Ryan Harris Interview
Photos: Wes Tonascia
Interview: Christian Senrud
Skateboarding has a fair bit of floaters, people who just kind of go with the flow of life and end up wherever chance encounters and opportunities take them to. Santa Cruz, flow trash Ryan “Harry” Harris is one such individual. He’s floated from Oregon, to the far South of California where he ended up living with Walker Ryan at the SHUFFL house and filming a part with those guys. When that ended he drifted to the East Coast to Pittsburgh and back again. Then to New York and back again all while making new friends and memories along the way and becoming one of the few honorary Yinzers. He needs very little to get by. He keeps his mind on what’s important and always keeps the session hyped and going hard. In times of people plotting out skateboarding career moves far, far in advance, we need guys like Harry to keep us rooted in the lighthearted dirtbaggery that’s kept us from becoming just another turd in the toilet. Here’s a quick interview I did with him a while back.
Who are you?
Ryan Harris. I’m from Livermore, CA. I ride for Santa Cruz, OJ wheels, Independent trucks, 510 Skateshop, Bassturd clothing, and Osiris sends me shoes from time to time.
Why do people call you Harry?
I don’t know. Just because my last name’s Harris, and from me having hair, I guess.
Didn’t you rock a mean ponytail for a while?
Yeah, ponytail was in effect from like 05 to 06. Probably grew that for like two years.
You haven’t had a job in a good while. How do you get by without any money and no job?
Sell shit and eat everyone’s parents’ food. And bum smokes off friends.
How’d you end up in Pittsburgh?
I was on a skate trip on the East Coast and just ditched my flight back, just chilled for a good two months.
How’d you end up back there after being driven cross-country back to Nor-Cal?
Well, I went back home and by the time we got out there, OJ was getting a house in New York, so it only made sense to come back out because I could at least afford a one-way flight back home.
How’s your sleeping bag faring?
It started out all right, but now it’s pretty grimy. It got all dewy out in the woods, so now it’s just a combination of piss, rot-foot and dew. Then it’s one of those sleeping bags that you jam into the smaller bag, so it just stewed and baked in there all together.
Where does the piss come into the picture? Is it yours or is that a prank on you by someone else?
Yeah…it’s mine. Sometimes you party a little too hard and you piss your pants.
What are some tips for the road when you’re living as trife as you have been?
Stick a trick for beers if the filmer or your friends are down. Disperse your cig bumming throughout the crew in a circular pattern. Catch and eat fish. That’s free dinner right there. I don’t know, you just got to wing it, be smart with what you got and make friends.
How bummed are you that Cal-Trans demolished everybody’s hard work in Oakland?
I’m pissed, dude. It’s fucking bullshit. I helped build a few obstacles at The Spot and helped bowl in the corner at Boardertown. It was just a bunch of night hours and some day work. Blood, sweat and beers.
Had you run into the cops before or did they just decide all at once to shut it down?
I ran into them before, a few times. They didn’t care if we skated, but when we were mid-pour they’d show up and kick us out. That happened about three times, I’d say. They gave out some trespassing tickets a few times at Boardertown.
How’d you end up living with Walker Ryan?
Just through 510 skateshop, I guess. Back in 06 just skating and filming, then eventually going down to San Diego. Think I went down there in ’09 maybe. I don’t remember. I was on this crazy-ass roadtrip with these Australians from Orcas Island to San Diego. By the time we got to San Diego, I had lost my wallet and my phone in Vegas, so I was pretty much just stuck. They were flying back to Australia from SD, so I ended up just hanging out and getting a job with my buddy Dave Cole and just living and skating for about a year and a half having a good time. The SHUFFL video came about during that period. The rest is history.
Where’d you get the name SHUFFL?
Some homies in Portland I was living with before. We were all just drunk and came up with this Skate Homies Underground For Life thing. So pretty much, blame them for that one. Or myself.
Gimme a good story from living with all them,
I think moving out was the best memory. The place was just in shambles and we were sleeping on cardboard, just doing stupid shit. Jumping off balconies, breaking everything, just getting fucked up constantly for no reason.
Where does that rank against hooking up with the same girl as your roommate within an hour of him taggin’ her?
That’s a different kind of memory that you don’t remember, that you try not to remember, that’s still a good memory. It’s in its own bracket. I knew what happened. She Medusa’d me, dude. By default I batted clean up.