Weckingball Talks About the Reality of the Skate Industry
Very few people have entered the skateboarding industry the way Weckingball did.
The self-proclaimed “Most Jacked Skater” became known for his ‘Manny Busters’ videos on social media, in which he took professional skateboarders to task over what he perceived to be “violations” in their manuals. Seemingly overnight, Weckingball became a household name in the skate community, and he was woven into the fabric of skateboarding, whether industry insiders liked him or not.
We gave him a call recently to see what he’s up to.
So what's been happening, dude?
Oh, so much. I'm trying to get central air in my house. They're telling me that I need a bigger amperage, but I don't. I just need a new breaker with more volts, I don't know what they're talking about. So, there's that and I've just been editing new videos, which have been very time consuming. I probably spent like at least 50 hours on my last video in total. That’s pretty much about it.
Yeah, let’s talk about your videos. The content that you put out is I'd say half comedy and half educational. Would you say that's right?
Yeah, that's a pretty good ratio. I try to keep it something like that.
Is this a conscious effort? You make somewhat serious critiques of the skateboarding industry, but then you also have this comedic side too.
I think since I have realized how much of a reach I have, I try to be more educational, but I also try to mix it up and blend it well with comedy, so that it's not annoying. I’ll put facts out there, but it's presented in a satirical style so that it's entertaining to watch.
However, it requires a balance because I don't want people to think that everything is a joke and everything's a prank. You know what I mean? I'm still just actually a person.
As your reach began to grow while you were doing the Manny Buster stuff, did you find people coming up to you and expecting you to be Weckingball as opposed to just a normal guy?
Yeah, if I get spotted in public, people expect me to be really like zany and kooky and shit. I remember one time, I was staying with my friend and his friend was like, "Yo, what? Weckingball is staying with you? That's crazy. What's he doing?"
They think I’m like I’m over there punching holes in walls or some shit.
And why do you think you developed such a reach?
Well, obviously on social media the following's there, but other than just that, I think that a lot of the shit I do is really unusual, so people send it around a lot.
What I find interesting is that you are taking the piss out of a lot of people's favorite pro skaters. I can imagine that most people who tried to do the same would get shut out of the industry. How come you didn’t?
I think because of that you can go look up skateboard footage of me, and you can see that I’m not just some poser, it kind of validates me to have an opinion. And then I also think that because there's a face attached to my content. My account is not anonymous, so it goes further than if it was just like a regular meme account. I think anonymity holds people back from having a bigger reach. Also, me and that account Asphalt Poser Club were the only two accounts that were taking the piss out of anything in skateboarding.
It's also interesting how quickly you became ingrained into the culture. Anytime someone scrapes a manual it's like, "Let's get Weck on the case," or anytime someone does something kooky it's like you are the referee. And it just seemingly happened overnight.
Yeah, I’m used to it now, but it was really strange when it first started happening and I had friends calling me telling me they're at like Cherry Park and someone scraped and they said that they Wecked. I should mention, I don't know why they started saying that a scrape was called Weck. In reality, it's opposite. A good manual should be a Weck.
I think that's more like if you've seen Beetlejuice. Do you know that movie? Beetlejuice?
The Tim Burton film?
Yeah, if you say his name three times and he'll appear. If someone scrapes on a manual, it's as if people say your name in the hopes that you will materialize there and then call the person out. That's what it seems like to me.
[laughing] Yeah maybe.
So where were we?
You said that you don't see anybody that really kind of broke through like that, in skating.
That’s right. And you think it was because you were a good skater that wasn’t anonymous?
Yeah, and also because when I got into doing this, I wasn't trying to chase being a pro skater, so I didn't have to be on good terms with anybody in the industry. I had free rein to just say whatever I want. Like, I'm sure a lot of people want to say shit, but they can't because then someone will hear it and they'll be like, "Yo, don't fuck with that guy," and he'll be clipped. I just had no ties to any of it and I could say what I wanted without any repercussions.
That's a good point, and you kind of have the freedom to make content like that ‘D-list pros’ video you made, which kind of pulled back the curtain on the industry and what it’s like being a professional skater.
Yeah, I talk about a lot of shit like that on my Patreon, where I have like straight up rants and say point blank, "This is what's going to happen to you."
Can you tell people what the ‘D-List pros’ video was about?
Yeah. In that video I explained that a lot of pro skaters out there are working multiple jobs behind the scenes and couch surfing to keep their careers afloat. Kids don’t realize this.
I want to show these kids the reality of what it's going to be like if you're trying to be a pro skater, or if you pursue any kind of creative art. And my main point isn't to not try to be a pro skater, but to do it yourself. Like, if you want to do that, make your own brand and get paid. Pay yourself.
Don’t sell your media that you worked really hard for, and you probably got hurt a bunch. Don't sell it to a brand for them to give you a percentage, when they have also the ability to just be like, "Okay, you're fired. See ya."
Do you think fewer kids will pursue skateboarding if they realize what it’s like behind the scenes for a lot of the pro’s that aren’t making Nyjah or P-Rod level money?
I think a lot of kids want to chase the fame and the attention you get. People will idolize you and you get your name on a board…You're at the demo and shit and people are like, "Oh, it's him," and want your autograph, and it's like some rockstar shit. But this is like totally a fake ... It's not really how it goes. It might be like that for like 30 people in the industry.
But the rest of these guys, even if they appear to be like they're doing well financially, a lot of them are working side jobs and they won't tell anybody. They're ashamed of it, it's like they want to keep up this image that they're like rockstars and shit.
Or, there's guys that are making shit money and they don't care. They're just really irresponsible and they're just getting their bills paid, like barely and they have no thoughts about what their future's going to be. For example, Heath Kirchart, when Emerica was popping like 15 years ago, he was delivering pizzas at nights.
Wow. I didn’t know that.
Yeah, he was selling pizzas in his spare time, and he was paying all his bills with that. And then he saved all of his Emerica paychecks and then once the money stopped coming to him, he had all this money saved up from the paychecks that he saved, that he started his bar in LA, that Black Bar and now he's doing great. He was really smart about it, which is why we should be telling this shit to kids.
Yeah, and then there’s taxes.
Yeah, taxes fuck a lot of skaters over. I know Fred Gall like two years ago got hit by the IRS for like tens of thousands of dollars that he owed. If you're a pro skateboarder, you're getting a 1099 and you got to pay tax on your shit. Nobody's sending off your fucking tax, they're not collecting tax for you and giving you a W2. You know what I mean?
There's just so much that could go wrong and it's like when you're a kid, you don't really fucking care. But it is really nice to see how many people actually do listen to me, like young adults and shit, so that's good and that really makes it seem worth doing, for me.
Yeah, it's funny that you mentioned the Heath Kirchart thing, which I didn't know, because the chances of any given skater kid becoming the next Kirchart are pretty slim.
Yeah exactly and even then, if you are the next Kirchart, what do you do at 30-35?
If I was an employer and I saw someone had 15 or 20 years of skateboarding as their experience, with no other skills, I would be like, "Fuck, no, I'm not hiring this guy."
Yeah Mikey Taylor is beginning to talk about a lot of this. The necessity of having a back up plan and a financial education as an athlete.
I think Mikey Taylor has a good message behind his whole thing, like, "Invest your money, be smart with your money," but he's not 100% thorough anyway because he makes it seem like he took some little skateboard checks and flipped it and made millions of dollars. He had a brewing company that he was part owner of and it was like a totally different thing. It is what it is, but the message is good that he's telling people to invest and save your money and be wise about it.
Another example is Clive Dixon. That guy's amazingly good at skating, right? He fucking nose-blunted the Hubba at the LA Convention Center.
He has a day job. He has a day job. People don't know that. He rides for Vans. Joey O'Brien, too, who rides for Alien Workshop. It's insane, he’s so fucking good, dude. That guys like one of the best skateboarders and he works 9:00 to 5:00. He does like laborious shit. I'm sure he works more than 40 hours a week doing straight fucking general labor.
Right. So then, did you have an urge the entire time you were building your following of like, "I see these problems within the industry and I want to reveal them?" Was that always the plan, or did that come later?
No, I mean, I always knew there was. I mean, when I was a kid, yeah, sure, before I knew any better, I was chasing being a pro skater. But after being kind of on the inside and seeing what's going on, I learned how shady it is.
I always knew that there was something that's not being said, but when I first started doing my videos and stuff, I never foresaw that I was going to be able to have a position to give advice to strangers or young adults, especially through some comedic way.
Yeah, I think you made an interesting foray into the skateboarding industry, somehow entering as the “most jacked skater” and getting away with it.
It's crazy how it worked out because when I first started up, I was doing Manny Busters, and the rest of the shit was just me flexing and being like, "I'm the fucking man, yo, I'm so jacked, bro."
And people were just like, "Who the fuck is this? You are such a douchebag." And, okay, yeah, I am, but you're talking about it, so you're making engagement on my social media.
And, I was picking on skateboarders. Skaters say that they love everybody and it's a totally inclusive thing for everyone, but then I bet you I could post a photo of me flexing in the gym and they would call me a douchebag and say they hated me. And that's exactly what they did. You know what I mean?
So it was kind of like holding up the mirror to bullshit at first, you know?
Yeah. I thought it was kind of ironic. You presented yourself as a jock kind of type, but you highlighted how skateboarding culture had itself become somewhat jockish. If you stray too far from the norm you can get your head bitten off – I mean, look at Jereme Rogers.
Right. I love Jeremy for that, honestly. He does some pretty silly shit that I don't agree with, but honestly I think that Jeremy Rogers beat skateboarding. It’s a game and he won and he's like, "I'm done." You know what I mean?
He kind of just walked away when he was in his prime and crushing shit and he was like, "Yeah, you know what? I don't feel like doing skating anymore."
Yeah, he was apparently getting tons of money from his sponsors at the time, too. He walked away from a lot.
Yeah, and some people would be like, "He sucks, he'll never make it in music." So what if he doesn't? He's enjoying doing it. Am I allowed to do something because it entertains me and it's fun for me to do? Or does it have to be like, "I'm gonna be the best." That's some jock shit. Skaters think that I'm a jock because I'm in good shape or I have my shirt off, and I say “bro” a lot. But being a jock is a mentality, it's not what you look like.
I agree. Okay, let’s pivot. Who are your biggest comedic inspirations? Do you have any, and who are they, if you do?
Now, or all time?
Both, I guess.
Okay. Let's see, Sam Hyde and Andy Kaufman, Definitely. I think my third biggest comedic influence would be Jonah Hill, because I just think he's so funny.
Jonah skates too, or used to. He’s skateboarding funny man, like yourself.
Yeah, so Jonah’s actually my favorite comedian. I liked Dave Chappelle before he got all fucking weird. I think something happened to him. You know he's bad when he started smoking cigs again. That's bad Dave.
Okay, I asked you this last time, but what is your day in the life? What does it look like?
Oh, yeah, my day in my life, you can watch it on my Patreon. So, I usually bathe my Pomeranian, I give him a bath and then I do his hair up real nice. Then I take him to a dog show if there's one that day and try to get a medal. And then, I'll try to go see my cobbler, my blacksmith and see if they can fashion some kind of like weird armor for me, or install some kind of weapon in my Timberland boots. I'll go workout at Walmart to get a pump, and then, if I have time, I'll film an Instagram video and I'll see who's talking shit on me and be like, "Fuck you." Then, if no one's talking shit on me I'll just make something up about somebody and start a rumor, so that they'll get mad at me.
Do you find it's important when taking care of your Pomeranian, do you think it's important?
That's not what I really do.
I was going along with the bit man!
Okay. Cut that part out, that is what I do.
Of course, of course. And where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see myself in this house that I'm in now, in my house, but I have central air and heat and more medals for my dog. I think by then, I think I'd like to see myself with a team for my paywall videos and I'm paying them nicely too, to do some videoing and editing. It's tough, dude, it's tough. I don't really want much. I live pretty minimally. Maybe like a bunch more guns, maybe I'll have way more guns, maybe, I don't know, just basic shit. I'll have a room with just like all kinds of food, so I don't have to leave to go to the grocery store very often.
Alright man. Well, I guess we'll wrap it up. Do you have anything else you want to add, anything you want to plug? I think you plugged your Patreon.
I definitely did plug my Patreon, probably too much…and you know what? I will plug my Patreon again.
I spent over 50 hours editing the latest videos on it, which costs me money and time in my life. I try to post one video weekly on the Patreon and I have been doing that, I haven't missed that yet in almost nine months, so there's over thirty videos on there now.
It’s five bucks a month, you're paying $1.25 a video and on the first of the month, I always have some big production that’s usually a comedy thing and then I'll have fitness instructional videos that are very insightful and very truthful.
Alright Weck, thanks for doing this with me.
You too dude.
You can find Weckingball’s content on his Patreon here.