Sitting atop a ten year pro career and looking down on it all isn’t something every skater gets to enjoy. At 30 years young, Mark Appleyard now has that rare opportunity to look back and reflect on the last decade’s accomplishments. But he’s certainly not resting on his laurels as one of the smoothest street skaters of the modern age. He’s got one eye focused on the present with the recent release of his new pro shoe from Globe and the other eye locked on the future with an upcoming solo video project with Element and a baby boy who’s do anyday. It’s quite a juggling act, but from the sound of Apples’ always more-than-mellow demeanor it’s clear he’s got all bases covered.
Let’s talk a bit about your new pro shoe from Globe. What’s it like working with the team over there in the development of a product like The Mahalo?
It was a lot of fun. Globe is in Australia and they also have a headquarters here in LA. One of the Australian designers came back from LA and had mocked up a cool design he wanted to show me. I thought it looked really good. It was a really simple idea and we just wanted to take it from there. There really wasn’t a whole lot that went into it. We just wanted to make it look good and skate well. We wanted a shoe that you could skate in and also one you could wear when you’re not skating. We changed a few things from the original design and we ended up with The Mahalo.
What kinds of special features does The Mahalo incorporate? What makes it unique to your particular style of skating?
Since it’s a vulcanized shoe we wanted to make sure it had a good insole, solid heel padding and arch support. Globe developed a new polyurethane shock bed insole for it which is really good. It’s really firm and protective. Other than that, it’s a low profile silhouette and skates just right. A lot of my shoes in the past were pretty standard skate shoes with a big sole and a lot of material. I think simple is better sometimes so that was the thought behind this shoe. We just wanted to make it basic, simple and have more of a mature look to it.
You guys went on a pretty extensive trip to Hawaii for the promotion of it. Why Hawaii? Why The Mahalo?
Joe G at Globe shoots videos for all of their skate and surf projects and he wanted to make a video and film it in 16mm for The Mahalo. They wanted us to go on a trip somewhere so the footage would look different and cool. I figured Hawaii would be a fun time, a vacation and a place to skate. Once we decided on Hawaii, the name Mahalo was decided on. We’re all some non-hawaiians and we don’t know much about Hawaii, but Mahalo was one of the words we all knew. We were out there for six days and stayed at this really nice house by the ocean. We spent the days driving around skating all the parks and skating some street stuff too. Seu Trinh was shooting photos and Joe G was filming. I was the only one there skating.
Was it weird being the only guy on the trip skating as opposed to a tour?
Yeah, it’s definitely different being on a trip when you’re the only one skating. You’ll get tired or sore and want to chill out, but if you’re not skating nothing else is getting done. I just took it mellow, but we skated everyday and searched for spots that would look cool. The idea of the commercial was just to make it look like a good time with a Hawaiian feel to it.
What’s up with your upcoming video part with Element?
I’m pretty happy with a lot of the footage I’ve gotten. I got some footage from Spain, but mostly it’s stuff filmed here in Southern California. I’m out skating almost every day. I’ve been skating a lot with the Decenzo brothers around Huntington Beach or the Element guys. I’m just trying to come out with another video part that’s worthy. I haven’t released any of the footage yet. It’ll all be in my part in June when it comes out on Element’s web site. It’ll be free for the first month and then it’ll be available for purchase on itunes. It’ll be similar to the way Nyjah’s video was done.
What’s your opinion on internet clips? Do they take away from the mystique and anticipation of major video releases or is it just part of the changing times?
I think it’s going to be team videos and solo video parts for the future and for now. Everything is online anyway right now so it makes sense. None of my sponsor are making a video currently and I got on Element at a time when they were just finishing their video and I only got five tricks or so. For the last year and half or two years I’ve just been going skating and getting footage so I talked to the guys at Element and we all thought it was a good idea to do this solo project.
You’ve got a pretty deep anthology of great video parts already under your belt. How much are you pushing yourself these days to raise the bar?
I’m always conscious of trying to keep the level of my skating current and up to par with the progression of skateboarding. I’ve done a lot of videos parts and I’ve been pro for ten years now. I realize that I did do a lot of stuff in the early 2000s and I still have that fire and passion to skate. I love skating just as much if not more. I don’t stress it as hard now though. The things people are doing these days can be pretty wild. I don’t trip out on shutting down famous spots or whatever. I just try to make skateboarding look good and enjoyable, but I push myself to do things for sure.
What’s your opinion on the Element ams? As a seasoned pro, is it cool for you to travel with all the up-and-coming guys on the team?
I love all the ams on Element. They’re all real cool. Watching them go so hard reminds me of myself back then. Just charging it at all costs. I’m happy to be able to continue to riding for Element. I wish I wasn’t getting older. I’m 30 now, but that’s not really that old. I want to skate as long as I possibly can.
Seems like the shelf life of the average pro career has been dramatically extended in recent years. What’s the key to keeping your career strong and fresh?
The key is not trying to do things you’re not comfortable doing. If you’re an older pro, you’ve already done a lot and you don’t have to prove yourself as much as you did when you were younger and coming up. It’s nice to be able to kind of do what I want. I think it comes more natural when you get to skate how you want and not put too much pressure on yourself. As far as physically, I eat really healthy. Every morning I drink green vegetable juice. It also helps that I’ve never drank that much. I drink a lot of water and avoid twenty stair rails. [laughs] Avoiding injury at all costs is really important. When I do get injured I always make sure I seek the right attention. It’s really all about treating yourself well. Don’t party too much and always remember to stretch.
You’ve got a little one on the horizon,right? Are you ready for fatherhood? Do you think that will re-prioritize your skate life?
Yeah, I have a baby on the way. It’s due in the next couple of weeks. My wife and I are having a boy. It’s going to be interesting. We’re still thinking about names. It’s a trip. I’m going to teach him how to skate when he’s old enough. As far as priorities, I’m going to stay prioritized to skating. I’ll be skating just as much if not more.