Juiced With The Boys

Austin, Alex and David discuss moving to LA, social media, and where the hype comes from.

Introduction: Taylor Leng
Interview and Photography: Bobby Escobedo

 
Alex Lobasyuk, Austin Thongvivong, and David Lobasyuk

Alex Lobasyuk, Austin Thongvivong, and David Lobasyuk

Pioneers used to travel westward to pursue freedom. They chased the promise of success and the dream of providing themselves with a better life. They sought stability and were captivated by the draw of embracing a brand new culture. Things haven’t changed much since then. Now, people flock out west to chase their own versions of success. Positive lifestyle changes, opportunities to obtain new knowledge, and the guidance of unconventional wisdom drive many to drop everything to seek success.

Success, which has always been hinged on the concept of attaining fame, fortune, and validation, is now a tangible concept for the citizen of today. Skateboarders are a little different. Alex, David, and Austin are three who represent a contemporary version of this pioneer spirit. Like many of these explorers, they grew up skating together and have embarked on their own variety of westward expansion. However, unlike pioneers of olden times who suffered and sacrificed to grasp at happiness in the western US, skateboarders demonstrate that it is possible to chase the dream while enjoying the journey. While it’s physically not a long move from Portland, OR to Los Angeles, it’s the fact that these three have embarked on their journey in the first place that really demonstrates their commitment to the craft.

To these three, success is measured in the moments that they share skating. The journey is the reward, and Austin, David, and Alex have only just begun to collect.

 
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Who started skating first?

Alex: I think it was Austin.

David: Might've been Austin, for sure. Between me and Alex, I started skating first. It'd be a few months later that Alex started.

Austin: I started skating when I was ten.

How do you guys feel about the Portland skate scene now compared to when you all started?

Austin: I feel like it's a lot better. Well... Better and not because before since we had Department of Skateboarding, people could come during the winter time and that's where everyone did demos. Everyone did team signings there and all that. But when a team comes to Portland now there's nowhere to go for that.

Is Ed Benedict park the only option now?

Austin: Yeah and Ed isn't even a good place to have a demo. At the same time there’s so many more people skating now in Portland.

Really?

Austin: Yeah, like Dane Brady went pro. He got all those younger kids to skate more and they just put on cruiser wheels and skate everywhere!

Enzo and all his homies right?

Austin: Enzo, Emile, Anthony, Zeke, Powell… It's sick as fuck.

That's tight. They're good too!

Austin: They're looking good! Dude, Powell's style is probably my favorite style ever. He's sick.

 
David.

David.

Alex, backsmith.

Alex, backsmith.

 
Alex.

Alex.

When did you guys move to LA?

David: Like, four or three months ago.

What made you want to come down?

Austin: David.

David: I quit my job… I straight up put my two weeks in 'cause I really wanted to do this. I'm like, ‘what are we waiting for? Alex graduated high school… Austin has no job’… (laughs) so we just straight sent it.

Austin: I was chilling.

You were hurt?

Austin: Yeah. I've been hurt for the past year.

How’d you get buckled?

Austin: First one, grinding a 24. Second one, I fucked up in Vegas landing wrong on my bad ankle. After healing from fracturing my ankle. Then waited another three months to sprain that same ankle and now it's just fucked.

Austin, you’re officially on the Foundation team now right?

Austin: Yeah. Am with one clip, isn't that crazy?

One clip? What was it?

Austin: The hardflip.

In the Souvenir video?

Austin: Yeah, I have one clip in the team montage. That was the first or second day on the trip to Vegas. I did that hardflip and I was like, damn my ankle feels pretty good. Next day... trying to go kickflip front board this rail and got fucked up.

Which is better, being scared and just sitting down and not skating... or going for it and getting buckled in front of the whole team?

Alex: Getting buckled.

Austin: Being scared and eating shit. That's sick as fuck. I don't care.

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What do you guys think it's like living down here now? Do you think people are hyped? I feel like skateboarding is pretty accepting, but you think the scene in LA gets bummed when people move here or are they cool with it?

Alex: I think people get hyped because they like seeing you going somewhere new.

Austin: Yeah people are hyped but it's like, I don't know how to explain it… It doesn't feel like how I thought it was going to feel.

Really? How do you mean?

Austin: Like I thought I was gonna be like...hyped to go skate every day, but then some of the people that you skate with just get burnt out on it… ‘Oh, I skate here all the time. We skate this spot all the time, we go to this city all the time.’

Alex: LA's sick. LA has so many spots.

What's up with the fences though?

Alex: The fences are the worst.

Austin: The fences are sketchy because I can't take impact like that so hopping a fence is sketch sometimes.

David: I literally broke my collarbone and I had to hop a fence. I straight started to cry that was the worst feeling ever.

You guys like to skate with random or new people or just the squad only?

Austin: I like to skate with whoever!

Alex: Yeah, it's sick meeting new people.

David, krook.

David, krook.

 
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Tell me about filming with Adam Robo for the Goomba Slayers videos.

David: That was the sickest time. It felt we were like, peaking or something. That's what I felt like.

Alex: Adam is the most productive guy! He was so down all the time. He would hype you up to do everything.

Austin: That was so fucking fun dude. He would drive anywhere, he doesn't care what's wrong with his car, or who's coming. He didn't care if you got clips or not, if you wanted to go do something he's there. That's why I loved filming with Adam so much. He was just down. It was whatever you wanted to do.

I feel like he should be one of the biggest dudes filming — the energy, the vibes, everything.

Austin: I love Adam. One of my favorite filmers ever.

Gameboy just came out, and what was the last video before that?

David: Entertainment System.

Austin: The premiere for that one was sick! And seeing it up on Transworld and Thrasher… that was crazy. Alex's part came out the weekend before we went to Tampa, and then mine came out the weekend of Tampa. it was just sick.

Austin.

Austin.

 

Did you know you had the last part?

Austin: Uhhh, Adam kinda like…

Hinted it?

Austin: Yeah, but —

Whenever we would go filming Adam would be like, ‘Come on man if you wanna get the last part, you gotta do this!’ It was his was his way of motivating you whenever you were over it.

Austin: Love filming with Adam dude, so sick.

The way he films too, like going over that death box… That's crazy, I don’t know how he's so good at filming tranny.

Austin: Yeah, it's cause he skates it, that's why. He's gnarly!

Alex: Our filmer we have right now, Chris Park, he's really motivated. He’ll pick up all the homies up, and from far away too.

Austin: He's sick!

David: He has generators, lights, he’ll bondo any spot. Dude is the sickest.

I’m out here skating with my boys, man! What else could you ask for? That’s how I get hyped.
— Austin Thongvivong
Austin and Bobby. Listen to the funk Austin bumps  here .

Austin and Bobby. Listen to the funk Austin bumps here.

Austin, tell me about that nollie flip over the rail at Riverside. That clip was crazy.

Austin: So scary! We were skating with Mikey, the homie from Canada, and he was just warming up hitting tricks. He says, ‘Get my back!’. I was like, ‘Alright!’, then I missed it… ‘Get my back!’, ‘Alright!’ — missed it again. I kept missing and was getting over it. Then he back 5-0’d it and literally lands in the dirt. I was like ‘How the fuck did you do that?! OK, fuck it I'm just gonna for real get his back right now!’ And then it just worked somehow. I was juuuuiced. I was so juiced.

You ever get mad when you skate?

Austin: All the time (laughs).

Alex: Oh yeah. Dude definitely, if he tries for a trick more than 20 minutes, he'll snap his board.

Austin: No, I won't…

Alex: You'll crack it, you did that yesterday.

You're always super hyped and dancing around going wild!

Austin: I can get mad easily, it just depends what I'm skating. If I'm skating a ledge for like three hours, I'll probably throw my board and get mad. But if I'm skating a rail for three hours, I'm eating shit, I'm fine with that.

Alex: No way.

Austin: I'd rather be skating something that is scary. Knowing that I might be able to do it, but it's just scary so I can't commit to it every go. But a ledge I'm committing every try and if I can't do it…

How do you usually stay hyped?

Austin: It’s just juice! I'm out here skating with my boys, man! What else could you ask for? That's how I get hyped. There's nothing better than that.

And music too right? What are the top three songs that will instantly get you hyped no matter what?

Austin: Number one, Color Me Badd, “I Wanna Sex You Up” — any day. Wooooo I don’t need anything else.

That's it? (laughs)

Austin: Nah but, that's number one for sure though. That songs the bumps! Uh, let’s see…  Ja Rule, Livin’ It Up. You know what song is good too? Al B. Sure!, Night and Day ohhh, that song bumps. I really like listening to 90's and earlier 2000's R&B stuff, and a lot of soul music too. Charles Bradley, Lee Fields, fuckin' James Brown, funky shit too. I love all that shit, it's so tight. Yo I’ll make you a playlist!

 
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If I see my homies being bummed I try to tell ‘em just put the negative thought out of your mind and just try the trick.
— David Lobasyuk
 

Does the vibe of the crew affect you when you're trying to get a trick?

Austin: If one person is bummed I'm like, OK hold up, what can we do here. But it's so hard to change what they're thinking. As long as you talk to them. We were skating in this one spot and a homie was like, ‘Hey, I need someone to talk to, I'm scared. I'm not doing well, I don’t know if I can do this’. So we talked about how he was trying the trick, just broke it down for him and told him how he can do it and stuff like that. And literally, the next try he almost did it.

David: Yeah, I feel like if you just put a smile on your face, it will just change it. Sometimes, personally for me, if I see my homies being bummed I try to tell ‘em just put the negative thought out of your mind and just try the trick. Put a smile on and just listen to some hype song or somethin'. Like me yesterday, fuckin’ Pink Floyd gets me man.

Austin: This dude has his phone in his pocket, listens to Pink Floyd, tries the trick, goes back up, put his phone back up to his ear to listen, puts it back in his pocket, tries the trick again. I was like damn, dude is fired the fuck up!

David: If I'm hyped on one song, I'm gonna play it no matter what. I hopped on some 14 stair rail yesterday, that shit was scary as shit, but I wasn't scared 'cause I was just hyped on some song. So I’m like, I'm just gonna do it.

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There’s nothing else… you have your video parts, and then your Instagram.
— Alex Lobasyuk

What's it like coming up and skating in the social media age?

Austin: It's gnarly. Dude at this point if you're trying to skateboard, you almost have to have an Instagram. Instagram is kind of like your portfolio I guess you could say.

David: It’s pretty intense. You see all these people posting all this gnarly shit and you feel like you need to catch up. But you can't even do that because the level now is too high… So you have to just be yourself.

Alex: There's nothing else… you have your video parts, and then your Instagram.

Austin: People pay a lot more attention to social media now. Say you have like, 10,000 followers, brands are like damn this kid has a ton of followers, lets scroll through his stuff and see if we like him or not and then maybe start sending him stuff. That's how a lot of people get hit up not. It’s like... to see who is the best person to market, pretty much. Instagram is how you show people the way you skate… and what makes you different I guess.

What are you doing outside of skating right now?

Austin: I honestly want to learn how to cook. That would be sick to learn recipes and what seasonings go well with whatever.

It’s just like skating. You just have to go for it. Seasonings are kind of like finding the perfect board shape and shoes. if you find your shit, you're gonna know what shape goes with what.

Alex: We cooked like every night in Barcelona.

How was going to Barcelona for the first time?

David: Dude, Barcelona was sick. And besides the skating part, I actually got to enjoy the scenery and everything. If I have kids one day I wanna be tell them, yo I got to see this place, I got to see this spot, these monasteries… and all that. It definitely put something new to my eyes. Now when I go back to Portland I'm gonna actually start hiking and shit. There's more to life than just skateboarding. I love it and all but there’s a lot of shit you can do in life.

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Alright, before we go skate, what’s your best Mike Davis story?

David: I remember one time, his friend Kevin picked me up in his car, and we went to the Stark bump spot. He just parked right behind the bump so we could skate the fucking trunk. It was sick.

The trunk?

David: Yeah, it was sick dude.

Austin: Oh my god.

David: We were sitting there and Cory Woods filmed Kevin Ketchem noseblunt the trunk and then they opened the trunk and Mike popped out (laughs).

Austin: I remember skating Glenhaven when he was filming that Michael Davis park edit, and he was just killing it. I'd never seen skating like that. Like damn, who is this dude? He was fucked up. The sickest thing about that day was he was looking out for anyone that was younger. He was like, “hey, don't sit there, people might try to skate it”… Stuff like that. Doesn't matter who you are, he helped you out. Like, like when I would show him stuff like that. He'd like take this out. They might like get over watching you do too many of this trick or like stuff like that.

Mike was tight. I would show him footage and he'd give me advice on what to take out or whatever, ‘People might get over watching you do too many of this trick’, or feedback like that. Mike helped me out a lot.

 
Austin, kickflip.

Austin, kickflip.

InterviewsMiles Johnson