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Friday, March 13, 2009
Updated: March 17, 2:36 PM ET
The Matt Beach Interview

Maybe Matt was kind of confused by his T-Eddy Award, but if this frontside flip lip doesn't say, "F**k Church, Let's Party," then I don't know what does.
I can't even count how many times, after about fourteen years skating, that I've suddenly felt the absence of some skater that was there only a year before and had to ask myself, "What the f**k happened to that dude, anyway?"

Just think about all the "breakout" ams that were laid by the wayside for one reason or another. Then, there's the pros that are still killing it, fully established and then they're just gone.

Most of the time, these departures occur for any mix of reasons. But, when the Firm closed up shop in 2006, Flip picked up a huge chunk of the team and Enjoi eventually grabbed the Ginger Wieger. Meanwhile, Matt Beach, for whatever reason, did not get taken in to a company, packed his things, moved back to Portland and thought it was all over.

But, he's still just as skilled as he's always been, so over the last few years, working a normal job and skating in Portland, he slowly became part of the growing Skate Mental team. Just recently, Nike added him to their squad, too, which is proof of skating's ability to remember and the nicest boy in the world (behind Josh Harmony, I guess), Matt Beach's skilled skating being able to speak for itself. Now you don't have to wonder what the f**k happened to him anymore.—Josh Brooks

What was the first company you started skating for?
My first board sponsor? It was G & S (Click here to see his G&S part) skateboards. Gordan & Smith, I think it was.

How old were you?

You started real young.
I started skating when I was nine.

That's pretty good—three years.
I don't know. I was skating with older kids, too, so it was like a quick learning curve, I think.

Kind of like all the kids today. They see everything that pros have done throughout their whole career and learn it in their first two years.
Yeah, it's pretty insane—some of the stuff kids can learn.

So, when did you end up…
Jon Holland just ate crap, it was awesome.

…getting on the Firm?
Um, probably about…around '96.

And that lasted almost ten years from when you got on and it ended, right?
Yeah, yeah. I think. Pretty much. It was almost a decade.

Then, the Firm ended around 2006 right? What did you do after that?
Well, I just pretty much thought my career was over, so I moved back to where I stayed up in Oregon. I had a place down in California where I stayed when I would film. I'd go down there, like in the winter. I pretty much packed up and went back to Oregon. I skated and got a normal job and did that and did normal things. Normal life.

So, you were still skating the whole time, right?
Yeah, pretty much. I got hurt at work. I hurt my ankle at work. So, there was a point where I had to get surgery done—just a minor surgery. I couldn't skate for six months, mainly because I was kind of paranoid about my ankle. It was just a recoup time. My ankle just hurt for a while.

So, you were out on workman's comp for a while?
I never got workman's comp. I still had to work. I took almost a week of and then went back to work.

Did it help working to rehab your ankle?
Um, I don't know. It's weird with ankles. You don't know. It's kind of a mystery sometimes. If it's cold it will hurt more than if it's warm. It was more like, it just hurt. It was my back foot, so it hurt to push, it hurt to ollie, it hurt to drop in. You know, when it's chronic pain like that, it's like, you're not ready to skate, you know?

How did everything work with getting back into skating for Skate Mental?
I don't know. It was pretty weird, kind of unexpected.

Did Brad Staba approach you and say, "I wanna add you to the team"?
It was more like, "Hey you want some boards?" He started just giving me boards. Nothing was really going on and then I went to that contest in Tampa and went on a few other trips with Nike and they were like, "Well, you can do this for us, if you want to." I was kind of blown away, like, "Yeah, I think I will."

That's kind of crazy. I mean, it had been almost three years since Firm was done, right?
Yeah, yeah, it's been a while. Well, my ankle got better and then all of a sudden, it was better than new, you know? It was better than I've ever had, 'cause I had all these calcium deposits—not even from skating—just from tacoing my foot when I was a little kid. My ankles were always hurt, probably for the last ten years. Then, I just got it fixed 'cause of that injury at work. It knocked loose some calcium and it got stuck in the joints, so that's why I had to get the surgery. Man, then it was just better than ever. It feels like a brand new ankle. They just polished the bone up, cause it had all these old calcium deposits in it. Now, it's better than the other ankle. I should get it done on the other one.

It's almost like Rookie of the Year, where that kid breaks his arm and he comes back with his super strong arm and gets into the major leagues. I mean, you were good to begin with, so it's not exactly the same, but you know what I mean.
Ha ha. Yeah, I don't know man. I've never thought about it like that. It's pretty cool to have my ankle working pretty good. And, those guys at Nike and Skate Mental have been really good to me. I'm pretty psyched. I didn't expect it, but sometimes in life, good things happen when you least expect them.

Yeah, huh? You recently went on the Beauty and the Beast Tour, right?
Oh no, I didn't go on that tour. I skated in the Demo with those guys at the Department of Skateboarding. It was more just like, Brian asked me and those guys were like, "Do you wanna skate in the demo?" I didn't go on the rest of the thing. That was a really fun demo, though.

I remember when Skate Mental did the press release that you were on, it said you were added to balance out all the pricks on the team.
Oh, really? I didn't know that. That's pretty funny.

Do you guys all get along—the Skate Mental team? Do you see each other a lot? Do you go on road trips and stuff?
Yeah, we've been hanging out a lot. We just did an autograph signing at a bunch of shops that support us. We went to Joshua Tree National Park and went camping. We do it when we can. It's hard to get everyone together, but we do it.

Healthy ankle, healthy frontside flip.

It's funny, just like that press release, everyone always talks about you as though you're one of the nicest people in the world.
Oh, that's nice.

I always wonder who could be nicer, you or Josh Harmony? 'Cause that guy seriously is up there as the nicest boy in the world.
He's probably nicer than I am.

You think so? I guess that's a nice thing to say.
Ha, I try to be nice. Everyone tries to be nice, but sometimes you just can't. Sometimes it's just hard to be nice.

I'm sure you're "mean" is a lot nicer than a lot of other peoples' mean.
Ha ha ha. Well, I try not to physically harm people.

I guess that's a good start. So, you guys just came out with the Skate Mental vid, right?
Yeah, yeah. Am Chowder.

Do you have a section in there?
No, no. It's strictly ams only. John Motta, Daryl Angel and Nugget

I keep hearing Nugget's name, but I don't know who it is even.
Have you seen Am Chowder?

No, I haven't seen it yet.
Well, his name's Shane.

Oh, Shane O'Neill? I didn't know that was his nickname.
Yeah, yeah. Nugget. Check out his part. People are pretty psyched on it. It's kind of a short video. It's like a hint of what to come, like "This is what we can do now."

We're gonna do another video real soon. Probably just bang one out, something fun for us to film. We're probably going to do that - within the year we're going to get going on it.

Sometimes the best vids are the ones you just kind of throw together.
The way that skating goes, sometimes no one has the patience to work on a video for a long time. We all just want to make it. And when it's done, when people see it, if they like it cool, if they don't then, whatever.

Yeah, like you didn't spend years making the video.
Those videos are sweet, too. I've been part of those, too, for, like, the Firm video. But, anyone who's done that a couple time is like, let's just get stuff done and do it. Make it as good as it can, have fun with it and it's [the footage] not gonna get old.

That's definitely how the older videos were, where they'd just go out and do whatever and film it and that was the video.
It's a tough balance. I want to do that video, but I have to balance in skating without filming. I like to go on camping tricks and go skate and not have a camera, too.

So the Skate Mental and Nike thing happened all at once, right?
Yeah, Brad was giving me boards, like I said. And then, Nike started—Brian Anderson and Brad and the guys at Nike - were like, "Hey, you should go on these trips with us." So, I went on this trip up to Seattle. I went on a few other trips to Arizona and California—just did that. Then, they took me on a couple more. Then, after the contest at Tampa they were like, yeah, you could be pro if you want.

You did pretty well in that contest, right?
Yeah, yeah, I had a lot of fun.

Didn't you get ninth or something?
I think I got fourth.

Oh sh*t, I'm blowing it.
It's cool. It doesn't matter, you know? I had fun though. I had a good time. That was probably one of the funnest contests I've been to in a while.

So, I was reading Thrasher earlier and it says, F**k Church, Let's Party and then it's got your name under it. Do you have any idea where that came from?
I don't know. It's probably just those guys being funny.

That was just Thrasher humor, you think?
I don't know. That's what they think. I guess it's just Thrasher humor. I mean, read the other ones, too, they're pretty crazy.

They're not to be taken too seriously, either.
You know, it's Thrasher humor.

I can tell you didn't like it too much.
You know, I didn't mind it, really. I just don't know what it's supposed to mean. It's funny. I had to laugh at myself. It's cool. I'm not too bummed about it. But, like I said, it's Thrasher humor. That's why we love them.

Well, the last question I have was, where do you see yourself now? It's rad. You revamped your career. You're on two sick teams and still rolling? How's it going for you?
I've just been filming a lot. I really wanted to make a video part. I got sparked, you know? Like, time to do something. Not being able to do anything around skateboarding for a little bit and not being able to travel made me want to be…ah man, you get trapped and you wanna go out and go have fun. I don't know. I just see myself as like, keep on keepin' on.

It's good to see you back. It's rad to see people getting that chance to come back. A few people have been given that chance, you know? Like Guy Mariano this last year.
Yeah, skateboarding is just rad like that. You know, skateboarding remembers people. It's not really like that in other things.