Building connections overseas is the best way to overcome borders.
This is the dawn of pro career, prologue of success skate life.
Video: Lesque / Interview: VHSMAG / Photo: Junpei Ishikawa
[JAPANESE / ENGLISH]
VHSMAG (V)： First of all, how did you get into skating?
RYO MOTOHASHI (R)： I started skating when I was in the 2nd grade in elementary school. My dad got me into skating. I was riding skateboard when I was really young but I started going to skateparks in the 2nd grade.
V： Where was your local spot?
R： I used to go to Yoshikawa Aqua Park but I was skating street a lot as well.
V： That's where you got the all-rounded skill. Who were your influences?
R： I really liked Mike Mo's style. I liked how all of his tricks are perfect.
V： I can see that influence in your skating. You've been getting a lot of media coverage in the past couple of years. When would you say your tipping point was?
R： I think started to get a lot of offers when I got in high school. I did my best in every one of them and the next chance came... I kept doing it and here I am.
V： Recently you won Element's Make It Count contest in Japan and went to Barcelona.
R： Yeah, in that contest everyone ripped and they were landing rad tricks. I just dod whatever I could so it was like, "What, I won!?" I've always wanted to go to Barcelona so I was hyped. The winner was supposed to film a part there so it was a great chance for me. But honestly I never thought I could win the contest. Everyone skated super good.
V： So you filmed a part in Barcelona. You only had a week to film, right?
R： That's right, a week. We hit two to three spots a day. One filmer for two skaters. I teamed up with Element's am Dominick Walker and also Even Smith. I had good session with the Element riders.
V： Any memorable thing from the Barcelona trip?
R： It wasn't in Barcelona but what surprised me was that they sent me a spot list before I left Japan. The people at Element sent me the list so that the shoot goes smoothly. That way I can have the image of what trick I want to do. And I went to the spots and miraculously I got most of the trick I wanted. I probably got 90% of what I had planned. Everything went well (laughs).
V： That's amazing. That's because you were prepared.
R： The trip was a great experience for me. It was a big deal to be around the Element US team. I mean, not everyone gets to have that kind of experience. Not everyone gets to eat, play, sleep under th3e same roof... I can't speak English so I couldn't communicate with them completely, but it was fun hanging out and feel the atmosphere.
V： You had that kind of amazing experience but you chose to stay and skate for a Japanese company.
R： I was always riding Lesque board since I was little and I never really tried or wanted to get sponsored by overseas brand. When I think about which brand in Japan is most active, Lesque comes first in mind. The team is good and we have a good family vibe going on. In that sense, Lesque seems like the best brand in Japan. Other brands are not active because they don't have budget or whatever... but even when Lesque don't have much budget or don't have enough filmer, they make sure that riders get to film no matter what. We go on trips. We're always doing something. I think that makes a difference.
V： And you just went pro from Lesque. How did that come about?
R： Itoshin and Ma the filmer asked me to go pro. I didn't really feel comfortable with the offer at first, like "I don't deserve this." But Itoshin told me that going pro is not a goal, it's the beginning. You need money to do what you want and going pro can reduce the stress os not having enough budget. So he convinced me. I gave it thought for a while and I decided to go pro.
V： So you weren't sure if you wanted to go pro at first.
R： Yeah, I wasn't sure about the idea. Going pro is like crossing a line, you know. It was a heavy decision for me (laughs). I mean, you're riding a borad with your name on it and you go overseas and people will be like, "What, you're pro?" I need to keep in mind that being pro means that I need to have certain degree of responsibility.
V： So that means you're not only planning to stay in Japan but going overseas. This is your pro debut part. How long did you film for?
R： About six months. I had Make It Count's Barcelona and Lesque's Taiwan trip in between. The spots are all in Tokyo and Taiwan.
V： Which trick are you most stoked on?
R： Nollie heel K grind nollie kickflip out on a ledge. This trick has been working out recently and I could do it pretty good at a skatepark. But when you take it out to the street, it's whole different story... I went to the spot around five times and get kicked out super quick... The ledge is a bit high but the ground is good and I needed to get that trick there. So it took me a while to get that trick.
V： That nollie heel out was amazing but the regular out before, how you came out was insanely good.
R： That was just a practice (laughs).
V： How do you feel about the part?
R： I practiced a lot to make it better than the Pick Up part we did before. On top of that I wanted to keep the urban vibe. I think the part was turned out good overall. Spot matters for sure.
V： So you turned pro and the part went live. What's next?
R： I don't want to limit myself only in Japan. I'm hoping to go overseas at least once or twice a year. If you get out of Japan and go somewhere you probably meet new friends and filmers. You can build an environment where you can do something overseas. I want to try and do something out of Japan. That's one of my goals.
V： You've filmed a part in LA about three years ago, right?
R： That was filmed by a Japanese friend so that's different. I don't feel that part was made only by my effort. I need to build new connections by myself and if I can do that, I think I can make it anywhere.
V： You'll be in NY by the time this interview is live.
R： Yes. Last time I stayed in the US for a month so this time I'm staying for three months. I'm going with Kento Yoshioka and Yudai Hoshino, the guys that I skate together in the daily basis. We all have the same kind of goal and think alike. So they get me motivated to skate. I'm going to film and try to learn English. I'l be back after the Damn Am in September. I think it's better to go overseas before you get too old. I'm going to challenge myself and if it doesn't turn out, I think I'll find a new path. I'm going to do my best on whatever I have in front of me, and come home with new inspiration from NY.
Date of birth :
January 12, 2000
Blood type :