Nike SB's one and only dark skin man of glory. We caught up with Ishod Wair for a quick interview while he was in Tokyo.
──ISHOD WAIR (ENGLISH)
[ JAPANESE / ENGLISH ]
Photo_Junpei Ishikawa, Special thanks_Nike SB
VHSMAG (V)： I'm sure you get a lot from people about your name. There's a meaning behind it, right?
Ishod Wair (I)： My full name is Ishod-Kedar Burti Wair. So my first name is not just Ishod, it's Ishod-Kedar and it means dark skin man of glory, and Burti means teacher.
V： You're from New Jersey. What was it like growing up skating there?
I： I was skating by myself for about a year. One of my friends that I knew from as a kid had videos and stuff like that. He was the first person I started skating with.
V： What was the first video you saw?
I： The first video I saw was "Yeah Right!" Because, the first couple years that I was skating I didn't have any magazines or any of that shit to get a video from so... and my mom wasn't tryna dish out any extra money for any of that type of stuff. So I didn't really see a video for a couple years into skating.
V： How did you learn how to skate transition and street to that level and also make it look good? What was your early stages of skateboarding like?
I： I was just skating flat. I didn't start skating transition till I started going to skateparks when I was older, and at the point I couldn't even air or do any of that. I pretty much learned mostly everything that I can do on transition, I learned within the last four and a half years.
V： Really? To that level?
I： Any aerial maneuver, I couldn't do when I was younger. I just learned that within the last four and a half years. Actually the last time I was here in Japan for the Monster trip, I was with Raven Tershy, and right before that I went on a trip to Australia with Ronnie Sandoval. After that when I went home from those two trips, that inspired me to learn how to skate tranny. So at that point when I came here, the first time, I couldn't do any airs. I couldn't do any of those tricks at all. I couldn't even lean to tail, I couldn't do anything.
V： Whoa... really?
I： I dunno, I could do a rock 'n' roll and I could do blunt tricks, kickflip fakies and treflips... not riding out, bonking out. I could do an ollie stalefish, but other than that I didn't really have any... I could frontblunt too.
V： I thought people who have tranny skills start learning it when they were really young.
I： Nah I learned that all after going on trips with my friends and they inspired me to try and learn that shit.
V： Who were your influences growing up?
I： From the videos that I saw, big influence was definitely P-Rod. Because he was in “Yeah Right!” He just seemed so little and I was little. I had this Mountain Dew poster with P-Rod on it.
V： You moved to Philly when you were 18. When I think of Philly, I think of Love Gap and you've done a lot of shit there. Can you talk about the switch bigspin? You broke your finger...
I： I actually broke my finger in five or six places in my ring finger. I pretty much just like, dusted the bone. So I have like five or six pins. I dunno, my board just caught in between my legs when I landed and you're going really fast... so it tripped me. I put my hand on my shoulder to roll so I didn't take my hit in my ear, and the way my fingers were and the way my body rolled over it just broke it. Then I kept trying for a while after that. I think all the tries are posted online. I also ended breaking my board and I did it on my friends board. It was kind of a battle that day, wasn't working out.
V： How was the pain though?
I： At that point, it's like I better fuckin' make it or I broke my finger for no reason.
V： That makes sense. What are the other tricks that you've done?
I： Kickflip in a line, and a switch flip. A heelflip, front shuv, and then a switch front bigspin.
V： Were the tricks at the Love Gap become your big break in skateboarding? Was that one of the reasons to get on Real?
I： I think it definitely helped because it's a very iconic spot. I would continuously send in footage and then I switch flipped the Love Gap. It gave me a good amount of recognition.
V： Because back in 2009 or 2010, I was at Deluxe interviewing Tommy Guerrero and you showed up. He was saying, "Ishod. That's our new guy, keep your eye on him."
V： So Real and Nike, which came first?
I： I went to Tampa AM and I gave out my footage to a lot of people, and I just skated the contest, I didn't really have any sponsors. I think got like 17th or 18th but I had no sponsors. Gave my footage out, about a week later Bones hit me up. They sent me one box. But then like two weeks later after Tampa AM, Deluxe hit me up. They were like, “Oh yeah we're trying to get you on, we're trying to flow you Real, Spitfire, Thunder.” And I was like “Oh, Bones just sent me a box.” They were like “Alright you're gonna have to quit that.” I was like alright, fuck-it. It went on from there. A couple weeks later, maybe a month, I started getting flow shoes from Nike SB, also flow from Fourstar. It all kind of came at the same time, like all the sponsors that I had for a really long time was pretty much just from the beginning, and then I just started working up. From there they turned me Am, then I went pro...
V： What's the most memorable project you've done with Nike SB?
I： Probably the Chronicles video, just because it was the first big video that I was in, and I was just traveling all over the world. So I got to see a lot. It was also really good because nowadays it's kinda hard with everybody's schedule to actually go out and film with the same person all the time. Since I was filming for this video, It was like me and Jason Hernandez all the time no matter what. It was easy, default, we're going out to get clips. So it was just really easy to produce footage because I didn't have to worry about all this other stuff. It was like boom, already goin' out with him, his obligation is me, my obligation is to be filming with him, boom. I already knew what I needed to do. There was no “Alright who's skating blah blah”. It was just easy.
V： How about the new "Back on my BS" part? How was the process like for that one?
I： There was some trips but it wasn't on the level of the Chronicles video where there was a whole production, a budget to fly us all around the world. Just kinda goin' out skating every day. I would go back to Philly to get some footage and then I would try to go here and there, but it wasn't on the same level as what filming for the Chronicles video was. Also the person I was mainly filming it with also worked for Volcom, so I had to split my time up, because he would be gone for a month and a half, this or that. Also, I was hurt for a good portion of the filming too...
V： Back in 2017?
I： Yeah, I was supposed to be filming for a good amount of time. You can even see in the footage, where some of the footage I have All Courts on. Where I hardflip over the bump-to-bar where I'm wearing a BMW hat, that's from before I got hurt.
V： What about that one, the front feeble ollie over to front smith on a flat bar? That's one of my favorites.
I： Thank you, it's pretty hard. We just went to some flat bar somewhere, it was just a random day. We didn't even plan on going there, I just seen it and I just started skating it. At first I was gonna try 50-50 to something. Maybe a 50-50 to front blunt and poppin' it into the street. But I couldn't pop as high out of it because the bar that I'm popping off of was lower than the bar I was popping onto. So it was hard for to get a good pop out of the 50-50, because out of the front feeble you have more leverage, cause your tail is farther from the bar. So I had more leverage with the front feeble to try and pop up to it. So I started trying front feeble to smith, was getting close a lot. Then I finally made it. I grinded a couple of front smiths to the end, but I fucked up. It actually looked cooler, the pop out front feeble, front smith, then I popped out early. I was hyped with that clip.
V： Do you still ride symmetrical board?
I： Yeah, I just feel like being able to ride your board any way it lays, is pretty awesome. And I feel like a lot of people skate their board, off the nose when you're skating switch. So why would you wanna pop further down, and have the chance of missing your pop greater, when you're skating off your more untrained foot.
V： Yeah, the nose is steeper.
I： The nose is steeper so you could potentially pop higher, but that's not always good. I would rather want a more consistent pop than a higher pop, especially if I'm skating a rail, or skating something where I can get hurt. I don't wanna whiff my pop and just be in the air. I want a consistent pop where I don't have to go farther than I do with regular, and I'd wanna ride my board anyway it lays. Also, if you chip or crack your board going one way, you can flip it around and still have the same pop. So I think having a good solid pop is better than flicking off of a steeper nose. It's a no brainer, you should just have a double tail.
V： That makes sense. You also ride for Stance too, yeah?
I： Yeah, I got on after the Maloof Money Cup, in Huntington Beach. Ryan Kingman was like, “I'm starting this sock company, I wanna get you and Chris Cole involved.” So me and Chris were the first people to really ever ride for Stance. I've been riding for Stance since then. The best thing about Stance is having fresh socks all the time. The underwear's great too. I wear just the regular boxers, the loose ones. They're really soft and they're really comfortable. If I ever rip through them and have to go back to regular underwear I'm jaded now because it just feels so rough down there after wearing Stance underwear.
V： Anything planned out in the near future?
I： I got something coming out in late summer from Nike SB. I'm also working on a Real project, I've been filming for it for a while. So I got a part coming out, pretty soon.
Born in 1991 in New Jersey. An all-terrain skater that covers all from tech, bangers to transition. He's also known as the 2013 SOTY.