Taylor Smith Interview

Photo: Tanner Cribbs

When I was first told to check out Taylor Smith, I thought he was some dude in a beef jerky ad skating vert. I remembered a Taylor "something" doing airs over the Mega Ramp and figured it must be the same guy. A month later I was in Arizona for the Cowtown contest and was watching dudes skate the park. There was a kid with long hair and a Mickey Mouse t-shirt that was shredding. He had a very raw and natural style. Not one of those styles that is so fuckin' boring and over exaggerated that we see way too much today. This kid had a real natural gift and didn't need to fake it with some posed-ass pretty-boy bullshit. He was skating fast and doing the tricks that look good: backside flips, 360 ollies, backside tails and blasting bodyjars. He had every trick on lock and it all looked way too easy. I was told this ripping dude was Taylor Smith. I was stoked to find out he wasn't the person I thought he was. This was a few years back and Taylor was just a funny adolescent—a kid straight outta a cartoon. Now we've been friends and teammates for a few years and it has been a rad adventure getting to know him. Cliché as it is, he is one of a kind. He is a skateboarder, he is a weirdo and he does things his own way. Much like the greats, Taylor has that charisma and style that will get people talking. Skateboarding has been a bit stale and some pure and odd dudes like T-Spliff and the Shep Dawgs are exactly what it needs now. —Corey Duffel

Front blunt. Photo: Rhino

Are you still living in North County or have you migrated to Long Beach like all the other Tum Yeto dudes?
I'm in San Diego but I go up to Long Beach a lot to skate with those bros up there.

This a fucked-up one, but I've wondered about this for a while now: flashback to a Tampa contest. You were probably wearing diapers—skating the vert ramp. You were like five years old doing airs and I watched you hang up and slam to flat. I think I started laughing as you were on the ground crying. Do you remember this? Maybe it wasn't even you.
Fuck, I wouldn't doubt it but I don't remember that at all. I remember seeing you in Tampa. You were hanging outside by the vert ramp. I was all star struck because I grew up watching all your video parts.

Backside flip. Photo: Rhino

Where did you learn to skate vert and tranny so well? Do people know you blasted the goddamn Mega Ramp before puberty?
I grew up at that YMCA park up the street from my house. They had a vert ramp and some sick bowls. I loved that place.

Who are the dudes you liked watching once you started hitting the streets more? My guesses would be: Ethan Fowler, Jason Lee and Heath. You have the backside tricks as good as those legends.
Those legends rule. Heath's my favorite. Reynolds, too. I think Heath is almost every skateboarder's favorite.

Maybe that would explain your buttery frontside flips and arsenal of other tricks. What were the videos that got you pumped?
Dying to Live, That's Life and This is Skateboarding.

Kickflip. Photo: Ben Karpinski

Who are the skaters that grab your attention right now?
Rowan Zorilla.

Rowan rules for sure. I thought he was gonna be in the van with the Foundation dudes. As a kid, did you think of board graphics while staring out the window from the back of the classroom? You ever come up with any rad deck ideas? I used to draw a lot of skulls and Pushead-looking creatures that I thought would be rad graphics.
I would always draw all over my papers in school instead of taking notes. I was daydreaming about going to the skatepark and what I was gonna do after school.  

Did you finish high school or are you a North County dropout?
Dropped out.

Name a few bands that are on the regular playlist. Do you own a turntable or do you download music?
Black Sabbath. I've got a record player that just sits in my room and collects dust. It's sick. I'll download music off the internet, too.

Feeble up. Photo: Tanner Cribbs

Dust on the player!? Damn. Time to wipe that off and put on Technical Ecstasy. Any plans for the summer and after? I heard Foundation is gonna be working on a video.
No plans. San Diego in the summertime is ripping. It's good to be here. Psyched for the video.

How was King of the Road? The Enjoi homies told me you were shredding? Would you want to take part in that again or is it too craze?
I'd go again. KOTR is fuckin' nuts. Those dudes are animals. Enjoi's posse rips.   

Foundation has made some team changes since you got on. Is there anyone you're hoping to see get on?
You heard about the Secret Society? My money's on them.

Backside tailslide. Photo: Ben Karpinski

Fuck yeah! We got some rad homies coming up: Daniel Dubois, Josh Swyers, Reese Salken, Justin Damer, Matt Lane, Aiden Chamberlain, Braxton Powers. So many kids that are shredding and down for the Mighty F. Who are your five favorite Foundation riders?
Justin Roy, Ethan Fowler, Heath, Leo, Angel.

When are you gonna get back up north so we can go skate? I wanna see you skate some more spots in the Bay. Let's hear about the back Smith on the top of Market Street. I honestly think that is one of my favorite skate photos ever. I would have had it on my wall as a kid.
I love it up there. I gotta get there soon. Thanks, Duffman. You rule.

Back Smith. Photo: Dan Zaslavsky

That photo is fuckin' nuts. For the people that don't know the spot—it's utterly fucked! Are you a fan of the contests that are going on television? I think they are boring, but I have respect for the talents of the dudes entering them. I would rather watch Grant Taylor frontside grind the coping than see some flying carcass do a 900 in pads.
It's cool those guys can make such a good living skating in those contests. Yeah, I back that. I get a kick out of the flying carcass 900, too.

If I had the skills you have it'd be a different story and I'd be entering every single one. When is Ryan Spencer gonna go pro?
I heard soon.

I'm looking forward to riding his board, for sure. Maui's best! I think I said enough garbage to bore us all, so let's wrap this shit. Any shout outs or thanks?
Thank you all. Cheers!

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