If the articles in this 30th Anniversary Issue teach you anything, it should be that skateboarding has evolved leaps and bounds over the past three decades. It should also make clear that key individuals—pioneers—served as central catalysts to these massive advances. Ray Barbee’s addition to the Bones Brigade in ’87 and subsequent appearances in Powell Peralta’s Public Domain (’88) then Ban This (’89) represent some of the most critical junctures in our short history. On the heels of Steve Steadham, Ray cracked the façade of what had been more or less up to then a white-bred pastime. He also showcased some of the first conscious line-based flatground street skating ever. And unlike the neon glam beach volleyball styles of the ‘80s vert scene, Ray’s casual attire and cruising lines through LA sprawl set the table for city kids of all stripes and colors to make skateboarding theirs in the two decades and change since.   

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Entries in enjoi (1)


Zack Wallin: Sugar Magazine Interview, Le Tombeur de ces Dammes

This Zack Wallin Interview ran in French in the August 2013 issue of Sugar Magazine in France. As a fan of Zach and his powerhouse skating, I figured I might as well post the pre-translated English text here along with the scans of the Sugar spreads. Photos by: Dave Chami, Seu Trinh, Oliver Barton, and Wes Tonascia. Click on the images for XL. Enjoi —ME

Life is funny sometimes. Getting something you always wanted is often accompanied by a different challenge you have never faced. This Karmic law arrived in force for Zach Wallin last year when he finally got the nod to become a full-fledged amateur skateboarder for enjoi alongside Ryan Lay—something he had essentially been hoping for his whole life. When all that was left was to make it official with an intro part, he was diagnosed with to this day unexplained and apparently very rare blood clotting in his chest. Originally told not to skate by experts at Stanford University, and ordered to administer blood thinning injections into his stomach twice a day to boot—Zach eventually decided to film the part anyways—shots, clots, and all. And as luck would have it, his teammate, Ryan Lay suffered a series of ankle injuries of his own; pushing back the intro video’s deadline long enough for both to put together the impressive parts that ultimately dropped last May (See Zach's Below). A year and a half later, with his mysterious health condition completely cleared up, I checked in with Zach to get the temperature on life in the Mansion, fanning out on Cairo Foster, how it felt to quit his day job as a carpenter, and most importantly—why he is universally renowned as a lady’s man.     

How have things been since becoming an official am? Do you still work construction?
Things have been good. I actually quit my job as a carpenter and have just been skating every day. It’s been awesome because when I was working a full-time job and trying to film I would just get hurt because I wasn’t on my board enough. I can skate every day now and I just feel way better on my board.

I guess working something with physical labor involved too—if you got hurt skating you can’t work and if you got hurt at work you couldn’t skate.
Exactly. Even if it was just a hard day at work, it was still labor. Then I would just be too tired to skate when I finally had the time. Or too sore.

You weren’t just sitting in a cubicle.
No, it was hard work.

Still living the enjoi Mansion life?
Yeah. Actually I am. It’s pretty sweet man. It’s real mellow now. It’s still a skate house. Cairo Foster lives here. Louie lives here with his wife and a couple of other Tiltmode homies—my friend Warren and G-Won. It’s pretty awesome though, you always have someone to skate with.

No plans of moving?
No. It’s a nice place with cheap rent. I’m pretty content.

Were you born and raised in San Jose?
Yeah. Born and raised. I basically just moved around San Jose when I was younger but we always stayed here.

How did you stumble on skating?
Actually my cousin came into town to visit one time for a couple of weeks and he brought his board with him. I must have been nine or 10. He would go skate and I wasn’t allowed to go venture out with him, but he would come back and just have all these incredible stories about meeting new skaters, because he was from out of town, hanging out with girls and listening to music at the spot. He would come home to our house and talk about it and I was just mesmerized. I was amazed that all these rad experiences were right there for you if you rode a skateboard. I think a few months after that I got some shitty Nash board for my 10th birthday.

Best memories from your two weeks in Scandinavia and Russia last year to fully get on enjoi as an am? Had you traveled before that?
I had traveled before that trip but that was kind of the first trip were I was officially on a team trip. I was like 80 percent sure I was on before the trip and then I finally got fully on during it. I still had to film the intro part though to really seal the deal.

Those intro parts had some drama too right? Ryan Lay was injured and you had that crazy blood clotting deal.
Yeah. Right after that trip we kind of both got jacked up. Ryan had some pretty serious ankle issues and I had that random internal blood clotting.

Is the blood clotting pretty much cleared up now? You don’t have to give yourself the blood thinning shots any more?
Yeah. It’s basically completely gone. Thank God. I don’t have to give myself the shots any more. I was the gnarliest thing for me. I had to take them twice a day too, like one right in the morning and then right before I went to bed. Waking up to sticking a needle in my stomach was the worst.

The one at night probably sucks too. You can’t go get drunk and forget to take it.

Exactly. You can’t miss one of the shots. So you can’t forget or you might have clotting. It sucked. It was just this constant reminder that I was jacked—morning and night. Thank God it’s all over. It’s a really long story but at the end of it all, all these specialists, specialists from Stanford, not just these budget doctors still had no explanation for why it happened. Usually people get clotting in their legs, but I had it in my chest, which at my age is supposedly extremely rare. They were tripping off me. Then I was tripping because they were tripping.

I asked Matt Eversol what to ask you and he said, “Ask him about chicks. He slays pussy. Big booty hoes.” So what about chicks?
(Laughs.) I don’t know. I guess I get lucky with the ladies sometimes. I don’t really feel like I’m a lady’s man. I don’t go out telling myself I’m going to land myself a lady. Actually, I feel like that’s when you f—k up. You go out with expectations—out on the prowl—and I think desperation is just ugly. Looking like you need something is sometimes a good way not to get it (Laughs.)

Best advice for meeting a girl at the bar? Just play it cool?
Yeah. Play it cool. Don’t be that dude going for the glory. Let it happen. I don’t even know. I don’t go on the hunt.

San Jose girls vs. Russian or Swedish?

Oh man. San Jose girls don’t even stand a chance. They shouldn’t even be compared (Laughs.) No, that’s a lie, there are some really good girls here. But I think my preference—I just love Finnish girls. They’re beautiful and their vibe is awesome.

Is skateboarding for a living something you’d want?
Yeah. Why not? For as long as it lasts. I’ve had real jobs. I worked carpentry for like four years and that definitely showed me enough to know about the real world. Now I just feel like I’m on vacation all the time (Laughs.) Skateboarding is not a job. I never really planned on making money off of skateboarding. I still don’t really depend on it. I’m just going with the flow right now.

It’s almost like trying to meet girls. You can’t really go after it?
Yeah. Exactly. Just let it happen. I always do what I’m happy doing. That’s worked out for me so far so hopefully I keeps going.

Favorite San Jose legend about an enjoi rider? Any urban myths?
There is one. I don’t think I’ve ever asked Jerry (Hsu) about this one but when I was a kid I remember reading in an interview or something that he had done acid by himself in his room. And he ended up staying in the room all day and all night and ended up writing all these words all over his body with a Sharpie. I don’t know why, but I always remembered that. To this day I think about it when I see him (Laughs.) I need to ask him about it. What did he write?

Do non-skaters in San Jose know about enjoi?
Oh, for sure. I get people talking to me all the time. I’m like the new guy on the team too, so these random people will come up and ask questions about it. They know about Louie or Caswell (Berry) or just Tiltmode.

Your skating is definitely in the powerhouse realm—fast and big. Did anybody influence you to skate the way you do or was it just natural?
I think subconsciously, looking back, I was definitely influenced by John Cardiel. I was always my favorite when I was a kid. A lot of my friends didn’t like him when we were real young, but I think that’s why I always wanted to go fast. Cardiel was the dude I looked up to. I think watching Heath (Kirchart) and Cairo (Foster) too. They would just jump over and down massive shit. Those dudes probably made me want to take an extra push.

All time favorite enjoi ad?

Man. There are so many good ones. I have tons. One that really stood out to me early on was the Marc Johnson ad where he’s freestyling on that little board. I think because I saw it when I was so young. From the new ones there’s one of Caswell and Jose (Rojo)—like a sequence of them shotgunning a beer. I think just because I heard the back-story on it. I guess they needed multiple takes of the beer shot so they were basically wasted mid-day by the time they finished.

It’s funny you mention Marc. Do you think his imprint is still there in enjoi?
Yeah. To me it is. I mean I’ve never even met the guy so I can’t say too much. But I know he pretty much came up with everything for enjoi in the beginning, and it has more or less stayed true to his vision. Even now, my favorite stuff from enjoi is from the beginning when he was doing it. I wonder what he thinks about enjoi today. Maybe if I meet him in the future I might get the balls to ask him.

Was it crazy to share a part with Cairo Foster and Caswell (Tweak the Beef [‘12])?

Totally. It was insane. I was just talking to somebody about it. My friend was over at the Mansion and Cairo walked by. My friend was just like, “Whoa, that’s Cairo Foster.” And I was just like, “I know. It’s a trip right?” It started this whole conversation. I seriously had photos and sequences of Cairo on my wall growing up and now I’m kind of sharing a video part with him. Even Caswell. They’re my good friends too but there’s still that little kid in me fanning out a little bit.

Does it ever wear off? You see Cairo walking to the shower or whatever and you still think, “Whoa.”
I don’t think it ever fully goes away man. It might wear off because you get more comfortable but then we go skate and he’s trying a gnarly trick and it just all comes back (Laughs.) All of the sudden I feel like this little kid that rolled up on the session by accident, like “Holy shit! There’s Cairo Foster!”

How good was Louie’s part in Tweak the Beef? Last part!
It’s funny. I saw a majority of that stuff go down in person but a lot of that footage was already pretty old so I had kind of forgotten a lot of it. Then to see it all together like that was kind of surprising. You forget how good he actually is. Even joking around, a lot of that stuff is really hard to do. He’s the type of guy that will just throw out the craziest trick I’ve never seen him do before.

I feel like one day Louie should just shave his head and put out like a fully serious Heath style part.
Yeah. Shave his head a la Jamie Thomas and just go for broke.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on one of those “Who Is” parts for Matix. Like Daewon (Song) just had his. And then other than that I’m just working on a full enjoi part. Basically Tweak the Beef was all the leftover VX footage that we had laying around but the actual HD enjoi video is supposed to be out in the next six months. I’m pretty nervous about it.

It can’t be any harder than the intro video was with all the health issues.
That’s true. I still don’t even know how it worked out.

Plans for the future? San Jose for life?
I’m traveling a lot know so when I come home to San Jose it’s like a treat. But then a week goes by and I want to go travel again. But all my friends and family are here, so I think if I ever buy a house I want to buy one here. So I guess I am San Jose for life.

All time San Jose legend?

Tim Brauch. When I was a kid growing up skating south San Jose I guess that was were he was from. So everywhere you went there were just these rumors, like “Oh Tim Brauch grinded this, or Tim Brauch used to skate this mini ramp.” He was probably the first sponsored skater I ever heard of so I’ll say him. Rest in Peace.