Byron Essert has been a close homie of mine for a few years. I remember seeing him skating around some of my local hills when we were both a bit younger. To be honest, at first I thought he was kind of a kook—until we really got down to it and had a good sesh together. Since then, we’ve graduated from the same high school together, traveled together, and skated the sickest roads from Laguna Beach to the Dominican Republic. All the while I’ve seen his skill go through the roof. In my opinion, he may be one of the most diversified skateboarders out there. He can hold his own on a vert ramp, in a park, a pool, or the street—and my personal favorite—down a hill—switch, and all standup. It’s even been rumored that a bunch of groms have started a cult where they bow down to a picture of Byron every single time before they go skate.
Interview by Liam Morgan. Photos by Marcus Bandy & David Marano.
So Byron, this old man with a beard that works with Wheelbase hit me up to write these interview questions for you. Got anything you want to say before I start directing the questions?
Only continue reading if you can handle both the weirdo, and the beardo.
Basics. Where are you from? How young are ya? Favorite park? favorite hill?
Oakland, California. 18 years young. Channel Street. A gem in the Dolomites.
Growing up in the Bay Area (a mecca for rap music and the Hyphy movement), do you ever “go dumb” at parties and shake your dreads like Mac Dre?
I wish I could grow dreads! When my hair gets long it’s kinda Jewfro-ey.
What skaters with from the Bay Area inspire you the most both in life and in skateboarding?
JM Duran, James Kelly, and Mark Gonzales. . . is Mark from the Bay? Ha ha!
What’s the gnarliest experience you’ve had skating? Like something that made you think “holy shit I just got too GNARLY” right afterwards?
This is a really difficult question. I dont think I’ve had one situation that trumps the gnarlitude levels of all other experiences in skateboarding? A couple examples where I thought that is when I skated skyline blind, patchy wet, and at night. Or the first time I bombed Claremont switch.
Is it true that you used to be on the Razor scooter pro team?
I know scooter kids can be annoying, but we all did questionable things when we were little kids, right?
Dopest 3 people to travel and skate with?
This one is really difficult too! Just the first three to pop into my head: K-rimes, James Kelly, and “Towel” (Tyler Howell).
Who are your sponsors and why do you think they’re cool?
These Wheels, Powell Peralta, Aera Trucks, MuirSkate, Blood Orange, Bones Bearings, Dave’s Hippy Oil. They are cool because they make cool shit and do it for the love!
I’ve noticed you’ve been skating a bit more park along with skating downhill recently. What direction do you think that the downhill genre of skateboarding is going? And/or what direction would you like to see it go?
Boardercross seems like it’s going places? IDF needs to hold races on gnarlier, faster, and more technical roads. I also want to see more people going out into the mountains on skate/camping trips.
You’re the hardest shredding diabetic I know, ok?
I heard one time you raced a Ferrari down this gnarly hill in the Swiss Alps and it was charging so hard trying to keep up with you that the dude crashed out into a guard rail, is that true?
I thought that was you, bro?
What do you love more, candy or skateboarding?
Candy and skateboarding.
Remember when me and you would ride together on your Vespa to skate hills and yell at people on the sidewalk tellin ‘em we were gay?
If you’re at a party do you tell girls you’re a sponsored skater to get phone numbers, or do you use other tactics like ripping your shirt off?
Nah, I just take em for a ride on the Vespa, bro.
You’re the hardest shredding downhill skater I know that wears a Ghetto Gown (XXL t-shirt), ok?
We can’t all rock shmedium button-downs, lil guy.
Shoutout time. Mom, sponsors, inspirations—who gets love?
Thanks to my parents, brother, baysessions homies, and Cliff Coleman for the downhill slide!
It was sorta cool talking to you. I hope people like this and don’t think we’re weird. Oh yea, what’s a dope skate crew that you’re part of?
Yeah I guess the same to you. LBDR brah!