I have been crossing path with Noah, more or less on the regular for about two years, now, either on a Pop Trading Co. mission, or simply celebrating his birthday in paris by cutting open his eyebrow arch on a stubborn ledge… And from his always unexpected approach to street furniture to his more general approach to the world around him, I have been refereing to him as "The absolute youth". But I will add here that, above all, he is a good one… Trust me, I'm old and wise!
LiveSkateboardMedia: Noah, nice talking to you. Looking up your name online (now a commonplace reflex for skaters in an era where years worth of footage are online for free - the convenience!) doesn't really result in any proper video part of you coming up. Instead you have tons of clips in local edits, notably the POP Trading Co. montages, and you post some skating on your Instagram too (@trusk8r420). Those who watched the Converse video "#Pleasecharge" might remember catching a glimpse of you too, but nowadays attention spans are so short...
So in a way, this compilation re-edit comes in handy - if anything for the old timers used, and clinging to, the classic footage output format. But what are your own thoughts on that? Do you pay attention to where your footage is going, or do you like it better when things happen organically - you just skate and it doesn't matter if anyone's really filming?
Noah Bunink: Good question, I think it really depends on the situation and filmer. There are occasions like when I'm filming for POP Trading Co., where we go out to a city & try to get as many clips as possible, but since we're all friends it doesn't feel too forced. Those are like projects focused on really getting shit done, which is not really what I'm into, but with POP there is just a lot of love for the company and pushing it that it's all really worth it and doesn't make it feel like a chore.
But I usually prefer going out skating & see what we film - then just wait and see where it ends up appearing.
Then again I don't want in in just about any video. I only film with people I know are gonna produce something I'll want to watch. So when I could film something with Yoan or Josh I was mad hyped, because I knew anything I would do with them would be cool.
But at the end of the day it doesn't matter too much - I just like to skate and if the clip goes up on Thrasher or something, then that's dope, but I'd be just as hyped on the footage if it's in a niche Vimeo video with some bros.
Backside lipslide. Paris
LSM: You're pretty young - 18 years old, right?
Kind of tempted to ask about your skateboarding background - what prompted you to pick up a skateboard in the first place in Amsterdam, the people you grew up skating with, the videos you grew up watching. Your father being from San Francisco, did you ever go and skate there?
Noah: I'm 19 now!
Well it's probably one of least cool stories in my life, but my sister rollerbladed at the time and I was about 7 years old. So I tried that, but I couldn't even stand on them things, so I just started running around & through the skatepark, following her.
And then I saw some kid skating so I asked if I could try. It felt way easier, so I asked for a skateboard for my 8th birthday - then from then on I skipped my basketball and judo practices and just skated everyday.
My mom used to skate, so she was really into me skating - she even taught kids how to skate at a skatepark for a while. So she brought me to all skateparks and kiddie contests, which was super cool.
My dad used to have a lot of skater friends, but one his closest friends died in a downhill accident, so he made me wear a helmet. I got goofed for it a bit, but I think I wore it till I was 12 (laughs). People used to remind me of that a lot, but that's kinda died down.
When I started skating I'd just look up "skateboarding" on YouTube, and Todd Falcon videos always appeared, so I just watched those. After a while I downloaded "The DC Video" off Limewire and just watched that a lot.
Ollie down, no-comply. Berlin
LSM: I find it interesting, this generation's approach to documenting skating, how it's more lighthearted than it was not so long ago (before camera phones), truer to the spontaneity of a skate session maybe, and the gap between how it's working out now and what was the former norm (arrange meeting up with some dude sporting the most unpractical camera backpack, then wait for years before your valued clips come out, and you hate your song).
You have sponsors too, like POP Trading Co.; people back your modern approach, so it's not like the industry isn't adapting - and you manage to make it on a lot of skaters' favorite skaters list, including Sylvain Tognelli's or Rios crew filmer Bence Bàlint's. What's your take on the importance of social media nowadays, in skating?
Right now we appear to live in a time period where both ends of the spectrum coexist - on one hand you have dudes who sweat their asses off trying to film parts intending them to be a piece of art, and on the other hand, other dudes who just skate without a care in the world how their skating is portrayed (or if it's even portrayed at all) and things just come to them because their thing just works.
I feel like you'd be a good person to ponder the subject with, due to the ingenuousness that's inherent to your youth.
Noah: Yeah, the industry is adapting, but it has to. If it wants to make money, it has to follow the trends.
I mean it's still skateboarding, so I guess the skaters will always decide what the trend will be, and the industry will just have to follow it and supply the demand... But still, as far as I'm concerned, I'm really thankful to anyone who supports my skating - since it really isn't at a high level, I really appreciate it when people appreciate what I do.
Social media is really a tricky subject, it has so much benefits and disadvantages. I feel like it has become too important - at the start it was cool, because you could just post dumb funny stuff you liked, and you could connect with people worldwide who are into the same stuff. But I feel like Instagram has become too much of a marketing tool for brands. Like companies making their riders post ads for the company is just really corny - whenever that shows up in my feed, it just gives off a sellout vibe.
I mean I get why they do that and all, but to me it's just unnecessary, I'd rather see them post videos or photos and they're wearing it, instead of full-on ads that all the riders have to post.
There are exceptions, but a lot of the posts are just something that the rider is obviously not backing, and was just asked to post.
Since skating is so big right now, it's only logical that there are different types of skaters in terms of how they produce their videos. The guys sweating their ass off are appreciated by the rest. I mean, I don't skate like Tiago Lemos at all, but he is one of my favorite skaters to watch, and I feel like that works both ways.
In skating you can take inspiration from everyone, almost every video has something unique that might catch your eye.
LSM: Following the same idea, have you been working on anything lately, filming for new projects maybe? Got any trips lined up? What's next for NoahBunink?
Noah: What's next is basically finishing school [Laughter]. I'm in my last year now so that's really the main focus at the moment.
And after that it's all going downhill. No, I don't really know - but Peter (of POP, ) always has a good blueprint for the next months to come ; for instance, we just went to London with the whole team, which was pretty crazy. We skated everyday from 10 AM to 3 AM. We got a lot of footage and the vibe was really good, so yeah, mission achieved.
But I usually just wait for the next project to come up, and then do what I can. I'm just always down to skate.
LSM: How do you get around? Besides skateboarding, you're also a model who notably worked with Gosha Rubchinskiy for a show in Paris last year. How did that even come about ? Is that something you've had going on for a long time, did you even focus on trying to do something of that style, ever? Or did it - once again - spontaneously fall into place?
Does it help you get around? Do you have to go on trips to model and if yes, do you use the opportunity to skate wherever you end up? Does it help fund your own personal trips? How do you make it work?
Noah: I'm a dishwasher at a restaurant, and that's my only income.
The Gosha show was pretty funny, he just hit me up via Instagram DM's and asked if I wanted to partake. It was really fun to do, and meeting everyone was nice. That was the only real modeling gig I've had, yet people seem to be under the impression that that is my main job [laughter].
I do want to pursue something in modeling or fashion, because it pays pretty nice, but I've been a bit lazy as far as signing up to an agency. But I'm going to do that as soon as possible. And yeah it was pretty spontaneous, and it has sparked some interest in the fashion industry.
Thanks for the interview and the recap clip guys, was fun to do, and now I finally have a full part!