You may not remember Ishod Wair’s amateur days very well, because he pretty much jumped into the pro ranks overnight. As an amateur he took the Maloof Money Cup, and went pro right after. If you’re more impressed by street skills than contest savvy, watch his part in Real Skateboards’ “Since Day One” – and be blown away. His skating earns him countless fans and that fanbase continues to grow as he progresses through each stop in the SLS Nike SB World Tour.
After shredding Stoner Skate Plaza in West LA at a Real Skateboards demo, Wair and I sat down to discuss the difference when Nyjah isn’t there, which stops have been his favorite this season, and how the pros give their input on SLS course design.
Which stops so far this season have been your favorites?
Barcelona and Kansas City. Barcelona because it’s awesome and we were skating sick street spots. Kansas City because of Malto and all his homies, they’re sick. In Kansas City the contest was close to the hotel so you didn’t have to go far for anything, so it was good vibes.
Did you feel any difference in Munich because Nyjah wasn’t there? Was there a sense of relief amongst the other skaters because he wasn’t there?
Everybody was killing it just as hard in Munich and people go for it as hard as they can every time, so I don’t know. It’s not to say that people were going harder because he wasn’t there, because they still skated well when he was there.
You made your first finals appearance in Munich. Do you have an approach for each stop?
I just go and try to skate, and I pretty much hope things fall into place. This time I was more prepared going into the finals. We’d been skating the park for a couple of days and that extra day of skating helps out for sure.
This is your second year in Street League, do you find it difficult to keep up with such a hectic schedule?
I’m having a great time. The scheduling doesn’t bother me necessarily, it’s just that I have less time to go out and street skate. That’s what I do more than skate contests, so it makes it hard when you travel because the days you travel begin really early, so you’re losing time there. I’m also filming a video part right now for the Nike SB Chronicles 2. But it keeps getting pushed back because a lot of us have other obligations and some of us are in Street League, so we need more time.
The next stop is this upcoming weekend in Portland. Have you been there before?
I’ve been there a few times but it’s usually been pretty rainy. I never went there during a good season like spring or summer. I always seem to go there at the end of the year when it’s kind of crummy.
If you were playing SLS Fantasy who would you choose as your top three to win Portland?
Luan Oliveira, Paul Rodriguez and Sean Malto.
Luan’s been impressing you this season?
Yes. Luan impresses me every day. If you skate with him, he’ll impress you no matter what. He’s amazing. He’s OD with it.
What do you like specifically about Street League this year?
I like that you can give your own input on the course to Joe C and he’ll implement the changes. He has plans for the stops and he’ll show them to us and see what we say about them. If you have some good input he’ll do his best to meet those requirements for the next stop.
Have you made any suggestions?
Yes. He’ll bring out the blueprint and show it to you face to face so you can say stuff like, “This looks a little high,” or “This looks a little low.” He cares about the little things.
With three stops left who do you think is taking it all?
Nyjah has the most wins so I would assume he would because he’s the only one with multiple wins. There are three left and since Chris Cole won one I’d say he has a good chance. If Nyjah wasn’t there for the rest of the year I’d say Paul Rodriguez, Luan Oliveria and Sean Malto. All those dudes are contenders. They’re in the top rankings so they’ve got it down.
Interview by Reggie Altema, courtesy of http://streetleague.com/.