Am Scramble 2018: Simon Bannerot Interview

Simon Photo1 750pxSimon’s crook was so rad a couple rubberneckers crashed their cars on the street right in front of us trying to watch the ride away. Smashing!

Alright where am I speaking to you? Where are you now?
I’m in London.

What are you out there for?
It’s pretty bougie but it’s kinda sick. It’s a Kodak/Girl trip. We’re next to Paddington. It’s my first time experiencing London skating and it’s super cool. Manchild just got hooked up with a bunch of Super 8 film today. We’ve been shooting so much Super 8. It’s insane being able to shoot that much on a trip.

Just burn it out, right?
Yeah, it’s fuckin’ sick. It’s gonna be good footage.

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Who’s the crew?
It’s Niels, John Marello, Manchild, Leo the photographer out here and fuckin’ McCrank and Sean Malto. Those two, they weren’t on the itinerary and we had no idea they were coming until the flight day. So it was hella cool to see them out here.

And Leo Sharp—he’s like a superhero.
Yeah, Leo Sharp, dude, he’s the man. He was talking about surfing today and it’s so cool to hear that he surfs. I’m sure he surfs a bunch. He looks like he’s built enough to surf.

He’s gnarly. So let’s talk about this trip. Can you remember all the way back to Texas?
Hell yeah, Texas was sick as fuck.

Simon Photo1.5 750pxIf he’s front boarding through kinks at 20 just imagine what he’ll be doing at 40!

How old are you right now?
I just turned 20.

Dang, you’re only 20?
Yeah, I was 19 on that trip and then November 12th was my birthday.

Oh nice. Happy birthday.
Thanks, man.

How has your life changed since you got fully into the whole sponsorship racket?
Well, I’m still living at my house in my hometown and I just get to skate with my buddies as much as I can and go film VX and hang out. Then I get to go on sick-ass trips in between there. I’m always going on trips with somebody—Girl, Volcom or whatever and it’s so fucking great to be on Lakai. I have an open schedule. I graduated high school then my life has just been doing whatever I can to have the most fun skating with my buddies. It’s amazing.

Sounds pretty good to me.
Yeah, dude, it’s so sick.

Now looking back, were there any key moments that helped you get to where you’re at now?
Just fucking follow your dream! I don’t know, dude. I’m in London right now, like, Holy shit. That was my dream, to come to London. I was about to go to London with Volcom at one point then I got hella hurt and so I wasn’t able to go. This opportunity right now, I would just say follow your dreams and it’s gonna happen no matter what. That’s pretty cheesy, but fuck it, that’s the truth.

Simon PhotoSequence1 750pxNobody really considered the gravelly trough next to this rail a “bank” until Simon started crunching through it. Front feeble pop-along during an extremely heavy first-spot sesh

I’ve been asking everybody on the trip what some of their biggest challenges were to get to this point but you had a for real gnarly challenge with your car accident. Do you even think about it anymore or is it in the past?
Dude, it will always be there as a monument in my life. I don’t know if it’s a positive monument but I’m definitely able to skate 100 percent and have as much fun as I can so I’m chilling, dude. It’s a positive monument in my life, for sure. But I just got a screw out like a week before this trip. I had this crack in my back that I’d always crack every fuckin’ day but then I got this screw out and I went to crack my back and I couldn’t crack it. I was, like, What the fuck? But I’m good now. It’s always good, but it just gets better I think.

Did they let you keep the bolt?
Yeah. I’m gonna fuckin’ screw that shit into a ramp or something someday. It’s, like, fuckin’ two inches long or something, Maybe it’s three inches long!

Simon Quote1 750px
Have you ever thought about quitting the filming/sponsorship deal and just skating for fun?
Dude, no. I fucking love skating. I’ll try to skate as much as I can and if I’ve got to do more things on top of that, I’ll do more things. I’ve been talking a lot to my buddies about skating and it’s hard talking about skating sometimes because you want to just skate, you don’t want to talk. McCrank told me today, he’s like, “Less talk more skate!” He’d say that to people at contests and shit. I would just say that—less talk more skate. If I had to do something it would probably involve getting a degree in something but I would always still skate as much as I can. No matter what, skating comes first, you know? It’s just you gotta have that plan b for the zombie apocalypse shit.

How was the crew on this one? Did you know these guys already?
I met some people but mainly just heard of people and that’s different ’cause you’ve never met them. It was kind of crazy going on a trip with people you haven’t hung out with before no matter what.

Did you see it as a positive thing?
Hell yeah, dude, it was so sick. It was a really amazing experience getting to skate together all these places and just hanging out super tough. No one was in bad vibes at all so it was such a sick trip for me.

Who really surprised you?
Well, Fabiana was crazy. I realized I saw her briefly once in Seattle, but going on a trip with her was sick. Then fuckin’ Pedro, I hadn’t seen him skate too much. Just everyone honestly except for Tanner. I had skated with him a bunch but I hadn’t been on a solid trip with him. Everyone was pretty different. It was fun to hang out with someone for ten days straight and get to know everyone.

Yeah. You guys were definitely chomping on this trip. Is it stressful when everyone’s chomping that hard or do you like it?
Everyone learned how to skate together and have fun. At first it’s kinda like everyone’s skating spots and you’re, like, Oh, is everyone about to skate this spot? Is everyone going in? Then it was, like, Alright, we’re all going in! You’d learn. By the end pretty much if one person gets sparked another person’s gonna get sparked and eventually pretty much everyone’s just sessioning it. We were moshing it kind of gnarly, you know? It was pretty cool to see everyone getting hyped.

Simon Quote2 750px
I was feeling bad towards the end ’cause I know that we were doing it Zero style. I remember I said something to you and you’re, like, “You know what? I like it. I need a trip like this every once in a while.”
Yeah, dude, for sure. Because it’s like you’re going to spots until two in the morning and then waking up and doing it again. I’ve never been on a trip like that. That was insane for me to just have the opportunity to skate with lights on a spot that you’ve kind of seen or never seen but you thought it was sick. It’s lit up and it’s in the middle of nowhere and how many times are you gonna be here with a bunch of fools? So you definitely want to skate more than you would ever want to normally. That was what was sick about it to me. It became gnarly ‘cause it was, like, Fuck, I’m hella sore from skating all these spots and then on the fourth day or the fifth day was this fucking hump where you’re, like, Whoa, dude. The fourth day you’re chilling, but on the fifth you’re, like, I don’t know about this trip. I know Gabbers—rooming with him was super sick. I had never met him before and we roomed together for ten days and that will bond you. Gabbers is the man. But he was getting wounded on some shit and the Texas ground is fucking rough. It’s not rough, it’s smooth but it’s sandpaper, you know? It’s super smooth so you can go fast and then when you fall your skin kind of gets ripped. It’s fun but you gotta give your body time to heal a little bit. But you’re, like, Fuck it, you’re only on a trip for ten days. You can survive it, you know?

Yeah Gabbers—he seems like the kind of guy who really likes to abuse himself and then Jaakko was like Mr Clean, he gets in and gets out.
Oh my God, yeah, Jaakko definitely answered that one question of who surprised me the most. I had heard of him after the Element video, but I’m not super good at remembering names and stuff so just meeting him for the first time was, like, Wow, holy shit, this guy’s got precision. He would do two tries and then have it dialed in his head and you’re, like, Oh, he’s about to do it. He definitely took my breath away.

Simon Photo2 750pxGrind and hope. Equal parts balls and board control set Simon free on this feeble to fifty in downtown Houston

How scary was that feeble grind where you came off the rail and grinded the ledge?
I rolled by the side of it so many times and was slappying it on the way down, so I kinda understood how it grinded. But I was pretty scared to put the whole weight on it. ’Cause that’s the ultimate gamble. I did it once and I was, like, Alright, I think it’s gonna go down. But you never know. I was having so much fun bombing those little hills right beside it that I was, like, Dude, this rail’s actually pretty sick. I just fuckin’ had to try it after that. Bombing those hills was too sick.

Yeah, you guys were cooking at that other spot—the crazy curved rail at the stadium with the big hill.
Oh my gosh, dude, that shit was so much fun. I forgot about that day kinda. That was the last day, right? Dude, that was so fuckin’ fun. Just ollieing those trash cans back to back.

Simon Quote3 750px
Last year everybody who went on this trip turned pro within a year. Do you feel like this crew is on that path?
Fuck, probably. A lot of these dudes are hella good, but fuck, I don’t think I should be pro in a year. I’ve got to experience a lot more shit. I’m so young. I don’t know how they’re feeling, but they’re ripping that’s for sure. They’re amazing skaters; the skill level is there. A lot of those dudes should definitely
be pro. But for me, I feel like experience is what makes you a pro, too. I want to have been to a lot of different places and experienced everything.

Simon PhotoSeq2 750px 2xSlow down or you’re gonna be pro within the month! Cab over the rail into Ft. Worth’s finest rollercoaster—Bannerot blazes!

Is being pro a goal for you?
Hell yeah, dude. For sure. That’s the ultimate dream. Ever since I’ve gotten sponsored it feels like we’re just skating as much as we can and sicker opportunities are coming up which is an amazing part of it. So I feel like whatever keeps these amazing encounters coming, like going skating in different countries and shit, that’s what I want to do.

There it is. That might be it.
That would be amazing to do, but a year just seems so close. That would be insane. I don’t know about that question, that’s a hard one.

What’s the secret to eggplants? If you were gonna teach me how to do an eggplant, how do you do it?
Go up the ramp, grab indy, put your hand like you’re doing a back 180 thing. Put your thumb on top of the coping with your front arm and you just shoot you board up as hard as you can kind of. Except you don’t need to shoot it as hard on big vert. From there you feel it out!

Simon Photo6 750px
Who are your role models these days? Who do you look up to?
I think there’s a lot of Seattle role models I have that are killing it. I’d say Lukas Miller, Josh McLaughlin and fuckin’ all these dudes from Seattle are role models. Sam Cole. They all live together and have the whole nine—Max builds sick ramps. It’s fun to go over there and watch them—Snowman, this guy Richard, has all the band equipment to play and you can just play some music and hang out, then go skate Seattle. Those are some role models to me because I get to hang out with them and they do sick shit always.

Rad. Anything else I should ask you about?
I don’t think so. But it was fun talking!

Simon Photo4 750px

A year ago Simon Bannerot was in a wheelchair with a broken pelvis. Now he’s riding high on the Am Scramble, popping off the ceiling in Dallas, Texas. Funny how things work out

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