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Gassed Up


Whether it’s a serious full-length or quick recap of an off-the-cuff tour, every video project goes through iterations, ebbs and flows, and sometimes, last-minute tweaks to find its flow. Filmed over the last year, Nike SB’s latest project is “Gassed Up,” an edit by Ant Travis bookended by full parts from Nicole Hause and Hayley Wilson, with a montage of the SB squad getting loud in the middle.

Filmed in Malmö, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and various spots of varying crust quotients throughout Australia and the Pacific Northwest, “Gassed Up” found its flow through the crew’s spontaneity, personality, and a persistent penchant for dancing and screaming pop tunes at full volume. We caught up with Ant, Nicole, and Hayley to get a behind-the-scenes look at the battles, pranks, spot nerdery, and sounds that shaped “Gassed Up."

Nicole Hause

Let’s go right in and get the background on the extreme sock sunburn you got at Bondi Beach.

I still have the tan line, sadly. It's so bad that it lasted three months. It's a little better now. The extreme sock sunburn happens when you wear kneepads for many hours trying a trick. The trick should have taken no time but I got stuck. I actually put sunscreen on but forgot to do the back of my calves. The front didn't get sunburned because the pads were kind of a hat for my shins. So, my shins were fine but the back and my calves were so bad. I had high socks on and then the knee pads so I only had this little rectangle of sunburn which is not what you want. Ever. I've never seen anyone with that sunburn. I wanted to still wear shorts because it was 100 degrees after I got burned—screw it. I'm gonna show off my tan line. That wasn’t my proudest moment.

And right after that, we get the sludge pipe clip. Where was that one?

That was in Australia, too. Every spot we went to was gnarly. It had some water in it, so we were just flushing it out. Geoff Campbell saw a giant spider, which is super Australian, so we had to get that out, too. Initially, I thought I was gonna have to run through the whole thing to get speed, but I ended up throwing my board up the wall anyway and pumping into the grind. That actually didn’t take long. The whole crew was standing up there, so that was fun.

There are a bunch of stand-out tricks in your part but the blindside fakie ollie over the channel was an unexpected one. What put you on to that trick? It’s a rare one.

That was in Sweden. It was actually our first trip for this video. I've always loved fakie. I skated vert for a lot of years and it was one of the first tricks I learned where I could really bonk my wheels. Then I learned to travel it forward and backward but I was always better at going blind. I used to do that on ramps all the time. I did it over a channel maybe four years ago. It's just such a good feeling trick where you just bonk off, hover, then land. That's one of my favorite tricks to do so. But you’re right, people are like, ‘What? Fakie ollie blindside?’ But I can't really travel as far going forward. It doesn’t really make sense but skateboarding is like, whatever feels right is what's right.

That’s the beauty of skateboarding. Some awkward tricks just come naturally to someone. That’s the magic.

Exactly. That's me. Most people can do backside really well or more naturally. I can go frontside more naturally. Like I can barely backside air. I can frontside air all day. It doesn't make sense. I'm always better at tricks I can't see. I gotta be blind. I gotta just feel it out and not know what’s going on. [laughs]

Along with the tricks in the video, we have to call out the visor beanie, because that’s a serious fashion throwback.

That's so funny. I was just back home in Wisconsin with my family and my mom had all these albums. For two to three solid years I wore a visor beanie all day long—to sleep, in the summer, I only wore that visor beanie. Weirdly enough it was a Nike one. Hayley and I saw one in Portland, Oregon and I was like, ‘I am getting one of these. I need to start wearing one again.’ It kind of reignited my childhood in a positive way. I love it. Chad Muska and Tom Penny are really sick, obviously, so shout out to them. I don’t know who was doing it first, but I was doing it in 2006… just kidding. [laughs]

Everyone mentioned what a different and fun energy there was on these trips for the video. Having been on a bunch of different trips with different folks, what do you think sparks that?

I guess it's just the right mix of people and the right chemistry between all of us. I’d agree with everyone that it feels special—the beginning of something really good and a group that all works together really well. We're all so different, but we all understand each other and are able to banter with each other and still have fun. Every day of every trip was so much fun. You can't wait to get in the van and talk sh*t. Great chemistry between everyone. It's a really, really positive environment. I don’t have a lot to compare it to—Ant has the background of going on Zero trips, so that’s way gnarlier. This group of people is so good together and it makes for a good video. I think people will be able to sense that.

Right, more summer camp than a business trip.

Exactly. This is a summer camp. They're all summer camp trips for sure.

Do you have a favorite invert you like to do?

I think it's invert-to-fakie, weirdly enough. It might be the scariest to some people, but I've never been too scared of going in backwards. Originally, my ender was an invert at the Paint Dish—one of Australia's first skate parks. It's never taken me that long to do inverts, but this one was crazy. The best description I have for that spot is it's like an eight-foot Jersey barrier. That's what it felt like. On video, it doesn’t look that gnarly but actually skating it, you’re pretty much skating a Jersey barrier because it has a little transition that goes straight into wall with no coping. The whole problem the entire time was that my wheels weren’t bonking on anything, so it felt like my wheels were over the deck and if I tried to come in I was going to clip.

It took a while to get into the right one, push myself off, and land in the transition. I mean, no one likes battles. Once you get past the two-hour mark—two hours isn’t even fun—you get so mad and feel like you’re holding up the homies from getting clips or going to another spot. Then you have this internal rollercoaster ride and you’re getting further away from landing it. A rollercoaster of emotions. That was a spot that was definitely harder than it looks but it was worth it.

Conversely, you have another gnarly rooftop clip. Tell me about that one.

I love jumping off roofs for some reason. Every part, I need a roof drop in it. It’s kind of like my goal in life. [laughs] For me, you get all this adrenaline from it–you know you have to do it. The invert or whatever else you battle, you have a lot of chances, but with a roof drop, you only have ten chances. You’re gonna stick it or not. You’re not going to be able to try that for three hours. It’s not going to work for your body and you never know if you’re going to get kicked out. That’s another adrenaline rush–that’s someone’s roof, you don’t know if they’re home. They might come out super pissed and be like, ‘Why the hell are you jumping off my roof?’ It’s not a normal thing to see.

Ironically, my last name is Hause. My parents grew up building houses so I’ve been on roofs my whole life. I’m super comfortable being on them. It’s super random. Once I did one for the Nike SB Constant video, I don’t even look on the ground for spots anymore. I’m always looking up to find a roof to hopefully turn it into a spot. I have some other roof spots I’m saving. Sometimes I come across them and people will tell me about them cause they know I’m into them. I’m definitely saving a few for future parts.

Hayley Wilson

Non-trip or video related, but I know you used to skate a lot of transition. When was the last time you skated vert?

Probably when I was 12 years old! It was so long ago. There wasn’t a vert ramp nearby me so there was no way I could skate vert consistently. I was over it, so I just focused on skating street when I’d go to the park. I guess I’ve only been skating street for nine years.

Ha, that sounds short I guess but that’s longer than a lot of pro’s entire careers in the ‘80s and ‘90s. You’ve mentioned before what it’s like “being on a trip with 15 dudes,” so how did these trips compare to those early experiences?

They're very different dynamics, but I love both of them for different reasons. A trip with all the girls is special because they're all my closest friends. It has a different vibe in a sense because we’re so close and it’s a totally different connection. There’s a lot more conversation and fun… I have just as much fun with dudes, obviously, but in a different way. For the trips for this video, there was such a homie vibe. We didn’t know it was even happening—the video itself—until a couple of months ago so there was no pressure at all. I really liked that in a way because we were all just having fun filming, kind of not knowing where it was going. Obviously, it's good to have pressure, which we ended up having towards the end with the deadlines and the last trips to Atlanta and LA. But it was never super harsh, it was more about having fun and seeing what you get. We were all really stoked about that.

One thing that really stands out is how your style has evolved. Was that intentional or something you were focused on… something that influenced you?

Between filming for Gizmo and Medley, the big difference was that I wasn’t skating or training for the Olympics. In a way, I was doing those videos “on the side” and the Olympics was the main focus of those four or five years. Looking back I don't regret it, but I definitely wish that I focused more on street skating a little bit more. Last year I fully retired from the Olympics. Ever since then, my main focus is filming so you can tell there's a lot more passion for this project. My style changed. Everything's changed. I wanted to prove to myself that I can film a video part because I've never really done it before. It was a really cool experience because I started to get all this footage and I wasn’t sure where or how it was going to come out.

Taking that into account, what was your approach to starting to film a proper part?

I didn’t really have a certain way of doing it. I was just skating whatever spots I could find whether that was here in Melbourne or when I was out in the States or in Sweden or somewhere. I did put some pressure on myself but it was more about wanting to get the freedom back in skating after the Olympics. I want to skate for fun and freedom and be able to skate whatever I wanted. I had so much pressure from all the contests that I didn’t want to feel that right away. Obviously, as you get towards the end of a project there were certain things I needed to get which can be stressful but it was a really good experience.

I wanted to ask you a few things about your trick selection because you’re a rare kickflipper and heelflipper. How do you go about deciding what tricks you’re taking to a spot or in a line?

I can’t have too many kickflips so you gotta switch it up. A heelflip in a line looks really good to me. There’s a line in the video where I heelflip over a grate and then I backside flip out of a kicker. I loved how the heelflip looked—I thought I did it justice. I was stoked that I got the heelflip but then I have that kickflip into the crusty bank and a heelflip just wouldn’t have worked on that spot because you’re going backside. Honestly, I love them equally.

Same thing with front nose and back nose? Most folks don’t have the power for both. Do you have one that locks in better or feels better?

Not really. I’ve done them both on so many spots so many times, they’re about the same. I would tend to do a regular noseslide cause they’re less scary. Frontnosing an out-ledge is terrifying to me. Back? Not as scary. Depending on the spot… that curved ledge in LA felt the best. A back noseslide—I would have done something out of it or into it, to feel more justifiable to me, so getting the front noseslide was really dope.

Those mind games and rules we put on ourselves are funny. Just because you’re facing a different way, the trick feels mentally harder and therefore it’s better to film or whatever.

I don’t think there are many people that do that trick (front noseslide) in general, so you want to be able to flip out or spin out if you do one, but to do one that long was something I wanted to do and felt like it would look good. You have to be so perfect on a front nosegrind. If you lean too far forward you’re slipping out and if you’re too far back you’re sticking, so you have to be perfectly centered. But on a noseslide, you can be a little more lenient on how you stand on it. Also, when you’re going frontside you’re going backward so coming out regular is a lot harder—fakie is the easier option.

Was there a trick or line that you’re really proud of in the video?

My favorite line—the one I loved doing the most—was the noseslide to crooks line because I literally learned that trick in LA at the Rose Garden ledges. That made me want to do it in a line because actually learning the trick was like a test for me. So when I go back to Melbourne, there's this plaza called “No Piss Plaza” where everyone skates. They’re pretty hard ledges to skate cause they’re round and square with a really weird angle, but I really wanted to pop out in the middle. That was super fun for me. That was my favorite line—the noseslide crooks, front nose, then fakie flip.

Getting away from tricks for a minute, how did everyone get along on the trips for the video—tour dynamics can naturally be weird with pressure and just travel in general.

It was super sick. I could say amazing things about everyone. We all got along so well, there were no downers to anything and that’s super sick. You don’t usually hear that—there are usually little cliques or whatever. We didn’t experience that at all. Ant’s pretty much my best friend—we’ve got a really great friendship. Nicole and I have done a few trips before and we get along really well. I love her skating. I get really inspired by how powerful she skates and how she just does things. Great vibes from everyone. I’m here for a 10-minute battle or a 5-hour battle, you know? Because I know someone’s going to have to sit through a battle for me, so why wouldn’t I do that for them? That’s a part of skating.

Ant mentioned that music was such a big part of the trips. Can you talk about that a bit?

We definitely had a bond over Rihanna. It was like such a big thing. I've got ADHD so when I hear a song, even if it's old, I'll obsess over it for so long. For some people, it’s a couple of days, but for me, it’s weeks or months. So when I was in the States last year I started listening to “Umbrella” by Rihanna and I’d always be blasting it in the van and Ant and I would be singing it at the top of our lungs. That went into going on trips—we’d always blast that song and everyone would join in. Then when we took the trip to Oz, Rihanna was playing the Super Bowl, and we all watched it. That was just iconic—I swear I almost cried when she was performing. [laughs]

We have to discuss Nicole’s leg farmer tan…

Oh my god, I've never seen anything like that. That was honestly the most insane sunburn I've ever seen. She was battling this line in Bondi Beach—the Bondi Bowl. You don't think to put sunscreen between your legs, sock, and knee pad. You don’t think you’re gonna get burnt there. Sure, you put sunscreen on your face and your arms and neck, but she definitely wasn’t thinking about her legs. She took off her pads and I've never seen anything redder than her legs. If you put your face on her legs, your entire face would be imprinted on them. It was intense. Same with Agata. Agata got so burned that it looked like she was wearing a swimsuit. If you just saw a little bit of her it was pure white and the rest was so red.

Nike needs to make a sunburn colorway that turns white when you touch it. You can have all the point-five photos on the insole.

Yeah, like the Lobster Dunk but even redder. That’s a great idea, actually. [laughs]

OK, take us through your ender. Ant mentioned that no one had even stepped to that spot before…

Yeah, that was such a scary spot. The rail was that thin square metal rail. There was a two-meter drop on the side that he was filming and you had one push so you didn’t know if you had enough speed. The rail had never been skating so I didn’t know if I’d slide or pitch forward. There were so many factors and so many things that could have gone wrong. I was super surprised when I got it that fast. It was a long process from when I tried to figure it out to actually doing it—maybe 45 minutes before I jumped on it. 25 minutes of rolling up and figuring it out… getting angry, then 20 minutes to actually jump on the first one. I knew that the spot was crucial to my part—this could be the ender. The first few I tried were sketchy and I didn’t get on properly but I was able to jump to the other side. When I landed it I totally blacked out. I don’t remember doing the trick. I remember standing where all the girls were and them running up. That’s all I remember. That was one of the scariest tricks I’ve ever done. I’m super stoked I was able to get it that quickly. I didn’t want to do it any longer than I had to.

And then you have to look at the footage to see if you like it, which can be equally terrifying.

Yeah, I don’t think there was any other way to do it and I don’t think Ant was going to be like, ‘Yeah, you should try it again.’ With stuff like that it can look chill if it’s on the sketchier side but I’m glad it didn’t and no one was like, ‘Yeah, you should get on that again.’ [laughs]

Ant Travis

Can you take us through your process for making a tour edit verse a traditional full-length?

It started with the first trip. There wasn’t a solid idea other than taking a trip with some of the girls on Nike SB to see what was going to happen, but initially, it was going to be a trip-based video. When you’re working on something like that, you’re filming a lot of B-roll…filming everything just in case. Once we went to Australia—that trip was so productive—it changed what we were doing. I knew we had something cooler that would feel more like a video, rather than a tour edit. Also, Hayley and Nicole started getting so much footage that it was obvious they could at least have mini parts. Once we got back to LA and Hayley was back in Australia, they were both getting more footage on their own.

Once you’re done taking trips and you have most of what could be something, what’s your approach to editing and starting to form a narrative?

Honestly, when we first started looking at the footage it wasn’t obvious what we were doing. [laughs] Even before the last trip the only thing that was definite was that it was going to be more than a montage. It was feeling like more of a normal video. As far as the middle section, Arin (Lester) had a lot of stuff so I knew that would be a big part of the video, but it was obvious that everyone was putting in the work.

With everyone being teammates there’s somewhat of a built-in dynamic but it always changes when you’re on a trip and there are deadlines and everything that comes with travel. What were these trips like and how did everyone get along?

The trip we took to Malmö with everyone… there were a few people that everyone didn’t know well but it honestly worked out really well. Everyone got together and supported each other. They were just having fun and messing around really quickly. Even though everyone was down to film, it didn’t feel too serious. The trips with the girls tend to feel like that.

That’s interesting. Why do you think the dynamic was different on these trips?

When you go on a trip with a bunch of guys—even if there are a few women—people can be really serious. There’s something in the approach to getting tricks. It can be really intense. It’s not that the girls aren’t serious about what they’re doing, but it’s a lot looser.

It’s a generalization, but is it fair to say that, for whatever reason, dudes can be a little more self-conscious?

For sure. That’s part of it. I guess when you get in the van in the morning and the girls are playing Rhianna and dancing around it’s a lot different than getting a van with a bunch of dudes head-banging to Metallica or Slayer that early. [laughs]

Did the music that was being played on the trips influence your choices for the video?

Yeah. Usually, when you approach things this way it’s really fun to try to incorporate a song we were listening to a lot on the trips. A lot of what was getting played was Rhianna or Beyoncé, so that’s a little tougher to work in. At one point I started a group text and people were sharing songs. Sarah Meurle shared a playlist and it lead to finding a song for the montage.

There’s a lot of street footage in the video where the spots were sort of jury-rigged. Are you propping up tiles or whatever or is that just happening naturally on the sessions?

A lot of the girls like bump-to-spots, so when we’d go to cities people would be showing us around and have notes on spots, recommending stuff we’d want to skate. But definitely, propping things up happened a lot. I think it’s cool because it can unlock a different way to skate a spot. It makes it personal, in a way.

It feels like that on any trip there are those sessions where someone is battling a trick and the rest of the crew is off to the side, letting them do their thing. Were there any moments like that that stood out to you?

Yeah, there were a lot. Nicole… I think she had a few four-hour battles. A lot of her tricks were battles. The invert she did in Australia… that one had to be four or five hours. Also, for whatever reason on that trip we ended up at a lot of manual spots and you know, those can take a long time. We came to terms with “No more manuals on trips.” [laughs] We didn’t stick with it but it became kind of a joke. Someone would suggest a spot and you’d be like, ‘No way. No more manual spots!’ because you’d get there and the next thing you know it’s 5 PM and no one got a trick.

Do you prefer filming in parks or the streets?

It’s nice to go to a park sometimes to relieve the stress of getting kicked out and just the general chaos that can happen filming in the street but to be honest, in the end, street spots usually look cooler. It is nice to go to a park, especially as a break when you’re getting constantly kicked out of spots.

Speaking of that, even though there are more women and non-binary folks skating now than ever before, have any security guards kind of tripped when they roll out to give you the boot and they see a gang of non-dudes?

It’s actually funny that you mention that and I fully understand what you’re saying. Sometimes a security guard would come out and you have Chloe (Covell) trying this trick. There’s this young teenager trying super hard to get this trick—totally smiling the entire time—and it’s like, ‘How are you going to be mean to this little girl smiling at you?’ It’s like, c’mon dude, how the hell are you being so aggro? Everyone is just hanging out and having fun. You’d think you’d get approached a little differently but it’s always the same thing. They want you to get the hell out of there. I really do think about that all the time. All you gotta do is tell this young girl with this big smile to leave but you’re still so mad? It’s really strange.

What tricks from the video really stand out to you?

The boardslide Hayley did at the end of her part, for sure. It was a spot that Jack O’Grady showed us that no one had ever skated before. It was super gnarly and the way she did it was cool.

The rollaway is almost as rad as the trick.

For sure. We were at the beach one day and we went to look at it because it was close and Hayley was like, ‘Give me a day or two to think about this.’ We went back and she did it really fast. She kind of just jumped on it a few times and when she came off the end I think she was surprised it happened that quickly. She was still warming up. The ride-away was a little awkward and she was really concerned about that. I think she realized she was riding away and was like, ‘Oh shit, I did it!’ just like everyone else on the session. I wouldn’t be surprised if she blacked out on that one.

All photos shot by Joe Brook.