You'll find out why style matters when you see Dick Rizzo skate. A quick interview with the Quasi pro who's been out there in the streets stacking clips nonstop.
──DICK RIZZO (ENGLISH)
[ JAPANESE / ENGLISH ]
VHSMAG (V)： How did you get into skating?
DICK RIZZO (R)： I grew up down the street from an indoor skatepark in northern New Jersey called Drop In Skatepark. When I was younger my parents would occasionally bring me and my brothers by to watch people skate there, which I would say initially sparked my interest in the sport. We would also see skateboarding at the Rex-Plex center, where they used to hold all kinds of sporting events. When I was around 10 years old me and my brothers found a full setup in the bushes behind our dead end street. We assumed whoever had left it there didn’t want or care for it anymore so we took it and started learning how to ride on it all taking turns, our neighbors too. We kept it outside in the bushes so any of us could use it. That coming Christmas we all asked for skateboards.
V： What was the scene in New Jersey like back then? Who did you grow up skating with?
R： Back then the scene in Northern New Jersey was strong. We had a couple different skate shops, I hadn’t known it at the time but I was spoiled with a thriving scene. I'm still close friends with most of the people I grew up skating with. My homies Gus and Buggy, we were always riding around together since we were about 12. I met Josh Wilson and Paul Young back then too, we skated the same park together frequently but didn’t become close friends until I was about 14.
V： What was your introduction to the real skate community? First sponsor?
R： My introduction to a real skate community would be there at Drop In. It wasn’t just a skatepark but also had a fully stocked skate shop, a computer, a couch and a TV and a bunch of skate videos. It was a family vibe there. My first sponsor was SureShot Skateboards run by Ryan Brennan.
V： Influences growing up?
R： A major video for me that came out when I was younger was New Thirsty by Justin White, who did the Popills videos. Lots of local skaters had talked about it for the years leading up to it and when it came out it was all I watched, it definitely helped me understand street skating and opened my mind to how it should look. Then Mind Field came out and that was a major influence on me.
V： A lot of New Jersey skaters seem to have rad style and unique eye for spots. From your perspective, what is the thing that differentiates Jersey skaters from others?
R： Growing up in the Northeast you get hot ass summers and cold winters with fucked weather. All that heat then snow and salt, it fucks the ground up and shit starts to look crusty pretty fast. So we skate the crusty spots and are raised on that.
V： How did you connect with the Bronze guys?
R： Josh was living in Brooklyn with Jp Blair and Zach Bonime, and a lot of us would spend time at that apartment, where I had first met Pat Murray. Bronze started as a joke between Pat and Peter Sidlauskas. But then it turned into something bigger. I had been filming a lot with Paul but wasn’t really sure what for, I was getting hooked up with Habitat boards at the time but then got dropped because of budget cuts, and then Solo Jazz premiered.
V： You got flowed from Chocolate after that. How did that happen?
R： Daniel Wheatley was team manager for Chocolate at the time and hit me up shortly after Solo Jazz came out.
V： It would've been awesome to see an east coast skater like you on Chocolate. What happened with them?
R： Chocolate was rad, HUF was flying me out to LA and on trips at this time too and I got to meet and be a part of some things happening with Chocolate. There was talk of getting the bump up to am status, but I got a phone call from Chad Bowers at Quasi which at the time was in its early stages and still called Mother. He was really hyped on my skating and wanted me to be a part of what he was trying to make. The original team was just Jake Johnson, Gilbert Crockett, and Tyler Bledsoe, and these guys were my favorite skaters. And then there was talk of getting Josh involved and I knew it had to be done.
V： Your Mother part... How did that Bobbito introduction come about? That was so sick.
R： Ha ha ha. That was all Paul Young’s doing. He put me on to Stretch and Bob, Mixtape is one of my favorite skate videos and will forever be. That was a sick surprise man.
V： Anything sticks out from your Mother part? Any trick in particular that you're stoked to get?
R： All of it? Hahaha. No, but really we worked on that video for a while and it felt so good to finally finish it and clean the slate. Probably my last trick though, I got that a few months before the video came out and after getting that felt like I had got everything I wanted for the video.
V： After Mother, you had Bronze and HUF videos, pretty much non-stop. How do you keep yourself motivated?
R： Shit my life right now really is just skating. Sometimes being home for a while it gets hard to find new stuff to do. But then I travel and coming home is refreshing and it's all good again.
V： What are the things you keep in mind when putting together a video part?
R： I have an assortment of tricks that I think about trying to put next to each other in a timeline. Nothing to write a book over, but just a list of tricks or spots in my head that I think would be cool and play off each other well.
V： Who are your favorite skaters, past and present?
R： Bobby Puleo, Fred Gall, Quim, Derm, Jahmal Williams, Pops, Huf, Dylan, Cromer, everyone on Quasi, German Nieves, Devon Connell, Ricky, Rich Adler, Kanfoush, Bobby Worrest, Luke and Keith. Hard question to finish. Ha ha ha.
V： You've skated in Japan several times with HUF and Bronze... What are the things you noticed skating in Japan compared to the US?
R： It's no secret, it's HARD to get away with street skating in Japan. People tend to take offense to it because it's loud and fucks property up. And getting snitched on cops, they will show up fast. I feel bad for the tour guides because they try to disappear or act like they aren’t with the group of tourists who are fucking shit up. It's just skating.
V： Did any crazy incident happen in Japan?
R： On the last night of our Bronze trip there this past October, a bunch of cops pulled up while we were skating a random little bank spot on the sidewalk. Billy Mcfeely was standing just off the sidewalk in the street, and because he was in the street the cops just grabbed him, then packed him up into their van and took him away. He didn’t have his passport on him so they accused him of being there illegally so they drove him to the precinct then to the airbnb we were staying at. The rest of us rushed back to the airbnb to make sure nothing illegal was left out. It was fried. Ha ha.
V： HUF stopped making shoes. You're wearing Vans lately, what's the situation now?
R： I've had friends over at Vans for a while and when I got the call that HUF was ending footwear it seemed like the right move. It was and I’m really happy to be where I’m at.
V： New York right now seems super chaotic with COVID-19. How are you spending your time these days?
R： Things have started to mellow out a little so I've been trying to go out and film again.
V： That's what I wanted to hear. What project are you working on?
R： We're working on a Quasi video right now, and hopefully going on trips for HUF or Vans in the coming months.
Born in 1995, in New Jersey. Rizzo is known for his refined trick and spot selection. He rides for Quasi, Bronze 56K, Vans, HUF, and NJ Skateshop.