Legendary vert skater, Bucky Lasek, dropped off a late Christmas gift this year with new “Buck-It List” part. Since making his video debut in the fourth Bones Brigade video, Public Domain, back in ‘88, Lasek has become one of the few kings of vert skating, and this new video only solidifies his place on the throne.
In addition to the four-minute part above, Lasek also sat down with the good folks over at Thrasher Magazine to talk about his upbringing, how getting his bike stolen switched him to skateboarding, linking with Peralta’s crew, rally-car racing, Bob Burnquist, and so much more. Enjoy some excerpts below before heading over to Thrasher for the full Q&A.
Alright, Bucky, let’s start at the beginning. What’s the story?
I grew up in Baltimore city, a place called Hollander Ridge. A basic description would be a lot of apartment complexes, about two-story, with surrounding neighborhood courts. I was basically raised as a minority white boy.
Was it a sketchy neighborhood?
Yeah. Not like section 8. It wasn’t, like, food stamps but it was probably pretty bad. We had feuds and I was known within my courts and the surrounding courts. But if I stepped out, I was a white boy in danger. And I was raised by a single mom. I was fatherless from around two years old.
It’s funny to think of a kid reading this who has seen you on TV or seen you in a magazine and has no clue that you grew up living on a secluded island and on a tug boat cooking hot dogs.
And then we finally moved back to Baltimore from there and that’s when I started riding bikes on some dirt jumps, like, jumping milk crates and doing 360s here and there and I was actually really good at that as well. Then I went into this store one day and I didn’t lock my bike up and it got ganked. So after that, skateboarding was getting pretty big and I wanted a skateboard. That was probably around November so I had a couple months before Christmas. And then before Christmas came, my buddy Chico got a board. I think it was a Lester Kasai. He got that and I would basically run beside him.
Who was the crew back then? You, Chico and who else?
Me, Chico, I met Tony Bachman a little later, Justin Gillies, Jim McGuire, who later built one of the first halfpipes I ever skated. We had a good crew. We found a ditch and then we found out where a mini ramp was located. There was a mini ramp that had a mellow wall with a channel and then on the other side it had a six-foot high wall that went to vert and that’s pretty much where it all started for me.
So if your bike hadn’t gotten ripped off do you think you would have stuck with riding bikes? I mean, you were hyped on it.
Yeah, I probably would have had some dislocated shoulders and some knockouts, I’m sure.
It’s crazy that you owe your skateboarding career to some kid that was, like, “Fuck it. I’m gonna steal this bike.”
Yeah, exactly. I could have been the next Matt Hoffman.
So how did you get hooked up with Powell back in the day?
I was riding for a shop called Reach for the Beach and the Powell tour came through doing a jump-ramp demo and—well, this actually goes back to just after we found the mini ramp. After that, I got word that there was a vert ramp called Hell Ramp. So after I found that vert ramp, it was on because I learned everything on this mini ramp and then we would catch the bus out there to the Hell Ramp to skate it. I think I was 12 or 13, catching buses, which I could never imagine my kids doing now. So we found the vert ramp and then I got sponsored locally by Reach for the Beach, getting flowed for Skull Skates, doing pretty good at local contests and then the Powell tour came into town. They did their jump-ramp demo and we let them know about the vert ramp and some of them showed up the next day and I was there skating. Stacy Peralta was there and he was amazed at this little kid who could skate this monster ramp and he set me aside, he stood me next to the ramp, I remember, and he said, “I could really see you doing this.”
So for people that don’t know, what kind of racing is it that you’re doing?
I’m a factory driver for Subaru. It’s for rally cross which is short circuit racing, kind of like super cross on motorcycles where it’s up to 12 cars, the course is kind of like dirt and it has a 65-foot jump. It’s pretty intense in-your-face racing.
What kind of speed do you get up to on those courses?
We get up to about a buck thirty but it’s short bursts. I also race rally which is through the woods with a co-driver reading notes. So basically they’re telling you where to go and you’re going as fast as you can.
What’s your daily routine like? What’s a day in the life of Bucky look like?
My daily routine is pretty trippy. I’m a family guy. I wake up, get the girls off to school, make breakfast. We’re home schooling Tenzin now so I’ll sit down with her for a couple hours, make some phone calls, see where the sessions gonna be. We usually skate here on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Otherwise we’ll skate some vert at night at Tony’s warehouse or we’ll dip out somewhere else like up north—go skate some pools with Ozzy and then come home and make some dinner.
How’s the body holding up? How’s the knees from skating and how’s the ankles? Everything healthy?
Knees are good; ankle’s good; everything’s good. I could probably use a couple of new wrists but yeah, everything’s pretty good. Not too bad.
Alright, any words of wisdom for kids?
I guess it’d just be being humble—well, first off you gotta be hungry. But I don’t think that’s gonna be an issue because if you’re young you’ve got the fire. So being hungry and also being very humble and being honest, of course. Having etiquette towards your elders and towards the history of skateboarding. And no hating. Even if you don’t like something you can learn something from it. Mainly it’s just being humble. I believe some kids, they get kind of good. They’re good at skateboarding but it’s, like, well, who the fuck cares how good you are at skateboarding? It’s about being a human being as well. If you’re good on a skateboard and you’re the biggest dick as a human, what good does that do you when you’re done skating? You know what I mean?