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Shawn Connolly interview by Mecky Creus with photos by Aj Mazzu

Where did you sprout from?
I was born and grew up in a small town in Maine called Brunswick.
There wasn’t a lot to skate there, but we made the most of it. I think it helps to come from a small town in some ways. You can appreciate a good runway up to an obstacle, you’re never too good to look for new spots and enjoy them when you have more than 2 people to skate with.

Shawn Connolly ollie between trucksOllie

Where did you branch to?
After high school, I moved to Costa Rica with my father for 10 months. He lived down there for a few years already and all I knew was, it was not Maine. Costa Rica is another place that is a bit difficult to be a skateboarder in but the country is beautiful and the skaters there have heart. I think living there taught me a lot about the world at a young age. The things you can’t learn without traveling like the fact that the USA is not the center of the universe. I was also able to focus on skateboarding almost full time. That time had a huge impact on my skating, and I made some great friends despite the fact that I spoke almost no Spanish. After that, I worked in Maine for one summer at a motel cleaning rooms for $5.50 an hour in order to move to the skateboarding dream city also known as San Francisco. I have lived here ever since with no plans to move. Just skating down any street in this city is enough to make me happy.

What inspired you to start skating?
I saw the movie Back to the Future. The movie came out around the holiday season and I had a skateboard that I only used once and I headed straight out to skate the next day. It was 30 degrees outside and I have a vivid memory of skating a parking lot where it was so cold the concrete was white. For me, there is a nice symmetry to the fact that I now skate for Circle-A, which is owned by Bob Schmelzer, who was involved in the skateboarding stunt work in the film.

How long have been skating?
I would have to say that it is longer than I feel like it has been. As I get older, I actually become more proud of the time I have spent skating. When you are younger, you like to use how short of a time you have been skating to prove how good you are, but when you get older, you begin to enjoy the fact that you still skate when a lot of people who started when you did no longer does it.
Shawn Connolly interview by Mecky Creus with photos by Aj Mazzu
Nollie tall nose manual 180, Library Photo by Ando

What does the number 775 mean to you?
775 was the address of my apartment that I lived in downtown with Dan Hatch, Kenny Reed, Kyle Demers and countless others and the name for our crew. It was also the first three digits of our phone number for the apartment. Everybody needs a skate crew and this was mine. All we did was skate.

How did it feel to live with the world famous Traveler?
It was great. Kenny is a good friend. When we lived together the only traveling we did was four blocks down the street every night to skate Union Square.

Do you miss Union?
Yes I do. Union was the type of spot that was better to skate at night than during the day and most spots are vise versa. Night skating in the city gives you an energy that is totally different than the day. I like it because you are doing your thing on the exact opposite schedule as the world around you. Plus, the granite ledges where some of the best I have ever skated. Unlike most ledges that wear out from your trucks grinding them, they would grind away your truck and leave both a good grind mark in your axle, and a deposit of silver metal shavings on the ground. To me it was the last spot in SF that took a little “street smarts” to skate at. You couldn’t just waltz in and understand what was going on right away because it was different every night. The only time I ever felt worried there was when I was there and it was empty. A sure sign of trouble.
Shawn Connolly interview by Mecky Creus with photos by Aj Mazzu
  Nollie Shuv 5-o Shuv, Photo by Ando

You always seem to have new spots, how do you go about finding them?  How do you make unskateable spots skateable?
Finding new spots in SF can be difficult but that’s what makes it fun. I have always enjoyed looking for new stuff or trying to find a new twist on an old spot. On the days that I’m having trouble making my skating click or when I’m sore, I look for spots. One of my favorite quotes in skateboarding is from an interview in Slap with Ricky Oyola when he said, “I will come to your town, and I’ll skate the spots you’ve been passing by your whole life.” Some of the tools I have utilized to make a spot happen include: plywood, Bondo, bolt cutters, wood saws, pruning sheers, hack saw, hammer, screwdriver, shovel, broom, rope, ladder, inflatable raft, Mapquest, Goggle and peanut butter that I fed to a guard dog. I have some walkie-talkies and some lightweight bird netting I’m trying to figure out how to utilize.

You started the SF Skate Club right? How is that? How long have you been doing it?
I started the SF Skate Club a little over 3 years ago with my partner Thuy Nguyen. The idea began when I would join her on outings with kids that she mentored at the time and skate with them. Taking the kids out and showing them skateboarding reminded me of how I felt when I first started. We decided to do a skate program for kids on a regular basis and it has been a lot of fun. There is nothing better than teaching something that you love doing. It makes you break down what you do into tiny pieces and it helps you with your own skating.

Shawn Connolly, Lipslide

How does it feel to be leaving the grown ass man am's club?
Good. I am really happy to be involved with Circle-A and getting a board. Gershon Mosley is a skater that I have looked up to for a long time and Tucci is such a unique skater doing his own thing and is highly respected. Then, we have Brad McClain killing tranny. Plus, Bob is so well rooted in the history of skating. When we talk, there is no doubt in my mind that he loves skateboarding. I feel like Circle-A has a bunch of skaters with totally different styles coming together for the same reason-we have to skateboard. I really appreciate skating with people who have a completely different approach to skating and still have a respect for the way that another skater sees things. I have always believed skating is more art than sport and one person’s idea of how it should be can conflict with the next guy. We want to show everybody this too so keep your eye on Circle-A everybody!

Shawn Connolly, Switch pop shuv
Switch pop shuv Photo by Richard Hart

Who are you riding for these days?
Circle-A Skateboards, Venture Trucks, FTC skate shop and Roughneck Hardware.

Thank you’s?
Thanks to the fam, Thuy, Mecky, Ando, Gershon, Bob, Venture, all the kids in the SF Skate Club, Johnny Roughneck, FTC, Benny Gold, AJ Mazzu and Brassil Savage.

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