Skateboarder Magazine – Austyn Gillette Interview – Apr/May 2012 Issue
Originally published in our Apr/May 2012 issue.
Words: Christian Senrud
Photos: John Bradford
Austyn’s come a long way in the past few years. He’s a responsible tenant and pet owner. A seemingly wise beyond his years man interested in more than what’s merely on the surface of things. And now he’s a full-fledge pro living the skate life in Los Angeles, putting in the part-time hours to keep his skills honed, his mind sharp, and his time on the board worthwhile. He’s seen and done more than a lot of people twice his age and he’s taking stock in his experiences and his future. It’s safe to say that Baby Dick ain’t a baby no more.
How’s the New Year treating you thus far?
It’s good. I just got a place with Daryl Angel and my buddy Mike in LA. It was kind of spur of the moment. I was sick of going from SF back to Orange County and then not having anything at all around me. It was just some sort of middle ground for me, for all of us actually. We felt like we could be more productive down here.
Do you view skateboarding as a job?
I absolutely do as of late.
What’s your work schedule look like?
Probably about 11:30 to 4.
Oh, so it’s part time.
Yeah, I’m just part time. I really am; I don’t really skate that much. I notice that when I don’t skate, I skate better, which sounds retarded but it gives me time to think about tricks and spots. It’s weird.
Time away is surprisingly helpful.
It’s not quite skater’s block, but everything is so clogged up in skateboarding it’s really easy to start skating like other people or to try to keep up, and you don’t have to do that. I mean, I don’t have Internet at the house and that’s a really good thing. My buddy Mike is really into watching Hellaclips, and I end up sitting next to him and going, “Jesus Christ.” I get really depressed; it’s fucked. Everybody’s better than you; that’s how you feel. So it’s best not to do that and do something else and go back to it with a clean slate.
Is it hard making ends meet as a part time pro?
For me personally, I try to be as frugal as possible. I put 20 percent of everything toward taxes just because with skateboarding you’re an independent contractor. I try to save as much as I can. I guess I set a limit. I’ve always been pretty good with money. My dad taught me a lot about it. I don’t really gorge out. I have an $8,000 car, not a $50,000 car. I try to keep it pretty budget. I guess “not” would be the answer.
What would you be doing if you were certain the world was ending this year as the Maya predicted?
If I knew it 100 percent? Like, for sure that meteorite’s coming? I don’t know, I’d probably get a Black Card and do as much damage as I could. You know what I always wanted to do, if I won the lottery or anything, is do a world tour with all my friends. Just bring 30 friends and spend like two million. That’d be the funnest thing. Bring a bunch of people on some first-class flights and just hit everywhere. I don’t know, what would you do?
I’d try a bunch of hard drugs that I’d never try otherwise, maybe rob a bank and get in a high-speed car chase with the cops.
That’s pretty funny; that’s pretty good. Go looting. Maybe I’d go smoke some meth and then go loot. Let’s come up with a good one for this. What are you not allowed to do?
Rob, cheat, kill.
I’d smoke on an airplane, that’s for sure. I’d go to Australia and get 15 wives.
Has becoming an established pro allowed you to shed the Baby Dick nickname?
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
It disappeared as soon as you had a board?
It might have stuck around for a second. Brennan Conroy needed something against me to lower me, I guess, so he gave me the nickname Baby Dick. You know when you have a nickname and you just have to go with it or it’ll just get worse? That was kind of the deal for a minute. Then on some trip to China, I think after I did a back noseblunt on the whoop-de-doo ledge, I got crowned up to Medium Dick by Tim O’Connor. So I was like, “Cool, I’m making my way.” Then after I turned pro, I think it got handed down to a few people. I guess that’s what happens when you turn pro.
What’d you think of Suciu’s Cross Continental part?
I wanted to quit skateboarding. I really did. That guy’s good. I’ve talked to Brennan and Joe about it and I’m like, “That guy’s better than everybody on Habitat.” He’s one who can keep up and do insane shit, like throw himself down Love Park. That’s impressive. Kickflip noseblunt a handrail—that doesn’t make sense to me. I was joking around the other day at the Quiksilver park, trying to kickflip back noseblunt on a rail and didn’t even come close. That’s just not gonna happen. It was kind of cool, like that Nyjah part came out so I was like, “OK, I’m over skating.” Then Suicu’s part came out with some well thought out tricks. There’s hope, you know? There are people that still think outside the box. That’s kind of what you have to do. A simple thing done well. Actually, that’d be quoting Bukowski or whatever, but, yeah, “a simple thing done well is preferred.”
What’d you think of Dyrdek buying Alien Workshop?
I’m excited about it. Burton wanted to support us and not sell to anyone they didn’t feel comfortable with, which is kind of cool. I wonder what’s going to happen. I don’t know if there’s going to be a warehouse out here or what people are going to do. I think it’s kind of cool it’s out of Ohio. Maybe it’ll stay there. We were skating the Berrics last night and there were a lot of people there. It’d be cool to have something like that. I mean, AVE and Biebel have that park, which seems really convenient.
Are you bummed that you’re not going to be secondhand teammates with Shaun White any more?
I am, I really am. Actually, every time we’d finish dinner on a trip we’d thank Shaun White for buying. We’d throw that out. There’s other people on Burton, but he’s the king I guess.
Who do you think started this trend of skateboarders looking pretty?
Fuck, I don’t know. I guess when you ride for a company who provides those kinds of clothes, you might end up doing a back tail with your hair slicked back and looking real good. It really depends. People might look at Quiksilver or whoever as a bunch of pretty boys, but that’s the kind of clothes they make so I don’t know. Maybe you just got done skating and want to hit the bars. Whatever it is, you just want to make sure you’re on top of your game at all times, keeping your pimp hand strong. I can’t really pinpoint one moment. I think it just goes with whatever style you’re going for.
How many questions about Team Handsome do you want to field?
Ha ha. Bill Strobeck started Team Handsome; he was the creator. He had the idea and was like, “Would you be into it down the road?” and I said no. He said it was going to be me, Alex Olson, Dylan, and he had some other people. I was just like, dude, I’m not that good looking. Those guys are fucking crushing it.
It’s just flattering to get the offer.
Yeah, I know. I was like, “Cool.” Then I go out in New York and I’m, like, “Nope! I guess not.” Not going to Mac parties or whatever. I think that’s really it. It hasn’t gone much farther than that, but Bill likes to joke around that he’s going to start a company. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. I don’t think Brennan would let that go down.
What’s Habitat got in store for this year?
We have a trip coming up to Portugal, and then I’m filming one of those parts you put out yourself for my pro shoe that comes out in September. They told me they wanted to give me a shoe and I didn’t really feel good about it. They said they thought it’s time, but I felt like I hadn’t even done anything for it, just one pro part. People are getting shoes so quick, so easily; it doesn’t make sense. For me, I always thought there was an age bracket, like you have to be 24 or 25 to get a shoe, but now people are getting shoes at 13. It’s weird. But I wanted to film a part for the shoe, which has already been done, but I would feel a lot better like I’d earned it or whatnot. That comes out in August I believe. It’s a ways off.
Since you ride for Habitat, do you want a man-bun question or an acoustic guitar question?
Oh, man. I guess acoustic guitar.
You get neither.
See Austyn skating by CLICKING HERE.