Sean Malto - Part 1
VICE: Over the last couple of seasons you’ve focused largely on veteran pros with long histories in the skate world. Compared to some of them, Sean Malto is a new jack. Did working with him require a different approach?
Patrick: I never intended for the show to be the early 90s nostalgia show—though I am passionate about episodes like that. Our early episodes were with skaters like Alex Olson, Braydon [Szafranski], and Spanky [Kevin Long]... then it kind of evolved into being a history show later. I want it to cover all aspects of skateboarding, and my goal is to eventually get everyone and touch on all kinds of topics. So getting a skater who is at the top of his game and one of the most popular skaters out there—that's a really interesting angle to me. It might annoy some of the show’s older fans, but that's not really something I'm worried about. Malto is a rad guy, an amazing skater, and is really thoughtful and open in interviews, so I felt like he might have a perspective worth sharing in the interest of covering all things skateboarding.
Sean's been with Girl his entire career, and most people think of him as a staple in that camp. Was it surprising to hear he was such a Zero fan as a young kid?
I thought it was hilarious, but one of the coolest things about Malto is that he can pretty much hang with anyone—he's not cliquey. In a parallel universe I could see him getting on Zero and still turning out to be the exact same skater and fitting in on that team just fine. During the course of filming this episode we hung with Jerry Hsu, Dylan Rieder, Clint Walker, Atiba Jefferson, all his Kansas City friends, P-Rod... Sean fits in with all those people.
You grew up in Ohio, a long way from the center of the skate world in California. Does that make Sean's story—a kid from Kansas making good in skateboarding—more resonant for you as a storyteller?
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and remember an old Thrasher article where Bryce Kanights came out and shot with Rob Dyrdek, Mark Heintzmen, Mike Hayes, and all these other people from Ohio and just being so excited about it. I always liked hearing about scenes in different cities as well, so when the opportunity came to film Malto in Kansas City I knew I wanted to go there. There’s a lot of heart in those places. Just filming a pro in front of his infinity pool in Hollywood gets old.
I brought Jerry Hsu along to help film because he thought it would be fun to go there and skate with Sean too. We had a super awesome time. Sean picked us up from the airport and when I was about to rent a car he just told me I could have his while we were there, so I drove that the whole time. Then he dropped us off at the airport when it was time to leave—like Guy says in the episode, he's really dependable.
Malto has been really successful in contests, but he’s not thought of as a robot like some other big money skaters. Why do you think that is?
I guess because you can tell he rips in the actual streets. He does the more legit parts of pro skating, like getting magazine covers, filming video parts, and all the other stuff that's important. It’s also because he seems like a mellow guy and not a jock about it. He's not going to cry if he doesn't win. That said, I've never watched one second of him in a contest, so I guess I just think of him as a ripping legit pro skater. Maybe I should get cable? Contests can be awesome, but I don't really pay much attention to them. I still think of them as a sideshow.
What can we expect in the second half of the Malto episode?
Next week is going to be about filming with Ty [Evans] for Pretty Sweet, some shots of those girls who got Beatlemania when they saw him, and some heavy stuff, too. It’s gonna be dense with shredding.
- Interview by Ben Dietz
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