WKND’s ‘Street Fighters II’ + Andrew Considine Interview
At 35 years old, Andrew Considine might be the oldest guy to ever turn pro. While a lot of other skaters his age are already considering retirement, maybe getting their real estate license or getting into NFTs, Andrew is still lurking the back alleys of Los Angeles searching for spots with the rest of the WKND team and finding his place amongst the professional class of skateboarders for the first time.
Originally from the warm waters of West Palm Beach, Florida, Andrew finally caught a wave out west to officially join Grant Yansura’s operation a few years ago. Now he’s got a heavy new video to show for it, Street Fighters 2, co-starring his housemate Trevor Thompson, where he goes harder, longer (and lower) than ever before.
Admittedly, I was hyped when Free hit me up to interview Andrew for the occasion. We’d met briefly while in Malmö during the 2019 Pushing Boarders conference, and, as a fellow man in his mid-thirties that hasn’t given up trying to get good at skateboarding, I’d been following his rise with admiration. I caught up with him while he was back in Florida visiting his family, and talked to him about where he came from, how he got here, and what it even means to be “pro” in 2022. I ain’t got no crystal ball, but I’m seeing a bright future for WKND’s newest oldest pro. –Christian N. Kerr
Andrew Considine Interview by Christian N. Kerr
Congrats on turning pro for WKND! But I heard your mom actually turned you pro first last summer. Can you tell me about that?
Ahh, fuck, yeah. She was asking why all the other people on the team had boards, like, “Why don’t they do that to you?” I was like, “I don’t know, I’m just happy to be traveling and skating, it’s all good.” Then she sent me this humongous box with a board in it that she had somebody make. It was an old WKND board with the van burning graphic that I’d left at home, and she had someone make a vinyl that went on it that said my name. It was pretty sick.
That’s a sweet gesture, I think.
For sure. She’s the OG sponsor, you know? But it was also so many kinds of awkward because, like, do I show this to someone? Is it weird? So I ended up just putting it under my bed for a while.
Now that you’re officially pro, what does that mean to you these days? Do you have different responsibilities than when you were an amateur?
Dude, I have no fucking clue. I’m kind of tripping about it now. I mean, there are people on WKND whose whole job is skating, and they obviously have some bigger responsibilities, but I’m definitely not in that category. I guess for me it’s just to fire kids up or get people stoked to skate. That’s what’s been going through my head so far, for the two weeks that I’ve been pro.
As a Floridian, does Florida get a bad rap, with all the Florida-man memes and stuff like that?
I don’t know, we were taught in school how to run away from an owl, like, the right way to do it. I thought that was super normal until my girlfriend, who is also from Florida, brought it back up recently. I was like, “Oh, yeah, that is pretty weird.”
What was so appealing about West Palm Beach that made you want to stay there for so long?
I was in a proper career, working for this woman who was a collector of contemporary art. I started in the warehouse, then she built a viewing space in town and I started giving tours there. I think I was the collection coordinator at one point. I liked it a lot, and I didn’t think an opportunity like that would come again. And I really did think I could stick it out, just doing projects with folks that were in town, but then the last homie left and I was like, Oh my god, what am I going to do? It’s either full career, adult mode, or move to LA and see how long skating can go.
But Florida’s rad–it’s slow, the weather is killer. LA is so gnarly with spots, but if you find something in Florida, it’s all yours.
I just recently went out to LA for the first time and was blown away by how there really seems to be a famous spot on every corner. But I like that in the WKND videos y’all are usually skating something cutty I haven’t seen before. What’s the spot hunting process like?
It’s funny, sometimes I’ll think I’m in the deepest cuddy zone and I’ll turn a corner and there’s Wilshire or J-Kwon or whatever, but that’s happening less and less the more I’ve been here.
I think we all–the younger heads, but the OG heads too–are always looking. Jordan [Taylor] and Tom [Karangelov] and Al [Schmidt], I mean, Al’s eyes are so good. Same thing with Trevor [Thompson], and Grant [Yansura]’s on it all the time. Christian [Maalouf], too, but his eye is crazy, he’s looking straight up, and I’m usually looking a little closer to the ground.
Yeah, skateboarding’s at a place where you don’t just have to go bigger and higher all the time, but you can go lower and roll-on grind and still be appreciated for that.
Thank god! [Laughs] Right before I left Florida I was skating these curbs a bunch, and it was low risk, right by the water, no fence with, like, people that aren’t skating there to talk to, it was a nice place to go after work. So I got all fired up on curbs, and I tried to carry that through to finding spots that lent themselves to a little curb, just with a big bank to them or something.
It also seems like more and more spots are getting unlocked these days, either because there’s less security or more rub bricking of ledges or whatever.
Fully. In the best way possible skaters have been not really fucking caring lately. I’ve amended a lot of spots in the past, but this year I definitely have done things that were like, Whoa, this is a pretty big move to take off this many skatestoppers. Or, like, This is way more Bondo than I’ve ever put down. I think I first noticed it in Philly, ledges that were too crusty to rub brick, that were made out of pebbles or something, would be smoothed even with Bondo on the top and edge. Me and Trevor did that to a spot in LA and it worked really well–like Bondo coping, so rad.
So you live with Trevor Thompson in LA, right? Was there any kind of roommate rivalry while y’all were filming this project? Like, whoever doesn’t get their clip has to wash the dishes that day or something?
[Laughs] No, I think mostly it was Trevor talking me off a ledge. And I think a little vice versa. I’d get home all dirty and cut up and he’d be like, “Did you get it?” And I’d be like, “No, [sigh] why do we do this?” You know, questions we have all asked ourselves. But he’d just be super encouraging. He definitely talked me into going back to spots and getting the trick when I was like, ‘I’m done, I’m not going back, there’s no point.’
Oh, that’s nice, like an in-house support group.
In more ways than just skating for sure. But that’s definitely a part of it. He’s also got, like, the full gym and recovery gear, so living with Trevor health wise is pretty sick.
There’s this funny bit in the new video that I wanted to follow up on: Can you tell us why capitalism is a bop?
[Laughs] Yeah, it just doesn’t seem sustainable to me. In the 35 years I’ve been in and around it, it just doesn’t seem like a very viable way to keep folks walking around on Earth. That’s my short take on that.
What kind of response do you get from skaters when you try and talk about this kind of stuff?
I got really lucky to be introduced to these folks down here that, well, when I first met them I thought they were on some wild shit, but it turns out they were on some possible future type stuff in how they’re living. Labels are tough, but they were more anarchist types, and they kind of drilled into me all these bad things about capitalism, like how the successes of normal people’s labor gets taken as the successes of capitalism, if that makes sense. So I got really lucky to be educated by folks that were kind and willing to guide me through a different perspective than what I’d been told.
So when I talk about it with others, skaters or whoever I run into, I try to be really understanding, like, we all live with it, this is just my perspective. And I’m privileged enough to understand that I have time to ponder these things in my head. Not everybody is able to even give a fuck about anything besides just surviving.
And that’s how it’s meant to function, right? Like, Mark Fisher’s “Capitalist Realism” thing, where it’s almost impossible to even imagine anything outside of the current system.
That’s really weird you said that because I just read this good article about him on Jacobin earlier today. But, yeah, exactly. So, like, when I’m talking about it with people, it’s like, I’m more than happy to shoot the shit with you about it. And not everybody has to be some super heavy theorist, a lot of that stuff is pretty dense to me, but everybody has a place. I can just be somebody that posts silly memes about it, which is rad, too, I guess.
There’s definitely value in that. You work in production for the commercial and film industries. How do you balance that work with your skateboarding?
Ha, I’m learning about that every day. This last year was tough because I skated so much. Coming into 2022, I’m like, Holy fuck, the balance is way off. I think I’m super lucky to have gotten into the industry I’m in because I can work freelance, which is both good and bad. Good because I can work a week and take a week off to skate and still make pretty good money, but bad because you have to take care of yourself in regards to benefits and all that business.
It’s not a union job that you’re in?
No, but I’m shooting to get in the union this year, so hopefully that’ll happen.
What kind of changes could be made in the skateboarding industry to make it more equitable to its employees? I know there’s been some vague talk about a skateboarder’s union, which is an extremely complicated thing to actually make happen, but I think the idea is interesting.
Absolutely, I love that question, it’s something we need to talk about more openly. Skateboarding’s funny. I feel like I rationalize the way it works by saying, skateboarding is play, which is really important, and that I’m lucky to get to do it with my friends and travel. But that’s also why we’re willing to set aside things like not being able to make enough money, not getting health insurance, only professionals getting paid… That doesn’t mean I think it’s right, but it’s how I’ve justified it personally.
It’s a good conversation to be had. Instead of us collectively going like, “Oh, yeah, we get to travel and get product,” like, maybe we should run the numbers?
I don’t know, it’s tricky. Skateboarding’s going through a lot of growing pains lately. But for the most part, at least with the people that I’m involved with in the industry, these aren’t evil CEOs squandering money or sending it up the ladder. They’re relatively normal folks just trying to pursue their dream and help others pursue theirs.
I think that’s one of the reasons this topic is so difficult in skateboarding, because it’s such a small, almost family-oriented affair. Health insurance seems to be a big issue though, like, if companies weren’t responsible for providing health insurance they’d be freed up to do more for their riders.
That’s kind of leading into the country dealing with that, and that’s a good thing about living in California. I’m able to afford having health insurance through subsidies that my tax money pays for, so that’s nice. But I know not everybody’s able and willing to move to a state that subsidizes their health insurance.
But that’s important for sure. I’m not sure if you saw the holiday skit where the Scandinavians are kind of joking for us for having to pay for insurance. I mean, that’s kind of knocking it on the head there.
That was a funny one. I kind of assumed from it that you might be a stoner, but Grant told me that you “left a joint in your van seven years ago and blew it up, hence the sobriety.” What’s that story?
It was nine years ago, and that’s a more dramatic overhaul for the beginning of the end of my substance abuse. I was just working on a job site somewhere one day and somebody came into the space and was just walking around telling people that there was a van smoking outside. And I had just been out there smoking a joint, and in my head for some reason I felt like, ‘That’s my van.’ So I went out there and, yeah, by the time I got down there there was a full on fire inside the car. Then when I opened the doors and all the oxygen rushed in it was like a five alarm fire, too far gone to even put it out. The fire department came pretty quickly and said they didn’t even get a call, they’d just seen the smoke. And I kind of had everything in there, my tools, skate stuff, surfboards, I was living out of the van at the time, and everything was gone.
Up in smoke, literally.
Yeah, and very quickly after that–thank god I had some help–I got into rehab.
Has it been challenging?
Uhh, well, for last few years, I mean, yeah, everything’s fucking challenging, right? It was pretty challenging to be on drugs and abusing alcohol, and then it’s pretty challenging to change my whole life around, and then it got better, but then it was challenging to have all these emotions and then just dealing with all of the stuff that’s unmasked after you stop doing drugs and alcohol. So challenging, but I don’t know at what capacity I’d be around if I didn’t get help.
Like, dude, I had so much help. And I think me and Trevor got sober at roughly the same time, and I’ve had a lot of sober and not sober people along the way that have helped me so much. It’s definitely a group struggle.
Now that you’re pro, do you think your relationship to skateboarding will change now that you’re getting paid, however little it may be?
I’ve only skated twice since I turned pro, so I don’t know, I’m wondering that myself. I mean, definitely not, it’s not a whole lot of money involved so it doesn’t really matter, I’m still just going to skate. But it’s weird that my name is on a board, I feel like there’s slightly more pressure. But it also shows another avenue for people. Like, what do pro skateboarders do? Make content for a company to sell skateboards. Maybe a kid or somebody will see me skating and balancing work, or talking about how capitalism’s a bop, and they’ll be stoked on it.
And lastly, about your pro graphic, does Sublime still sound good without intoxicants?
Dude, they gave me a Sublime graphic [laughs]. Yeah it still sounds good, man. It’s pretty problematic, but it’s reminiscent of the time period that I cling to, I guess. And there’s a strong connection between Long Beach and Florida as a blue-collar beach scene. I don’t know if I would have picked it for a board graphic, but I love it.