Matthew Peckson: Destroyer of Wheels

Matt tells us about riding on the West Coast & Manila and he shares some reasons he loves skateboarding with us.Downhill-Disco-don shefflerHey Matt, how are you?
Pretty good, it’s the morning, I just finished eating breakfast. Yeah!

Haha, well no, just oatmeal with flaxseed and coffee. Keepin’ it mellow.

Where are you from?
You could say I am from two places. I’m from the San Fernando Valley, and Manila, Philippines. Reason being that I grew up in both places for equal amounts of time. The Philippines is very unlike the Valley.

Have you skated there?
Yes I have, I have skated with a good amount of the Manila locals. A few of the faster racers out there are in Manila, but a good amount are in Cebu, which is more south. There is a good amount of downhilling to be had over there, with an extremely active skate community. They have plenty of races there. They also have plenty of hidden hills no one knows about, with plenty of lush greenery.
latigo surf  by ari chamasmany

When did you start skating?
I was 18 when I first stepped on my friend’s s9 longboard out in his cul de sac. I never thought I would be interested in a skateboard again, since I got turned off by never learning the ollie in those few afternoons when I was 13. It felt right. The soft wheels, the leany turns, and the flowy carves. It just made sense, and I didn’t feel like I had too much trouble when I started. That was nearly 6 years ago.

Who did you ride with in the beginning?
I rode with my friends Sergio Padilla, James Scott and Zak Mayall. Sergio got me into it. It was his board I first tried. He lived around Granada Hills, so we had a lot of terrain to skate. Sergio moved away and I started to skate with a friend from high school named James. He was mainly a street skater, but we started to get into sliding, and started doing the Canoga Park hills, our neighborhood. We used to just do hands down sliding, stand up sliding at that time was completely unheard of. Eventually, I started to skate with other people, like Zak Mayall. Zak was a huge influence to me because I saw how much you can thrash with a longboard. When I first met Zak, he threw what looked like a 3ft boneless from the flat ground on his homemade board. I got stoked, and I’ve skated with that stoke for many years. He took me out to many gnarly hills (even ones that I had no business to be on at the time). It was very scary at points, but it did help a ton with my previous fears in skating fast, I know. Thanks for pushing me, Zak.

What was the community like?
I mainly skated (and still skate with) the Northridge/SFV scene. That all started with the CSUN longboarding club. It was very welcoming. We just used to bomb CSUN structures every week. It was chill. The people were friendly and were all having a good time. Things changed with the CSUN Club scene multiple times over the years with less and less people, but with more and more gnar skating and sliding, till it eventually became Northridge Longboarders. That’s changed too, to SFV Longboarders. Territory!
AT MARYHILL by sin cycles

What was your role in the club?
Professional Lurker Extraordinaire. Seriously, I don’t go to CSUN, but I’ve seen that club since the beginning, back when Jon Pascual started it, and the whole Honey and Dang crew were coming and hanging out. I went to so many of the meets just to skate, and not for anything to do with the school part of it. Later on, I just had some strange seniority thing, because I’ve been around with them, but I was just there to skate. When Joe Gutkowski became president, the club was pretty much just skate, no other politics. The way it should have been.

You were that guy.
Sort of. I mean, people knew me, I had friends there, and I met Joe Gutkowski there, and I always tried to skate as hard as I could at meets. I lurked for teh hillz.

Did you go in your pedobear costume?
HAHAHA, no, that would suck to skate in, lol.

What is SFV Longboarders?
SFV Longboarders, is the name of the San Fernando Valley freeride/downhill skate community, the area I am in. It was created from the remnants of the Northridge Longboarders group, and basically caters to more of the valley. We are just a crew down to skate spots in the valley and Malibu mostly. It’s all good and free here.

What did you ride back then?
I went through many. Very many. In the very start a sector 9 with gullwing sidewinders (eww), and this weird dropped cruiser board with huge wheels. Of the notable boards though, it would be my old Eastside Dropkick, then I went to get a heavier board for speed and got a Jati Gojira. Not liking that as much on my feet, I got a used belly racer, I liked the topmount feel for speed, but I wasn’t all up for the old belly racer for freeride.
The BU by justin preston

When did you find your perfect fit?
I know when that was. I was looking for a freeride board that didn’t have a dropthrough. Since I used those for freeride, I looked around at small topmounts. I saw the Comet Ethos 37. That was the one. The shape, and the kicktail got me, it opened things up. I got used to it very fast. I figured I wanted a slippery setup, like on independents, but wanted some controlled grip, so I threw IndeeSZ on it, and it was golden.

What did it open up?
A true feeling of connectedness to my skateboard.

How does being connected change your skating?
You ride looser, you feel the edge of the carve right before it breaks out into a slide. You can feel that your legs are controlling that specific point. You can almost fall and save yourself in the strangest manner, just because you know where the skateboard will go, you have control in the chaos. You think where you want to go, and your board goes there, legs commanding the wood with no resistance.

What’s your favourite thing to do on your board?
Skate weird terrain that shouldn’t be skated, almost falling and/or getting away from death, and of course just flowing fast down big steep turny hills, and sliding and drifting any which way. That’s my jam.
Skate District Photo. maryhill, im in front of the dude doing the one leg

How wild have you gone?
There are a few certain runs in Malibu, but one that I feel that can get quite hectic is one I’m gonna just call “D to the B” on here. It has some fast drifting heelside and toeside. The road can get narrow and real steep but the view is awesome. There’s also this local road near my place that I am planning on tackling all the way. It gets mega steep and narrow, almost unskateble.

Why do you want to tackle it?
Because it’s gnar, and I don’t know any people who skate it on the regular. It is also conveniently short enough to walk up. When I first found it, I skated about 70% of the run I want to take. That last part is SUPER STEEP and narrow, not skateable if you stay in your lane only, but its a straight so you can see who is coming. I want that hill to be mine. It’s ridiculous.

Have you had any gnar crashes?
Yeah, a few. I fell at 40mph on a modified electric skateboard, but I had full motorcycle leather gear, and I landed on my feet somehow. I fell fast at a run in Malibu, around 30-35mph coming into a turn, nearly messed up bad, but I missed the guard post, and got away without a bruise. Luck!

What do you enjoy about going fast?
The feeling of weightlessness, and that feeling you get when the adrenaline is pumping, combined with the wind noise and pressure. It almost feels like reality is trying to tear away from your face, like we aren’t supposed to do this, it’s like breaking the matrix it’s like breaking the matrix. That feels awesome, pushing the limit.
philippine gnar

Where do you skate these days?
I skate downhill in Malibu mostly, but I freeride a lot in the Valley, plenty of freeride over here. Sometimes I go to Glendora, or Tujunga for downhill as well.

What’s the life of a West Coast skater like?
Pretty mellow, I live in the suburbs. I’ve just been skating around, and going to work. Driving to hills, hanging out with the homies.

Do you ever get caught up in gang violence?
Gang Violence? Naw, none of us like that in the scene. We’re tame.

No Daggers vs Valleys?
Hahahha, no, that movie looks funny. It’s all peace here for the most part.

Do you compete?
I go to slide jams a lot. I’ve only raced once, and that was a while ago. I got 5th in a slide jam once, but that was it.

How was your race experience?
It was ok, I really think I could have done better with a better setup. Washed out at turn, things happen. I’m gonna get it right next time.
hit it and quit it by Ari Chamasmany

What do you ride?
My weapon of choice is a Landyachtz Peacemaker, with fixed axle Surf Rodz IndeeSZ, on whatever freeride wheels I have. For Downhill, I use a Soda Factory “Born to Hula Remix”, with 50degree Veloz Trucks on purple Orangatang Inheats

Are any of those your sponsors?
I used to ride for Veloz, but the company is pretty dead now. If I contact them, there is no answer. They have alright trucks, wonder what happened to them?

Have you skated outside the West Coast?
Yes I have. I went to Broadway bomb in New York last year, and I skate at Philippines in the holidays.

How was the bomb?
It could have been done better this year. It was messy and disbursed because of the cops, but it was an experience. The NY scene is more push oriented than the LA scene.

When did you first ride in the Phillipines?
3 years back. I was barely ok at freeride, and not very good at downhill, but I was able to hit some of the hills over there.

Who do you skate with there?
I skate mostly with my cousin Angelo Perfecto and my friend Enzo Villareal. Angelo is a little rusty nowadays with downhill, but Enzo is in the race scene over there, and he’s decently quick.

What are the similiarities?
People are stoked, they love the sport, they love going fast. They have regular races, they have a community, and it is very active.

How is it different?
The terrain is different, and people are a lot more gear oriented over there. They do that because of the terrain, it is mostly just downhill runs there. There are very few freeride spots out where I live, and to get to the downhill, it’s almost 2hrs of driving depending on the traffic. People like to have precision trucks and even wheels over there, because they mostly just downhill and race, and want to maximize themselves for that discipline.

What do you do when you’re not skating?
I mostly just play guitar, listen to and discover new music, and read stuff on the internet. I spend a lot of time with my gf, Rachel, whom I also skate and play video games with. She’s pretty cool.

Do you have a favourite band?
I haven’t been listening to them as much lately, but my favorite band is Porcupine Tree. Beautiful new school progressive rock.

Who else do you skate with these days?
I used to normally skate a lot with Joe Gutkowski all the time, but he moved back to San Diego. Nowadays, it has been the Topanga HerpDerps (Sam Hay, Ian McSherry, Cory Hirschman), the Concrete Dolphins (Ethan Galaif, Dalton Kebely and the rest of the Ventura crew), Kyle Chin, Nic Escamilla, Mike Malone and Greg Bargaehr, Arian Chamasmany, Tai Nakayama, and Pete Eubank.

What’s the best thing about having a skateboarding gf?
I don’t have to change any plans in my day. It’s a win-win. I don’t have to choose skating, or girlfriend. I get to have both in the same package, lol, it is rad. We also always have something to talk about since we both skate.

Do you skate differently knowing someone cares so much about you?
I do what I do when I skate all the time. I try not to think about anyone else being worried about me. The thought could distract me too much and if I take a tough run, it would be easier if I wasn’t thinking about someone being worried about me. Basically, I try to keep my mind clear, so for the most part, I don’t skate much differently.

What are your plans for this year?
I really just plan on skating hard, and going bigger and faster. I want to race more, but what I would really like, is to attract a wheel sponsor. That would be rad, so I can get pitted, and not have to worry about wrecking my wheels so bad. Maybe make a bit more money this year some way as well.

Pick 3 numbers between 1-40!
1, 25, 33

1 – What do you take with you when you go for a skate?
Board, Gloves, Helmet, Clothes, Glasses, Shoes.

25- Would you rather be a penguin stuck in a lions body, or a lion stuck in a penguin?
Hmm…Penguin in a lion’s body. Why be the prey when you can be a predator?

36:  Pearce D’Arcy: What is the last hill you would like to skate before you die?
Probably those crazy runs in the Sierra Mountains in Norcal, or the ones in Colorado.

It’s been fun chatting to you tonight bro! Thanks for your time!
Yeah man, that was chill, thanks for the interview!

Any thank yous?
Thanks to Rachel Bruskoff, for being my number one fan. Thanks to Joe Gutkowski and Zak Mayall, for accelerating my skating while I was learning. Thanks to Loaded/Orangatang, for having super chill skaters to skate with, and hang out with. Thanks to Sergio Padilla, for letting me stand on your longboard many years ago. Finally, thanks to my parents, for letting me skate so much in the first place.