Zion Wright Am Scramble Interview

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Zion Wright is the future of mainstream professional skateboarding: a gifted, positive, rail shredding, contest smashing, padless McTwisting, articulate and funny, fashionable ball of non-stop skateboarding excitement. I’m glad I’ll know at least one dude in the 2020 Olympics, if only to get an up-close look at one of those red, white and blue unitards they’ll be wearing. When you’re smiling down from the Wheaties box, don’t forget about the little people, Zion!

You’ve been on the road ever since we left you at Bust or Bail, right?
Yeah.

Dude, how are you holding up?
I’m holding up good. I haven’t got hurt yet so I’m stoked. Still kicking it.

Is this the longest you’ve ever been gone?
Yeah, for sure. I’ve been on the road for three weeks already and then I’m on the road for another two weeks.

When you go home are you just gonna sleep for three days?
Nope, ’cause I got Dew Tour when I get back.

What’s your approach to these contests?
Honestly, I just go into it just having fun. Whatever happens, happens, but obviously go in with a little game plan, you know? Not take it super serious ’cause you’re not gonna always have an amazing day. You have good days and bad days and it depends on how you feel that day.

 

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Zion’s front feeble down this 20-stair curved rail was at least as terrifying as that corn-on-the-cob drill video


Do you ever win?
I’ve won one big contest, yeah.

How’s Mike Sinclair as a team manager?
He’s honestly one of the best team managers, I would say. He’s always on it, work-wise, and is always having fun. Just trying to hype you up, trying to get you motivated. And he loves to eat and I love to eat too.

What was your favorite place we went on this trip? ’Cause we were eating Southern style down there.
In Charlotte we ate at that barbecue spot. That place was really good. I’d say that was the best place we had the whole time.

I noticed a couple times you would eat Zaxby’s then you’d just sack out; you’d fall asleep instantly.
Dude, yeah, I don’t know. I’d get the Zaxby coma and then just KO. I think it was the second time I did that I had that big cut on my lower back, too, so it was hurting for me to skate. Like, every time I would bend down and stretch it would just like stretch even more so I just rested that day. I couldn’t even skate it hurt so bad.

What’d you think of Eric Winkowski’s secret-weapon food?
Dude, whatever he’s doing it’s working. He needs to keep doing it. He’s gnarly. He just runs off little ravioli cans.

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Yeah, he’d crack that thing open right in the parking lot. He didn’t need to heat it up or nothing.
Nope. Just straight out the can. I guess that’s the secret to do inverts.

What was it like being back so close to home? Do you like it better in the South?
Yeah, honestly it feels like home being up there because it reminds me of Florida. Just how green it is, you know, like all the trees and stuff. How you come from being in a real secluded area and going around to being in the city and stuff. I really liked it.

I noticed on the trip we kept bumming out a bunch of really old white guys. Are they more gnarly about skating in the South than they are in California?
I would say yeah, a little bit. There’s not people going there to skate as often so they don’t really understand it. So they just see it as, “Oh, you’re breaking our stuff.” They’re just trying to protect their stuff and they can get gnarly with it.

Where do you draw the line as far as skating a spot that you know is bumming somebody out?
As long as they’re not trying to hurt me or anything, I don’t care. I’ll just keep going until the cops show up. Or, like, what Erick did when he was trying that boardslide. Just kind of be polite about it and if they’re really being dickheads, you just gotta not give a fuck and say “fuck you” back.
Zion Seq 750pxBackside 360 over the crustiest pyramid in the South. What, no 540?

Do you ever feel bad?
Yeah, sometimes. It just depends on the situation. It was crazy ’cause I was actually just in the North of Spain and we barged this out rail at this park area and Alex was trying to lipslide it. He almost had it. All the kids were cheering and stuff and then the people from the apartments above complained and this lady came down and tried to be Superwoman and jumped in front of Alex and she got bodied. Dude, it was so gnarly. She dropped her shoulders and just got flipped. Yeah, we left, but I felt bad because she for sure got hurt.

Oh, man, that’s lame. Maybe people don’t realize what happens if you get in front of a speeding skater.
True that. One that weighs 180 pounds.

You’ve been friends with Jamie Foy for 
a long time, right?
Yeah, I would say for the past seven or eight years.

Did he really used to be a pro wakeboarder?
Oh yeah! He actually used to wakeskate when he was little. He was super gnarly. He had a cable park right in front of his house so that’s what he would do all summer. ’Cause it gets really hot in Florida.

That’s where they whip you with a fuckin’ rope in a pond on a wakeboard?
Yeah, it’s a wedge system, like, someone controls it. It’s actually really fun. If you ever go to Woodward East they have them there to try.

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Man, that’s some Florida-ass shit. What other extreme sports do you guys do down there?
I mean, if you go out to the country and you got a big truck you can go mudding, you can go shoot some deer, you could go gator hunting, you can go surf. You can do a lot, but you can’t snowboard there, I’ll tell you that.

Have you ever had any gator problems?
No, but I had a close call with a baby gator and its mom creeping up.

What happened?
This was when I was I ten or eleven. There’s a big lake area in my neighborhood and one day we were playing at the park and I go over to look at the lake and then all of a sudden it’s, like, “Oh, what’s that?” This little baby alligator comes up and I have this rope and I start hitting the fence and it was getting scared so it started to make its distress call and then all I see is just the mom—not fast but just like creeping up—and I was, like, “Oh okay. Yep, I’m leaving.” And I turned around and ran. But there was a fence, though. But still, I would not want to mess with that.

Everyone told me to ask about your dad. What makes your dad so special?
I just feel like he’s real outgoing, you know? He’s not afraid to go up to you and engage in a conversation. He’s just really happy all the time. If you’re having a bad day and you run across him he’ll make you feel better.

Did he used to do something at the Tampa contest for you?
The thing he does is called “agnihotra.”

What’s it from?
It’s Indian. They’ve been doing it for thousands of years but it’s pretty much meditation that you do. You burn cow dung, ghee—which is unsalted butter—and then rice. You mix it all up and then you burn it 
and you say this mantra. You say the mantra and then once the mantras done you just pretty much sit there and put anything that you want to happen in the fire and things will start to happen.
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So he would come to contests and to support you he would do a ceremony?
Oh, I think you’re talking about when he’s playing drums.

Oh yeah, what does he do for that?
It’s not a ceremony; he’ll just come out and have fun, play drums with the kids and pretty much just hype it up. That’s his thing, like, his little hobby. Kind of like how I skateboard, that’s his little thing. He’s having fun.

That’s cool. So under what circumstances would you do the ceremony with the ghee and the dung and everything?
He does that every morning and every night, every sunrise and sunset.

Is that something that your family would do growing up?
Nah, he got into it a few years ago. Honestly, everything that I’ve put in the fire has been good for me. Like, you know, has been on track I would say.

Were your parents always really supportive of your skating?
Yeah, my dad was for sure. My family was, not tripping at first, but my dad had quit his job to take me to my first contest, the Tampa Am. Then he pretty much traveled around the country with me for a few years, you know? We did that, then he went back to normal life and, you know, I’m here and stuff. But my mom has always been supportive of it, too, but she didn’t really take it fully seriously until she started seeing boxes coming to the house and I started to travel more, like all this stuff with me winning contests.

So this trip was all about getting some of my favorite ams together to go out and skate around and do it. Do you feel like you’re accomplishing your goals? Are you hoping to be a pro skater someday?
Yeah, I would say I want to be a pro skater someday but I’m honestly just having fun doing what I love to do. If it happens it happens. No rush.

That’s cool. Did you know Ducky before this trip?
Yeah, I met Ducky two or three years ago, the second time I came to LA.

How would you describe him to someone who’s never heard of him or met him?
Ducky’s crazy.


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In what way?
Just a skating way. Everything he does is, like, “Ducky, dude, you’re crazy,” like, “What are you doing?” He’s different. He’s for sure different. I would say Ducky is the baby that got dropped on his head.

We got to watch him die on that kinked handrail. After he took that header were you just, like, “Man, I’m done”?
Yeah, as bad as I wanted it I couldn’t do it. In my head that’s all I was thinking about.

Oh yeah. It’s gonna be hard to skate after you see that. So he got broke off, had to go to the hospital, stitches in the head. Then on the last day he decides to skate that big fucked-up junky-looking wooden rail.
That niggas crazy. If you see this rail, on the side of it it has screws sticking out to where if you don’t get on perfect or if you kind of lock up you’re done. Like, you’re going straight to flat. And there’s grass on the side but if you were to go off you would just go straight to flat. That would have been another big slam, but he did it.

When he landed it you ran over and gave him a hug and you said, “Man, that hug felt good.” Why did you say that?
I don’t know. He hugged me like he was hugging his mom or something. Like he hadn’t seen his mom in like months.

Like he was lucky to be alive.
Yeah, for sure.
Zion 2.5 750pxCasual trophy back tail

What was more shocking, seeing Erick eat that Beefaroni straight out of the can or seeing Jevans’ third nipple?
I would probably say seeing Jevan’s third nipple. Honestly, I could see Jevans being that person to have some weird shit. Like, “Oh yeah, I’ve got a third nipple.”

So we went on this gnarly trip, it was one of the heaviest trips I’ve ever been on and then we got to Bust or Bail. Did you think you were gonna skate it the day before?
Well, honestly, I made a bet with Ducky. I told him, “If I win some money at Bust or Bail I’ll give you 100 dollars.” Just because Jamie had bet him 300 or whatever. I mean, I was for sure gonna skate it but I didn’t know what was gonna happen.

So did you get some money?
Yeah I won two Gs.

That’s the best way to pay off a bet is to do it with free money.
And it was sick because I got a hundred for the tré flip I did.

Zion 3 750pxWaking from a Zaxby’s coma just in time to Smith grind through the drop

So what do you like better, a super organized contests like Street League style or clusterfucks like Bust or Bail?
Honestly, it just depends. Sometimes at contests like that you’re just fired up, like, whatever happens, happens. Street League is kind of serious to a point. So yeah, I like them both but I think unorganized contests like that are way more fired up. You never know who you’re gonna see there or what’s gonna happen, you know?

You’ve known Tyson for a while. What was your reaction when he came out of the thrift store in that mint-colored 
full suit?
Oh, he was stoked, dude. He was fired up. He was, like, “Yep, I’m about to go clip up in this nice-ass granny suit that someone’s Grandma probably wore.”

It was like the outfit Grandma gets for her cruise.
For sure. Just floppy and real loose.
Zion 4 750pxChomping on them bars, standup 5-0

Is there any truth to the rumors that Real might be coming out on King of the Road this year?
I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m fired up if that’s true.

Would you be down?
I would be totally down. That’s, like, once in a lifetime. You gotta go on King of the Road.

Except for Ishod, it would be a four times in a lifetime experience.
He’s been on it four times?

He’s been on it at least twice, maybe three times.
Yeah, he said he did it twice.

Who would you want on your team if you went with Real?
I would say Ishod, Robbie—wait, can there be two ams or one am and one flow dude?

Just five dudes total. It doesn’t matter.
Oh, okay, then I would have to say Ishod, Robbie, Jack, Davis and I’d probably say Chima.
Zion 5 750pxSinclair keeps you motivated

Sounds like a heavy squad. Do you think by this time next year everybody on this trip will be pro?
I would hope so. That would be tight, you know? Getting to see everybody move that fast, you know? That would be sick.

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