When you’re brought up to believe you live in this perfect world, it’s only natural for you to want to destroy that perfect world and paint it black. Chris Gregson, locally known as “Sunshine,” is from a beautiful suburban town called Irvine, California. He started skating at a very young age. At the age of thirteen he was considered one of those air babies and had already received first place at Tampa AM Vert. Somewhere along his road to success in the skate industry, Gregson decided to take the dark road, through the enchanted forest—the hard way. Many years consisted of pain, glory, failure, and success for Gregson in that forest. When he returned to us, he was no longer the “Sunshine” we all remembered, his goals were obvious and his wizardry skills were even more obvious. He’s here to mash everything that stands in front of him.
How are you feeling today after that head bash at Prince Park? How’d that happen?
I’m alive. Tailslide revert through the corner straight to the back of my head.
You going to skate today or just take it easy for a while?
I went skating today with all the Shep Dawgz. Those fools are killing it.
How’s your pad in Cardiff?
It’s unreal. My roommate Greg [Zamarripa] owns the house. It’s a block from the beach in paradise. It’s just me, Greg, my lady Kryshelle, and our dogs, Masher and Mona.
Living right on the beach in Southern California—what’s your secret to having the finances?
No secrets, I’m broke as fuck. I skate contests here and there, and if I win money I just try and pay as much rent as I can to secure me for a little until I can figure out how to get more money.
So do you have a normal job or is it straight skateboard hustling?
No regular job. I’ve tried it. I worked at 7Eleven for a few months. It’s so hard to travel and make it as a skater working 30 to 40 hours a week at a place where they don’t give a fuck about your personal life goals. There’s a time and a place for it, but for me, it’s not right now.
What was the worst part of working at 7Eleven?
Not being able to travel and skate. But other than that, dealing with these homeless people who come in demanding free stuff to eat and shit. I felt bad saying no and they’d get so mad at me like the world owes them something for being homeless and it’s all my fault.
Aren’t you in a few Hollywood movies?
When I was young I skated in a few commercials. Nothing famous or anything. Me, my mom, Dylan Rieder, and his mom all went to Mexico City to film a commercial once. It was hectic!
How old were you?
Probably thirteen or fourteen.
Do you still have an agent?
Not anymore. I think I look too burnt for that shit nowadays [laughs].
Growing up in Irvine, you had a solid crew of skaters to learn from and get stoked with. But you and everyone else from Irvine rock “Irvine-Sucks.” What’s the story behind all that?
When you grow up in a small suburban city like Irvine, there aren’t that many skaters. So that was our skate crew—everyone would hang out, skate, party, or whatever. We have a website called irvine-sucks.com. Check it out.
Isn’t there a fake lake in Irvine you guys used to party at?
There are no bars and nowhere to hang out in Irvine, so we would have to find low-key spots to party. Some were so obvious that people wouldn’t even question it.
Who was a part of your crew back then?
It was me, Figgy, Collin Provost, Jon Dickson, John Demar, my homies Joey and Spencer, Massimo Cavedoni, Skatin’ Steve, and three other filmers: Nick Petrilla, Richard Bacan, and Skippy.
Didn’t some of the Irvine-Sucks guys go on a Europe trip when you were super young?
Me, Figgy, Collin, Dickson, and Joey went to Europe for two weeks when we were eighteen. No adults—just us traveling and skating. Me and Dickson got in a scuffle in a Burger King over some mozzarella sticks. We were so broke and starving. It was jacked [laughs].
When did you decide to start filming?
I started filming when I started skating just for fun to film the homies.
A lot of people don’t know that you filmed for Flip Skateboards’ Really Sorry video and got no credit. What’s the story behind that clip of Geoff on the roof of that school?
I got some credit. Maybe not all that I personally felt I deserved, but it’s all good. It was the last day filming for the Flip video that they’d been working on for six years. Me, [Mike] Burnett, and Kurt Hayashi met up with Geoff at this school in San Dimas at 6:00 a.m. Geoff starts trying to impossible this roof gap while this janitor is screaming at the top of his lungs for us to get off. Burnett got the photo so he and Kurt left. Geoff landed it finally and we jumped off the roof to be put straight into handcuffs.
Did you get booked in the county jail?
Yeah we went to jail. I was eighteen so the cops fucked with me for a few hours. They scared the shit out of me then put me in a cell with Geoff. We had some real talk about his previous charges, and he was saying how grateful he was that I stayed and was as loyal as the filmer for his company, and telling me all these good things that were to come. I ended up getting fired a day after the premiere. They never even sent me a copy of the video I worked on for nearly two years. All in all it was a great experience, and I thank Geoff and Ewan [Bowman] for giving an eighteen-year-old kid the opportunity of a lifetime.
When did you decide to make it out of the cookie-cutter neighborhood and move to San Diego?
All the homies moved away. I just had to see more than the little bubble I grew up in.
You lived in San Diego for a few years and were strictly skating street and filming, then one day you discovered the bridge (WSVT) was your new paradise. How come you didn’t go there for so long and what lit that fire for you?
When I was younger I went there and tried to film a trick and some locals told my friend to put the camera away or they were gonna do it for him. I was just intimidated, but these dudes worked their asses off building the most epic spot in the world. They just didn’t want some dumb kid going in there like he owns the place without doing work. Now I have it tattooed over my heart. WSVT for life.
Do locals make fun of you and kick you out of that place if you suck at skating?
No, not anymore. I mean, if some tweaker goes in there, hanging out, just drinking beers, then yeah—we’d say, “get the fuck out of here.” But no matter how good or bad you are, if you’re trying to skate, then everyone’s stoked on watching you get your first grind there. There’s no better feeling.
You got on Blood Wizard Skateboards after a few years of trolling out under that bridge like a proper wizard. What’s it like going on trips with those dudes? Are there witchcraft ceremonies and shit?
Yeah. Every night of a Blood Wizard trip we go out in the woods dressed in cloaks and perform a ceremony to the dark lords of the woods. That’s how we all get our wizard powers!
I remember you mentioned once that Active has been your longest held sponsorship. How does it feel to be a part of it all?
Yeah, Active has had my back since day one. They’re like family and want to support what I’m supporting so they carry Blood Wizard boards in every Active location now.
You recently jumped on board with KR3W, along with a ton of other gnarly dudes. What’s the plan of action behind that?
I was skating with my friend Kirby and he said the TM dude, Brownie, asked him what was up with me. Kirby had my back and it kind of went from there. I’m super stoked on being a part of the KR3W.
Who else hooks you up?
OJ Wheels, Emerica, Crap Eyewear, Lucky Bearings, and Independent Trucks.
Last few words from a wizard: How do you kickflip into everything?
I really don’t know. It just seems to work.
Thanks / Shout-outs?
All my sponsors. I couldn’t be doing any of this without you guys. Greg, Walnum, Swift, and you for making this all happen. JT and Greg for driving me around, my lady for having my back and supporting me to do what I love, and thanks to every other homie I have for getting me psyched to mash. You all rule. As Joe Dirt says, “Keep on keepin’ on—life’s a garden, dig it!”