When I spoke to Nick Boserio a few weeks ago he was in high spirits. After all, the beginning of The Cold War Tour was the next morning, he’d had a beer or two, and he expects to reside in the US by the end of the year. We spoke to Brass about his part in the new zero video (Cold War is coming), skating with Frank Gerwer, Two Up with Alex Campbell and why you’ve got to kill the bear. Enjoy –
Photography by Jason Morey
Interview by Stephen Cox
Let’s start off with where you’re from and your life growing up.
Ok. I was born in England in Epsom. We lived there for about six or nine months following my birth [laughs]. Then we moved to India for about two and a half years. I don’t really remember much from there. My older brother does. Then we went to Oman for about four years, which is the first place I remember. It’s like a coastal country. We lived in Muscat, which is the capital city there. That was really awesome. Then we moved from there to Indonesia for about three and a half years. Then to Perth, which is where my mum’s family was and still is.
You started skating by the time you were in Indonesia didn’t you?
We had skateboards in Indonesia but I started skating I guess in Perth for sure. I was about ten when we moved and about twelve when I started skating every day.
How were you introduced?
Nick: My older brother… hey man, I’m doing this interview.
Lannie [Rhoades]: Interview? Can I be in it?
Nick: Yeah. This is Lannie, man. I’m staying at his house right now. I’m sitting on his bed for this.
Lannie: Hi Stephen its Lannie. How are you?
I’m good how are you?
Lannie: It’s going good. We’re about to get real drunk.
What time is it there?
Lannie: It’s time to get drunk.
Lannie: It’s about five. We’re about to go on a hike and shotgun a beer for our friend who passed away. You wanna come?
I’d love to.
Lannie: Let’s just do the interview as we go up the hike.
Nick: We’re not going right now.
Lannie: Yeah we are.
Nick: No we’re not.
Lannie: How long is this going to take?
Nick: Half an hour I reckon.
Lannie: Let me show you something real quick.
Nick: I’ll be one second.
What was it?
I’ll text it to you [laughs]. Where were we? Yeah, my brother skated as well. I’m the younger brother, I wanted to do everything he did.
Does he still skate?
Who did you skate with growing up then?
I wanted to skate with my brother and his friends. They would let me tag along sometimes but I skated with him and then my friend Adam Poulsen, his grandparents house was between me and the local primary school. I skated with him every afternoon for a while and then I started skating with some other guys who lived in that area. We started venturing as far as the local library in the afternoons, after school. A bunch of my friends skated there, I don’t really see those guys anymore, which is a shame but I get to speak to them every now and then. Then I started skating with my friend Harry Clark who still skates to this day. He rides for Nike Australia. He’s awesome. He’s the person I’ve known longest in my life other than my family.
I remember reading Brendon Sim was huge factor in you starting skating too.
Yeah, yeah. When I was going to the skateshop with my mum and shit, it was some horrible surf shop that had a skate section and he actually made it pretty awesome like a real skateshop, he would say, “that’s not cool, you can’t do that”. I didn’t listen to him, I was useless. I was doing all sorts of punky shit.
I was! I was wearing a propeller hat, doing grabs and shit. Grabs that aren’t even real. But he taught me how to grip a board and shit. Me and Harry would see him a lot when we went to the skateshop.
When did you begin getting recognition?
I don’t know. When I saw Adam again recently, he said that I took a tape or something to the skate shop in the city and they said “we don’t fuckin’ sponsor kids”. I don’t know, just from being around. We started skating in the city more. That’s what it would have been, a friend of ours Josh Roberts and his crew did this thing ‘Select Skate’ which is a website and they would put up our footage every couple of weeks and make little clips, which at the time was pretty ahead of the curve. That would probably have been the first time we had footage out there for people to see.
You’ve been in the states for a couple of weeks now is that right?
Yeah, I’ve been here for about a week and a half.
I know you’re hoping to make the move permanent at some stage this year too. Have you applied for your visa?
I have. My girlfriend – my fiancée – is from out here and we just applied for a fiancée visa. It should be cleared by the end of the year and I’ll be coming over here by January or something, which is really exciting.
You’re over at the moment for the Cold War tour is that right?
Yeah we go on summer tour tomorrow for three weeks. Mate, I’m so fuckin’ excited. Lannie – who you met – he films at Black Box, he’s driving and he’s going to be coming along. My friend Jack Kirk is with me. He rides for $lave and Vans Australia at the moment. We got him on the trip, which is fuckin’ sick. He’s my roll dog over here. Windsor James is going to be on half of it. James Brockman, Tony Cervantes. More people than I can even think of. Some people I don’t even know. Dane Burman’s coming. I think Sascha Daley. It’s Mystery as well.
And $lave too?
Jack’s the only rider from $lave. We just winged it. Me and Lenny are just going to share our seat and our room with him and stuff. He’s just coming [laughs]. I mean, we’ve come all the way over from Australia and it’s like, “fuck, what am I doing? I’ve seen New York, I’ve seen San Diego and L.A.” I’ve got to see a couple of States but if the opportunity is there to get driven half way across the country then it’s yours. We get to go to Texas, Alabama, Atlanta. You can’t miss that opportunity you know?
Definitely, so you’ve met the whole team at this point?
I’ve met pretty much everyone. I don’t think I’ve met Chris [Cole] since I actually got on. I met him before because I came to Black Box and stuff. I met [John] Rattray, but that was before I was on as well. I got to do an interview with him before this.
Plenty of street skating to look forward to as well then.
Yeah we’ll be street skating and doing demos. Everything.
How’s the Cold War part coming along?
It’s coming along. I mean, you ask someone how their part is coming along and it my mind it’s never over. You’re never going to be like, “I’m good, I’m sweet”, you know?
Yeah, I just got that picture [laughs].
It was a fresh start with the footage after leaving the Workshop wasn’t it?
Yeah. I’m filming for a Nike Australia video part as well.
Two Up with Alex Campbell, is that right?
Yeah. They’re both going really good. I’m really happy with where I’m at. It never ends, you know?
Everyone asks, but what are your experiences of Jamie’s work ethic? Does he live up to the reputation?
I wish I had that for you but he’s been nothing but supportive and professional. I don’t even know if he’s seen my footage or not.
How are you feeling about meeting the expectations of past Zero videos?
Oh fuck, I don’t know. Expectations are whatever. It doesn’t even make any sense you know? I want to do something that suits the image of Zero I have. I really want to do something where it’s a classic Zero line, where you drop the hammer or whatever it is – the big trick – and then right afterwards do a flip trick off the curb. I’ve been dying for one of those even before riding for Zero was a possibility. It’s the coolest fuckin’ thing. [Erik] Ellington did it best.
Do you have particular favourite past videos from the company?
Dying to Live and Misled Youth. Dying to Live I watched heaps of times. It was one of the first skate videos I had, so I’ve watched that a million times. Over and over again. Misled Youth, I just think is the sickest video. Those two win for me as far as Zero videos go.
What difficulties has living in Melbourne as opposed to the US brought to your skating career?
Shit, everything [laughs]. If I was trying to explain it to someone in The States, I guess I would imagine it as living in butt fuck city in some State that no one ever goes to and it costing two thousand Dollars to get to California or wherever you want to go. But it also leaves you in a position where a company can leave you in limbo, like Europe or something. It’s like, “you’re on distribution out there, you’re representing us out there and that’s awesome”. You can be out there with the Australian budgets and the team and there you go. You have to push yourself to break through that you know?
That beard might have helped. Do you get recognized more easily because of it?
Every now and then [laughs]. Which is weird. I don’t know if anyone gets used to that.
Chris Middlebrook told me your approach to skating was to man up.
[Laughs]. Yeah, fuck. You’ve got to man up. You’ve got to kill the bear. Have you seen the movie The Edge?
No I haven’t.
Here you go; this is a little tip for you to put in the writing for the people. It’s got Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. There’s a scene, you can look it up on YouTube if you can’t be fucked watching the whole movie, which is stupid. You should watch the whole movie.
I’ve watched that scene actually.
Yeah, well Anthony Hopkins tells Alec Baldwin – their characters in the movie – in order to not be killed by the bear, they have to kill the bear themselves. We used to say that a lot, me and Middsy for a while. But yeah, there are certain things you want to do and you’ve just got to go for it. It makes sense.
Some of the tricks look like they need some mental preparation though. How do you approach it?
[Laughs]. There’s a million different ways. Wear knee socks and have my shoes tied up real tight. That’s’ the most important part.
Do you ever opt out?
Yeah, for sure. You’ve got to pick your battles. I mean fuck, people are just maniacs twenty-four seven. I like to at least be smart you know?
You’ve probably heard it before but it’s always refreshing to watch skating that isn’t so over-technical. Do you think about this?
I just do what I like doing. I’d like to tell you that I’m really conscious of what skating I’m into, and that I skate that way because I think that’s what skating needs but I just do what I can. I do what I like doing.
How do you view your own progression on the board?
You want to do better. I don’t know about improving. I have weird things I want to be better at. I really wanted to learn slappy crooks for ages so I made sure I learned slappy crooks. I don’t know if I’ll ever film slappy crooks. It comes from people around me. My friend has a really good switch flip. I don’t have a good switch flip, so now I want to work on switch flips. But I don’t wanna do one down a fuckin’ double set. I just wanna have a good flat ground switch flip. Just shit like that.
Who have has influenced you past and present?
Yep. That’s impossible. There’s so many people.
What about in terms of the Australian scene?
That’s the people I’m around. My friends. The beer money crew. Jack Kirk, Callum Paul, Bryce Golder, Harry Clark, Geoff Campbell, the people I’m around. It has to be that way for everyone, your friends, the people you skate with. They’re the ones you’re most stoked on. Mat Kinsman, Tim Williams. I like saying my friends full names [laughs]. It’s cool. I don’t call any of them those names.
I saw that road gap ollie in Slam.
I’m wearing a tie-dye hoodie?
It had a bump to it. The dude who rides for Black Label 180’d it the same day. It was actually a really awesome day. Frank Gerwer was showing us around. Frank Gerwer knew where the spot was. I’m name dropping, I got to hang out with Frank Gerwer [laughs]. He was telling us stories and stuff. It was a really fun day. He was like, “there’s this road gap, yes that’s the one”. Someone had done it back in the day. Justin Strubing or something. We were just skating it. It was sick.
How did the Nike hook up happen for you?
Pretty much James Whineray got me on. When Middsy got the job, he was trying to build a team or whatever and he hit up. Whineray who was already riding for Nike and for some reason he said my name. I’d already been wearing Nikes so that photos I had ran in magazines so I think that tipped it over the edge. It just went from there. I was flow kid, then on a trip and blah blah blah.
Do you hope to have a shoe one day then?
Fuck, that’d be nice [laughs]. I actually really like the idea of designing a shoe or just doing a colorway. Most skateboarders, I think because we stare at our feet so much, love shoes or care about what shoes we have on our feet. It would be cool to at least play a part in what a shoe would look like. Hopefully we get to have a shoe that goes with the Two Up video. I think they’re trying to sort that out. That’d be cool.
What do you skate?
I’m wearing Janoskis right now. Canvas. Nike does a good canvas; it’s like a two layer. But I like Blazers. Bruins are actually really good; they’re starting to do them again. I really like that shoe. That was one of my favourites.
This interview was delayed for a while because of the sad death of your friend Lewis Marnell. If you don’t mind can you share a fond memory of him?
We were in Perth. Everyone was sitting around – Middsy reminded me of when went to trip to Ballarat – he was trying to save this mouse. He called it Balla because he found a rat in Ballarat. He wanted to save this mouse so bad he didn’t even want to look at what the spot was. He had this little shoebox and he was trying to put grass in there for it and feed it snacks and stuff. I don’t know, [laughs]. He was just so into trying to save the poor fuckin’ thing. He found this rat and he was just like, “this is what I’m doing for the rest of the day.” Completely soul. It just, I don’t know.
Showed his character?
Yeah. There’s a bunch of different times.
Has his death pushed you in ways skating or otherwise?
It’s not about the skating. It makes you think a lot about the life you have.
Right. What’s Beer Money?
[Laughs]. Yeah! I like this! Jack Kirk, my role dog. I’ve said his name three times already in this interview; his old man does sign writing. He made a bunch of stickers. It’s a sub division of the Poon Crew; we’ve had some t-shirts made. There will be more. It’s Beer Money. It’s Jack’s company. It’s gonna fuckin’ take off.
How do you keep yourself busy when you’re off the board?
Beer Money [laughs]. No, I usually try and keep it pretty mellow. No one wants to hear about it I guess, but I like spending time with my fiancée. I like watching TV. I try and spend as much time as I can skating and being around my friends. It’s easy in Melbourne to be put skating and not killing yourself. We meet up in bars and do whatever we want. I spend as much time with my friends and my girlfriend as possible. That’s what I like doing. I like being around people.
When’s the wedding?
Early next year. I’m really excited. We just had an engagement party. We had everyone there and it was a really good time.
Thanks Nick. Enjoy the tour.
The photo texted is on The Deaf Lens Instagram feed.
Special thanks – Chris Middlebrook, Nike SB, Callum Paul, Ben Powell, Henry Kingsford, Dan Post
Follow Nick Boserio on Instagram: nickboserio