Am Scramble Interview: Max Wasungu
It would be hard to find a kid more on-trend than Max Wasungu. French Canadian? Check! Pole jams? You know it! Bonafide Baker fool? For fuckin’ days! Max was the heart of this year’s Scramble, bringing the highs and the lows, all with a mischievous smile. And don’t let the post-ironic gear or speed shades throw you, this dude is the real deal.
A penchant for pole jams, avant-garde approach and overall stoke made Max a van favorite. Now, rewatch that ender a few times to fully appreciate it
What’s the correct pronunciation of your last name?
Wasungu, just like it sounds. Just like it reads.
And where did you grow up?
I grew up on the West Island of Montreal. And then I moved to Bromont, it’s like an hour away from Montreal in the mountains. And then I moved back to Montreal when I was about 16 until now.
Is Wasungu a First Nation’s name?
Oh no, my dad’s side’s from Togo in Africa.
Holy cow. That’s super cool. Have you ever been to Togo or Africa?
No, but we’re maybe planning on it, to go soon.
For like a family trip or a skate trip?
Well, you know if you see a tasty spot you’ll have to get some.
Yeah, for sure.
Max seals the deal with a slide to slide, metal to pebble
So for the dummy Americans who don’t know anything, you speak French and English, right?
When you dream, do you dream in French or English?
It really depends. Sometimes it’s French and then sometimes it’s in English. It’s weird ‘cause I usually do it in English, I don’t know why. When I think in my head nowadays it’s more English than in French for some reason. It’s pretty weird.
That’s crazy. Did you come to English later than French?
Well, the little town I grew up in is called Hudson on the West Island of Montreal and it’s like, it’s all English. So I learned English really, really quickly.
On the trip you told me that 2012 was a great year for Katy Perry so it was a great year for you.
What does that mean?
I just feel like 2012… Dude, it was sensational! Like everything was poppin’ and everyone seemed pretty happy and they thought it was about to be the end of the world, too. But it wasn’t, so it was like pretty fuckin’ sick. And Katy Perry, I think it was the year when she released “Roar.” That shit was crazy.
There’s something about her that’s very appealing.
Were your parents stoked for you to be skating or were they the kind of parents that were mad about it all the time?
Oh no, they were always stoked. I grew up skating with my homie Lion. Yeah, we grew up skating in Hudson and we were building some crazy stuff in the garage, like, in the driveway and my parents were always so chill about it. And we were building, literally mini Mega Ramps and stuff. We were tagging the house, too. They were always super mellow ’cause they’re pretty young, so they understand. They were always really supportive, driving me to places and stuff. It was cool.
What about the first box that showed up at your house?
What was it? It was a Vans box.
That’s a proper box.
Yeah, I was fucking hyped.
Back in Canada, Max takes a Suski for a shove-it out
Why are people so crazy about French Canada now?
Well, I think, for sure, because of Dime. It’s pretty big now and all their videos were in Montreal and I think it just blew up and it’s really popular now so people are tripping about it. And it’s East Coast so it’s all the East spots, like New York, I guess. So that’s the vibe right now, I guess.
And for the French Canadian or East Coast Canada, what’s the attitude there? Is it like super serious? Is it like the Red Dragons? What’s the vibe?
The vibe is everyone is super mellow. Like, imagine someone from outside comes into town, everyone’s gonna be super nice. Everyone’s gonna be homies with everyone coming in. We just take skating like for fun. We don’t take it—well, we take it seriously, but we’re always having fun and just cruising around the city, finding new stuff and just having fun with it. I skate every day and always try to get clips, but I always try to have fun, too.
I feel like everybody got along really good on this trip. Who did you really click with?
Noah, Dylan and Nick were the ones I really enjoyed spending time with, ‘cause they were just super laid back and I was just having fun with them and stuff. But everyone was so nice on the trip, but these three mainly. We were just making jokes and it was pretty funny with them.
It’s not how high the hubba is, it’s how long you can hold that shit. Backside NBS in Montreal
Yeah, was it fun to be able to speak French with Noah and nobody knew what you were saying?
Oh yeah, that shit was funny as hell.
Why do you think in the video interviews Dylan said he was on Bones?
He said he was on Bones?
Yeah, they interviewed him and he’s like Bones wheels.
Is he even on Bones?
No! He said he was never even on Bones. He just said that out of nowhere.
Dude, that fool is like really stressed when he does interviews and he just says random shit.
What was Dylan like for people who don’t know him? Did you know him before the trip? ‘Cause he’s pretty famous on Instagram.
Nah, I didn’t know him. I knew him from like Instagram, I guess. I think I followed him beforehand. But it was my first time meeting him and he’s super nice. He just makes jokes. I thought he was super serious ’cause of his skating and like you can not joke around about it. But, dude, he’s actually super chill.
How gnarly were those Australians?
Ah, they’re fucked.
Rob told me that they made a pact that they were gonna skate every single spot we went to and I think they did.
Oh, man, was there a serious pact?
Pact or not, eventually you gotta give some blood
Dude, ’cause like they actually skated all the spots. It was like, They gotta chill! They’re gonna get hurt at some point. You gotta take a little break.
They’re not worried. They’re not scared.
Nah, they’re not scared at all.
Tell the story about when Kieran accidentally texted us.
Oh, dude. I don’t fully remember but I think he was trying to send a photo to his girl saying like, Oh, can I post this photo of you, babe?
And it was her on the beach in a bikini, right?
Yeah a bikini pic or something. He sent it to the group chat asking like, Can I post this, babe? So everyone in the van just opens their phone at the same time and saw it. That shit was so funny.
We all just started dying.
Oh, man, that shit was hella funny.
But I think it was cool because he just laughed it off. He didn’t get flustered or nothing.
What was it like meeting the homie Jordan at the spot?
Yo! I miss him so much, man. This guy was like—this guy is a legend. The first spot we get to in Boston we meet this guy Jordan and, man, this guy is a fucking legend. He was just brooming the spot for us and stuff and taking care of the spot. Then after we’re done skating he just grabbed a board and started ripping in a very sketchy way. After that he grabbed my Instagram and he FaceTime’d me the next day. It’s so funny ’cause he seemed like he was homeless but he had a phone and stuff and he FaceTime’d me and everything.
Baker-backed dive bomb to ride-on 5-0—watch out for Wasungu
Just a pure spirit, that guy.
Yeah, he’s a legend, for sure.
How gnarly is Nick Matthews?
Yeah, Nick is one of my favorite skaters now. I fuck with his skating so much. The way he does back Smiths and stuff is so crazy. I’ve been seeing his footy for a long time and every time he comes out with something it’s always the best.
He’s insane. I went out to Chicago and skated for four days with him and his brother after the trip.
Yeah, I find it so sick that he films with his brother ’cause I used to do that with my brother. So I’m like, Damn, that’s actually the best.
So how’d you get on Baker? Has there ever been a Canadian Baker?
I don’t think so. I don’t think direct. I was getting Baker boards through Maritime Distribution. And then I started skating Dime and then Reynolds saw me on Instagram and he randomly got my number and FaceTime’d me. He was just like, Let me send you boards and stuff, and yeah, that was it.
Did you trip out?
Yeah, it was crazy ’cause first of all when he FaceTime’d me I was like, Damn, what the hell? This is crazy. I would never expect that. And then I went to LA to meet them and I stayed at his house for a little bit and then we got an Airbnb and I met everyone and it was really cool.
So let’s talk about your big trick. I’ve interviewed everybody and everybody says that watching Max do the big trick was their favorite part of the trip.
Damn, dude, they’re so nice. That’s crazy.
What was it like? Describe what you did.
Ah, dude, it’s still fucked, actually. I guess you guys were skating some other spot behind the school and I was just bored so I went to the front of the school and I saw this triple-set rail. The ground’s all fucked so we can’t pop on it, but then I was like, Dude, imagine you put a pole jam to it. So then I went to find a stop sign. I ripped out a stop sign from the ground and took it to the spot. And Noah, Brian and I had fixed the spot and everything—we put the stop sign to fit to the rail so now it was a pole jam to a triple-set rail that was broken at the end.
It was so fucked. It was one of those wall rails but it was peeling off the wall halfway down, like dangling.
Yeah, it was basically like a rail on a hubba that was broken at the end so it was all bouncy and stuff.
And then we went two different times. How hard was that for you?
I don’t really remember that much, but the first time, like after a few tries I thought I couldn’t do it ’cause I could get up the first part, like the pole jam. But, dude, every time I was going down that bouncy part I just couldn’t land. I think I hurt my tailbone one try and I was like, Nah, fuck it. So then it was like two days after and you said to me like, Yo Max, it’s gonna rain tomorrow. If you wanna do this we could make it happen now and then we go to Applebee’s. And I was like, Damn, dude, I want to go to Applebee’s and celebrate some shit! And then we went back and the rail broke a little more at the end and so it wasn’t bouncy but it was literally going straight to the ground at the end. So I ended up just doing it that night and it was just the sickest moment ’cause everyone was hyped. Yeah, it was cool.
It was the highlight of the trip, I think. You’re not super serious about skating, but several times on the trip you tried something very scary and dangerous and you ended up doing it.
I’m having fun when I’m skating, but I like trying stuff that I’ll be hyped on. I take skating not so seriously, but when I’m trying something, I just want to get it over with and be happy with what I’m doing. I don’t want to go on a trip and just blow it and not do anything.
I appreciate that, because some people think it’s not cool to try scary shit. Like you’re definitely down to scare the shit out of yourself, but then also do all kinds of other stuff.
Yeah, exactly. It’s weird, because I like a lot of different types of skating and everything and I enjoy watching all of them pretty much, so yeah.
What happened on that fucking yacht? So we’re out at night, looking for spots and we’re at the water and all of a sudden you see this yacht club with docks and all these big sailboats and stuff, right?
Exactly. And then, yeah, I don’t know why—it probably was my idea or some shit—but we ended up being on this pretty big yacht, actually. I don’t know why, man, but we went on the highest level of the boat where we needed to open a little window to get in. And we went in, and I don’t know why, but we were just chilling in there like nothing was about to happen, like taking photos. Then all of a sudden we just hear, Hey! What the fuck are you guys doing?! We couldn’t really see the guy, but it was like a pretty buff guy that was chasing us. And the way to get in that fuckin’ yacht club was really sketchy—it was like pipes running around the clubhouse over water. So we run back on those pipes, and Noah was the first one and he fell into the water—just landed in there and it was so cold. So the guy is still chasing us but Noah is underwater and Dylan is behind me. I tried to go down and help Noah. So I help him out of it and I started running again with Dylan and I just look back and I see Noah getting strangled by the buff dude.
Bluntslide fakie for the homie Jordan
I think so, but I couldn’t really see him much. But yeah, so he was strangling Noah.
You were on his boat and he was asleep on the boat and then all of a sudden there’s like three dipshits partying above his head.
Yeah, dude, thinking about it after, I would never do that again, but at the moment we didn’t know what we were doing really. But he ended up letting go of Noah and we just started running to you guys but we didn’t know where you guys were, and Noah was freezing and yeah, just, holy shit.
Well, all’s well that ends well. Dylan lost a board, right?
Yeah I forgot about this part. Dylan wanted to go back and get it and Noah and I had to explain to him like, Dylan, we almost got killed and you want your fucking board? But all love to Dylan. I didn’t blame him for that.
When you look back on this trip, what’s gonna be your favorite memory?
Dude, the whole trip was so fun, but it was funny when we were going to the different restaurants like Applebee’s. The funniest place for me was that Yardhouse. Yeah, it was crazy.
We just went to shitty chain restaurants. ‘Cause nothing was open at night so we would go to these shitty chain restaurants every night.
Yardhouse wasn’t too bad, though. Yardhouse had the giant beer.
That was the other crazy thing—you guys are 18 and ordered alcohol in every restaurant we went to the whole time and nobody ever said anything.
Yeah, dude, every time we had a pass. Sometimes they knew Dylan or some shit and sometimes they knew something about what we were doing so they were like, Ah, dude, don’t tell anyone.
You got a pass because there were so many Dylan Jaeb fans.
I appreciate it, especially since you didn’t know me and didn’t know any of the guys. I appreciate you taking a chance and coming on the Scramble. It was super fun.
Dude, for sure. It was actually one of the sickest trips I’ve ever been on.
No ollie required on Max Wasungu’s personal Frankenstein—grind to grind… to grind
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