John Shanahan interview

johnshanahanPortrait: Mike Heikkila

What has it been like filming for the Lurk NYC edits? Do you plan tricks before trips?

Filming with Nick is fun because it is always spontaneous. We rarely ever drive spot to spot so you cover a lot of ground and run into random spots you wouldn’t normally stop to skate. There’s usually a decent sized squad which makes it harder to get time at certain spots but it definitely keeps the hype going.

Nothing was really planned before the trip. Nick had a bunch of spots in mind and the only thing I knew I wanted to skate was the OG bump over barrier spot which we didn’t get a chance to skate. Shit, I wasn’t even planning on going cause I couldn’t afford a plane ticket but Nick was nice enough to spot me. I’m still making payments on it but I’m almost there!

And you also featured in a recent DGK welcome clip

It was a fun project. Pretty much the whole time I didn’t even know I was filming for it. Me and Matt were just filming every day in New York so I had some footage saved up. Then I went to LA for like 2 and a half weeks and filmed as much as I could with Brad. And towards the end of the trip I think there was a good amount of footage to work with. Brad said I was ready for a part and we started working a little bit more towards it. He came to NYC to film for a week but I didn’t really get anything besides the pop shuv re wind over the can while he was here. We were going to put it out sooner but I was trying to get a couple of last tricks in. The last thing I filmed for it was the pop shuv over black hubba.

You don’t see shuv rewinds that often. What was that session like?

I tried the shuv rewind like two other days before the time I landed it. That spot is usually a quick bust. You usually don’t get more than 20 minutes but sometimes you get lucky. I did one before that over a smaller can but I didn’t do it good. The day I got it we got kicked out after about 20 minutes. We waited like 5 minutes until the guard went away and then tried again. He came out pretty quick and said he was going to call the cops and walked away, so we let him. We skated it for another 30-45 minutes and got it. No cops ever showed up haha.

What do you do when you’re not skating?

Mostly hanging out with my girlfriend and thrifting. I’ve been working mowing lawns in the summer. In the winter I snowboard a bunch when you can’t skate outside.

DGK_DGK_JohnShanahan_PopShuvPop Shuv. Photo: Mike Heikkila

Are you involved with vintage sponsor?

Yeah my good friend Matt Roberge started it up and runs the show. He’s been thrifting and collecting clothes for a while. When he comes across something he thinks one of his friends would be hyped on or look cool in he will just buy it for them. He hooks it up out of his own pocket! He lets me sell a bunch of my stuff on there too. It’s based on vintage skateboard, snowboard and designer garments but we also post photos and clips of skating and other stuff we are doing. It’s been doing pretty good so far and hopefully it continues to grow. We just got a web store going or you can just follow @vintagesponsor on the gram.

Are there any similarities between the clothes for skaters and snowboarders on vintage sponsor? Would skaters get the references to OG snowboarding stuff?

I definitely think that snowboarders get the skate references more than skateboarders get the snowboard references. Most snowboarders are into skateboarding. But not a lot of skateboarders are into snowboarding. Some will get it and some won’t but we have a pretty diverse group of followers looking at the clothes so either way someone will appreciate them. Plus we have a lot of designer/random pieces that anyone could be interested in.

Do you have a favourite skate shoe?

Out of the newer DC shoes I like the Kalis Lites and the Syntax’s re issue which are coming out soon. I’m hyped on those! I really like the Avatars. They are pretty much an Air Force 1. The Rob Dyrdek Tens were sick too. Mad puffy and comfortable and they look crazy.

Do you think that the small boards and big shoes formula worked better than 8.5 boards and small shoes?

I know that bulkier shoes are way better for your feet. That’s why I started skating them. I was skating thin shoes and the ball of my foot was always sore and every time I pushed it hurt. I kind of like not feeling the board. I’m not worried about landing primo and destroying my feet as bad. If you’re jumping off of shit you obviously want as much cushioning as possible. They are way more comfortable and they just look cool to me. I like to switch up my board sizes every once in a while. I’ve been skating 7.8 boards recently. It makes me want to try flip tricks and skate ledges. The big shoes/small board combo is classic.

IMG_1595Noseblunt. Photo: Alex Papke

Would you say that your outfits and trick selection are influenced by previous decades?

Yeah I am definitely influenced by older stuff.  All the photos from the late 90s/ early 2000s really stand out to me. A lot of cool kits and I feel like people were just better at skating in general at that time.

I’m influenced by all different kinds of skateboarding though. New stuff gets me hyped too.

What photos in particular?

All of the Kalis and Stevie photos from Love Park. Stevie’s switch front nose on the high ledge and switch back heel over the can. There’s a photo of Kalis front crooking a pipe against a wall I really like. There were so many sick ads from DC, Alien Workshop, and Habitat. This photo of Lee Smith doing a switch crook on one of the steps at Wallenberg wearing a polo USA fleece. You have got to follow @koolmoeleo and @baere on Instagram. They are always posting crazy throwback photos/ads.

Do you have a shop sponsor?

Yeah Homebase Skateshop out of Bethlehem PA. It’s a sick shop and they take good care of the skate scene down there. Got this crazy plaza built for the city. They just opened up a 2nd location in Easton PA.  It’s got a vintage clothes section and a little vintage sponsor pop up shop and a few others upstairs. They’re killing it. Major shout outs to Andy Po!

Did you get on DGK through Homebase?

Gold Wheels put up a throwback clip of someone doing a nollie 360 over something, I forget who it was. Matt was like “damn this shit is sick you should send your footage to them.” Then I was at this skatepark event at my local park and there was a mini contest and the prize was wheels. It was a hippy jump 360 contest over a bench so it was crazy, nobody could get it and I just remember going to Matt like “damn I actually really need wheels” and he was just like “why don’t you just send your footage to gold??” After that I had Po at Homebase send some footage to them. They hit him back and were down but they wanted me to ride for DGK too. I was getting boards from a friend at the time so I was kind of hesitant but then it just made sense to give it a try. I talked to my friend and he was cool about it so everything worked out.

What are your plans for this year?

Trying to go on some trips with DGK and DC. Get some photo/video projects going and whatever else pops up. Hopefully Vintage Sponsor continues to grow so we can eat a little better.

Interview by Daryl Mersom . Give him a follow @fakiehillbomb.
Photos courtesy of DGK.

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