Am Scramble 2018: Tanner Van Vark Interview

Tanner Photo1 750pxKrusty 180, over the rail and past the curb

How old are you Tanner and what kind of name is Van Vark?
I’m 21. It’s a Dutch name. I lived in a town down in Iowa that was kind of like a Dutch community. Everything was all Dutch-themed so there’s a lot of Vans down in that city.


Well you’re in good company with Daan Van Der Linden and Wieger Van Wageningen.
Oh yeah, definitely. I’m in the squad.

Where’d you get that cool hair from? What part of your family has hair like that?
I kind of get it from my mom and dad and I don’t even know. It kind of just grows like that. I haven’t cut my hair in three years either so it’s kinda messed up.

What do people tell you it looks like?
Krusty the Clown. And George Washington when I take my hat off.

How come? Are you bald in the middle?
Oh, I’m getting there. No, my hair just gets all flat so it just looks like I’m George Washington or someone with a crazy wig on. Just flat on top and poofy on the sides.

So you’re from Minneapolis but a lot of people think you’re from Seattle. How come?
I just have a lot of friends out there. I would go and visit my friend Greg Dehart and stay with his grandma all the time so I just know a lot of people out there and it was kind of an easy decision. So now I’ve been living out there for six months one year and two months another year. I kind of just go back and forth between there and LA.

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So when people see your video you got a bunch of spots from up there so they think that’s where you’re from?
Yeah, definitely.

What area do you prefer for skating?
Kind of just the entire Northwest. Like I’m down in Oregon now and there’s a million skateparks down here. There’s just tons of crazy parks and it’s fun to skate some unique shit.

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Yeah, judging by your video parts people wouldn’t know that you were always looking for rad transitions. Have you always skated transition, too?
I was one of those kids that grew up at a BMX-style skatepark so yeah, I’ve always skated transition stuff.

What was your home park?
Ollie & Co. was about ten minutes away from me and then I lived in Iowa for two years and there was another BMX park called Sailor. I would skate there a lot. Then I moved back up to Minnesota, Ollie & Co. closed and then I started skating 3rd Lair.

And that’s where you met Henry?
Yeah, about right when I moved back from Iowa I met all my friends I know now from 3rd Lair.

There’s been quite a few dudes that have come out of that park. What’s in the water there that makes so many rippers like Davis T and everybody come out of the 3rd Lair?
I think it’s just you get locked in during the winter and you really have nothing else to do and you don’t want to be outside. So it’s kind of just a hang-out zone. It’ll be, like, skate for three hours, go and eat and then come back to the park and hang out at the shop. So we’re there all day just hanging out. We’re doing nothing else in the winter anyway.

Tanner PhotoSequence1 750pxThe Vertebrae Buster comes to Texas! NBS 270, first try

What were the steps to actually getting on Real? Had you been on flow for quite a while?
I’d been on for probably two-and-a-half years, maybe three by now. I started by getting Zero boards before and then right when I moved to Seattle a few years ago I started getting Real boards. I think it was Davis who saw me at a Familia contest and he just put a word in for me. So the Zero program kind of just stopped and I started getting Real boards.

So how has your life changed in the last year or maybe even six months? Have things taken a turn?
Well, since December I’ve been traveling non-stop. I think my first trip was in December and ever since then it’s been, like, home for a week and a half and then gone for two weeks. I just got back for a little bit. I haven’t even been to California for most of this year.

What do you think? Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Oh definitely, yeah. I love it. Just traveling non-stop, going to new places and new parks.

Okay, you’re at a place where you’re one of the ams that everyone’s talking about. You’ve obviously been skating a long time, been filming a long time. What have been the biggest challenges getting to this point?
Personally, the biggest challenge is that now I’m skating with SOTYs like Kyle Walker and Ishod, so it’s more like I kinda got to find my own groove and find the spots I like to skate. When you’re skating with Ishod, he lands a trick in ten tries so that makes things difficult, I guess. It’s sick to skate with them, but they’re so good. It’s kind of been easier with Jack and Tim cause they’re from Minnesota. That definitely helps a lot.

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Right. It’s less of a superhero pace?
Yeah, it’s more of a family vibe for sure. When you’re skating with Ishod it’s definitely at a superhero pace.

Yeah Ishod, Kyle and Zion… Do you get fired up or does it sometimes make you feel like you should just stay in the van?
Oh, it definitely fires me up. At first I kind of felt like I had to stay in the van but then it was more like I kinda gotta keep up to their par.

What was the level like on this Scramble trip? Because you got a bunch of rad tricks but it seems like you kept finding your own way to skate stuff or your own spot.
Yeah, that’s kind of how it goes for me anyway. I just try to find stuff that is appealing to me and kind of isn’t easily done. On the Scramble trip everybody was killing it, for sure.

Was it high pressure or were you used to that after having to go with Ishod?
It was pretty chill. On the Am Scramble it was chill just because Henry and Simon are my really good friends so it was a mellow vibe the whole time. That made it easier to skate and just film whatever.

Tanner Photo1.5 750pxIt ain’t Houston, but Tanner still got his lien on in TX—frontside 360 over the hip at Skatepark School

Yeah, what’s Simon all about? He’s an interesting dude and totally rips.
I probably met him three years ago coming out here. He just skates everything. He has all the transition shit, he can do eggplants but also has the best frontside flips and can do all this street shit, too. He can literally skate anything. He’s the best.

Man. Yeah, especially to see him come back from a broken pelvis to totally ripping.
Yeah, that was pretty gnarly. I was hanging out with him at his house when he was broke off. It’s cool to see him now because it seems like it hasn’t changed him at all. He’s still ripping the same.

It’s wild how back in the action he is. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him but it seems like, Oh yeah he’s back. Look at him go!
Yeah, he’s like Cardiel status at this point.

Have you ever come close to quitting skating?
In a way, from snowboarding, but that was probably only a month phase. I would just snowboard a lot for a little bit. It definitely wasn’t like I was ever gonna quit skating, but I was almost leaning more towards snowboarding there for a second.

So you caught the snowboard bug but you were able to shake it?
Yeah, for sure. I feel like it definitely helped with some things in skating, like vertebrae busters.

What’s that?
Dashawn came up with that term. Weird alley-oops and spin-out tricks.

Tanner Photo2 750pxOllies? Never! Wallride 5-0 in Fort Worth

Oh yeah, I was gonna ask you about that. ’Cause in your Real video you’re spinning out of everything all different ways. When did you start figuring that stuff out?
I’m not very good at flip tricks and stuff. I never took the time to learn kickflip front boards or any of that stuff so I try to figure out weird combos that are fun to do and feel good.

You’re also really good at wallriding into stuff. Are you constantly on the lookout for how you can wallie or wallride into tricks?
Yeah, for sure. I try to find more wallie-to-grind spots nowadays.

We saw you doing fly outs almost like those Collin Provost ones where you can catch air off of curbs.
Yeah, those are really fun. I definitely stole those from Collin.

Shit, you did a wallie frontside 360! Are you gonna get wallie 540’s or wallie kickflips out or any of that kind of stuff?
I’ve tried wallie kickflip but it doesn’t work that well at all.

I’ve heard you’re a little bit of a hypochondriac. Any truth to that?
Yeah, for sure. Any little injury, I think I tore my ACL. Dr. Google was messing with me. Trying to figure out what’s wrong with you—that’s when you become a hypochondriac.

Tanner Photo4 750pxLotta dudes have carved it but Tanner slid one to fakie at the D-Town DIY

We had Fabiana on our trip this year. Had you ever been on a skate trip with a girl before?
No, I hadn’t but it’s really cool to see. Especially ’cause there’s a lot of transition skaters coming up like Nicole Hause. She could be placing in some of the men’s competitions. All the girls skating is amazing, for sure. One of my friends from Minnesota, his sister Anna Reese skated. She had an ankle injury but she used to skate a lot. So I’m used to having girls around. Actually, I have had a girl on a skate trip before, thinking about it now. She would kickflip double sets and stuff and front Smith double-set rails. She ripped.

Rad. She better heal up.
Yeah, she had a pretty shady surgery on her ankle so she’s been trying to get that better.

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A lot of dudes are into their outfits these days in skating. It seems like there’s a lot of gear crisis going on. Are you the kind of guy who carefully picks out your pants or do you just throw a Spitfire shirt on and go?
I just try to find the baggiest pants possible from Walmart. Just buy some Dickies and try to wear the comfiest shoes possible. I don’t care about the look. I just want to be comfy.

What’s the best spot you ever found using Google Earth?
Just random pools and stuff. That’s the funnest thing to skate, for me.

Obviously you didn’t grow up skating them in Minnesota. What were some of the first ones you ever skated?
First ones I skated were up in Seattle, surprisingly. There’s this square one kinda out in the middle of a field that was really kinky but it was a fun first experience. A lot of the people out here, they find a lot of pools to skate ’cause they’re really into that scene.

What do you like about skating backyard pools?
It’s kind of just like doing constant wallrides and everything is different so a slash grind is the funnest thing you can do. Little things like that make it insanely fun.

Yeah, it’s cool ’cause skating gets so complicated and then when you’re in a gnarly backyard pool it’s just like, Let me get over the light! Let me scratch a grind!
That’s the goal for the day—just to get a frontside grind over the light.

Tanner Wallie Sequence 750pxDear curb, you are a ramp now. Sincerely, Tanner. P.S. Thanks for helping me with my 180

So last year’s Scramblers, everybody’s pro and half the guys are on the SOTY list this year. How do you think the class of 2018 is gonna do?
Well, people like Henry and Pedro I definitely expect to see a pro board from pretty soon here. I just got on the team, so I think I’m chilling for a while. But yep, I’m sure we’ll be seeing some pro boards from the other guys coming out soon.

Is going pro a goal for you?
Yeah, for sure. Like anybody else, it’s a childhood dream.

When you think of a skater who’s really fuckin’ killing it right now, who do you think of?
I’d say Tyson Peterson ’cause he just seems to be everywhere at once. He’s always at the events, always doing stuff, always having the most fun. You just see a lot coming from him.

He’s definitely killing it. Alright last question, who’s your 2018 Skater of the Year pick?
It has to be Zion but that Tyshawn’s Supreme video was pretty messed up. So I’m looking for Zion to pull through.

You’re gonna vote for Zyshawn.
Yeah. Give it to him.

Tanner Photo3 750pxWith no pools in sight, Tanner made due with a wallride over the entire Fully Flared ledge

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