do stuff that I normally wouldn’t.  I liked having you, Ozzy or Caine around to push me in those situations.  Gershon was also was a huge inspiration was good at helping me focus when I would go into freak out mode if I couldn’t make a trick I was trying to film or shoot a pic of.  The craziest photo shoot I remember was the ad I had lip sliding the 12 stair City College rail in SD.  I flew down from Reno, and right off the plane Ozzy took me there.  I looked at it and thought “no way”.  I had never done a rail bigger than 6-7 stairs.  I went over to the little 6 stair rail on the other side and skated it for a while.  I remember learning lip slides that day on the 6 stair and Ozzy just looked at me and said “cool, now go do it on the big rail”.  I am not one to be called out so I said “Ok”.  Went over there and did it in about 4-5 tries.  I remember being so stoked.  Now that I think about it, Ozzy did that type of thing to me on every trip I took to SD back then.

360 flip.

8. You were pretty damn close to getting a Pro Model on Republic. After Republic, how did the Mad Cap deal go down? Yeah, I was really bummed when Republic got closed down.  I really felt like we had a good team and a lot of momentum at the time with the Marketing and Design work you were doing, and of course the timing was really bad as far as me getting a board out.  After Republic, Mark Oblow and Caine helped me get on New Deal, which kind of went away when they fired the Team Manager that put me on.  I think Spencer put me in contact with the guys at MadKap.  Those guys were very cool and I really dug what they were trying to do.  They decided that they wanted to put out a board for Spencer and Me which was cool.  I still have one of my boards, but wish I had one of Spencer’s.  I wish I could find the Republic board that had me and Ricky Dixon’s name on it, but that is doubtful.
9. What’s a day in the life of Scott Waters looking like these days? Well, now I manage an IT department, am married and have 4 kids, so I am pretty busy.  I generally work M-F and train in Muay Thai, Brazillian JuiJitsu, and Taekwondo 3-4 days a week.  I coach my kids soccer, baseball, etc teams.  I try to skate as often as I can.  A typical day is a combo of some or all of those things.
10. Any advice to some of the up and coming skaters in Reno? You seem to have a pretty solid blue print. Enjoy the ride, it is over quicker than you think.  The times that you may complain about now, you will look back on with fondness.  Be nice to people you encounter and don’t have fun at their expense.  My biggest regret is that I wasn’t as cool to people as I should have been when I was younger.  As far as the skateboard end of things, I think all of the above applies and just keep the creativity flowing.

Blunt in a tight spot.

11. Thanks for your time Scott! Want to drop any Props or Shout Outs? If so, nows the time buddy. Yes, I would like to thank the following people for their support throughout my skateboarding adventures:  My Mom and Sister, Selena, you (Eric Lantto), Scott Brown, Dean Christopher, Ozzy Alvarez, Josh Stockwell, Beau Bevier, Gershon Mosley, Caine Gayle, Jim Gray, Mark Oblow, Ludwick, Ricky Bedenbaugh, Greg Janess, Ben Dickson, Keith Allen, Alex and Adrianne at NC Board Shop, and Classic Skate Shop. If I forgot you, sorry…just know I appreciate everyone.