The Follow Up: Chris Wimer

ChrisWimer portrait photoPAPKE 750pxPhoto Papke

 

By Alex Papke

What’s up, Wimer? How you doing?
I’m doing well. I just got back to Long Beach from Encinitas. I’m chilling at Frankie Heck’s house now.

Congratulations on last night, big dog.
Hell yeah, I appreciate it. That shit was insane! Mind blowing.

Jamie got you good with that surprise, yeah?
Yeah, so basically what happened was there was an Active signing in Downey, so we went and skated a couple of parks beforehand, just having a normal time. Jamie wasn’t skating with us and I kept asking everybody where he was. They were telling me, “Oh yeah, he’s just driving separate. He had some family shit to take care of.” So we got to the signing and he still wasn’t there. We were all chillin’, getting things set up, just kinda waiting for everyone to get settled in and whatnot. And out of nowhere I hear my girlfriend Kayla say my name, and I just looked over and—boom! She was walking in with Jamie close behind, then all the homies came in right behind them. It was fucking nuts.

So you had no idea any of this was happening?
Dude, it’s kinda weird because I feel like I have a good gauge on my gut feelings and I kept feeling kinda weird, like something was happening—just a couple of little things throughout the day that I noticed. I thought I was just tripping and so once we got there and nothing was happening I convinced myself that I was just in my head. Seriously, right after that everything happened and I was fucking shocked.

That’s awesome, dude. We’re all stoked for you. How long have you been getting Zero boards?
It’s probably about six years now. It was insane because my friend Stephen Mullen used to ride for Mystery and basically I wasn’t really getting boards from anyone and he was, like, “Let’s send your footage to Zero.” I never in a million years thought that was an option because Zero’s always been such an elite brand in my eyes, since I was a little kid. Somehow they were down when I sent ‘em footage and it started from there.

Who was your favorite Zero rider when you were growing up?
Jon Allie, without a doubt. Not even a question. I would say the foundation of my skating is from being inspired by Jon Allie, for sure.

ChrisWimer fsFlip IE photoPAPKE 750pxIf Allie’s your fave, you’re damn sure gonna know how to frontside flip. Wimer studied from one of the best and put this beast down second try     Photo: Papke

Have you gotten to skate with him since he’s been hanging around with the Zero team again?
Yeah, just a couple of times. It’s been mostly parking-lot sessions but we went out and skated spots one day and it was really sick. He’s awesome.

How long are you in California for right now?
Just two weeks. I fly out tomorrow morning.

Do you like it out here or do you find it mentally exhausting?
At first I would have to be out here in doses. I would do a couple of weeks at a time and then go back home. I feel like after time started passing I started understanding that all of the resources and opportunities to skate are out here. I realized that it’s just been kind of an uphill battle trying to do it from Virginia.

Since your spots aren’t getting skated nearly as much back home is it easier for you to film a video part there?
Strictly filming, I would say it’s probably a little easier for me to film a video part back home. In my opinion, there are a lot of spots that haven’t been touched because they aren’t necessarily the greatest, most perfect spots. I don’t have any photographers there, which makes it hard, but if I’m just filming I like it.

Wimer

Living in VA is an uphill battle. This kickflip noseblunt in Tucson, however, was a downhill skirmish    Photo: Rodent

Who’s your go-to filmer back home?
John Evans. He lives in North Carolina. I’ve been filming with that dude for over ten years.

You know him a little better than I do. Have you ever seen him in anything but shorts?
Dude, literally one time and it was because he came skating straight from being at a wedding. It was insane. Everyone was taking pictures and getting videos. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity right there.

How far of a drive is it for you to get to John if he lives all the way in NC?
It’s about four hours. There was a period where I was working full time Monday through Thursday, nine-to-five, then I would wake up early on Friday, drive to Greensboro and skate Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After skating Sunday I would drive back for work on Monday morning, then repeat the process. It was worth it.

Their aren’t local guys that you can skate with?
I have some homies that I skate with a bunch; they skate for the local shop Skate Supply. That’s basically who I skate with on the weekdays, then I usually go out with John on the weekends. I mainly just skate skateparks during the weekdays. If I have a trick in mind that I want to try on the weekend, I just try that trick all week at the park to get ready and then find a spot for it on the weekend.

Were there any local dudes that came out of your zone who made it in skateboarding that you looked up to?
Yeah, for sure. Kyle Berard was the first one from Virginia Beach that I know of who turned pro. Since then, a couple people that I were really inspired by were Pat Burke and then awhile after was Trevor Colden. Pat Burke was always a favorite. That dude is the fucking man. You never hear anything but good things about that guy.

At home, what do you do besides skating? Do you work at all?
I work a full-time job. I do boat detailing and restoration, so basically just washing and polishing boats—that’s the bulk of it. I’ve been doing it on and off for the last five or six years now.

ChrisWimer KickflipLipslide Azusa Karpinski 750pxRestoring boats and demolishing rails—kickflip lipslide on his day off    Photo: Karpinski

How long have you been working on this In Your Head part?
On and off for the last year and a half or so. I would come out to California and whenever Tim Cisilino was available to film we would just slowly chip away at it. It finally turned into something that we could wrap up so it’s good to get it out there. I had some ideas about spots out here but most of it was Tim. He has the most insane spot book.

Did you do any big trips for it or was it mostly a day-to-day effort?
We took one trip. Tim, Frankie Heck and I drove up to Northern California to stay at Corey Duffel’s house for four days. He was showing us around and it ended up being a lot more productive than I thought it would. I got a few things on that trip—the back Smith kickflip and the noseblunt on that handicap rail. That was actually one of the hardest tricks for the part. The run up was super narrow and it was really hard for me to get the right angle for that trick. Everyone got clips. All in all it was just a really fun trip.

Mentally it can be daunting if your TM tells you, This is gonna be your pro part.” Do you think it was less stressful for you since you had no clue?
I think so. I had no idea it was going to be my pro part so maybe I would have tried to put a little more into it if I knew, but overall I’m happy with how it turned out. Tim did an amazing job editing and filming it. I think that I’m always gonna be my own worst critic, and no matter what you put out you’re never going to be truly satisfied with it.

What are your plans for the next few months?
Right now just working on the new Zero video, Damn It All. That’s the main focus. I wanna take more trips, save up some money and hopefully move out here in the springtime.

Is your lady down to make the big move?
Yeah, we’re looking at places right now, actually. Just trying to get an idea of where we want to live and how much we want to spend. She was actually the driving force for coming out here. She’s really into her art and I spend most of my time skating, so it only makes sense. There’s way more opportunities and resources out here for both of us. It’s better to be out here trying than to be in a stagnant area back home doing our usual routine.

Do you feel like a bit of an outsider when it comes to the skateboarding industry since you live on the other side of the country?
I would definitely say that where I live, specifically, makes it hard. If you live up north in New York or Philly, you have a skateboarding scene that is more thriving, but down here it’s hard to stay relevant. You gotta be skating every day, or posting Instagram content very regularly, you know? I feel like people in California forget about people elsewhere in the country when they’re not being 100-percent productive with themselves.

Does the Chief get bummed that you’re not in California?
He might have been a little bit at first but I think I can still be productive filming and doing my part down here, and I try and make it to California as much as I possibly can, even though I should be out here more than I am. Over time I feel like he just had to accept it and was able to let me do my thing and do what I’m most comfortable with.

ChrisWimer HARDFLIP sd RODENT 750pxThe Chief might be bummed on his zip code but there’s no way he’s sweating this hardflip!     Photo: Rodent

You guys are filming the whole Zero video on VX, yeah? was it hard prioritizing all the VX stuff on top of getting HD?
It wasn’t too bad. Tim has a VX, as well, so if there was a trick that I had in mind for the Zero video, it wasn’t an issue. I think the hardest part out of all was trying to think of tricks that wouldn’t get repetitive between the two parts. I just wanted to think of different tricks that I haven’t really done and skate some spots that don’t really look the same as the other part—stuff like that.

Is it hard going on skate trips with dudes that aren’t as healthy as you are? Are you full vegan or just vegetarian?
I’m vegan, but no I don’t think so. Sometimes it can be a little tough but I try not to make it inconvenient on anybody else—just gas-station snacks all day. Can’t go wrong with a bag of chips or some trail mix! Sometimes you gotta make something out of nothing. I’ve been doing it for five years now so I’m pretty used to it.

ChrisWimer GAPTOVERCROOK Rodent 750pxCan’t go wrong with a trail-mix-fueled gap to backside overcrooks     Photo: Rodent

Do you think it’s done a lot of good for your body?
I would say so, yeah. Overall, I feel like I have more energy and a more clear mind.

And you don’t smoke or drink either?
Nah, I haven’t done that in years.

What made you want to stop?
Well, I stopped smoking weed because I went on a family trip for two weeks and I didn’t smoke the whole time. When I got home I went straight back to my old habits, thinking my tolerance hadn’t changed, when it did. I smoked way too much way too fast and before I knew it I ended up smoking myself scared. It’s never been the same since. Then I stopped drinking because the last couple of times I got really drunk I ended up throwing up blood. From that point on I realized it wasn’t for me anymore. One of the times was in the dead of winter and I threw up a ton of blood in the snow and all of the snow just turned straight red—I was instantly sober. It scared the shit out of me.

Is it weird being on a trip and not drinking with everyone?
Nah, I’m cool with just hanging out at the hotel. If I’m the only one that wants to skate it gets weird sometimes, but that’s about it. I’m down to just stay in while everyone is out and get ready for the next day, just keep it mellow.

When you were the new guy did anyone give you shit for not going out, or maybe for skating too much the next day when they’re hungover and off it?
Nah, I’ve never really had too much of a problem with that. You just gotta take a step back and realize that these dudes have been doing this for years and you just want to keep motivating them to do it if you can. At the end of the day, though, it’s just skateboarding. If someone’s having an issue on how they’re skating or how someone else is skating then that’s more of a personal thing than it is anything else. It’s never an idea of trying to take someone out or anything like that.

ChrisWimer KFFSNG Washdc RODENT 750pxTake note kids: this kickflip nosegrind is drug/alcohol free. Yours could be too!    Photo: Rodent

You and Dane are the two sober dudes, minus Jamie, on the Zero trips. Dane can act like an asshole sometimes. Do you two ever butt heads over dumb shit?
We have in the past, for sure, but I feel like over time I’ve learned to understand that a lot of the dickhead shit that he’ll say is usually for your own good. He’ll definitely be straight-forward with you and he’s not gonna beat around the bush—especially if he feels a specific way about something that you are doing. I feel like those qualities will help you as a person over time. So at that particular time you might not be able to see what he’s trying to tell you, but over time you’ll understand that he’s just trying to look out for you and your best interests. He’s taught me to put your nose to the grindstone and give it all you’ve got.

And you’ve done just that. As always, anyone you would like to thank?
Tim Cisilino for helping me with this entire part and driving wherever, whenever, Jamie Thomas for giving me the opportunity to ride for Zero in the first place, my girlfriend Kayla for helping me out along the way with trying to stretch and be healthy, you for this interview and for shooting all these photos, being the homie. The list goes on and on—everyone that has supported me along the way, all of the homies and all of my sponsors for everything. I appreciate everything from you guys.

We appreciate you. I’m still waiting on my frontside flip trick tip, though. Mine are shit compared to yours.
I got you! Next time, for sure.

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