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Thing considered to be stupid can be the thing of beauty.
This is the reason skateboarding is a form of art.
──KAITO SAGAWA (ENGLISH)

2020.03.28

Video_A Haters Production / Photo_Junpei Ishikawa / Special thanks: Converse Skateboarding

[JAPANESE / ENGLISH]

VHSMAG (V): When did you start skating?

Kaito Sagawa (S): I was in the first grade in elementary school, seven years old. I'd go camping at Jonanjima with my family and there was a skate park. My dad used to surf and I guess he kinda made me try skating. So what I remember is that I was at Murasaki Sports selecting a board with my dad.

V: I heard Ryo Sejiri taught you a lot.

S: Yeah, I went to the skate park for the first time and Ryo Sejiri was there. I was super young so I didn't even know who he was but he taught me a lot. I was wearing my wrist guard opposite, like the plastic part on top. He taught me how to wear protectors (laughs). It's kinda rad that I met Ryo Sejiri on my first day skating.

V: You used to live in Kawasaki at the time. Where was your local spot after you got fully into skating?

S: I used to skate at Shinyoko and X-Dome a lot. Through skating at those parks I met guys like Iku Denda and Yasuhiko Iida, and joined their crew ThePeace.

V: Your younger brother Ryo started skating at the same time?

S: He's a year younger and my dad bought us boards the same day. He wasn't into skating at first though. He was catching bugs at the camping area.

V: Your brother became a famous skater like you. Did you guys feed off of each other?

S: Well... I guess at contests. I was winning pretty much the whole time but at this Volcom contest at Chiba Parco, he beat me for the first time. I think I was in sixth grade or seventh grade. That kinda got me frustrated. That's pretty much it though.

V: Who was your first sponsor?

S: Kids' apparel brand Flake. They'd have this get together event at that huge skate park in Niigata. It was nice that we had something like that where kids could get together and skate.

V: Do you remember when you got out of that kid's phase?

S: I met IFO's Soichiro Nakajima when I was five. It was at this event at X-Dome and he gave me his complete. I got flowed from IFO but I only had two clips in the first video Time Capsule. Those two clips were from when I went skating street for the first time. Maybe I was in sixth or seventh grade? I had gone to IFO's ramp event in Nagano but they started taking me on trips after I got in high school. I think we went to Shikoku, we camped everywhere. That was when I realized the excitement of skate trips.

V: So you got invited to skate trips and got out of the kid's phase. I think those older dudes are very important to be around. It was a big thing that Soichiro was there since he's experienced a lot in the US. Did you learn anything from him?

S: We were talking in a car during this one trip and I clearly remember the thing he told me. He said, "Filming is not a random session." For example, he told me that Mark Appleyard lands his trick in less than three tries. He was like, "If you try so many times, that's just practicing." That made me realize filming is something you do very quick, especially you get kicked out super fast in Japan. I think it's dope to make the trick just like that. You practice at a parks, and you take it to the street. So when I'm filming, I fully concentrate and try to land it the first try.

V: And you went pro for IFO in 2018.

S: They had this surprise party so I was stoked, but I thought I just couldn't stop there. Before I went pro, I was just skating contests, going on trips and filmed... I was also doing stuff with ThePeace but I realized I needed to do something different. I got my first board in January 2018 and I went to LA in February and March with Sora Shirai. Then Shintaro Hongo and Shogo Zama was there at the same time...

 

V: Oh yeah, and KE from VHSMAG was there as well. That's how you guys started filming for this part. And Anthony Acosta shot a photo of you and that became the cover of SLIDER.

S: Exactly. So I can't even imagine what would've happened if I didn't go to LA back then.

V: You gotta go for it to get shit done. So you started filming two years ago.

S: I think that back heel over a fire hydrant was the first thing we filmed. The weather in LA is super nice. That's the ideal place for skating.

V: Other than LA and Japan, where else did you guys film at?

S: We went to Taiwan on a Converse trip. I was in Taiwan for the new years last year and KE came to film. We also went to Singapore for a G-SHOCK event. Then we wrapped up filming in LA. It was nice that I had opportunities to travel that much.

V: How was the two years? Do you feel any difference from your other parts?

S: All the spots KE brought me were amazing. He had full knowledge of the spots, like which day and time you can skate or not. He also knows which spot works for the skater and chose the right timing where we don't get kicked out. So the filming itself went smooth. But when I came back from the first LA trip, I rolled my ankle and couldn't skate for like three months. That healed and then I rolled the other ankle. So I was jumping down stuff at first but not any more. My ankle's still not too well. I can't really do switch and nollie tricks. So it took two years to finish the part but actually I couldn't skate for several month in between.

V: Anything that sticks out in your mind from those two years?

S: Hmm... I'm sure everyone knows this but Shintaro Hongo is a beast. He lands his tricks so fast. I get hyped when I see him skate. Who you skate with is important. You feed off of each other, you know.

V: You started skating with Genki Sunagawa because of Converse trips. It seems like you guys are like the very opposite type. How was it hanging out with him?

S: Genki is the best. Yeah, that maybe the thing that sticks out the most (laughs). We'd never really hung out or talked before those Converse trips. We had skated together at mini ramp events but it was just what's up kinda thing... KE introduced him to me at VHSMAG office and he told me that we're gonna be on the same team, and I was like, "Wait what? Really? That's kinda scary..." That was a week before the first trip to Taiwan... I was so anxious thinking about going on the trip with him. So we left the office and we walked together to the train station, and he was just chatting non stop (laughs). He's endlessly talking.

V: You guys were sharing the same hotel room in Taiwan, right?

S: Yeah, I wasn't really sure if that was a good idea at first but he just talks non stop so it wasn't like I had to try and start a conversation. There was no awkward moment. Rather, I was like "When is he gonna stop talking?" We were together for a week and I was listening to him for the first four days, but I was checking Instagram and pretended that I was listening in the end (laughs). I was nervous at first but... Genki is the best guy.

V: That's funny. Did that tip you got from Soichiro back in the day work for this part?

S: It worked in the beginning, things went super smooth. But that's how it is at first. After that it was good and bad. I was super stoked to get that nosegrind pop out at the overpass tunnel spot in LA. That was used in SLIDER too. I came close but I couldn't land it the first day so I had to go back a couple days later to land it. It took time so I was stoked. It was my first filming trip for the part and Acosta shot the photo.

V: So the part is finally done. How do you feel?

S: It took more time than I imagined. I thought I could get it done in a year but it wasn't that easy. I got hurt and I had exams at my university. Especially last year, I had so many school projects. I had to work on my computer until I couldn't keep my eyes open.

V: Yeah, you had school too... What are you studying?

S: Urban environment. I'm going to study urban development in my fourth year. As a skater, I was into looking at all the things in city environment and that's why decided to study this in the first place. I think being a skater helps in this major. There's this class called Design Studio where you design and make miniature model of a public space. I always get A+ or S, which is the highest grade. You know, I think about skating in the space and I'd build stairs and stuff. I think the fact that I had opportunities to traveling overseas helped as well. I was shooting photos of all the places I got stoked on so I could use them for reference. So I'm grateful that I was given a chance to travel for this part.

V: Looking forward to the day you build a space where skater can get stoked on. What's your plan after you graduate?

S: I'm planning to continue studying and also keep skating. If I combined the things I learned from skating and studying, I think I can come up with something interesting. I'm glad that I studied at university because you can choose to just skate or study to get a legit job and skate at the same time. I think school gives you more options.

V: Nice. Last words?

S: I think it's better to just go for it. If I hadn't gone to LA with Sora Shirai... I mean, if I was in LA by myself, things wouldn't have never worked out like this. I was there with Sora, KE came to film him; we filmed together through Sora. And because I was wearing CONS in LA, KE offered me to skate for Converse Skateboarding when it started in Japan. Then we kept filming for this part. So you just have to go for it if you want to get things done. Other than that, I'm just grateful for all the opportunities.

 

Kaito Sagawa
@kaito5agawa

Date of birth :
May 4, 1998

Blood type :
O

Birthplace :
Tokyo

Sponsors :
Converse Skateboarding, IFO, Krux, Ricta, Grizzly, Source Bolts, Ninja Bearings, Skate Sauce, Murasaki Sports QS, ThePeace

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