Photo Via The Berrics
If you frequent The Berrics, or The Skateboard Mag’s websites, you’ve probably heard Tom’s name. You may have also noticed his appearance in Boulevard’s “Quinto.” If not, you’re missing out on one of the raddest skaters and Berrics employees. Last week Tom dropped a part announcing that he’s now riding for The Friend Ship. United chatted with Tom about making the transition to The Friend Ship, how he’s made it this far, and what he’s currently hyped about.
Hey Tom! When I saw your welcome part I knew I wanted to catch up with you! You just looked like you were having so much fun!
Yeah! I was just so hyped on being asked to join the team that filming for the part was fun. I really think you can tell a lot about a skater’s personality from their video parts too. One guy that really sticks out to me when I think about that is Dave Bachinsky. I remember watching his “What The Fuck Is a Bachinsky” part before I’d go out skating and just get so hyped. Like you said, he just looked like he was having fun, and it’s such a rad part. It’s so crazy that we are actually roommates now. I live with him and his girl. I mean it’s crazy that I’ve watched him for so long, and now we live together. So much of what’s happened in my life is so crazy like that, coming to LA and everything I’ve been able to experience.
Really?! How did you end up in LA working at The Berrics?
Ha, it’s kind of a long story and it’s crazy to think I’ve been out here for seven years now. Um, I had met some guys through contests, and they all rode for a company called Silent Skateboards. The company is owned by Paul Wilson. Through meeting Chris Colbourn, I started getting boards from the company too. Paul offered to pay for a house for us to live in, so it was Chris, and Jordan Maxham and a few other guys, and they called me up and asked if I wanted to come out and stay with them for free. It wasn’t going to cost me anything as far as rent went. I was training to be an assistant manager for Jiffy Lube at home, so I kinda thought, “How could I not?” I mean obviously I was given this amazing opportunity for some reason. And honestly, I can’t deny that there is someone who has things planned out for me and is working for my good.
After I moved out here, I went to school at Glendale Community College. That’s where I met Simon Dargan who is a graphic designer at The Berrics. We got along really well and one day he was asking me about getting an internship. It was crazy, I got an interview with Matt Rodriguez who is the head art director at the Berrics and he told me that they needed a person to work on social media and it could turn into a full time job. I ended up interning for eight months. I would ride my scooter an hour one way every day in to work at The Berrics. Now I’m responsible for all of facebook and twitter posts, along with a lot of the Youtube content put out on The Berrics channel. Mike Burgess does most of the IG stuff, but I do get to edit some of the trailers for the site too. I don’t drive a scooter anymore either. Ha ha.
Photo: Buddy Bleckley via The Skateboard Mag
Wow, it is totally crazy how things have just kind of fell into place for you! You’re so lucky!
How did getting on The Friend Ship go down? Were you worried about leaving Boulevard?
It’s a funny story, I met Tim (Olson), who is the Owner/Founder of the brand, through The Berrics. I had noticed that The Friend Ship had liked a couple of my Insta clips, so when I met Tim I asked him who ran their IG account. It turned out that Tim did and he’d been hyped on my skating before I even knew him. After that, he had asked me a few times to join the team, but I was getting Boulevard boards, and I was so gracious to them for hooking me up and letting me be a part of their team. I totally just clicked with Tim though, we have similar personalities and just get along so well. We actually work back to back now in the office and we joke around all of the time. He kind of just kept joking with me about joining the team. Finally, I started thinking about it but the idea of making the phone call to Boulevard was just dreadful. I decided though to make the change. The Friend Ship is such a fun company, and I’m super hyped on their graphics. I called Boulevard and they were so great about it. The guys who own and run that brand are so wise which made them so understanding about the situation. It worked well to jump in with the Friend Ship guys and I’m just hyped and thankful to be a part of the team.
How was filming for your Friend Ship part? Was it mostly in LA? How much footage had you collected for the part?
Honestly, we originally planned for just a minute IG part. I ended up having so much footage and we needed a splash page on The Berrics, so we just decided to promote The Friend Ship for the page and put together a whole part. It all happened so fast actually, I’m still kind of shocked about how it all happened.
There wasn’t a lot of organization when it came to collecting and filming the footage, it was random actually. I’m currently working on a lot of stuff, “Drought” which is my boy, Elliott Vecchia’s video that’s totally independent, there aren’t any companies involved in it. I’m planning on having a full part in it so I’ve been working on that for a couple of years. I had quite a bit of footage from filming for it. I’ve also been filming for another video called, “The Small Change.” Which is another video by my boy Blake Housenga, that is a totally independent thing. Again, I had quite a bit of footage from filming for that video also. Some of the footage for my Friend Ship part was stuff that I was hanging on to from those two projects and some of it was recent. I was also able to use some clips in my Friend Ship part that I wasn’t sure I’d end up using in the other projects. I’d seen the clips so much and I wasn’t sure if they were even good, but Tim Olson was hyped on a lot of them and wanted to put them into the Friend Ship part. So it worked out pretty perfect.
But, yeah, most of the filming for the part was around LA. We went on a couple of trips to Arizona, and a few cities surrounding LA-Bakersfield, and other random cities. It’s been so much fun though, we just all jump in the car together and camp out and then film, sometimes find a homies place to stay instead of camping.
I’ve heard that you’re a huge JKwon fan. How are you dealing with the loss of one of the best skate spots in LA? Have you found a replacement spot?
Well, I’ve heard that you can do some tricks over the skate stoppers still. But it’s definitely not the same. We always had a crew of morning dudes who would go on Sunday mornings. We’d get there at seven or eight and have until 10 before security came out and made us leave. I mean, JKwon has the best ground and best ledges. Everything is literally perfect. I haven’t been back since they put the skate stoppers on. I still want to go and check it out sometime.
We don’t really have a spot anymore, unfortunately. There is one fun one in east LA. In the next issue of Skateboard Mag I’m going to have a photo for a Friend Ship ad. We went to that spot and ended up getting the photo for it. It has a stage that’s perfect for manual tricks and smooth basketball courts, that are super fun to skate on. I had been messing around, doing kickflips off the stage, and Tim (Olson) noticed that on each kickflip I was landing pretty far out, like far enough to ollie out to front wallride on the pillar that was a good gap from the stage. I was doubting that I could even do it, but I just started going for it. It was a battle for sure. I broke my board, and ended up bruising my heel, it took a lot of tries. Finally I got it and it ended up being the photo they chose to use for The Friend Ship’s newest ad, which was completely unplanned. We were all so stoked. We had another spot in mind originally for the ad. We ended up going there after and got another photo. It was honestly one of the best days I’ve had in awhile. After that we went and got wraps and a beer, went to a house party and reunited with some old friends , it was seriously such a good day!
Photo via SPoT
“I’m like the most pun dude. Ha ha, get it? Give me a word and I can totally make a pun out of it. Any word, for real.”
Stoked to see the photos! I’ll for sure have to find a copy of The Mag and check them out! Is it okay if we end with a few quick fire questions?!
Yeah! Let’s do it!
Part you’re most hyped on right now? –most favorite right now probably, Josh Matthews Think Skateboards’ Business as Usual part. His choice of spots, the song he skated to, and his style! That’s one I like to watch before I go skate. That video is probably one of the best videos.
Ah, I’d have to agree, I thought he was so creative in his PUSH part! Rad choice! I’m so hyped on his Habitat graphics too. They’re so cool.
Skater you’re most hyped on right now?
Cookie, Chris Cobourn-he’s going to be one of the top dudes in the near future. His abilities are some of the best, he’s so creative and talented. Everything he does is controlled and effortless. He can skate anything, I mean there is not one thing he can’t skate. I think he’s going to blow up, you just can’t predict what he’s going to do on his board.
Tiago-I love how humble he is. He really puts in work. I love where he’s come from and he deserves it. Tiago’s just the dude who stands out most to me and the one dude who I’ll feel the best about if he gets it.
Favorite The Friend Ship graphic?
Gosh that’s so hard, I’m so hyped on all of their graphics. Maybe if I had to pick one, it’d be the Charlie Brown, Psychiatric help one. Ha ha. I’m currently skating the “Have you seen him?” one. I love that one too. It feels good to look down and see the all of the colors under your feet. I really love it.
What other brands do you skate for?
Lakai shoes, Footprint Insoles, Jessup Griptape, Mondo Vertical Wheels and The Quiet Life.
Tom, Thanks so much for the time! Congrats on the move to The Friend Ship and hopefully things continue to just naturally fall into place for you!
Thank you! I’m super honored that you’d ask me for an interview! It was fun! Thanks again!