The Follow Up: Tom Asta
By Kelly Hart
Congrats on the new part, Tom! How was the filming process?
Thanks, man! Overall it was awesome. Can’t really go wrong when you travel all over the place with rad people just to skateboard. It still trips me out. But just like filming for any video, it always has its ups and downs. Some tricks come easy and others are a battle!
How long were you filming for this part and who mainly filmed it? Seems like you traveled a bit for it.
I’m not exactly sure to be honest. I think my last full part was Santa Cruz’s Right To Exist which came out in 2016. I’ve had a few smaller SC projects come out since then and some éS things as well. I feel like filming exclusively for this video started in early 2018. We went on a ton of trips. US-wise I think we went to New York, Arizona, California and Texas. International we went all over Europe, Spain a few times—lots of trips were more demo focused but we tried to get the filming in while we could.
Spanish tile mosaic + East Coast style = 4 Block SW BS Heel Photo: Mikendo
You seem to land tricks pretty quickly whether you’ve done them before or not. Any tricks in this part that really gave you a hard time?
Yes, and they were tricks I’ve done before too! The nollie heel nosegrind shove in Barcelona—w hade just landed at 9 AM that day and the Airbnb wouldn’t let us check in till 2 PM. So with nothing better to do we went straight out skating. I felt fried as hell but for some reason started trying that and it took forever! I’d come so close, though, that I couldn’t give up. It became personal. I remember telling Nick Hanson he could stop filming, I just wanted to do it for myself at that point. It worked out in the end and thanks to Nick, Dylan and Forstner for sticking it out with me and staying hyped. There were also a few other things but they were out of my control. Filming that mirror line with the kickflip back tail big spins, Itarted trying it then we got kicked out. We waited an hour for security to leave and then started trying again and it rained. We waited for it to dry up and then started trying again and people sat down on the ledges. This was after skating all day and I was spent! It was more of a mental battle thinking everything was against me but, again, it worked out in the end and I can’t thank the crew enough. it helps so much when the people you’re with are down for sticking out missions and stay positive.
Flip in or flip out? Asta dodges the question and switch heel nosegrind fakie flips out to drop the curtain on his part Sequence: Palozzolo
Did you wear the same cargo pants the whole time? And whatever happened to the double cargos you rocked for a while?!
Ha! I wore mostly the same style cargos the whole time but who knows how many pairs I went through. I spend too much money on those things. They’re the best pants I’ve found in a while, though, the double cargos. I started wearing them ‘cause they were the only ones I liked the fit on. I hate the tapered style cargos. The doubles were perfect for how I liked them, but yeah, they were a little wild. You actually showed me the pants I’ve been rocking for a while now. They fit proper and don’t have the double pockets.
What skateboarders inspired you when you were growing up?
I was really into watching Kalis, Wenning and Pappalardo. Videos like Mosaic and The DC Video were ones I watched all the time. I was also super into Zero. Zero was huge in my scene in Langhorne with Chris Cole and the Hotwax dudes being from the same area as me and eventually becoming really good homies with all of them and skating every day. I know Alien/Habitat dudes and Zero dudes are completely different but I feel like both of those styles shine through in what kind of skateboarding I like and how I skate today.
I’ve been hearing and seeing comments about you being the new-age Tom Penny or Ronnie Creager—which I think is a huge compliment. How does that make you feel? Did they have any influence on your skating growing up?
Crazy, man. It’s definitely a huge compliment but pretty wild to hear. I was fans of both of them when I was growing up but who wasn’t? Those dudes are the best and they pushed skating at such a high level. Creager was doing tricks that were way before his time and pushing the limits of tech skating and he’s still ripping. Penny obviously has one of the best styles in the game and is one of the biggest legends in skating, in my opinion. I don’t know if I agree I’m on those dudes’ level in any way shape or form, but I thank everyone for the kind words.
Asta stays on the grind from coast to coast—lengthy fakie front crooks in Barcelona Photo: Mikendo
What’s it like riding for éS since its rebirth?
It’s been great. I love the shoes. Kelly, Wade, Shmatty and myself keeps the squad tight and exclusive and éS has its place and specific style in skating. Working with Don Brown and the people at Sole Tech on catalog shoots, video projects and new product is always a blast and they are all skateboarders! I’ve been ridding for éS for five years now and they have been awesome to work with.
You’ve been riding for Santa Cruz for about five years now. How has it been creating products that work better for your skating?
Yep! For the first year or two I skated for Santa Cruz I skated the original size eight shape they had, which was good but it had more of a wide shovel nose to it. I always wanted to slim down the nose and make it a bit more of a point. Eventually we came up with the Taper Tip shape which is what I’ve been riding ever since. I love it; it’s perfect for me.
What’s it like riding for an iconic company like Santa Cruz? They’ve had some legendary riders and graphics.
It’s really rad! A brand like SC has so many possibilities. They get the most insane collaborations and partnerships. So many brands want to work with them because of the history they have. They’ve also done so much iconic stuff in the past that we can always go back to an old graphic or idea and spin off it. I love that they are always outsourcing artists to do new graphics or deck series. It keeps the feel fresh. I feel like Santa Cruz is also one of the few board brands that really travels anymore. Like, we go everywhere all the time. It’s pretty insane. I’m really glad I’m a part of SC and get to skate for such a huge brand.
Tom’s cargos may be loose but his backside flips are hella tight Photo: Palozzolo
Which éS shoes do you prefer these days?
Right now my first choice would be the Swift 1.5. I’ve been really feeling that one lately. Second would be Accel Plus. The strap is just OG and looks so good. Of course the Accel Slim as well. You can’t really go wrong with that shoe. My favorite thing about és is it’s super easy to bounce back and forth between shoes. they are all really good.
Any young kids coming up these days that you’re stoked on?
I feel like it’s tough for kids coming up these days. In a way they have Instagram to show the world how good they are, but at the same time it makes it hard to keep track or really care about what’s going on. Kids coming up really have to have something special or specific to catch your eye and make an impact. That kid Daniel Scales is dope. I think he’s hooked up by adidas and Primitive right now. seems like a nice kid, too. He’s getting so good so fast. I’ve also been seeing a lot of Marina Gabriela. She seems to be skating with Tiago a bunch. She’s amazing and makes it look easy.
What’s a normal day like for Tom Asta back home in Langhorne.
Hang out with the fam and skate for a bit. It depends on the day. My lady works three times a week so on those days I usually just stay home and kick it with the kids. When she gets home I just make some dinner and we chill. If it’s nice out sometimes we will all go to the park. I’ll skate for like an hour or so and they will hang out on the playground. The other days of the week I usually try and skate for a little longer. Then both Saturday and Sunday are full skate days for me and hopefully try and film if there’s a filmer around.
Switch backside nosegrind after dark? Gotta be the weekend Photo: Palozzolo
How is it being a pro skateboarder and also having three kids?
It’s crazy but fun! I feel like one of the smartest moves I’ve made for my family and my skateboarding was staying in Langhorne. it’s the town I grew up in so my parents and Renee’s parents are right up the street. They help out so much and it allows me to travel and have the time to skate and do everything my sponsors ask. I feel like if I would have moved to California to be closer to skating it would have put way more stress on my family life.
Where’s the go-to street spot these days when you’re back home?
It’s getting to be a little rough on spots back home. Typically we just go to Princeton University. Fountain plaza is always fun. they are doing construction on some of it right now and they tried to knob it a few times but it’s still skateable for the most part. It’s a good spot to go to, though. Tthere’s always people to skate with and it’s a good location to lurk and skate.
How is it now that Love is gone? Do you still go into the city to skate now that it’s gone?
I feel like it definitely changed the skate scene in Philly. The Sabotage dudes do an awesome job of keeping Philly alive and on the map, though. They are killing it. For me, I never went to Love too much anyway but I wish I had now that’s it’s gone. I’d only really go there if I had something in mind I wanted to film. That’s still how I am now—I go downtown more when I have something I want to film or just for the night life. I’m 30 minutes outside the city so if i’m just getting a few hours to skate I just stay local to my zone and mission out more on the weekends.
Are the cheesesteaks really that good in Philly?
I mean, yeah—it’s where they come from so they obviously have the best ones. Some are better than others and everyone kinda has their preferred spot. Pat’s and Geno’s are the two famous spots, then there’s others like Tony Luke’s and Jim’s that are really good as well. My parents bar/restaurant, the Langhorne Hotel, has a great one, too.
Quiet towns aren’t big fans of lights and generators. Asta switch front heels before the po-po show Photo: Palozzolo
You grew up skating with Chris Cole. How was that? Do you guys still keep in touch?
Unreal at the time. It was really cool. We started skating together once I got on the local skateshop. Then I started skating with all the Hotwax dudes. I was pretty intimidated at first. I don’t think I spoke to him much really, but I was a quiet kid in general. After a while, Chris, Ian and the whole crew just became my homies and it was normal. We do keep in touch. I’m actually flying out to LA right now and I’m gonna skate with him on Tuesday at an event. We also have a few of the same sponsors so that keeps us skating together a few times a year. We are still close but being on opposite coasts we don’t skate or hang as much as we’d like too anymore.
What’s up with the beanie, dude? It looks fresh but has there ever been any footage of you without it on?
There’s been a few things—a few Instagram clips. A few beanie falling off clips. I don’t know, man. It’s just my thing, I guess, especially when my hair is long I feel like I want to wear it all the time. When my hair is short I don’t wear it as much. Fuck it. Been running it this long why stop now?
What’s coming up next for you? Traveling, more video parts, the Olympics?
I’m on a plane to LA for SLS right now. From LA I’m going on a Ricta trip to Winnipeg. After that I head back home and I’m not sure about my next move. I’m always trying to film, though I’m sure another project will pop up. With all the traveling SC does I’m sure we will be heading somewhere in the near future. The Olympics? Who knows. I’m not sure how that all works but if I have the chance I’m down. That would be insane. Based on my current ranking I’m not sure I’ll be heading there to compete but I guess the season ain’t over yet so we’ll see.
And the final question everyone is waiting for—you backing White Claws?
Wooden rails? Where did all the marble plazas go? Splinter-free kickflip front crooks Photo: Mikendo
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