Thursday, July 23, 2009

Andrew Sayer's Push.ca column x Rod Ferens: The Winnipeg Style OG

Without style being a defining factor in skating, who knows what kind of circus professional skateboarding would be like? Huf's ollie. Gino's push. Gonz's creativity. Appleyard's couch style. Reynold's FS flip. Some just have it, while other's work on it for a lifetime without the desired results. Winnipeg OG'er Rod Ferens was born with it. Sweats and white tee for life with the ill kicks to match, Rod has been doing it proper since the ‘80s and has the style, confidence, and board control to back it up. Never one to hate on different steez, he's acquired the skate maturity to know what looks good on a deck. Rod gave us the low-down on how to achieve the perfect push (hint: if you weren't born with it, you're out of luck), the move from the Prairies to Vancouver, and being a life-long shoe head, his top choice in kicks of the non-skate brand variety. Leave the safety gear at home kids, and play on playa...

"Hailing from T-Bay, Rod Ferens started spending the summers at his dad's place in the early ‘90s, which happened to be in my Winnipeg neighbourhood. I met him while skating the local school, and we quickly became friends. It didn't take long for him to become a full-time ‘Peg resident, join our Green Apple crew, and become a well-known skater in the city. He's still one of my faves after all these years." -Frank Daniello



What's up Rod? Let's start if off back in the day. Give me a run-down of the early days in Winnipeg.
In ‘88, Winnipeg was all about visiting my father who lived in Winnipeg while I lived in Thunder Bay. My first memory was skating the double curb at Tyndall Park with Frank Daniello; I was skating a Hensley. I think Frank was skating a Tom Knox board. That was my first Green Apple experience.

Have things changed at all with the Skate Plaza being put in?
Yeah, it's totally different for me with the plaza now. I like the plaza because I can actually skate with friends and have fun. To me I like skating with my boys, or just hanging with the crew. That's what I like the most about skating. I could care less who did what, unless you're my boy. Plus there is no kick out.

When did you make the move to Vancouver?
I moved away to Vancouver in 2002, I think, actually to skate and look at life differently. I felt at that time there was nothing left for me in Winnipeg. When I left Winnipeg every one of my friends I skated with either quit or moved away. The scene was pretty much dead to me. I never really gave too much thought to moving back.

I know the weather isn't ideal for skating in the Peg. How many months a year can you skate outdoors?
Well, pretty much you skate street from mid-April to maybe November. Then there is the Edge Skatepark, which is run through a bunch of Jesus worshipers. They used to stop you for 30 minutes from skating to push the Jesus on you, they'd make you wear helmets and its fucking mayhem trying to skate that shit! Even if I visit and go skate there, I wan to focus my board and kill everyone. It's pretty much a skate mosh pit. That park would run, like, two times a week for dudes our age; the only way you wanted to skate it was when you're jonesing hard.

You're known as one of the OG style skaters. What makes a rider have good style?
Age. Old dudes who have skated long look good. Confidence and board control is sick as fuck; you can just tell when a dude can run his board. It's ill. Arms, also.

Rod's style in full effect:


What gives a rider bad style?
Helmets, wrist guards, knee pads, elbow pads... any of that shit.

What makes a good push?
Either you have one or you don't. There is no workin' on that one.

I remember you saying you only -- or greatly prefer -- filming with Ry Guy. Do you only film with Ry Guy? Why is this?
Ry Guy is the shit! He don't give a fuck what he's filmin, as long as you see it workin'. He's mellow; he'll film it ‘till he runs out of tape. Ry is just rad, ‘cause he's a real bro and he's fam. But now that he's in ‘Peg I try to film with others, but it's hard.

Break down Green Apple for everyone.
Green Apple started out as a crew from the north end of Winnipeg. Roan Barrion started filming dudes with a piece of shit camera back in the day. Roan made vids for the crew and didn't really think too much about it. He pretty much just did it for our Green Apple fam. When I came to Winnipeg back in ‘88 it seemed like there was the Sk8 team, which was sick, and there was the Green Apple family. Things started to get a little more than just a fun vid to do for Roan, which I think Roan started to get annoyed when dudes would always be callin' him to film; that's when it started getting serious and turning into a Winnipeg vid. Roan did a few more vids, then he was pretty much over it. Ry Guy stepped in at that point and started doing it, he wanted to keep the whole Green Apple family name going. At first Ry was filming just us -- McD, myself, Paul Spencer, and Mick Lamoine. Now it has blown up and is sicker than ever. And now, my boy McD has taken it to the next level and the Green Apple skate shop, which all skaters in Winnipeg need to support. Being part of the old Sk8 family back in the day, this is what the Winnipeg skate scene needs again.

Rod's part in Green Apple's 2006 release, Modern Love :


You've been a Nike head for years, always skating in the illest Jordan's and what-not. Where you at with that these days?
I was always down with rockin' Nike and Jordan shit: always. It was the whole move to Vancouver, which opened my eyes as far as actually being able to get the sick shit to skate. I still love skating an ill pair of Nike's, I love looking down and seeing that shit. Right now I'm skating some Jordan 1 Phat's and enjoying them quite a bit.

What kind of kit are you into when you're skating?
I still love skating in huge sweats and white tee. It's so much fun... It's kinda played, but fuck it. I've also been skating this new 4 Star denim, which stretches all dope. I really can't run the tight shit.

You think this look's best for everyone, or is it just your personal style? What do you think about the whole tight pants stee?
It's a personal thing. If dudes think tight shit is dope, than good for that dude. I can't run tight stee; it's just not my thing. Everybody likes different shit.

You're a married many these days. Congrats. Has this has any effect on the skating?
Nah, my wifey backs me skating and knows it can make me really happy when I have a good day of skating. She knows how much skating means to me.

Rod's Top Fives

Skater style:
1) Gonz
2) Gino
3) Huf
4) Keenan
5) Mulder

Hip hop style:
1) Stevie
2) Marcus
3) Pupecki
4) Wade D
5) Trav Stenger

Winnipeg:
1) Steve Harnish
2) Jai Periera
3) John Erhart
4) Chris Steggles
5) McD

Non-skate shoes for skating:
1) Jordan 1
2) Dunks
3) Court Force Classics
4) Stan Smiths (Goodfoot, Undefeated, Huf, DQM Colabs)
5) Gazelles

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