Although at first glance you might think Mason Silva is all business, he’s developed a reputation for his quiet intensity and almost-obsessive precision. For the drop of his new part, “Mason,” we talked to fellow teammates, tourmates, friends and family about what makes Mason tick and why good waves are pretty much the only thing that will get him out of bed early in the morning.
Photos: Mason Silva
Zion Wright: Fellow SB and Real Skateboards teammate
Nike SB: How did you meet Mason and when was the first time you skated with him?
Zion Wright: I met him at an over the rail off a five-block, an OG spot. He was trying to front three it. This was about four years ago.
SB: Is he pretty determined to land tricks?
ZW: 110%. He’s all-in to land his tricks.
SB: Does he get you motivated to skate in a session?
ZW: When we were skating together at NC State and he was doing fakie hardflip on flat and then halfcab heel down the set...dude. The way he was spanking the fakie hardflips was giving me juice. I’m not going to lie.
SB: Are you excited that you both skate for Real now too?
ZW: 100%, because now we get to go on more trips, get to build a bond and shred. He fits in with the crew. He’s real, if you want to put it like that.
Mike Sinclair: SB Team Manager
Nike SB: Is Mason courteous to his fellow travelers?
Mike Sinclair: Oh, yeah. Whoever he’s sharing a room or a bench seat in the van with is probably stoked. Never heard anyone complain about Mason and I’ve never heard Mason complain about anyone else.
SB: Is he first or last to the van?
MS: He’s more like...middle of the road to the van. But closer to being the first to the van than the last. I don’t think he’s ever been last. You don’t want to be that dude.
SB: Where in the van does he sit?
MS: I remember him sitting close to the front, like behind the driver.
SB: That’s a good spot. Just for people who don’t know, how do the different rows in the van play out from a social perspective?
MS: Usually, the rowdier ones fall into the back. There’s a little more partying going on back there. As you get closer to the front, you’re running into more of the nerds.
SB: Is he the guy who needs special stops to get laces or griptape or anything?
MS: He doesn’t need shit. I don’t think he even needs a Team Manager.
Blake Carpenter: Fellow SB Teammate
Nike SB: What’s Mason’s temper like when he skates?
Blake Carpenter: He’s kind of like any baby movie. What’s that movie where the baby is super smart? Anyway, he’s just a big baby. Even though he knows he’s going to land it. There’s only been a handful of times where I’ve seen that he didn’t get his trick.
SB: How does he deal with the stress of trying a trick that isn’t going his way?
BC: He scrunches both of his knuckles together, brings his shoulders inwards, puts his head down, squints his eye and yells, “Ugh!”
SB: Some people are very unapproachable when they’re stressing. Can you talk and joke with Mason during a meltdown or is it better to stay quiet, not make eye contact and pretend you’re scrolling through your phone?
BC: I will say whatever I want to Mason.
SB: It doesn’t make him more pissed?
BC: Nah, he’s not like that. He’s not an unpredictable guy.
Ginger: Mason’s Girlfriend
Nike SB: What’s it like living with Mason?
Ginger: Living with Mason is super easy. It’s been fun learning how to do all of the “adult” stuff together, like making cocktails and disabling broken smoke alarms at 3AM.
SB: Was there anything about him that revealed itself only after you guys moved in together?
G: Mason needs his beauty sleep! Never wake Mason up “the wrong way” or too early. If his sleep is interrupted, he will be cranky. And he loves to shower, even if he’s not dirty. He could take up to four showers a day.
SB: Does he pick up after himself?
G: For the most part. The only thing he avoids picking up is the pile of dirty clothes he accumulates by his bedside. He ignores the hamper.
SB: Does he hog the remote?
G: No, we both can never decide what to watch. The remote is like a hot potato in our house. We both hate having the responsibility of picking a show or movie.
SB: Put the toilet seat down?
G: Yes, 99% of the time!
Ryan Lee: Filmer
Nike SB: What’s Mason’s work ethic like when it comes to filming?
Ryan Lee: He’s pretty on point. He either knows the spot he wants to skate, or he can think of a trick quickly. He’s also conscious of everyone’s time, so if he knows he doesn’t want to skate a spot, he’s not going to fuck around. He can easily just go on to the next thing. He’s really nice to film with.
SB: Does he borrow your wax? Does he lose it?
RL: He does lose wax a lot. I’m just like, “Dude, do I really got to get all this wax if you’re just going to lose it?”
SB: Do you have any wild stories while filming for this part?
RL: Mason and I were skating this curved ledge in LA and this tweaked out dude came out of a store yelling, “I’m going to come back and shoot up this whole lot in an hour!” Then ran off.
Mason was all like, “All right, I got 40 minutes to get this trick.” I just said, “Hell no. Let’s leave.” I couldn’t tell if he was serious.
Cameron Strand: Friend and Photographer
Nike SB: What kind of photography is Mason into?
Cameron Strand: He likes to document what’s going on around him -- the situation at hand with his own take on it. Aside from that, I’ve seen a few abstract photos with lovely compositions.
SB: Does he know what he’s doing or just your typical skater with a camera?
CS: I love that he’s not just a film point-n-shoot guy. Sure, he has some things to learn, but for the most part, he generally knows what he’s doing.
SB: What does he shoot with?
CS: I think I’ve only ever seen him bring out his Leica, but I know he has a few others. Pen FT Half Frame, Yashica Mat 124g, Olympus Stylus.
SB: What’s it like to shoot with someone who’s a photographer himself? Does he try to give you notes on your angles?
CS: Thankfully, Mason likes the way I shoot and understands how I operate; so. more often than not, it’s a wonderful collaboration that works seamlessly. There’s been times where he’s had an idea on an angle and it’s worked out better than my angle. That shows me he really gets it.
Mark Silva: Mason’s Dad and Avid Surfer
Nike SB: Did Mason start skating or surfing first?
Mark Silva: From what I remember, Mason started skating first. He would put on one shoe and one rollerblade and go in the backyard and skate these really sketchy ramps I had built. This was when he was probably 3 or 4. We called it "one shoe, one skate." I think he graduated to a real skateboard when he was around 5.
SB: Why do you think he got more into skating than surfing?
MS: I think early on Mason put more effort into skating than surfing because he wasn't a fan of big waves. He didn't like the fact that he didn't know when the big ones were coming. He liked skating because he could take his time and judge a staircase, or rail or gap, before he tried it.
SB: What’s his surf style like? Different than his skating?
MS: Mason surfs very much like he skates. He has a fast, skate style.
SB: Is he up for dawn patrol or is he not a morning person?
MS: When the waves are good, it's easy to get Mason up early because he knows he will kick himself later if he misses it. Mason can have some serious FOMO!
Legendary artist Piet Parra talks working on skate kits for the world stage.
Mason puts in the work.
Mason Silva: SOTY 2020