Skateboarder Mag ’12

“Lost and Found” Skateboarder Mag 2012


(fishtank photo: Mike Ballard)

Peterson Video 010006

(Interview by Seb Carayol)

What happens to the clown once the lights are turned off and the circus is moving to the next town without him? Such misadventure happened to ’90s skateboard innovator Simon Woodstock, who called it quits right when things were starting to get huge for him. at 42 years old, he’s back – as the 2012 Simon; wigless, regular-clothed and born-again.

When did you start Skateboarding?
When I was five, my mom bought me a tiny skateboard with metal wheels at a thrift shop for $3. I got really into it in 1984 and by then my parents got so tired of buying boards all the time that we opened a family run skateshop in Campbell, CA called Winchester Skateshop. It was open from 1986 to 1990.

Were they into skateboarding already?

No. My dad is an expert machinist, making parts for spaceships and stuff. He kind of bankrolled the thing and me and my mom ran it just as a family business. We weren’t the most popular shop in the area, but Jeff Grosso and the Santa Cruz guys would come over and sell us all the stuff from their packages for really cheap so they could buy beer. That’s how I got sponsored by Black Label, through kind of knowing Grosso this way.

How did all the crazy boards and outfits come about?
The funny thing is, 80 or 85 percent of my skating was “normal” skating, but around 1992 me and Jeff Toland started screwing around, showing up at the Sacramento skatepark wearing Rollerblades and short shorts. The guy running the park thought it was funny so he didn’t charge us [park admission] for years. And he’d charge Tony Hawk [to skate]! The first board was the carpet one. This kid at a Bill’s Wheels demo in Watsonville had replaced his griptape with carpet and let me try it. I was able to do 360 flips in my bare feet. He was so stoked that he just gave it to me. Then I made my own [carpet board] and entered a contest at the Powell Skate Zone with it in 1993. I placed 9th but I got photos in all four major magazines at the time. I thought “Well, OK, that’s what I’m going to do now.” Sonic Skateboards basically let me turn two office spaces into a workshop with a workbench, saws, drills, and tools. My dad got involved in some projects. For instance, in 1994 a few guys were trying to do the first kickflip on a snowboard in the snow, and my dad actually helped me make a skyhook mechanism by which I was able to do a kickflip.

Was there a board that never happened?
I wanted to make a board that was 11 boards wide. I made one that was five and did a blunt on it at Derby for a 411 VM ad and everybody freaked out. I guess I never committed to ruining 11 boards [to progress the project]. If somebody wants to donate them, though, we can try it now

How did that boxing match against Mike Muir happen?
At first I wanted to fight Shaun Palmer, clown verses clown, snowboarder vs. skateboarder, in Vegas, but at the very last minute he couldn’t do it, so we just looked for whoever wanted to fight me at the trade show. It ended up being Mike Muir from the Suicidal Tendencies. I was like “Oh man, I don’t think this is a good idea. He’s huge!” His size kind of worked against him, [though]. He was kind of clumsy around the ring, and I won by decision. You gotta give him credit: he saved the event and made it through all three rounds on one days notice. I actually e-mailed his brother Jim the other day, “You know that I know that Mike could kick my butt in an alleyway, right?” He replied “It was all just for fun; it’s all good.”

Another one I’m dying to hear involves Andy Roy in Vancouver . . .
Oh, man. That’s a bad story….

I take it these years were alcohol-and-drug fueled?
I was making a lot of immoral decisions and, yeah, I did the whole alcohol and drugs thing, and I slept around a whole lot. I had zero willpower, bro! I actually went clinically insane. By 1998-1999 I just started going out of my mind. That’s when MTV came around. I was already in their pool of “talent” as I participated in that cheesy show called “MTV Sports”. By this time I thought that this dead comedian, Andy Kaufman, was speaking to me through the television set, telling me to go into the entertainment business. Crazy. But, MTV invited me to to NYC. I did a variety show with them [Say What Karaoke: Action Sports Special]. It went well and they invited me to a cocktail party that night to meet their executives. They had something in mind [I think]. I was in Times Square looking at all the JumboTrons, and this is when I believed God touched my mind and said, “You don’t want any of this.” I [blew off the cocktail party] got some nachos and flew home. Two months later I became a Born Again Christian and basically dropped off the scene.

Did you also grow tired of being “the goofy pro?”
People forget that I was a competitive skateboarder. Around 1998, I thought I had to do something that would bring my reputation back as a progressive skateboarder. I wanted to do a 3/4 kickflip to primo slide, and I tried it in my warehouse for hours and hours. Could’t land it. Then I decided to [try to] go acrobatic. I had an idea for a front flip using two skateboards [one to launch off of and one to land on]. I actually went to Woodward and worked with a gymnast for hours, into the foam pit. I never got the rotation; I wasn’t acrobatic enough. Everyone started doing these 20-stair handrails. Daewon started doing that [other] really insane stuff, and skateboarding was just passing me by. I started pulling weeds at the Church and worked at the coffee shop, regular jobs. I actually went to school and have a masters in religious studies with a philosophy emphasis.

Last year a friend gave me a long board, a cruiser. I hadn’t skated in a long time, but I felt like a kid again. Now I’m having fun. I also have a guest model on Reliance, and am doing a little T-Shirt ministry called Skateboarding is not a sin. That’s cool. Also, I just got back from a trip to Ethiopia with Christian Skaters International. We took 25 completes with us to a poor village and we built them two quarterpipes and did four demos. I hadn’t done one in over 10 years!

Did you slap the clown makeup back on?
No. I just rode that Butter Bean board made by Deck Crafters. It’s a 14″ x 38″ deck. The kids were kind of tripping on that. I don’t really have the resources to do all the different costumes anymore.


Πορτραίτο από Pheelicks (2012)

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