Volcom's Road Rager "Larry vs the Kid" Article
Larry and The Kid may have their disagreements, but they both know Monk ruled. Backside and frontside feebles at River City in honor of Mark Hubbard Photos: Hammeke
Since last checking in, the Volcom Wanderlodge has only stopped rolling long enough to get some gas and sleep off a few hangovers. From town to town it roams, carrying with it a jolly band of miscreants with only two items on their communal checklist: skate and rage. We hit up the youngest and oldest member of the crew, CJ Collins and Omar Hassan, to see what these trips look like from two different perspectives—30 years apart. These guys also have an antagonistic relationship on the road that seemed worth investigating. Our findings: age doesn’t mean shit. Once you’re done having fun you might as well die, and these dudes aren’t shopping for tombstones anytime soon (unless they kill each other). Wander onwards!
Omar, how long have you known CJ?
Omar: Since the fetus era. We all used to skate the Vans Combi Bowl a lot, and he was the fetus ripping.
How old was he when you first met him?
Omar: He was probably about eight.
CJ, kickflip to fakie on the roof of the Montreal Olympic Stadium—get that gold, son! Photo: Cabral
And what was he like back then?
Omar: He was a super quiet nice little guy who minded his Ps and Qs. He was a little more shy and quiet and just ripping, but not coming up to people. He didn’t really have a voice of communication at that point. He was respectful and he wasn’t kooking it—ever. He just let his skating do the talking.
So how has he changed over the years?
Omar: Oh my God. Wow. You know in the Bible when they say the Devil was an angel and then he turned into the Devil once he got kicked out of heaven? Nah, I’m just kidding. He’s just at his height of learning how to be nuts and it’s awesome. I was crazy at a young age, too, but it’s a different generation, different era, and he’s having a blast doing his thing.
CJ, when you first met Omar, how old did you think he was?
Omar: Oh, man, here we go—what dinosaur era of BC are we talking?
CJ: I probably thought he was 30-something. I don’t even know. I never asked.
Omar: He doesn’t know numbers.
CJ: I don’t know how old anybody is.
Omar: His math class isn’t working.
Omar battled through the rain and the pain for this “money grab” in Lincoln City, OR. Larry rapped about it later that night—frontside heelflip grab Photo: Hammeke
Omar, did you ever give CJ skate coach advice when he was younger?
Omar: He never really needed coaching. He was just doing his own thing. That seemed to be a time before all the soccer dads and coaches got involved. His dad was into it for different reasons than to try to create something out of him. He was just into skating and punk-rock music and that’s what he influenced CJ to do.
How old were you when you first started going on skate trips?
Omar: I was probably 14, but I was always in the van with random older friends that would take me under their wing and just—kinda in the CJ sense where you get in and you kinda just get punked. They like you but they punk you and you just figure it out.
I was going to ask if you ever got tormented when you were the young guy in the van.
Omar: Yeah, this one guy Mike Lohrman, he used to always yell at me. We’d be skating a pool and he’d yell, “Get out the bowl, boy!” Even if I slammed and I was picking myself up, the older guys would be yelling at me and dropping in. But I feel like that’s part of the learning experience.
How have skate trips changed since that era?
Omar: There’s less sleeping in people’s houses and cars and more hotel rooms. You actually have a plan. You actually know where you’re going to stay.
CJ, how old were you when you went on your first trip?
CJ: Probably around 12 or 13.
Did you get harassed by the older dudes?
CJ: I got messed with a lot. I still get messed with. But it’s fun, though. I love it. And then I get to get them back.
Omar: He’s learning how to retaliate very quickly.
Out of the Wanderlodge and into the fire—Axel left the AC and stepped into the Seattle summer sweat. Luckily, it only took him about ten minutes to roll away from this back Smith. It pays to be good Photo: Hammeke
Yeah, I understand you do a bit of terrorizing yourself. Is that out of boredom? What makes you decide to start harassing your teammates?
CJ: I feel like it started with Omar, actually. He started messing with me and I retaliated. And then when anybody else messed with me I’d mess with them back. It’s just fun and games.
Omar: No, it’s serious.
So did you and Omar get into it on these missions? It seems like you were at each other’s throats, literally.
Omar: Yeah, but like he said, it’s still all fun and games. One time he took my hat and he started rubbing his balls and wiping his ass with it and I was, like, “Okay, dude, that’s crossing the line.” What are you supposed to do, though? And he started to get violent a little bit—physically kicking and punching. He goes for the throat.
And you can’t really fight back, right? Because he’s a minor. CJ, do you think you have a shelf life on being able to harass people without them fighting back? Do you think when you turn 18 there’s going to be a line of dudes waiting to whoop your ass?
CJ: Shit, I hope not! I hope it’s still fun.
Omar: He’s going to start learning Jiu-Jitsu or something. He’s gonna go Chris Russell on everyone.
Omar, you’ve been around for a little bit. Compared to guys like Dustin Dollin or Bam, how do you think CJ rates as an antagonizer?
Omar: He’s on his way to being one of the great antagonizers of his era.
“Weird bump things? Yeah, that’s my shit!” —Collin Provost. Frontside flip up a five stair Sequnece: Hammeke
What’s up with the photo of Omar choking you?
Omar: I might have choked him out but it wasn’t a serious choke. The kid was spitting food at me. I told him, “Don’t spit food at me again.” And what were you spitting at me? Meat? Ground beef?
CJ: No, I grabbed it from the pizza and started throwing it at you.
Omar: No, he was spitting it at me, out of his mouth. And it’s a dirty mouth.
CJ: And then you were, like, “Alright, do it one more time and I’m going to literally sweep you around this whole restaurant.” And I did it one more time and he swept the floor with me. Literally.
Omar: I swept him. No, I mopped him. I grabbed him by the ankles and mopped the restaurant with him.
Not happy with how the first two felt, Grant Taylor frontside flipped through the Miami M three times just to be safe. SOTYs brains work differently. Thank God Photo: Arto
So he has not yet learned to back away from the breaking point.
Omar: I think he just likes to test it.
CJ: It’s fun as hell.
You mentioned CJ stealing your hat. I heard that people were stealing CJ’s Red Bull beanie on these trips.
Omar: That’s like kryptonite to Superman right there. That’s the only thing that would really piss him off.
Can you not skate if you don’t have the beanie? Do you have to have it on?
CJ: No, I can skate.
Omar: He just doesn’t rip as hard.
CJ: Yeah, I can skate without a beanie, but I just get bummed out when it gets thrown away because then I’d have to get yelled at or something.
Who would yell at you?
CJ: I’ve got my dad texting me over here, “You don’t have your Red Bull beanie on.”
You’re 15, right? Next year, when you’re 16, do you have plans to buy a car?
CJ: Yeah, I’m actually planning on buying a car after this China trip I’m about to go on.
What do you got your eye on?
CJ: A Toyota Tacoma.
Omar: Tell him about your Harley.
CJ: Oh yeah, I’ve got a Harley already.
Oh, geez. Are you legal on that thing?
CJ: Nah, I’m definitely not legal on it.
Omar: He’s ridden it, though. He’s ridden it in the wide-open country.
Pfanner elevates a frontside 180 in Vancouver. Weed is now legal in Canada. Getting high is not frowned upon Photo: Hammeke
So no Lamborghinis in your future?
CJ: Hell no.
When you’re on these trips and you roll up to a street spot and you guys aren’t feeling it, what do you do to kill the time?
Omar: We just support each other. And if somebody is about to rip we get out of the bus and go support them. And that’s what makes the whole Wanderlodge thing cool: you’re just rolling around in your own hotel room. You’re constantly on the move and as soon as somebody is about to get something, everybody will get out. Then we get back in. That’s what makes that thing so convenient. Having the bus makes the dynamic that much radder because we’re all supporting each other at each spot and then you know that you’re all getting back into the ‘lodge afterwards and everybody is going to be back together.
Simon Bannerot, tuck-knee egg at Dope Planet in Seattle—not dope sick, just plain sick Photo: Hammeke
Omar, can you tell me a little bit about Larry?
Omar: I don’t really know who that is. Nah, it’s just an alter ego that somebody put on me and it stuck. It’s kinda one of those things where it’s funny and I just try to ignore it because most times I don’t even remember it.
So it’s hard to remember becoming Larry?
Omar: When you’re on a trip, if you’re not having fun and doing something besides the monotony or seriousness of jumping down something or riding something—there’s always other outlets for having fun. And sometimes I take it a little overboard, and that’s when Larry happens.
Collin pays his respects to Monk with a lofty BSO in South Park, WA. Heavy revs Photo: Hammeke
And I’ve heard Larry has an affinity for rapping.
Omar: Sometimes. It’s just a fun thing. It’s not serious. It’s not like I have any tracks coming out soon or anything like that. I’ve just always messed around and had fun doing stuff like that, and it got to a point where people will actually sit there and listen to me. And if you’re dumb enough to listen to me, then I’m gonna throw it at you.
It sounds awesome to me. You keep the morale up. When you were on trips when you were younger, did you party or were you keeping it together so you could shred?
Omar: I’ve always kinda kept it together.
I’ve never really blown it. But there’s a time and a place for everything. Everything is cool in moderation. You just gotta figure out what works for you. Louie Lopez is a great example of that, because he’s not a partier by any means, but if he’s skating super hard and has a couple of really great days and he’s kinda feeling his body, he’ll take a couple of days off and have fun.
No flashes? No problem! Alec Majerus threw down this nosegrind in Montreal knowing that the daylight was burning Photo: Cabral
You’re a dad, right?
Omar: Yeah, I have an eight-year-old daughter.
When you’re on trips, do you ever intentionally throttle your own behavior so that nothing comes out that you wouldn’t want your own kid to see?
Omar: Not necessarily. But she’s a good kid and when we go on these trips nothing
is really to the point where I’d have to worry about that. Because nothing is really crossing the line where it’s going to offend
any family members.
They’re cool with you pretending to snort snow banks?
Omar: Oh, wow. That one just slipped my mind. That one’s just funny at the time, I guess.
CJ, is it weird when you’re at a demo and you’re signing stuff for kids the same age as you or older?
CJ: Nah, I don’t think it’s weird at all. I think it’s sick as hell, no matter what. I love doing that stuff. It’s fun. It’s sick that there are kids out there that are loving this shit.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen on a skate trip?
CJ: The gnarliest skate trip I’ve ever been on was Skatopia. I seen some randomness. I think I was 13 or something like that and went out there with Dustin Dollin and Collin and the whole Volcom crew pretty much and seen some weird stuff. I saw a whole bunch of naked people, dude. I saw some people out of their minds, shooting fireworks at each other, throwing M-80s on the ground while you’re walking through the entrance.
How about any burning cars?
CJ: We were in the Volcom van and the battery died and one of the dudes was trying to get us to light it on fire. We were not down for that.
You gotta be able to leave Skatopia at some point, right?
CJ: Dude, for sure. Me and my dad were out there and we seen this mom drop her daughter off. She was, like, 18 or something like that. I was friggin’ tripping.
Omar: She was the Skatopia offering.
Front blunt at the Big O—no Big D for Henry Gartland Photo: Cabral
CJ, have you ever had a job?
CJ: Not really. I do homework.
That doesn’t count. Are you still in school?
CJ: I don’t go to school but I do independent study.
How about you, Omar, have you ever had a job outside of skateboarding?
Omar: I worked at the Santa Ana Country Club for a little bit when I was a kid for my dad, which is a golf course out here, but for the most part I’ve always ran the skateboard program.
Louie Lopez frontside pivots in Ottawa while dreaming of a Skate Rock trip Photo: Cabral
If you could divulge the secret, how have you managed to have such a successful career? You’ve been able to maintain and live the dream.
Omar: To be honest, I feel like having the luck of the draw with the people I’ve ridden for and been able to be with them long enough to have that support. And there’s people I’ve always looked up to like Mark Gonzales and Steve Caballero, and you watch their blueprint to see how it works. As long as you’re always skating and staying relevant enough to be a part of it—it’s not something you can plan. It’s just something that happens in your life.
So, CJ, are you willing to take Omar’s advice when it comes to maintaining your skate career?
CJ: Yeah, definitely.
Omar: He’s got the torch. I passed it along to him a long time ago.
CJ, there’s a photo in this article where you’re shirtless, eating soup in a restaurant. What’s going on there?
Omar: He was just showing off his abs.
CJ: I don’t even remember that.
Omar: He was showing off his six pack.
CJ: Well, I guess if I had my shirt off and I was eating soup, I was probably just sweating a lot.
So if you’re 15 and you’re in a restaurant, you can just take your shirt off if your soup is making you too hot?
CJ: I guess. I mean, I did it and they didn’t say anything. I’ve taken off my shirt so many times when I knew it was not good to do it but I still wanted to do it to mess with the waiters.
Can’t go over it? Might as well go through it! Pfanner, Kilty McBagpipe in Detroit (but we all know he could go over it) Photo: Cabral
You’re sticking it to the man right there. Omar, you’ve been traveling since you were 14. After all of these years, is it still fun?
CJ: It’s always been fun or I wouldn’t be doing it. Skateboarding’s not really a job, to me, and I don’t take it to the point where it’s so serious that I stress out too hard. Because that’s when you lose the fun of it all, when you take it too seriously. It’s just always fun to get on the road and get in the van. And now that there’s so many skateparks and spots and places to roll, it still keeps the hype up.
CJ, do you think you’re gonna be in the van when you’re Omar’s age?
CJ: Hopefully, that’d be sick as fuck.
Public park masquerading as a DIY ashtray—Provost goes FSA in Eugene Photo: Hammeke
Omar, do you have any words of advice for CJ to have an illustrious career and be shredding when he’s your age?
Omar: He’s pretty natural and he’s talented and having the time of his life and I don’t really feel there’s any stopping that any time soon, so there’s not really any advice you can give. He’s already living it. When you grow up and skateboarding is a part of your life and you already have that natural ability then it just kinda comes with the territory and you just gotta figure it out. There’s not a blueprint for what to do. Everyone’s different.
And, CJ, what can Omar do to avoid getting meat spit in his face in the future? Any advice for him?
CJ: I have no advice.
Omar: Don’t talk shit.
CJ: He’s had more life experience than me so I don’t really have anything to tell him.
Omar: That’s a perfect answer right there.
And where is the Wanderlodge heading next?
Omar: A town near you.
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