INTERVIEW BY: SANDRO GRISON
Take a dip into the mind of Josh Hawkins, the Water Boarder whose well of skate creativity never runs dry. Watch the full Water Boarding video now!
Arizona is known as being a desert state. Where does all the water come from?
It’s fed a lot from the Colorado River that comes through and it's all being dispersed throughout the city in all the drainage and canals and everything so we actually have quite a bit of water. Its on the river tracks.
And is there like a monsoon season there or something?
Yeah. In the summertime we get the monsoon season, and I think a few other little desert areas would call it “monsoon season,” like in Las Vegas and New Mexico. But, yeah, it'll just get summer storms and it will just pour big rain, like, most of our rainfall for the whole year in just a couple months.
So spots like that double set spot, is that a water feature? I’ve seen that in skate videos before as a dry spot.
Yeah, it’s a spot most of the time and when we do have the monsoons they'll open up the floodgates for that canal system and it’ll actually overflow with water. There is a canal above it, and then it's a water feature, and then a canal below it. When too much water gets through they’ll just overflow the whole thing just to get the water out.
Oh, wow. I thought you guys might of set up a hose or something.
No, that was definitely an idea to get a water truck for some spots and just flood some actual spots, but we didn't get around to doing that.
It's all natural.
How did you come up with this concept to film a part that involved skating all water spots?
Well, I mean there have been some times me and my friends skate spots that are in water, just for the visual effect. But then it was getting so hot and stuff, and we were just like, “Lets just do a whole part.” I’ve had water tricks—maybe a couple—in my other parts so I don't know; just trying to make it fun and new. Skateboarding is just so boring lately, so I wanted to spice it up a bit.
Nice. Was it hard to get friends to buy into the idea?
No, everybody was ready from the get go.
Did any camera gear get messed up in the making of this video?
No, I don’t think so. Mostly Josh [Metzger] was filming everything with plastic bags and tape around the lens. That's about it.
Although it looks refreshing, some of these features you skate must have had some pretty gross water conditions. Was there anywhere deemed too gnarly to skate through?
Yeah there were some that were pretty gross: like the line with the three flip that I land into the water and push through. That was really green and really slippery, so I had to broom all the sludge off that. I was really afraid to fall on it cause [John] Motta actually had a water trick. I think it was Happy Medium 1 where he fell and hit his chin and actually got a staph infection from it. So its really sketch. I was thinking about it the whole time skating those kinds of spots, but luckily I made it out clean.
Did you have to rig your setup in a certain way to make it more possible to skate soaking wet? Do you still use wax to slide when it’s wet, or would that make it more grippy?
There were a couple of things I tried. They have this waterproof spraypaint that I put on it and it worked for a few tries, and then it would kinda wear off because whenever you skate your grip tape will come off. That's why your board gets slick towards the end of the life of your board. So, it would just come off and everything would end up being soaked anyway. So, toward the end I actually started using longboard griptape, which is like the heavier grip, which would actually stick when it was wet. It would make it like normal griptape when it's dry. So that worked out good and then everything else like bearings and stuff I've been skating the same bearings for two years and all I do is put a little bit of Speed Cream in them and they’re set.
Really? They don’t rust out from skating in water?
No, after you get all the oil and stuff cleaned out of them, you just keep skating them, and the Speed Cream will coat them and they'll just keep going. I skate in the water and sometimes don’t even have to use Speed Cream after I'm done ‘cause they’re just … clean.
Oh, that’s pretty cool. And then do you still have to wax curbs and stuff when it's wet or would that actually slow you down?
No, you have to wax them and I actually used rails on some of the spots because your board gets soggy and wants to stick to everything. So, the rails actually made it possible to do some of the things that I probably couldn't have done without them.
"Waterboarding" is a military term for continuously dripping water on someone’s forehead as a form of torture. Were there any tricks in your part that you could relate to as torture?
No, I don’t think there's anything that I was actually worried about. Maybe getting kicked out of spots ‘cause I wanted the tricks, and some of these spots are like one to two tries to get the tricks. But it all worked out. I’m glad it wasn’t torture.
You've set the bar pretty high by showing that even though you might be under water, you still need a proper rideaway. Do you think there’s a future for water boarding as a sport?
No, it's just another outlet for skateboarding. I would like to see more people follow in my foot steps and get more creative. Skateboarding doesn't have to be just on smooth concrete. There were actually a couple tricks in there, two of them I think I can't really call “lands”. It’s funny to have a trick that you didn't make and still put it in a video part because it just looks like so much fun.
Okay, last question: I just have to ask you what is up with the song? I feel like it's like a late 90’s early 2000’s random song, and I thought it went well!
Yeah! So it was just, I mean, something a little more upbeat. The thing in finding a song, we wanted to find something with cymbal crashes and stuff, just to play in with the water splashing, just something like that went with the whole thing. I mean, we had a few other ideas but that kinda just felt the best with the footage.
Cool, well I think it worked. It turned out really great, man. Really stoked and hope you get some good response from it.