Anthony Flis is a skate-rat hailing from DC. He’s been skateboarding for a while now and was raised by his fellow Eastcoasters to respect, and skate, everything. They showed him how to shred bowls and bomb hills alike. Such an early influence is quite visible in Anthony’s current eclectic approach to skateboarding. The dude can hold it down in the streets, a bowl, a ditch, as well as any downhill run you can throw at ’em.
Anthony works and skates for Comet Skateboards and lives in Ithaca, NY. We recently had the privalege of hanging out in Ithaca and spending some time skating all sorts of rad spots, as well as just generally getting to know Anthony. He’s a deep-thinker, -pool shredder, -corner carver, and generally just a badass skate brotha. Please enjoy the following interview as we clown and get down with the one and only Mr. Anthony Flis.
Why does your car smell like salty walrus vagina and pickled beaver penis?
Dude my car has been on way too many road trips so there’s always trash all up in it. I don’t think that I’ve stayed in Ithaca for longer than two weeks at a time. There’s also the stains from a few summers back when I had a whole case of coke explode in the backseat. That shit’s never coming out.
When I was riding in your car I noticed a few books laying in the back seat. One of which was some kind of book about anarchy. What’s up with that? Are you one of those intellectual skateboard hippy dippies? Do I need to pepper spray you right now?
I don’t think I need to get pepper sprayed. . . but then again who would say they need to get pepper sprayed? I used to read a lot more, and I am a college graduate—the hair doesn’t help my case either. That anarchy book was written by the lead singer of Bad Religion though, and is about evolution mixed with punk rock, which is rad. Jason knows the dude and had the book, so I grabbed it while living in his basement. The end of the book talks about how there’s no afterlife and I was reading this super heavy part of the book while going through gnarly turbulence in a prop plane on my way from Ithaca to Portland earlier this year. I had to put the book down so I could keep my mind off the fact that the plane I was in was probably twice as old as I am.
I’d like to keep the focus here on the important stuff: What’s up with your chin hair?—it seems to have an oriental/martial arts flare with a hint of Yoda styling. What are your thoughts on your epic facial growth?
You’re just jealous you don’t have bitchin chin pubes like me. . .
Okay, we should talk about skateboarding for at least a minute. If you had to race head-to head against James Kelly & Zac Maytum, and “cheat to win”, or die; what kinda shit would you pull to make that happen?
I don’t really care about racing but I suppose I’d go for the Mario Kart tactics and throw some turtle shells, shoot some lightning, and throw a banana peel or two.
So you just got back from that pioneering “Skatesgiving” trip. We’ve heard good things about it and look forward to all of Matt Kenzle’s Skate House Media edits soon to hit the interwebs. Can you tell us a bit about that experience—where you went and why?
We started at Phat Deanz house in Harrisburg, PA and then skated what we thought were the roads worth capturing between there and Columbia, SC where Pat Schep is from. We had the most ballin’ situation with the van. 10 people in a 15 passenger van is pretty comfy and then throw in the Xmas lights and American flag window shade and we were rolling in style. We’ve actually done this trip a ton of times before on our own dime and now that everyone is working in the skate industry, or super involved, we thought we’d do it right for once. These roads are epic and some of them had never been filmed before. It was pretty much just the best mix of people and there was no drama for the whole 10 days even though we were waking up early and in close quarters the whole time. Basically, everyone is in for a treat with the media from this trip and it’s really going to change people’s perception of what there is to skate on the East Coast. If I could I’d have had that trip never end. . . ?
Eastcoast skateboarders definitely have a different skateboarding experience than dudes from other places such as California. What does it mean to you to be an Eastcoast skateboarder?
It takes a lot of dedication if you want to get on the level for downhill. I’ve done so many day trips where we drive 4 hours out to the mountains and skate all day then drive 4 hours back home. That shit has a lot to do with the smell of my car. In terms of other skating it’s a little easier, especially for street since the Philly and NYC scenes are so sick for that. There was a super rich vert scene in the 80s but tranny skating on the east coast pales in comparison to the west coast. Our parks are like 10 to 20 years behind but we’re getting more concrete poured and things are getting better. Look at Ben Hatchell. That’s a serious case of a kid who just wanted it and made shredding happen. Many of the longboard kids probably have no clue who Hatchell is so go to youtube, search him, and get some knowledge.
Who are three Eastcoast skaters that have influenced you the most, longboarder or otherwise?
Mike V. has had a huge impact on my outlook on skating and he’s from Jersey. I don’t even know what to say about the guy other than he really loves skating and really wants to show other people how great it is. I’d love to hang out with him some time. You should hook it up next time I get out west.
Ian Comishin who owns Kebbek also really influenced me. He encouraged me a lot and put some shots of me in Concrete Wave back in the day when Jon Caften was writing for the mag and it was actually about skateboarding. He also shreds street too.
Justin Metcalf is probably third. Without that kid I would not be the skater I am today. His passion for skating downhill is pretty hard to match and if it weren’t for him pushing so hard when we were younger I probably would be as good at downhill as I am at street skating which is mediocre at best. It’s the biggest shame that he had a crash that nearly killed him while on a trip to Danger Bay in 2008. He would have destroyed everyone on the east coast if he had come back in one piece but because of his head trauma and having to relearn everything he has to be a bit more careful although you can still find him shredding his favorite mountain run on the regular. Going fast on a board is like crack to that kid. I would say he has a million times more fun riding his skateboard than Matt K.
So what’s next for you dude? Where’s Anthony Flis headed and how is he getting there?
Man I don’t really know. I was trying to think of where I’ll be a year from now the other night and I’m hoping things keep progressing. I’m starting to help get Volante off the ground so that’s going to be fun and I can’t wait to see where we go with that. I really just want to skate more tranny, finally learn to board slide a legit hand rail and just keep having fun on my useless wooden toys. If I can keep making a living through skating then I think I’m doing it right. It would be dope to help shape the east coast scene a little more, but it’s a lot of work and the groms don’t really have a clue about skateboarding as a whole; so going to some events is really depressing. I want to inform people about where the level is with street and park skating because seeing the de-evolution of skating is lame. I want to see people skating more functional shred machines so they can actually do cool things off of launch ramps. The scene from Animal Chin comes to mind and then there is a really sick ad of the Gonz from back in the day just so tweaked out on a method.
Stoked, Anthony! Thanks for getting down with Wheelbase. Let’s be out—who would you and your legendary chin whiskers like to thank?
I want to thank Jason Salfi for being one of the raddest guys ever. He’s so OG and no one really knows how legit he is and his impact on skating. He let me live at his house for a month or two after giving me the job at Comet and he’s just hooked me up so much. To not thank him here would be screwed up.