I was feeling great on and off the board and I directly correlate that with the stretching and workout regimen I had implemented in my life.
– Wade DesArmo
the Wade DesArmo interview.
1 April 2021 / interview: Matt Beare
Wade DesArmo is your favourite pro skater's favourite skater. He acquired instant legend status from his Top Of The World and Kayo parts back in the day and has only continued to elevate that status over the years; now sitting on the throne as undefeated World Champion of the most prestigious competition in skateboarding history - the Dime game of S.K.A.T.E.
He's in that category of skaters that have really figured out skating making the most tech tricks look effortless and in this interview he drops insight into his skating, style and consistency, along with covering his workout routine, his morning ginger shot habit, and I almost get the secret to his tres out of him...
Wade does a lot off his board to stay on point and considering he's one of the biggest G's in the game, he's a perfect example of why it's definitely time for the skate world to uncouple the idea that taking care of your health and doing things off your board to improve your skating and how you feel, makes you a jock in anyway. He even says it himself in this interview - "The stigmas around it are so braindead it's insane."
How’s things been for you locked up in quarantine, you been skating much?
Things are going alright in lockdown to be honest. I was skating everyday up until I had a little injury set back. Now I'm just doing all the things I need to in order to get back on my board and be at 100%, if not stronger. That's my goal.
I rewatched Kayo It’s official the other day and it got me feeling nostalgic. That video is such a good representation of the golden era of skating - the team, the music, VX, the spots. Other than slightly smaller tees how has skating changed for you since back then?
To be real, not much has changed for me besides the obvious ones. I still love skating, maybe even more now. I'm having more fun than I ever have with it. The level of skating has skyrocketed since those days but for me personally, my approach is still pretty much the same. Maybe I appreciate more aspects of skating that I maybe didn't back then. I tend to miss the little things about those days when I reflect back on them.
In your latest interview on The Bunt you said you were extra hyped to get back in the streets filming again once quarantine is over. What motivates you to keep progressing and filming new stuff?
I was and still am super motivated. We had a great year here in Toronto last year. We were out every day like when we were kids, it was pretty wild. A lot of good times and everyone logged a good amount of clips too. To answer your question though, my motivation comes strictly from my passion and love for skating. Sounds so cliché but it's the truth. I would still be doing this even if I wasn't getting paid for it. I'm beyond grateful.
How do you go about filming - do you plan out your parts and work on specific tricks to try at specific spots, or do you just go with the flow and try whatever you’re feeling on that day?
I would say my parts are a mix of both. I always have tricks I want to do or try, that's a constant. Depending on where I am would probably be the differentiating factor, I'd say. If I'm home in Toronto, I know most of the spots and have skated them countless times so because of that reason, I will have specific tricks for certain spots. I'd be lying if I said I don't have any preconceived thoughts of tricks before I get to spots, but until I get there and get an idea of what I'm dealing with, I try to supress those thoughts and not get too excited for nothing. I think the best footage usually comes from traveling to places you've never been though. I love seeing all the spots in person that I've dreamt of skating all my life. To be able to get a clip at these spots is literally my dream come true.
You’re well known for your style and landing everything insanely clean. I always remember clips of you where you’d land absolutely perfect and then be like “nah, redo”. I’d be freaking out like “man that was the best thing I’ve ever seen”, but I get it, we all have different perceptions and preferences of how we want tricks to look and feel. What’s good style for you and do you have certain things you just can’t accept in your clips?
The styles I grew up idolizing in skating were Penny, Creager, Gino, Koston and Guy. Those dudes were on my tv whenever I was home. I think when it comes to the clips where I look so unsatisfied is simply that it didn't feel right. You know when you land a trick the way you want by the way it feels. You don't even have to ask if it was good when that happens. In the instances you're referring to, it's the case of not feeling right at the time and it's not until I either do a good one, or stop trying, where I then watch the footage and realize it's not as terrible as I originally thought. It happens all the time still. I hate that most people have that perception of me and my skating. I truly am super happy but if you watched my parts it doesn't reflect that. Next part is going to be a happy one, lol!!
Did you ever work on perfecting your style?
Haha nah never. The most important thing to me was always and still is technique. I didn't have to be the best at anything but I always wanted to make sure I had the best form I could at whatever I was doing. I'm a super competitive person with myself. I honestly don't have a competitive bone in me with others. Kind of weird actually.
What about consistency and learning tricks, do you have any go to methods for locking tricks in and learning new ones?
I mean I don't think I have a method per se, I just skate and try to accomplish the trick ideas my mind comes up with.
I don't consider myself as a consistent skater really but if I had to attribute any sort of consistency I have it would probably be because I'm constantly on my board. I think that goes for anything in life. The more you do something, the more you'll improve in all aspects of it, consistency included.
That Dime game of S.K.A.T.E with Ishod has gotta be one of the best battles in history. You looked pretty chilled during that game considering there were like 1000 people screaming, plus the guy on the mic with his “oooohhhss” on every trick haha. Do you have some methods to stay focused in those kinda situations, or when you’re skating a stressful spot in the streets?
It's so difficult for me to explain the rollercoaster of emotions when doing those Dime events, especially as they got bigger over the years. The few days before and day of, I'm on pins and needles just wondering what's going to happen. I'm present up until the walk out, and then I can only describe it as a surreal experience. I don't know if you've ever experienced this or know what I'm talking about but it actually doesn't feel real. Being in the back hearing Connor getting the crowd all jacked up, making the introductions, then it's time to walk out and that's when I almost black out.
As I walk out, I've even said out loud in that situation "is this really happening?" because it's so unreal. I don't compete so that could also be why it's foreign to me. It's so weird because these feelings have nothing to do with the actual game of skate itself, it's just being the center of attention on that stage. All eyes are on you. As weird as that feeling is for me, as soon as the first trick is done, I'm cool. I don't know why everything changes when the game starts, but it just does. Maybe all the thoughts and fears about the future are done at that point and what's going to happen is going to happen, I don't know. It's a wild carefree feeling I can tell you that.
The streets are easy in comparison, that's home for me. The thing I stress most on in the streets is the trick itself and the mental warfare it's putting me through. I wish I could harness the game of skate mentality when I'm in the trenches with a trick I'm trying to film.
You’ve been posting a few workout related Insta stories recently. What kinds of things have you been doing and have you been working out for a long time?
Most of the things I do workout wise are to strengthen the muscles I constantly use skating. I'm not trying to get all yoked up or anything, but I now know that conditioning your body and preparing it for the beating it takes in the streets, takes a lot of effort aside from the actual act of skating itself. I've been so off and on with working out over the years, I plan on making it a steady ritual nowadays though. I started back up last year when I had to quarantine after returning from LA. It was winter time still in Toronto with months left. I was skating through nagging little injuries at the time so I figured, when am I going to get another month or two of not traveling, and the opportunity to get my body back into the best possible shape it can be in? So, I put in the time and when spring rolled around, I was feeling great on and off the board and I directly correlate that with the stretching and workout regimen I had implemented in my life.
I love jumping rope and think it's the most proven and time-tested method for cardio in a lot of disciplines. I try to do it even in the winter, weather permitting as I do it on my patio. Aside from that, my workouts are pretty squat dominant, especially as my foot must remain stable now with this recent injury. A little upper body pump but that's just to not be a wet noodle above the waist. It's all pretty new to me still and is super rewarding seeing the results of all the hard work.
I saw a little morning ginger shot post up on Insta too... What other kinds of nutrition hacks like that do you have and is eating well something that’s important to you?
The morning ginger lemon shot is a must!! It's crucial right now to strengthen your immune system with this virus going around. Besides the shot, I make a protein smoothie every day but that's all the hacks I'm working with lol. I eat pretty healthy nowadays because I enjoy it and the way it makes me feel. That's also another cliché. Maybe all these clichés have something to do with older age haha. I didn't always eat this way but I'm sure glad I do now.
Is there anything else you do off your board to stay fresh and on point?
Umm as far as for skating is concerned, no not really. Aside from working out, stretching and eating well, that's pretty much it.
Why did you start making these lifestyle changes and have they helped your skating?
First and foremost, I started making these changes for the betterment of my skating. I want to be able to skate at the highest level I can for as long as I can. If this is what I have to do in order to achieve that, I think it's a small price to pay. Working out also has a therapeutic aspect to it that I never understood until I started doing it. It's truly incredible both for your body and mind. I would recommend it to anyone in any walk of life. The stigmas around it are so braindead it's insane.
Is there any lifestyle habit you had or have that you feel held your skating back in anyway?
At the present time, I can't say for certain if anything has held me back really. If I felt differently, I probably wouldn't be in the position I'm in now, right? So, I'll say no. I'm very content with where I am in my career and I can't change the past even if I wasn't. However, there are a lot of things I wish I did less of back in the day that took my attention off of skating during that time. Ask me this question again in five years and we'll see if I have anything for ya.
Those “ENCORE: Behind The Missions” clips were banging, the tours seemed super productive. When you’re on tour with the Primitive team do you have any rituals or special things you do to make sure you stay fresh during the trips?
The only thing I NEED on a trip, is coffee when I first wake up. That's as ritualistic as it gets for me on the road. I don't do anything special on trips. I try to keep a similar sort of routine as I have back home. Pretty exciting stuff huh? Primitive trips are the best though.
I know P-Rod is big into taking care of himself, is that something he talks about or recommends at all to you and the rest of the team? I imagine the Primitive trips having like planned spa days and massages included haha.
Haha I wish we were hitting the spas like you think we are man. That sounds nice.
I spend a lot of time with Paul when I go out to LA and is a good person to listen to for sure. Having him there willing to share his knowledge is amazing and we're all very grateful for that.
What are your upcoming plans, are you filming any new parts or working on any other projects?
My plan for 2021 is to keep the momentum in streets going from 2020, keep filming and hopefully be able to travel outside of Canada to do so as well. It all starts with rehabbing the current injury I have now so that's where all my energy and focus is going for the time being. There are a lot of projects that are in the works for this year but I'm sorry I can't speak of any of them right now. I greatly look forward to the day this pandemic is behind us and we're all reunited again. That seems so insane right now doesn't it?
What’s some final skate or health related wisdom you can drop on the skate world?
Most valuable piece of advice I ever got and it doesn't just pertain to nutrition: "listen to your body".
And one final thing I can’t end the interview without asking… Going back to your legendary tre flip trick tip video, you never really gave much away, other than saying check Kalis’ tres - which is definitely valid advice - but I know the people are still waiting for more… What’s the real secret to your tres man?
Ha, the secret is Sants. The train station spot in Barcelona. Back-to-back video parts I had tre's in lines on flat at that spot. Come to think about it, is that illegal?
Any final words?
Thanks for this interview. I appreciate you and everyone out there, whether you support me or not. Much love.