Interview / Guy Mariano


Even in an era many seem prone to associate with notoriously short attention spans, you'd still be hard pressed to run into a skateboarder unaware of Guy Mariano's legacy. Be them bittersweet old timers reminiscing about the man's childhood antics (such as his footage in the old Powell Peralta videos, his legendary breakthrough part in Blind's "Video Days", or his game-changing ledge skills in Girl's "Mouse"), or youngsters who just recently caught up with "Pretty Sweet" or the Berrics for the first time (and what is to be said about "Fully Flared" turning 10 years old today ?), everyone from every generation has their reason for having at least heard about Guy - an especially commendable feat bearing in mind that the street tech pioneer had a gap in the middle of his career where he went MIA for quite the long time. Now back in full force after having caught up with the modern standards of trick-in trick-out maneuvers in a scarily effortless-looking manner over the years (giving the younger generations a run for their money at 40 years old, thereby proving age is all in your head), Guy just got together with longtime teammate Eric Koston to start a new board brand : NUMBERS EDITION. Guy went as far as being kind as to sit through a few of our questions, and we're grateful that he did.

LIVE Skateboard Media: First off, hello Mr Mariano and thank you for doing this. Together with Eric Koston, you just launched a new board company named Numbers Edition - or Numbers in short. Mark Gonzales came up with that name, is that correct?
Guy Mariano: Mark did come up with the name Numbers. He actually came up with a lot of different ideas for names, but Numbers really stood out for all of us, especially when we got into all the ways we could use the name and the branding.
LSM: Mark having been one of your main supporters back in your early years (notably by optimizing your exposure through the Blind video & ads, and I'm sure generally being a helpful friend in more ways the general public will ever know), how do you personally feel about being in that position now - nearly 3 decades later, it's your turn running your own business and to top it all off, the one person coming up with the name is Mark? Were you ever inspired by his entrepreneurship? You were a child when you got on Blind - he's bound to have left a very powerful impression on you.
GM: Being here now, three decades later, building our own thing and having the love and support from Gonz, who continues to amaze and influence us, means the world. It's like having the Godfathers' blessings.
LSM: For those who haven't been following the birth of Numbers from the get go (many French fans haven't, due to the general over-saturation of skate media & the language barrier - this interview is the first one about the company that is eventually getting translated), may you briefly summarize the idea behind the brand? How did you go about picking the team roster ? Is the urge to build something new to call your own what caused Eric & you to part ways with Girl, a company the general public had been associating you with for so long? In an era where the industry is mostly dominated by the shoe market, are you interested in bringing the importance of the board company back?
GM: We always thought we would skate for Girl skateboards forever but sometimes life has different plans. This brand is something we wanted to build on our own terms. Eric and I have been blessed to ride for different teams that helped mold us in many ways and we wanted to create a platform to give our team the same opportunities and experiences.
Edition represents different collaborations we will do with artists, video, photography, and retailers. When it came to picking our roster we chose skaters that have unique style and all bring something different to the table. People that stand out for one reason or another.
Our first graphics we wanted to focus on our signature logos and we chose a gradient color effect to represent change. We all had not been riding for a board co for a year or so, so this launch marked a significant change for us all.
As a board brand, I feel like the little work Numbers has put out so far is bringing some different perspective than what's out there right now. We're proud of it and think it's important to the overall industry.
Switch slappy nosegrind
LSM: What would you like to say to those among your audience who might naturally tend and / or be naively tempted to lump Numbers together with Nike, regarding it as a 'Nike brand' due to it being both yours & Eric Koston's shoe sponsor (as well as the recent release of the collaboration Antonio Durao web part)? You guys don't seem like you're putting all your eggs in the same basket - last I heard, there were like 4 of you guys running Numbers, doing all the office work. By the way, can you find some more time to skate now?
GM: Nike always pushes innovation and function, we are fortunate to have been able to collaborate with them and also share these brand values. People that wanted to lump Numbers as a Nike brand had those comments loaded before we even announced anything. It was a very natural opportunity for us, especially with the K3 (Koston's Latest Shoe) and Antonio. We're definitely not putting all our eggs in one basket and have a wishlist of people we hope to work with. There were a lot of moving parts getting this brand off the ground. We're finding our groove now and have more time to be on our boards. When I'm not skating I'm in the Numbers office. I love all aspects of skateboarding and feel blessed to have this new role.

"[…] the values of friendship and bonding through skateboarding."

LSM: Talking skate time, how do you personally approach the filming process with Numbers? A few years ago you were reporting to be having quite a meltdown with filming - and historically, you're also known for not having filmed some of your best skate achievements that would have been "game changers" to the general public back in the day. Having to perform unprecedented tricks for a camera naturally doesn't necessarily compute with a skater's inner urge to naturally just flow skate as a way to alleviate stress, and may actually increase said stress, especially if commercial promotion is in order. Now that you're in charge of your own thing, with its own direction, do you feel more comfortable in those regards and are you looking forward to filming skating again?
GM: It's safe to say I've had a lot of phases of filming. The last project I did was a solo project and I did a lot of solo filming. It can be very productive but it can also get lonely without people to share the experience with. I am looking forward to filming and putting in the work with our team. Having fun filming is definitely one of my main goals. I've been skating with Antonio, he is one of my new favorite skaters. He brings a fresh sense of enthusiasm and energy. Hopefully some of that will rub off on me.
Backside noseblunt
LSM: First Numbers webclip definitely made for a change from all those fast-paced videos & edits that have been dominant throughout the past few years - instead it seemed to focus on conveying a laid-back vibe of skating together with your friends (in ways that might or might not feel reminiscent of early Girl). Do you feel reminding people of such values in skating is important at this point in time? First impression matters - is this representative of a set imagery you would like to keep up with in the future, or is Numbers bound to release different styles of video content later on? Any idea on what the future might hold in those regards you would like to share?
GM: That first piece was absolutely about bringing back the values of friendship and bonding through skateboarding and to make you feel like you were there on the session. Everything was shot non traditional. Almost documentary style. I loved it. I feel that if you make a piece that stands out amongst all the videos that come out daily, you've done a good job.
Now Antonio's part was completely opposite, very trick based. We don't want to get pinned to have to do to the same recipe over and over again. We're going to bring a lot of interesting people and influences together to keep it fresh and new for everyone.
LSM: Thanks again for doing this and for the time spent on your board throughout the decades.
Live Skateboard MediaLive Skateboard Media

Wait to pass announcement...