Substance Interviews


How has your experience been filming this? I heard you were hurt for the first six months.
Yeah. I didn’t start skating until sometime in June. And then I broke a rib at the end of July and couldn’t skate for all of August. So I really got started on this in September.

Damn. What was the first injury again?
I broke my foot at the end of 2014. I had surgery on it, and it just healed super slowly. I had surgery December 1, 2014, and the doctor was like, “Oh, it can take anywhere from seven weeks to three months to recover.” Being a skater, of course I was just like, “Oh, I’ll be skating in seven weeks or sooner. Because we’re really tough, right?” [Laughs] But then I would keep talking to Thiessen like, “Yeah, all good. I just need one more checkup and I’ll be back next month. Every month I would basically end up telling him “one more month!”

Backside Tailslide Gap Out

Davis Torgerson, backside tailslide gap out. PHOTO / Chami (click to enlarge)

That must have been rough waiting to heal.
Oh, totally. I was like, “I am so excited to do this project.” Being stuck at home while the clock was sort of running was super frustrating. I was of officially in the video last December. I had had the surgery like two weeks earlier. At the time I was telling Chris like, “I’ll be good in a month!” After a while I started feeling kind of bad, like I might have blown it for him.

It might work to your advantage. Like you’ll be the guy who’s most charged at the end after waiting so long. How has it been since you got to skate finally?
It’s been good, but it’s tough too. Because mentally I’m really excited to skate. When you’ve been out for that long that’s all you want to do. But physically I’m trying to film a video part while I’m still getting my skating back to where it was before the injury.

Did you know the other guys prior?
I knew Tristan [T-Funk] from DC trips and then I had met Tom K a while back before. I hadn’t met Jon or Dolan before. Right when I got on board, I think Dolan was in and Tom was in, but the other spots were still open. Chris would keep updating me on who was potentially in it, so that was a cool process to find out who we would share the video with.

Are you a fan of the VX?
Personally I definitely am. I used to have a VX back in the day and film a lot. From the Boondoggle days in Minnesota, I was always the guy in the crew with the camera. I remember when Chris was telling me that TransWorld was down to do it all VX, I was stoked. I’m excited just for something different I guess.

It’s funny to think of the Ty Evans TransWorld mold and how it was always sort of considered the highest production value possible. This will definitely be different from that.
Totally. I think it’s sick. That’s one of the things that makes this project so special for me. In a time where there are no more videos, there’s no feel to anything. Everything is thrown together and diluted on the Internet. So to work towards something that will actually be in one whole video, with an actual premiere—the whole VX thing will make it blend and sync up that much more. Rather than just 50 different filmers with no feel or style. Not everyone is going to like it. Some people will love it, and other people will hate on it and talk shit on it.

Everybody is gonna love it.
[Laughs] Yeah. They are.


Tom Karangelov, ollie, ollie. PHOTO / Strand (click to enlarge)

People were saying you are sort of the tech dude in the bunch. Tom K and Dolan are more big basics. T-Funk is all over with fastplants and all that. Jon is sort of the Isle-style ow guy on some cobblestone or something. You’re like the Shane O’Neill of the bunch.
[Laughs] So weird. Yeah, it’s probably Jon and I doing the most flip tricks and switch stuff. But it’s funny because I’ve never thought of myself as the tech guy. That’s so far from what I am [laughs]. I like that skating is mixed up right now though. You can go from Grizzly Grip to the dude in the tucked-in Polo shirt.

All-time best TWS video part?
The first one I saw was maybe In Bloom [’02]. As a kid I was psyched on Evan Hernandez. He was sick. But honestly I think my favorite part might be Chad Tim Tim in A Time To Shine [’06]. “I stopped doing what I thought I should do and started doing what I wanted to do.”

Dolan Stearns

How has this process been for you? Good times?
It’s been really fun. It’s a whole new experience for me. I had never traveled this much. These were my first big overseas trips. China was insane. Just like a whole different world.

You guys went to some out-of-the-way destinations even for China.
Yeah. The first city we went to, Kunming, was really cool. You could still actually eat. Then the second city [Chongqing] was pretty brutal. Just massive culture shock and pollution.

Had you filmed with Thiessen prior?
I had filmed with him when Neen [Williams] had a part in Outliers. I met up with him for the weekend up in LA and just filmed some clips. That was the first time I met him, and then we stayed in contact. Then I got a call from him one day out of the blue hitting me up for the next video. I was just like, “I’m super down.”

Backside Nosebluntslide

Dolan Stearns, backside noseblunt-slide. PHOTO / Chami. (click to enlarge)

How was that call? Must have been a gnarly one to get.
Yeah. I was up in the hills above the lake picking sage to make sage bundles and stuff. I was looking over the lake when he called me. I was just like, “Life is awesome.”

Biblical moment.
Pretty much.

I was told at present you have the second most footage with like 12 minutes or something. Have you been on a roll?
Oh, fuck. That’s sick. I didn’t even know I had that much [laughs]. I don’t know. I just film. I like to skate. I know other people might be planning this all out or something, but I just skate. If I see something I want to try, I do it.

Thiessen was saying that one of his objectives with this was just to let it happen. Not pressure anyone or push for anything.
Yeah. I love Chris’ filming too. He’s such a good dude to go out with. He’s really motivating. He lets you do your thing.


Dolan Stearns, kickflip. PHOTO / Strand. (click to enlarge)

How about the VX front? Are you down for that?
For sure. I fucking love VX. That’s skateboarding right there. HD is cool, but it’s a whole different vibe for skating. That’s like some football shit to me. VX is just our thing. It’s what we know. My uncle was a filmer out in the I.E. [Inland Empire, California], so I’ve been around the VX for a long time. His name is Matty B. He made the Janky video. He got my brother into skating, and then I got into it from there. But I also just love filming. It’s really fun. I love that ritual, and we did it while filming this—after you get done skating, you go back to the hotel and get a little rerun of what we got for the day.

This video feels like it will be a radical departure from the TWS formula. I know they’ve claimed it before, like Not Another TransWorld Video, but then it still felt like the same format. This one seems like it will actually be completely different.
Yeah. I think this will be one of the better ones out of all the recent ones. I hope so at least [laughs].


Dolan Stearns, ollie. PHOTO / Strand. (click to enlarge)

Thiessen told me about this China trip where you left your board at LAX then realized you had no other boards for the trip.
[Laughs] Yeah. I had eaten this little edible. We were in the line to get through security and I started to feel it. We were running late to get to the plane, but we still wanted to stop at the bar and get a double. I think I left my board at the TSA screening. I put my shoes on and just grabbed my bag on the way to the bar. I didn’t realize until I got off the plane in China, some 13 hours later that I had no boards at all. Tom hooked me up with some Thunders. I went to a shop, traded them for Indys, bought two boards and those lasted me the whole trip. Luckily I still had wheels and bearings and stuff.

Standard ender. All-time best TWS part?
Cardiel Sight Unseen [’01] and Brad Cromer in Outliers [’14].

All-time best TWS video?
Sight Unseen.

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