In Dialog with Skateboarder Braydon Szafranski

Braydon Szafranski’s first skateboarding expertise at age seven resulted in 30 head staples, a traumatized teenage babysitter, and a confiscated board by Mother. The place most would think about that the fruits of their skateboarding endeavors, it was merely the beginning for younger Szafranski, unphased by the entire ordeal.

Ten years later, he fled his hometown of Las Vegas to settle within the controversial trade mecca of skateboarding, Los Angeles. By a stroke of destiny, he bumped into Chad Muska, one among skateboarding’s greatest skills and personalities, in entrance of Brooklyn Initiatives skate store on Melrose Avenue. Having mutual mates from Sin Metropolis, the pair struck up a dialog, which led to watching a footage tape that Szafranski had with him. Blown away after seeing the primary trick, Muska sponsored him on the spot. From that time on, Szafranski’s profession took off, ultimately incomes himself coveted spots on the Baker skateboards and Emerica footwear groups earlier than turning skilled in 2006.

As a lot as skateboarding is integral to Szafranski’s existence, so is identical with marijuana. For the reason that early days of his profession, he has been a steadfast proponent of the plant, as is most evident within the introduction of his Baker 3 video half. In our interview, we talk about how legalization has modified Nevada, the key to reaching Zen-like readability whereas making an attempt a trick, and why the skateboarding tradition has all the time been so intently related to weed.

Photograph by Sam Muller

Do you bear in mind the primary time you smoked weed?

In class I do not forget that the D.A.R.E program affected folks in a different way. There was a cop there explaining marijuana, that it’s the “gateway drug” that “modifications you and makes your character loopy.” I bear in mind my neighbor—my greatest good friend since age three—and I checked out one another and we have been like, Oh my god, we have to do this!

My neighbor’s older sister, who was in highschool, was having a celebration. She came to visit, grabbed me, and stated, “Hey, I need you to return to the aspect of the home with me.” In fact it was two highschool dudes who have been smoking her out and requested if we needed to hit it. We each smoked and realized, Wait a minute, this isn’t something like what the cop stated—that is very mellow and informal and we don’t really feel like psychos! We’ve actually been smoking ever since.

In earlier interviews you talked about that you simply and your dad have weed tattoos. How did these come about?

My dad knew that I smoked since I used to be youthful, however he wouldn’t discuss it or something as a result of [he] was simply smarter than that. After I turned 18, he came to visit and gave me a 12-pack of beer and an eighth of weed. He stated, “In case you are sufficiently old to die for this nation you’re sufficiently old to do both of those on this nation—fuck what they are saying.”

The subsequent factor that got here out of his mouth was: “But when it was as much as me, I’d throw away that 12-pack and smoke this the remainder of your life. I’ve by no means heard of anybody smoking a joint and doing a mass homicide, however I see drunk folks doing dumb shit on daily basis,” he stated.

He then supplied to purchase me a tattoo. He needed to get some weed leaves with some handcuffs, so we each bought that, with “Legalize” beneath. He all the time made this joke that if it ever grew to become authorized that we’d add the “D.”

He by no means registered to vote in his life, however when legalization was on the ballet, we each registered and voted. When it handed and weed grew to become authorized, we went to a tattoo parlor the identical day and added the “D.” He was leaping up and down, screaming, “It’s fucking authorized!”

Photograph by Sam Muller

Nevada is arising on six years of being marijuana-friendly. How has Las Vegas, as a microcosm of the state, modified since then?

To inform you the reality, it’s one thing that ought to have occurred a very long time in the past out right here. Folks come to Vegas to expertise all of their needs—all the pieces they will’t do of their regular day-to-day life.

I don’t assume that it’s modified; I simply assume that nobody is paranoid anymore. In case you have an oz. within the trunk of your automotive and it doesn’t reek, you may drive to a good friend’s home with out trying over your shoulder, considering that it may very well be the tip of all the pieces.

I feel the unique argument is that folks can be going loopy if weed was legalized; however clearly it’s not like that.

If something, it calmed down town. I’ve talked about it with those that have legislation enforcement of their households which have stated that because it grew to become authorized, the quantity of DUIs and DUI deaths have gone down as a result of extra individuals are smoking. Take into consideration all these those that have been tremendous shitfaced, wasted, however as an alternative took two hits from a joint and thought, Ah, I’m simply gonna sit on the sofa tonight. I don’t even care about going out. 

How, if in any respect, has smoking helped your skating?

It 1000% helps. Anybody that is aware of skateboarding understands that it’s as a lot, if no more, of a psychological recreation than it’s a bodily one. The psychological recreation is the strongest a part of skateboarding, the toughest half. 

I feel Jon Miner [Emerica footwear videographer] defined it completely to me. He stated, “Your ADHD would all the time come up with you, the place you’ll get shut on the primary strive, however then get so excited and mentally in your head that you simply would possibly strive the trick for 4 hours and never make it.”

If I’m in the course of making an attempt a trick [that is becoming a battle], and I take successful or two, my thoughts goes from What was I dropping? to What can I achieve? I immediately focus in: Okay, gradual it down. You realize what you’re doing. You know the way to make this occur. You wouldn’t be making an attempt this if it wasn’t for you understanding that you are able to do this. And inside a strive or two I normally trip away. It has all the pieces to do with not simply taking that method from the start. 

It looks as if what you’re describing is one thing involving being current, virtually a Zen state. 

I feel lots of people who use it as medication in the suitable means can get right into a Zen second and it may possibly truthfully change your perspective of what you’re doing by way of skating, and a number of various things, as a complete.

Why is skateboarding and weed so intently related to one another?

I feel that weed is in each tradition. Nonetheless, skate boarders, earlier than this new period, have been bandits. Every part got here from an outlaw perspective. Skateboarding, from the start, is against the law. It ought to all the time be an outlawed factor as a result of, , it’s what we do. We do the funnest issues in locations that you’re not imagined to, and that’s what makes it so spectacular.

Regardless of weed being thought-about an outlaw factor prior to now, most skaters weren’t scared to cover it. Athletes in any class that needed to be within the Olympics have been petrified of blowing sponsors in the event that they bought caught, though they smoked weed of their off time! Skateboarding didn’t have drug testing and never with the ability to be on a crew when you smoke. Skateboarding is about being who you’re. I feel that’s why skaters have proven the world that we smoke weed and could be open about it.

Photograph by Sam Muller

You talked about the Olympics. What are your ideas on skateboarding being concerned since Tokyo 2020?

I don’t care. Identical to Jake Phelps (RIP) stated, “One week each 4 years, after which it’s carried out and nobody appears to offer a shit once more till the following 4 years.”

It’s the identical fifteen, elite skaters that truly care over the thousands and thousands of skate boarders which are on the market. If you wish to be a part of that world, that’s superior. I feel that it’s great that it’s going to be within the Olympics if that’s what skateboarding needs to be. I’m nonetheless not, to today, going to say if skateboarding is a sport whether or not it’s or isn’t thought-about one now. It’s nonetheless all the time what it was to me.

What are you most considering today?

Skateboarding. I nonetheless attempt to get out as a lot as I can. I’ve damaged each bone in my physique so many instances, so it’s no matter. I’m 39 years outdated, so once I’m not sore from the final session, it’s time to get again on the market.

Now I’ve days in between skating once I’m sore as shit, so I began fascinated with different issues that impressed me in my life. I all the time liked artwork, drawing, and tattoos. It fell into my lap when a good friend who had a store stated, “Why don’t you simply begin apprenticing beneath me?” I assumed it sounded enjoyable. Now it’s turn out to be an habit, identical to skating. It may be nerve-racking to assume, If I fuck up, that is one thing that’s there for this individual’s life. I get this identical feeling of rush when I’m tattooing that I do once I’m doing anything. 

Apart from that, my pursuits embrace portray, aspect tasks, and woodshop stuff. Something that may preserve me shifting and going ahead.

Now for an important query of the interview: Does weed save lives?

Weed does save lives. I’ve been saying this for the reason that starting of time and now the fucking world is beginning to see it.

What number of instances have you ever talked about that with skaters?

It doesn’t matter what nation, metropolis, restaurant, or no matter. If a skater acknowledges me, it’s all the time, “Weed saves lives! All proper, Braydon, woo!”

Observe together with Braydon’s skateboarding and tattooing right here.

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