For those who don’t know about Rick, he has been skating for almost 20 years. He has been in the top of the scene, going to demos with limos and at the bottom when the sport almost disappeared. He is never afraid to speak his mind or voice his opinions- and that’s why I like him. I’m lucky to see him once or twice a week to skate and I see potential and passion when he straps in. It makes me want to keep riding.
- Interview & photos by Sergi Nicolas
What’s Pivotboard ?
Back in 1994, right when I first started riding ‘Snakeboards’, I didn’t like the name very much. I thought ‘Snakeboard’ sounded very cheesy, and toy-like. I sat for a few weeks and tried to think of what a better word would be, to describe the snakeboard. Pivotboard was the word I thought fitted the boards best, due to the pivoting points either end of the board. I felt it described the way the board works well. So essentially, a pivotboard is a snakeboard, or a streetboard.
Now can be more clear for other people, thanks. Do you live now in the US, did you come here to become a pro?
I live in Southern California, and have since 2005. I came here, because I wanted to live here my entire life, and after visiting Kelly Dean in 1998, I fell in love with SoCal, and made it my goal to live here. It took me 7 years to finally just leave the UK, and follow my dream. I didn’t come here to be a pro rider, I just came here for myself, my own reasons.
I remember you were the owner of ‘Darkside’, that was my first sponsor ever (thanks!), tell us a bit about… And do you still do stuff with it?
Darkside was my first ever company. It started out as just a skate clothing brand, ‘Darkside Clothing’, and went on to sell snakeboards to people that needed them, as well as organizing competitions and Jams in the UK. It was awesome fun, I’ll never forget those times. I met a lot of the people in the scene today through Darkside. Darkside hasn’t been around for a long time, although I think it definitely had it’s place in our sport’s history. It would be fun to maybe make some shirts or something, like a flashback or so. I haven’t had any plans to do that, but if people wanted it, I could probably revisit the idea.
What do you think about the american streetboard scene ?
In the last 6 months, a lot has changed. I’ve lived here for 8 years and have never, in all honesty, seen another rider here. When I arrived, I was really very surprised at that, because it was right after the release of Left for Dead, all filmed here. To say the scene here is dead, would’ve been unfair to dead people. Non-existant would be more true. I think a lot of people outside of the USA would be surprised to hear that there has been no riders here for a VERY long time. Things have changed for the better though. A few months ago, when we met at Aura, in Vista, things instantly changed for the better. I hooked up with Yago Ferrer and Nathan Firth, and now we have 3-4 riders here that hook up and skate together whenever we can. It’s definitely better than before. I was surprised when I got here, then I grew numb to the nothingness, now I simply appreciate the people we have riding. It’s cool to have other riders to ride with again. This SoCal scene has to be built from scratch, from the ground up. There was nothing here for a VERY long time.
I’m actually surprise what you are telling me, because I know that Dimension Boards was selling loads of boards here in California 7-8 years ago… Do you think the scene will grow here in SoCal?
I think a lot of people in the world would be surprised to read about how things were here. I can honestly say that the only way is up for SoCal. This is the place where everything can happen, and the potential is limitless if and when it does.
What about the european scene? Did change much since you left?
Well, I don’t know how things are over there. From here, it looks like you guys have a great and thriving scene. I see a lot of awesome new riders coming out of Spain. I don’t hear too much from many people over there. I’ve been away from everything for so long, just doing my thing over here. I hope it’s going well though, although I was surprised and also heartbroken to see Highland Streetboards disappear.
About Highland I’m heartbroken as well… So what do you do here in the US?
Shortly after I came here, I started playing Airsoft. It was pretty fun, a buddy of mine dragged me into doing it. There wasn’t much skating going on, so I just did that instead. There wasn’t many places to play, and I ended up starting my own field to play at. That was just over 5 years ago. Now my company, Jericho Airsoft, is one of the biggest and busiest Airsoft parks in Southern California. I think I’m just the kind of guy that always ends up working doing my hobby as a job at the same time. I think it’s cool, it’s never boring doing something you enjoy, and I like being my own boss, too.
It’s funny, because I started my company to try and make boards, and Airsoft started as a side project to make a little money to support the pivotboard.com project.
Man you need to take me one day to play, I’ve never done it. Do you also make streetboards? Because I never saw you riding any board thats is not yours, I remember you in Argentina trying to break one bar you create and was impossible, that bar was transparent, so cool.
Haha! Yes, that board was pretty awesome. It was always fun to challenge people to break that board.
Whats your pivotboard.com project?
Pipo Grosso and I started the web site pivotboard.com because we both believed in the word pivotboard, and he was running Grosso Boards at the time. They were the best boards ever made, in my opinion. I hated the trucks, but the wooden parts of the boards were amazing.
I essentially made a promise to myself about 7 years ago. I promise I would be true to myself, and follow what I believed in. There was a lot in the while ‘Streetboard’ movement, that I didn’t like. People need to understand that I experienced it from a different angle to the riders.
There was a lot going on in the background, that wasn’t necessarily very cool, and especially not to me. I embrace change, and new developments, newer, fresher ideas. I decided I wanted to go that way with my ideas.
So do you belive in ‘pivotboards’, that’s the name of your brand? Your board company ?
So I set out to ride for myself, for my own reasons, away from everyone else. I wanted to develop and produce boards that made sense to me. My research and development has produced the boards you see me riding today.
I believe strongly in the future of our sport. I believe it can go nowhere without unity. Whilst pivotboard originally was me taking a stand, and moving away, I feel that pivotboard, streetboard, and snakeboard should be considered one and the same.
I believe if we had 200 companies all in competition with each other, but pushing the boundaries of the sport together, it would begin to grow faster than ever.
My pivotboard company, if I ever manage to get the board past development stages, is to be called ‘Four Play’. Four Play Board Co. Just needs one thing to make it happen, and that’s funding. I put my spare cash into the project, so it’s a slow endeavor.
I belive as well man, will happen, don’t know when but it will… Can’t wait to see another company out! Anyway I know you for almost 16 years and you are still riding and this makes me respect you more, so you know… Tell me what’s the best that ever happen to you with streetboard? Trip/story, whatever…
Wow… So many good times. The trip to Universal Studios in Florida, for 1997 Worlds, was awesome. Back then we used to just fly around the world doing competitions and demos, whatever, it was fun. Equally as awesome, though, was watching the UK scene come back from the dead after Snakeboard disappeared. We held a jam, and I expected only like 5-10 people to show up, and it ended up being over 50 riders.
We had a 2 week trip to do demos for a Red Bull, in South Africa, that was amazing, totally the most ‘rock star’ trip ever.
Also, one more fun thing, was being a judge in the titty bar club where the girls danced on the bar, and we were the judges in the best girl context on TV… Best time ever in Argentina… Thanks Pipo.
So many good times, sorry… Too many to list.
Hahaha… I remember that last one! I was just 16 years old, miss my flight 3 times to go back home and my mum wanted to kill me. Dude you been all over, you are lucky.
Well, this one is from my friend Jay Nowman: Why do you have to be always the arsehole?
Thanks Jay! Haha… I would say that I definitely deserve that. I’m not sure what context Jay would mean it this time around. I have definitely been a dick to other people sometimes at competitions, for which I apologize to anyone that experienced that. I went through some hard times emotionally back then, and I got very angry at the world for no real reason. In that context, I agree I was an asshole. He could mean it in the way that I disagreed with a lot that went on with the transition from Snakeboard to Streetboard. There are many things that happened back then, that I still disagree with.
He also send you a big hug and said he is gone skate with you in 2014… At the SoCal Streetboard tour in april 2014.
I had a big chip on my shoulder, but then so did a lot of people in streetboard. There were a to of things that happened back then, that were not only unfair, but didn’t help the sport at all. I think it was just better for me to mellow out and go to do my own thing.
Last words: it’s definitely good to be back in contact with the streetboard world. I missed a lot of you guys. It’s good to be skating and just enjoying it, without any bullshit. I’d like to keep it that way, and let my skating do the taking instead of my mouth, which likes to get me into trouble. peace.
Thanks for you time bro, lets skate some time, yeah?
Lets hit some parks when you’re back from your trip up North, for sure.