WhenEpicly Later'd started, one of the first things I wanted to do was an Ali Boulala episode. I imagined doing a whole season just on him. He was the perfect subject of the show—hilarious, amazing at skateboarding, infectious to be around, yet also a bit of a mystery. Where and how did he become how he is? There couldn't be anyone else on Earth quite like him.
This was before the drunk driving accident that killed Australian pro Shane Cross and put Ali into a coma. At the time, it was all way too dark and depressing for us to cover—back then, we were doing episodes about Dustin Dollin shopping for pants.
Fast forward to a year or so ago. I posted a photo on my Instagram of Stevie Williams, where Stevie said "I want to do an episode your show, but I don't want any of that depressing bullshit..." Ali Boulala commented on the photo, "I'll do an episode, but I'm sure it will be all depressing."
I contacted him to see if he was serious, and was soon on a plane to Stockholm to visit him. He hasn't done too many interviews since the accident, so I wasn't sure what I would find—but staying with Ali for a week was nice, and most of the trip was full of laughs and good food.
You can see that he has not shut the door on the past, though. There is a picture of Shane Cross on his living-room wall, and it always hangs in the air. But Ali is moving towards putting his life back together, and I'm proud of him for that. This is a heavy episode, and I want to thank Ali for his honesty.