Video: A Haters Production / Motion Graphic: Tomoyuki Kujirai / Photo: Shinsaku Arakawa
Special thanks: Remilla, Kyle Ke, Haruka Katagata
Video: A Haters Production
Motion Graphic: Tomoyuki Kujirai
Photo: Shinsaku Arakawa
Special thanks: Remilla, Kyle Ke, Haruka Katagata
[JAPANESE / ENGLISH]
VHSMAG (V)： How did you start skating?
Shogo Zama (Z)： I started skating in the 5th grade. A friend I met in elementary school was skating and he let me ride his board. I got hooked from there. I was 10 so it was in 2007.
V： What was the video you were watching back then?
Z： One of the videos I bought were "Last of the Mohicans" and BP Trading's "skate archives." Blaze Pipe was only 10 minutes away so I used to watch videos there.
V： So you learned a lot about skating there.
Z： Yea, I got to know E-san (late Akira Ishizawa) there too. I saw him in videos and actually saw him skate in person at a skatepark. He was insanely good. Great skater with good vibe. It was when I got into skating, my wheels were super worn out and small. I was at Blaze Pipe and found this used Spitfire wheels. I asked the staff if I could have it and he says it's E-San's wheels so he needed to ask him. Well, E-San kindly gave me the wheels and I remember feeling so hyped.
V： Where was your local street spot?
Z： I started skating in Maita Park and later went to Umikaze. I was skating at Umikaze almost everyday for 3 or 4 years. There were so many skaters so it was inspiring. Older generation like Masanori Uruma and Jin Takayama would show up. I got more into skating from there.
V： Who were your influences?
Z： I got influenced by Hon-D (ours skateboard&Co owner) and Jin. Also Futoshi Tokuyama from Hiroshima now living in Yokohama. We would go all around and film together for 2 years. He really got me into filming.
V： How about Jin? You skate for his shop unown and also on the same team at Remilla.
Z： He's really important in my skate life. He used to skate with me at Umikaze and flowed me with i-Path and Ace personally. My first sponsor was his shop too. He's the reason that got me really into skating and I got on Remilla because of him. Jin used to hand me down his Remilla gear and I liked them so much.
V： It's nice to skate for a brand you liked from the beginning.
Z： Exactly. They treat me the best among all my sponsors. They got me the flights for my LA trip for this video part too. They're not big but they support their rider the best way they can. That's really awesome.
V： You also got on Strush recently.
Z： I used to watch Strush videos and I really like the brand. I like the team too. Pori (Shinya Nohara) also rides for the brand so that's rad. We used to work on "Round and Round" together.
V： "Round and Round" was back in 2013.
Z： That was my first video part. That was really fun to work on. Hon-D used to live in this house and after we go out and get clips, we'd hang at his house and do BBQ and grab drinks. We'd do that after skating and that's a good memory. We'd go to the supermarket and buy things. Best times. I just wanted to get good clips for Hon-D.
V： Personally I really like your skate style, like how your push flows in a line. Is there anything you keep in mind about style?
Z： I just want to feel good. I don't want to stop the flow because that doesn't feel good. I never really gave thought about this but I guess I just do it naturally, not intentionally.
V： You just go with the flow.
Z： I'm really not thinking too much about anything... I simply want to skate good. That's it.
V： How about trick selection?
Z： Let's see... I like backside 180. You know how you can just scoop or really hit your tail? Jin used to do it in both ways. It's the same trick but there are different ways to do it. I think that's interesting.
V： Are there any tricks that are no no for you?
Z： Not at all. I want to be able to do every trick.
V： You were in China this summer. It was for Vans' #OffTheWallride Instagram contest and unown won, right?
Z： Yea. We'd post a minute of wallride clip on Instagram and top 4 shops in Asia gets invited to House of Vans in Guangzhou for the final contest. It was 2 shops from Australia, one from China and us. There are 3 to 4 skaters for each shop but one of the riders from us forgot his bag with passport into on the train to the airport... So I entered the contest with just two of us. Somehow we won... (laughs)
V： You were in Shanghai a month before that too.
Z： I was there filming for a Vans project with Alltimers' Dustin Henry and Etienne Gagne, and also a guy name Doobie from France. It was fun. Skaters from all around the world got invited to Shanghai and I was the one from Japan. I've never met any of the guys before. We'd live in a house and film together for a week. Others like Justin Henry and Chima Ferguson are in the video but we got divided into like four groups. When I came back home, I found out that unown had qualified for the video contest... It was like, I'm going back to China again!? I was stoked.
V： What was memorable from the Shanghai trip?
Z： Dustin Henry was amazingly good. He's insanely good at manuals. Nice guy too. It was great being able to kick it with them.
V： Okay, let's talk about this Feature part. I heard this project started when you were filming clips for SLD.
Z： That's right. I guess you can say that that was the start of this project. So we filmed on and off for about two years. I got the offer when I was filming for the SLD intro video. I was just thinking about working on a part so the timing was good. I went overseas for the shoot and LA was especially good. It's light out for a long time and not humid at all. I didn't have to think about anything but skating. You know, in Japan you see all these ads everywhere and it's distracting. But you can just concentrate on skating when I was in LA. No one cares so you can just do your thing. I don't think skating is bad so I don't like it when people tell me that I can't skate... I didn't feel that stress in LA.
V： How were the spots?
Z： All the spots you see in videos, you need to go there to see what it's really like. The ground is rough and the spots are bigger than you imagine. You need to sweep the trash before you skate because it's super dirty. But when we were driving to the dirty spot, we found a broom right in the middle of the street. We were like "Get it!" It was the first day out in LA so that was funny.
V： I hear everyone say the same thing about spots, how hard they are.
Z： All these cracks are I n the sidewalk so it's hard to do fakie tricks. I couldn't believe how people could skate at one of the spots we went. On the other hand, the spots in Taiwan was really good. Way better than Japan.
V： What are the things you kept in mind when working on this part?
Z： Hmm... I guess not compromising. I don't like it when I have half-assed clip in a part. I need to work super hard on all the clips I have in my part. It's really not about good or bad, it's about how hard you worked. That's what gets me excited about skating.
V： How do you feel looking back?
Z： I realized that completing a part is not easy. I mean, I'm not 100% satisfied with this part and I don't think I’ll ever will. It's about how myself in the future will feel when he sees this later on. When I watch my part in "Round and Round" and TORIOTOKO video, it brings back all the things that happened while filming. I guess I'm doing that same kind of thing for the future self.
V： You can push yourself again because you're not 100% satisfied.
Z： Exactly. I'm thankful that the filmer I worked with was with me the whole way through to make it happen. You can't make a part all by yourself. So when someone who cares about skating asks me if I want to film, I get motivated. If I'm going to give my best, I want to work with someone who can film until the last minute. Filmer is a big factor in making a video part.
V： So your part is done. What's next?
Z： Well, the part is done so I want to have a break and relax for a bit. I want to start thinking about what I want to do next. That's how it works for me. Other than that, I just want to be a skater like E-San, someone who lives in people's hearts for a long time.
Name: Shogo Zama
DOB: March 21, 1997
Sponsors: Remilla, Vans Japan, Unown, Sidechick Hardware, Strush, Ace Trucks