Bucky Lasek Interview

Bucky Intro 750px


Alright, Bucky, let’s start at the beginning. What’s the story?
I grew up in Baltimore city, a place called Hollander Ridge. A basic description would be a lot of apartment complexes, about two-story, with surrounding neighborhood courts. I was basically raised as a minority white boy.  


Bucky PQ 1 750px
Was it a sketchy neighborhood?
Yeah. Not like section 8. It wasn’t, like, food stamps but it was probably pretty bad. We had feuds and I was known within my courts and the surrounding courts. But if I stepped out, I was a white boy in danger. And I was raised by a single mom. I was fatherless from around two years old.

Do you talk to your dad at all now?
No. I did for a little bit but then he passed away. My mom had a boyfriend and I had a rough upbringing with him—got into fights a lot and it was a bad situation. She met my stepfather and went down to Florida and hung out with him. I stayed in Baltimore, living with my grandma.

How old were you then?
I was probably six or seven. And from there I finally did move down to Florida. I lived outside of Fort Myers on an island, a two-house island. The deal was, my uncle owned these boats, like a tropical cruise, and we could live in this house for free if we just kept up the landscaping and the house itself. And he would actually boat in tourists to come and look at our house and we’d have people walking through the place, which was crazy. So I went from basically being a minority to living on an island by myself with no friends and I had an aluminum boat. I’d fish and 
catch turtles.

Bucky 1 750pxFar from the courts and definitely in the danger zone, Bucky blasts a crossbone in his backyard pit

Was it a full-on island, like, secluded? You couldn’t drive a car off, you had to take a boat to get to it?
You couldn’t drive a car. We had a pontoon boat that we would take ashore every morning and then we would drive a half hour to school. On that island, my uncle had a barge with a restaurant on top of it that he had built. A couple years went by living on the island and then my stepfather, who is a retired Navy captain, he and my uncle acquired a three-story Mississippi tug and my stepfather pushed that barge and restaurant up to North Carolina, Manteo area, docked it and then my mom and I drove up and met him there and I lived on a three-story tugboat for a few months and I assisted in the kitchen by making hot dogs in the microwave. I was the hot dog boy.

It’s funny to think of a kid reading this who has seen you on TV or seen you in a magazine and has no clue that you grew up living on a secluded island and on a tug boat cooking hot dogs.
And then we finally moved back to Baltimore from there and that’s when I started riding bikes on some dirt jumps, like, jumping milk crates and doing 360s here and there and I was actually really good at that as well. Then I went into this store one day and I didn’t lock my bike up and it got ganked. So after that, skateboarding was getting pretty big and I wanted a skateboard. That was probably around November so I had a couple months before Christmas. And then before Christmas came, my buddy Chico got a board. I think it was a Lester Kasai. He got that and I would basically run beside him.

Bucky 2 Seq 750pxGrabbing some cope on the top rope—boneless to frontside invert up the E

Who was the crew back then? You, Chico and who else?
Me, Chico, I met Tony Bachman a little later, Justin Gillies, Jim McGuire, who later built one of the first halfpipes I ever skated. We had a good crew. We found a ditch and then we found out where a mini ramp was located. There was a mini ramp that had a mellow wall with a channel and then on the other side it had a six-foot high wall that went to vert and that’s pretty much where it all started for me.

So if your bike hadn’t gotten ripped off do you think you would have stuck with riding bikes? I mean, you were hyped on it.
Yeah, I probably would have had some dislocated shoulders and some knockouts, 
I’m sure.

Bucky PQ 2 750px
It’s crazy that you owe your skateboarding career to some kid that was, like, “Fuck it. I’m gonna steal this bike.”
Yeah, exactly. I could have been the next Matt Hoffman.

So how did you get hooked up with Powell back in the day?
I was riding for a shop called Reach for the Beach and the Powell tour came through doing a jump-ramp demo and—well, this actually goes back to just after we found the mini ramp. After that, I got word that there was a vert ramp called Hell Ramp. So after I found that vert ramp, it was on because I learned everything on this mini ramp and then we would catch the bus out there to the Hell Ramp to skate it. I think I was 12 or 13, catching buses, which I could never imagine my kids doing now. So we found the vert ramp and then I got sponsored locally by Reach for the Beach, getting flowed for Skull Skates, doing pretty good at local contests and then the Powell tour came into town. They did their jump-ramp demo and we let them know about the vert ramp and some of them showed up the next day and I was there skating. Stacy Peralta was there and he was amazed at this little kid who could skate this monster ramp and he set me aside, he stood me next to the ramp, I remember, and he said, “I could really see you doing this.”

He had an eye for talent, man.
Yeah, he put me on. And then from there Tony got me on Airwalk and Tracker and I basically went to California for the first time and stayed at Tony’s house and Bryan Ridgeway’s house.

I think the first video I saw you in as a kid was Ban This. Was that when you filmed for that?
Yeah, that was not too long after that when 
we filmed Ban This. No, wait, was Public Domain first?

Bucky 3 750pxEarly ‘90s plywood party—Japan air and comb your hair

Might have been.
I think Public Domain was first and then it was Ban This. But I can’t remember, man. I’d have to look at the videos.

Did you film that stuff with Stacy? Was he still pretty involved?
Yeah, it was all filmed with Stacy. Actually, my first part was with Chet Thomas at 
Lance’s ramp.

So around that time when you were up-and-coming, who were some of your favorite pros? Name five or six.
Top guys: Steve Caballero and Tony Hawk. Christian Hosoi, Jeff Kendall, Chris Miller. 
I mean, I have to throw McGill and Lance in there as well. I know that would be 
seven but—

It’s your interview; you’re allowed to.
McGill was the first pro that I ever met and he was awesome.

Tell me who you rode for after Powell; go down the list.
After Powell it was dark times. Street skating was big and I was known as a vert skater. But I could street skate as well. But during those dark times I rode for a company called Change, which was a small company Bill Weiss was doing. That didn’t go too well. Then from there I started riding for a company called Natural with Alphonzo Rawls and Danny Meyer. And then from there I started talking to Neil Hendrix and Steve Douglas and I was actually talking to Tony as well about Birdhouse, but I think Tony was doing Tony’s stuff, you know, he was just on tour and I wasn’t talking to him as much as I should have been. So I got on New Deal and then after that I got on Birdhouse and I think I was at a Tampa pro contest when Tas Pappas got me on Independent. He put the word in and I started riding for Indy and it’s all in the history books from there. I got on Element after Birdhouse and then after Element I decided that I was pretty much done with big board companies and I started riding for my buddy Paul from Baltimore. He’s got a small brand called Green Issue.

Bucky 4 750pxNollie flip 360 over the channel. Glad your bike got ganked, Bucky

Was that directly because of Element or you’d just kind of had your run and were, like, “I’m gonna do my own thing”?
I just got tired of dealing with the bullshit from all the big companies just kind of overlooking me all the time. The best way to put it is like this: say you’re a tree and these big companies are picking the fruit off of your tree, taking all your apples and they aren’t fertilizing you, know what I mean? They weren’t promoting me. I was selling boards but they weren’t promoting me. They stopped doing ads with me so I was just over it. I was just, like, “I’m gonna start riding for my buddy’s small company and help build a brand,” and that was Green Issue.

So you told those guys to go pick their own apples.
Yeah, exactly.

You seem like you’ve got a lot of shit on your plate: you’re a husband, a father, you skate, you race cars. How do you balance all that stuff? Is it tough?
It’s intense, actually. With racing alone it keeps me busy enough. We have testing, we have race weekends, we have dealership appearances, car-show appearances. It’s kind of like skating, you know, where you go and do demos and stuff like that but it’s in the automotive world which is pretty crazy. Then I still have to come home from all that and jump on a skateboard and maybe there’s a bowl contest in Bondi and I have two weeks to skate, get back into the rhythm of that. It’s hard. And then you throw in having three girls and a wife and responsibilities around the house. It’s not easy. I’m not gonna lie; it’s definitely hard but I have a great family and I’m supported by a great circle of friends. We’re all in this together and we make 
it happen.

Bucky 5 750pxTuck-knee invert, nose to skull

So for people that don’t know, what kind of racing is it that you’re doing?
I’m a factory driver for Subaru. It’s for rally cross which is short circuit racing, kind of like super cross on motorcycles where it’s up to 12 cars, the course is kind of like dirt and it has a 65-foot jump. It’s pretty intense in-your-face racing.

What kind of speed do you get up to on those courses?
We get up to about a buck thirty but it’s short bursts. I also race rally which is through the woods with a co-driver reading notes. So basically they’re telling you where to go and you’re going as fast as you can.

What’s your daily routine like? What’s a day in the life of Bucky look like?
My daily routine is pretty trippy. I’m a family guy. I wake up, get the girls off to school, make breakfast. We’re home schooling Tenzin now so I’ll sit down with her for a couple hours, make some phone calls, see where the sessions gonna be. We usually skate here on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Otherwise we’ll skate some vert at night at Tony’s warehouse or we’ll dip out somewhere else like up north—go skate some pools with Ozzy and then come home and make some dinner.

How’s the body holding up? How’s the knees from skating and 
how’s the ankles? Everything healthy?
Knees are good; ankle’s good; everything’s good. I could probably use a couple of new wrists but yeah, everything’s pretty good. Not too bad.

It seems like everything that I’ve seen from you from the past up until now, everything’s new. You’re always doing shit that no one’s done. 
What motivates you?
I think my overall drive comes from being a single kid with a mom that—you know, she was struggling and I think that I was looking for attention. So I always feel hungry to get attention. Aside from that, it’s just my generation or the era I come from with skateboarding of all the older style tricks that have crossed over into this newer generation because of timing. And I think I’m able to bring a little bit of the old and mix it with a little bit of the new which inspires me and motivates me to still attack it.

Are you constantly trying new shit or are there sessions where you just go out and skate with your buddies and relax?
I’ve been skating for so long and for so many years—I mean, we’re talking decades now—that I can’t go to the vert ramp and just hammer out contest runs. I just get over it. And I skate with some of the older guys. I have more fun skating with the older crew just because I don’t have to always turn it on and feel like I have to be competitive. I can just cruise and flow. I mean, that’s mainly why I built my bowl.

Bucky PQ 3 750px
Yeah talk about that. How did that come about?
Well, I felt like there was a void between burning out on vert and going and skating these pools. Pools are kind of treacherous on your body because of the size of the transition. You just fall and get jarred and you feel it in your knees and your lower back and you wake up the next morning and can barely step out of bed ‘cause your ankles hurt. So I felt there was a void and basically I dug a hole in my backyard and I filled that void. And I built one of the biggest bowls. It’s gnarly; it’s big but I just feel like it’s easy on your body because you can flow a lot easier.

Who do you like to watch now. Who inspires you?
Number one would definitely be Bob Burnquist. On and off the board he’s inspirational with how motivated he is and his drive. And then I’d probably have to say Rune Glifberg just because he’s got the magical style. I also enjoy watching Chris Russell skate ‘cause he’s on edge.

He’s fun to watch.
Yeah, he’s very fun to watch. And then let’s see, Daewon Song. Daewon is amazing.

Everything he does is shit that you look at and you’re, like, “What the fuck? 
That had to be smoke and mirrors. It’s not possible.”
Yeah, green screen, huh? He’s like David Copperfield on a board.

Bucky 6 750pxLittle bit old, little bit new—leveled-out no comprende at the Hawk’s nest. Stay hungry, Bucky!

What about a young up-and-coming rider or someone that’s a generation or two behind us.
I think Asher Bradshaw is a phenomenal little kid—900s and 720s in Combi. There’s a few guys: little Tate and little Gavin. Those guys are insane.

Alright, any words of wisdom for kids?
I guess it’d just be being humble—well, first off you gotta be hungry. But I don’t think that’s gonna be an issue because if you’re young you’ve got the fire. So being hungry and also being very humble and being honest, of course. Having etiquette towards your elders and towards the history of skateboarding. And no hating. Even if you don’t like something you can learn something from it. Mainly it’s just being humble. I believe some kids, they get kind of good. They’re good at skateboarding but it’s, like, well, who the fuck cares how good you are at skateboarding? It’s about being a human being as well. If you’re good on a skateboard and you’re the biggest dick as a human, what good does that do you when you’re done skating? You know what I mean?

Alright, last one: anybody you want to thank?
Yeah, I’m gonna keep this short and sweet: first off my wife Jenn, my daughters DeVin, Paris and Tenzin. Going from there I’ve got to thank my best friend Derek Krasauskas for being an awesome human being and inspiring me in life and skateboarding back when we first started. Bryan Ridgeway was a big help in getting me where I am in the Tracker days. Also a humongous help in my life was Tony Hawk. He helped me out a lot. And all my current sponsors, everyone that has helped me and is still believing in me today. And a huge thanks to Ed Hicks, rest in peace. He owned the Fisherman’s Inn Hell Ramp and created the scene in Baltimore. He was a huge proponent of skateboarding and I’m forever grateful for what he did for all of us

  • Burnout: Peter Hewitt Weekend

    Burnout: Peter Hewitt Weekend
    The Antihero team descended into San Diego to rip it up and help celebrate the awesome force which is Peter F—in’ Hewitt. A few grinds, a few laughs and a big blow-out photo show with a special video and musical guest made this bash one for the history books. Who should we celebrate next?
  • The Last Combi Session Video

    The Last Combi Session Video
    Stevie Cab and friends cap 20-plus years of the Vans Combi Pool at The Block in Orange with a final ride for the ages.
  • Burnout: Cab’s Combi Blowout

    Burnout: Cab’s Combi Blowout
    Steve Caballero celebrated 30 years of the Half-Cab with a VIP final session at the Combi Pool. Hosoi, Pabich, Lizzie, MacDonald .... who WASN'T there?!
  • The Houston Vert Ramp "Banger In The Hanger" Contest

    The Houston Vert Ramp "Banger In The Hanger" Contest
    Tony, Bucky, Jimmy, Bryce, Mami and a huge array of vets and new blood bring world-class vert to Houston.
  • Belco Bowl Jam: 20 Years

    Belco Bowl Jam: 20 Years
    Tony, Bucky, Hosoi, Lance and more throw some shade to celebrate 20 years of the infamous Belco Bowl Jam. Catch up on two decades of highlights before the next one hits.