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Interview: Catching up with Kyle Wester

We caught up with Kyle Wester just before he took off for Puerto Rico to talk about the NHS/Rayne deal and how he became a team rider for Rayne. Photos by Jon Huey, shot in Puerto Rico.

Justus: Hey Kyle! Why don’t we just start off and talk about what the NHS and Rayne deal means for you personally, being on the Rayne team now and explain how that came about.

Kyle: I’ve been working and riding for NHS for a bit now and we found out that we’ll be distributing Rayne from 2014 and on. So I’m on the team now, I’m having a pro model board come out in a few months, that’s what we’re hoping for. I’m still riding for Road Rider Wheels. People have been tripping out on that, like, “You’re riding for Road Rider and Rayne?” Well, no, we (Road Rider) are just doing the wheels now, so I’ll still have my pro model wheel that we’ll be pushing a little harder than we were before.

J: Is Road Rider still doing downhill boards?

K: No, no more downhill boards. We’re just sticking with the wheels, the wheels have been around since 1973, so we’re sticking with the original wheel brand. Connor Welles tried to make it into a full blown skateboard company, with boards, trucks, and wheels, but as of now it will just be trucks and wheels. Other than that, I’m riding Rayne boards, still riding Mob Grip, all that good stuff. It’s kind of a crazy change, that’s not all that crazy, haha.

Lee Cation and Kyle Wester at Guajataca

Lee Cation and Kyle Wester at Guajataca

J: So what do you do at NHS apart from being a team rider?

K: Right now I’m the NHS Rayne sales rep, so I’m leading the charge on that for North America and I’m helping with the transition over and getting Rayne settled in with NHS and helping with that. I know a lot of people in the downhill community, so I’m helping bridge the gap between the, I guess you’d call it “core street” and the downhill longboard scene/community.

J: What do you think it means for Rayne now that they have this distribution deal?

K: I think it’s just going to help them grow. It’s the same quality product that it’s always been, that’s not changing. They’ll still be in North Van, all of the components are the same, we’ll just be distributing out of Santa Cruz. But yeah, it’s just going to help them grow. Our distribution at NHS is top notch, so it’s going to get more of the product out there in North America specifically.

J: How did get involved? You’re from Colorado, right? How did you end up working for NHS?

K: Yeah, I’m from Colorado. Shit, what year are we in, 2014 now? So that’s… I don’t even know, I’ve been riding forever, skateboarding most of my life, I started downhill in 2006. Really got into it, started competing, raced in all the Buffalo Bill events for the five years that was going on. Got sponsored by Timeship Racing and then started funding myself to skate like everyone. I started getting acceptance and moving up, it was my passion you know?

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J: So are you still located in Colorado? NHS is in Santa Cruz.

K: Yeah, NHS is in Santa Cruz, I’m still in Denver. For right now I’m not going to make the move, I’m just gonna stay in Dnever. It’s central to everything and I can just jump on a plane and be anywhere. The riding out here is pretty awesome, I don’t really want to leave my hills behind!

J: What are your skate plans for 2014, are you going to keep fighting for points on the IDF race circuit?

K: Yeah, 2014 I’m doing the full deal. I leave tomorrow for Guajataka and the first World Qualifying Series race, Ponce. I’ll be doing that for the next 11 days. After that I’ll come back and lay low and work for a bit on Rayne stuff. Then head out for Danger Bay, Jakes Rash, Britannia Classic, that stuff, Whistler, then Euro tour, South America, full blown IDF schedule.

J: Sounds like a busy year!

K: Yeah, it’s going to be busy, it’ll be good though.

J: Last thing: Are you at liberty to talk about your pro model with Rayne? Have you started on it yet?

K: Yeah, a bit. I don’t have a lot of information on it. It’s going to be cool, it’ll be more of my standard, classic shape, which is what I like. That’s about all I know right now, it’ll be a good addition to the Rayne lineup for sure.

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