For skaters of a certain age, there’s a good chance their favorite skateboard magazine of all time was Big Brother. It was hilarious, first of all, not an easy feat to achieve. It was irreverent, each issue a strong reminder that skateboarding is just a fun thing to do with your dumb buddies, while also, somehow, being smart and genuinely interesting.
The Skateboard Mag was an entirely different kind of magazine but it too seemed both more playful and more intelligent than a lot of other magazines on the shelf at the time. One common factor was that Chris Nieratko lent his voice to both. The guy is a lot of things, but his writing will always be central to the value he brought to skateboarding.
Nowadays, Chris works with skateboarding companies large and small, from his work with Vans, to his own shop in New Jersey. One incredible successful organization he’s founded is Skate Shop Day. Knowing that shops all over the United States, but particularly those in the north, barely scrape by in the winter months, Chris took action. By putting it in February, when the East Coast is covered by snow and the Northwest is on its 97th straight rainy day, he has brought relief to the winter’s struggle. It’s grown stronger every year, thanks in part to the killer collaborations they orchestrate, and has become a true skateboarding holiday.
Alright, without much further ado, here’s the man himself. Thanks for everything, Chris!
Name and location: Chris Nieratko/ NJ Skateshop
Years on board: 33
Top 5 Tricks
1. Anything I can still land
2. Anything John Gardner does
3. Mami Tezuka’s backsmiths
4. Grosso’s eggplants
5. Ray Barbee’s no complies
Top 5 Skaters
1. Way too many to reduce to 5. I’ll start with every skater from New Jersey past/present/future
2. Ray Barbee
3. Jeff Grosso
4. Grant Taylor
Top 5 Meals
Top 5 Books
1. Anything Carver
2. Painted Bird
4. Claremont’s X-men
5. BBQ veggie cookbooks
My current obsession is: My kids and the hilarious stuff they say.
If I could change one thing about the world it would be: The Humans.
Choose one: Live 500 years or be able to fly: I’m afraid of flying but also my knees are already killing me so I couldnt image what they’d feel like in 400 years. I’ll go with neither.
Whoever is reading this should try: to slow down and enjoy the ride.
For my next trick I will: disappear to Portugal.
I give my thanks to: My family, friends, NJ Skateshop, skateboarding and T. Eric Monroe for giving me my start.