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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sky Siljeg interview with isTia

New Smyrna Fl. Bowl Riders 2011. Photo Pam Miller.
Sky Siljeg interview with isTia

Sky Siljeg is the kind of guy that you need to keep an eye on. He’s been skating for about 11 years and already landed in the podium at a couple of contests. I’ve heard that he actually won more than 100 trophies including 1st place at the last Rock The Craddle in Houston. He is part of the new generation that’s pushing skateboarding higher, beyond the comfort zone. Sky is not only a long blond haired, young skate kid with endless energy, a permanently positive attitude, a super supportive mom and family: he is also actively involved in giving back to the community and he’s been signed by Lib Skate last May 12th.

He has been skating in the World Cup Bowlriding series for some time now and landed #2 last year just after Pedro Barros and just before Josh Borden (he actually is the one with most points -6575 for Sky vs 5750 for Pedro-, but WCS ranking system list him second). Sky Siljeg has been skateboarding hard the past few years, traveling to Australia, Florida, Texas, California and all points in-between. He has gotten to hang with a lot of the older pros and it shows.

Sky and Patti in 2006
Sky has also a lot of sensible humor; you’ll spot it on the answers he gave me during the interview. That humor is much appreciated… During the interview, I keep on asking about Sky’s mother (Pam Miller) or Patti Mc Gee or Larry Bertlemann like there’s nothing else. Sounds odd isn’t it? But seriously how many skaters do you know with a mom that rips concrete and acquaintances like Patti McGee or Larry Bertlemann? I’m stoked, how do you happen to meet Patti McGee and Larry Bertlemann if you don’t have genes made of urethane?

Actually, both Patti and Larry are more than acquaintances for Sky… And Pam Miller is well known in skateboarding. Of course, the sad part is that most skateboarders don’t even know who those guys are. Maybe they should go and read what Sky wrote about Patti McGee and Larry Bertlemann on the scholastic website. This was written in 2006 and he was already writing better than most at the time… To say the least, his writing level is on a par with his skateboarding level. Sky’s specialty is trannies, but he also rips in street and slalom. That’s no surprise actually especially when you can list people like Cat Young among your friends… Sky is an “all terrain skateboarder”…

I’m not sure if Sky has “only” or “already” 11 years of skateboarding behind him, but he has definitely much more in front of him than behind him…

Here is the Sky Siljeg interview:
Sky Siljeg at Bowl-A-rama - Bondi Beach 2011. Photo Bowl-A-Rama organization.
isTia: Is your name Sky or Skyler?
Sky Siljeg: I was born Skyler but have gone by Sky most my life.

isTia: Age or DOB?
Sky Siljeg: 7/17/94

isTia: Hometown / Where do you currently live?
Sky Siljeg: Born in Bothell and currently live in Bothell, WA

isTia: What is the best and worst thing about your hometown?
Sky Siljeg: It’s really a nice place to live. It’s got a small town feeling and good people, clean, and lots of skate parks and spots. Worse thing…long way from LA/SD. You pretty much got to move if you want to go pro.
Sky Siljeg at Bowl-A-Rama. Photo Alex Donnini
I’m trying to prove that wrong. Funny, all the pro’s are moving north now though, so I may hold out.

isTia: If you would have to change town, where would you like to live?
Sky Siljeg: Either move to Portland or somewhere close to Channel Street and Vans skatepark. LA area..

isTia: How were you introduced to skateboarding and what got you started?
Sky Siljeg: My oldest brother, Josh, rolled around when I was under 2 years old. Later he was a rep for a soda distributor and would take me into skate shops when he did his deliveries. I was 4 years old watching skate videos. Got stoked out on it and wanted a skate board.
Sky Siljeg at Rock The Craddle. Photo Rob Henson
Got one for Christmas and at 5 did my first comp. Took 4th won a LIB mini and the rest is history! I was on for the next session. My mom has always supported me and understands and loves skating too, so I’ve been pretty lucky.

isTia: Years skating:
Sky Siljeg: Started in, 11-12 years.

isTia: Do you remember what your first setup was?
Sky Siljeg: It was some Pokemon board I got for Christmas when I was 4 from my brother. He used to skate, and realized that the trucks sucked and so did that wheels and bearings so he gave me some of his old Krux trucks and he some got me some new wheels too.
Sky Siljeg at Rock The Craddle. Photo Jean Baptiste Farge
That made it a bit more skateable and less frustrating. I still have all the pieces to it lying around somewhere.

isTia: Were there any early influences on your skating?
Sky Siljeg: When I was little I saw a few videos but tend to gravitate to the oldest most tattooed heshers in the park. I’d follow them around and they would sometimes show me stuff. I took lessons from Aaron Artis and skated with the Lib team guys here in Seattle a lot.

isTia: You said once that your favorite trick is the Miller flip… Has it also something to do with your mother’s name?
Sky Siljeg: Actually it was another guy from Seattle , that has since gone pro, that used to drive around with us that started calling them Momflips. They’ve become scary to me for some reason; no longer my favorite but I still do them. I’ve been getting more confident with them again so they may go back to being a favorite.

Sky Siljeg at Rock The Craddle. Photo Rob Henson
isTia: Talking about Momflips, tell me about your mother, who she is and what is her skateboarding background…
Sky Siljeg: If I had a cool skater dad would anyone ask this? She skated in ’78 some. She got my brother’s into snowboarding and has helped a few guys out of Seattle skating too. She understands it and is just a rad person. She still skates some but is way better on the mountain.

isTia: Are you making more money in skateboarding than your mom?
Sky Siljeg: I’m pretty sure she doesn’t make any money off of skating. She runs a daycare/preschool, so she works hard for 50 hours a week. She also runs skate contests around
Seattle, I think that’s her only skate related income and it’s not very much. So in skateboarding, I make more. It would be the other way if I was nice and paid her for what all she does for me. Someone should really hire her as a TM; she’d be really good at it.

isTia: Is your mom going with you when you are going abroad?
Sky Siljeg: What’s up with you and my mom? I feel like I filling out some online dating questionnaire for her. haha
Are you kidding? She loves the friends she has in Bondi and is my lifeline for school. She should come to NZ but hasn’t yet.

isTia: Tell me about when you broke your arm, a couple of days before
Sky Siljeg, alone at Vans. Practice before the Pro-Tec Pool Party. Photo Julian Bleecker
Pro-Tec in 09? What happened?
Sky Siljeg: I was skating this ramp that was super slippery and no one that was on it wanted it to be mopped so of course I’m the one that slips out and breaks himself. I went to the hospital to get everything back in place and casted; they ended up using my story as a testimonial for Valley Orthopedics.
isTia: Did you have other injuries while skateboarding?
Sky Siljeg: Just the usual... hippers, shiners, swellbows, knocked out teeth.

isTia: Who were/are some of the other local skaters who inspired you?
Sky Siljeg: Marshall Read of Sound of the Fury and

Sky Siljeg at Kona Skatepark. Photo Julian Bleecker.
Manik really was cool to me when I was little…really encouraged me to try on all sides of skate boarding. Don Bostick made the call to let me start competing World Cup when I was 9. Gave me the chance to learn and hang out with the guys I looked up to. I still look up to these guys. Bucky Lasek was someone I thought (still do) was amazing. Not a local but… I looked up to him. When I was 7 I started riding for Savier Shoes and started skating in the Portland area more. Mike Estes was my TM there and taught me “how” to be sponsored.

isTia: Other skaters have their own backyard bowls (Pedro Barros, Keith Baldassare, Bucky Lasek). I know you have a half pipe
Sky Siljeg at Lake Cunhingham. Photo Steve Potwin
in your backyard. When was it built? How big is it? Do you plan to make the half pipe bigger?
Sky Siljeg: It’s just a little mini-ramp. It’s 4 feet tall, 12 feet wide, super mellow. It was built on a hill so on one side there’s a 7 foot drop that people fall off of at times. I’ve had it for a while; an indoor skate park closed down and I got a section of their ramp in 2004. I hear there is another private ramp I can finally get some vert skating in on? Thank you my un named friend for this!!!!

isTia: How good are you at school?
Sky Siljeg: I’m horrible at focusing and it takes me a while to get stuff done at times, but as it stands, I’ll graduate with a 3.8 gpa and
Sky Siljeg at Wellington Bowl-A-Rama. Photo Tony Uren
a year of college done too at the end of next year.

isTia: How do you do when you are on the road? Are you homeschooling?
Sky Siljeg: I’ve been really fortunate to have been homeschooled since 7th grade. I meet with an advisor once a week for an hour, my mom teaches me on the road and this year I started at the Community College online. Anyone that thinks you get out of something by homeschooling is mistaken.

isTia: How do you like Homeschooling? Would you go back to a regular class after that?
Sky Siljeg: Homeschooling is a lot like owning your own business. You probably work harder than most because it’s all up to you. Would I go back? NO, do not miss the drama and
Trifecta. Photo Julian Bleecker.
politics at all. Next fall I do plan to go to one on campus class for a couple hours twice a week. I also take online classes.

isTia: Do you have plans to go to college? What major?
Sky Siljeg: I’ve already started college classes as a junior in HS. I plan to continue after I finish my high school requirements. Have not nailed down a major yet?

isTia: Let’s talk about your involvement in competitive skateboarding.
- How many contests have been in ? wow, I have no idea…..LOTS.
- Do you often go to contest? All the time….it’s like a family reunion.
- Do you like contests? I like the chance to get
Sky Siljeg Wellington Bowl-A-Rama. Photo Tony Uren
together with all my friends. The energy in a session is amazing when everyone is game on.
- Is it important to go to contests? I think it’s important to bring out the best and represent the companies that are supporting skating.
- Your best contests ever? Winning Houston Rock the Cradle 2010 was rad. Did not expect that.
- Your worst contests ever? Can’t think of one I’d call worse. No matter how you place it’s still fun to hang with everyone.
- Best contest memory San Jose, Tim Brauch 2010, Pro Finals, I think at one point all 6 or 7 of us were in the bowl at once. Everyone was so in sync it was amazing. The bro factor was going hard. Super fun and everyone was smiling.
- Worst contest memory? Loosing my contact during

The Podium at Bowl-A-Rama Wellington
the pro finals at Pro Tec this year sucked. Skating blind isn’t easy.

isTia: How did you feel when you got second at Wellington, NZ?
Sky Siljeg: Stoked, that contest was so much fun. Best session with a bunch of really great friends. I feel like that one I got to really show what NW skating is about.

isTia: Was Rock the Craddle the first time you won a contest? How did you fell?
Sky Siljeg: Honestly, when they called Bucky’s name I figured they had somehow skipped me and I would just find out where I placed later. So, when they said 1st went to me I didn’t know what to say. I was totally shocked and speechless. There was so much great skating that went on there. Still hard to believe.

Sky Siljeg at Houston. Rock The Craddle contest. Photo Jean Baptiste Farge
isTia: Tell me about the first time you met with Patti McGee? How old were you? Were you already skateboarding? Did you know who she was?
Sky Siljeg: I think my mom met her through Scott Starr. They were friends before anyone really started to find out who Patti was. We went to Phoenix for a Concrete Rodeo Event and stayed with her. I think I was 10 or so. I was putting a web site together for Scholastic online at the time and focus was on skate history. I did an article on her and interviewed her for it while we were at her house. She’s like an aunt now, always supportive to me. I’m stoked that she got the recognition as a pioneer of what skating is today when she was inducted into Skateboarding Hall of Fame this year. She really paved the way for what sponsored skating is now.

isTia: Do you see Patti often?
Sky Siljeg: I wish I saw her more but we keep in touch through facebook.

isTia: Tell how you met Larry Bertleman?
Sky Siljeg: While putting together the web site for Scholastic I wanted to do an article I called “Wally, Ollie and Bert”,about where tricks originated. I am good friends with Wally Inouye and knew Allan but only saw that OP and Gravity were bringing Larry back on board in Concrete Wave. I tracked him down through his sponsors. I guess he checked me out and decided to call. So.. I get a call from him. Did the interview I needed and totally was stoked on him as a person. He’s like wise about the core of boarding. “Anything is possible” is his motto. We’ve hung out a few weekends and talk on the phone here and there. I talked to him before Pro Tec contest this past week when I wasn’t getting my head around what I was doing. I needed some input from him. He helped get me focused. Larry is a great mentor.

isTia: How often do you see Larry? Do you go to Hawaii to see him?
Sky Siljeg: We keep talking about me going there. Soon I hope.

isTia: You skate with legends like Cab, Hosoi, etc… Who’s the
Sky Siljeg. Tim Brauch 2010 4h Place Pro. Photo Steve Potwin.
most impressive skater of all?
Sky Siljeg: If anyone paid attention to the Master’s Division at Pro Tec this year you would see that none of these guys has stopped progressing. They are raising their own bar all the time. Adding tricks and perfecting tricks they invented, bringing more and more to their game. What I respect most though is Cab, Hosoi and Lance all give the credit to God. They are my role models.

isTia: Do you surf? Snowboard? Other sports?
Sky Siljeg: I’ve surfed only a few times. Once was in a pro contest…hahaha That was part of the first Ultimate Boarder the first year. I had a broken wrist and thought I was going to die out there but I did it because I wanted to skate the last day. I snowboard a lot. My whole family snowboards. My brothers Chad and Josh are both certified instructors and my mom is the founder of GRO Snow ( Girls Riders Org. Snow) It’s part of GRO org. I like to bike and rock climb too.

isTia: Yes, tell me about rock climbing…
Sky Siljeg: My oldest brother was really into rock climbing and had all the equipment. I got my gear and started climbing years ago. It’s supper fun and something I can do with my brothers. I haven’t gone climbing in quite a while though.

isTia: You were once very good at slalom and race… Is this because of your mother? Have you stopped racing?
Sky Siljeg: Slalom is a blast. I really like the speed and challenge of giant slalom because it’s like snowboarding to me and park slalom is really fun. I made the podium at my first Nationals in Hood River Or. in hybrid slalom. I would totally keep
Sky Siljeg literally Rocking The Craddle at Houston TX, Sky landed First Pro.
Win 2010 Second highest Cradle. Photo Jean Baptiste Farge
doing it regularly but I only have so much time with school, bowl events and just wanting to do other things. I wouldn’t give up a chance to skate slalom of any form when I can. I have a pretty nice slalom set up.

isTia: What’s your best memory of Hood River?
Sky Siljeg: My Hood River friends are the raddest people. I’ve taught for Wally Inouye’s “IPS camps” there, skated National slalom races and did some great snowboarding in the Hood. Mike Estes, my old TM from the Savier days lives there. There’s just lots of good times.

isTia: Were you racing when your mother was organizing the slalom contests?
Sky Siljeg: Yeah, She was an organizer for the Oregon State Games the year I raced there. I skated three events that weekend, Bowl, Game of Skate and the three slalom events. Was a blast!

isTia: Who were/ who are the best slalom riders, the ones you admire most?
Sky Siljeg: I have no idea; I just have fun riding the things. I learned stuff from Hackett and Olsen because I know them from skating bowls. My mom has a friend named Cat who races and she’s pretty cool. I really don’t know anything about it other than it’s fun.

isTia: Tell me about how you were contacted for Kids Who Rip?
Sky Siljeg: The guy who created KWR- Rod Parmeter- came to Bothell because he heard about me from someone. We met him at the park and started working on the project. I got to learn a bunch about filming and doing fun stuff like voiceovers and green screens. I thought the video was really cool and thought that it would be affective in getting other kids into skating and other sports shown in the films. At the time of making them, there were very few kids skating at the level seen today; at least that’s how it appeared to me.

isTia: Favorite Music?

Giving mom a shot Battle Ground WA. 2010
Photo Pam Miller
 Sky Siljeg: I like a lot of music… Surf rock, hardcore, anarcho-punk, gypsy-punk, classic rock, alt. country, lots of weird stuff I guess.

isTia: Favorite band?
Sky Siljeg: This is an extremely hard question to answer… I have too many options. The Ventures, Minor Threat, JFA, A//Political, Gogol Bordello, Hank III, Inkwell Rhythm Makers etc.. I’ll probably have a whole new list in about 2 weeks.

isTia: What’s sick:
Sky Siljeg: Influenza?

isTia: What’s not sick:
Sky Siljeg: Hopefully me…

isTia: Metal or Pool coping? Sky Siljeg: Is this a real question? Pool coping, of course!

isTia: Roundwall or flatwall? Sky Siljeg: Mix it up.

isTia: Loose or tight trucks? Sky Siljeg: I like mine to wobble.

isTia: Wheels size? Durometer? Sky Siljeg: Bones SPF 56 or 58

isTia: Sponsors: Sky Siljeg: LIB Tech Skates, Vans (flow), Tracker, Bones, Khiro, Quiksilver, Black Flys, 187 pads, Pro Tec, motto grip, Sno Con (shop) Stevens Pass

isTia: Besides skateboarding, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Sky Siljeg: School, Art, Snowboard.

Trifecta 2010. Lincoln City Or. Second Place Pro. Photo Pam Miller
isTia: Who are your biggest competitors?
Sky Siljeg: Depends on which sense of the term “biggest competitor” you mean; Ben Schroder’s huge. Nice guy though.

isTia: Who are your favorite old school skaters?
Sky Siljeg: I’d say Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain, or Chris Miller but these guys are not “old school” they are progressing just as fast as anyone. The bar is getting raised by them.

isTia: What’s your favorite trick?
Sky Siljeg: I can’t say one thing is my favorite. Sometimes something feels great and is fun. That always changes. I like inverts, body bags, long grinds and “mom flips”.

isTia: What trick are you trying/ training to do?
Sky Siljeg: I’m working on the vert bag and my street stuff and just finding lots of new combinations with the tricks I have.

isTia: New trick you just learned?
Sky Siljeg: Texas Plants, while hanging with the Texas crew and full cab disasters.

isTia: What’s the most difficult trick you have done?
Sky Siljeg: Every trick is difficult until you’ve done it.

isTia: What trick can’t you do?
Sky Siljeg: Hahaha…there are so many tricks I can’t do or lets say haven’t done yet. I hope to be progressing and learning for many many years to come.

isTia: What is your favorite surface to skate?
Sky Siljeg: I’m from the land of Grindline parks..CONCRETE!

isTia: At which skatepark do you go most often?
Sky Siljeg: Mukilteo YMCA is about 10 minutes from my house and has a great bowl. Marginal Way and Lower Woodland are fun too. When it’s raining here, Skate Barn.

isTia: What’s your favorite skatepark?
Cab and Sky Siljeg, best friends forever. "My second "Love & Guts" art show exhibit.
Hanging out with my art idol Cab." Photo Pam Miller.
Sky Siljeg: Wellington NZ bowl and the Combi at Vans.

isTia: Do you wear pads and helmets in a pool/skatepark/bowl?
- If yes, why? I like my head as well as progressing.
- If no why? There is a time and a place for everything. I don’t think anyone is too cool to wear a helmet. Your head is important.

isTia: Have you skated backyard empty pools?
Sky Siljeg: I only get to do that in LA. One of my favorite times was shooting for JFA video "Danny Sargent's Trucks". I also shot an ad for Vans which was to imitate an old ad of StacyPeralta. Somewhere in Long Beach I think. That made me really respect the guys that skated those early boards in pools. Dang hard to do.

isTia: When was the first time you dropped (in a bowl…)?
Sky Siljeg: Wow, I don’t know. I was probably 5 years old and didn’t know it was scary.

Sky Siljeg at Bondi beach. Portfolio for Concrete Wave. Photo Dean Tirkot
isTia: What skate videos do you like?
Sky Siljeg: “Are YOU Alright?” is still one of my favorites. Haha! It was just funny.

isTia: What is your typical day like?
Sky Siljeg: Get up at 9 ish. Eat, do some school…screw around, eat…more school, Lunch….check emails, facebook…. Go skate!

isTia: Where do you like to skate?
Sky Siljeg: Anywhere there is a good session.

isTia: Who do you like to skate with?
Sky Siljeg: I really like it when I’m skating with the pro bowl guys but I’m stoked anytime I’m with people who are having a good time skating.

isTia: Are there skaters that are so impressive that you just stop and watch them?
Sky Siljeg: I’ve been known to stop in the middle of my pro heat to watch another guy…I even clap! It’s about great skating for me.

isTia: What magazines do you read?
- 1) Skate magazines Thrasher, Transworld, Skateboarder, Concrete Wave, JUICE ,mostly check out who’s in them.
- 2) other magazines Snowboarder, TW Snowboarder

isTia: How long do you spend skating every day?
Sky Siljeg: Depends on the day…but it’s not often that I don’t skate at least some.

isTia: How long do you train in vert/bowl/park?
Sky Siljeg: I don’t really think of it as “training” but there is

Girls Combi Pool Classic contest at Vans. Lizzie Armanto
Why not add a picture of beautiful Lizzie Armanto with the Sky interview???
With no particular reasons.
Just like this... Photo Xavier Lannes
"contest mode” when you only are on your lines in that park.

isTia: How long in street?
Sky Siljeg: As long as I’m in the street….

isTia: Why do you like so much vert and less street?
Sky Siljeg: I skate everything. Just not world ranked at everything.

isTia: How does it feel being only 16 and being regarded as one of the world's best bowl skaters?
Sky Siljeg: Who said that?

isTia: So far, what have been some of the highlights of your skateboarding career?
Sky Siljeg: The fact that I get to travel the world just to skate is pretty cool.

On May 12th, Lib Tech announced that it has signed Seattle young gun Sky Siljeg to its skate team.
isTia: Are you vegetarian?
Sky Siljeg: No, I eat everything. Just mostly eat like a vegetarian.

isTia: How much do you like writing? Essays, poetry, articles…???
Sky Siljeg: I have a little pocket notebook I carry around, but I only write flight information, addresses, to-do lists, and important conversations I have with people. It helps me know what to do and when to do it. I don’t think any of that actually counts as writing though…. I write a lot for school. I got a B in my first college comp. class. I’ve written skate articles for books, web and mags. That’s cool just because it’s stuff I like.

isTia: What do you have planned for this year?
Sky Siljeg: Skate, Travel, Compete, Film, eat- sleep-FUN.. Repeat.

isTia: When, how did you meet Lizzie?
Sky Siljeg: I met Lizzie at the Pro Tec Pool Part in 2009, She had a Ninja Turtle shirt and I had a Storm Trooper painted on my griptape….

isTia: Something else that we are missing?
y Siljeg: Lib Tech Skates!!!! Just signed with LIB and super stoked on them. If you really want to get up to date this is what I’m thinking is sick now. I’m hanging with the Vans team more too. Check it out:

New Video:

Also, pretty stoked to get the invite to the new Dew Tour Bowl contests. I’m excited to be in the first group of skaters to do this. Will be in Maryland in July and Portland in Aug. 2011

isTia: Shout outs and thanks?
Sky Siljeg: I want to thank my brother’s , friends and my mom for supporting me, my sponsors for being the rad people with cool products that they are, and all my skate family all over the world for making life so much fun.

Thanks Sky

Thanks to Pam Miller, Jean Baptiste Favre, Steve Potwin, Alex Donnini, Rob Henson, Tony Uren, Julian Bleecker, Dean Tirkot for the pictures. All pictures used with Skyler Siljeg and the photographers authorization.

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I skate therefore I am: skateboard pools, pipes, parks, bowls and vert, daily skateboarding news...
posted by Xavier Lannes @ Wednesday, June 01, 2011 


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