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Mike Stewart

Text: Lyle Matsuura
Images: Sam Muller

I spent hours one Sunday afternoon trying to find a clever play on the phrase, “You don’t bring sand to the beach,” for the opening of Adrian Adrid’s interview. I had nothing. Then I realized it was a stupid idea. So I went into the fridge, heated up some leftovers, and popped in Aryeh Kraus’ Recipe for Happiness, a video of which Adrian has an impressive part featuring my favorite Beatles tune, “You Never Give Me Your Money.” Then after 45 minutes of digestion, I stretched, went out, skated, and had a great time. I want to thank Adrian for that. Watching most young rippers makes you want to quit; they do hard tricks, but they’re usually all stressed out and stiff. With Adrian, his combination of smooth style and tech, plus his carefree attitude, makes you want to do the opposite. It just makes you want to go out with your friends, have fun, get hurt, laugh and do whatever. In a sea of talented young skateboarders trying to find their way, only the genuine ones seem to stick out. If you’re a scum bag, then you’re a scum bag. If you’re cool, then you’re cool. You can’t really fake these things. People see right through them, or at least I hope they do. Adrian’s energy and charm definitely encapsulate the North Shore of O‘ahu. The way it crosses over into skateboarding is really magical and I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of it.

Contrast: Everyone knows that the North Shore is known for its surf. How did you get into skateboarding?
Adrian Adrid: I tried surfing for two years, but it wasn’t my thing. Everyone that I hung out with throughout high school was totally different than anyone else around. It was Brian Wyland, Travis Hancock, Aaron McMullen and Richard Elg. We were down to get away from the “cool” thing to do, which was surfing or football. Ironically, I first started skating because of a surfer named Mason Ho, who is one of my good friends. I think he got stuff from Sector 9 so he let me use his boards. That led to me getting my own board and meeting Travis who was all about skating already. Travis kept me skating for years without getting over it. His house basically had a skate park. There were jump ramps, boxes, rails of all sizes, even a rock gap. I guess the credit really goes to Peg and Dave, Travis’ parents.

Seems like there is a lot of sand, and very little concrete. Where did you guys skate growing up?
Originally, there was a house that was right between Travis’ house and Sunset Beach. Randomly, that house burnt to the ground so the city built a parking lot there. We skated for hours there, putting Travis’ rails and boxes down the curbs. Another spot we skated was Kahuku High and also the Elementary. Stairs, ledges, it was heaven. I still think the High School’s gym is still one of the best Hawai‘i spots of all. It got skate stopped, but the stoppers are pretty spread apart and it’s still skateable.

How did you guys kill time on the bus ride from North Shore to A‘ala Park? Any memorable rides?
It’s an hour and a half ride from Sunset Beach to A‘ala. We caught that bus every Saturday and Sunday for two years straight. We had to find ways to stay sane, but there’s a lot of shit that probably shouldn’t get said in here. I guess some of the PG-13 stuff could be fights on the bus between mokes, shoving paper shreds into the vents and them shooting onto people in front of us, stealing transfers when the driver wasn’t looking. Travis would take off all his clothes except his underwear and hang them over the railings. Catching the bus home from A‘ala at 9PM was always good. Old ladies used to plug their noses from us smelling the bus up with BO.

Who are your favorite skaters?
Right now my favorites are Grant Taylor and Mike Anderson. It seems like they are influenced by surfing or something. Their skating isn’t about tricks really, it’s more about the ride. They’re pure style. My all-time favorites are guys like Reynolds, Heath, Arto, Dill, Gonz, Penny, Koston. The list is a little too big to name them all.

Maestro Knows


Who are your favorite Hawai‘i locals? And what are your favorite local spots?
I say, “So and so is the best skater ever,” all the time so you could insert any of these guys in that phrase. Travis Hancock. He could be my favorite skater of all. Sean Reilly, Sean Payne, Troy Pintarelli needs to come to LA, Luke Hancock is a 100% shredder, Dyson is all style, Jarold Webb even though sometimes he’s a dickhead, Brian Wyland should have kept going. As far as spots go, A‘ala is basically a spot, not a park. It’s my favorite spot in the world. Kuykendall is amazing, UH in general, Cannon Club, Blaisdell is perfect. I really look at Hawai‘i as a spot because I’m always away for so long, I really want to skate it all when I’m back. Hale‘iwa has a lot of untouched stuff.

North Shore and LA seem like polar opposites in many ways. How was the transition? What are the ups and downs of trying to get up in the skate game?
The transition wasn’t too bad. I had already visited LA about three summers in a row before I decided to live in LA. It took almost a year before I figured out how everything worked in LA. I didn’t get sponsored until I lived there. The industry is there almost exclusively so it’s easy to meet people, make friends that are really good and motivate you, and to get to know the guys that run major companies. You also get to see pros on a regular basis which kind of puts you in the same boat as them. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. It sucks because when it really comes down to it, they become your competition. Another bad aspect of skating in LA is not only are pros your competition, but every other skater is. It’s all a competition whether you like it or not. I hate it. It seems like no one has fun anymore. This is a generalization, not everyone you meet in LA is out to beat you. But it’s almost rubbed off on me. It puts me in a depressive state of mind all the time because I’m constantly telling myself, “I love skating, not being better than other people.” I’m always arguing with myself about moving back to Hawai‘i because skating is much more pure here. It’s about a good time rather than doing better kickflip 5-0s than the next guy. Overall, I love skateboarding so much that I’ll put up with all the bullshit I have to in California so I can eventually make a career out of it.

Can you talk about Recipe for Happiness and your opening part for a bit? Overall, were you stoked on it?
Oh man, that was all a good time. I owe everything to Aryeh Kraus and Sam Muller. I learned how to go about making a video part. It takes a lot to get through it all. I got better at skating, learned tricks, and pushed myself to limits I didn’t know I could get to. I really put everything I had into that part. I cried at times. I’m really stoked on it. I want to do more though. I have more in me.

Are you filming for anything at the moment? What’s your program like?
No concrete plans yet, but there are talks of a FIDLAR video. FIDLAR is a crew that I’m a part of in LA. Good people, good times. Right now I’m still filming just to stack it up for myself. I edit my own footage to songs just to see what it might look like in a finished project. Hopefully we can pull ourselves together to make another project we could be stoked on.

Who do you want to thank?
I’d like to thank Matt, Ryan, and Chris at Stereo, Andrew at Circa, all the dudes from APB, Dom at Brooklyn Projects, and Sean at In4mation clothes.

Advice to the upcoming generations of Hawai‘i skaters trying to do their thing?
Advice? Skate everything that you can. Don’t limit yourself to ledges, or stairs, or transition. Learn how to ride everything. Keep your eyes open for new spots. Forget about trying to show people up at Voice Stream. Show people the spots by your house. Let me know if you need a place to stay when you come to California. Sometimes it’s full, but if there’s space, and I know you from somewhere, you are welcome. Hopefully I don’t regret inviting you.

Maestro Knows



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