Simon Bannerot Interview

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So you just woke up?
Yeah, I just woke up. I’m a little tired right now.

Did you guys go out last night?
A little bit. We actually ended going to Black for a little bit.

 

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It’ll take more than an evil thunderstorm to keep Bannerot from heelflippin’ past the rail. Rain ain’t no thang     Photo: Heikklia


How old are you?
I’m 18 but I got my homie’s ID. I cycle through those things. Sometimes they go every other week. They definitely come and go. You never know when they’re going to get snatched.

You got any morning rituals, anything you gotta do before you go skate?
Boil some water for the French press, then chill, hang out for a little bit and then go skate.

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Nothing too weird.
Yeah, nothing too crazy. I mean, I’ll stretch and stuff but I don’t do, like, Mike Carroll’s morning exercises.

Well—he’s got a couple years on you, right?
Yeah, a little bit. I’m gonna start doing his exercises probably more often—aerobics in the morning and stuff. That would be sick.

I heard you gotta focus on the fast-twitch muscles as you get older.
How do you look after those?

Bannerot 2 750pxSimon snatched this lipslide quicker than a bouncer grabbing a fake ID Photo: Peters

I think doing quick-step aerobic stuff. So you’re from Enumclaw, Washington.
Yeah, it’s a town south of Seattle.

And what does Enumclaw mean?
I think it means evil thunderstorm. I’ve heard a couple of other stories about the name too. I also heard it means an evil bird. It’s nothing good. I’ve never heard anything about it 
that’s good.

But it’s a good place to live, right?
Yeah, it’s dope over there. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing. You can see forever.

Bannerot 3.5 750pxOut of the van and straight to work!  Simon Bannerot, double-kink feeble Photo: Brook

And your family lives on a farm. What’s the worst thing about living on a farm?
Probably not being able to skate to your homies’ houses. You can’t take the bus. 
It’s hard to get around. It’s hard to get to the city. Other than that, it’s so peaceful out there because there’s way less cars.

Who do you think is the best skater to come out of the Seattle area? And you can’t say you.
Fuck, probably Cory Kennedy. But, man, there are just so many skaters that have come out of this area that are just legendary.

A lot of kids never get into skating transition. What drew you to the 
round walls?
I used to skate this park all the time when I was a kid called Skate Barn and it had a big ol’ vert ramp in the back. And I was super young and I didn’t talk to many people. I mean, 
I talked to everyone that skated but I didn’t really fit into any crowd, so I’d just go back and skate the vert ramp and just pump it back and forth for, like, four hours. So that sparked the love for trying to go fast on transition. That was when I was a little kid.

Bannerot 3 750pxMore cars than on the farm but more spots too. Tuck knee to the street in CA     Photo: Hammeke

You’d just hide out all by yourself and skate the vert ramp?
Yeah, ‘cause it was in the back corner of the skatepark and if you were skating the vert ramp you couldn’t really see other people and they couldn’t see you. It was pretty cutty.

So how’d you transition into street skating?
I’ve always done that too. But I don’t really have a favorite. I don’t like either more than the other.

How did you get so good at skating since your hometown has such a crappy little park? Did you travel?
Yeah, I used to travel a bunch with my family. We would do soccer tournaments for my sister and all sorts of sporting events and I would just hop in the car and try to go as far as I could. Every pit stop or gas station I’d try to look up a local skatepark and my parents would take me there. I’d ask every hotel clerk if there was a local park.

Did you and your dad actually climb a mountain to help HIV victims?
Yeah, my dad and I got offered a trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro last year through the Climb Up So Kids Can Grow Up program. One of my dad’s friends was involved with it and he told us there were two open tickets for a trip to Africa. I was still in school but I just cancelled one of the quarters and went. We raised a bunch of money and that went to a new drug that helps clean water and helps prevent HIV. That was amazing. We went to Tanzania and spent two weeks out there. That was the trip of a lifetime with my dad.

Bannerot 4 750pxJust like graduating high school, this flip was hard Photo: Peters

Are you still in high school or are you done now?
I actually graduated about a month ago. That’s why I’m out in LA right now just kickin’ it. I’m stoked I fuckin’ graduated ‘cause that was hard.

Congratulations! So you were a sponsored skater your senior year in high school, right?
Yeah, pretty much. That was pretty fuckin’ dope. I was stoked that that happened. 
It was sick.

Were you hot shit on campus?
No, no, fuck that. I don’t like that shit. I don’t like telling people all that stuff. My homies know what’s up but the other people don’t know. I hate that shit. I keep it low-key.

What does the average teenager in Enumclaw, WA, do to have fun, the kids that don’t skate?
I’m glad I skate because a lot of my homies nowadays just go smoke and don’t really do shit. But there’s so much hiking out there. I love it out there, ‘cause if you can stay active it’s an amazing place: you’ve got hiking, you’ve got rivers, cliff jumping. It’s pretty sick in terms of outdoors stuff. It’s nice.

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How does the rain affect your livelihood out there?
Yeah, the rain is gnarly. Every day you gotta deal with it. It’s random; you never can plan for it. So every day you’ll go out and try to get the session going and it might rain the whole entire day and for another two weeks after that or it might be dry for a whole two weeks and you won’t see a drop of rain. It’s super random. But when you get to skate you skate ten times harder. You’re so amped up to skate because you couldn’t when it was raining.


Bannerot 5 Seq 750pxNoseblunt shove it through the drain, Dolp Planet on the brain Seq: Peters

So when you visit places like LA where the weather is nice year round, are you less motivated?
I think a little bit out here, yeah. You get kinda jaded out here. You get used to sunny days and nice weather but you get to enjoy other things which is cool. Because if you’re super sore, it’s still nice out so you can do whatever you want. You don’t have to worry too much. But it does make you less motivated to go skate on a daily basis, I think.

Do you hit the beach? What do you do out there?
I hit the beach every once in awhile. I’m still learning what to do out here. I’ve gone on a couple of random hikes in the Hollywood Hills with my homies. I like doing that.


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I know you were considering moving to LA after you graduated. Are you out there permanently or are you just couch surfing?
Well, I got a spot so I’m, like, semi-permanently out here. I’m probably never going to be permanently in any spot. I’ll just be out here for months on end and then go back home for a second and say what’s up and then come back out here. But yeah, I’ve got a little room at Stevie and Yonnie’s crib. James Capps lives here too.

How big is your room?
It’s pretty damn small; it’s like a closet space, but it’s sick. It goes.

It’s rad you’ve got a built-in crew.
Yeah, it’s dope. It’s nice because we can just wake up and go skate together. We can just hop in the van straight from the house.

Is it a skate house? Do you have a sink full of dirty dishes or are you guys taking care of the place?
It’s the opposite. It’s a clean house. It’s so clean it’s crazy.
Bannerot 6 750pxFakie 50-50 against the wall, so clean it’s crazy Photo: Peters

That’s a rarity.
I mean, I don’t mind dirty. I’ve stayed and chilled at my other homies’ houses in Seattle. I’m not afraid of a mess. But here, you’re not going to leave a mess, or some of the other homies in the house will get real bummed.

Who’s the house dad? Who’s gonna come down on you?
Probably Yonnie. But we all clean up our shit. It’s all good.

What’s up with the Dolp Planet back in Seattle?
There’s this indoor ramp and my homies live there and they always build onto it and remodel stuff. Like, the last thing they did was build a pyramid in the shower out of concrete.

Like, a skate pyramid in the shower?
Yeah, from the ramp there’s a little living area and they made a Skatelite pathway to the shower and in the shower they made a quarterpipe and it’s so fun.

So you could be taking a shower and some dude could carve over you?
I mean, you would eat shit, but yes, technically.

 

Bannerot 7 750pxThe neon sign says no waxing, so Simon ollies over to crooked grind paraffin free Photo: Cole

On King of the Road, did you show up at a spot with the Chocolate team when Mike Sinclair thought were you riding for Toy Machine? Is that a real story?
That’s a real story. Mike Sinclair was hooking me up with boxes and then the Girl dudes came out to Seattle and I’d been on the phone with Sam Smyth. He’d sent out a box as well, which was already awkward because as a kid you never have two different companies’ boxes showing up at your house. And I didn’t want to burn bridges or anything, you know. But I was just, like, what the heck? ‘Cause I didn’t want to blow it. And then we’re at Garfield on King of the Road and Sinclair is there with the Toy Machine dudes and I rolled up with Smyth and those homies and that just kinda set it off. Kinda like, this is it; it’s dope as fuck; these are the people that hit me up when they came to Seattle; these are the real homies. And then I ran into Sinclair and he was, like, “You should come around with us,” and I was just so disoriented, dude, for, like, a day. It was so stressful. Because they were all nice. They were all joking, But it was so awkward for me as a younger dude. It was funny, but it was scary.

So did you have to break the news to Sinclair that you were now getting boxes from Girl?
Yeah, I had to break the news. Because I had just gotten a box from both companies. I was, like, “Oh, fuck.” It was sketchy. But no hard feelings.

So this was all probably around the time that your Watercolours video part came out, right? How fast did things change after that video came out?
Shit changed, but it honestly took a minute, but I wasn’t stressing about anything. We were just hyped. That was the first video I’ve ever filmed with buddies. We had a premier and sold out the venue. And that was crazy for us because we were just some kids who’d made a film. That video was amazing, though, because after that all the footage slowly got leaked out and everyone saw it somehow.

Have you watched the OG Girl videos like Mouse and Goldfish?
Yeah, for sure.

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Who’s your all time favorite Girl rider?
Just ‘cause I personally know these guys, Rick, Mike and Chico are gonna be my all-time favorites. Sometimes you want to avoid meeting your idols, but these dudes are the complete opposite. All their stuff is so amazing from those videos and then meeting the person face to face is so sick. It’s pretty dope. They’ll be my favorites forever.

Are you finished with your part for this Lakai video?
I’ve got a couple of last-minute things I want to do, a few things on my brain, but if they don’t get done it’s all good. I’m pretty stoked with some of the stuff I’ve got. We’ll see what it all looks like in a bit. But I’m stoked. Everyone’s footage is so sick.
Bannerot 8 750pxKickflip 50-50, protected by the Bannerot Group Photo: Colen

Was this a lot different than filming for a local video? Was there more pressure?
Yeah, there’s definitely more pressure than just skating with my homies. I haven’t been on the team for that long so it’s not like I was the most comfortable right away filming out here. But it was so much fun going on trips that I just got used to it and now it’s so much fun filming out here. I think we’re about to do a quick trip to Mexico. We just took a trip out there and it was one of the most fun trips I’ve ever been on. It was sick.

Gotta get those clips before the wall gets built. What do you want the kids to know about this video?
A lot of hard work was put into it and I hope people respect that. It’s gonna be sick. 
It’s not some video that was just produced in a second. It was really worked on hard, so that’s pretty cool.

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What’s important about Lakai being a skater-owned company?
I think a skater-owned business is one of the most important things, just because it keeps you, like, knowing what’s real about skating. If you’re just getting fed money and there’s all this stuff everywhere, and it’s never been started from strictly skateboarding then it’s not a company to me. It’s just so hard to have respect for a company that didn’t grow up from skating to what they’re producing now. I think it’s sick that Lakai is skater-owned. That’s pretty dope.

Could you ever see yourself riding for a big mainstream shoe company?
No, hell no. I wouldn’t do that. I don’t think so. If anything, if it comes to that type of shit I’d probably just skate for fun. There’s already so many politics in this game, it just gets gnarlier when you go up to brands like that. It’s too much.

Bannerot 6.5 750pxSimon ollied this massive bump to bar and landed right on the Girl team roster. Power moves!     Photo: Brook

So you’d just head back to Enumclaw and hang out on the farm?
No, I wouldn’t do that but I’d probably escape to Costa Rica or something like that.

So this is your first interview in Thrasher. Do you want to tell the kids out there anything? And don’t say, “Skate for fun.”
Nah, I’m not going to say that. Man, I should tell a joke, huh?

Jokes are good.
Man, it’s so early and my brain is dead right now.

Okay, how about this. Let’s say your parents pick up this magazine. 
What do you want them to read as your last words?
I’m glad I graduated high school ‘cause now I can do whatever the fuck I want.

 

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It ain’t Kilimanjaro, but it’s a mountain of kinks. Simon goes down while the stoke levels go up!     Photo: Sussingham

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