Getting Weird with Evan Smith

dw austin 01
Here’s the lowdown: I do art for Drink Weird. Evan Smith skates for the company. We planned an inaugural skate trip to Austin, TX, and filled a van full of Evan’s friends (think Uma skateboards) and my homies (think Roger Skate Co. + friends). Rather than spinning some meandering tale about the mission, I just called Evan to get his take on the whole thing. —Michael Sieben

Photos by Jeff Davis

From the ditches to downtown, the Uma and Roger camps unleash the heat in the heart of Texas 

dw austin Evan Smith kickflip crooksEvan keeps Austin Weird with a kickflip crooks at Red Rooster. I just made that up. I don't think this rail actually has a name

dw austin 02Leave nothing but wheel marks, take nothing but tailgrabs—Evan follows the rules and handles biz at Lizard DIY

So how did the crew come together for this Drink Weird trip. Seemed like it was a pretty mixed bag of skaters—it wasn’t like a typical company outing.
Basically, the crew came about based on availability in these crazy times in skating. And it was cool that Drink Weird got us all together to go on a trip and support everyone’s careers. It’s really honorable and I know everyone that was on the trip really appreciated it. It was an insanely diverse crew but we share a common theme—we all love skateboarding.

How did you get Cody Chapman and Roman Pabich to come to Austin for this thing? Did you pull an Uma boss move and tell them they had to do it?
No way. I think that they're just interested in skating. They're interested in going anywhere and trying out new ventures, and Austin is an amazing place to skate. We had a fucking blast—we had a 12-passenger van that we all jumped in every day, the tunes were cranked to 12 and we were on a skate trip. I can attest that the skate industry is not doing the best right now, and the fact that we could actually get out there, skate together, meet new people and form new alliances, it was just really spectacular in in this crazy world. You know, the world is falling apart at our fingertips, daily, and the one thing that's holding hope for all of us is the fact that we get to go on skate trips and we get to skate together. We get to put ourselves out there as skateboarders. And some shit went down on this trip. It was insane.

dw austin 03Roman smashes cans and the laws of gravity—FSA

dw austin 04Out in the alleys, street Ro boarslides a neck-high bar

dw austin 05David Langston backs him up with some nasal scratching

Was there anyone who hopped in the van who you'd never met?
Yeah, definitely. There were definitely people on the trip that I'd never met, and now they're just straight family. Now I feel like I can go back to Austin and I got a place to stay. I got new friends and a new family. And, I mean, you can vouch that Austin has an insanely sick skate scene.

dw austin 16Tre Wade, top-shelf kickflip into the chute. Hell yeah, Yert

I can attest to that. It’s probably why I’ve never left. So Uma has a rider who lives here in Austin—Tre Wade. How did he pop up on your radar?
Tre was introduced to Uma through No-Comply because he rides for the shop, and we support No-Comply really hard. The moment I saw Tre skateboarding I was mesmerized by the fact that he has his own style, and he’s such a positive kid. You can just see him shining when he’s riding away from those tricks. And the fact that he’s as good as he is and is just in Austin doing his thing—he has the potential to fucking rip skateboarding apart and be a part of it on the top-tier level. And I think we all recognized that immediately. It’s an honor to work with him and we’re so happy he supports Uma and that we get to work with him on this venture. It was great skating with him on this trip, having him show us spots and leading us to the right things.

dw austin 15Long bump to tall bar—shine on, Tre. Ollie

dw austin 17Tre tosses up a front shove behind the pizza parlor

I’m really hyped you guys are helping him out. It’s cool to have someone in Austin sponsored by a board brand other than Roger, and Tre is such a great person.
He’s the shit and I am just so excited to see what he does with his career. It is so cool to be here to witness it. It’s beautiful.

Tell me something weird that happened on the trip.
Okay, Josh Roosin, who is part of the film crew at Drink Weird, he came back late from the bar one night and decided to tap into a little bit of late-night lasagna. And I guess he was a little tipsy at the time, because he spilled lasagna all over the stove and didn’t clean any of it up. We woke up the next day to a lasagna-covered kitchen. He became “Lasagna Man” the next morning, and now every time he calls my phone that’s the name that pops up.

dw austin 06Langston tests his luck on a 13. Back 180 

dw austin 07All good. Might as well fire off a kickflip while we’re here

dw austin 08And Reese Barton dipped a quick Smith because why the hell not?

Does he love his new nickname?
I don't know if he loves it, but he knows that he should have cleaned up his mess. And I think that's a lesson that he's going to take with him.

There you go—live and learn. Why did you land on Austin for a destination for this trip?
It just made sense because of the skate scene there and the crew. Having so many locals from Austin on this trip was just insane. We got to skate the best stuff in town. The Limosine people were in town, too, so we had two insane trips and the city was just being ripped apart for those two weeks. And it was just fucking perfect. I'm so glad we we did this first trip in Austin. Who knows? Maybe we'll do many more trips to different locations, but you can't start off and just go to Fiji, you know what I mean? We got to start off local, start off where we're at and it was it was really beautiful. I was really honored to be a part of it.

dw austin 09
If you got to choose, where would the next trip be?
I would love to spread our wings a little bit and head to Florida—go to Miami with the crew. I think the main idea is that we are supporting skateboarders. There's so many underground skateboarders and I want the world to see their skateboarding. That was a cool part about Austin—we had a good plug with all the locals and they all filmed a lot of really rad shit for the edit. And so in the future, I hope we keep harboring that idea—that we can bring light to different people who are not in the limelight constantly. Because it doesn't fucking matter where you come from if you're ripping. I want to put that shit out.

dw austin 10Rain in the forecast? Candyland’s a safe bet. Cody Chapman with a sweet shifty over the spine

dw austin 11Langston, backside 180 meloncholy. Can we name this trick an ennui?

dw austin 12You might be thinking tré, but it’s a nollie flip. I was there; I know things

dw austin 13When Evan started climbing the walls we knew it was time to go. Frontside wall bash 

I got to meet Cody Chapman on this trip and he’s on a no-alcohol regime. You’re currently taking a little break from booze as well, yeah?
Yeah, and I definitely think that plays into why Cody is on fire right now. I think skateboarding as much as we do, the alcohol just allows so much inflammation in our bodies. And drinking is like, whatever—it’ll be there at the end, you know what I mean? Right now we have the opportunity to skateboard, and I think we both feel the focus on that. Cody has really inspired me to not drink every day and to focus on my skating, my personal health and my mental health. I think about the world and all the things we all go through as individuals—it's not easy to be living on planet Earth. There's a lot of ups and downs and alcohol is a coping mechanism. But at the end of the day, you're still going to have your problems if you don't work them out and not just suppress them by drinking. And so first and foremost, mental health is the key to being successful. If you have good mental health and good confidence in the decisions you're making in life, it will take you far. And Cody has inspired me to focus on my own personal mental health, and to make sure that I am treating my body and my temple correctly so that I can skate as hard as I can. Because there's nothing more that we want to do with our lives than to put out insane footage, insane parts be a part of trips like this. And it's really, really inspiring. And yeah, I'm really grateful for Cody opening up that platform and being like, Hey, fuck it. We don't need this. Let's rip. It’s inspiring. And I want everyone out there to know that you can take that step and you don't need drinking to be cool. You can be cool for who you are. Don’t suppress your emotions—let them out, cry, feel. Understand that you are a human and that things are hard in this in this world.

dw austin 23 No trip to Austin is complete without at least one visit to House Park. Roman, nose-grab fence scrape above the Hobbit hole

dw austin 24And of course we had to take him to King Ranch. Egg on the indoor vert ramp, where’s Luke McKirdy?

dw austin 25Frontal at the end of the snake run. Thanks for letting us barge, Doug

dw austin 14
You went on the Thrasher Canadian Vacation a few months ago, which looked incredible. You were killing it. And Uma's been putting out a bunch of cool edits. What’s the rest of your year look like? You have a new album coming out, right?
My year’s looking mental. Yeah, I’ve got so many endeavors with music. Me and my wife, we’re in a band called Zinnia’s Garden; we're playing lots of shows in Pittsburgh. We're getting some main-stage gigs. Things are really taking off. We've done a lot of studio recordings and we just put out our first vinyl. And then my other band UVWAYS, that band's releasing their second album right now. So we're in the process of printing our vinyls and who knows, there might be tours lined up. There's been speculation of touring with some really, really rad musicians. That's a really exciting endeavor on my life, but my main focus, obviously, is skating and being involved in helping the industry survive during some hard times. Because, I'll be honest—it's not easy out there. It’s time for us to put our shit on the line. And I think that's part of why everyone's focusing so much on their mental and physical health right now, because it's a crazy world. It’s hard to fucking sell stuff; nobody's buying anything. And I think it's time to put out some fucking footage. It's time to put out some skate tricks and go skating with your friends. That's the only way you're gonna do it, is putting yourself out there.

dw austin 18Gap to back Smith 180—Thank You for hopping in the van, Mikey Whitehouse

dw austin 19Need something back 180d? Call 1-800-Garrett-Young. He delivers

dw austin 20Jamie Sedo flies out of Donut Ditch and then impossibles off the sidewalk. Watch the vid. I wouldn't lie to you

dw austin 21And then Garrett checked off an NBD and launched all the way out to the street. Hey, ski jump, he’s coming for ya

dw austin 22
Well, Evan, I’m stoked that you’re part of Drink Weird because I’ve always been hyped on what you do. I’m glad we get to work on stuff together.
I’ve always looked up to your art and the way you’ve managed art direction for the different companies you’ve worked for. It’s been extremely inspiring. So to work with one of my favorite artists for a company that isn’t a bunch of bullshit, it really aligns with everything I believe in—the charitable component and trying to be more sustainable and having recyclable packaging. I’m just honored to be on the same page as you and aligned in this moment. It’s really inspiring. But I wanted to get your take: Why did you think a trip like this was necessary?

It just seemed like a fun way to get everybody together and hang out in Austin for a week and see what happened. I think there were very low, or I guess you could say realistic, expectations of what would materialize. Maybe we’d get a minute of cool footage, maybe just some clips for Instagram? But really the goal was just to get everyone together to skate, hang out and be present in real life. It was super mellow. Nobody was yelling at anybody to be at the van at a certain time.
Right? There wasn't anyone yelling at anybody. No preconceived idea of what the finished product would be. So I think everyone was just super relaxed and supportive. We just got together to riff on our skateboards. Every morning we’d blast music and everyone would jump in the van, and then we’d go get weird on our boards. Like you said—there were no expectations. No nothing. It was just an overall, Let’s go skateboarding together and see what happens, and to have that supported is everything; that’s what it’s about right there.

dw austin 27Stack ‘em up and knock ‘em down, Tre never stops skating

dw austin 28You know what’s better than partying? Backside flips

dw austin 29This used to be a BMX haunt. Cool to see it getting skated recently. Roman, back tail in South Austin

dw austin 30Cold Dawg shut it down with a backside noseblunt yank. I dare you to try it

dw austin 31Meanwhile, out in Lakeway, Evan back tails before the cops showed up (again)

dw austin 32And Roman rides off fakie into the distance after this back Smith 180. Helluva week in a helluva town

What was the takeaway for Roman and Cody? Were they stoked? To me, that's the testament right there. Would they go on another Weird trip or were they like, That trip was wack!?
They were so hyped and everyone's excited about the footage they got on the trip. So hell yeah, we're all gonna go on another trip. Sign us up.

I love it. Let’s keep it going. I’ll see you in Florida.
See you there! 

dw austin 33Thanks for getting Weird, everybody!