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Grant Kiessling Interview: G$ Pro Model, Winning at Life and EAT SHIT

Grant “G$” Kiessling has been slaying it in the skate community at everything from shops to Full Circle brands like Venom and Madrid for sometime now. If you got yourself the Skate[Slate] Magazine 2015 Photo Annual you’ll find yourself a sick pullout poster of Grant winning the Central Mass DH in a Khaleeq Alfred photo from the event finish line. Always on the hustle Grants making moves with his discountdiecuts.com sticker game, grant’s got all kinds of plans for fun in 2016. Read up and find out more from G$ himself.

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Hey Grant, or do you prefer G$? Can you tell us a bit about your hood roots? How old are you? Where you living? How does the G make $?

What’s up Les! Both work for me for sure. Grew up in Fresno, CA blocks from the area known “Sin City” which definitely helped shape my street smarts at an early in life. I’m 26 years old and I’m currently living in the Santa Cruz Mountains. $ equals skateboarding and traveling so I try and do whatever I can to have as much income rolling in as I’m spending to get to races, events, sessions or disappearing into the wilderness with my lady. Plane tickets and registrations add up! I try to hustle as hard as possible every day, I call myself a jack of all trades but master of none ha ha!

You’ve been in the game for more than a minute. Most are skating, you’re usually skating and hustling. How long have you been skating and how long have you been doing the skate hustle? What’s your ‘official’ job?

I’ve been skating downhill since 2007/08 but not seriously racing, competing and traveling until three years ago when I joined Madrid Skateboards. Skate hustle started at Stoked Skateboards back in July of 2011. I knew that Southern California was the place to be if you wanted to work in the skate industry so I picked up everything and moved. Been hustling, grinding and taking care of business since then really. Until recently, I was an outside sales representative for Full Circle Distribution as well as handle the customer service, social media, and team stuff for Madrid Skateboards. I have now and handed over all my sales accounts/responsibilities to my good friend Chuck Demoss (chuck@madridskateboards.com), but I’m still riding skateboards for Madrid/Full Circle as well as handling customer service, social media, event sponsorship and team management. I started a little sticker business called Discount Diecuts, www.discountdiecuts.com, and that has be working around the clock really, but I love stickers and so does everyone else! To further boost my income and pay bills, I’ve been working as a warehouse worker at a local business on the graveyard shift so I can still work and skate during the day.

How did you work you way into skate work? My guess is you didn’t send in a resume and strap on a tie and get an interview.

Stoked Skateboards was hiring a warehouse manager at about the same time Landyachtz was starting a US distribution in Compton, CA. Little do people know, I actually applied to both jobs, ha ha. I was down to relocate at the drop of a hat, pretty much just at that time in my life where it made sense. Went to Canada and met with Landyachtz but nothing came of it so I pursued the job at Stoked and after a Skype interview, I accepted the job and started two weeks later.

Have you always wanted to work in skate? When did you know this was the angle for you?

I’ve always been drawn to the sports/action sports realm of business and lifestyle, but I never really knew where I’d end up. About a year before I took the job at Stoked Skateboards, one of the local skaters in my area, Sean Smith, was hit by a car during a weekend mountain session and passed away on the hill. That day changed the lives of many people from his wife, to the lady that hit him, to the skaters (myself included) that watched it happen, to the community and more. That was the time I knew it was time to go all out and make not only my dreams come true, but his too, and go after it. I kept skating and worked for the right opportunities for me to break into the industry.

Some serious motivation. Not to change the vibe, but with all the biz, when do you have time for skating? How do you balance?

As I get older, I feel like the less time I have to skate, but I get better quality skating in when the time comes. Lately, it’s been pouring pretty much nonstop up here in the Santa Cruz Mountains so the serious sessions are on hold. Working graveyard helps me skate when the sun is out though so I can’t complain. Gotta pay to play though!

Do you get on skate trips? Where did you head this season?

Skate trips have really become more of a thing since arriving at Madrid Skateboards. I stayed in California for the most part and really only got on the road a bunch last year, which was absolutely amazing experience. I’m trying to get a full race season in this year; hinking of starting the year in Canada for Danger Bay, Brittania, Jakes Rash, then NCDH if I can, North American IDF circuit, Catalina if it happens, Pikes if it happens, RADo pass trip, Bakersfield, Santa Gnarbara and then to defend my title at Central Mass!

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#stackinclipsandtouchintipstour through MI, IA, IL, & NE. Scott Rowe Photo

That’s right, you won Central Mass DH!

Yes sir! Was a last minute trip for me that started with me almost missing my flight and not having my skate bag on the plane but turned out to be the most excellent rip.

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Purple Wall-mart tights make you fast and sexy!

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Steven Vera snags some $$$ from G$ at Central Mass.

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Real winners help event organizers get shit done. G$ with Mike G at Central Mass.

So killing the game really. Except, a bit low on the film game this year? Is footage important to a healthy sponsored life?

If you consider “killing the game” trying  to having as much fun as possible on skateboards with my friends, then absolutely. Footage is most definitely healthy to a sponsored life and I can’t begin to stress that fact BUT it’s not everything. I had a lot of changes going on for me this year, moving, new job, getting engaged, etc. that I just did my best and tried to make my sponsors as proud as possible. It’s a job and a commitment for sure but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

If you could get out to skate and film more, what would be the dream adventure for you?

I don’t care where as long as I’m skating and absolutely enjoying the rip. I’m about that mediocre life, just want no worries.

I found that Venom Setup Saturdays video from last year, what’s your current setup?

Current setup is still pretty much the same actually and that makes me happy. I was working on a deck for the 2016 downhill line up, the Circuit Breaker, and rode that pretty much all year, but I’m back on a prototype Havoc as I’m working on a new concave and shape.

Trucks are Rogue 50/30 with 160mm hangars with Cadillac Hot Pursuits/Crushers or Venom Cobra Cores for downhill and 180mm hangars with Cadillac High Rollers, Jellies or Sugar Mamas for freeride. Gangster Grip. Roger Bros hardware. Venom Bushings.

How about them Cobra Cores?

I have nothing but amazing things to say about the Cobra Cores. It still amazes me that Zak could take a wheel that was already pretty damn good and one of the best but make it better in every way possible. I was lucky to receive a first production set of scrubs from Zak at Maryhill and that’s what I raced on at Central Mass.

Drop some inside shit. What’s coming out we shouldn’t know about but want to?

Cadillac Crushers are absolutely sick, finally a THC slide wheel from Cadillac. They’re working on some bigger core stuff too as well. Venom Harlots (Cobra Core freeride wheel) and Venom Pipe Finders (smaller than the Curb Stompers) should drop this year too.

What’s up with Eat Shit? Looks pretty hard. We can get it on DVD now too?

Oh man, EAT SHIT is the pretty much the downhill video everyone wanted but didn’t know it yet. Crashes, great skating, getting bricked, partying and having a great time with your friends. What’s not to love!?

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You made it some of the Premiers?

I helped host the premier at XBS Glendora as well as made the journey to Seattle for the Subsonic premier and then the trip to Vancouver to see Flatspot. Oh and I hosted one at my apartment for all the Bay Area homies and the cops came so that was sweet!

Looks like you’re having all the fun Grant! Thanks for chatting with me. Wish you the best with the 2016 hustle too. Any parting words? Shout outs? Call outs?

Thanks for having me my friend! Shout outs to the following: Brit Nielsen, Full Circle Distribution, MIDS, Jaime Borders, my family for letting me crazy and live on my terms, my Madrid family, all the skate family and Skate[Slate] for being rad and supporting the scene.

Skate hard, skate safe. DHK4L.

Check out Grant in the latest issue of Skate[Slate] Magazine. He’s got a full pull out poster for you to pin up and enjoy!

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