An Interview with Mark Wojda
Mark, thanks for taking some time to get this BLADE LIFE together. There’s no doubt you are an insanely talented dude on the blades, but it seems like you kinda fly under the radar. Why do you think that is?
I think there are a few reasons why I’m kind of under the radar, or at least have been in the past. Mainly, I’ve been busy with college as a full-time student. I finished my undergrad last December. Since then I’ve been trying to skate and film as much as possible and am definitely open to more traveling in the future.
How about the definition between pro and am; and do you think the state of am bladers is the same as when you were coming up and/or spectating? If it’s changed, can you describe how?
It’s a lot different now. AM skaters are now just casually lumped together with the flow people, like that should be normal and acceptable. Like, BFG and pre-BFG especially, AM was a position a dude wanted to attain because the sponsorship for an AM, and the respect you got as an AM, meant you were on the way to becoming PRO. Now, the idea of AM and the concept of sponsorship just means less in general.
Along that same line, let’s talk about your personal standards for skating. How do they compare to the industry standards for style, tricks, etc? And when does a trick count?
I’m going to try and answer this question as best as possible because I’m not entirely sure what you mean. I don’t really know what the industry’s “standards” for style mean, especially nowadays. I like good solid skating though. Spins or grabs in and out of tricks, and lines are really important. Demonstrating absolute control on skates is extremely important. As for tricks not counting, I’d just so much rather see someone steez out a backslide with a solid grab than a pencil 5 to grind.
I’ve been told some people have a hard time filming with you because of your perfectionist tendencies. That true; and if so, why?
I don’t think that is true necessarily. Usually when I’m filming it’s for a particular project that I want to be happy with, so I just like to be thorough. I feel as if it’s been a while since I’ve seriously filmed anything, so I guess it all depends on whom you ask.
What bladers influenced you the most when you were a younger shredder, and how did you adapt that influence into your own skating?
When I was younger I always got juiced off Rob Thompson, Feinberg, Latimer, Lennon, and Julio (and still do). I was more inclined to huck things when I was little and skate the biggest rails I could find. Nowadays, I just try to be solid and smooth and really enjoy a good transition. I really like the way Broskow, Bolino, Eisler, and Montre are skating too. I’m also trying to blade for as long as possible, so I’ve started to focus more on technique — Eisler and Julio are definitely inspiring in that respect.
You’re a dude from Louisville, Kentucky. Before you, who was the biggest blading name out of Louisville? Can you tell us how you made a name for yourself hailing from the land of baseball bats and horse races?
The biggest blading name out of Kentucky before me was Jordan Dale. Jordan definitely killed it back in the day but since then hasn’t really been around much. Other than that, I’ve always really looked up to all the bikers in Louisville who I’d basically see every day shredding the incredible skate park there. Jimmy Levan (owner of Metal Bikes), I believe, is originally from Louisville and he killed it and set the bar really high in terms of being a badass. My only problem with Louisville is that not too many people actually skate there even though it literally has one of the best parks in the world (free, 24 hour, huge), and awesome street. I always had to travel to skate with other people and, in terms of exposure, traveling was the only way.
Anyone who’s ever watched you blade (especially in person) knows you skate really fucking hard. Where do you get the motivation and determination to push yourself like you do?
First off, I wouldn’t say all that. I’m flattered that people think I skate hard all the time, but the majority of the time I’m just glad to go out, skate and have fun, and not get hurt. I usually skate my hardest when I’m filming for some particular project. I get juiced off the feeling of skating really well a few times a week and I think that feeling is what keeps me going, and will keep me going until I’m really old. Music is also a big influence on my whole thought process for “bigger” tricks and skating in general. I really like Hendrix and Zeppelin, and just focus on getting in this meditative trance when I’m listening to them blading, biking, or chilling.
You skate for Denial so no doubt you’ve spent a lot of time with Chris Majette. Can you describe your relationship with Chris and tell us what you think about his entire being and existence?
Denial is the illest and Majette and Killgore have been down since the beginning.
Have you gotten to do much cool traveling from skating? If so, tell us about the best place you’ve gotten to go?
I’ve had a really decent run with some of the rollerblading traveling I’ve been able to do, and I’m just so juiced to do more for that reason. The craziest, coolest traveling experience of my life was my first rollerblading related international trip to Ecuador. I was riding for Remz at the time and ended up meeting Kenny Owens, Jero, Fish, and Demetrios down there. It was February in South America which meant Carnival. It was wild and definitely life-changing.
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I love those pictures!
Mark wodhydssffja is extremely talented, no one can deny that. But it is clear to anyone whom has met him that he is a narcissistic self absorbed piece of dirt. I hope one day mark will come off his high horse and realize that he is doing the exact same shit in blading he was doing years ago. He can be really nice to other talented bladers who will put up with his constant negative attitude. But if you are a local grim in any sport or just a standard fan of blading and you meet mark you will realize very fast that he is nothing short of a complete ass hole! Oh and by the way just to be clear there are a shit ton of Kentucky bladers who came before him and after him. Clearly stated, mark is one of the worst things to ever happen to Kentucky blading!
You must be one of the guys from Southern Scum. Still butt hurt he wouldn’t make edits for your grimey company or stoop low enough to be associated with something like “scum?” Anyone who actually knows the dude personally likes him, and if he was an ass to you, perhaps there is a very good reason, something along the lines of how you communicate in let’s say, even your comment. Let it go man.
Hmmm… This was an interesting one to read. I met Mark sitting at the bottom of a 14(?) stair set one day with some skates on, asked him if he could do anything and he did one of the ugliest 540′s I’d ever scene, although for a kid of about 12 years old, it was pretty big…started skating with him a bunch, and traveled with him a lot in the beginning (in fact, probably his first ever tour his dad insisted on driving and the ownership that man took in Chicago was amazing, ask Mark about his African-American brothers sometime.) Was also there for quite possibly his first sip of hard liquor… (You’re right, that’s not just Sprite, don’t finish that.)
To whoever the “Kentucky bladers” is, well, perhaps you have an issue with the kid, but lets remember, he’s still just that, a kid. Albeit one that’s grown up a ton in the last 12 years. There have been times when he’s been full of himself and self absorbed, but he’s also gone through things that no other person ever will experience (everyone does) and after meeting back up with Mark randomly over the years, he’s grown quite a bit, and become a remarkable human being that isn’t only concerned with himself but with his friends, the state of the industry, politics, and most importantly his family (not just the kids he grew up skating with that were his “family” but his blood relatives). I think his travels and times in various cities has been a blessing for him, and I’ve definitely noticed a lot of maturation on his part. Sure, he’s still got somewhat of a temper, and he’s definitely a perfectionist, but he’s also not that same shit kid doing sit down makio’s letting his left leg drag so close to the ground that it’s practically rolling while his right leg is grinding on a handrail. Bottom line, even though he’s a perfectionist with his skating and other aspects of life (perhaps the reason some filmers have a difficult time with him) the kid is growing up and concerned with a lot more than just himself. I’ve picked this up from 3/4 across the country, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to see for someone that still lives in Kentucky.
Kb, while I agree there were a lot of KY bladers to come before and after him, he’s not “one of the worst things ever to happen to Kentucky blading”, he’s like…one of the fourth worst, and for that, I’m proud of Mark. For making a dent in the industry, for being smart enough to actually focus on school, for making friends the world over, for impressing industry heads left and right with his skating, and for growing up not a complete douche. He’s not perfect, and at times he still desires for attention and acceptance, but he’s not nearly as bad as you’ve described him to be. Plus, his dad’s a doctor, so he can probably score you some prescription drugs to snort if you were to be nice him.
Well, that’s enough for now, I gotta go finish my beer.
Mark, I know you’re checking this board every ten minutes because you’re totally self-absorbed so you’ll get this message, “Hi, come out some time. Branstetter’s getting some frames and wheels any minute (possibly CO’s) so there’d totally be a crew to roll with, not just me.”
Hope everyone has a good time at the KYB!!! Hollar!
That was a good interview on Mark. It is good to see he has worked so hard all together in his life. He has been extremely consistant. “Don’t hate on the skate, just get around on the sound.”