With unconventional approach and rhythmic style, Rowan Zorilla adds a new page to the history of skateboarding. We caught up with the man who just released his first ever signature shoe from Vans, the Rowan Pro.
──ROWAN ZORILLA (ENGLISH)
[ JAPANESE / ENGLISH ]
VHSMAG (V)： What's your first memory of having a pair of Vans?
Rowan Zorilla (R)： That's a tough one. I remember having Vans even... I can't really remember not having a pair of Vans. I grew up in California, everyone wore these. My parents wore them even before I can remember. As far as skating Vans, I remember getting Half Cabs and skating them a lot. But I'm pretty sure I had Authentics and Eras before I could even remember, when I was three years old.
V： That sounds like California. How do you get hooked up with Vans? Propeller came out in 2015, so maybe a few years before that?
R： Yeah, it was I think probably 2012 or 2013. Right around then I started getting flowed and that was because my friend, Taylor Smith, he was skating for Vans at the time and then passed on my number to Jamie Hart. Then he called me and asked if I wanted to just get a box of shoes.
V： I'm sure Propeller video was one of your biggest projects with Vans. How do you feel looking back at that part? What did that part mean to you?
R： Well, during filming for that, I was still flow pretty much for the most part. I was just barely going on trips and then they told me if I filmed the part by the deadline, they would put it in the video. I just basically skated as hard as I could for that year and luckily pulled it off. I'm stoked. If I didn't make that part in time, I might not be where I am today. I might not have ever gotten on Vans or ever gotten on any other companies because that was my first real part ever.
V： Did that part got you on Supreme as well?
R： Supreme came from me moving to LA from San Diego. And then I became friends with people that worked at the store. I was already friends with Aidan Mackey but I started skating with him every day. And then just from there I think Bill Strobeck, I don't know, maybe he thought that I fit in well with the other kids. I was skating with them a bunch and then from there I got involved with them and it happened to be good timing too because it was right around when they were starting to film Blessed. I got a good amount of time for that rather than Propeller where I was just trying to race the clock.
V： It was more natural, huh? What about Baker 4? Any trick you're stoked on from your part?
R： Most of them are probably the ones that took the longest or took the most times going back. I started filming for Baker 4 directly after the Supreme video ended, because I was focused all the way on it. And then the second it ended, I focused all my energy onto Baker. Most of the clips in that part are filmed the year that it came out in 2019.
V： You were talking about that switch noseslide in one of your interviews, saying it was a tribute to Ali Boulala.
R： Well, from a young age I grew up watching all that time period of Baker 3, Sorry, the Zero videos, the Toy Machine videos, all the full lengths that came out around that time. I was such a young kid, but Ali, his stuff always stood out to me because it was not only really great skating, it was switch and regular, but also he brought more personality to the video parts. You could really see who he was and... you could see more than just the tricks. You could be like, "Oh this guy seems cool to hang with or makes you laugh," during the part.
V： You just released your first signature shoe, Rowan Pro. How do you feel?
R： It's just crazy. I've had a few colorways but this is the first signature shoe. It's just crazy because I've had samples for about a year now. My entire Baker 4 part, I'm skating in the shoe. So I've been skating them for a long time. Now to see them in stores and in the magazines and on Instagram and videos and stuff, now they actually exist. Before it was just like the thing that only I had, which was awesome and it was cool. But now starting to see other people wear and skate it, it's feels crazy.
V： How much were you involved in the process of making the shoe?
R： I was super involved. I would go down to Vans one or two times a week just to make sure that it ended up the way I wanted it to. I just wanted something that first off looked classic. Not something new that doesn't really suit me or my skating, but also something that performed well and had some sort of advancements and functionality. Whether you can see them or not, the sole and insole. Just something that skates really well but also looks like the shoes that got me stoked when I was younger. The shoes that made me love Vans.
V： You just had the release event in Oceanside, which I was supposed to go but didn't happen because of the coronavirus.
R： Oh, shit. You got the travel restrictions, huh? That's too bad.
V： How was the event? I saw the photos, you were skydiving.
R： Yeah, it was great man. It was awesome. It's cool to have it down in my hometown where my parents still lives. All my friends that I grew up with got to go, and it just makes it different than another party in LA. There's so much that goes on up here that it made it cool and made it stand out.
V： You guys had a session at Prince park. Is that your local park?
R： No, that park is fairly new. They put it in maybe a year and a half, two years before I moved to LA. Every time I visit my parents I go back and I skate there.
V： You had a promo video for your shoe where a guitarist and drummer played over your skating. The approach was pretty experimental.
R： That was a friend of mine, Matt Sweeney and one of his good friends Jon Theodore who plays drums in Mars Volta and Queens of the Stone Age. Greg Hunt made the video to a beat without music. And then he sent it over to them and they basically watched it a few times and then played live a bunch of times over it until they've played something that they were happy with. It came out epic. I was stoked. I was super stoked on how it came out.
V： Sick. Vans has been around since 1966 and they've done tons of things for skateboarding. What was the biggest contribution that Vans has done to skateboarding?
R： As of recently, probably the parks that they built for contests and then leaving them behind. Instead of just tearing them out as soon as the contest is over, now that they leave the park for the community. I think that's probably the biggest contribution. I'm sure there's other things I'm forgetting, but that's the thing that sticks out to me.
V： What makes Vans stand out from other shoe brands out there?
R： Just that they've been in skating the whole time and the amount of people involved is a little bit smaller. The teams, the people that skate for Vans, it's a smaller group. Allows them more time to focus on each one of us more than if you were on a team of so many people. But I mean, I have lots of friends on other companies too, but Vans has always been the goal and the dream for me. To be able to skate for them and then eventually having a shoe, it's crazy.
V： What is it about skateboarding that you never stop?
R： I don't know. I think when I young, just the fact that you could progress without having an end goal. The only goal was to get better and better. And then if you keep doing that, there's not a limit. It's rather than a different sport where you can win the game or get the most home runs or something. Skating, you never really... You can only reach your limit if you allow yourself to think that way.
V： You've got your shoe, what's next for you? Any project in the works?
R： I sat with the Grosso for Loveletters and we talked about all sorts of things that should come out shortly. Other than that, I'm just stoked to get on a bunch of trips with Vans, with any of my sponsors really. Get on some more Supreme trips. I just want to get back to traveling and just filming normally. And then once I've collected some footage, then I'll decide what the next project is, but I don't want to commit to anything before I have a good sight. We'll see.
Born in 1995 in Vista California. He gained worldwide recognition with his part in Vans' first full length Propeller. He's been constantly getting his skating out there through Blessed and Baker 4. He just released his first signature model from Vans.