Sarcasm translates very poorly via text...Take a Karl Watson exclamation point, on the other hand. Here we've got something that can be immediately read, digested, and diagnosed as 1,000% sincere. In an attempt at upping the output of positive vibes radiating off of computer screens everywhere, we sat down with Karl himself to ask some questions and gain insights from a skateboarder who has existed throughout the entirety of Bay Area 'street' skating's lifespan.
Your part in Mad Circle’s “5 Flavors” opens with a line at Somerville High School, one of greater Boston’s greatest plaza-esque spots from the late 90’s/early 00’s (RIP). Tell us a little bit about that trip, what brought you out to the East Coast, and who you were skating with at the time. Did you hit any other Boston spots?
That was a rad trip! I was in New York just skating and Vinny Ponte invited me to come stay with him in Bosstown. Saw him slide some super high rails. Loved it there!
Why the pretzel out (for people unfamiliar with the term, the slide and 270 the opposite way)?
There was an ON video segment on Hubba Hideout and Koston named my trick as his favorite trick that went down there. While explaining the trick he said "pretzel way out" and now people still use that term.
I feel like the iPath team anywhere from 2003-2005 was really setting the tone for Bay area skating at the time. Maybe I’m just thinking of you, Nate Jones, Matt Field...what was it like being on that team at that time?
Those were the days! Matt Field brought the east coast flavor and we all loved it. He had this hippy/bohemian thing going on and that helped create Ipath.
If you could have been a part of any plaza culture, during any era, besides EMB, what would it be?
Love Park or Pulaski for sure!
Is Sam Smyth secretly the reason behind everything that has been good in skateboarding post 1995? (hint: the answer is yes)
Haha! I love Sam! Thats my brother. Him and his family really looked out for me when I was young. Staying at his house was the best! Nick Lockman introduced me to Sam and after that we were tight.
Favorite video to come out of the ‘VHS era’? Let me rephrase this: If you could only watch one VHS era video for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Man! Tough question! I'd have to say Public Domain (Powell video)
We’ve been having a heated debate at SMLTalk HQ as to who is more naturally talented, Grant Taylor or Bob Burnquist. Who has your vote?
Thats another tough one!! Grant is a skate God for sure but Bob grinded a rail into the Grand Canyon. Bob has some balls for that. So my vote goes to Bob.
There’s gotta be some sort of intelligence requirement for Organika team riders. Walker Ryan and Alexis Sablone are both super intelligent people, with years of higher education under their belts while balancing careers in skateboarding. By and large, your company and team sets a pretty good example for the kids. Is this intentional?
Not a requirement, but I highly encourage younger skaters to have a plan B or to learn some skills they can use within skateboarding. Most youngsters think if you turn pro you're set for life, but that's the furthest thing from the truth unless you're one of the few lucky ones.
Speaking of the kids, we noticed you are very supportive of the incoming generation/youth of skateboarders nowadays. Who has been getting you hyped lately/anyone we should keep an eye out for the future?
We've got some young bucks on the Organika squad that are killing it. Kilian Zehnder, Zion Wright and Tafari Whitter. And Miles Silvas was one of those younger kids that i've been blessed to have hooked up from a young age.
Any big plans for Organika in the not-so-distant future?
We just turned Miles pro, which was a big deal for us since we've only turned two dudes pro; Walker being the first. We'll be traveling this summer and spreading the good word of skateboarding. Thats the best gift we can share with the world. Since skateboarding promotes positivity by breaking down barriers such as race, age, gender and language.
Any shout-outs or last words?
I'd like to shout out all of the unique people who looked outside of the box and picked up a skateboard.