Msaislouna: the thrasher interview.
Hey, Mason, give me a general idea of your physical stature, sexual preference and living situation.
I'm 20 years old, kind of look like a midget and am 100-percent straight. I moved to Long Beach with my girlfriend about a month ago.
Why do you only eat cereal with the littlest spoon possible? What's wrong with having a big spoon?
Are you seriously starting this off like this?
Yeah, man, I like to cut the bullshit.
That question is bullshit, man. I don't know! It's easier, I guess. I don't spill milk 'n' shit all over the place when I use a little spoon. My mouth isn't that big. Dude, I just don't want a big-ass spoon in my mouth.
Where are you from?
I'm originally from Manhattan Beach, California.
What was it like growing up there?
It's pretty weird being a skateboarder growing up there. Usually, being from Manhattan Beach, you're pretty much destined to be a jock. There's not really much to do besides hang out at the beach and be a bro. There's pretty much no skate scene and they didn't build a skatepark until about a month ago, literally right when I moved. I mean, it was nice living there, though.
How long have you been skating?
I would say about 12 years, I guess.
How did you get into skateboarding?
My brother got me into it. He had Flip's Sorry on VHS and I remember really enjoying that video. At the time I had no idea what was going on but I thought everything they did was really cool and I was really into the soundtrack. Around the same time, my dad built this really sketchy mini ramp that was bound to give you splinters, no matter what. We cruised around on that for awhile and from then on I was hooked.
Who gets you stoked to go skate? Who are some of your favorite skaters?
I would start with Arto, because the first part I ever watched that got me sparked on skateboarding was his. He skated to David Bowie and I thought everything blended together really well with the way he skated. As for recently, I would have to say Louie Lopez. He never stops skating; he's always getting tricks no matter what and looks like he's just having so much fun all the time. I want to be just like that.
What was your first set up?
I had the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater starter kit. It was the graphic that had the hawk skeleton spreading its wings. I love that game; in fact, I could probably recall the whole soundtrack from the first two games.
Knowing your dad is a teacher, were your parents supportive of your desire to pursue skateboarding?
Yeah, I think they knew that's what I wanted to do and that I wasn't going to go to college. They had a good idea what was happening because with Element, they're pretty transparent when it comes to talking about if things will work out or not. My parents talked to them and figured that they wouldn't lie to me or steer me wrong when it came to my career. They trusted me and felt like I wasn't going out on a limb and risking it. I didn't make the final decision until I graduated high school and by that time Nike started paying me so it was kind of a deal breaker for me, in terms of going to college.
Since you lived so disconnected to other skaters living in Manhattan Beach, how did you meet other skateboarders?
Funny enough, Louie Lopez lived in Hawthorne his whole life, and my dad was a middle school teacher around there. When I was in 7th grade, he came home and told me he had some shy, longhaired skater in his class who was super quiet but was pretty cool. It turned out to be Louie, who I knew of at the time. We became friends and started skating together a bunch. He brought me around and I was meeting a lot of people through him. There was a point where he was going down to Black Box a bunch to skate with Ant Travis and Dane Burman, so I just came along and started to skate with them as well. He helped me go everywhere I wanted to go and got me out of Manhattan Beach, where I would've gotten stuck doing the same shit.
So I see that your lady skates. What is it like skating with your girlfriend?
It's honestly pretty sick. It's mellow and fun; we mostly just cruise around at a park and hang out. I know it may seem weird outside looking in if you're not in that situation, but skating with your girlfriend is pretty awesome.
Did you get her into it?
No, I wouldn't say that. Last time we were at Element skate camp, she came with me. For the last couple of the days she was just kind of bored and sitting around, then she came out of nowhere and said, "I want to learn how to drop in." Crazy enough, she learned how to do it by the end of the day and just kept with it after that trip. That was sick as fuck to watch happen.
Do you have boundaries? Would you ever take her on a street mission?
So one time we were about to go on vacation but I wanted to try a trick before we left. I took her to this kinked rail at 7am one day, got the trick and went straight to Yosemite. So, technically she's already been on a mission. I think she's been on another one, too, so I wouldn't say that we have boundaries. It also depends 'cause I don't think I would take her on, like, a super-gnarly session. I don't want to make anyone feel weird because I know some people get all weirded out about who's on a session most of the time. But as for my friends, they're all super cool so she can come along when I go with them if she likes.
Speaking of vacations, how did you fall off a cliff in Big Sur?
Oh my God dude, how did you even find out about that?
I have my sources, man.
Fuck. Yeah, basically my friend gave me a bottle of apple-pie-flavored whiskey and when I started drinking that, it was a wrap. I went out to go pee in these bushes outside and when I started to take a piss, I fell down this four-foot cliff into a bunch of bushes below. It happened twice. I did not learn my lesson.
So you fell four feet to fakie into your own piss?
I didn't really think about that until now, but yeah I probably did.
It seems like Element always gets the bald powerhouse in their ranks: Donny Barley, Brandon Westgate and now you.
What? I didn't think my name would pop up in a list with those guys!
Anyways, as I was saying--how did you initially end up on Element?
I guess I just stuck around long enough and went on enough trips that they got used to me. I was super annoying when I first got on. I remember going on a trip with Chase Webb and I think Trent McClung was there too. To this day, Cole Matthews loves to tell me how much stupid shit I talked about in the van. They purposely ate at another table because I was so damn annoying.
Dude! That's almost as bad as me!
Do people do that to you?
Nah, I'm just almost on the same level as that. Also, when I was talking about how you got on, I meant how did you first start getting boards?
Oh, it really started with the Element Make It Count contest with Chase and Jared. Chase was getting boards from Element and he put in a good word for me. Ryan Dewitt, rest in peace, came up to me and asked if I wanted to get boards. It kind of just went from there, but it was a long road from that point to get on the team. I officially got on two years ago, but I knew about a year before that because I was filming with Mark Stewart and the footage from that was going to be my welcome-to-Element part.
Did they make you chop the Bieber locks before they gave you the official nod?
Nah, the hair was my own choice.
Who's your favorite guy on the team? And don't give me some bullshit cliche ass answer.
That's an impossible question. Everyone is so good.
I just told you to not give me one of those stupid fucking answers.
Okay, fuck, man. It's Evan Smith. Always Evan. I love watching him skate. He's absolutely ridiculous and to this day I don't know what tricks he cannot do. It's not an exaggeration; he can literally do anything.
What's it like going on trips with him?
Oh, he's epic. Once again, unless you see it in person, you don't know what he's capable of. The amount of energy he has--it's insane. He can go out and party until six in the morning, wake up at 9am to go skate and be exactly the same. It doesn't slow him down at all. It's magical.
You all went to Barcelona recently with a few of the guys. How was that trip?
I was there for 18 days but some of the dudes stayed longer. It was amazing; a high point for me was that it was Ryan Lee's first international filming trip with us. It's crazy to see your friend who you grew up skating and filming with go on real trip with an actual company. The best part was seeing him get along with everyone and it feels so natural to make a video together.
Did you get pulled into the Barcelona party black hole?
I know it gets people hard when they go out there. But nah, I kept it mellow. I think I only went out one night and it was just to a skate bar. I tried to go to that dancing bar but it was too crazy and totally not my scene.
What happened to Ryan Lee's glasses when he went to the club?
Ah fuck, I don't want to throw Ryan under the bus--
It's not even throwing him under the bus! Stop being so soft, Mason.
Fuck it. Ryan likes to have a lot of fun with his friends and sometimes--he just loses his glasses. It's actually happened multiple times now. One night they went out and the next morning Ryan's glasses are nowhere to be found. We tried to track them down but to no avail. There's this photo of Evan wearing them at like 3am, with Ryan puking in the background and that's the last they were ever seen. I didn't go out that night. Now that I think about it, I should've. It happened towards the end of the trip, which could not have been better timing 'cause he told me he couldn't focus his eyes, therefore he couldn't focus the camera. If that happened the first day, it would have been bad.
Seeing as Ryan is your old buddy and the new Element filmer, did you make that happen or was it just a coincidence?
No, in fact I didn't even know it happened for like a month! I noticed he was hitting up a lot of Element dudes and I was, like, "Oh, he's just skating like normal," because he skates with everyone already. Eventually, I talked to Cole, because he was on all of these trips, and I asked if Ryan was the new filmer and Cole just said, "Yeah, what do you mean? He has been."
What's it like filming with one of your best friends for the company you ride for?
It's so unreal and weird. It doesn't feel like anything's changed. We're on the same program as we were years ago, just going out filming like always.
Who's usually on a session?
If we're talking on a daily basis, it's usually Louie, Ryan and Jared. Whoever's around can hop in the car and it differs day to day, but as for everyday; it's usually just us four.
Is Louie technically the big homie?
He is! I'm 20 and he's 22.
Does that mean I'm the big homie too?
You are the big homie but you're tiny.
I might be the big, tiny homie, but you're the little homie with a big-ass fucking head!
Oh God, here we go--
Where does that joke come from? It seems like all over social media, all of your friends call you "big head" on every post.
Dude, I don't know where the fuck that came from. It's probably cause my body is all stocky, like a midget, but I'm pretty sure my head is supposed to look like this. People hear it's big so they think it is big, but I think it's pretty proportionate. Honestly, I think Dane just started that out of nowhere to fuck with me.
Are you the only one in your family that has a big ol' noggin?
I think it's just me. My dad might actually, but my mom has a normal-size head, for sure.
How much of your weight is in your head?
I would say like 20, 25 pounds.
I'm going to go out on a whim and say it's 90-percent of your total body weight.
I think having a physical big head helps you have a metaphorically small head when it comes to your ego, though.
Yeah, I think it makes up for it. I just have an actual big head.
Since you're getting your Nike checks now, are they paying for the multiple times you've gotten into driving accidents?
Ah, man, I forgot I told you about that. I definitely took the fault for those. I can't take another point on my record or else I'll get my license suspended. I'm driving super slow like a grandma now.
The first time, I needed gas right before the freeway. I was in the middle lane and I saw the gas station at the last second. I turned right to get into the gas station and I ran straight into a car. That one's pretty bad. The second was mellow: I just bumped into the back of someone in stop-and-go traffic. Doesn't even really count, in my opinion.
Weren't you on a television show in the early 2000s that all kids at the time wanted to be on?
I was on that show Brain Surge. How did you find out about that one? Anyways, my brother did a commercial for Nickelodeon at the time and they had my name on file. They called me up and asked if I wanted to be on the show. I definitely looked like a massive kook on the show, but who cares? I was enjoying myself. It was sick; I went down this slime tube. I actually have the DVD at my house.
What are your interests outside of skateboarding?
Surfing, photography and collecting vinyl.
How did you get into surfing?
My whole entire fucking family surfs, so I kind of had to. I lived right next to the beach and it was really natural. It's still incredibly fun to this day.
How long have you been doing it?
Definitely longer than skating. I was six or so when I started.
Do you enjoy it more than skating?
I do but I don't. I always think I do when I'm surfing, but as soon as I step on a skateboard, I'm, like, "Nah, I love skateboarding way more". However, I think it's good to balance out skating with another hobby, especially as a paid skateboarder. When you do the same thing every day without doing anything else, you kind of go a bit crazy. I think it's the worst thing you can do to yourself as an amateur or pro skater.
Are you one of those, "I get up at the ass crack of dawn to go surf before I go skating" dudes?
I used to but now I don't. Now I usually only go surf on the days I'm not skating. I get Jell-O legs now if I surf in the morning before a session.
You mean you turn into wannabe Curren Caples.
Exactly, I try to be all stylish.
You're super into vinyl. How did that come about?
Just because I really like music and I needed something to do when it was rainy out. One day, around three years ago, I bought a few records and I really liked the album art on them.
What kinda of music do you listen to?
I listen to pretty much everything, but my favorite musical artist is definitely Elliott Smith. I feel like he didn't really care about anything else that was happening in the music world at the time. He was exactly how we wanted to be. Along with him, I love Modest Mouse, Built to Spill and Wilco. Oh yeah, and The Cure! I absolutely love them. They changed the sound of everything.
Where did those musical tastes come from?
I'm not really too sure. I mean, I guess my dad likes Wilco, but he makes fun of Elliott Smith. I think it mostly comes from skate videos.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions that you have to follow before skating or trying a trick?
Yeah, if I don't take my phone out of my pocket when I start trying a trick, I have to keep it in my pocket the whole entire time I try it. Sometimes I forget to take it out when I start going for it, but if I do it in the middle, it feels like everything is going to get thrown off. That actually goes for everything that might be in my pockets: wallet, keys, change. I know a lot of people can't skate with anyming in their pockets, but I just got used to it.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you're working on?
I have a video part that's premiering on the Thrasher website any day now. We're also working on an Element video and we're going on quite a few trips for that. We meet up in Barcelona, go to France for two weeks, go back to Barcelona, fly into Croatia, then finally we end up back in Barcelona for a third time.
You're not working on your skimboarding part? What happened to your dreams of being a pro skimboarder?
Dude, I don't know where the fuck that came from. I think it came from the downtime I had when I went out surfing, waiting in the lineup. I got bored and I realized with skimboarding you could just throw your board in the sand and just go. I would take trips to the Wedge, where the skimboarders were all gnarly and just watch them. I don't know why I thought it was so cool 'cause that shit is so lame to me now. I don't think I would ever do it again. I definitely wanted to be a pro skimboarder, though. I bought all the nice boards and shit. I got sidetracked with my little useless wooden toy and just pursued that instead.
Besides skimboarding, what makes you happy?
When I don't have to think about anything else besides what is happening right in that moment.
Thank you. I hope the big-head joke doesn't grow into something bigger now that I've done this interview
Grow like your already big-ass head?
Fuck you, Lui.
by Lui Elliott