The Follow Up: Zion Wright "You Good?"
Interview by Alex Papke
What’s good, Zion? What are you doing right now?
I’m driving home.
I was snowboarding today. We went to Bear.
You any good at snowboarding?
Am I any good? I mean, I can ride. Jumps are kinda sketchy.
Don’t wanna get hurt on the slopes. So this whole video you just got done with was based around you, Foy and Midler being super-close friends. How’d you meet these guys?
I met Jamie in Florida skating contests growing up and then I met Alex at King of the Groms in Minnesota. I think I met Jamie when I was nine or 10 and then Midler was when I was around ten I think. We all just kept in touch over time and became homies. Now we’re out here.
Zion adds a new one to the short list of tricks done into this Taiwanese monster—nollie heelflip Photo: Haruta
Have you ever heard of either of those dudes before you met them?
Jamie, no, but Midler, I think the first time I had seen him I had heard of him and had seen little bits of him but hadn’t seen too much. I kinda just connected with him and we became really good friends.
How old were you when you got hooked up with Red Bull?
I’m pretty sure I was 15 turning 16. Ryan Clements at The Boardr was talking with them and kept telling me that Red Bull could be a cool fit for me. It kind of just all happened after that. I think they were trying to get Jamie on at the time, too, like get two of us. And I think he got on right after me. Midler was already on at that point. He was the one who gave me my hats.
Were you hesitant to get on an energy drink sponsor?
Nah, I wouldn’t say hesitant. I thought it would be sick to get on an energy drink company, but I wasn’t thinking that was something I had to do to make it and keep going. My dad was super stoked on the whole situation. I don’t know if my mom really knew what was good at first but once she started to come around more and met Tom, the TM, and saw what he was doing with us, she got it.
Turning a dream spot into a pole jam to back Smith reality Photo: Haruta
Do you actually drink them?
It kinda depends on what the mood is of the day. Sometimes I drink one or two a week. We have a fridge at the house so if I’m about to go skate I’ll usually grab one or something. I’m not drinking one all of the time. I like the organic stuff that they make. They make a cola, ginger, tonic water. It’s all pretty good.
You dudes went on a lot of trips for this video. What was your favorite place?
Taiwan was really cool; Portugal was sick. I always wanted to go to Portugal and Taiwan was definitely up on the list. But, you know, it was definitely different. We were just skating the whole time and they’re both different styles of places.
Midler wasn’t in Taiwan because of his injury. Who ended up on that one?
It was me, Jamie and Ryan. That’s where Ryan got that tail drop.
It’s always 0 to 100 for Zion Photo: Matreno
Did you get to see any attempts?
Nah, we didn’t actually. He had to go back by himself on a solo mission because he got kicked out the first time we went there. Cops came. Some dude thought Ryan was trying to commit suicide. It was crazy. He did that shit first try, though.
Was it weird not having Midler on the first trip since it was a project around you guys?
Not really. We had Ryan to sub in for him.
You and Midler give each other a ton of shit, yeah?
Yeah, we do.
Injuries can’t stop Z from charging through this grind gap out in Portugal Photo: Matreno
Why’s that? What does he usually do to instigate you?
There’s just a lot of times he’ll get the day going and not be prepared with his shit. Like we’ll be on a trip and I’ll be roomin’ with him. Say he’s just sitting around, right? And we’ll have to go down to the van to go. I’ll gotta be like, “Make sure ya got all your shit—your CBD, your skate tool, all that shit for the day, grab it. Because you’re not gonna use mine.” He’ll get it together once I tell him but I always gotta give him shit.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard Midler say?
Referencing Brazil, he said, “It’s so easy out here, you don’t even have to talk.” That’s a pretty good one, right?
You and him were both hurt for good portions of this video. What happened to you?
I went through one injury filming for this video and I was coming back from another injury prior to us filming, like right when we had the whole idea for the video. I tore my meniscus at the US Open in August and kinda didn’t know what was going on with my knee, I just knew it was bad. I got an MRI and then it sounded like it was torn, so I had surgery in November, recovered from that whole thing, got strong, started skating. Then we started going on trips and I tore ligaments in my foot skating this rail in Portugal.
Curved? Knobbed? Zion finds the line Photo: Burnett
What was the spot?
It was this long down rail to pop over, kind of like a cut off rail. Nah, not a cut off. How would you say that?
Yeah, bear trap. I jumped to my foot, but it wasn’t like a roll type thing. Say someone’s knees hit the ground, right? Like they would be sitting criss cross applesauce style, but sitting outwards, you know? The right side slipped in the grass and I heard a pop. So I couldn’t skate; it was all swollen. I got back to LA, got an MRI and it was torn. I didn’t do surgery for that, I just did rehab for six weeks.
Red Bull gives you full usage to their PT service. Do you take advantage of that perk a lot?
Oh yeah, most definitely. It’s one of my favorite things about it. I can learn about my body more and learn more about what I do, because I’m not always gonna have a PT around. Being able to pick up on all the knowledge they give us is really helpful.
Boys since day one Photo: Matreno
Did you feel like you were stuck playing catch up for this video with Jamie because of the injuries?
I wasn’t feeling like I was playing catch up, I just feel like I wasn’t able to get stuff that I wanted to get in the part. Other than that, it’s all good. I got to skate cool stuff.
Midler was saying how it was a short amount of time for him to film a part. Is it the same for you?
I feel like I really don’t map it out. Ten months, depending on the pace we’re filming at, I can probably put out two parts. Just depending where I’m going, how much I’m skating, if everything’s working out, you know?
Who is skating the most on these trips?
It depends but, I mean, like obviously Foy. He’s ready to attack anything.
Big gap to lip. This video is a handrail hellride Photo: Burnett
How does it help you having someone like Jamie on these trips with you? I know you dudes have known each other forever but he’s one of the best out right now and has gotta lend some knowledge when it comes to skating big shit.
Well, it’s crazy because it’s Jamie. That fool can do anything he wants to. So having his mindset, given to you, it’s like, If he said I can do it then I can do it, you know? He’s always hyping it up. Same with Midler.
Had you worked on anything with Ira before this video or was this the first thing?
Dude, yeah, it’s crazy. I worked on the Woodward Fuel TV show with him. I got a guest appearance on it when Midler was doing it. I just went up to camp and didn’t know he was there. Then they invited me and my brother to go on there for the next season.
That had to be a trip for a little kid. How old were you?
Oh yeah, it was pretty crazy. I was young at that time. I was like 12. Midler actually posted a photo of us recently from Woodward that year. Pretty crazy. But I would just see Ira here and there, like at Tampa. It was amazing getting to work on this video with him. He was on it.
Twenty-nine stair Smith grind. Thirty is just around the corner Photo: Aponte
Ira is the best. I noticed in a lot of the footage and in some of these photos you put your chain in your mouth when you’re trying a trick. Are you superstitious when you’re jumping down big shit?
I don’t know, it’s just there. I’ll tell myself little things before, you know? Sometimes I’ll just go, This try, chain in my mouth. I wouldn’t say it’s a good luck charm and I wouldn’t say I’m superstitious. Obviously there’s just a process to certain stuff, like skating a big rail or a kinked rail. But when it’s like a ten-stair rail, or a set, or something normal, I think I just have a charge-it attitude towards it.
What was the biggest rail you hopped on for this part?
I think it was that Smith grind, the one in North Carolina. I think it was 29 or something. I could be wrong, but it’s in the 26-to-29 range.
Was that the scariest thing you filmed for this part?
Nah. Dude, you know what was pretty scary was that bluntslide that I did, the one with the popover.
A perfectly picturesque switch crook in Taiwan for Zion Photo: Haruta
The backside one in Lisbon?
Nah, I did a front blunt, like straight over the rail in Portland. I don’t know if you’ve seen one of the slams where my foot got caught up. But yeah, dude, that was pretty gnarly because when you’re standing up on it fully committed, you can’t really play around with it. I mean, you can, but I don’t really like to play around with stuff like that. I like to go for it. That one fall shook me up and I was like, Ah shit. All the other scenarios of what could go wrong were coming into my head now, you know? And that was already one of them.
Would you say it’s easier for you to skate on a trip opposed to LA?
Not really, it just depends on hunting. It’s like, Do I want to go to San Diego, do I wanna go to the Inland Empire or do I wanna go up north to Ventura? It’s just about pin pointing. Because obviously there’s a lot to skate here and obviously a lot has been skated. It’s just about finding the right thing. But it can for sure be frustrating. You’ve been on the seshes, you know.
Have you been working on anything else now that you’re done with this Red Bull video?
Well, it was crazy because I had the idea before I kinda got tangled up hurt, but I thought it would be sick to do the Red Bull video and then do a Spitfire part. So I maybe filmed a minute of footage with Jolly, but then he decided he was gonna come out with a video, so I just decided to save it and work on that.
It’s an IC thing, right?
Yeah, it’s called Godspeed. IC’s for sure backing it, but it’s Jolly’s vision. Everyone’s just out there getting clips. We’re about to go to Australia on Monday, so it’s gonna be crazy.
Who’s on that one?
Me, Shoddy, Zach Saraceno, Midler, Ryder, Sunny and Ish.
You been there before, right?
Oh yeah. I went on two of my homies’ SOTY trips and then a Vans Park Series, X Games, all that. And then for my last Real part I filmed some stuff there.
You tried Vegemite?
Yeah, I’ve tried it. It’s pretty trash, but I have had it where they did do some good shit with it. With the butter, you know? It’s too nice out there, though. I love Australia. Good weather when it’s not super hot, the best beaches and beautiful women. How can you beat that?
Well, congrats on finishing the part, Z. Catch up on some sun Down Under. Anyone you want to thank to wrap this thing up?
Of course. Thank you to Ira, Tom Curren, everyone over at Red Bull who made this happen, Thrasher, obviously, and all of my sponsors.
Seeing red. Twenty-stair monochromatic nosegrind Photo: Burnett
9/04/2020We owe a big debt to the Black skaters who paved the way. Check the history to see the trailblazers who made it happen and made skateboarding better for all. As seen in our September '20 issue.
8/14/2020Gas up the tank and head south as GT and the Maka Lassi posse crush every inch of concrete from ATL to FL. HEAVY revs with the crew.
6/30/2020Neck sparks it and GT, Ishod, Rowan, Raney, Pedro and the crew burn the bowl to ashes. Day trips and serious rips—keep it rev’d.
6/17/2020Zion jams through a mean kinker for Bronson, nailing trick after trick and ending the session with a proper banger. He’s got the rail game on lock.
5/05/2020As the REAL van rolled across the East Coast, they hammered down NBDs at spots as well as the urban dictionary. Update your slang and soak up the tour mayhem with this piece from our May 2020 issue.