Sometimes, when my cat jumps into a cardboard box I’ll quickly shut the lid and carefully carry the whole special package to another part of the house. I’ll set it down, open it up and he’ll pop his head up and look around at his new surroundings.
“You went in the teleportation module!” I’ll announce, grinning at my furry friend.
The cat will stare me down with his piercing feline eyes.
“You reckless bastard” his little cat expression says. “You did not take adequate clean room precautions!” he reprimands. “There could have been a fly in here and our DNA could have got all jumbled up together! What the hell were you thinking?”
He’s right. It is dangerous.
This is why the latest Following video is the best so far. Virtuoso sidewalk surfer and solid friend of the bird Kyle Leeper already knew about the perils of teleportation yet he forged ahead all the same.
Here’s how it came to be: I transported my life to Portland to wallow in the misery of a northwestern winter. My departure from Southern California of course left a gaping hole but instead of getting depressed about what was gone Kyle got sparked on all that remained; smart Kyle. Joe Pease and him blasted around the streets of San Diego fearlessly hyperlinking between spots with little regard for the inherent hazards. If the results of their efforts don’t make you want to skate then we can be of no further help to you. Good day.
Stereo Skateboards pro, Kyle Leeper, lives in Carlsbad, California, with his wife, his son, his fish, 2 dogs and another baby on the way. Below we discuss 7 profound topics including sponsorship deals, human reproduction, this video project and generally being stoked.
- When’s the 2nd child due?
Due right around the same time date as my first son was born, late August.
Damn! So you guys must get horny right around the same time of year.
Yup, right around December I’m ready to go!
Well, it gets cold.
Yeah, these harsh Carlsbad winters get pretty gnarly.
- How long have you been riding for Stereo?
A couple of years I think. I could be wrong give or take a year either way.
Have you been on many trips with those dudes?
Yeah, we’ve done a couple. We did an Arizona trip which was pretty cool. We did an article for Skateboarder. We also did a trip out to New Jersey and New York and did a couple of demonstrations and skated around New York for a week. That was a good one.
Who was the crew on those?
Arizona was pretty much the whole team: Jack Sabback, Clint Peterson, Raymond, Benny Fairfax, Chris Maalouf, Alex Schmitt, Pastras was out there. It was actually a WESC collaboration trip so Ray Barbee was there, that was pretty awesome. A few other heads were there and then New York was pretty much the same posse plus Jason Lee was there on that one.
How was being on a trip with Jason Lee?
It was pretty cool. We skated the cruiser boards around one night. That was pretty awesome. I’ve hung out with him a couple of times but never really got to skate with him. It was fun just pushing around the streets and listening to him commentate and just be a funny guy.
- What’s your work schedule been like lately?
Pretty much on the full time working tip right now. I’m working with a friend of mine who’s a handyman. I’ve been learning a lot, every day’s different. One day’ll be paving, one day’s putting in base boards, installing wood floors, we do everything, or he does, I assist, I hand him screwdrivers, I clean up.
What sort of work?
We do electrical stuff, plumbing, he can do everything.
What’s your boss’s main trade?
He actually started as an electrician, which is what he’s licensed in but every time I talk to him he’s like, “Oh, I used to do that as a job. I used to be a mechanic. I used to own my own glass shop…” So, he’s a certified electrician and as far as everything else goes we just freestyle it and he figures it out. He’s a handy guy with a lot of experience.
How old is he?
I believe he is 49. Still pretty young really. He can surf, he can skateboard, he can hold it down and hang out, kick it and get loose. He’s a cool guy, he’s been helping me out a lot so I’m fucking stoked. If I wasn’t doing that then who knows?
- What happened with Etnies and Quicksilver?It’s been over a year. My son is now 18 months and it was just about all at that same time. My son was born and then Etnies and Quicksilver both gave me about a 2 month notice that they weren’t going to renew my contract.
I thought I was having a good year up until then. We did the rain video and a couple of other big projects. I did everything they asked me to. The stuff with Mike [Manzoori] was just extra-curricular which is my favorite stuff; especially working with Mike.
The year before I had got a pay cut and the last time I went in there I was going to talk to them about getting a little more money and that’s when they told me. Maybe I was the oldest guy on the team? I don’t do X-Games or Street League so maybe that’s what they were looking at? Or what they thought was, not necessarily cooler but…
I was just looking at both the dudes like, “Really?”
Part of me seriously almost felt like crying because we had just had the baby and I was like, “Holy Shit! What are we going to do?”
Part of me felt like picking up the dude’s computer and throwing it out the window.
I was tripping too because I’d been on there the longest next to Shecky bear, he’s been on since birth so… I felt that I was doing what they asked.
The fact was that at that point they decided they weren’t resigning anyone. No new contracts no matter who it is; unless it’s Sheckler, he’s on a different program.
Well Sheckler definitely does the X-Games.
Yeah he’s fucking gnarly. I’m backing the dude, he’s fucking tight.
- What’ve you been stoked on within skateboarding in general?
I’ve been psyched on just the smaller companies. I just watched the Bloodwizard video that was fucking pretty awesome. I like the shit that Pontus Alv and these dudes are doing, it seems like they’ve got some pretty rad shit going on. I like the little companies like that who are just doing it and are stoked to be doing stuff with skating you know? Just fucking ripping and doing their thing.
- How’s working with Joe Pease?
Joe’s basically saved me. I’ve filmed so much shit with him lately. If he wasn’t around I wouldn’t have filmed anything.
You know how it is with filming, you can’t just film with anybody there’s got to be a chemistry. You can’t just go with a stranger and be like, “Hey I’m going to hardflip this gap.” That sucks.
- This project came together really well. How did you guys spark it off?
We were working on a bunch of stuff and Joe suggested we do a Following video.
We already had the very first line filmed so we just used that as the opening line and got going from there.
The very first day we went out I think we filmed 4 or 5 things.
It was a lot of fun. It’s a different kind of project.
Yeah it’s like the edit kind of guides you along.
Exactly, you think “okay we ended that line with a wallie so where can we go to start with a wallie? Oh yeah! Let’s drive over to so and so.”
It was weird because I didn’t want it to end. I felt like, “Okay, we’re getting towards the end here,” I think I was running out of tricks. I was like, “I don’t think I’ve got any moves left.” But I wanted to keep working on it because I was just having so much fun. Out of all the things we’ve done it’s probably one of my favorite things.
I like the vibe of just going and going. It reminds me of an old Eric Dressen video part you know? Just mashing, on a mission, fucking going!
It seems like a lot of the street parts back then were just filmed in one weekend.
Yeah, old Powell videos were like that, like Paulo and those dudes it seemed like it was just, “Okay, it’s Saturday, let’s see what you guys got”.
As opposed to the 2 year or more hammerfest.
I know it’s like, “Why can’t we just go skate?”
What was the schedule like on this project?
This was filmed over a couple of month period but strictly as weekend warriors because Joe and I both work.
How do you feel?
I’m fucking stoked.
That can be dangerous.