I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Chris Calkins for the better half of this year. One of the first things I noticed about Chris was that he’s an all-smiles, laid back kind of guy. The second thing was the barreling speed he rolls up to spots with, backed up with solid trick selection. After a few sessions, I caught onto his keen eye for new spots and novel approaches to old spots. To best describe Chris, he gives it his all. — Jonathan Labez
Let me ask you about your nickname, ‘Okie’. You texted me once with that name and I had no idea it was you! How did you get that name?
The name ‘Okie’ has to do with where I’m from, Oklahoma. It’s also on my forearm, so people just seem to know me as that.
You were nomadic growing up, moving from town to town several times. Even in the last few years you’ve trekked around quite a lot. Why did you move around so much? What brought you out to Venice?
Moving was something I did regularly through high school. My dad was a crane operator, so wherever the job was, that’s where we went. I had the chance to meet a bunch of great people along the way. How I ended up in Venice is very random. I came out from Vegas to attend an LA All Day. The people I came with were going north to SF and I didn’t have the money to continue the trip. I posted some ads on Craigslist for a ride, but had no real luck. My girl said she would just drive out and get me. When she got here, we both decided SoCal is where we want to be. Venice seemed like a cool beach town that both of us liked. I mean if your moving to California, you might as well be by the ocean.
Venice Beach used to be the hub for rollerblading a decade ago, with the Pit (next to where the new Venice Skatepark now resides) as the weekend meet up spot, Arlo and B. Love living in the area, and NISS held in the Summer. Is that something that crosses your mind living there?
Of course I think about the early days. Those guys laid the foundations for what we have today. The NISS series was something I always looked forward to watching on TV as a kid.
What’s it like blading there these days, and who do you usually session with?
Venice is an amazing place to live. You never know what or who you’re going to see down here. Everything you could need is within walking distance, and the weather is almost always perfect. The blade scene long ago left Venice, so I usually travel to Long Beach or downtown to blade. I don’t skate with one specific group, since there are so many good bladers in the area, but a few people I skate with are Daniel Scarano, Jeremy Soderburg, Anthony Williams, Daniel Rosado, and even some OG vets like Carlos Kessel.
I joked around that you were so good at blading banks because you lived in Vegas (and could handle the 80º+ degree heat better than we could). From an outsider’s perspective, what’s the terrain difference like between Los Angeles and where you’ve lived previously?
Yeah dude, 80º feels amazing. It sure beats 110º in Vegas. Los Angeles has a huge variety of things to skate, from the perfect downrails, to gritty back alley spots, to picture perfect skateparks, LA has something to offer any type of skater.
Switching tracks, I’d like to ask about your sponsorship with Razors. All the edits in Vegas showed you riding Xsjados and when we first met back in February, you were sporting a new pair of Aragon 4s. How did your sponsorship with Razors begin?
My deal with Razors all started when the GC team came to Vegas for 20 days to film for the new video. I ended up being the tour guide most of the time and spent a lot of time filming and chilling with the team. Horn and I were talking one day and before I knew it, there was a box at my front door. I couldn’t be happier with a boot sponsor. The people in the office are easy to work with and they treat their riders well. Razor’s is a strong company that isn’t going anywhere in this industry.
This next question is mandatory since you ride for Razors — Have you gotten to skate the Razors warehouse box yet?
Ha ha, the infamous Razors warehouse… Sadly, I have not had the time to make it to SD for any length of time, so for now, no, I have not skated the box.
Speaking of boxes, during the Sin City Session last year, I heard stories about how beaten and bruised the box was after the compeition. How bad off was it? Are there any plans for another Sin City Session?
The box we left was terrible. It had been Tony Rivituso’s box when he was on house arrest. I took it the day before the comp and fixed it to be straight. I was moving to California a week later so I just left it down there. As far as another Sin City Session, yes, I want to do another one. It was super fun to have everyone in Vegas to skate and party. As soon as I have some real plans together, I’ll get the word out.
You’ve put out some awesome edits since your move out to Venice. I’m sure anyone who’s watched them wants me to ask if you’re currently filming for a video?
I am always trying to stack footage for projects. Right now there is the SHOCK video, GC video, the Razors AM video, and a Los Angeles based flick, “Take Your Time,” as well as dropping online edits. So yeah, footage is coming.
You strike me as a guy who lives by a mantra or quote. Do you have one and if so, what is it?
No mantra here. I just live my life in a way that makes me happy. I do believe in karma, so do what you think is right, or that shit will come back 10 fold and bite you in the ass.
Time for shout outs, Chris! Go!
I want to thank my family for supporting me all the years growing up, my girlfriend for dealing with the life of a blader, Razors for all the support, Rec-N-Roll Skateshop for holding down the scene in Oklahoma, all my Vegas friends, everyone that has let me crash on their floor, all the SoCal rippers, and anyone that rollerblades.
Photos and Interview by Jonathan Labez
Sweet, looking forward to blading with ya there
Yeah Chris! Steeze master
Mute 180 in the quarter pipe twice in a row, BUT… Awesome 🙂
Great shit! Thanks for the OG shout out! Hey maybe the Venice scene will have a surge of bladers in the next couple of years. DOGTOWN WHATCHOUT!
Okie is the man!
One of the realest dudes I know. You can’t back backslide ledges as high as him! Steeeezo.
Hey Chris, its nice to see you doing what you have always loved to do. No hard feelings right!? Stay Happy and Love Life!