Birling the Skatepark Effect
Wesley Lee, Drop down to 50-50. Cayer By Adam Wawrzynczak There was once a time when skateparks acted primarily as warm-up spots....
What always stuck out to me the most about Cody’s skating is his confidence. Not only can he land most tricks first try and pop onto just about anything, but he doesn’t make false claims. It doesn’t matter what setup he’s riding, whether his shoes are new or if his board is old. Most of the time he doesn’t even like to warm up because he believes it will waste his energy. Over the past three years we’ve been shooting together, he consistently progresses and pushes his physical and mental limits, often learning new tricks on the fly while in the streets. He always stays true to himself rather than following trends and makes fun the number one priority during the session. The only thing I ever hear him complain about is when we go to a ledge spot, but I guess nobody is perfect.
Interview and photos by Nathan Stripp
How old are you, where are you from, and how long you been skating?
I’m 25, from Mississauga, and I’ve been skating since I was 10. I grew up in Milton but I moved to Mississauga right before high school.
How did you get into skateboarding initially?
Just from seeing kids in the neighbourhood. They were skating a curb and I thought, I want to do that too.
What else were you into at that time?
I did a lot of outdoorsy stuff. I liked ATVing, camping, and BMX. I was pretty good at BMX and I used to build dirt jumps to hit.
What made you give up the BMX?
Eventually I stopped after I realized how much you can fucking die on them. You can’t kick away a bike like you can kick away a skateboard. Skating is the sickest.
Do you remember your first handrail?
My first handrail in the street was caveman Boardslide down an 8-stair. After that I would caveman Boardslide on everything.
What do you do for work?
I’m a mail courier.
Does that allow you to find a lot of skate spots?
I scout spots on the road all the time. I’ll see something and pull over to the side of the road and take a picture to send to the crew. I just love finding new rails and I’m always looking for bigger ones to do.
How do you get the confidence to jump on a new rail?
If I know that I have the trick, it’s the same thing on a bigger rail as the smaller ones just this time you slide a bit farther. I just look at it that way and try not to over-think.
I hear you read the entire Lord of the Rings series.
I love Lord of the Rings. It’s so cool; it has like a bunch of fantasy-type things in it like magic and wizards. There’s sword fighting and huge battles that take place in sketchy medieval-type places and the characters are just rad in general. Just badass mofos. I’m a huge fan of anything fantasy like video games, anime, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings.
Do you watch Game of Thrones?
Nah, not yet, but I’m going to.
Tell me about your video game collection. How many systems do you own?
I have: N64 with over 30 games; Gameboy with all the Pokemon games; GameCube with over 40 games; original Xbox, Nintendo 3DS, and a Wii. I really love all the classic Nintendo games though. The N64 Legend of Zelda series and Mario 64 are my favourite to play. I’ve beaten those games at least 500 times. I still play them at least once a month. The Pokemon series is a close second.
Are you still adding to your collection?
I’m still buying, but not as often as I used to.
How much do the games go for?
It depends how rare or popular the game is. It ranges anywhere from $5 to $250.
How did it feel getting your first photo printed in King Shit a couple years ago?
I was so stoked. I still have two copies of the magazine with my first photo. My mom archives one and I keep one. It got me so fired up and made me want to get out to try getting more photos and skate new and harder things.
So it changed your approach to skating?
Yeah, definitely. Once I realized it’s possible to get in magazines, I started trying to skate street all the time to get in more, as opposed to just skating parks and drinking beers.
How else has getting photos changed the way you do things?
It’s made me realize that I was dressing worse than a homeless person. Before that I didn’t realize every time I went out I was wearing the same sweater. And then I was like, “Why is it that I only have three sweaters?” So I had to go out and buy new clothes.
How’s the new video part coming along?
So far so good. It will definitely be the best caliber of skating that I have ever put out. I have been beaten, bloodied, and bruised working for this part.
What kind of injuries have you been dealing with?
I’ve been pretty lucky so far actually, just some rolled ankles and a sore body. I don’t want to jinx it (knock on wood).
Was last summer your first time visiting Montreal?
Yeah. It was quite an experience for me. I got to go and skate an entirely new city with a different language, got to hang out with pros at the Dime contest and at the bars afterwards. I was so hungover I took a nap in Peace Park before the outdoor contest took place on the second day. I ended up with a rolled ankle halfway through the trip, so I just hung out and enjoyed myself.
How did you manage getting around with a rolled ankle? Were you stuck hanging out by yourself while everyone went street skating?
Nah, Joey Boyce was nice enough to rent me a bike, and after that I just hobbled around.
Good on Joey, always helping out the homies. Did you take in any of the fine food like poutine or smoked meat sandwiches?
I had a few poutines but mostly just Burger King nuggets and grilled cheese.
Who was the coolest pro you met?
The coolest pro was Evan Smith. I was standing outside the Couche-Tard at Peace Park with Joey and Sam Flude, and he came out of the store with a huge case of beers. He gave one to each of us and we all shotguned them and he walked off into the sunset.