Lodge guest, Taylor Ballard

Photo by Sebastian Hill-Esbrand

 

Where do you currently live and where are you from ?

I was born in Seattle but have lived 30 minuets north of Seattle in a small city called Edmonds for most of my life. I am still in Edmonds with my parents while I am finishing up school.

Tell us a little bit about your past ?

Been skateboarding for 17 years now and shooting photos for 4 years give or take. Delbt with some ongoing knee and foot problems from spring of 2012 till the begining of 2018 that required four surgeries to fix which made skateboarding pretty difficult for awhile but kind of got into photogarphy through that so it wasn’t all bad.

Why skateboarding ? How did it start for you ?

I don’t really know why skateboarding honestly, I was a pretty timid kid growing up and was never really good at regular sports. I had a skateboard around most my life but I remember very clearly one day when I was seven a friend of mine coming over with his skateboard. He was able to ride down my driveway which was crazy to my seven year old self so I went and found my board that had been sitting outside in the rain all winter and that was it, I was hooked. My progression was pretty slow at first. I started skating when I was 7 give or take and didn’t learn how to drop in or ollie till I was 11. A skatepark got built like 10 minuets from my house then with some mellow mini ramps so I started to pick things up relatively quickly after that.

What size set up, wheels & trucks do you currently ride ?

I’m currenlty riding an 8.8 and have been pretty stoked on that size. Ace 55s and spitfire formula 4s usually 56s. I’ll switch up the wheels though if I go and skate a slippery ramp.

Do you have any setup rituals, we need to know about ?

Not really I usually put my wheels so if you look at them from the heel side you see all the grapics or all the white sides of the wheels so I guess there is that. I also always skate with rails.

Any sponsors ?

Nah but I’ll get little things and fun opportunities thrown my way through photo stuff here and there.

What kind of skateboarding do you prefer ?

I appreciate all types of skateboarding but for me personally I really enjoy skateing vert ramps the most right now. We were lucky to have a handful of indoor vert ramps pop up all around the greater Seattle area over the course of the past 5 years or so. It rains a lot here in Seattle and we don’t have too many indoor spots so sometimes ramps are the only option.

Do you have a great skate spot in your home town you can recommend ?

In the city I live in we don’t really have a lot to skate. We have a concrete prefab park with some mini ramps which is what I learned on and I’m glad I had it growing up. The closet thing to me is this indoor wood bowl at a friend of mines’ house. It super fun and really well built but when it’s warm and rainy or just himid the floor in there sweats so it can be kind of hit or miss.

Who is your favorite skateboarders, under and over 30 ?

Man there are so many! For the younger dudes I really enjoy watching my friends Jesse Lindloff, Keenan Witte, and Sky Siljeg. I’ve know Sky and Jesse for a long time Keenan not quite as long but they rip and are fun to be around. Over 30 I always really liked Lance Mountain, and Rune Glifberg. Got to see Rune skate and chat with him a but during Vert Attack which was super rad.

School, work, not working or other occupation ?

I am currently in my last quater of school at the University of Washington. Just been going though their photo program the last two years but I’ve been in school most my life so I’m so stoked to finally be done this June. I work part time at my church as well and do a little bit of freelance photo stuff here and there.

 

Invert at Tulalip Skatepark in Tulalip, WA shot by my friend Kevin Ng

How is a normal day looking for you ? 

Well if I don’t have work or school I try to be up by 9 or so catch up on some photo stuff whether that be editing, processing and scanning film, or figuring out what I need to print at school. I’ll hit some people up to see where the session is at and just try to skate and shoot more photos till everyone is too tired. We have no shortage of skateparks tucked into all these beautiful places in Washington so always fun to do a bit of exploring before or after the skating. But ya then when the day is done I’ll usually come home and go through photos, watch some skate videos or an episode or two of the office

Tell us how a good long great weekend should look for you

Just getting a handful of friends together and getting on the road and skating some stuff we don’t get to skate all that much and shooting photos. Like I said before there is so much to skate out here so many amazing concrete parks all over the state. There is nothing quite like the summers here either. It’s never too hot, doesn’t rain much, the air is always really clean and you have the coast and beautiful mountain ranges just a few hours away. Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Canada are both less than three hours away as well so there is plenty to skate in both those places as well.

 

New photo of Keenan Witte I shot today at Delridge Skatepark in Seattle.

 

Any big plans for 2019 ?

Well finishing school to start, I’ve got a photo book that is all black and white film that I am going to be finishing in June that has been a few years in the works. Also working on a zine I am calling the “Nortwest Ramps Zine” that has also been a few years in the works, hoping to have that one done sometime in August. I’m hopefully going to be working full time most the summer and taking of to Santiago, Chile for a good chunk of winter. I have spent a good ammount of time down there and really want to spend an extended ammount of time in Chile and some other places in South America before I settle into a real job.

Who are you hanging out with at the moment ?

Today I was skateing Delridge skatepark with a big group of friends but man the skateboarding community is so big and after spending over 17 years skateboading in the Seattle area I feel like its pretty rare to show up to a park and not run into someone I know. That being said I feel like I’m always hanging and skateing with a bunch of different people.

 

 

 

Who and what is your motivation at the moment ?

Skatewise I just love watching and am motivated by anyone who can skate vert well. For photo stuff I’ve been a huge fan of French Fred and all his stuff for a long time. Ilford put together this short documentary on Joe Brook that was really inspiring too. I really like the photographers that shoot a mix of film and digital.

Last country you visited ? and what happened there ?

Well I was just in Malmo, Sweden for Vert Attack and did a few days in Copenhagen, Denmark beforehand as well. It was for sure the best skate trip I have ever been on! We had a solid crew and met so many amazing people from all over the world. Got to see and skate some places I have been wanting to go to for ten years or so. Truly and amazing trip.

What was the last gnarly thing you witnessed ?

Umm I think I saw 4 head injuries during this last trip which was kind of heavy. I spent a few days in Copenhagen beforehand with my friend Steven and we went to Christiania and skated wonderland and ran into our friend Luigi and this little ripper Gui from Brazil. Gui hung up just doing a backside air on this 6ft quaterpipe and took it all to the should and head. I think he just had a minor concussion but he was asking if Vert Attack had happened already, it was still a week before the event. I saw Ian Landi and Justin Rivera collide on the ramp at Bryggeriet and both get knocked out which was super heavy. Then there was another dude I don’t remember his name who hung up on something hit his head and I was told was out for four minuets. I’m pretty sure all the dudes ended up being just fine but thats some gnarly scary stuff for sure.

What was the last item you bought ?

I think just this Scram board I’m skating right now. Kind of a fun shape with a normal nose and a kind of square tail.

What do you do besides skateboarding, do you have other hobbies, other interests ?

I hardly play video games but I love all the old Legend of Zelda games but other than that just photography. I really just enjoy shooting photos whether they are skate related or not. I love just having a camera on me and shooting, getting in the darkroom and making prints when I can. I think not having access to nice photo printers and a darkroom are going to be the only things I miss about school.

What is your to go to restaurant, you wanna share ?

There is this spot, there are actually a few in Seattle, called Tacos Chukis that is pretty bomb.

When you cook food, what do you cook ?

I’m pretty bad at cooking which is something I’m going to need to get better at soon but I like making wraps with tortillas and different kinds of lunchmeats.

Whats your top 3 favorite drinks ?

Water, Yerba Mate, and any vanilla iced coffee

How do you see the future of skateboarding ?

I just see it getting bigger and bigger. At least here in the northwest new parks are popping up all over all the time and with all this Olympics stuff I think that is going to start happening even more. I know some people aren’t into this sort of thing but I love to see skateboarding programs incorporated into more schools and what not. When I was in high school I took online P.E. which allowed me to leave early and skate a few days a week. Doing well in school has always been important to me but I was never really into the whole social aspect of it so I was really lucky to have that option.

Who do we need to interview on the lodge ?

Be cool to see some Seattle dudes on the lodge. Jesse, Keenan, Nolan Johnson etc…

Do you ever think about a future with no skateboarding ?

Not really. Skateboarding has been such a big part of my life for so long now it is kind of weird to think about what I would be doing now if I didn’t skate. I know there will be times where I’m not going to have as much time as I do now to dedicated to skateboarding and shooting photos but it will always be a big part of my life whether I am able to do it every day or once a week.

Last words, thank yous, other, did we miss anything ?

Just get out there and go skate, travel visting another country if you have the means or just get out of your city or state and see what’s out there. Growing up I never would have imagined that I would have the opportunity to skate and shoot photos in different parts of the world and meet so many amazing people. You never know where that piece of wood with four wheels might take you.

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