Raney Beres: The Road Back

Raney Intro 750px 

What’s up, Raney? I want to get the lowdown on that Antihero trip to Israel in 2015. Who went and how long did you go for?
The crew was the whole Antihero team except for you, T-Mo and Grosso. We needed you guys but next time. And we were there for 
two weeks.

You’re headed there on the fuckin plane; you’ve never been there. This isn’t a normal place that you go to. This is Israel, man. They have wars and crazy shit going on. Where was your head at before you landed?
Dude, I went into this one kind of blind. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. It’s the Middle East, so it’s definitely a trip and not many of us had been out there. We were all kind of just anxious to see what was going to happen, man. It was just a new experience for all of us.

Alright, fuck—let’s just get fuckin’ right to it, man. We know that you got fuckin’ broke off. What fucking went down, man?
Fuck, man. I hit my head really hard. I want to say it was the fourth day of the trip. Real early on.

 

Raney 1 750px

Raney yanks one to fakie in tagger territory


What was the spot?
If anybody saw the video that came out, the Israel video, you’ll see that we’re skating this sick natural quarterpipe spot. It’s kind of like a cobblestone quarterpipe on this sidewalk.

Where you fuckin’ push at it, you ollie up the curb and then you hit the quarterpipe, right?
That’s the one.

But there’s pillars sticking up, right?
That was the problem. They’re right in your way.

 


So that’s where you got broke off, right?
Yeah, yeah.

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Is that thing street eagle? Tall Smith, wings spread


So what the fuck happened?
Fuck, the session was fired up, man: Grant, Robbie, Frank, Tony—everybody was getting some there, man. It was on fire. And there was a real rough street leading up to the curb that you had to ollie up. My set-up was a little jacked and I had some old wheels that were a little too small. My wheels and the rough street had a disagreement and it sent me flying into one of those cobblestone pillars just head first, man.

So I know you had to be fuckin’ going mach 118,000 miles an hour and you just head butted that thing?
Yeah. I was cooking, man, and it was a freak accident. It was just a rough street and I was riding smaller wheels than usual and I got fuckin’ pitched. I remember thinking, “Take it to your back. Hit your back,” you know? And that’s pretty much the last thing I remember.

Did you see the pillar coming?
I mean, obviously we knew to avoid it, but it all happened so fast that I didn’t have enough time to really think about it.

Raney PQ 1 750px
Dude, you fucking died. You were a flatliner. We won’t say no names, but I know everyone had to be freaked out and going crazy but they were saying, “Homie ain’t doing too well,” and someone jumped to the occasion to help a motherfucking comrade not fucking 
go out.
Yeah, man. Apparently I was out. I wasn’t breathing on the sidewalk there. I was totally out. And you know our crew is always ready for action, so when the time came they were fucking right there, man, and I’m fucking thankful to roll with such a tough crew, because some other motherfuckers would have panicked. So yeah, I scored, man. They jumped on it and they fucking revived my ass and got me to the hospital.

Alright, so you’re at the hospital. Do you remember waking up?
Yeah, totally. The first memory—I don’t know how long it was after I actually hit my head but I woke up in the hospital not knowing why I was there and Pat and Julien are standing at the end of my bed and I’m just asking them what happened, you know? And they’re letting me know that I gotta get surgery and I didn’t even know what I had hit. And so they told me that I had to get brain surgery, man, and I was tripping so I just kind of freaked out and told them, “Let’s do this right now. Let’s knock this shit out if that’s what’s going to happen.”

Raney 3 750pxThe sweeper before the storm

If that’s what needs to be done—
Yeah, let’s fucking do it.

You’re all the way over there. It ain’t like they have the same hospitals as us. It has to be the craziest situation. So the doctors are telling you what? You said they were gonna do brain surgery but—
What did they actually do? My skull was cracked, you know? I had broken my skull. Yeah, went right through that thing. I don’t know too much about it still, but I had what they call a subdural brain hemorrhage and that meant that the blood—from what I understand—was still seeping. Basically my brain was getting flooded with blood. And so they had to get in there to fucking get all of that blood out of there before it was done.

That’s fuckin’ insane. So everyone must have been rattled. They see a homie just die and now they got him back. And this is the beginning of the trip. This is only four days into it and this shit happened. So these guys were, like, “What’s up, Raney?” and you told them, “I’ll be more pissed if I know you guys are sitting around on your ass waiting around for me. I would be more stoked and fired up if you guys were out there skating. That’ll make me heal.”
Of course, man. That’s what we went there for in the first place was to go get some, so I didn’t want to be the one to hold anybody back, that’s for sure. And with something that mental, it’s kind of something that you have to take on on your own anyway to get your mind right. So I kind of needed to be alone for myself and I didn’t want to stop the ripping that those dudes were gonna do. So it worked out in both ways.

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One-hundred-percent fucking skateboarding. Skateboarding’s nuts, man. People have no fucking idea. So—I don’t know—I’m not a religious person or nothing but you died in the fucking Holy Land.
Yeah. I mean, it was a trip. After those dudes left I obviously had some time to think, man, and despite it being the so called Holy Land it wasn’t quite a religious experience for me. I mean, I overcame some shit but I didn’t see the light and I’m not a born-again Christian or nothing like that, so I think I’m alright. It was definitely a trip. I didn’t quite see the light. It was a little more dark for me. But yeah, it was more just a weird experience dealing with the language barrier and stuff like that. I just couldn’t speak the language, you know? I couldn’t understand what most of the nurses were trying to say to me.

Raney 4 750pxLower Bobs makes him aggro too. Grasser back home in Oakland

Did the doctors speak English?
From my memory, the surgeon was the only one that I could speak to that could articulate well enough.

And tell you exactly what he’s gonna do to your brain.
Well, by the time I talked to him it had already been worked on, so I just kind of had to trust him, you know?

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So now you’re fuckin’ stuck in the hospital and—those dudes—you told them to kick rocks. They go skateboarding. Did anyone hook you up with some weed or something to help you fucking get through all this?
Ha! You heard the story, man. Yeah, some fuckin’ young Israeli skate kids had heard something about it on the news. I guess the news had covered something about me hitting my head and they found out where I was and came in and brought me some hash and some juice and some snacks and stuff. Yeah, they hooked it up, man. And I was so beat in the hospital that I just had to smoke the hash right in the fuckin’ hospital bed because I couldn’t go outside or nothing. So there I was, smoking hash in the Israeli hospital bed and trying to fight all the nurses, ‘cause brain injuries make you aggro, man. That’s all I can say.

Didn’t you wake up to them strapping you down or something?
Yeah, apparently I was strapped down like a mental patient, man. I was trying to fight everybody because you get protective. 
You want to protect your head. It’s the most important thing, you know? So naturally whether you’re 100 percent there or not you fucking go into some animal instincts and you wanna protect your skull. You wanna protect your brain, man, and you’re willing to fucking fight for that shit. So anybody that was standing in my way, even if they were really trying to help me, I took it as a threat and I had to fight back because that was my life.

It’s pretty heavy, dude. It’s a roll of the dice, man. That’s why we skateboard, though, right?
It was a Hellride.

Raney 5 750pxNothing shitty about Raney’s front blunts

That’s what we do. That’s all we know. We don’t give a fuck about our future. We’re not saving up to buy shiny cars. We’re trying to skate new fucking shit. That’s all we want to fucking do.
Well, if you’re in it for life and you really love it, you knew what you were getting yourself into the first time you stood on a board. So, I mean, if you’re not ready for some shit like this to happen then that’s on you.

Yeah, get the fuck out, right? Pain only lasts for a little bit. It goes away. It don’t last forever.
You’d be surprised on how fast it really goes, man.

You fucking died and now I’m sitting next to you. We’re fucking here. So now you’re fucking back in the United States, right? Did you see a doctor when you got back to let you know what you’ve got ahead of you, rehab—whatever the fuck it is?
Yeah. Fuck, man. It was a crazy ride home.

Oh, wait. I’m gonna hit the brakes for a minute. How many staples did you have in your head when you got out of surgery?
I want to say it was 40 total.

Forty staples almost from ear to ear. So when you got out, you got excited and tried to go push around with the fellas and your fuckin’ head swelled up. You just couldn’t wait.
That was not my smartest moment. Fuck, man, I made it out of the hospital. I was still so out of it but didn’t know how out of it I really was and these dudes are still getting some, you know? They picked me up. I was back in the van and I thought I was back. I jumped the gun a little bit. Yeah, man, it looked fun. Those dudes were ripping so I tried to roll around a little bit and then next thing you know—this is the day before we’ve got to fly out of there and the swelling in my head was going down and I fuckin’, like an idiot, like a skateboarder, I couldn’t keep away and I jumped on, rolled around for a little bit and then my head started fucking swelling up again and seeping blood out of my staples. Yeah, I fucked up. It got pretty big. The doctor told me as long as I stay on the anti-seizure medicine that I was on at the time that I should still be fine to fly home. So I had to take that chance. I was a little sketched but I ran with it.

Raney 6 750pxYou can’t bench Beres. Hurricane

You fucking got staples from ear to ear and you still can’t stay off your fucking board.
Yeah, that was only seven days after I’d had surgery.

Skateboarding’s a pretty heavy addiction huh?
That’s for sure.

So the doctor is telling you what? What do you got to do?
Once I got back to the States the doctor told me that the doctors in Israel didn’t do the job right. I shoulda had more metal put into my head and more braces and support but—

Because you had a hole in your head, right?
Well, yeah. The skull, after you crack it, it never fuses back together completely. So I think they said I have a four-millimeter gap in my head forever. But I got metal, you know. I’ve got titanium bracing it shut and enough scar tissue that it should be as strong as it ever was. But yeah, the doctor told me not to ever skate again, but we all know that ain’t gonna happen so—

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When he said that, did you even say anything to him or in your head were you, like, “Fuckin’ you’re tripping, doctor,”?
I think I just told him that that was not the case, so if I’m not going to abide by that what’s the second best thing? When can I start skating again because I’m not gonna stop. So tell me when you think it will be safe for me to start rolling around again. Yeah, I think I waited maybe seven-eight months before I really started rolling around again.

And I know that had to fuck with you, dude. That’s your fuckin’ head. I had friends that hit their heads: Nick Foster, Coco Santiago. Those dudes never came back the same. They were slower than before. I don’t see that with you. I’m just so thankful that I don’t see any of you slowing down. So it had to be hard but I did see when you first started skating again and getting back into it again, like, the inverts—you were tripping on that.
Yeah. Well, fuck—being upside down you’re just that much closer to your head. So it took me a minute to get those back.

You told me, “Inverts are fucking with me,” but we were at Potrero and you went and started doing them just to get over it, just to wipe that shit out of your mind and fucking get through it and I liked that.
Yeah. I mean, we’re skateboarders, man. We’ve been ready for this, you know? We know we’re gonna get hurt. That’s just the bottom fuckin’ line so you gotta get over it.

And were you losing any money or do you make lots of money skateboarding?
Nah, I’m not particularly rich.

You just love skateboarding, not for the money.
No, not at all. It’s what we’re gonna do either way. I mean, yeah, I had to pay my own medical bills and all that, you know? We’re gonna do this regardless, you know? Nothing’s gonna slow us down.

Raney 7 750pxDark days

It’s in our fucking heart and our soul. But seriously, your time could come at any time; you’re just rolling the fucking dice.
Yeah. I mean, more than it being a religious experience, which some people would probably say it is or whatever. Fuck that. 
It’s more of just a reminder for me and everyone else to just do fucking what you want whenever you want because time’s ticking, homeboy. Gotta make it happen now. You never know when somebody’s gonna fucking take you out.

Always skateboard like it’s the last time you’ll ever skateboard again because you don’t ever know when your time’s up. That’s how we fuckin’ skateboard.
And that’s how we’re gonna keep doing it, man, no matter what happens to us.

Raney, I have so much respect for you, man. You’re an old soul. I truly think that. You fucking skateboard like I want to see people fucking skateboard. It fucking has to be gnarly. That’s just what it’s all about, right? It’s dangerous. But that’s why we like it. How long does pain last? Not very long.
Fuck, this was the longest case that it’s lasted for me and it was still, like I said, seven-eight months and I’m skating again.

And I’ve been skating with you and I don’t feel like it slowed you down at all. Do you want to go back to Israel?
Of course, man. Well, actually I fucking hit my head in Canada pretty hard too about six months before I had gone to Israel.

The indy gapper to gapper, right? The bowl to bowl that no one has ever done—let’s just put that down.
And let’s just say I’m more willing to go back to Israel than Canada even though Israel was more traumatic. They just have a badass skate scene, man, and it’s still somewhat in its infancy. It’s real and it’s raw. They love it for what it is.

Raney 8 750pxDoctor’s orders be damned! Invert with no signs of slowing down. Welcome back, Raney

What does infancy mean?
It’s young, you know? Skateboarding hasn’t been around as long out there as it has here so everything’s fresh. It’s not played out. People aren’t complaining, you know? And Hubbard is kind of the first guy to go out there and really start making shit happen. So what they know is what Hubbard and the Grindline dudes have presented and we all know that those dudes are the gnarliest so they’ve shown them the best side of skateboarding. And they took it and ran with that. So all they know is the most radical side of skateboarding that there is: building your own shit, playing live music, you know, punk rock music and just fucking getting some. They’re doing it, man.

Israel. The Holy Land. They got blessed.
I’d go back. Who’s buying me a plane ticket?

Raney, I just want to say thank you for you being you. Israel, watch out, motherfuckers, we’re coming back, right?
That’s right.

 

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