Mason is in the Class of 2015. That’s right: in a packed year that includes joining the Nike SB and Element teams, officially becoming a world traveler (Barcelona and Brazil were his first foreign forays), and even getting a few tricks in Koston’s Chronicles part, Mason somehow found the time to join another elite squad: high school graduates. Not many people can say that. It was a very good year.
This graduate turned heads with his unconventional tricks and powerful style. He’s a practiced surfer with a way of fluidly cruising into and out of tricks that is very easy to appreciate. With his priorities straight and a strong work ethic, Mason is a textbook example of how to succeed in skateboarding. We can’t wait for him to school us again in 2016.
The Skateboard Mag issue 144
You’ve put in a massive amount of work this year. Has it been overwhelming for you to suddenly get so much attention?
It was mellow at first because we were just filming and I didn’t really know when anything was coming out. When I had an idea of what was going on for this I started to get a little weird, thinking that I had to do something gnarlier. But Acosta was mellow about it so that made it a lot easier. Filming was mellow, though. I didn’t really think of it as anything different.
Take me through some of your high points since the beginning of the year.
I did my “Recruit” for The Berrics in March, but in the beginning of the year I still had no idea of when I was getting on Element or when the part was coming out—me and Mark Stewart were still just filming—and then it came out the night that I graduated from high school! It was pretty crazy after the part came out, because after that I went to Barcelona and that was the first time that I went out of the country. And I’ve just been going on a bunch of trips: a couple of Element ones, a couple of Nike ones; a few more out of the country. It’s just feeling a little more real now.
Tell me about the Barcelona trip.
Oh, that was sick! That was the first real filming trip for Element that we went on and it was really cool. Everyone was pretty productive. Evan was killin’ it, Westgate was super fun to skate with, everyone was killin’ it!
How long did it take you to acclimate to being in another country for the first time?
At first I was trippin’ out because we got there at 6:00PM and I don’t really sleep on flights so when I got there, the team manager—Cole Matthews—was just like, “Don’t fall asleep!” I think that if I would of fallen asleep I would’ve been screwed!
There’s a theory that when you’re jet-lagged your first skate session off the plane is always amazing. Did you find that to be true?
Dude, I think the best flatground session I’ve ever had was in the first hour that we were there. We went to MACBA and it felt amazing! I don’t know why but my head was still spinning; it felt really good. I think it’s just the feeling of being on a flight for seventeen hours, then getting off and just being super stoked!
Where else did you go this year?
For Nike, I went to X-Games with Blake, Scuba, and Bobier. Then after that to Chicago for a Street League type thing. I just got back from Brazil with Element—it was super sick! That was pretty crazy.
Was that for a video project?
Yeah, I think we’re working on a full length for next year. But nothing is set in stone yet.
So, basically, your sponsors have been sending you all over the world this year but you don’t know what it’s all for.
Yeah. People who I’ve known for a while who don’t skate will ask me, like, “Oh, what were you doing there? A contest or something?” You know, obviously something that would make sense to a normal person but it’s nothing that I could explain to someone. “Oh, you just went there to ‘film’ things around there? What are you even talking about?” My grandpa trips on it, too. He has no idea what I’m doing, but it’s cool!
That must be hard to explain to friends who don’t skate.
Most of my friends I’ve known from high school are like, “Oh, where are you going to college? Oh, you’re not? What are you doing then?” It’s a little awkward.
Your childhood friend, Chris Russell, is getting the Year’s Best Am Runner Up award.
Oh really? What the fuck?! I’ve known him since fourth grade or something like that. He lives in the town next to me. In the South Bay, there was really only three or four serious skaters so it was kinda like we just knew each other and skated; his dad would take us to the skatepark and stuff. It was super cool. Then I just started skating street and he got really good at transition, so we kinda stopped skating together. But it’s always cool to see him.
I guess that’s how it goes when friends lose touch.
Yeah, we would go to the Vans park and I’d slowly start getting off the vert ramp and the pool and then go into the street course. And he would kinda just stay over there. It’s cool, though, I never even thought of it that way—just skating different stuff. Just the other day, we skated a park and it was the same as it’s always been. It’s just super fun!
What did you love about skateboarding in 2015?
Traveling would be the main thing. I’ve gotten super close with all of the Element dudes this year and it’s been really cool to just travel the world with them, because it just feels like friends.
I also like that people are kinda going back to realizing that skateboarding isn’t that serious. Because it’s not serious. It’s stupid; it’s like a toy. More companies are popping up that are skater-owned and it just seems cool.
Any resolutions for next year?
Maybe just to calm down when I’m trying a trick, I guess.
I thought you don’t really get that worked up when you’re filming?
You see, maybe that was the last time I talked to you. Now I’m getting a little weirder. I need to chill out again.
Do you have any idea of why you’ve started to feel more anxious while filming?
Just thinking about, like, “Okay, I’ve been to this spot. I’ve done something similar to this, now I need to do something better.” Obviously it’s way harder for me, so it just takes longer. Just trying to “one up” myself gets kind of annoying.
Have you tried any methods for calming down? You know, some people meditate and some people do yoga …
I’ve been bringing a jambox around to spots and that just makes it seem like a party almost! I just play anything that isn’t serious; anything that’s just random.
Bluntslide up a rail in Glendale, CA | Photo: Antony Acosta
Why is there a running joke about you having a “big head”?
Oh, God! I was filming with Ant Travis and he was filming kinda in the sun and I was standing next to them. And my head was apparently blocking the sun for him. So when I walked away he said, “Oh dammit, the big ‘ol head just left!” or something like that. I think it just kinda stuck; they think my head’s big now. I can’t even tell whether they really think that my head’s big or if they’re just doing it to piss me off. But I like it, so … fuck ‘em!
Maybe they’re jealous of all the attention you’ve been getting. They think you’re getting a big head.
I don’t think so. I think it’s literally that my head is large; it’s not even a metaphor!
It’s sick that you have a few clips in the new Nike video.
Yeah, I just watched it the other day and I’m pretty stoked on it. I got a few clips in Koston’s part, which kinda feels surreal. [laughs] ‘Cause he’s always been the gnarliest and I’ve watched his Yeah Right! part nonstop. To think that I could have a few tricks in there is just insane!
Was there any particular reason why your footage was used in Koston’s part?
I think it all came from the fact that he was the one who kinda offered me Nike. And there were three spots that we skated together, and we got stuff back to back. Then Jason was just like, “Fuck it, let’s put’em both in there.” It feels crazy.
TSM and The Berrics have teamed up to offer this extremely limited tee (edition of 50) featuring photography by Anthony Acosta of Year's Best Am, Mason Silva. Visit the Canteen today to grab one before they run out!