Check Out Max Vickers: The Studious Original Shredder
Max Vickers has been crushing his personal brand of downhill shredding, world traveling, community action and edumacation. Max has been piling on the to do list of life and checking boxes like a boss for a number of years now. His world travels and skate exploits have a ton of documentation and videos have been shared across his sponsors [and more] Action Board Shop, Orangatang Wheels, Original Skateboards highlighting his positive vibe and winning attitude. After seeing his name so frequently this past year in particular, I needed to take an opportunity to get to know the dude better and share his story with you. Please check out Max Vickers!
Hey Max. Thanks for the time. Can you tell us you’re full name, age and maybe, what you’re wearing?
Yo Les! Glad we’re able to catch up. My name’s Max Vickers, I’m 21 years old, and currently wearing a plain tee and some khakis.
Where you from, where you living? And I guess with how much you travel, where you at right now?
I’m originally from Michigan but have been living in Indiana for the past six years or so, where I am now.
I saw a recent interview, so I know you’re a college student. Want to tell us where you’re going to school, maybe what year and what are you taking?
Yup! I’m currently a senior at Indiana University, studying entrepreneurship and tech management through the Kelley School of Business.
You take both on-line and in-class style classes right? Is that so you can balance skate-life and school?
I’ve actually never taken an online class. All of my classes are at the school and the majority have a relatively strict attendance policy. This has its pros and cons as it’s nice being in the school atmosphere when I need to get my work done, but can make it tough to handle traveling while taking classes.
Impressive! How does school benefit skateboarding and vice versa for you? Are you applying what you’re doing in class to say yourself as a ‘brand’ or bringing skateboarding back into your assignments?
Going to school has definitely been beneficial in certain aspects to my skateboarding. Since I’m studying business it’s given me a better understanding of how brands operate and what I can do to get involved with them. Occasionally I have an open ended project where I’m able to include skateboarding in my classes – for one class I worked with some of my peers to create a Google AdWords marketing campaign for Action Board Shop which was a cool experience.
Combining my skating and classes has been great but I think the most beneficial skate experience I’ve had with college had been starting the Longboard Club at IU. It gave me a lot of “real world” challenges that I didn’t think I would have had to face until I got a job – including writing an organization constitution, dealing with legal services, managing a team, creating proposals for funding, etc. It was also a chance to network with the plethora of longboarders that attend IU and create events and sessions to get people together skating that may not have otherwise had the chance to.
Do you work as well? Or just school and skate?
I’ve been working as a customer-service rep with Original Skateboards for the past two years. Recently I’ve also been doing US sales and business development for Disrupt Sports, a design-your-own skate / surf / snow company from Sydney, AUS. It’s a lot to juggle at times! Haha.
I’ve been watching [and sharing] a bunch of content from you this summer. You’ve been all over. Can you give us a list of recent travels?
It’s been a pretty fun year. I started off doing a semester abroad in Sydney. From there I got to travel to New Zealand, China, and the Philippines. Once my studies ended there I came back to the US for the North American series of races and was traveling around the US and Canada for a few weeks and made a trip to Costa Rica. Now I’m generally chilling around Indiana to wrap up school.
What was Australia like versus your home scene?
Way more hills! The terrain (and culture) in the Midwest is very different compared to Australia. It was my first time living in a big city but the laid back environment was definitely real. The beach was close, mountains are nearby, and there’s always something to do. It was an atmosphere and culture that I fit really well with.
You did some racing everywhere it seems, but what do you prefer, race or freeride?
I’m definitely more into racing but am down to skate anything. During school some of the best parts of my day are just ripping around campus on a double kick as it’s hard to find time to get out to the hills, but when I have a free weekend I’m usually on a trip or going to an event to race.
What motivates you to race? Is it the runs, the competition, the camaraderie, the travel…
I really like the competitive aspect of it. I ran cross-country and track in high-school which gave me a keenness for being competitive and pushing myself, doing it on a skateboard is just that much better. That being said, having the chance to travel around to places and meet people that I never would have met before has also been a big motivation to keep doing it.
Regardless of venue, you collected a fair bit of video. You had videos out on your channel, Original, Action Board Shop, Orangatang.. am I missing any? ha ha.. do you enjoy video or is it part of the necessity of the sponsored life?
I think that’s about it! I do feel some of it is necessary to the sponsored life but it’s still something I enjoy. In Australia I had the chance to work with some actual video production companies which was a bit different than the classic raw-runs and laid back skate trip filming. For some of the shoots I was getting directed on what to do for the shots which was a bit different but it was cool to work with someone that had an artistic vision on the things they were looking for.
So those are primarily your sponsors right? original, Action Board Shop, Orangatang… but you also ride Rey Trucks? I have read they shut down?
Yep, I’m currently riding for Original Skateboards, Action Board Shop, and Orangatang Wheels. I had been riding for Rey for the past 3 years, up until this past spring.
How do sponsors help you skate and travel? When a sponsor shuts down like Rey, did it affect you?
I wouldn’t be able to do the majority of my travel and attending of events if it weren’t for the help of the brands and people that support me. With the support comes the responsibility of representing the brands well at these events, creating media, and doing my part to make sure they get their return on investment for sending me to these places.
It’s definitely bittersweet when a company you’ve worked with for a long time closes its doors. Rey was a big support to my skating when I first started racing as well as put a lot of resources into the Longboard Club and events I took part in hosting. I guess it just required me to allocate my budget well and find ways to keep traveling.
Any trucks on the market that peak your interest?
I’ve been riding Bear Kodiaks for the past few races and they’ve felt great. Lately I’ve been skating my local runs on some Grizzly 845 to change things up.
You’re riding Original. For a long time they didn’t really have race oriented decks right? They were more freeride and freestyle, dance and flatland? How has their DH lineup developed for what you need?
Original has been long known for their diverse array of flatland boards and freestyle focused team. Around 4 or so years ago I saw a proto for their first downhill board (Arbiter 36) my friend Steve Salay was working on with Brett Ciabattini and it peaked my interest. A little over a year later they had released the board and a couple other downhill oriented ones and I got involved with them. The Arbiter has been most of the team’s go to board for racing and downhill over the years. Recently Alex Charleson and I got to put some work into developing a new shape and construction for the board to better suit downhill / racing which I’ve been skating on this year – its release is set around Christmas time which I’m looking forward to.
What’s your quiver like?
A board for every occasion.
Downhill: Arbiter 36, Bear Kodiaks, Orangatang Kegels
Campus: Arbiter DK, Polar Bear 155T, Orangatang Fat Frees
Soul Carves: Pintail 43, Bear Grizzly 852, Orangatang Durians
And you’re riding Orangatang. They came out with some new radness, are you enjoying Skiffs? What are you’re favourite wheels for Freeride vs. Race?
To be honest I was pretty skeptical on the Skiffs at first. I like skating curvy roads so a wheel with some grip is key but the Skiffs ended up surprising me with the amount of control they had and I’d say they’re probably my favorite freeride wheel at the moment. Easy to slide but still predictable for some downhill runs. For racing I’ve been using Kegels over the past few years – they’re fast and work great for what I’m looking for in a race wheel.
If there was any destination this sponsored skate-life could take you, where would your greener pastures be?
Hmmm.. back to Australia? Haha. South America is somewhere that I’ve never been but always wanted to check out.
Schools is in session, so I assume you buckle down for a bit and then take that fatty college winter break? What’s coming up for you?
You got it, my head’s been buried in the books lately. Costa was fun, I was at Soldiers of Downhill in October and now I am sticking around the Midwest till winter break. Probably going to try and escape the cold and head somewhere warm once that hits.
Any video parts or raw runs we should be watching for you’re stoked on?
I’ve got a couple more Australia videos coming from We Ride Sideways and Redscope Films that I’m looking forward to. One of them showcases the Australia, beach-side vibes and in the other I’m wearing a suit while skating and it tells the story of a dude escaping from the mundane life with some quirky b-roll in between.
Part of traveling is meeting rad people, who should we be watching out for from your travels that we might not be as familiar with here in North America?
While in Australia I got to meet a lot of rippers. My “dumb and dangerous” partner, Mitch Thompson, is a young gun from Bathurst (home of Newtons) and has been killing it while racing his first big year on the circuit.
One of the most welcoming crews I got to meet were the XXVII dudes from Manila. I arrived into the city with no plans and they scooped me from the airport and I got to skate with the locals on their inner-city hills. They showed me the Philippino way as we drank Red Horse, ate fried chickens head, and ripped around on their scooters. The scene there seems thriving and they’ve got a race going almost every weekend.
Top 3 foods you can’t get in the USA, but you’re missing from your travels?
Golden Gaytime Ice Cream bars, Meat Pies, and Victoria Bitter longnecks
How was Vegemite?
Really salty. First time I tried it was on a plain piece of bread and it was okay, not something I necessarily enjoyed.
Sounds like Vegemite!
Thanks again for taking the time. I am sure there’s nothing more a student rather do than procrastinate from their assignments ha ha. Shout outs? Hi moms? Last words?
I appreciate the interview. I’m actually procrastinating at the library while typing this. Ha ha. Shouts to all of the brands that support me and people that have helped me along the way on my travels. Last words, if you’re a college student don’t be afraid to pursue the things that you’re interested in. Whether it’s skating or other interests, I feel like a lot of people overlook the fact that you can align those interests with your studies or what you’re involved in at university and make the most of it.