Contenders: Mike Franklin

10.05.09 – Shad Lambert

Photography By Shad Lambert And Chris Ortiz

180 Nollie

180 Nose Grind. Photo: Ortiz

North of the wild kingdom of Los Angeles—just past the great desert and across many treacherous mountain passes—lies a magical city known as Santa Clarita. Legend has it that this city is filled with many mysterious people who congregate on a Magic Mountain where the skateparks are huge and skate moms are very friendly.

Alas, having completed my recent photo quest, I can assure you that all these legends are completely true. Mike Franklin is not only a magician on a skateboard, he’s also an awesome dude who skates every day and loves to live life. Time to pull this Contender out of the hat.

So what the hell is going down in your hood right now?

Just chillin’, drinking a 40.

Wow, that is hood. I was jokingly about to ask you how you guys get down out there in Santa Clarita.

Yeah, probably drink like a 40 or two and go hit up the skatepark or something.

That’s right, you guys got that insane skatepark up there.

Oh yeah, it’s so huge. Just fun to just roll around in there learning tricks.

How do you prowl through that place without running into people?

That’s the best part. Run into people full speed. Shit is so much fun. Just go as fast as you can then run into them, that way they’ll learn.

I hate running into people. But there’s like park groupie chicks out there, huh?

Oh, well you got to check their ID first to make sure it’s legit. But you know what there’s more of? Really hot moms. Skate moms are the best. You don’t have to worry about buying them stuff and taking them out. They’ll pretty much buy you stuff and take you out.

Oh, I get it, and you’re like the park hometown hero. So pounding 40s, shredding the park, running into fools, skate moms, what else goes down in Santa Clarita?

Well, not really too much. There ain’t shit going down out here really.

Skate moms are the best. You don’t have to worry about buying them stuff and taking them out. They’ll pretty much buy you stuff and take you out.

What about season passes to Magic Mountain?

I don’t need season passes. We get in for free. All you got to do is go there with a highlighter in your pocket and wait to see which hand they’re stamping when people go out. Then you just roll to the bathroom, put a little highlighter mark on your hand, rub it in so it’s barely visible, but when it’s under the black light you can see it perfectly. You can get in every time with the highlighter. I don’t think I’ve paid to go to Magic Mountain in like ten years.

Magic Mountain is gonna be psyched when we post this up. What about sketchy house parties?

Uh, sometimes. Mostly just hanging out with the homies. I try to stay away from house parties; those are usually like high school drama. Rather go out and find a hot mom.

So you got on World. Seems like they’re starting to get more real people on the team now, right?

Yeah, we just added Andrew Canon, George Moreno—those dudes are killing it. Oh, and we just got Anthony Shetler. Best thing about riding for World is basically skating with the team, and Charlie Thomas is the team manager. We get along good. Every time we go out, it’s all homies.

What’s it like skating with Flameboy? I heard he’s like a spoiled li’l bitch.

Flameboy is all right. Wet Willy is way sicker.

I heard all Wet Willy does is party, get face tats, and make mix tapes now.

Yeah, he started smoking heroin, so he kind of went downhill. [Laughing] I mean that Wet Willy and Flameboy shit is whatever, the new graphics that are coming out are really cool. No cute cartoons.


Gap To Crooked Grind. Photo: Ortiz

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So what skaters did you look up to when you were coming up?

Definitely Chad Muska. I was a Muska fan—still am. That dude kills it. Jamie Thomas for sure—he was one of my biggest influences. Oh, and Arto [Saari]. I remember when I first started skating seeing the éS Menikmati video and I just knew he was one of the sickest dudes ever.

So for your Mag Minute you chose a Biggie song. Didn’t expect that.

Hell, yeah.

I kind of thought you might go the other route. You kind of have a Suicidal Tendencies or Slayer vibe going on.

Well, shit. I love metal, love punk—all about that shit. I listen to hip hop-too, not really the wack new shit, but like a lot of the older gangster shit like Biggie, Mac Dre, and Andre Nickatina. I like that stuff, so guess I threw out a little curve ball. Sure, it’s the last thing people pictured me skating to. Fuck it, that’s what I like.

So you been traveling and filming or what?

Yeah, just got back from New York a little bit ago. Be chillin’ in the Los Angeles area now, filming a lot, you know. I go down to Long Beach and film too. Then in November we got a World tour going on to Texas for Make-A-Wish. So yeah, just trying to film and shoot photos, have fun.

So who you want to shout-out for keeping these fun times rollin’?

World Industries Skateboards, The Hundreds Clothing, Skate Lab Skatepark, Active Ride Shop, Grip Heads, Mountain Dew Am Force, oh and Scuba Steve sends me some éS shoes sometimes.


Kickflip. Photo: Lambert

Wait, so what do you get for being on Mountain Dew Am Force? Shitloads of Mountain Dew?

Yeah, a bunch of free Mountain Dew basically, and some checks. I don’t really do those contests or anything, but it’s cool. They took us all to New York to skate and shoot photos for ads. Hey, so when you gonna get your ass out here to shoot photos?

I don’t know, might feel like drinking 40s and hitting on skate moms Friday.

All right, that sounds perfect. I got spots!