Robbie Brockel Interview

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What’s up, Robbie? How’s the pro life?
Shit. It’s good. I feel like it’s not any different than the am life besides getting your name on some product. You just make the big bucks.

’Cause, you know, you were originally supposed to get a 90-day contract and we were just gonna kind of feel you out and see how you reacted to being pro and see how the people reacted as well. But it turned out that you won them over in that initial 90 days. So after a bunch of meetings it came down to Jim asking me what I thought of you and I said, “Let’s give the kid a chance.” So it was sort of like welcome to the family permanently. I believe I told Nate to send some shades in your next box because your future is bright.
Well, you know, I really appreciate that. I mean, I’m still on the team all because of you.

Absolutely. And a little bit of Jim and the rest of the team, but you know.
I thought I was a pretty likable guy and I would have 100 percent of the votes. I’m surprised they were on the fence.

Well, we did have to groom you to be like that ’cause remember when you first got on and came around you were in your little shell and didn’t want to come out? It was just a select person here or there, maybe just Jake or Justin at first.
I was choosing favorites. I was, like, Alright, I can relate to this guy over here and if I open up to this guy he’ll think I’m cool ’cause I like this. But then with you, I was scared ’cause I was, like, He’s gonna roast me; I don’t know if he’ll like me.

Brockel Photo2 750pxAms match their t-shirts to their shoes. Pros match their boards to the coping. Robbie B is pro as fudge     Photo: Morford

You went under the radar with the roasts with me anyways. But with Jake, that’s a different story, I believe.
I’m trying to think if I ever really got shit when I was going on trips at first. Jake gives everyone shit so I just eliminate him.

Isn’t it true that Jake made you change your kickflip stance?
Ah, shit.

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Let’s talk about that for a second.
Yeah, I feel like I couldn’t kickflip for, like, two years. I was going through a mental process. I was younger, I was shorter back then and whenever I grew my kickflip got different. So then I started getting mental about how I set up and I just remember Jake was roasting me about my foot placement and then I got even more mental in the head and forgot how to kickflip. But now I got a more beast kickflip than Jake so it’s all good.

I remember that kickflip clip—I think you were kickfliping over a rail.
Yeah, I think I had my foot, like—he called it a T-bone steak. Yeah, I don’t know. I had my front foot just completely straight with the board.

That’s funny that Jake called it a T-bone steak. He’s the most-steak dude.
He really is.

And then he called it a T-bone steak stance, so that’s funny. Let’s talk about where you’re from.
I’m from Phoenix, Arizona. Born and raised.

Brockel Photo3 750pxNo need to change up that backside noseblunt stance—that’s textbook, son     Photo: Hammeke

I lived there for a short time and I must say that the people are very nice, it’s very welcoming, but I just didn’t vibe there. Have you heard similar stories like that? ’Cause it is kind of close to California but even when I lived there I’ve seen pros come and go. Like just disappear.
It had a big skate scene for a long time, though. Like whenever Hammeke was living out there, Bryce, everyone was doing lots of trips there and I think that’s what attracted people to it. And then it was just the next state that everyone wanted to move to and was blowing up. But for the most part I feel that everyone that lives in Arizona are all from the Midwest. Like, everyone’s from Michigan or Chicago and it’s probably just because they want to get away from those crazy winters. And it’s cheaper too.

You were telling me about how your rent was really nice when you lived there.
Oh yeah. I think we had a four-bedroom house and it was $1,200 a month in downtown Phoenix. And that was the most I had ever paid for rent in my life. It was 250 dollars a month or something. It was crazy. So I was trying to ride that out for a bit but then I came over to California.

Brockel Photo11 750pxThe cactus king     Photo: Morford

Can you tell the kids at home how a kid from AZ came up skateboarding and offer any advice? How did you get in with Deluxe?
Whenever I started getting serious about skateboarding I really wanted to get on Cowtown ’cause they were the skateshop. I would hang out there all the time; I set up my first complete there when I was, like, ten. So I would just hang out there all the time. I wanted to get to know the guys and then I started going on filming missions with them. Then I finally had enough footage and Trent would always give me crap, like, “I dunno.” They would always give me crap and then finally they told me, “You’re gonna have a part in the next Cowtown video.” So I was super stoked. That’s kind of how I got my foot in the door was through all of those guys. Then I won that best trick at Phoenix Am one year and I was riding a Real board and Jim hit up Laura, like, “Hey, have him send us some footage,” so then I started getting flow.

Brockel Photo4 750pxWet stairs? No cares. Robbie avoids the water hazard with a backside 50-50 across and down     Photo: Hammeke

Was Alden the first dude to hook you up through Deluxe?
Yeah, Alden used to send me stuff.

That’s tight. Shout out Alden for that. He saw a gleam in the cube. Since you live out here in LA, who do you usually skate with?
Well, I live with Jack Olson, Tim Fulton and Corey Millett.

I’m sorry about that.
Yeah, Corey’s a wild card. I don’t know how I feel about him. They’re all from Minnesota. Tim films for Deluxe and Jack skates for Real so that’s our normal posse but other than that it’s, like, Tanner Van Vark meets up all the time and Gage Boyle meets up. It’s just kind of whoever is trying to go out on a session that day.

What do you do outside of skating? What does Robbie do when he’s not on the board?
When I’m not on the board I’m just hanging with the homies.

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Teaching Jack life?
He’s like a shitty little brother or something. He just won’t stop bugging and annoying you and asking for favors and how to do things and you’re just, like, “Dude, you’re a grown man.”

He’s the tag along?
Oh, he’s just tagging along.

Brockel Photo Seq1 750pxCab to front nose—touchdown! Photo     Sequence: Adams

Mom said I can go with you.
Yeah, I wish Tim would ground him so he can’t hang out anymore.

So you’re not the only athlete in the family. Your brother Richie played in the NFL. I heard he’s stoked for you. He was even there when you turned pro.
The whole family was. I was stoked.

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That was a cool way to turn pro. You were supposed to skate Phoenix Am. Tell these kids how that happened.
Well I went to check in and I was, like, I wonder what heat I’m skating? And I saw I was skating in the last heat and I was, like, Are you kidding me? Does anyone wanna pull some strings around here? Why would they put me in the last heat? Usually I like to go in the morning and get it over with and not do anything for the rest of the day. So I was pissed. I show up the next day and I’m just sitting there. I hate skating in the later heats because you watch everyone rip all day and you’re, like, I gotta rip harder than that, so you start getting in your own head trying to switch up your line when you should just do what you do. So I go out there and I was skating with my friends James Link and Justin Modica and I was, like, Oh, it’s cool. I still get to skate with my friends in the next heat. So they finally call the name and I roll in. I wasn’t really thinking about anything besides the first trick, like, I’m gonna Smith grind this gap to rail. And I think they said I was disqualified on the announcements and everyone started rushing out and I was, like, What the fuck? Then they were, like, “You’re pro!” And I was, like, “Oh, shit!” And I just got bombarded. It was my mom, my brother and everyone. That’s when I realized what the signs said—all the people were holding signs that said “FUCK YES ROBBIE IS PRO.” ’Cause Thunder and Spitfire always make those signs for people in contests where it’s, like, “GO KILL IT!” or “YOU’RE AWESOME!” So I wasn’t even paying attention to what everyone was holding.

Brockel Photo5 750pxFrontside heelflip over the Fort Knox of street channels     Photo: Hammeke

That’s tight. So you were genuinely surprised?
Yeah, totally. And I’m so surprised that nobody spilled the beans that whole time. Afterwards, when so many people told me they already knew, I was, like, What the hell?

Brockel Photo12 750pxLife’s a bench and then you slide—front blunt     Photo: Morford

Dude, Nate told me a month before or maybe longer. I’m good at keeping secrets because I don’t really care, but that month we were skating a lot together and I was, like, Man, I’m so stoked for this dude ’cause he doesn’t even know that he’s about to have his name on a board for 90 days. But all jokes aside I was just stoked for you. Your whole house knew. Well, I don’t think we told Jack because he’s liable to snitch. So you said earlier that going from flow to am to pro you don’t really see a change in it besides a name on some product?
Yeah, ’cause you just stay in your steady routine of going out filming and you have goals like this interview or a video part. It’s the same thing when you’re am.

Brockel Photo6 750pxThe king of not saying no says hell yes to a huge frontside 180     Photo: Hammeke

I kinda noticed that you’re more in demand. You need to be at places more. Going on trips and it’s, like, Robbie the new pro is gonna be at this demo or the pizza party at the shop.
Yeah, I think as the pro you’re more featured.

You’re expected to be more. And, dude, you’re the king of not saying no or turning anything down, but it works out in the sense that for brands—people like Jim and Nate—you make their lives easier. And they have everything on their plate. So look at you now, interview in Thrasher, a bunch of pages and you’re fuckin’ stoked. It sounds like you’re living your life.
I’m super stoked.

Brockel Photo7 750pxPredominately featured gap to front board—cool cloud sword, Robbie     Photo: Hammeke

Tell the kids about your SOTY formula that I don’t think happened this year.
Yeah, my SOTY formula, it was just a gimmick.

Okay, but let’s tell the kids—explain your formula, please.
We were just talking shit and I was, like, the SOTY formula is just put out two parts—one kind of whatever, like a footage dump but it’s still really solid, and the next part is your banging part. And you have to have a cover and interview that year as well. So you got your two parts, one lead-up part where it’s, like, oh yeah he’s still skating; that dude’s killing it, and then all of a sudden you have your cover and your interview and it’s, like, dog, he’s really killing it. So then you put out your banging part then you just gotta grind an insane kinked rail and you get Skater of the Year.

Boom. There you have it, kids.
But that was the legit formula for, like, three years.

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I will say you’re right about that.
Then this year I got slapped across the face and my formula got all fucked up. Now I gotta come up with a new one. I don’t know what the new one is, though.

You’re out of the loop.
I’m gonna have to see who gets it next year.

Maybe DM Tyshawn.
Be, like, “Dude, how’d you get it?” No, Tyshawn deserved it. He just all around ripped everything and you’re just, like, Damn.

Everything seems casual for that dude.
Casual. It was refreshing.

We seen him grow up from little kid to young man on top of the skate game right now.
Yeah, the gnarliest pop of all time and you’re just, like, Alright.

Brockel Photo8 750pxHis SOTY formula has been debunked but his boardslide pop over recipe is still on point      Photo: Hammeke

Should Coors Light sponsor skateboarders? And if so, should you be the face of the franchise?
I mean, if they want to I would love to be the face of the franchise but I would tell them not to send me anything. Maybe just give me a card. I wouldn’t want endless cases showing up to my house ’cause then people would be coming over all the time and partying. It would be sick to just have a budget every month, like, “We’ll give you x amount of dollars on this card and you can use it at these locations.” So if any of your friends are barbecuing or something you’re, like, “Alright, I got you guys.”

Brockel Photo9 750pxNo slouch on pop either! Heelflip crooked grind at Tarzana     Photo: Hammeke

Who is the funniest guy on Real?
I think you’re pretty funny, Ernie.

You’re not alone there.
But I think just all around funniest is Jake Donnelly.

That’s my answer as well. The shit that comes out of that guy’s mouth—I know most of it is from his dad and his upbringing but he is a genuinely funny dude.
The one-liners, just the scenarios he gets himself into, everything.

And he attracts us all into those scenarios as well.
Oh yeah, 100 percent.

Brockel Photo13 750pxYour Smith grind is now coming to an end. Please exit on the right     Photo: Morford

Alright, who’s the gnarliest dude on Real?
That’s so hard.

Well, when you were coming up and started going on trips who was the gnarliest dude?
I feel like it’s a two-way tie in their own ways—it was J Brock and Dompierre. I would say those were the gnarliest dudes when I was first getting boards. They skated differently but they were both the gnarliest guys.

Brockel Photo10 750pxBall is life     Photo: Sveda

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Alright, let’s wrap this up. Anybody you want to shout out?
Thanks to Joe Hammeke for shooting photos with me for 12 years or something now. He got me my first photo in Thrasher magazine and now we’ve shot an interview together. Shout out to the entire Deluxe family and to the Coors Light promo code.

Brockel Photo Seq2 750pxSwitch biggie heel over the rail—keep it up, R Brock, and you’re gonna be the gnarliest dude on Real    Sequence: Hammeke