TEXT BY STUART GOMEZ
Zered Bassett, one of skateboarding’s true groundbreaking “ambidextrous” pioneers, grew up thinking that he couldn’t turn Pro on the East Coast.
He first started skating at ten years old, dividing his time between hockey and the almighty skateboard, skating in the parking lot with his buddy Lou Sarowski after every game. Skating in Chatham, Massachusetts, on the tip of Cape Cod, Zered’s exposure to magazines and videos created the distinct impression that California is where you needed to be.
Once Zered started taking trips to Boston and meeting the local skaters—Steve Nardone, Robbie Gangemi—he realized that he could pursue skateboarding anywhere.
“I didn’t really see the difference between East and West Coast,” Zered says. “I just knew California was warm and that’s where the industry was. I was like, Dude, I need to go there.”
When Zered did come to California, on a trip with his first sponsor, Sixteen Skateboards, it was transformative. The spots were nothing like what he was used to in quaint, picturesque Cape Cod: Chatham’s wooden rails and uneven, rough concrete that all but swallows your wax seemed ancient compared to the buttery ledges and proper metal handrails. But his heart would always be on the East Coast.
At fifteen, Zered went to New York for the first time, encouraged by Jahmal Williams to accept an offer to ride for Zoo York. In transit, Jeff Pang called him to say that Chad Muska and Harold Hunter were waiting for him at the Zoo offices.
“I thought they were totally joking,” Zered says. “But Harold and Muska were like, ‘Come on, let’s do this!’ It was out of control.”
A few years later Zered had moved to NYC, sharing an apartment with Danny Supa and Todd Jordan. The windowless box was dubbed the “Vicious Cycle” due to their constant routine of skating for fun—not to “get clips” but to push each other.
“Those were the purest days of my skating,” Zered says. “Not trying to film anything, just out skating everyday—which is when I feel like you get the best stuff. It just comes so naturally.”
The footage that came from that period—in Vicious Cycle, Zoo York’s E.S.T 2.0, and Unbreakable: Mixtape 2—is energetic and progressive. But most of all, it is proudly East Coast.
Now a major part of Converse’s CONS Skate program, Zered travels internationally and also finds opportunities to rep his heritage (a recent Zered ad campaign was shot in Massachusetts). He’s currently working on a part with CONS.
Roughly twenty years have passed since Zered, a Chatham kid, was resigned to thinking that his skate future would be in California. And, in that time, he revolutionized switch skating. (To this day, many skaters wonder what Zered’s stance really is.)
“I’d never expected to be where I am today,” Zered says. “I love being on the East Coast and skating with my friends. And I’ll be skating when I’m not Pro… as long as it’s still fun.”
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