Brandon Turner: The Prodigy Returns

BrandonTurner Title v1
Brandon Turner was a child prodigy. In a time when very few little kids were skating, Lil’ B as he was known was regularly stepping to the big shit around San Diego and beyond—his bravery on gaps and nollie backside boardslides part of local legend. With Peter Smolik as his mentor, Brandon rose up the sponsorship ranks, his partying and street life keeping pace with his groundbreaking and often over-the-top video parts. At the height of Shorty’s and Osiris mania, you’d hear rumors of Brandon’s after-hours exploits—he jumped off a bridge, got hit by a car, was charged with multiple DUIs, and later, was sent away to prison. But rather than become another cautionary tale of opportunities squandered, Brandon always seemed to pop back up, skating harder and better than ever. When we got this latest batch of photos, we could barely believe it. How old is this guy? How is he still skating like this? We knew he’d seemingly gotten his life back on track, but figured it was time to check in and get the real story. To quote the Shorty’s ad, “Lil B’s back. Nah, sayin’?”

Are you a Pilates instructor? Is that correct?
Yeah, I’m a trainer and I’m a Pilates instructor as well.

How did you get interested in that? Have you always been interested in fitness-type stuff?
I’ve always been interested in just fitness and staying in shape for skateboarding. So yeah, my girlfriend, she’s a Pilates instructor and she’s all, “You work out the Pilates way, so why don’t you get certified and I can hook you up with a master trainer so you can help put other skaters on game of how to keep the integrity of their body.“ I was just like, You know what, whatever, I’ll go try it out. Then I went and met with the master trainer and she was dope. I had no idea, I just thought Pilates was for women and it was invented by a man, so I was like, I went and did the training and became certified and now that’s what I do.

You know, it’s so crazy to think about the skateboarding that we grew up with, like the idea that you would do any sort of training or exercise was unheard of.
Yeah, yeah. Exactly. I mean, for me, just ’cause of how skateboarders are, I never went to the gym like, Oh, I’m gonna train for skateboarding. But I’ve always worked out on my own. I’ve always just worked out at home and I’ve always been into working out in that way, like running and you know, I used to play sports. It ended up working out because now I actually know how to help heal people and fix them and stuff and keep myself in good shape.

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Right. It’s a big business for the younger guys. They have all the Red Bull trainers and stuff. It’s crazy how that shift has finally kind of been accepted in skateboarding.
Yeah, and I think it’s good for all the kids to have awareness of their body and keeping it intact and firing off right so they can skate at their highest level. They wouldn’t have gotten that before, you know?

Yeah. So how old are you now?
I’m 38.

Oh wow. So how are you feeling on the board? Because the tricks you’re doing are like—you’re not wallie-ing and trying to find a mellow pole jam like some of the older dudes. 
Yeah. Those are fun, though.

BrandonTurner photo 2Insane switch Beni. San Diego, 2020    Photo: Connelly

You still like to jump…
Oh yeah, dude. How I’m feeling—dude, I’m feeling good. I’m feeling better than ever. I mean, I’ve been through a lot of injuries; a lot of shit’s happened. I’ve went through a lot of things but as far as where I’m at right now, I’m feeling great, dude.

So cool to see. So, I mean you were a little kid who got sponsored and was able to live the pro skateboarding dream. What was the path that went from Lil’ B the cute kid who rips to going to prison? Now that you have perspective, how did you get there? 
Okay well, this is what’s like full-circle perspective now. Most people use skateboarding as an outlet and obviously skateboarding was an outlet for me. I had a lot of family issues in the past. Skateboarding was my outlet. That was what I used to get out of that, you know? So through all of my mentors, Chad Muska, Kanten Russell, Smolik and all them just coming up. Coming up watching everyone like Kareem, Clyde, Jeron Wilson, just being inspired by other people and actually getting there myself with Shorty’s and having everything I wanted, it went into the party lifestyle, right? Then I started partying. I turned pro, had been through some shit, then after that just more partying. Everywhere you go in skateboarding is just a party. It’s just you’re not really like concentrating on business, you’re just concentrated on stacking clips and chilling with girls or traveling, whatever. So basically what happened was our motto was just like, Not giving a fuck and doing what we wanted, the skateboard mentality, and running it up. So from there, after Shorty’s, you know I always partied hard, you know, I always smoked weed. Then I started getting in to selling weight, you know? Like flipping drugs and shit.

Brandon Turner Shortys w Border
Was that because you needed the money or was that because that was just part of the people you were around?
Well, what happened is towards the end I just started investing my money in weed and flipping lots of weed and stuff. Then just always living in the streets lifestyle, my cousin was a pimp and stuff, you know, rest in peace. So we would travel and do stuff. Like I’d be on tour and just doing a lot of crazy shit that you wouldn’t even imagine, a lot of people talk about but never lived, you know? So me getting into this mind state and caught up in the street mentality, there’s a loyalty to that, so I was like loyal. In one part of my life I was loyal to skateboarding as always, but another part I was loyal to the streets and the people who had my back and who I actually started making money with, you know? So eventually the alcohol and the drugs started taking over and I was just moving unconsciously and hurting a lot of people around me. I was just kind of in zombie mode, like super selfish and arrogant and not really caring because I had been abusing alcohol so much and drugs that I wasn’t—it turned into addiction, which led to jail over the years and then eventually ended up in prison. When I went to prison that was the first wake-up call, like, Okay, I have a problem. This is a problem. Fast forward a little, I was still in that lifestyle, trying to get out of that lifestyle for a minute and then from there I eventually ended up working on myself and the real issues I actually had that I never dealt with from when I started skateboarding in the first place, you know?
BrandonTurner pullquote 1How did you do that? ‘Cause I know, especially for a pro skater, it’s like you’ve been able to do so much stuff because of your natural ability, by your hard work, by your personality you’ve succeeded and I feel like for a lot of skaters it’s really hard to humble themselves and say that they need help.
Yeah, and you know I know what’s up with that way of thinking and that’s just all ego. That has nothing to do with the truth. The truth of the matter is, no matter how successful you are, whether you’re the richest man in the world, everybody needs help at some point. So when I realized that,
it was real hard for me because I was addicted to the lifestyle and partying and alcohol. It was hard for me to make a switch and ask for help. I didn’t know there was a program to actually get your mind right and that’s what I had to do.

So what did you actually do?
I went through this BBA. There’s AA and that wasn’t really clicking for me because my ego was still there. I couldn’t ask for help. I was going to meetings but I didn’t really like it. So I went through this way called the BBA and it’s like Big Buck Awareness and it’s just another—it’s more intense than AA, for people who are extreme. I got a sponsor, my boy Steve Bruni who’s super sick and he saved my life. ’Cause I was at a point in my life to where I felt like, dude, Nobody gonna understand my story. What I’ve been through, nobody understands. I was in this self-pity state, you know what I mean? So I had to have another man bring me out of that, bring me back to humbleness and bring my perspective out of myself.

BrandonTurner photo 8Putting the buck in Big Buck Awareness, Brandon channels his extreme energy into a healthy switch 180    Photo: Rhino

What was the process? What were the nuts and bolts of it?
Dude, the nuts and bolts were just, basically I went through 12 steps. The nuts and bolts is just really looking at yourself and really doing self inventory and lots of steps and work so you can look in yourself. One of them was the AA book, like transcribing the book and seeing it in light as yourself. So basically you’re rewriting the whole book and making it about you and seeing if it resonates and it does. Then more work on top of that, going through all your resentments in your life and stuff like that.

Did you have to distance yourself from some of your friends and family?
No, not family, just my old acquaintances, like people from the streets that I used to do business with and hang out with. It took awhile for me. I had to separate myself from that. I had to be true to myself and realize what I wanted and remake myself. Like get out of that spell, you know?

Did you always imagine that you could continue skateboarding?
Well yeah, because for me, skateboarding has given me so much I feel like it’s my obligation to bring things full circle and do what I know I’m capable of. I feel like there was a time where I wasn’t really giving back to what had given me so much, you know? Skateboarding is my first love.

How are you able to do that now? Just being out in the mix or are you doing stuff more than that?
I mean, just working with people. I have a company with Sammy Baptista that we started. It’s called Gift. I work with Kanten Russell. We have a brand we’re starting called Living Proof. Basically everybody in life has a story and going through the program of AA or BBA, the whole point of the program and how it works is like giving back and helping other people who have been through what you’ve been through. So that’s why I became a trainer, and doing this and mentoring kids who’ve been through addiction issues or what have you. So I’m giving back through my experiences to people who need help in the way I did.

Let’s talk about some of the good times. What are some of your favorite memories from the Shorty’s team?
Oh, man, it’s just unity. Once a week we all got together. We had the Shorty’s crib up in Santa Barbara. We just partied and skated and had a good time. We went on all the trips, like George Nagai, he was the best team manager ever. For me, that’s what makes a team great. He really kept everyone together even though everyone was crazy and partying or whatever he made sure we were always on our trips and always getting to the contests, letting us know when we had to have ads for the mags or whatever. He was super solid. Being on Shorty’s was dope, you know what I mean? It was the best times ever. I don’t think anything is like that anymore.

BrandonTurner photo 3West side, late 90s    Photo: Hsu

Yeah, I remember I went on that East Coast trip with you guys. It was one of my first trips working for Thrasher and it was a real eye opener for me. I had met Smolik before and that was a huge eye opener for me cause I’d never—I just didn’t know skaters like that. I was kind of from like an ’80s, way nerdier kind of skate crew. So to get thrown in with you guys, I remember we get to New York, George checks us in to the Holiday Inn or whatever and I remember you and Smolik are like, “Oh, hell no!” and you got in a cab and went to the W or something across town and we didn’t see you guys for like four days. It was me, George, the Mad Monk and the kids.
Oh my God. Dude, I remember that. Sammy was there too. That was when Smolik bought Sammy his first bottle of Cristal.

Yeah, Muska dipped and then it was just like Oh, alright. I guess this is what we’re doing.
It was so funny because we would be doing our own thing and then we’d be like—yeah, I remember that trip ’cause we were like, Where the fuck is Muska at? We’d all go find him and then he’d be at some club or bar and he’d be like, Ah shit, ’cause he knew we were there to run up his bill. I remember that trip, dude. Yeah, we went to the W and the rooms are actually smaller than the ones at the first hotel we went to.

BrandonTurner photo 9Run the bill up, then take the switch hardflip down     Photo: Rhino

I remember George going, “Ahh, when we get back I’m gonna write those guys a letter.” Do you ever remember a time when you really disappointed George?
Yeah, all the time. That’s why I love him, man. Dude we were—not a mess but we were seriously just doing whatever the fuck we wanted to do. It was super crazy, dude. I think that trip is like when Peter might have kicked someone, I think Lady Gaga or someone out of the room or something. I don’t know who it was, but she was singing in there and he was like, “Get the fuck out of here.”

BrandonTurner photo 1Photo: Russell

What’s one of the most hairball experiences you’ve ever found yourself in because of Peter? Or maybe Peter was there along for the ride?
Dude, I got a couple of them. No, it was because of Peter. One time—dude, this whole trip was crazy. Coming from Hawaii, we went there after Fulfill the Dream and stuff. This was the most sketchiest because we were going from Hawaii to Japan and I was telling Peter, I was like, “Dude, there’s no weed in Japan.” And someone had just gave us like two ounces or something in Hawaii and we had to leave in like six hours. So he’s like, “Well, how are we gonna get the weed there?” and I’m like, “We gotta bring it.” I’m like, “You’re older; you bring it!” or whatever. So he put that shit in a balloon and he made me take that shit on the plane to Japan because I was still under him as his apprentice. Dude, that shit was reeking so much by the time I got to Japan. There were these little chihuahua dogs with uniforms on just following me and barking at me. It had no leash or there was no one around and it was just like dogs patrolling the airport by themselves. So this one dog just stopped and looked at me and he starts following me and barking and then when I get to customs the guy’s like pointing to the picture of the needle, the gun and the weed and I’m like, it’s so humid, I’m just sweating buckets with this reeking weed in my crotch in a balloon! Smolik’s just looking at me like, “C’mon, let’s go.” That was pretty sketchy.

You got through though?
Yeah, we got through. We met up with Pat Simpson from Osiris. He was the team manager at that time. He picks us up in the van and I’m like, “I got weed!” We were so hyped and we smoked it out of tin foil. It was like the best Hawaiian weed ever.

BrandonTurner photo 7A perfectly caught kickflip beats a crotch full of weed any day     Photo: Rhino

I’m definitely not trying to put him on blast, but I don’t think it’s a secret that Peter’s been really living the life for a while now. Have you ever talked to him about changing up his program at all? Are you still close with him?
Yeah, yeah, that’s my brother. He does what he wants to do. I can give him, you know—I’ve mentioned it. He’s done it before. He’s said, “Hey, you know I need to stop drinking for 30 days,” or something like that. But I just think he’s living the best life he thinks is fit for him and he’s just staying true to his beliefs.

Yeah, everyone’s gotta find their own path, for sure.
Yeah, and that’s something for me too. People would tell me all the time like, Hey, you need to slow down, and I never listened. That’s what I learned with bringing kids or people with problems through some work is it really has to be their decision.

BrandonTurner photo 5Apple a day on the Osiris Aftermath Tour, 2001    Photo: Hsu

Totally. What about Osiris? Those Aftermath tours will go down in history. Jerry sent me some photos of you for this thing. What was your favorite memory of being on those crazy Osiris trips?
Dude, oh my gosh. One of the best things that sticks out for me was the crazy tour buses with the beds in the back. You know, the front—living room and then the back—party room. Dude, I didn’t even know where I was most of the time because it was so gnarly, the schedule. They’re like, “Yeah, we’re in Düsseldorf,” and I’m like, “Where’s that?” One of the dopest times was when we were staying, I think it was in France. We were staying on a lake or something in these cabins and we had a demo and they straight up came and picked us up like on a jet boat and took us to the demo and the boat pulled up right in front of the demo! I was just like, What the hell is going on? And I shot my Osiris ad on the boat so it all worked out. That was sick. Never got taken on a boat to a demo.

What was your biggest month when you rode for Osiris and had the Shorty’s checks coming in and everything?
That’s a hard one. I dunno, probably around $60,000.

Jesus. And you spent it all, right?
Yeah, dude. It’s just like you think that the money—people who are making money, it’s not there forever, you know what I mean? It goes quick! The more money you make, the bigger your lifestyle gets. Or not. If it doesn’t, great. But the lifestyle I was living, it was pretty crazy. But yeah, it got spent a lot on lawyer’s fees. A lot on court fees and bailing out homies.

What was the wildest thing you ever dropped a bunch of money on? Did you ever fly everybody to Hawaii or buy everybody leather jackets like Hosoi?
Oh yeah, I flew some of my homies and a few of my cousins out to Miami. Because we used to go to Tampa Pro and then go to Miami after, kinda like that route, you know? Me and Smolik stayed there like two weeks after everyone from Shorty’s left, and yeah, we spent a lot of money. I realized real quick that we didn’t have that much money.

Did you ever pay taxes in those days?
Well, what’s dope is my dad does my taxes and my accounts so that’s the only way I’m able to have my money stuff handled and have the right investments and assets and stuff. If it wasn’t for him, who knows? Peter came and sat down one year and had four shoe boxes full of receipts like, Alright, I’m ready to handle my taxes!

Was there a point where it was like, Oh shit, the money’s gone. The skateboard career’s over? Or had you already crossed over into underworld stuff at that point?
Well, yeah, I’d kinda always had one foot in and one out. Yeah, I was in the darkness already so I was just in the streets. Basically, I looked at it as an excuse like, Well, I’m doing this to help so I can skate and still have a free lifestyle. Because I’m not quitting skating and this is the way that I can get my bread up and be able to skate and keep on living the lifestyle I wanted to live.
BrandonTurner pullquote 2How many times have you been hit by cars?
Twice. Once when I was five and then the other time when I was 18. And that’s when I actually died and broke my leg and was on life support.

I remember during those days you’d hear rumors. It was always like, Brandon jumped off a bridge; Brandon got hit by a car; he’s fucked. Then the next thing you know you’d show up. You were like the mystery man who would show up at the session and all of a sudden just bust some big trick. It was like no matter what it seemed like you bounced back every single time. Obviously you had to work hard, but what was the hardest you had to work to be able to get back to skate again?
You know, I broke both my legs once running from the cops and jumping off that bridge. Then the other time this girl ran me over in front of one of the parties we were having. Then that time I actually got metal in my legs and stuff. But that leg’s actually stronger now. At Slam City Jam in Canada I broke my kneecap and then I had metal around my knee to bring that back together. That was the hardest one because it was a problem. I couldn’t skate the same with the metal. But once they took it out it was all good, luckily. Shout out to Dr. Swenson from Memorial Hospital. He seriously saved me. 

BrandonTurner photo 10This switch noseslide should be a testimonial ad for Dr. Swenson's office      Photo: Rhino

So we’ve got this photo of the switch drop-in on the Bam drop. What on Earth made you wanna do that?
Oh, I’d been wanting to do that for years. One time I was with one of my prison buddies. When I got out of prison I was still dabbling, kind of one foot out of the streets. But I was super wasted with my boy Prince coming down the 5. I don’t know where we were coming from, Vegas or something, and then I hit up Dan. I’m like, Oh yeah, I’m ready to do the switch drop-in. I’m like, “Meet me there,” and I go there and try it and I just eat shit ’cause I was so wasted. I couldn’t even walk and I wanted to try it. I was so wasted. So from that point on it’s been haunting me and I was like, Dude, I know I can do it, I just need to go back and do it. Then the homeboy Jessie hit me up and he kinda tricked me. This was right went the Corona stuff started and he’s like, “Today’s a good day to do it because nobody’s out.” I was like, Aw yeah. I was already chillin’. I’m like, “Nah, I don’t feel like doing that today.” But then he texted me and tricked me. He said, “Hey, we’re on our way to the drop-in with Rhino,” and I’m like, “Fuck, dude, he’s already got Rhino?” I’m like, I have to go now. So I got ready and driving over there I literally had cold feet, like my feet were frozen. I was like, Dude, why are my feet frozen? I had to put the heater on the whole ride up to Encinitas. So we went there and made it happen. It was dope. I was super stoked.

You must have been cooking into that intersection.
Dude, yeah, that thing’s no joke. Shout out to Bam, you know, first one doing it ’cause that shit is no joke.

brandon turner swdropinQuarantine commando, locking down a hectic switch drop    Photos: Rhino

What are you most proud of these days?
You know, I’m really proud of where I’m at now, you know what I mean? I feel like I’m just super blessed to be able to still be alive, for one. And to be skateboarding—I’m proud of that; I’m always proud of skateboarding. I’m just hyped that—I’m super blessed to still be on a company and be able to skate with the homies and have that freedom and also being able to integrate myself to the point to where I can help other kids through real-life-experience shit. ’Cause I know there’s a lot of people out there with depression issues and whatever from the skateboard world, so I’m just like super excited to be able to help kids physically and through whatever they may be going through. But just keeping it moving and continue growing and continue learning.

What is your five-year plan?
I just want to stay creative and build my brands with Kanten Russell and Sammy Baptista—Living Proof and Gift. And just continue to skate and have fun!

What advice would you give somebody who feels like their life’s run amok and out of control and feels like they have a problem?
I would ask them to ask themselves, Are you happy? Do you like where you’re at? Do you wanna change? Are you ready for something new? Because, like I told you before, there’s nothing I can tell anyone, but if someone asks for help when they’re in a place then there’s room for growth. So that’s how I’d come at them. And of course it’s different with everybody, like people from the streets and someone who’s a nine to five, obviously I’d get at them differently, you know? It’s just a different lifestyle.

Well, I could talk about all the wild stuff all day. Like I said, it was a huge eye opener for me to get to meet you guys. I was in shock. Like you said, you guys did exactly what the fuck you wanted.
Dude, exactly, and I paid the price in every single way! But I would never change anything because everything I’ve been through, some of the regrets I have where I’m like, Damn, I wish I had a better work ethic with skateboarding and relationships, but it’s just part of the journey. ’Cause some people don’t make it out, so I’m hyped to be able to be talking to you and reminiscing about New York. That’s crazy, dude. That’s so fuckin’ crazy.

Who’s your favorite skaters of all time?
Of course Kareem. Jeron Wilson, Karl Watson, Clyde, Muska, of course. Smolik, Tom Penny, Kanten Russell and Daewon, man. Daewon and Jeron and Kareem were such a big influence and with longevity, too. Danny too. Danny and Daewon and of course Tony Hawk. Everyone still killing it out there, that’s who I look up to. Ever since I lived in Japan and I was looking at Daewon Song and him still skating like that I’m like, That’s how you do it.
BrandonTurner pullquote 3Yeah, he’s amazing. He’s gonna outlast everybody. Is there anything else I should have asked you about?
No, man. It’s been good to chop it up. I’ll give some shout outs to everybody—DC, Dan Connelly and the whole Sk8mafia squad. Thank you for interviewing me, stoked. Everything is easy once you’ve skateboarded.

What do you mean?
It’s just all the hard knocks in skateboarding. After that, whatever you choose to do, it’s gonna be easy because there’s nothing harder than skateboarding.

Tell me about this event you’re putting together.
It’s Rolling for Rights with Shuriken Shannon, Tommy Sandoval, Tyrone and myself. It’s Saturday, June 20th, and basically we’re skating for rights—addressing the issues in the world, fighting against racism, injustice and for Black Lives Matter and unity.

Totally. How have the events of the last few weeks and the response affected you?
In a couple ways, positive and negative. For myself personally, it’s brought up a lot of the emotions I’ve had to deal, you know, growing up as a black man. It just came out of me out of nowhere, so it’s been real emotional. And then on the political side of things, with the looting and rioting and the back-and-forth with the All Lives Matter, there’s so many layers to things. It sucks, but at the end of the day, I think that it’s gonna bring light. Stuff like this has to happen for change to happen and it sucks that bad stuff has to happen with it. But I think that people are getting the message and people are peaceful for the most part.

Have you gone out to any of the gatherings in the last few weeks?
I went out to one in the Mesa and I went out to one in Balboa Park, Hillcrest, but I wasn’t really up in the mix of things. With the Covid stuff and everything—I got family that are elderly—I can’t be putting people at risk like that. But I wanted to do something with skateboarding and Tyrone, Tommy and them. I heard from my boy Sugarbear that they’re planning this thing, so I hit them up to be a part of it so I can offer my resources.

Rolling for RightsRide along with SD legends in a righteous four-wheel fight for justice

We have our own platform and skateboarding has always been about unity, so what’s a better cause to do a Rolling for Rights? People have been doing it in other cities to bring people together, ‘cause that’s what it’s all about. I think people are starting to get the point and I think it’s really good. I’m excited about everything.

You said you kinda had a cathartic experience of just bringing out all these emotions. It’s strange when those things happens. You see something and there’s just a visceral reaction you have.
Yeah, we talked before about integrating yourself and learning what really is inside that triggers you for whatever type of behavior. I did that with my old lifestyle, drinking too much and drugs and stuff, but this was something different. This was an emotion that was buried just because I had no choice but to accept it.

You talk about using your special platform as a skater and the audience and the community you have. I feel like that’s the best way to start. It’s such a big issue, but what are some concrete steps that you could see happening that would improve the situation?
For one, I think awareness first and foremost. But you have the uncomfortable aspect of it too, where there’s two sides of it. We should start with people actually using their voice. Especially people who have platforms—whether you’re a rapper or skater or an athlete. Or if you’re white, or any other race, speak and say your truth, whatever that may be. Some people have their own opinions, and that’s fine, but as a collective, we all are one. Eventually everyone’s gonna have to get on board, if we’re gonna progress as a human race—it’s just a no-brainer. Nothing else matters.

I know with Shorty’s there was definitely an anti-police message. What’s been your general experience with the police?
Skateboarders can relate with “fuck the police,” because we’re always being fucked with at spots, just for skateboarding. There’s some cool cops, don’t get me wrong, there’s good cops and stuff, but I almost guarantee you every skater has at least had a bad experience with a police officer. They can relate to that. That’s why the skating community is so dope—we already get it. It’s just the rest of the world. Some of the experiences I’ve had were horrible. Some of them were my own fault, by all means, that I take responsibility for, but I’ve definitely had multiple experiences when I’ve been doing nothing, whether it’s skating, driving or whatever, I’ve had guns pulled on me or been detained. Even after I was incarcerated, just the way they treat everyone in there, it just gets real and it’s a whole different life. Some people just don’t understand it’s different as a black man out here. You feel it. You feel the racism. You just feel less than or that you’re looked at. And everyone knows what I’m talking about when I say that. It’s like a weight, you know?

Guilty enderAnd we thought the '90s were gnarly!

The Guilty video had a dramatic end as I remember.
Yeah, didn’t we kill ‘em all?! You know, as skaters, we’re just trying to skate.

Every time cops show up, my default is the “Yes, sir. No, sir. Oh, we’re so sorry.” Have you been in situations where you’re with a group of skaters of all different looks and you’ve gotten singled out specifically?
Yeah. Not only that, that’s just normal. I expect that. That’s normal to me. That’s my normal. I mean, sometimes they don’t, but I’m still expecting it. I’m like, Okay, he’s definitely lookin’ at me. But even moreso, I’m the same way as you—I just wanna be respectful and have an understanding communication with people at whatever spot I’m skating. I’m like, “We’ll repaint this, we’ll redo it, just please let us skate it. We understand we’re destructing it”—you know, being transparent. With some other people or kids of all different ethnicities or races, there’s always that one that’s like talkin’ shit to the cop, and I’m just like, “Yo, no, stop! You’re gonna get me locked up!”

Oh my God, that’s terrible.
There’s so many times somebody else was doing some shit and I end up getting in cuffs. I’m just like, "How did I end up over here?” And they’re like, “Oh, you were movin’ funny.” I was like, “Yeah, ‘cause I was about to run, motherfucker, ‘cause I knew what you were about to do.”

Well, goddamnit. So June 20th, you got the event Rolling for Rights. I’m stoked to see that you seem like you’re in a good place and have a good perspective on things and that you’re happy and living healthy. What’s next for you?
Skating, of course, first, above all. And then, I’m just continuously working on myself and growing, making good healthy connections within the skateboard industry and being creative. Just stay working to have that camaraderie, that’s what’s good for me. That’s what my mission is—just skate, create and connect.

BrandonTurner photo 4Against all odds, he's better than ever. Give it up for one of the greats and his heavy frontside nollie bigspins    Photo: Rhino

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