Pic via O’dell
Earlier this decade:
OK, Anthony – let’s start off with the basics: age, where you’re from, how long you’ve been skating…
I’m 17, from Long Island, N.Y. and been skating for six years.
What made you decide you wanted to ride a skateboard?
I just always saw skateboarders around where I lived, you know. A kid gave me a board and it just grew on me. I had fun.
At what point did you get more serious with it?
After seeing some videos. I saw certain people I liked because of their style and just the tricks. You know, I always liked East Coast footage, it always appealed to me, made me want to skate .
What was your favorite video at that time?
Plan B. Virtual Reality.
Whose part were you stoked on in that? Carroll?
Yeah, Carroll definitely and Danny Way.
So now that you’re on the same team as Danny, does it seem weird? To look up to him all that time and now you’re his teammate?
Oh yeah. It’s crazy. Same with all the Workshop guys, you know? Dill, Kalis, They’re amazing.
What kind of stuff were you into before skateboarding?
I wasn’t into sports at all. Basketball a little, but not really into sports.
Yeah, I think it’s the same way with most skateboarders. I used to breakdance before I started skating…so, were you the skater in your city that everyone looked up to?
Not really. I just skated with my friends, not at skateparks or anything. I just stayed in that little group, you know, go to the city. I skated with Rodney Torres and other skaters that were good. That’s how I learned.
What’s your motivation to keep progressing? Just keeping up?
Pretty much skating with pros now is motivating. If a new video comes out, I’ll watch that and get psyched to skate. A good video will always do it. You get psyched after seeing somebody do an innovative trick. You see that trick and want to push it a little farther. Also, filming for the new Alien video is motivating. Trying to get innovative.
Speaking of the Workshop, what made you decide to send in that first sponsor-me video? Did you send one out to other companies or what?
No, it was the only company I sent a video to. I don’t know…I don’t really like a lot of the companies in skateboarding, but I liked the image of the Workshop. Plus Dill and Anthony (AVE) had just gotten on. And I was always riding Workshop boards. But see, I didn’t really send it in. I broke my arm and was out for a while, so I put some footage together. My friend tried to talk me into sending it in, but I didn’t see the point. so he actually edited it and sent it in to you guys. We had a bet. I bet him a board that I wouldn’t hear anything and he thought I would. So I waited for a while and then Dyrdek actually called my house.
Yeah, I remember watching your video and we were all stoked. You were just this little guy with a big cast on your arm skating that one metal ledge. You could see a lot of potential from that one spot you were skating.
It was cool, getting a box of stuff….even those first two boards, it was great.
Who else inspires you to skate? I know you look up to Kalis and Stevie.
Yeah, Kalis, Stevie and Guy Mariano is a big inspiration. Mike Carroll definitely.
Did you ever get to see Guy’s part in the first Blind video?
Yeah, I love it. I bought it off this kid so I got my own copy, it’s sick.
So, let’s talk West Coast for a while. Have you been out there much to skate?
I went to S.F. about 3 years ago and skated a little, but my first time really skating hard was to L.A. about a month ago.
How was that? First big trip out there, all those spots you’ve seen in magazines your whole life..
Well, you have to drive everywhere out there. I like where you can skate from spot to spot and just keep skating. I liked it out there though, you know, the spots and everything. But it seemed like we would just drive, skate, get kicked out – that happened over and over. The weather is good, though. Out here, it’s frustrating.
Oh yeah, winter in the East will take it’s toll. But it seems like East Coast skaters develop a discipline from dealing with the snow and cold.
Definitely, it seems that way with Philly and New York.
OK, so what about those spots out there in the west?
It’s nice to finally get to skate some of them…you can never tell though from a video or magazine what it’s like..sometimes it looks steeper than it actually is…sometimes more mellow..but Hubba, Hubba is huge.
Yeah, the super lens has blown out some obstacles to where you can’t tell how big they really are.
But when you’re there, yeah, you’ve seen those spots in magazines and it’s like you already know what you want to try on them.
I heard you’re moving to Philly pretty soon, what is it about Philly that makes it a mecca for the east coast?
This is my last year in school and I’m definitely moving there this summer because I have a lot of friends there and for skating Love. But I’ll definitely be going back and forth from Philly to home a lot. I love New York. I’ll have a place to stay in Philly, but I’ll keep going back and forth to skate.
Had any problems with undercovers at Love?
Yeah, they’re crazy, they just come out of nowhere and try to grab you. There are park rangers there sometimes everyday just sitting there waiting to catch someone. I heard they do it every now and then to scare the skaters away, but I don’t think it’ll work. Personally, I don’t think they’ll ever stop skating at Love. It’s been around so long.
Do you ever go out and skate by yourself?
All the time. I grew up skating by myself. I’ll always do it. There’s this school by my house, I go there and skate all the time. I’ll even take a trip to the city to skate by myself sometimes. I like waking up early and just going out.
What’s your favorite thing to skate overall?
I’m pretty much a ledge skater. Ledges and some gaps. They’re fun. Manuals.
After seeing your footage, I don’t think I’d classify you as a “ledge skater.” Some people fit that category, but you seem more well-rounded than that, like you’ve got a lot of big, tech stuff.
Yeah, I guess. But if I’m skating with Pat (Corcoran), he’ll get me psyched to jump on a handrail. And if everyone else is skating a gap, I’ll skate a gap. That’s why I like Dill and Carroll so much. Just well rounded. And Anthony (AVE), you see him skating everything…and he’s got so much power.
What does your family think of your skateboarding?
At first, they didn’t really understand it, you know? Until I started getting something out of it. They wanted me to go on to school and stuff, but now they’re pretty open to it all.
Do they get stoked when they see you in an ad or a magazine?
Oh yeah, they support me, definitely all the way.
You’ve come a long way really fast, as far as coverage, name recognition and that kind of thing. Does it feel weird?
Sometimes it’s a little stressful. It’s not that much different. Still skate with the same old friends. Go to the city, get photos, not that much different. I travel a bit more now.
What do you think about your future in skateboarding? Seems wide open for you?
Well, I’m psyched on my sponsors. I just want to keep doing tricks. I love to see skaters do innovative stuff and that’s what I want to do. I’m real lucky right now… I will just have to focus on skating in three months and that’s the way I want it.
You relate to any one pro over the others?
Mostly like Wenning and Pat Corcoran. Pat, he’s closer to my age.
Do you guys (Brian and Pat) push each other when you’re filming?
Yeah, I guess. We’d just go out and one would get a trick, then the other would get a trick. We’d all meet early and the morning and just learn tricks.
Did you and Brian grow up skating together? How’d you guys meet?
It’s funny, that story. The first time I met him, I was trying to kickflip the nine at the Brooklyn Bridge and here he comes out of nowhere, trying to kickflip them right behind me. So he tries a few more times and then rolls up to me and says, “I just want you to know that it doesn’t usually take me this long to land this.” (laughter) Castrucci loves that story. Anyway, we just started meeting up and skating all the time. Wenning is definitely a character. He’s got this old man’s head and the body of a 14-year-old kid.
Yeah, I think O’Connor teases him about that a lot, they say he’s aging fast…they say his head is aging. But I met him, he’s a funny guy. So do you like to film or is it frustrating?
Yeah, I like it. Filming pushes me a little. Sometimes I don’t feel like filming, but you have to some times. I like filming with Bill (Strobeck) and R.B.
How do you feel about contests? Do you think it’s important for a skater to do good in contests?
I don’t like them at all. The practices are fun, just seeing people and that kind of thing, but there’s something about a bunch of people watching me skate that I don’t like. I get freaked out sometimes at a local spot when there are a bunch of people watching. That’s why I like to go out early in the morning to skate. Early is the key.
Yeah, sometimes even at a local spot, if other people aren’t skating it just turns into a big demo…automatic pressure. Kerry (Getz) is one of those guys that can skate street really well and still skate a park like crazy, with tons of people watching.
Kerry Getz is definitely amazing. He is so consistent it’s incredible. That guy is really on point in skateboarding. I’m psyched on that guy’s footage.
Where else do you want to travel in the next year? Any place in particular?
Maybe go back out west, I’d like to go to Miami and skate, too. That place looks sick. San Francisco.
In all of your footage, you look like you’re having fun when you’re trying a trick, always have a smile on your face when you ride away. You ever blow your temper?
I usually try not to get that mad. I know if I get mad, It’ll take me that much further from the trick. Overall, I’m kind of mellow. I never break my board.
You probably see plenty of that going on though, right?
Yeah, I see crazy tempers sometimes. Breaking brand new boards and stuff. I can’t do that, you know. I still can’t bring myself to break a board. I always rode crap boards and now I can give mine away to other kids when I put on a new one. I just don’t see the point in breaking them when there are kids that are riding crappy boards that would appreciate them.
Yeah, I like Dill’s method. I’m sure he breaks the occasional board, but he also gives obstacles the old karate chop. I saw him karate kick this handrail one time.
Oh yeah, you saw that footage? I like Dill’s skating a lot. He’s one of the few skaters right now doing innovative stuff on a skateboard.
Yeah, Dill looks at things a little differently. He can come up with a trick that most people would never even consider. OK, Anthony Van Engelen is referred to as AVE because his name is so long. Is it OK if we refer to you as APO in ads and stuff?
APO? Yeah, yeah. I know – I got a long name.
OK, that’s it. Anybody you want to thank at this point?
Yeah, my family, friends, photographers – R.B., Reda, Bill…all you guys at the Workshop..and Kelly Bird at Lakai.