West Coast Ginger Drew tells us all about how he got into skating, living with permanent steeze finger and zombie sharks. Enjoy!
Hey Drew, how are you?
Doing pretty good, same old same old.
Where are you from?
Fallbrook, CA. Lived here my whole life.
What’s it like?
Fallbrook is a very small town in the middle of nowhere haha. But it’s fun. You know almost everyone in the town. Some rad hills out here too.
Many skaters there?
Lots of skaters, but not many downhill skaters. Well, there’s a few now, but I was the only one a few years back. I had to teach some of my buddies to skate so I wouldn’t have to skate alone haha.
When did you start skating?
Almost 5 years ago.
How did you get into it?
I used to have a garage band with some friends, and one day after practice my buddy Lincoln said we should bomb this hill around the corner. It was actually a small, steep, and straight driveway. I was terrified my first time, but it was so much fun that we killed hours on that one driveway. Then we went through the whole discovering Loaded through YouTube thing. The Loaded Newsletter videos taught me what I needed to know. Oh and Lincoln still has a band, Dirty Gold, look it up!
You play bass?
I actually wish I could play bass, but I have an injury on my finger that prevents me from holding down a fret. I play drums and piano… Piano mostly.
How do you play piano with no fingers?
Well the injury keeps my index finger on my left hand almost completely straight. Which actually helps for piano. I can’t even make a proper fist with my left hand haha I have to cheat.
Haha I suppose, it’s honestly annoying for a lot of things.
Do you still skate with those guys?
Yup! They didn’t get into the sport as heavy as I did, but they can still handle their own and not be kooks haha.
Whirling Dervish was your first video?
Hell yea it was! Back when I started, dancing was awesome. Sadly, few people are still into it. Props to Ari for keeping that alive so well.
The Gel Shark kills it!
I’m going to go up for a Gel Lab sesh one of these Wednesdays, looks like a ton of fun.
Have you skated with Mr Colton?
I’ve skated with him at a slide clinic down here once or twice but that’s really it.
What kind of stuff did you get up to in those early days?
The early days was all about Loaded and being flowy with every trick. The need for speed slowly started to take over though. Bombing hills with a Dervish is all sorts of sketchy fun when you’re new.
How important is flow in skating?
I think flow is very important. I always thought flow was a sign of great control over what you’re doing. Just look at pros from any sport, they make it look easy because they flow so well from one thing to the next.
Were you one of the loaded challenge people?
Yea… Haha they soon became too difficult for me to do though. I think I only competed the first one… If that.
How did you fall in love with speed?
The adrenaline. You don’t get that sort of adrenaline with dancing. I went to the fastest hill, with the best pavement, with my Dervish and started going faster and faster until I realized my board was holding me back. Soon found out that stiff boards make it easier to go faster, even though it was a flex 1 Dervish.
What was the step up?
It was the 09 Spud from Landyachtz. I loved that thing. I rode it until I snapped it off a kicker at the S9 Halloween slide jam. But I fiberglassed it back together and now I still ride it from time to time.
How did getting that board change your approach to skating?
It was a game changer. All of a sudden, I had real concave and no flex. It felt great to know I won’t be bounced off my board. I went back to the same hill, and first run down, full speed was a cake walk. I don’t know what it is about drop decks, but I started there and I’ve never had anything else. Nor do I want anything else. #topmountssuck haha. Wait, that’s a lie… I had an Earthwing Belly Racer that I used maybe two or three times, then sold it for another drop deck haha.
You are going to be ostracised by the West Coast community for speaking ill of topmounts!
Haha I’ve been called a kook for riding a drop deck on the West Coast before by some known names. There has been a lot of shit talking on drop decks in the past, so I felt like there should be some on topmounts. Drop decks will never replace topmounts but every year they’re becoming more and more popular. 90% rider, 10% gear anyway right? So who cares haha.
90% rider, 10% bacon?
Only 10% bacon?
What was 2009 like?
2009 was interesting. I started going to local outlaws to get my ass handed to me in the first heat hah. You gotta start somewhere. That year was when I really got into the community and started working on getting faster. Learning how to race was a lot of fun, and very difficult since we didn’t have many outlaws.
Why did you want to compete?
The added adrenaline. I used to swim competitively in high school so the race atmosphere wasn’t a surprise. You can take “race heats” with some buddies at a hill, but it won’t have the same atmosphere as an organized race. So that’s what made me start going to outlaws, and now I’m going to IDF races. Racing is awesome.
Do you have a favourite outlaw?
Barrett Mutha Fuckin’ Junction!!! If you haven’t been to Barrett… you’re blowing it.
What makes Barrett so good?
The jank. The pavement so terrible, that it ends up being fun. Cracks so big that it doesn’t matter when it rains, the water just drains from the surface. Sliding scares a lot of people there, so it’s interesting to see what they do into the rights during race heats. Some footbrake, carve, or the 1-2 zipparoo. Some slide… But that has been problematic for people in the past, like getting sent to the hospital via helicopter. You learn to love the road though. Huge respect for that place.
What was the highlight of 2009?
Probably going to my first race. I was learning a lot that year especially about aerodynamics and drafting, so almost everything was exciting.
Did you change your ride next season?
I switched to a Rayne Isis, but that soon got stolen. So then it was back to the Spud. I don’t change boards very often.
Still riding the spud?
“Switch37” but yea basically haha drops for days. I rode my last switch37 for a year with crooked mounting holes… I’m really bad with redrilling wheelbases.
What did you get up to in 2010?
Losing… A lot. Haha pay to lose basically. But that’s the name of the game, you don’t learn as much when you win. Also my introduction to mountain roads, I was out riding in pie country almost every weekend.
If you’re winning then you don’t have much to learn surely?
Nah, there’s always more to learn. Just start racing at a higher level and sure enough, you’ll lose again haha.
What is 3.14 country?
+It’s an area in SD where we take all the noobs to learn how to skate mountain roads. There are some mellow but fun ones, as well as some really intense ones. We call it pie country because there’s a REALLY good pie factory nearby. We always end big sessions with pie. Many moneys have been spent at that pie shop from skaters.
How were mountain roads different?
They’re usually just more open and scenic. The turns might be similar to some more urban places but the feeling is completely different. I love mountain roads, but hate skating roads in places like Laguna. It’s not that I’m not good enough, I just feel closed in and I don’t feel comfortable. When I start to feel uncomfortable on a hill, I usually end up falling… I don’t like falling haha.
Have you died yet?
Had many instances where I definitely could have… I’ve been very lucky to not have broken any bones or been in the hospital yet. I did break my predator though, that was scary. Also hit 4 guardrails so far. There’s a funny video out there that shows it during the 1st Malibu Hit it and Quit it.
What helmet does Pedo bear rock?
Idk he probably just uses whatever smells like little kids the most.
Well I guess I missed that one haha it’s been a long day.
When did you stop sucking at racing?
This last year actually. I finally started to get on podiums. Lots of little things that I needed to fix to make that happen. I studied locals that had their technique dialled, and practiced in the mirror to make sure I was doing it right. Some people make fun of me for that, but it makes sense to do what the winners are doing, right? I mean… They’re winning and you aren’t haha.
Who is your favourite local to lurk?
Back in the day I always lurked on Max Capps and AJ Haiby. Max was winning just about every outlaw down here so it made sense to look at what he was doing better. And then AJ… Doesn’t matter the course, you won’t see anyone else pass you with as much speed or as easily as AJ does. I honestly don’t know how he does some of the things I’ve seen him do… The guy just might be insane. I still watch him to see what he does.
How does all the history of skateboarding influence today’s locals?
I really don’t know how to answer this. And I’m probably going to get shit on for my answer. I know it influences a lot of the locals, but I don’t really care… I don’t really follow much and all the old school stuff that I see is from Facebook posts and whatnot. I guess it’s just cool to see how things happened and what people thought was fast haha. I suppose I never really put thought into it, guess I have some thinking to do.
Will it be different in 20 years?
Oh of course it will. The general skill level will rise, then pros and skate companies will be pushing for the next step. Not because they really want to, but because they have to if they want to stay on top. Competition drives. I think then I’ll have a better answer to how the history influences us. Then I will have lived it rather than just seeing photos and hearing people talk about it.
You see yourself skating till you’re grandpa Drew?
Probably not freeride or drifty courses, but I’ll be raging grip runs for as long as I can stand on my own two feet!
What was your first podium?
2010 SDCG King of the Night garage race. It’s a garage race, but hey, it was my first haha.
How was your 2011?
That was when a bunch of my buddies got sponsored and were sent off to the big boy races like Paskapoo, MFOS, and Britannia. I wasn’t quite ready for those races yet. Seeing a bunch of my friends go while I just sat at home watching the live video feeds just made me want it more. I promised myself that I’d get good enough to get a sponsored and go to at least one big race the next year. And I did! MFOS was my first race and it was awesome! Also did Bonelli, but that race is lame (don’t bother unless you’re local or have someone paying for you).
What were you riding then?
I was riding a Switch37 with the crooked mounting holes I mentioned earlier haha. I can’t believe I didn’t notice it for almost a full year!
Was it important to get sponsored?
Only because I couldn’t afford to send myself to the races I wanted to go to. If I was rich, I wouldn’t care about being sponsored. I just wanted to be able to skate for free haha.
When did you first get sponsored?
July 2011 by Buck Trucks. Really cool guys running that place, plus they throw banger parties a few times a year.
What’s the best skate party you’ve been to?
MuirSkate’s downhill disco party. Blow up dolls, tons of skating, beer, other stuff, and people doing hilarious things that they’ll regret in the morning. Well, I don’t know if it was the “best” but I definitely had a fun time.
Did life change after getting the sponsorship?
Oh yea, it changed A LOT. Got leathers, and I was being sent to the big boy races. Other than that, skating was still skating. I guess the biggest thing was getting leathers, now instead of just keeping up with others at races, I could actually pass them with some speed.
When did you get more sponsors?
Not until this last year. I got picked up by Metro Wheel Co. in February and about a month ago I was picked up by Landyachtz. Really stoked on Landyachtz, kinda been a dream since I started racing. Not to say that I’m not stoked on Metro, Buddy Carr is one awesome guy!
Why did it take so long to land a board sponsor?
Because nobody made a board that I really liked besides Landyachtz. I turned down a lot of companies and opportunities because I didn’t want to settle for riding a board I didn’t like. A buddy of mine, Charlie Snyder, is a local San Diego builder. He pressed me a deck to my specifications so I would have something I REALLY liked (basically a Switch37 with a kicktail). I can’t thank him enough for that. I had to give up my kicktail for Landyachtz haha #worthit.
What’s your perfect board?
It doesn’t exist. It will one day though! But for now, the Switch37 is as close as anyone is going to get without making me a pro model. And I’m content with that.
What did it take to get sponsored by such a huge company?
Honestly… I don’t know… hahaha. I just kept skating, going to competitions, doing my best, and I got a call one day from the team manager, Pat, asking if I had a board sponsor. I was actually really surprised, I didn’t think I was ready for it. But its not like I was going to say no haha.
Did Pat open with… ‘’Drew, your mission if you choose to accept it…’’
Haha that would have been awesome. He called me all casual, and after he asked if I wanted to be on the team… I just stood there speechless, like actually speechless. I was only able to blurt out random grunts and um’s because I was so surprised that this was actually happening to me haha.
How did you celebrate?
It was a weekday, so I just hung out with a few close buddies and drank a little. I’m usually not one to celebrate things a lot. I’m boring I suppose.
Tell me about the magic that happened in 2012.
My first year going to Maryhill FOS. It was a blast. I qualified well but I dun goofed my first heat and fell off the push… Yea I know, keep laughing haha. The other race I went to was Bonelli, but as stated above, it was lame and not worth talking about. Except for the fact that SD local AJ Haiby won it for the second year in a row!
Freerides and such?
Nah, freerides are a waste of money. If its not a competition, I’m not going to waste mine, or my sponsor’s money on it. People argue that you get more runs at the Maryhill freeride. At the FOS, you’re completely bored of the hill by the end of the first day. People say you go for the huge packs. I hate skating around that many people that I don’t know, I don’t want to fall because some kook couldn’t handle his shit and caused a huge pile up. Anyway /rant, freerides are dumb blah blah blah.
Who do you skate with on the daily?
Geoff Jameson and Jared Burl mostly. Two of my local skaters that have the most free time with me. We’re good buddies and we have a great time skating and hanging out.
Have you done much skating this year?
Tons of skating. Maybe a little too much… School was tossed aside for a bit, which I kinda regret. It was a hell of a lot of fun though!
What are you supposed to be doing in school?
Learning? I think… But for the most part its stuff I already know. I’m taking music classes so its pretty damn easy for me. I struggle to not correct my music theory teacher lol.
Now that you’ve made a big money move, will we see you in Europe?
Not soon. I might be good enough to have earned a Euro trip, but I don’t think I’d do well enough to justify dropping that much money. Probably in 2 years. I see myself being worthy then, I still have a lot to learn about racing.
What races are on your wishlist?
Buffalo Bill (if that ever comes back), Britannia, Kozakov, and Mega Space. Those all look like awesome races that I could do well in.
Got plans for the rest of the year?
Well it’s almost time for me to start organizing my yearly outlaw, the Double Rainbow Outlaw 3. Other than that, its skating… more skating…and more skating, and some school.
When did you first organize it?
2010 was the first year. I originally organized it because there was a lack of races in SoCal, and I was sick of having to wait that long in between races. The races that were organized were extremely simple courses, often straight hills, sub 45mph.
How is Drew’s DRO different?
Dro? Lol like weed?
DOUBLE RAINBOW OUTLAW!
And that’s another one I missed… Haha. The Double Rainbow Outlaw isn’t anything special, just another fun track and good competition. But that’s all anyone really wants in a race.
What’s been the best one yet?
This year will probably be the best. The last years we’ve had to change locations. The original course is VERY technical and required experienced riders. I wanted to make a race that the better riders would enjoy and would scare the pants off the noobs.
The original course was awesome, 4 hairpins, janky pavement, just over 40mph. We got kicked out pretty quickly. The next course was less technical but still made for a hectic final. The 2nd year, we got kicked out of course #2. So I had to do the race on this absolutely haggard road that wasn’t too fast, but it had lots of corners. That went off without any problems, so that’s where we’ll have it this year.
Pick 3 numbers between 1-14.
4, 13, and 6.
4 – Do you have any recurring dreams?
I get chased by a clown trying to kill me a few times a year haha but I don’t dream too often, or remember them at all.
13 – what happens when a zombie bites a shark?
Zombie Sharknado… One can only dream about such a movie being made.
6 – if you could have any super power what would it be?
Telekenesis. Or spidey web. Basically only so I can pick up stuff that I dropped without moving.
Dr. Drew, tis been a pleasure doing this. Hope to see you at Kozakov soon! Also say hi to Caitlin!
It’s been fun! Thanks for doing my first interview. Will do! gaurdrail
My second cherry this week!
Haha doin’ work.
Any thank yous?
Shout outs to Pug, Teddy, Dayton, and Hooter for getting the snowball going. You guys are the best.
Also huge shout out to Team Ali and one individual that has been exceptionally inspiring, Ali Mehraban. Thanks man, you’re doing a great job running the SD skate scene.”
Buck Trucks – www.buckskatetrucks.com
Metro Wheels – www.metrowheelco.com
Landyachtz – www.landyachtz.com
Dirty Gold (the band) – www.facebook.com/wearedirtygold