Ali Mehraban: 5 easy tips to lurk harder

Do you run a skate shop? Ali probably hates you. Do you skate? He hates you too. Do you kook it up on the sideline at events… You already know. Can you help him shoot frozen yoghurt out of his ass? He’d love to meet you. 1 share = 1 respect.

Philip Stretch Baker photo
Philip Stretch Baker photo

Hello Ali, how are you?
I’m good. It’s funny, every time my relatives call me I’ve always said the same thing – I’m good. Never anything else. But I’ve been good for a while now and I’m still good.

Is Ali short for something?
Some people think it’s short for Oliver when they hear it. Ali is the full thing though.

When last were you not good?
I don’t even remember really. I never really have real people problems. Even when I’m all messed up and throwing up I’m still feeling good haha. Maybe one time in middle school I cried because I got an F in science.

Where are you from?
I’m from USA! Merica! Merica! But my mom is from Mexico, and my dad is from Iran. Strange mix, but it made me that much more attractive.

Do you know Ali Nas, he’s a DH skater from Norway, by way of Iraq?
Never heard of him, does that make me a bad person?

Yup, the league of brown skaters wants their membership card back!

What got you into skateboarding?
I always wanted to skateboard. But my parents were like, “you’ll start doing drugs”. I think I even made a yahoo answer post about how to convince my parents skateboarding wouldn’t lead to drugs haha, weird. But I played hella THPS4 and that game was my childhood so I always wanted to actually skateboard.
I remember going to my friends houses all the time and riding their boards around but I never really was able to get into it. At some point in middle school I made it my mission to get a skateboard, and I remember watching Go Longboard pt. 1 from Original haha. I wish I could say it was something cool, but whatever that video killed it. It took me until my freshman year to actually get a board. I saved up so much money and got a Gravity Spoon Nose 42! Recommended from silverfish, and bought from daddies. So kooky; Daddies actually never shipped it out so I reordered it from Muir. Fuck you daddies! That board was the tits and I was hooked from then on.

Brian Randy Ta photo
Brian Randy Ta photo

What is skateboarding a gateway to?
Drugs for some people haha. Unfortunately, but not for me. Skateboarding is a gateway to fun, and then getting pissed at other people for skateboarding. So while skateboarding brings me joy, I hate it too.

How did your parents take your new lifestyle choice?
They didn’t even care. I would just skate around my town until it got dark and came home. Sometimes they thought it was interfering with school but I would prove them wrong and keep skating. Sometimes they would get mad because I would end up skating way too far out, and I would end up having to call them to have them pick me up haha, I used to be all into long distance skating, without really knowing about long distance skating. I just finally got a chance to explore and be free and I took advantage.

What kind of stuff were you getting up to?
I would just like skate, and take random turns and get lost. One time I skated from my house to the football stadium, which is only like 7 miles but it seemed like the farthest place I’ve ever skated. I encountered so many homeless people on the way there. I remember having to like get off my board at one point and jump over one because he was laid out in the sidewalk.
Trent Skate photo

Did anyone else in your town ride?
At that point I didn’t really know anybody who skated. I had one friend who kind of skated but he wasn’t as into it as I was and was never down to go anywhere far.

What did skating free you from?
Nothing gnarly. I live on a hill in a neighborhood full of old people, so I never had friends in my neighborhood I could run around with and do stuff. All my friends at school were always really far away so a lot of the time I would just stay home and play video games all day. Normal kid stuff. But when I got my board I got to experience going out on my own and exploring without having to worry about what time mommy was going to come get me or anything childish like that haha. I felt like a “grown-up” just being out and about by myself.

How long did you ride the Spoon Nose for?
Not too long actually. The following Christmas my aunt got me a Gravity Makai haha.

Were you a silverfish warrior?
Oh yeah. I honestly probably was on silverfish more than I skated. I would always make stupid threads like ”what board should I get?, what wheels should I get?”; I was pretty kooky. I didn’t know any other skaters in real life yet, so being kooky on the internet never really did anything bad for me. I had so much rep haha. I would hang out in the chatroom all the time. It was dark stuff man.

When did you start loosing your kookiness?
I actually got over the worst phase of my kookiness while I was still using silverfish. Doesn’t sound right, but at some point I wasn’t a nooby kook-ass, I was just a silverfish kook. Then I actually met local skaters on silverfish, and a few days later I went to my first legit event – the downhill disco. In 2010 or 2011. I don’t know. At the downhill disco I got so scared of the hill I just walked to the bottom and sat by the Abec 11 bread truck thing. And there were all these kooky groms running around and I knew at that point to act chill and I ended up meeting a lot of random people who probably don’t remember it. Rory Russell from Abec was being really chill with me and ended up giving me a set of wheels and shit. And I remember Spencer Adams losing to an arm wrestling match to some grom.

Mike Allen photo
Mike Allen photo

Are you still friends with anyone you met then?
Haha. I see Rory at events but I don’t think he remembers me. I remember meeting Roger Jones there and hanging out with him for a bit, but I’m not sure if he remembers that either. My other friend from Laguna, Nathan Meier, we ended up being friends later down the line, but I only recently discovered that the downhill disco is where we actually met. And of course I kind of met the crew I would end up actually skating with there. But only kind of.

Professionally, I think I might be second to Max Capps. I lurk wayy harder than him though.

How did seeing a legit skate event open your eyes?
I realized how small the community actually was. Like seeing all these people I saw in videos and stuff. And even seeing people from silverfish. I remember Rob Nickell riding a scooter down the hill there haha. It kind of set the stage for like who I am in the skate scene now.

“I’m just some kid who hangs out at skate events and rarely skates them.”

Who are you?
Haha that’s tough. I’m just some kid who hangs out at skate events and rarely skates them. A lot of people thought I was sponsored or a really good skater for a while because they never actually saw me skate. That’s who I’ve always been I think. People would always be surprised when other skaters knew me, but it was just because I would hangout on the sidelines all the time and I got a rep for it.  I’m not going to call myself controversial, but I do fuck around a lot and a lot of people know me from that too. I’m a lurker.

Dane Oppenborn photo
Dane Oppenborn photo

And you can’t really hide being the only brown person on the hill… right?
Yeah, team brown is constantly being profiled.

What is a lurker?
A lurker means more than not skating at events to me. A ton of kids can sit around and kook it up on the side of the hill, but I wouldn’t consider them lurkers. You have to act cool, or at least cooler than you are. You need to float around a bit, but also stick with your crew. Don’t be the shy kid, but also don’t be the obnoxious kid. I can’t really define what a lurker is, there are a lot of different type of lurkers. I remember No Future having a good picture about it on the old blog. I think it might have been out of a magazine or something but it was pretty funny.

“Being a lurker means more than not skating at events. A ton of kids can sit around and kook it up on the side of the hill, but I wouldn’t consider them lurkers. You have to act cool, or at least cooler than you are. You need to float around a bit, but also stick with your crew. Don’t be the shy kid, but also don’t be the obnoxious kid.”

How do you identify a real lurker?
First, I have to know them, because there aren’t any new lurkers really. When I see that they aren’t skating and don’t really have intentions too, they are getting their lurk on. I’ve seen Max Capps do it a bunch haha. Lurkers come and go, I think I’m just too dedicated to not skating in public and that ruined what I think a lurker is.

I’ve seen photos of Max skating, doesn’t that disqualify him as a lurkstar?
Ehh, Max gets his share of skating in, but he chooses his battles wisely, and lurks out when the time is right. He’s got more technique than I do haha.

Lee Eisler photography
Lee Eisler photography

When did people start calling you controversial?
I don’t think I have ever been actually called controversial, so I don’t really know. I think the farthest back I can go is a picture I made of Jesus on a cross, and it said something like, “Jesus, quit airbraking.”

The Iranian skate community must be so stoked on that!
I don’t even know any other Iranian skaters I think haha. I’m not too in touch with that side of me honestly.

What’s the funniest reaction you’ve had to one of your trolling exercises?
Haha oh man I used to troll way too hard. I think the most memorable one was photoshopping my brandy to look like an old Sector Nine race deck. People were going crazy that I got one and everyone was hitting me up to buy it. I then revealed that it was fake and laughter ensued.
One time, some friends and I convinced this kid that we had murdered someone by pushing them into a truck head first while skating, then tossing his body off a mountain. The kid was freaking out haha. We never really told anyone about that but yeah that’s one of the funnier ones. We got up to a lot of hijinx haha.

Haha. Have any of your online lurks gone viral?
The closest fit to that question would be the video “Hot White Girl at Skate Race”. I brought Katherine Kurz out to a pretty lame outlaw. She used to skate with us and would always hang out and stuff. Shes a homie for sure. She was actually a pretty legit lurker too, but all the skaters would hit on her all the time haha. Too much attention sometimes. But yeah we went out to an event and I had her talk shit and lurk out super hard and I filmed it and put it up on the site. A lot of people really enjoyed that one.
YouTube Preview Image

What site?
The Rad Train baby! CHoo CHoo!

Where did you hit up after that Downhill disco?
A few days before the disco I got a private message on Silverfish from this kid named Ryan Osterling. He found me and lived in my area and was like ”yo we have a crew that skates out here you should come to one of our seshes.” I Facebooked him and his profile said he was rastafarian and his profile picture was like him in a snapback. I kind of got bummed haha. But I saw him at the Downhill Disco and he wasn’t a swag fiend like I thought he would be haha. Then I actually met up with him and his crew and I never stopped skating with them. They have become some of my best buddies haha. The crew was called S.P.E.C. – Shred Patrol of East County – because we were all in East County San Diego. They were way more legit than I was and already had gone to a bunch of races and stuff.

Who are the people in the gang?
The first people I can think of it are Ryan Osterling, Michael Hinze, Sammy Parks, and Mason McGee. We would always get into arguments about who is OG SPEC and who isn’t, but I’m pretty sure they were the people to actually start it. Mason was like our celebrity because he had the leathers and the sponsors and raced maryhill and stuff and would win other events.Then came the LKSD (Lakeside – former meth capital of the country I think) division which was Kyle Cascante, Nicho Jones, Jesse Shurley, and Tyler Marsh. Michael was their leader haha. Other members included: Sean Osterling,Tyler Jewel (who was the craziest, balls out skater I knew. He would like not skate for months and then come back and dominate.) Drew Edwards, and Philip Crow. AJ Parks was Sammy’s brother who didn’t really skate that much and stopped after a while, but he was still part of the crew and he’s one of my best friends now.

Lee Eisler photo
Lee Eisler photo

I came in when that was all established, I think a year after the creation. Then came Chris Goldberg who I hang out with almost daily. He had the car so it was super easy to actually go skate fun stuff when he joined the crew. And we share a similar sense of humor, which really opened up the group to the fucked up shit that we all came to love. Uncle Brandon Goodrich joined the crew later on and he’s been part of the family since then. He’s our uncle because he’s actually an adult haha.

Where would you be today with the Specs?
I wouldn’t be anywhere without SPEC. I would still be on silverfish probably, and I would be a bad skater and wouldn’t know half the people I know now. SPEC was the greatest thing I ever came on and even though we get all pissy at each other sometimes, I still love and rep it.

What’s your favourite thing to do on your board?
I like downhilling. Freeriding was cool for a while, but then I started downhilling and that was way more fun. I’m a big pussy so I never skated gnarly shit, and it took me a long time to skate some of the pretty standard stuff, but going fast and turning on a skateboard will always be more fun that freeriding.

What do you like about going fast?
At first it was just way easier just bombing down a hill than worrying about sliding and stuff. I just like the adrenaline of downhilling more than freeriding. When I downhilled it always involved a shuttle car which is way sicker than walking hills to freeride.

What were the hardest things to learn about DH?
I think the hardest thing to learn is just how to not be a bitch. Racing is a different story, but to just make it down hills you need to just nut up. Technique wasn’t too hard to figure out, and I’ve always had a decent tuck, but it sucked when I was just too much of a bitch to just let go and let the hill take me where it wanted me to go. I got really good at putting a foot down and shedding off speed so whenever I got to that point of ”oh fuck it’s on”, I would just drop my foot. I was doing it through turns at some point haha. I then got better at just going fast and not being such a poon, but then I ate shit really hard and was out for a while. When I came back my balls were still all shrivelled up, and I was still being a bitch. I’m not a ballsy skater in any respect, but I have learned to just trust myself and go with the flow.
Don Sheffler photography

Who was your Sensei?
I skated by myself a lot, and the first downhill runs I did were just by myself. I learned a lot about form by watching videos and studying other skaters. All the people I skated with always left me with some advice though. Sammy Parks would teach me a lot about downhilling, and so did Mason. I think what helped me progress the most was just embarrassment. I was kind of tired of being a bitch and going to hills and just airbraking all of it so I just went for it one day and realized it wasn’t that scary skating GMR haha.

When did you find a setup that reflected what you liked to do on your board?
Wooooh, I changed boards every week haha. I think one of the first boards I really enjoyed skating was a chopped annika. It was the board I started manning up on because it just felt comfortable.

You bought a skateboard every week?
Haha oh no. I would just trade and sell my gear all the time. Some locals dubbed me the king of hustle for a while. I’m over that life now though, and I’ve been on the same basic setup for a while now.

Malachi Riley photo
Malachi Riley

You’re one of those Facebook group sellers.
Haha. I was so into classifieds for a while. But I’ve learnt to hate them now. People reading might remember the USA BST, I plotted with the Mids boys to take it down. One of us became Admins and admined the rest of the crew and we started deleting people. Everyone was freaking out and all these new BST groups started popping up. It was pretty fun. We’re just barely deleting the last hundred or so people. We’re leaving only the chicks though, so it’s just everyone in Team Mids and skater girls/spam bots.

Is this your plan to get a girlfriend?
For the most part, yeah. All the girls I’m into usually end up being spam bots though!

What is Mids?
Mids originated in Boston, and is a celebration of all things mediocre. It’s a lifestyle. Mids is almost getting beat up by a neo nazi and being the only racer awake at 4am before race day at maryhill watching fights and getting drunk. It’s mostly east coast skaters, with a few exceptions here and there. It’s kind of like when you try to fart and you piss yourself. Mids is equivalent to Mean Girls. Mids is not washing your clothes for about 7 month. There isn’t like a membership process (besides sending them your money) but if are are deemed foul enough and everyone approves of you, you are added to the Jewish Cult. Theres some pretty fucked up initiation rituals you have to go through, that I would rather not get into, but they involve a lot of urine, chugging, vomiting, and getting way too grody for normal people. It’s a gun.
There are a lot of fake mids out there, like Motion Boardshop. Fuck you motion boardshop. They stole Mids name and slapped it on a wheel. FUCKEM. If anyone at mobo is reading this, fuck you and come see us at the glory hole.

You’re like the Lindsay Lohan, except not ginger?
I can’t consider myself Lindsay Lohan of Mids, I’m not in the main lineup haha.

Do you hate every skate shop?
Pretty much. Edge Boardshop is lame as hell, and it sucks that some cool people work there, but behind the storefront is some greedy dude who has nothing to do with the community. Whenever I see Edge stickers on people my heart breaks. There are actually probably some cool shops out there that I haven’t been too haha.
I’ve heard switchback is pretty rad and flatspot is actually run by skaters I think. Muir is cool, it’s cool going in there sometimes and distracting them from their work. Shoutouts to Derek and Ricker for keeping it real haha.

LBAG pic
LBAG pic

If you were to make a baby with a shop, which would you choose?
Whichever one is most corporate and has the most money so I can be a trophy husband/stay at home dad without kids. It’s my life goal.

Do you ever compete?
It was never really my thing. I have raced a few races, mainly in a race series made for high school students. That was a couple years ago and those are long gone now. Racing is pretty fun, but I’m not competitive at all, so it’s never really something I want to do.

What is the Rad Train?
Rad Train is a project that Jimmy Riha had for a few years, where he would just write about his experiences at different events and stuff for his parents. I don’t even remember when or how I got involved. Now it’s one of the best Skate Media websites around!

Hair Train - Don Sheffler photo
Hair Train – Don Sheffler photo

When did you first meet Jimmy?
I remember the first time I ever like actually talked to Jimmy, my friend Chris and I were buying some wheels from him. He didn’t say much; after we were done he skated away and looked back and was like “what are you guys doing tonight?”, before we could say anything he just said “Suck dick” and skated back to blacks. We were just like wow that Jimmy guy is a douchebag haha. I don’t even remember why or how I got involved with him after that. I feel like I let him use some photos for a write up and then we started working together more. Now we’re business associates and we’re working on getting a sweatshop set up. I owe a lot to him actually,without him I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to hang out and shoot videos/photos of gnarly people.

Middle east or Asia?
We’re actually trying to get one in house! Like actually in Jimmy’s house. The Kickstarter should be up in a few months.

What’s been your favourite kickstarter campaign this year?
I think I saw one that was trying to raise money to build a satanic statue memorial thing in Washington DC. I think that ones pretty good. There’s also a crowdfunding campaign to send Mark Golter to Mars with Gay Muslims. I like that one hahaha.

Jimmy RIha
Jimmy RIha

What’s your role in the Rad Train?
My bio says “I do a lot of things on this here train…” That kind of sums it up. I shoot a lot of the videos when I can, I do most of the photography for events and other stuff. I write a lot of articles, and respond to a lot of emails. Jimmy and I pretty much share an equal role. We post stuff to the site and then post stuff on the Facebook. He gets down with editing/filming a lot too. I did a lot of work on the actual website design. We keep the train running!

Who else is involved?
Bin Wester
made the logo and is always working on new graphics and stuff. Max Capps has made a few videos here and there, and helps out with some direction sometimes. There are a lot of people involved that aren’t actually involved haha. We have a Facebook group with all these dudes, and they all just help with decision making and stuff. Brett Ciabattini is down with us and should be doing more stuff soon (that’s a call out Brett, get on that). Chris Goldberg is the Rad Train’s unofficial chauffeur, and he does some odd jobs here and there, mostly here though.

When did you start working with a camera?
I’ve always loved taking photos. My uncle is a photographer and a director of photography, so I was always interested in that. He would always give me cameras and would even try to cast me into some commercials he was working on. I remember I went to a casting thing for a commercial in Mexico for a movie theatre. It was weird and I didn’t get the role. In our crew, I would make videos sometimes with whatever camera I could get my hands on, and I loved editing videos too. I think last year around this time I finally saved up to buy myself a camera, and I pulled the trigger and have been deeply invested into photography ever since.  I love reading about photography and studying cinematography. I can’t watch movies anymore without thinking about all the work that goes on behind the camera.

Joe Lawrence photo
Joe Lawrence photo

What do you enjoy about photography?
I love capturing moments. I love how you can combine elements in a scene to create a unique image. Things are constantly changing and I love being able to capture them. I love shooting street photography (even if I rarely do) because I love how people interact with the environment they are in. Everyone is living a life, and when different experiences and personalities end up meeting, and everything is intertwined and in sync, you get a strange feeling and you take a photo and it means something. There’s something magical about shooting photos. Skate photography is fun and all, but sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on what I really want to be shooting.

What’s your weapon of choice?
Right now, I’m using a 7D, and my favourite lens would have to be my 10-22. I’ve learned to love the exaggeration of wide angle lenses.

Is the camera just a good excuse to lurk?
It’s a pretty good excuse to not have to skate, but still be able to go to rad places. Sometimes it sucks when you actually want to skate, but I love skating and shooting equally so it’s not that big of a deal.

Who’s your favourite photographer?
There are a lot of really rad skate photographers out there. Jacob Lambert has some of the most amazing photos I’ve seen, skating and non-skating. Aaron Breetwor has a really nice style, and I love how he’s been shooting strictly black and white for a while. Henri Cartier- Bresson was the best photojournalists, and possibly one of the best photographers period.  He’s not a skate photographer haha. Bruce Davidson is a big inspiration too.

What makes a good photograph of a skater?
There’s a lot that goes into it, and it depends what your style is. I like photos that incorporate the environment and the skating. Composition is important for sure. I love looking at a photo and seeing that the photographer really took into consideration all the elements and thought out an image.  Aaron Breetwor does a really good job of that.

What were the highlights of your 2013?
Highlights: Winning Maryhill again, becoming a member of Mids, Adopting Mark Golter, selling some photos, shooting photos for gullwing, hanging out in laguna is always a highlight (shoutout to Chakra Shack!). I’ve had a lot of good memories this year, and hope to make more next year.

You adopted your favourite photographer?
I adopted my favourite wack job bigot. I caged him up so he wouldn’t be able to spew his nonsense to skaters anymore. He’s actually learning to love homosexuals and isn’t so bummed on Muslims now!

What’s wrong with muslims?
Well from what I learned from Mark, they are all suicide bombers and child molesters.

You can’t spell groom without grom!
Haha. That’s a really good one.

Thanks, I’m something of a creative genius, Kayne West is my left testicle.

What are you riding these days?
A No Future Craptech! Shit’s rad. Gullwing Charger hangers on 42* Gunmetal Plates because Jimmy took my Gunmetal hangers. Biggie hawgs are what I roll on for downhill as of now.

What is No Future?
Andrew Mercado
wanted to make it a magazine a long time ago I think. I THINK. It was a blog for a bit and he started making stickers. He recently decided to do something with it and started up a line up boards. They are all sick, I rode the DK36” for a while which was tight.

What do you do when you’re not skating?
Chatting with my chordle’s (Ali and AJ), smoking meth with Golter, playing GTAV wherever I can, and reading Big Brother Magazine thanks to Danny Connor.

Pick 3 numbers.
6, 19 , 17.

6 – if you could have any super power what would it be?
Shooting frozen yoghurt out of my asshole would actually be the best thing to happen to me. Not really a super power but if someone can help me make this a reality hit me up.

19 – How do you like your bacon?
In burgers.

17 – Do you like fish sticks?
SUCK MY GUN. It’s been 5 hrs homie I don’t even know anymore.

Haha. It’s been a trip bro. Come lurk in Europe sometime!
Oooooh next year I’m there for sure!

Wherever the party’s at honestly. Kozakov gets pretty hectic, so expect me there.

Any last words?
Keep your eyes peeled for something really cool that we’re working on. Shout-outs to Officer Dab, Victor Tu, Marcos Pangie, and all my buddies in Laguna and San Diego who help me when my anus collapses.




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