Guru Khalsa is many things all at once. He's Texas and he's India. He's humble but he certainly stands out. His skating is technical and gnarly all at once. Riding for Habitat skateboards for over 5 years, Khalsa has just made the leap into their pro ranks. He'll have a full part in their new video due out this coming summer and, if it's anything like his part in "Inhabitants," it will be well worth the wait. With his pro model hitting shops any day now, Khalsa is now also the first Habitat pro to rep their newly launched shoe division. We caught up with him to talk about his new pro status, his new kicks and the state of skate in Texas.
What's your full name?
Guru-shabd Singh Khalsa
What are some good nicknames you've gotten through the years?
Well all my friends that I grew up with still call me "Chubby" because I was a chubby little kid. Other than that I'vve heard "Gooey," but I can't respond to that because I had a friend growing up and his nickname was gooey. There's also been "Ru," "Gu," "Shub Shub," and "Rubaker," to name a few.
Congrats on turning pro!
Thank you sir!
Where did you grow up skating?
I grew up skating mainly at my boarding school in Punjab, India. Then, in the summer, I would live in skate Houston, Texas and I'd skate there, often times at Southside Skatepark.
Where do you live now?
Currently, I'm living in Houston.
How's living with your Team Manager (Habitat TM, Brennan Conroy)?
I'm not living with him anymore, but when we were living together it was mellow.
Any advantages or disadvantages to that situation?
Well, the main advantage was that Brennan is always down to skate, so long as he's done his yoga and practiced his piano. The disadvantage was he was always on his phone first thing in the morning and he's one of those guys who talks extra loud on it. But that wasn't really a big deal. Brennan's mellow overall and has helped me out a lot.
Is there a new video dropping for Habitat anytime soon?
Yeah. It's gonna be Habitat's 10 year anniversary video and will be out in 2010 for sure. I think its supposed to come out in the summer though.
What's the best place you've traveled so far?
I would have to say the trip I took to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Going to India is always an amazing experience as well. I'd have to say those places so far.
Any places you are specifically trying to go soon?
Well, Jonathan Mehring is trying to get a trip going to Brazil where we take a boat ride up the Amazon river. But right now he's still trying to get the funding, I believe. I want to be a part of that if it happens.
Who would win in a longer hair contest: you or Nick Dompierre?
I haven't really seen Nick's hair completely out and brushed. When mine is all the way out, it's pretty long, but Nick's is probably longer.
Are you a practicing Sikh or is it just your parents who are Sikhs?
I'm not a practicing Sikh but I think it's a good religion and has a lot of positive morals. My parents are practicing Sikhs.
Habitat shoes are looking really good. With your spot on the team, do you have any input on the design side of things?
Well, I give a little input here and there. If I feel something is wrong with any of the samples then I let the designers know. Or, if a certain part of the shoe doesn't last long enough then I tell them and they work to fix it. I haven't really helped out with the design side of things; that's mainly Aaron Hoover and Joe Castrucci. They know what they're doing so I just leave it at that. Austyn Gillete has been helping out with the design stuff a lot as well.
Are your, or any of the dudes at Habitat, nervous about launching a footwear division since Element just shut theirs down?
Well, probably a little bit. Starting a footwear company in a recession is sort of bold, especially with all the other shoe companies, cut backs and stuff. But it's something they felt they wanted to do now or never. As far as Element's shoe thing shutting down that's' unfortunate for people's jobs and stuff. All I can say is Habitat is not Element.
You seem to skate in Austin, Texas a lot. What are your favorite skate spots in Austin?
Ha ha! Well, this is sad but, probably the No Comply Skateshop slab or the slab spot over off 290 West.
Of the new guys on the team (Al Davis, Marius Syvanen, Daryl Angel), who are you the most stoked on? Who do you get along with the best?
That's a tough question. They are all cool in their own ways. They all are amazingly talented skateboarders. I really enjoy watching Marius skate. And I get along with everyone. I definitely like to chill with Al. Daryl's got a funny sense of humor. Damn, I don't know; they're all super cool.
What's your gnarliest Fred Gall story?
I've got to put a little censorship in here. I'll just say, Fred is amazing. Fred, you're the s**t! What happens around Fred Gall stays around Fred Gall.
In your opinion what does it take to go pro today?
It's a combination of photo coverage, video coverage and a good relationship with your sponsors. From there, they decide what they want for their company. It all comes done to skating and progressing and trying to put your self out there. Thanks for the interview. Peace.