Pro Interviews

Palmer–Man on a Mission – Pro Skateboarder Interview

I just want to spread the word that Albuquerque has one of the best skate scenes on the planet–Hands down the best ditches in the world. A lot of pools, sick hills to bomb, great street skating, and very cool locals.

Words: by Sasha La Rochelle

For my first project for Concrete Disciples, I couldn’t think of anyone better than Palmer–the man who skates everything (and anything for that matter). From tearing up the 45 foot banks at The Bear to shreddin a pool to
putting most street folks to shame, this man does it all.

Growing up in Fontana in the 80’s and 90’s, the killer backyard ramp and pool scene couldn’t be beat. First hitting the board at age 12 skating street, then moving on to pools by 14–the older generation like Bird, Ron Yerman, Losi, Tracy Little, Salba and other locals rippers inspired the up and comers such as Palmer to get it on heavy and get it on for real.

A Big Air in Silverthorne CO – Photo by GBM

Unfortunately a move to Ohio a couple of years later put a damper on the whole pool idea and moved him back onto the streets. But back in Cali again another couple of years later he got back into skating pools and started entering (and winning) CASL comps. Some of Palmer’s early sponsors included Blast Skate Shop, Poker Skateboards, and Whino Wear. A trip to Russia to compete in the Goodwill Games was another boost in the arm for his career, placing first in vert, second in street, and third in downhill.

I recently caught up with Palmer to ask him a few random questions about his life on the board…. 

Who were your early influences and who inspires you today?
Skaters I looked up to as a kid were Natas, Salba, Hackett, Olson, and Gonz to name a few. I like to watch guys like Cardiel, Speyer, and Dave Ruel- anyone fast and crazy.

Slide n roll @ home and a gnarly f.s. wall jammer – Photo by GBM

How do you feel about today’s street skaters compared to the dowhillers and pool skaters? Example: do you see a different type of scene of do you think they’re pretty much the same?
Today’s street skaters are sick. They put themselves on the line over and over. I have a lot of respect for those guys. Street hit a dead spot with big pants, small wheels, and flat land tricks, but I guess that all lead to those same tricks down big stairs and rails. It all comes around. We all ride skateboards so it’s all good.

What was the skate scene like in Ohio?
I lived in a small town and it sucked. Not many skaters and not many spots. We had a few barn ramps or just went to Cleveland or Pittsburg to skate. The only pools were huge square ones with banked walls. That’s when I got heavy into skating street and gaps.

Where in the world have you traveled to for skate related events?
I’ve been everywhere from Canada to Mexico to Russia. I hope to make some events in Canada this year. Those guys have a killer downhill scene up there.

Slalom Racing @ working a steep backyarder – Photos by Team Goon & GBM

How did you get involved with the whole downhill/slalom scene?
We have a race out here in Albuquerque every year at the Bear Ditch. It has 45 foot high walls on a steep grade. It’s crazy. 2 years ago a guy in practice before the contest crushed his skull going head first into the wall. Anyway, Hackett and Olson were out here for the contest and so I entered and won and they put me on the team. Those guys kill it–and by it I mean everything. It’s pretty sick riding for the guys whose posters were on my wall when I started skating.

I moved to Albuquerque about 7 years ago because my father was having health problems and I wanted to be closer to him. The scene out here is killer. There are tons of good spots and the locals are cool–no rock star attitude out here. We have two good cement parks, close to 300 ditches and a lot of good and not so good pools. We skate it all out here.

I think the attitude out here is pretty hard core. Even when we find really bad pools we skate them anyway. We were riding a kidney this weekend that was 10 feet deep and 10 feet wide–talk about tight! I also have a pool in my backyard that we skate. It’s a sick egg shaped one with a great shallow end. That’s why I bought the house. It’s the one in the pics with me R&R sliding over the stairs.

Care to share a little about the BLR Crew?
Black Leather Racing is all about going fast and not doing that whole lycra thing. We don’t practice, we show up drunk, and still take home the prize money.

Where in the world would you like to go to for a downhill race?
It would be sick to hit those races in South Africa. They have a really laid back scene over there from what I’ve heard.

Frontside Hurricane @ hanging with the lady – Photos by GBM (L) KENNY MOLLICA (R)

Ever surf or snowboard?
I surfed some growing up and have been snowboarding for 13 years. I lived up in Big Bear for a season and rode 5 days a week. It was a lot of fun but I got burnt out quick and just wanted to go back down the hill and skate.

Anything else you’d like to share with your adoring fans?(Just kidding 🙂
I just want to spread the word that Albuquerque has one of the best skate scenes on the planet–Hands down the best ditches in the world. A lot of pools, sick hills to bomb, great street skating, and very cool locals.

Current Sponsors:
Sector 9Black Leather Racing, and the Beach Zone skate shop

Plan of action for 2005…..
Skate as many pools and drink as much PBR as possible.