The Chris Pulman Interview
We caught up with skateboarding legend Chris Pulman (@chrispulman). Chris (now 45) is ripping it up once again; we spoke to him about numerous issues in skateboarding and got some great words of wisdom from the guy with the gnarliest no-complys in the game! Interview conducted on the 12th October 2020
Interview: Robert Delaney (@robertjdelaney)
(Above) Chris Pulman by David Wren (@davidwren_)
Robert: I’m going to start off with a tedious question, how long have you been skating for, have you enjoyed skating since you started?
Chris: I’ve been skating since September 1987 so I guess that’s just over 33 years now. Seems like an impossibly long time, eh?
I’ve always loved it pretty much. I’ve hated times where I’ve been injured and realised skating is my only passion. I’ve disliked a lot of the industry stuff. Then I had a bit of a breakdown in the last few years and couldn’t stand to look at the thing. It just didn’t feel authentic to me as a human being for a while. I was questioning my whole identity. Once I got over that with the realisation that all life is absurd I got right back on it and decided to be Chris Pulman the skateboarder again
R: You are probably the king of no-complies, you did them when they weren’t the trick of choice for trendy fashionista Instagram skaters from Venice Beach. Did anyone critique you for not conforming to skateboarding’s normalities?
C: I am definitely not the king of no-complies. That crown belongs firmly on Ray Barbee’s head. I’ve always done them though. I might have been criticised for them but to be honest, I didn’t notice and I don’t care. The idea of one skateboarder criticising another is just alien to me. It belongs in the world of jocks and sporting goods brands. You can throw toxic masculinity in the same dumpster…
Even back in 1992, when we were all doing the craziest flip tricks I still did them. My friend Matt Pritchard used to always shout “Bring ‘em back” when I did one. He always had a pretty good eye for what skateboarding was about; having fun with your mates.
R: On the topic of critique, I recently saw some people complaining about your recent Instagram fame; they were calling it undeserved, how do you reply to Instagram comments and dms (both positive and negative ones)?
C: I guess Instagram fame isn’t true fame at all. Social media is a tool to reach people with a message like mental health awareness, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA+ issues or socio-economic issues (like my desire to make society more fair through introducing universal basic income). Social media could also be a tool to sell crap. Well, I have nothing to sell here so I guess I’m more interested in the more authentic points
As far as criticism goes, I’d have to come back to my earlier comment. If you criticise a skateboarder you’re either not a skateboarder or you’re a jock. Those people are not even really on my radar. They so obviously don’t belong in our society
R: I also saw in one of your comment sections someone complaining about your pronouns. Do you think skateboarding’s mentality has grown to accommodate and accept everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation etc. or is there still space for more acceptance?
C: Yeah, that was a weird one. We still live in a society where some people’s world view is firmly stuck in the previous century, even some skateboarders. I put my pronouns up there to raise awareness of people’s right to use their own in line with their gender. My pronouns are He/They. I'm a cisgender white man, with that comes a lot of privilege that has been created artificially over a millennium of social conditioning and it is reinforced for the benefit of a part of society and not the whole. I'd like to use my privilege to try and be an ally to those who are oppressed within our scene
I also don’t strongly associate with the classic ideals of being a man. A good part of those ideals are rooted in some really nasty toxic masculinity. This social construct is purely designed to hold some people down so that others can rise above them. In a world where we no longer need those alpha males, we should be striving for equality, regardless of sex ,gender, race, sexual orientation or nationality. We should have evolved past the need for tribal leaders by now. We’re not cavemen any more, eh?
So yeah, I think the world is still in as state of flux but I do have some faith that it is heading in the right direction. The change is slow, sometimes frustratingly so, but I think the skateboarding community has its part to play in that change
(Below) Chris Pulman by David Wren (@davidwren_)
R: Finally, is there anything cool in the works, a new Heroin video, Baghead crew stuff perhaps?
C: So, I’m trying to film a part for the next Baghead film called “SATAN” that will be out next year. I’m going to do my best to film a full part that I can be happy with, not just a bunch of lazy tribute shit. I’m still getting back on my board properly here after the wilderness years so I’m hoping as time goes by I can really start pushing myself to create something new. Forde is so kind and patient with me, he’s making it easy to get motivated to get into the streets and really work for this.
Fos is giving me decks to ride right now when I need them so I’d really like to film bits for Heroin to say thanks. Again, if I can get something good, relevant and that I’m happy with, then it would be sick to be featured alongside all those rad guys he has on the team there.