Legendary, influential as hell and downright gnarly every step of the way…Geoff Rowley is a single entity in skateboarding that needs no introduction.
Consistently annihilating everything in his path since Flip’s arrival to the states almost two decades ago, Geoff continues to produce with undeniable style and progression.
CCS caught up with Mr. Rowley to talk a bit about his history with Flip, the evolution of skateboarding, his new Vans shoe the Rowley[SPV] and more.
To all the young kids who haven’t been around quite that long…What is the history behind Flip Skateboards? Flip Skateboards started in 1991 and we moved Stateside in July 1994. The original crew from 1994 was Tom Penny, Rune Glifberg, Andy Scott and myself. We all lived together in a nasty ghetto apartment in Huntington Beach for the first year or so. I think at one point there was 13 of us living in that damn place. It was hectic but a ton of skating was happening and I think we were just stoked to be in sunny Southern California, living the dream. Eventually Tom Penny moved in with Chad Muska and Rune and myself moved in with other homies and it kind of went from there.
Through the years, Flip’s gone through some team changes and grown with the evolution of skateboarding and the industry. How has Flip changed over the years in your opinion, if at all? Not that much really! We are still hell-bent on having the most ripping skateboard team and driven to make the best product we can. It’s always rad when a new rider like Arto Saari pops back and gives you a boost of support and man power, it was fun working on all his new Flip graphics like the Hearto.
The Flip team seams to be extremely tight. What is the process like for riders getting added to the team? Is it flow and then a sort of probation period before they get on? We didn’t historically have any flow riders, in the past if you got Flip gear then you where on the team fully. Recently we have been flowing a few guys here to see if they can get along with the rest of the team, but we like to look long term, so the rider and Flip can reach it’s full potential together. It is a family with strength in numbers and the progression of skateboarding at the centre.
What does Flip represent as a skateboard team and company? Is there any ideology that might sum up what Flip means to skateboarding and vice versa? Hopefully the highest level of Pro rider and product. In the Flip videos we like to showcase every aspect of skateboarding, be it the contrast of Burnquist on the mega or Luan killing the flatground! Skateboarding has many cool sides and we strive to reflect that with our videos and print ads. Nothing is taken too serious…at least not by me.
Aside from riding for Flip what is your involvement behind the scenes? How did you go from riding for the team to getting involved with ownership of the brand? I was offered ownership at a low rate in 2001 for all my hard work for Flip in the swing up to the first Sorry video when I was getting more and more involved with the team, graphics and whatnot. I jumped at the chance, as it was something I had always dreamed of doing and really got a kick out of watching the ads, videos, catalogues and stuff roll out the door and into production. It’s a neat process and I was always into drawing and stuff like that since I was a little nipper making my own hand painted fingerboards! Haha! These days it is pretty much the same…on a daily basis we fly by the seat of our pants!
Does being closely involved with the inner workings of Flip ever interfere with your skating? How do you balance things? Sometimes, but very rarely. Both go hand in hand to a certain extent. I get motivated to work at Flip and then cruise out the door skating in the afternoons. These days most stuff can be dealt with on the road with laptops or Iphone’s, so that makes life a lot smoother at times also. Generally though I am still that little kid at heart. I get a new graphic or shirt and it gets me psyched to rip that thing!
You’ve been a professional skateboarder for years now. You’ve seen so many skaters; brands and trends come and go. How has skateboarding or your perspective of skateboarding changed? Skateboarding is down and dirty! The fundamentals of its birth are in my opinion best left as is…people can take it for what they want. You still got guys who just ride a board to get a beer from the liquor store, or guys who only skate padded up when they take their kids to a park they rode when they where young; people love it and for all kinds of different reasons. When I remind myself at this point, I feel lucky to be a part of something so damn cool…skateboarding is still cool!
How did you meet Lemmy? How did skating to his cover of ‘Stand by Me’ come about? I met Lemmy around 1998 I think? Motorhead then played a show in San Diego at the tradeshow for the release of my first Vans shoe that was in conjunction with Thrasher, Flip and Volcom, as we all wanted to see them play such a small venue…haha! It was a killer show! Lemmy took his shirt off and raged fire on that place. The ‘Stand by Me’ cover came about organically. I had the idea called him up and he straightaway said…”Yeah, I can do that for you!” Simple as that. Lemmy gets my utmost respect, a living legend with so much integrity and a catalogue of heavy metal poetry.
What is the quote from at the end of your Extremely Sorry part? Is there any correlation between the quoted words and what the part meant to you? These are pretty crazy times, the damned politicians need their feathers ruffled for all the thieving and war they are creating with their lies.
What is the concept behind Werdlife? Whatever, Whenever, However.
Can you talk about the Rowley[SPV]? Low profile, slimmer fit and with a new non-slip waffle tread.
I am stoked on the classic look of this one; it may be my favorite shoe of all-time!
What did you try to do different from the rest of your signature shoes? Back to basics mentality. Less is more. Vans has that juice!
Do you ride P2’s? What about them do you like? Why are they better than standard 7 plys? More pop, less bending and warping, they ride with that new pop for longer than your average 7 ply, or all the other technologies out there. None feel or work like the P2.
What new projects are you working on at the moment? All information is strictly classified! Only joking! Summer tours with Volcom and Flip, Maloof contests, a few demos here and there, perhaps a short Vans tour. Just finished a skateboard magazine interview and I have a Vans commercial coming out that is for the Rowley[SPV], which is an acronym for Super.Pro.Vulc! Filmed that badboy with Greg Hunt. I hope all you guys reading this have a killer session and enjoy your summer.
All Photos by Anthony Acosto, Courtesy of Vans.
Check the new Rowley[SPV]’s and more signature goods from Geoff Rowley.