Mason Silva's "Hell of a Year 2020" Interview

mason silva title whitePhoto: Burnett

Despite the setbacks of 2020, Mason made it out with his heaviest footage to date. Lockdowns, spot droughts and a sack for the ages would ruin any normal skater’s year, but not our guy. Learn how he hit the homestretch in stride with this packed feature.

mason silva photo 12Feeding his appetite for a frontside heel     Photo: Burnett

Mason, how you feeling?

Pretty hungry.

Not relieved or tired?
No, more relieved I would say.

Is that just because the part’s out? By the way, how many parts have you put out this year?
This was the fourth part. I went to Puerto Rico with Huf and we made a video, but I wouldn’t consider that a part. As far as videos that were labeled parts—four.

Watch in amazement as Mason closes the curtains on his prolific year

And then all this during COVID, it doesn’t seem that the restrictions held you back at all.
It definitely sucked when we could only skate LA. Which sounds pretty stuck up, because I’m sure a lot of people would love to skate here, but it’s kind of annoying since I’ve been doing it for ten years.

You were able to come up to SF for a bit. Did Mack film a majority of this stuff or is your go-to guy Ryan Lee?
Ryan probably filmed the majority when COVID was first going off. It would be me, Louie and Ryan skating together, keeping the crew pretty small. Then Mack was kind of filming the last-minute stuff when I was able to go up to SF in that last month or so.

And you guys have been skating together forever anyways. So it just made sense to keep it that way even though everybody’s like, Don’t be around anyone, quarantine. You guys were not gonna do that?
Well we definitely did it for the first month—maybe not a month, maybe two weeks. Dude, am I gonna get called out for this?

mason silva photo 22Many have looked, some say Westgate tried, but Mason becomes the first to clear the high bar in SF     Photo: Bram

I mean, yeah, for sure.
Well, we were only skating with each other though. We were being responsible about it. It’s not like we were having house parties or something. It’s not like we were all piling in the same van. We all drove separate and kept our distance and did everything along the social distancing guidelines.

That’s good. I mean you guys would probably do that anyways, right?
It’s kinda the same thing we do anyways. We don’t live as close to each other as we used to, so we usually drive separate.

And you don’t share drinks or snacks?

So really COVID’s just kind of like, Oh yeah, it’s fine.
It’s definitely not fine, but it made it a little bit easier to film everyday, because there weren’t little trips that we had to go on. Louie and I were just home thinking about what we wanted to skate everyday. There wasn’t anything distracting us.

mason silva photo 10Less distractions means more 50-50s into mountains     Photo: Rhino

Have you guys found more spots during this time? Looking at your part, not a lot of it is stuff that’s super well known. Were you going and just looking around more? That’s part of your guy’s thing too, right?
We definitely tried to drive around more because we didn’t really have much to do. A lot of it was the stuff that we didn’t want to skate for so long that we were just forcing ourselves to skate now. Some were spots that needed to be fixed up, the things that take a little extra effort that we didn't have time for—or acted like we didn’t have time for.

mason silva pullquote We were stuck in LA and we ran out of spots.
Why is that?
Because we had no other option. We were stuck in LA and we ran out of spots.

So it’s like when you leave food in your pantry that you don’t want to cook for a super long time and then you’re forced to make something out of it, 'cause you’re too lazy to go to the store?
Yeah, sort of. It’s like, Remember that spot you didn’t want to skate two years ago? Well, it’s still the exact same now. You wanna skate it? That’s kind of what it was like everyday.

That’s good. So are you proud of this video part? It’s sort of the last hurrah for the year.
I’m definitely really proud of it. I think Mack did a great job on the edit and we had a lot of time to just sit down at the computer and really tweak it.

mason silva photo 4Full Cab over his beloved obstacle     Photo: Burnett

I know that you were filming almost until the last minute. How’d that work out?
It worked out for the most part, until maybe six days before, when I got a fracture in my knee from trying to skate a big bump to bar.

You seem to have a thing for bump to bars, don't you?
It’s a thing for sure. I don’t know why. The memes are true—I just like skating bump to bars.

mason silva pullquote I put my leg out in a weird position and felt my knee bend crazy.
Well, what happened?
On the bump to bar? I just got sticky flick on a kickflip and couldn’t get my board away from me. So I put my leg out in a weird position and felt my knee bend crazy. I just took the impact wrong. I think it was a stress fracture. I'm just lucky I didn’t tear anything. It should be about two or three weeks 'til I’m skating again.

I thought you were gonna need to heal up for the rest of the year?
Yeah, but I mean I was gonna chill anyways after this part for at least a couple weeks.

Does chilling for you just mean that you’re not gonna film?
Yeah, it still means that I go out on the sessions, but it also means that I’m not scouting out spots and trying to do shit. I’m just there for the ride.

mason silva photo 5You gotta earn those chill days    Photo: Burnett

You still get to hang out with your friends, but you aren’t gonna risk hurting yourself.
Yes, exactly. If Louie’s skating a spot, I’ll be skating the curb at the spot.

So do you bring wax for that curb?
No. I do not have wax in my car. It just melts too much. I can’t do it.

mason silva photo 16Forget the wax, Mason takes a 360 over the rail     Photo: Rhino

Do you care about your car? Do you keep it really clean?
Fuck no, not at all. There’s a big dent in the side that I could easily get fixed and I still haven’t. My trunk looks worse than my closet. I don’t know, I just come home after skating and I don’t wanna clean anything, I just wanna lay down.

Is there anything in your part that you wish you didn’t do?
That I wish I didn’t do? What a question.

Mason 180 WedgeNo regrets, Mason 180s the Arizona landmark

Sometimes people are like, I don’t even like doing that trick and then they just do it anyways.
You mean if I felt like I was forcing myself to do a trick? There might be one. I probably wish that I never went to the Wedge. Nah, I don’t know. I mean, I wanted to kickflip it, but the thing is so big that I just had to do the 180 and leave Phoenix.

Did you see Jagger Eaton’s backside 180?
I did see it. He got a big tow-in on that bungee.

How come you didn’t use a bungee?
I don’t know, for lack of a better word, they’re pretty wack to me. I’ve eaten shit on a bungee before. I don’t like going zero to a hundred like that. I’ve seen a lot of people get hurt on those things. 

mason silva photo 3Return to sender     Photo: Burnett

What about the bluntslide? Was the Cairo lipslide the first time that you saw that rail?
Yeah, that was definitely it. I just kinda thought it was cool that Cairo skated it. 

Isn’t it in South Central?
Yeah, I’m pretty sure it's in the Compton area.

mason silva gab to blunt BURNETTOn the hunt for the blunt, Mason slays a beast     Photo: Burnett

I like that zone.
That day was funny. I also tried to bluntslide that double kink that Figgy crooked a while ago.

You were really gunning for a bluntslide.
I was. I tried it and could not get close. I was mad and felt like I was defeated. So then once I saw that thing I was like, Oh, gotta go.

mason silva photo 8Mason's perineum takes a pounding    Photo: Burnett

Then I think the last trick you filmed was the boardslide drop to boardslide, right?
Yeah, that would've been the last thing that made it in.

mason silva pullquote My gooch still hurts
Man, you really sacked the shit out of that.
Yeah, my gooch still hurts. What’s the medical term, gooch or taint or neither?

I don’t think those are medical terms. I think those just sound fun to some people. But it’s that area between your butthole and your boy parts right?
I don’t know what sounds worse, gooch or boy parts and butthole.

They’re all not fun.
Boy parts.

1280 Mason Interview PosterA successful rail skip before the pain sets in     Photo: Burnett

None of those are fun things. So are you just going to surprise everyone with a Bronson Bearings video part next month?
I can’t please every sponsor, man.

Do you have any other obscure sponsors you could film a video part for by the end of the year?
Who else am I sponsored by?

I don’t know, you tell me. Who are you sponsors?
Mob? I think I’m on Mob. No, I am on Mob. I don't think I have much left in me. But I’m happy it worked out the way it did.

Did you start to hate Mack?
I just started to hate myself after looking at the edit and my own skating so much in that year. I felt like it sucked.

mason silva photo 23This Half Cab heel definitely does not suck     Photo: Papke

Why is it so hard to look at yourself? And I don’t mean that to say you specifically, but everybody. It’s really uncomfortable.
It’s part of our nature, I guess, as skateboarders. I feel like newer kids growing up like themselves a lot more, which is good.

Yeah, I’m envious of them being okay with the way that they look.
I think there’s less shit-talking than when I was growing up skating.

Really? It seems like there’s a lot.
There’s a lot, but not so much to people's faces at least.

So more comments but less in-person disses. When’s the last time you got openly dissed? Did it stick with you?
I don’t know. No. Growing up with Ant Travis, he gave me a lot of shit all the time. So did you.

mason silva photo 19You gotta have thick skin to make this 180 fakie crooked grind    Photo: Colen

You never got dissed for wearing a helmet as a small child?
Oh, yeah.

But you couldn’t do anything about it, you had to wear a helmet or mom and dad would lose it.
Yeah, they would be super bummed. I’m glad I still have my head, though.

Yeah, look at your head now.
Shut the fuck up.

So obviously this year was kind of weird but good for you, 'cause you finally got a board sponsor that you like. It might be an odd transition into a whole lot of nothing, as it looks like next year’s not gonna change much. Are you gonna get used to skating by yourself?
Yeah, maybe. I was just lucky for those sponsors and stuff to work out right before COVID hit. So yeah, just keep doing the same shit and hopefully get a little more used to it. I felt like it was gonna go back to normal for a second and now it feels like it will just be the same for a while.

mason silva photo 17Photo: Burnett

Yeah. So are you gonna film a VX part?
Is that the thing to do?

Some people do it. You know, the VX1000 is a classic skateboard video camera. A lot of good stuff has been made on it. Now the HVX and the fisheyes are wildly in demand. Trying to buy an HVX fisheye is fuckin' crazy expensive. Why do you think that that is? Is it all because of Bill Strobeck?
No. I don’t know, Maybe it's just the happy medium where you still have the vignette on the side of the screen. It isn’t the highest quality, so it doesn’t look slow or too polished. It also does suck to film with because that fisheye is massive, which makes for people hitting it all the time and the glass is not replaceable.

Dude, it’s fuckin’ dangerous. 
It’s probably the worst setup for skating, but also the best. Why would you wanna film with a vulnerable lens like that?

That’s like ten pounds or more.
Dude, more. I’m blown away by it, but I like it all—I don’t really care. As long as the trick looks cool and the filming’s okay enough, I’m like, Yeah, dude, make it happen. Film it with your shoe, I don’t give a shit.

mason silva photo 21Half Cab flip caught on a camera a little better than a shoe     Photo: Bram

Do you think that a lot of other people feel pressured by their sponsors to make a run at SOTY? And what do you think that does to a skateboarder?
I don't know. Obviously people have been saying, whatever, "SOTY," to me but it wasn’t like I made an effort to do that before the year started or something. It was just kind of a natural evolution of the way that stuff came out. But if I was pushed to get SOTY, I don’t think I would have put out as much, 'cause I wouldn’t have been as hyped.

I just think about what it does to a person to have that much pressure from a sponsor.
Yeah. It’s a big ask. It's massive. It’s a huge ask: "Hey do you wanna just go and be labeled as the best skateboarder this year? Just go try."

And let me know whatever it is you need in order to do that.
"Let me know what you need. If you wanna go on twenty trips this year and barely be at home, we’ll make it happen." Yeah, I’m sure it definitely fucks with people. And that’s not the reason we skateboard or want to skateboard.

Yeah 'cause when you’re trying a trick, you’re just trying not to get hurt. You don’t want to think about a fuckin' award. You’re like, Dude, I’m just trying not to die right now.
It’s the easiest to do a trick when you have the least amount of distractions. And that’s a pretty big one.

mason silva pullquote Maybe I'll do 5 parts and see what happens
For sure. Well, how about next year you do five parts? How bout that?
Yeah, maybe I’ll do five parts and see what happens.

You gotta get some more sponsors so you can put out another five parts.
Can we have two wheel sponsors now?

Yes, definitely. You can have a sponsor for each bearing.
I have to quit my sponsors mid-year so I can put out eight parts.

That’s what you should be doing right now.
I mean, that’s kinda what happened last year when I was just getting new sponsors. Maybe that’s the reason it worked out so well this year.

mason silva photo 9Taking a 5-0 out to the street to appease the new TMs     Photo: Burnett

Your Nike part had some Element board footage in there, right?
Maybe a couple clips were carried over from when I was still riding them.

I wanted to ask, what’s up with the full Cab flip?
Oh, the one that you asked me to do and I didn’t do?

I just mean in every single one of your video parts besides this last one, there’s a full Cab flip. I’m just saying. What happened there?
I dropped the ball. Nah, I just had a lot of other tricks to check off. I also didn’t have a kickflip in that part, if you didn’t notice.

mason silva photo 20Rattling the book return with a high-powered nosebonk     Photo: Colen

What happened there?
That was the one I fractured my knee on. Oh, and Arizona—I tried twice. When you run out of kickflips, you end up trying the ones that are hard.

Filming video parts is kind of built into the way you grew up. A lot of older skaters didn’t grow up filming video parts, that was more just the byproduct of being a sponsored skateboarder. But it seems like with you, Louie and Ryan, that’s what you’re gonna do until you can’t do it anymore. Being productive is just kind of what comes natural from you guys going out all of the time. Some people who don’t know you or don’t know what you guys do, might think that it’s like, Look at these guys trying really hard to do stuff. 
It’s pretty easy to get labeled as a try-hard nowadays. It’s a funny line to try and walk. It’s not like Spitfire told me to go film a video part. I just had footage and asked around who wanted it. It’s what we do. It’s not like we’re always filming for something. It’s just that they’re always gonna want footage and it’s what we do anyways, so why not?

mason silva photo 15Half Cab to back Smith for Mob, or one of his other sponsors     Photo: Burnett

So do you think everybody should have a best friend who films?
For sure. It helps a lot. I would recommend that. If there’s anything that we can take away from this, it would be that. Your best friend should film really well and never fuck up and always be on point and have a million spots.

Yeah. Good luck with finding a best friend who meets all those requirements.
For sure.

mason silva photo 1Louie always lends a hand     Photo: Burnett

Are you, Louie and Ryan as close as you’ve ever been?
I feel like we’re probably the closest now because we work so well together.

What do you think of his shoe? Looks pretty good, dude.
Looks good. I would skate it if I could. I think I tried it on once or twice, but never tried to skate it.

So are you ready for the mini doc about your guys' sweet-ass relationship that we’re producing?
It’s gonna be a tearjerker.

mason silva photo 2Ryan gets some love, even though he doesn't have a million spots    Photo: Burnett

So how did this video part and the other ones from this year not kill filming for you?
I mean, with anything you kind of feel like you’re done forever, and you’ll never do it again. You get hungover one time and you say you’re never gonna drink again, but there you go the next couple days. Maybe that's a terrible analogy.

As soon as your knee feels good, you’re out fuckin' trying the kickflip in Arizona.
You sit at home for ten hours and you start to realize skating’s the only thing that you wanna do.

Well, do you wanna say thanks to Ryan, Mack, Jim, Nate and Brandon?
There’s an insane list of people that have helped me get to where I am and have been the coolest they could possibly be to me.

Maybe you should say "thank you" to all the people who keep up the dissing on the Internet.
That too. That also gets me hyped. We just laugh at how funny their opinions are.

They’re pretty good. I have to say, they’re pretty good.
But yeah, endless thanks to everyone that knows who they are and have helped me the whole time.

mason silva photo 18Fakie ollie from his full-speed year     Photo: Rhino

When you're done here, watch EVERY SINGLE MASON PART from 2020:
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  • Five Sequences: May 24, 2013

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