As a certified member of the 90’s DC Pulaski Park scene, Reese Forbes basically punched a gaping hole in the wall of skateboarding history when his part in Eastern Exposure 3 dropped nearly 15 years ago. Through the years, Reese has utilized speed, power, style and a pop that’s practically uncontainable. The result has been a steady influence on skateboarding as a whole.
These days Reese is a busy man. He does design work for Quiksilver while also helping run the team, co-owns Stacks with Michael Leon and still manages to maintain a solid career as pro.
CCS caught up with Reese while he was waiting on some car repairs to talk about his introduction into the Pulaski scene, his transition into West Coast skating, his new Quiksilver signature shoes and more.
You mentioned in an email that you’re up by 5AM. Is that a normal thing for you? Yeah, I’ve been on a health kick. And I have kids. They get up and I get up and I get my day started out. I’ll ride my bike or do yoga or go running. I love getting up early these days.
Outside of skating, have you been that active for a while? I’ve been trying to but it’s just picked up more recently. I’ve been trying to stay busier and I’ve just sort of become that old man that gets up super-ass early and then gets to sleep early. I like getting more out of the day, too. The more day hours I can get the better.
Do you find that extracurricular exercise helps your skating? Yes, the happier I am the more I want to skate. That’s kind of the bottom line for me. The more that I have that’s going on and is productive and gets me to a place where I’m happy, then I’m happy on my skateboard. There was definitely a time there where I was like, ‘What am I doing? I’ve been doing this sh*t forever and I don’t even feel like doing it anymore…’ And I was just going down that negative road and now I kind of just turned a corner and I feel better.
Being from Maryland, at what point did you make your way into the Pulaski scene? I grew up in Gaithersburg and I grew up skating around Gaithersburg and Germantown and Silver Spring, moving around in those areas and kind of skating everywhere and taking the metro to get to different places to skate with friends. I was just so into skating and everything that had to do with it. Eventually I got bored skating the same spots. I met my buddy Dicky and he knew a place downtown that was smooth and marble and you could skate it all day. He had been there; he was a bit older than me. And we went down to Pulaski and started skating it. I ollied off the marble, and that was the first time I had ever really done that and it felt real smooth, and crisp and there were no rocks. I was like, ‘Sh*t, this is it.’ So that’s how I got there and kind of made me stay was seeing guys like Chris Hall and Pepe Martinez, Hojin, Eben, Andy Stone, Sheffey, Scott Johnston…Seeing those guys skate Pulaski just kind of opened my eyes to a whole knew level of skateboarding. Seeing people that were light years ahead of me got me really into it.
DC was known to have a tight, local scene. Was it intimidating rolling up to Pulaski unanounced? Oh yeah…they were not welcoming. The opposite of like, ‘Come on in.’ So what I did, I would stay at the other end of the park. I was there and they were there and I was like, ‘We got the same park, I’ll just f***ing skate on this side.’ So that was kind of my approach. And then one thing led to another and I met those guys. Chris Hall was the first guy that came up and said ‘What’s up’ to me and he actually gave me a package. It was one of his Underworld Element boards and some wheels. And I was like, ‘Wow someone just gave me something.’ So that was kind of another hook into it that kept me going because I was balancing a job and trying to skate at the same time. And it was like, ‘I need to sh*t or get off the pot right now because this is not working.’
Who were some of the guys you looked up to growing up? Well I got my first Thrasher when I was 9 and my uncle always had Skateboarder’s lying around. So I feel like I was always indirectly linked to skateboarding. When I saw the first Bones Brigade show and all the Bones videos, I looked up to everybody in the whole Bones Brigade. But the staples that stick out and the sort of pillars and icons of skating to me were always Natas and Julien [Stranger] and Mark [Gonzales]. I always find myself throwing their names around because those are the guys that stick out the most. But definitely Sheffey, the whole Plan B team, the original Mouse Girl team to name a few. All those guys are just influences, constantly.
Coming from the East Coast ruggedness, was it tough for you to adapt to the land of never ending sunshine? Well the first thing that happened to me when I got to California was, I blew my knee out. So it already sucked. But I always get real strange with throwing around the fact that I hate skating in LA because people grew up skating here and that’s all they know. It’s like if someone grew up skating DC and they were like, ‘F**k DC!’, I’d be like, ‘F**k you, get the f**k out of here!’ LA to me is…you get in your car and drive around and it’s all those things that you could hate about it. But what’s cool about LA is that the weather is always nice…you can always count on that, and California as a whole is just accommodating for skateboarding. So you can go skate at a park over there or you can go skate at someone’s private facility. So in that way it’s so much better. But I feel like you get different personalities. I don’t want to generalize, but on the East Coast you tend to get a truer answer about something.
Do you ever just park your car and skate from spot to spot? I feel like your type of skating is so specific…. That’s why I moved to San Francisco, because you can actually ride your skateboard there and get around and be this transient, nomadic skateboarder. I consider myself a free spirit, so it all coincides with that. But I like living in LA but I’m about to move to Newport Beach this weekend so it’s going to be even more different. But Quiksilver just made a park and I’ve been skating that park all the time and the park’s amazing. You just need to adapt. Just change and adapt.
How did you end up getting involved with the Quiksilver shoe program? Quiksilver has been wanting to do shoes for a long time. And I had been with Nike for a long time. Let me brush stroke this one [laughs]. Well, you know my time at Nike had just sort of come and it was time to do something else. And the Quiksilver opportunity came up. I think there’s a lot of potential for Quiksilver because they make great shoes. And it was kind of an open canvas for me to do anything that I wanted. So when found inspiration for doing a shoe that I wanted, it became an easy answer. To be honest, everything that’s ever happened with Quiksilver has always been easy. They’re just a super cool company to work with. There’s never a ton of red tape.
Is there a shoe team in the works? It’s in the works, yeah.
The RF1. It’s a unique design, what inspired the design? Well, I’ve always really liked work boots and workwear. Stuff like Ben Davis and Dickies. I feel like with a lot of the workwear stuff, functionality came first and somehow style came out of it. I’ve always liked that. And I used work boots as inspiration. So the shoe is like a boot but it’s also like a chukka boot. It’s mellow, there’s not a lot of insignia sh*t on it, there’s a little thing on the tongue. But as far as the rest of it, it’s not screaming a brand and screaming a signature. It’s unique and subtle at the same time.
What went into the making of your Quiksilver jean? Well what’s important to me with any kind of jean or pant is the look and feel of it. And it has to stretch because we’re not wearing under armor when we skate. So it has to bend but still be sturdy and it has to look like it’s not made to be athletic wear. So it’s kind of a tricky thing to pull off. But I think Quik is doing a great job. They’ve been in the industry so long and they know how to do it.
What do you have lined up for the future, Reese? More skating and there’s a new Quiksilver movie that we’re working on. That should drop in 2012, somewhere around there.
Can the world expect a full part from you? Yes…yes…yes! [Laughs] Yes, definitely.
All Photos by Mike O’Meally courtesy of Quiksilver.
Get Reese’s new signature shoes, jeans & Stacks board at CCS.