Caspian Baska: Aussie Grom

Sweet chat with the purple clad Aussie grom before his 3rd place finish at Newton’s this year. He tells us about his 2012 season and trapping a Canadian kid in his basement.

Cat Sweeny - getting sideways

Cat Sweeny – getting sideways

Hey Caspian, how are you?
I am sweet as, stoked on the 2013 show kicking off.

Where are you from?
I’m from Sydney, Australia but I’m a mix of backgrounds.

You’re not related to Mr Rayne are you?
Unfortunately not, I think he’s a bit too Canadian to be related to me. I’m Polish-Norwegian and I grew up in Hong Kong.

How many languages do you speak?
I am pretty fluent in English and I dabble in Norwegian and Mandarin but those mostly consist of swear words and using public transport.

What’s the most effective Madarin swear word you know?
“Cao ni ma” is a classic but “ni shi pang” goes alright as well. I think the second one means you are fat.

Benjamin Idris Davies photo

Benjamin Idris Davies photo

When did you start skating?
Back in 2010 when my sister’s then hipster boyfriend left his cruiser at my house and I acquired it as tax for dating my sister.

Did you also acquire hipsterness?
Of course, I instantly gained drain pipes and a fetish for indie-pop.

Where did you skate in those early days?
I used to skate my local skatepark quite a bit and bombed my local hills but when the scooter population went through the roof I decided it was time to find a crew to skate with and that’s how I discovered ASRA and Hopkin Skate.

Do you still ride park?
I stopped for a very long time but recently I set myself up a sweet tranny deck and have started ripping around on it. So much more fun than I remember.

Any suggestions for keeping the scooters in check?
Easy, just cut off their rat-tails. You can also steal their snapbacks.

What is ASRA?
The Australian Skateboard Racing Association is a site that was started up a few years ago by some slalom dudes as a means to organise themselves. Then the downhill dudes came along and pretty much used it as a platform for organising races. The slalom scene is still kicking though.

Connor Ferguson photo

Connor Ferguson photo

How did you discover Hopkin Skate?
I was looking for slide gloves and helmet so I searched for my local. When I got inside the store my mind was blown by the radness within. There is no greater skate store in the Southern Hemisphere, maybe even the world.

What blew your mind?
So many skateboards and seeing people with longboards. Back then it was pretty weird seeing other dudes with longboards.

How did finding ASRA and Hop change skating for you?
It got me into racing. Racing is the most fun thing you can do on a skateboard. The thrill of getting sucked into someone’s draft and passing someone is so rad.

When did you first race?
Master of the hill 2011. It was quite a big event run by Trav (Aussie scene OG) on a pretty easy hill. I placed really badly but it got me so unbelievably stoked and I didn’t miss any races that I had a chance to get to that year.

Aussies and Vikings - Stine baska photo

Aussies and Vikings – Stine baska photo

What do you like about going fast?
Being in control whilst being totally out of control and the feeling at the end of a run when you just want to talk about everything that just happened. There is nothing greater than a bunch of skaters stoked off their melons discussing their run.

What was your first fast setup?
There was this little board builder called ‘Fat Pigeon’ that I asked to build me a deck. Coincidentally, a year later I got sponsorship from the same people. I had some sketchy trucks and I borrowed a set of otangs from a friend.

How was the path to competing?
I pretty much just showed up to every race and the amount of shit in my pants decreased as the events came and went. So I got the hang of riding my skateboard fast.

What other races did you do that year?
A stack. The highlights were a little race in Canberra on a sketchy hill with sheep lining the road.

Slalom ripping

Slalom ripping

How had you grown at the end of the season?
I learned how to think for myself a lot more and stopped worrying about getting sponsors. Having fun with friends is better than getting free product, but if you get both, no worries. Groms don’t need sponsors, you’ve got your parents.

How could worrying about sponsors affect your skating?
Being self-conscious can affect your skating so much and the pressure of feeling like you need to impress people can sometimes be dangerous.

Why do so many groms want to get sponsored?
I think it’s either a respect thing or groms are just greedy little bastards who want free product.

Do you have a grom gang you skate with?
Groms come and go within the scene but there is definitely a core crew of groms that have been skating for quite a while. Kelly Carter is the original Australian grommet.

Another Sydney product?
Yeah, Kelly is classic. He’s been the grom of the Hop team forever and the receiver of many grom-bashings. He shreds.

Ripping in Kozakov - Agro photo

Ripping in Kozakov – Agro photo

Have you got any grom bashings?
Not really, but I have had a few nipple-cripplings. Most of my grom-bashings were from groms (like Kelly). I guess the grom-abused have to get their aggression out somewhere.

What were you riding in 2012?
I started the year off on one of Stephen Daddow’s boards and then was offered a sponsorship by Fat Pigeon. I rode my semi-promodel for most of the year. I called it the heffer but it was officially called ‘The Paragon’. I rocked Ronins and whatever wheels I could find. However, I always gravitated towards freeriding a set of 77a Centrax which I got off Dalua at Newtons 2012.

How does hanging with these legends influence you?
Skating with these guys/girls gives me a chance to learn as they’ve already figured what works. It’s also rad to hear all the stories of races from the past and all the gossip about the other pros.

What did you plan to do in 2012?
I just wanted to skate. I ended up doing that by going to Europe for a few races which really allowed me to figure out my style of riding.

What is your style of riding?
I decided to concentrate on having fun on my board rather than trying to impress everyone and win at the same time. Winning is still fun though.

Mark Gorman photo

Mark Gorman photo

Do your parents support your decision to skate?
My parents are my main sponsors and support me massively. I think they’re fine with me skating as long as I keep the stories of friends with compound fractures to a minimum.

Like Po?
The compound fracture is the curse of the Australian skate scene. Guard rails and car tires bring about many a compound fracture amongst Australian skaters.

What’s your favourite thing to do on your board?
Push to the bus stop. Nothing beats it. It’s always a great way to wake up in the morning.

What did you get up to in 2012?
I started off the year by ordering a new suit and entering myself into Keira and Newtons. Keira was such an awesome event, the atmosphere was unbelievably good. Newtons was exactly how I imagined it was going to be, shit scary. I felt like I grew as a skater tenfold after that event.
My grandmother then suggested we come to visit her in Norway and I graciously accepted.
I hit up Voss in Norway and Kozakov on my way back. After all that racing I got back to Australia and raced in any event that I could make it to. I think the greatest thing about my year was seeing how different the scene in Europe is to in Australia.

Cat Sweeny photo

Cat Sweeny photo

What is special about the Oz races?
I guess it’s the attention to detail and care put into the events. At Keira we were given raincoats in our goodie bags, had really good meals available and the race was run flawlessly. At Newtons you just have the raw radness and fear that comes from a hill like Mt. Panorama.

How did you do in them?
I did terrible, my qualifying at Keira wasn’t too bad (I qualified first for juniors) but then I crashed out the next day and ended up at the hospital for a few hours.
At Newtons I just peaced out and did terribly. I had so much fun though. This year I’ll use my experience from last year and hopefully pull out a better result.

Did your Viking blood cry out in Voss?
My Viking blood cried out like a moose on top of a fjord whilst eating liver pate.

How did it feel to be away from your family in foreign lands?
My family was never far from my side in my foreign endeavours. My mum came with me to Norway and I went off to the race in Voss. At Kozakov I hooked up with my dad who had been visiting his family in Poland.

Sam Baker photo

Sam Baker photo

Skater mom?
She shredded the skis back in the day but I think her osteoporosis riddled bones are a little too frail to be cutting sick with hella crew on the local mountain pass. These days she just sits on the side and snaps photos so I can admire myself later.

So all those photos by Caspian Baska on Facebook aren’t yours?
Unfortunately my telekinesis abilities aren’t that finely tuned to the level where I can take photos and skate at the same time.

They would be if you were eating enough bacon.
Bacon- the one and only TRUE super food.

How was Kozakov?
It was awesome. Such a fun track. I had so much fun skating it with the European grommets and sampling the gnar. I did eat some pretty bad goulash though and I think it came out looking like it went in. I would love to race there again either this year or next-next year.

Did your mom ban you from the party tent?
I was having a good time in the party tent until the torrential rain forced me to go out to the campervan and get it in the mud. Mum banning me? I would say the other way around. She can knock back the akvavit.

Are you in touch with any of your Euro friends?
Yeah I occasionally Facebook chat with some of them but Quin Finocchio ended up staying in my basement so I suppose that counts as keeping in touch.

Meeting Quin - Pavel Doubek photo

Hanging with Quin – Pavel Doubek photo

You kidnapped a Canadian kid?
Yeah, I’ve got him tied up and I’ve been force feeding him vegemite and weet-bix. He keeps talking about skating or something but I just tell him to shut up and keep watching ‘Neighbours’. I’m not letting him out of the house until he knows the name of every single person on Ramsay street.

What were you riding at the end of the season?
I was riding my Fat Pigeon promodel with some Ronins and Centrax.

Are any of those your sponsors?
Not anymore, FP skateboards took a break from board building. I’m currently riding flow for Rayne.

I guess with your last name it was bound to happen!
The two buksas/baskas making it happen.

How did you hook up with them?
The local Rayne team rider, Cameron Kite, called me up and said, “hey, bro. Do you want to ride Rayne?” and I said, “Yeah.”

Sounds too easy!
That’s pretty much the grom dream right there.

Sam Baker photo

Sam Baker photo

How did the skating in Europe differ from Oz?
The side of the road you are skating on doesn’t take long to get used to. I was surprised by the lack of grom bashings and the different types of hills that people jammed on.

What are your plans for 2013?
I’m still debating with myself whether to race the world circuit or concentrate on school. I’m definitely going to be racing Newtons and all the local outlaws though.

Can’t you do both?
Good point. However I don’t think I can really trust myself with doing assignments on the road. I’ve sort of got a one-track mind.

Do you enjoy school?
I love school and I love skateboarding.

How hard is it for a grom to do both diligently?
It’s not hard to get to races and study hard with some time management but to ‘SKATE EVERYDAY’ you have to start putting off some responsibilities. It’s good though, skating is the greatest stress reliever I’ve yet to encounter.

Under the IDF regime, will you still race junior?
This is my last year. I would have loved to be a grommet forever but you just can’t take grom bashings forever.

Do you have any other sponsors?
I ride for Rayne Longboards and Bonehunter Bags. I rep Hopkin but I don’t ride for them. Every Australian should rep Hopkin a little.

James Turner photography

James Turner photography

Pick 3 numbers between 1-10.
3.14159, 7 and 6

3.14159 – What’s your favourite pie filling?
There is legitimately nothing better in the entire universe than a tomato and onion pie.

7 – why did the chicken cross the road?
He left his skate-tool on the other side?

6 – if you could have any super power what would it be?
Teleportation would be excellent for getting in a few extra runs.

Caspian bro! It’s been really fun getting to know you. Thanks for your time! All the best in the coming season and beyond!
Thanks man! May your days be forever filled with radness.

Any thank yous?
Thanks mum, thanks dad, thanks Rayne, thanks Bonehunter and thanks Freya’s douchey boyfriend for leaving his skateboard at my house.