Always Good Vibes With Austin Graziano And Bonzing Skateboards
If you don’t know Bonzing Skateboards, the shapers and artists from Oakland California have been delivering some of the most authentic good times you can ever have skateboarding for years. They aim to ‘shape skateboards to be timeless, savage and durable and exclusively support skaters for their artwork’. Might be their words, but it’s the bang on truth. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Austin Graziano, one of the wranglers of good times and great skateboards that is Bonzing. Find out what’s good with Bonzing and the crew and get stoked for another epic season of shredding their creations.
Hey Austin, stoked to catch up! Where are you right now for this interview?
What up Les! I am at Bonzing HQ in Oakland, California.
Where do you spend most of your time? Are you at the Bonzing HQ often or traveling around?
I spend most of my time at Bonzing HQ, however I am getting the traveling itch.
Whats a day in the life like for Austin?
Working with Team riders on graphics, shapes, and media. Packing and shipping, sales and managing the website and social! Planning for the future… spinning plates.
I tend to run into Adrian Da Kine at events it seems. What is the balance of team riders out there vs. the ones at Bonzing making and creating?
Our talented Team are the ones making and creating and it does not matter how much you travel. The riders who are traveling and pushing themselves often are the best at creating. They are inspired and know what they want and do not want.
One name that popped up all 2016 was Alex Sucala. What’s the good word on him?
Alex Sucala is a talented ripper from the South Bay. He is young, wants to prove himself and likes healthy a challenge. He is doing a lot of growing and we hope to work with as that happens.
I love the art on the MC Cat board. How can we get more Michael Carson in our life?!
For real! Everyone needs more Michael Carson in their lives! Well I have been a city rat for many years and not owned a car in 16 years. However, I will be getting a car in the next couple of months and that will give me a chance to get down to San Jose to film Mike more so we can have more MC in our lives! Mike has been super patient but more Michael Carson in 2017.
That is great news. He is a favourite human of mine.
There were some fun boards, videos and photos dropped in 2016, want to share some of your personal favourites?
Wow, wow, wow, 2016……shit. Favorite video: Mind Flowers–Awesome trip; we hit like 5-6 awesome spots in a weekend, it is super rad to see younger skaters learning, pushing and stepping it up with older riders!
My favorite photo is from our 2nd trip to the Sierras where we captured an awesome photo of Adrian and Alex on the snake! [Photo above]
My favorite board is of course the Diet Fatty; shaped and created by me; it is 7ply; nice wheelbase for alot of terrain, has a little rocker and is just a great board!
How many years has Bonzing been Bonzing?
The company was started in 2006.
How did Bonzing get started?
I moved to San Francisco in 2001 and fell in love with the hills. Skating was and still is my escape. In addition, I love working with wood; creating different shapes to tackle the terrain is dear to my heart. A good shape has to have life and resiliency and I love to share those shapes. Shaping and skating is what gets me fired up and makes me want to get up in the morning. It was natural to start Bonzing.
How has inspiration, or motivation, evolved or shifted from getting started versus where you are now?
Shhhiiiittt. Working in skateboarding does take some of the charm out of it. Things change alot and it is easy to loose sight of what you are doing. For me, if I am not Bonzing, than I am not in the right place. Bonzing is our north star to know where we should be. If we are not there than we are not in the right place to create the most rad skateboards and media for you.
I heard there is some new goodness coming for 2017, what’s in the works?
Alot! I am not going to give a laundry list however Bonzing has created a great place for us to grow from. We have a solid home, we know who we are, we know what we stand for and are here to deliver. Join us, tune in on the networks @bonzing.
There’s been a lot of talk out there about the need for ‘brands’ to do more to promote skateboarding and skate events. What are your thoughts on the community scene and events?
Skateboarding has always been a solitary thing for me. However skate events are a great way to bring people together and build a solid community. Community is under rated and it is my job to help build and promote skateboarding. Bonzing currently hosts the Golden Gate Park race and an annual art show where you will only find artwork by skateboarders. On top of that we are looking to add events at every possible point.
You just wrapped up the Golden Gate Park race right? How was that?
It was great! The Golden Gate Park race is so awesome! The race is cool but the skating in the afternoon is what makes the day–after the race we skate through out San Francisco and that is the important part. San Francisco is an amazing city to skate and an especially amazing place if you like hills. The city can be surreal and almost make believe. The Golden Gate Park race brings everyone into San Francisco to experience it; that is the purpose of the race. Not to mention everyone from the bay and beyond get to skate together and thats priceless.
What other events are going on in your area?
There are alot of outlaws and smaller races. Bonzing is always trying to support and promote these events. It is great to see the California Outlaw series back. California has alot red tape for closing roads which creates a challenge but for us we looking to host outlaws and closing roads if/when opportunities arise.
Are there still weekly sessions going on?
Yes! The Sunset Sliders session happens every Wednesday night in San Francisco. The Sunset Sliders is the dowhill crew in San Francisco and it is totally rad to go skate San Francisco with them. If you have not, y’all need to get a Sliders session.
One of the regular things coming out of Bonzing I enjoy are the Monthly Wallpaper Wednesdays. Seems I missed January (sorry for blowing it). Where do the different photos come from and who are some of the Bonzing photographers making it happen?
Photos come from the rad places and people we get to skate with. They can come from trips or the excellent places we have locally. I take some of the photos for the Wallpaper Wednesdays. But bottom line is skateboarding is fleeting and anyone who can catch an awesome shot of our riders ripping, capturing that time, place, moment; than we will share those with you. There is not a designated photographer.
What is your go to camera setup? Or maybe what’s typically in your camera bag to go shoot?
I have had a few different setups through out the years. I have found that I can get what I want with Cannon products. For me I need a fish eye and a telephoto lens. With technology continually changing it is important to always be updating your equipment. But that is not to say that you can not get what you want or superior results with film or older technology. Knowing what you want to get is just as important as what device you use to get it.
Any trips, for yourself or with the team, planned for this year?
Nothing too banger. But getting our Bay riders to Albuquerque and our Albuquerque riders to the bay. Personally I want to go to Giants Head!
What have we missed? Anything you want to share?
Closing words? Shout outs? Thank youz?
Big ups to the Bonzing Team, Sunset Sliders and Oakland skate house! Thank you for the interview!