Eric Koston: Epicly Later'd (Part 1/6)

Uploaded by vice on 16.09.2012


ERIC KOSTON: I mean, that's probably the space.
Underneath that one.

SEAN MALTO: Honestly, everyone trips on Eric.
It's funny, because Rick Howard trips on Eric probably
just as much Stevie Perez does, still.
He's just talented.
MIKE CARROLL: He's like, one of the
greats, and it's longevity.
It's not like this one dude who's fucking doing really
good for these last three years.
He's been sick for 21 years or something.
He's just Koston.
PATRICK O'DELL: What's up.
Welcome back to Epicly Later'd.
This series we're beginning is about Eric Koston.
I think when you take a look at the all-time greats in
skateboarding, there's definitely Tony Hawk, Mark
Gonzales, Danny Way, Rodney Mullen, Andrew Reynolds, and
right up there is also Eric Koston.
It's undeniable that through the last couple decades, he's
been far and above one of the best skaters around.
Filmed some really amazing parts.
And he's always not only ahead, but ahead on skating
gaps, on hand rails, and perfect style.
Just one of those unbeatable skaters that everyone looks to
as one of the best street skaters of all time.
And I'm super stoked he's on the show.
It's kind of interesting, I interviewed Meza, and at the
end of the interview, he was like, you don't really know
much about Koston, do you?
And I realized, I kind of didn't, other
than his skate tricks.
ERIC KOSTON: You son of a bitch!
You're a fucking son of a bitch!
PATRICK O'DELL: We get glimpses at who Koston is, but
it's kind of tough.
It's like kind of an enigma a little bit.
So we're going to go over to his house.
We're going to go to Girl Skateboards.
We're going to find some people from his past.
The next couple of weeks, it's all about Koston, one of the
best skaters of all time.
And I'm super stoked.
I hope you enjoy it.

ERIC KOSTON: That's how she rides it.
That's how I learned how to ride a skateboard too.

FEMALE SPEAKER: It don't have brakes.
ERIC KOSTON: It doesn't have brakes.
No, it does not have brakes.
FEMALE SPEAKER: No, it tips.
It's very tipsy.

That's me.
PATRICK O'DELL: Which one?
ERIC KOSTON: That's me as a baby.
PATRICK O'DELL: So you were born in Thailand?
I was born in Bangkok.
My dad, he's American.
He was in the Air Force.
And then he met my mom in Thailand.
He was stationed there, and then eight or nine months
after that, we moved back here.
I grew up in San Bernardino because that's where the Air
Force Base was.
They got a divorce pretty young.
And so that's the only place she really knew.
TIM GAVIN: You know Eric's from San Bernardino.
And San Bernardino's basically just east of hell.
I think his dad split and he had a step-dad or something.
And it was pretty much the exact
scenario that I was living.
So that was another connection we had.
ERIC KOSTON: This is a good one.
Beautiful hair, look at that.
I could grow that back out, too.
I was 12 there, wearing this Lance Mountain shirt.
I got into skating because of my older brother.
It was the mid '80s, and so he was super into it.
It was '85, '86.
First board was a Gonz.
The one Gonz with the face.
Tail was already pretty worn out.
It was like a hand-me-down.
Because my mom was like-- they were not buying new shit.
I remember I used to push around on my knee.
I remember somebody telling me some horror story of somebody
else doing it and hitting a crack and
smashing their teeth out.
That's what made me actually stand up and push.
MALE SPEAKER: Do it again.
PATRICK O'DELL: Would you say you were good right off the
bat at skating?
ERIC KOSTON: Not right off the bat, but I guess I progressed
probably pretty quickly.

I remember just being freaked out, like what if I
just don't make it?
What if I hook up and flip-- that's all you could think--
hook up and flip over straight to my face.
And eventually I worked my way up slowly,
gradually, to the top.

You know, finally like, oh, that's all you had to do?

PATRICK O'DELL: So how did you get sponsored?
ERIC KOSTON: I got sponsored because Eddie Elguera-- he
lived in Redlands, which was right next to San Bernardino.
And so we just ended up meeting that way.
ERIC KOSTON: Eddie, he was like an OG vert and pool dude.
Ooh, got to skate.
ERIC KOSTON: He was really good on mini-ramps, and lot of
dancing on the coping.
He invented the frontside rock-- or maybe
Duane Peters did.
It's still-- there's controversy there.
I still think there's some beef.
He invented the Elguerial, which is kind of like going up
fakie, kind of a full cab into an invert.
He was that mix of ripping backyard pool guy, and still
skating vert as well.
EDDIE ELGUERA: When I got connected with Eric, I was
doing a vert demo in Highland, California.
And he lived in San Bernardino.
So he was always hanging around.
And they said, this guy is just tearing it up.
EDDIE ELGUERA: From that time, we kind of hung out a lot.
I had a half pipe in my backyard, a little mini-ramp.

It was just straight for hours, filming, videotaping.
He was doing all kinds of stuff.
He was just busting out.
So way back then, when he was like 15 years old, he would
just do stuff like that.
And I think it helped him, really, into street skating.
Just being able to do that stuff on the mini-ramps, or
the vert, or transition--
helped him when he went to street.
EDDIE ELGUERA: Eric was always tearing it up.
I'm telling you, he just had that talent that you knew that
he was going to be great.
ERIC KOSTON: Yeah, I was probably 14.
Eddie started giving me boards from that point.
No, I didn't really state like him.
I just skated with him.


ERIC KOSTON: I mean what I'd call it, a protege?
Or more of like a mentor, I think.
EDDIE ELGUERA: Yeah, do that puppy.
I used to flow him.
We used to take him to demos.
We used to go out and demo.
ERIC KOSTON: There was a demo in San Bernardino, and Hensley
came, and Steve Ortega.
And I was just skating this quarter pipe, just trying to
hometown hero it, little dude.
And skating with Matt Hensley, it was like the most insane
dream session too by the way.
At that point, he was the best, in my eyes.
Hensley was like the gnarliest dude out at the time.
I guess after that, Hensley had gone back and said
something to Mike Ternasky about me as well.
So than Eddie told me that Ternasky wanted to meet me.
EDDIE ELGUERA: At that time, he wasn't sponsored.
I was trying to get him sponsored, even with H-Street.
At first, they were like, no, we're not sure.
We have a lot of guys on the team.
I'm telling you, you need this guy.
You need to get him on the team, because if not, you're
going to blow it.
Because I'm telling you right now, this guy
is going to be amazing.
TIM GAVIN: I remember when we first met him.
We were just like talking to the dude, and going, there's
no way this dude is getting on H-Street.
I remember seeing the dude, and he was this
nerdy-looking dude.
I was like, who the fuck are these losers?
But for some reason, maybe it was an Asian bond between us,
but I just went up to him and tried to make the guy feel
There was a Castle contest that same day.
We went to the contest.
First time I've ever seen this guy skate, I was like, this
guy's unbelievable.
He was doing those 540 ollies on the quarter pipe.
But he was fucking--
he was doing everything.
EDDIE ELGUERA: But then finally they came around and
said, yeah, you know what, you're right.
And then he just went from there and got sponsored.

AARON MEZA: I first heard of him in the H-Street video.
That's the first time anybody heard of him.
And it was true, you kind of got the idea that it was
Eddie's little protege.
His only footage is in his driveway.
So this must be his little buddy.
EDDIE ELGUERA: He really wanted to be a professional
skateboarder, gave his time to it.
Actually, I think, he quit school and just was stating
all the time.
And I really wanted to see him succeed,
because I saw the talent.

What was that?
ERIC KOSTON: Impossible to nosepick.
EDDIE ELGUERA: I was the director of a skateboard camp
in Wisconsin, Lake Owen.
ERIC KOSTON: Yeah, Eddie.
Where'd that one come from?
EDDIE ELGUERA: I took him up.
He was one of the skate instructors.
ERIC KOSTON: Sorry, camera.
EDDIE ELGUERA: All right, come on, man.
Come on, now.
You need to make it or die.
Yeah, Steve.
I recently heard from some guys that were campers.
And then they look back now and say, man,
he was my camp counselor.
But he wasn't pro or anything at that time.
But they knew that, man, this guy, he's amazing.

I remember him doing ollie impossibles down hand rails.
And it's like, people can't even do ollie impossibles.
He'd be doing them down hand rails.
He was doing stuff back then that was just amazing.
It was just--
it was cool to see.
Killer footage.

Those were great times.
We celebrated his 16th birthday.
So it was kind of cool.
And I just took him under my wing, in terms of--
just to be there for him, in terms of--
maybe a father figure at that time in his life.
It's OK, it's OK.
Hopefully I imparted some things into to him that maybe
helped him to be who he is.
Super good.
I just believe sometimes, when you have that person in your
life that believes in you when nobody else believes in you--
not believe in you because of what they can get out of you,
but believe in you for who you are as a person.
I think that's important.