Josh Wilson & Dick Rizzo on Quasi Skateboards, New York City and Bronze56K

(Featured: Speedway Mag, April 14th 2016.)

JW & DR Header

What’s a standard day like for you guys; do you work jobs, go to college or anything like that?

Dick: Right now, it’s just skating. I pulled myself out of college a month ago, shit was bugging me out and I decided that now wasn’t the time.

Josh: Usually I make some breakfast and coffee and then hit the streets to skate, weather permitting. I graduated from college last spring and since then I’ve just been skating and working odd jobs.

You’re both originally from New Jersey, why and when did you move to NYC?

Josh: Yeah, we’re both from Bergen County, we grew up about twenty minutes away from each other in New Jersey but I moved to New York at the end of the summer in 2011 to go to college.

Dick: I officially moved to New York in summer 2014, to attend classes at the School of Visual Arts. Prior to this I lived in Mahwah, New Jersey, which is forty-five minutes from the city. The summer before eighth grade was the first time I had started going into New York to skate. I spent as much time as I could in the city if I wasn’t at school. Going into NYC to skate after school on weekdays was common, on weekends I would stay with Paul Young in Queens or at Josh’s place in Brooklyn so it made sense to move there for college when I finished high school.

How does the scene in New Jersey differ to New York?

Dick: The scene in Northern New Jersey doesn’t feel as big as it was when I was younger. Or that’s how it feels in my area of Northern New Jersey at least. When I was younger we had Drop In Skatepark, which was basically the heart of our scene to me and my friends, but that place doesn’t exist anymore, sadly… There doesn’t seem to be much cool skateboard shit happening in Bergen County right now, it feels dry. New York obviously has a bigger scene but people come from all over to move to NYC, not New Jersey.

Josh: New Jersey’s scene is pretty small compared to the amount of people who skate in New York. In New Jersey you’re forced to drive around in a car to every spot, thats why New York is refreshing, you can easily push to a lot more spots.

Rizzo Pull Quote 1

What is your opinion on the East Coast scene, especially New York, gaining a lot more recognition over the last couple of years? 

Dick: It should be gaining more recognition, in this state of skateboarding I would say there are no rules anymore. It makes sense that companies don’t have to be primarily based in California, skateboarding is happening everywhere and you can see that at any time from your smart phone.

Josh: It’s awesome to see skaters from the city getting hooked up and the scene in general getting larger and more respected. The rise of the internet and YouTube in the past years has had a huge impact on that. When I was younger it seemed like all the older guys would film for years and then put a part out. I think that with everything being so readily available these days, people are putting out footage on a more regular basis and that has helped to showcase skaters on the East Coast in a different light.

Has there been any negative effects to the city getting so much exposure?

Dick: Eh, yes and no. The city getting exposure just brings more people here to skate and although that isn’t exactly a bad thing, it adds to stuff getting blown out. But most spots are blown out by people who live in New York anyways…

With it being such a tourist hotspot to skateboarders and non-skateboarders, do you think that affects the way that skaters in NYC are perceived by people from elsewhere?

Dick: Yeah, New York is so cool that I totally see how people from outside New York would think all the skaters are ‘cool guys’.

There’s a bunch of crews fairly well known within the city; you guys with Bronze, Johnny Wilson and ‘The Most Productive Crew’, Lurk, etc. Because of that, can the scene be quite cliquey and divided?

Josh: With the skate scene as big as it is right now it’s hard to skate with everyone all of the time. It’s only divided in that sense, it’s not anything personal, but with the amount of filmers and skaters it almost needs to be broken up somehow.

Josh, you had the opening part in Trust [2015] and Dick had the last. Is being part of the Bronze crew how you guys got to know each other or were you friends before moving out from Jersey?

Josh: Dick and I have been friends for a while. I think I met him when I was either fourteen or fifteen, so he must have been eleven or twelve. We met at this indoor skatepark called Drop In and we would go there almost every weekday and on the weekends we would skate Manhattan or spots in Jersey with our older friends who had cars. When I moved into my first apartment in Brooklyn, Dick was still in high school but he would come out every weekend to stay and that’s how he got introduced to the Bronze guys.

Dick: Yeah, Josh was a Drop In Skatepark baby, like me, so I’ve known him since I started skateboarding. I went to summer skate camp there when I was eleven and Josh was already a park local. The first time I had seen him skate he was wallriding the big bank to wall there every try. Josh was a bit older; he and his friends used to fuck with me when I would see them at the park until I was about fourteen. That was when we became friends.


Bump to frontside wallride. Photo by Jonathan Mehring and image courtesy of Quasi Skateboards.

Dick, what’s the story behind that backside 180 over the bank/stair gap in Trust that you slammed on? Did you know that Peter (Sidluaskas) was going to leave that in before the video came out?

DR: I had tried to go and film that trick in East New York four or five times and each time something would go wrong. There would be a car parked in the way, it would rain, board would get destroyed or I would just go until I exhausted myself. I didn’t know Peter was going to use it but I like it being in the part. Since then I’ve gone back and tried to film a different trick. No luck still.

Whose idea was it to add in the thing about Andrew Allen to Josh’s part in Trust? Did someone call you out after you had already started trying it or was it later on that it came up? 

JW: (Laughs), we were all back at our motel after skating, just having a few beers and someone’s memory must have just been triggered about Andrew Allen. So, we watched his Welcome to Anti Hero part and sure enough he had done the trick before me. I think Peter just put it in my part to be funny, no disrespect to AA.


Kickflip backside 5050. Photo by Colin Sussingham and image courtesy of Quasi Skateboards.

You both just back from a Bronze trip to SF, is there a new video in the works?

DR: Yes, there is a new video coming. Soon… It might even come out before this does.

JW: We have a clip in the works from our trip and I think it’s going to have a mix of New York and San Francisco footage. I don’t ask Peter much about what his plans with the videos are, I can just trust him and know he will come through.

Can you explain your sponsor situations before you both fully got on Quasi? I know Josh was on Hopps and then I remember seeing things like “Chocolate really blew it not putting Rizzo fully on” on SLAP. What was happening there? It sounds like you were just stuck in flow-limbo.

DR: I was flowed Habitat boards for my sophomore and junior years of high school, but was cut right before Solo Jazz [2013] came out. For six months I chilled on boards I had saved and then I got hit up to ride for Chocolate. They hooked me up good for two years and even bought me a ticket to come to LA one time so I wouldn’t say I was stuck in a ‘flow-limbo’.

I was expecting to finish four years of college in New York but was only in my first which would ultimately keep me grounded to being there. I thought about shit for a while and felt like I could never picture my name next to the already, so established team that they are. They’ve been around as long as I’ve been alive, I wasn’t sure what I would have been able to do on my skateboard that could’ve impressed the fan base’s idea of a new guy on Chocolate so when Quasi came along it felt right to join something that was brand new. Fucking SLAP.

JW: I was getting boards from Hopps for a year or so and over that course of time my good friend Cyrus Bennett was as well. He ended up leaving before I did, for Polar, and at that point I felt a little bit like the odd man out. I was the youngest on the team by a couple of years and still highly motivated to film all the time. Jahmal (Williams) was definitely a little bummed when I left but he knew it was a good opportunity for me in my career and he was hyped for me to be making bigger moves in the industry.

What’s going on footwear wise with you at the moment? I know Dick recently got on HUF’s amateur team. Are you still getting hooked up with them too, Josh?

JW: I just recently started getting shoes from Nike. Chad (Bowers) showed some footage to Scuba Steve and I guess he was into it. I linked up with Scuba when he came out here and he told me to hit him up for some shoes. It just seemed like the logical move for me right now.

You both seem to have come as a package deal for Quasi with getting announced at the same time. But you’ve been flowed boards since close to the beginning, right?

Rizzo Pull Quote 2DR: Early summer last year, when the company was still named Mother, we were riding the boards.

JW: Yeah, I guess it kind of made sense for it to work like that. We had both started talking to Chad around June of last year and I think that’s around the time the first box of boards came.

How did you first get introduced to Chad, did Jake Johnson have anything to do with it?

JW: Chad had reached out to Peter at Bronze wanting to sell Trust on his website and Peter was like “Yeah, of course.” But also jokingly said “You should hook up my friends.” I think Chad liked our skating already and from there he reached out to us. I think Jake helped convince Chad we were a good fit. When he was here last spring we would try and go skate with him everyday and it just sort of worked itself out.

Have you had chance to go out to Dayton to see Chad, Ryan (Flohnwells) and Chaw (Chase Rosfeld) yet?

DR: I haven’t yet, soon though.

JW: I was on a trip to Detroit last fall and on our way home we stopped in Ohio for a few nights. So, I got to go over to the warehouse and see where all the magic happens.

You both had some footage in Bust Crew’s One clip. You already said you know Jake quite well but what about Gilbert Crockett and Tyler Bledsoe?

DR: Bust Crew goes. Me and Tyler got to know each other on recent HUF trips, Gil and Jake have been busy with shoe sponsor stuff but we’ve skated anytime they have been in New York.

JW: I know Gil and Jake the best, I’ve only met Tyler one time. Jake has been traveling a lot but he always comes back to the city so I see him when he’s back. I have probably skated with Gil the most though, he doesn’t have a crazy agenda like Jake so he comes up to the city pretty frequently.

I hear you’re both filming for something Quasi is currently working on, can you give away anything about that?

DR: A video of some sort, we don’t even know. We are just filming…

JW: It’s a fairly new idea, Dick and I have both been filming since the last Bronze video came out about a year ago. We’re sitting on some footage and now that the weather is getting nicer we’ve been filming a lot more. We’re just trying to go out as much as possible, skate new areas of the city and see what happens.

Alright, before we finish this up, give us something about the other we won’t know.

DR: Josh and I both have little brothers that play video games at a competitive level. Northern New Jersey families…

Josh: There are a bunch that I can think of but the most recent was on our trip to SF. He wasn’t going to come on the trip originally because he was going to school and didn’t think that he could just leave for a week and come back. We ended up convincing him to skip a week of school and come of course, but about halfway through the trip he told me his parents still thought he was at school in New York all week. I remember his dad calling him and I just heard him lying through his teeth about his week at school. His dad can be hard on him sometimes so it was funny to see Dick take a risk and go behind his back, (laughs).

Any final words to round this off?

JW: Peace and chicken grease.


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