Sep 21, 2011 11:55 PM CDT
Ryan Smith is rad. He’s one of those people that can riff on just about any topic you throw at him; and come to think of it, the same goes for his skating. Burly, tech…Ryan’s got something in store for just about any spot he stumbles upon.
After some time laying low, Ryan’s back in the drivers seat with a new shoe on VOX and a new place he calls home. I gave Ryan a call one morning and chatted up about his recent injuries, moving to LA and his new signature shoe, The Shovelhead.
What’s been going on, Ryan? Seems like you’ve been laying low for a while. I’ve been hurt all summer actually, as of recently. Other than that, I don’t know. I lived in San Diego for a while and I kind of got just real stale there. I didn’t really do much. And I moved to LA and started skating again.
How did you get hurt? I broke my wrist and then two weeks after that I sprained my ankle really bad. And then I sprained it again. So it all happened really before the summer started. Yesterday was really my first day skating. I got sick of skating on half power, like two cylinders. So I just waited it out so my body could heal. My ankle was weird because I got to the point where I could kind of skate and I would wear an ankle brace but I just kept hurting it. And it got to the point where I was like, ‘This is ridiculous.’ So I literally stopped skating for a month. I actually shot my ad (VOX ad, Gap Tailslide) with the most jacked ankle. It was all taped up and my wrist was more or less still broken. I was so bummed at that point. Taped ankle and broken wrist, I felt like I was just purely willing that situation. And then we got kicked out and had to go back. Everything was against me at the time, except maybe the weather.
How are things different now that you’re out in Los Angeles? There’s just more skateboarding here. In San Diego you have to get in a car and drive and all the spots are so old. It kind dried up for me. And here, I’m skateboarding when I’m not skateboarding. I’ll skate to the store; I’ll skate to my friend’s house. I’m on the board all the time. In San Diego I had to get in a car just to wipe my a**, you know.
So do you feel kind of renewed now that you’re living situation has changed? Yeah definitely. I mean I’ve been in the mix for a while. All the dudes that I filmed with there (SD) originally, more or less, a lot of them slowed down. And people change and I’ve definitely changed. I didn’t really feel much motivation. I would just skate Blackbox all the time, which is amazing but it’s indoors non-stop. I’d get in the van to go street skating, but I would be out all day and I just wasn’t mentally there at all. And just here…LA’s a crazy place to live but it’s amazing.
Who have you been skating with in LA? I’ve been going out with John Fitzgerald. I’m actually going to meet up with Appleyard today. I don’t think he knows that, but I’m going to.
So VOX, how did you start riding for them? Daxter got a hold of me and this other dude who’s no longer there. Basically, I lived right next to VOX and I had been around for a while obviously, and it was kind of the right time and right place. VOX is such a good company. I’m super stoked on VOX. It’s been rad how they’ve rebuilt the team. We got Duffy and we got Navarette. It’s just a tight little program and it’s just strictly skateboarding.
So your shoe, the Shovelhead, what’s the significance to the name? You know what, they called and were like, “What do you want to call the shoe?” And I was working on my motorcycle and it just so happened that I was working on a Shovelhead motor and I was like, “Oh, well just call it the Shovelhead.” That’s how it came up, so there wasn’t really much thought behind it. Just like, Oh that’s a cool name and it’s my favorite motor.
How long was the shoe in the works? It was pretty quick. I mean shoes usually take about a year to come out anyway. It was rad, it just sort of all fell together. They can turn samples around really quick and make any ideas I had. I’d just show them and they were able to do it.
What did you want to accomplish with the design of the shoe? I just wanted a really basic skate shoe. I’m really picky about little things. Like, Make the eyelets closer or the tongue shorter. I’m so picky about little things because I think that can make or break a shoe. But the shoe turned out great and that’s what I skate in. It’s a good skate shoe and it’s pretty standard issue, which is rad.
Are there any technical parts of the shoe that you’re hyped on? It has really good board feel like everyone says. I can really feel my board with them. They’re not too thin by any means; they just feel really good and skate really well. That’s just the main thing. If you wear any shoe long enough it’ll feel pretty good more or less if you break it in. But these shoes break in really nice out of the box and they last.
So what’s up next for you? I’m going to be filming a Mystery video part. But I literally just got back on my board.
Photos Courtesy of VOX.
Get Ryan’s new signature shoe, The Shovelhead now at CCS.