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Spotlight is Europe's leading current affairs magazine for learners of English. While attending Toronto International Film Festival, Spotlight asked me to interview Rick McCrank for its A Day in My Life section. McCrank is a pro skateboarder. He was at TIFF for the premier of adventure  comedy MACHOTAILDROP, in which he played the defending top rider and public face of Machotaildrop, the world's most prestigious skateboard company.


Rick McCrank, professional skateboarderThe Loose Lifestyle of a Pro Skater

by Elizabeth Willoughby

My name is Rick McCrank, I'm 33 years old and I'm a professional skateboarder.

Skateboarders always want to learn new moves, new tricks, but as a pro you have to, which can get pretty difficult. Sometimes new ideas just randomly come to me like, "What if I do this?" and I try it, but usually I just go with however I'm feeling. I'm not very structured so I don't plan things out much. I used to skate all day, but now I'll ride maybe three hours.

I still enter a few contests, like the one in Tampa, Florida, and the one in Copenhagen is really good. It used to be a lot different in the mid-90s till about the 2000s. Most pros were going to contests and it was really fun, not as serious. They used to have a format where you'd have two minutes to yourself to land all your tricks and do something interesting. Now there's ten minutes with ten skaters trying to get points with bodies flying everywhere at this one obstacle. There's no craft to that at all. I'm not into that.

Demos, which are tours where I go to some venue and kids show up to watch me skate, are a lot of fun. I really love Europe so demos in Berlin, Stuttgart and Paris are great. My favourite skateboard trips, though, were in New Zealand and in Brazil. We went into the ghettos in Rio, right in there, and we skated with the kids. That was really amazing. Sometimes I'll travel just for a team photo because I live in Vancouver and most of the team is in California. Sometimes it's just a skateboard trip where you're just filming and shooting photos for a video project or a magazine article or something.

I don't skate everyday. I have a daughter and she lives with me part time so if she's with me then I'm just hanging out with her all day and doing kid stuff, but if she's not with me then I'll call a friend to go skating. There are about 30 skate parks within three hours of downtown Vancouver, so there's a lot of variety.

Vancouver is the hub for skateboarding in Canada, mainly because of the weather, mild winters, but also just because of the amount of skate parks that are here. The street skating used to be the best in Canada here too, skating in the streets, but they put those things on the ledges, skate stoppers they call them, and they basically just shut down downtown. It used to be one of the best places to street skate.

It's a really good lifestyle I think, but it's hard because you don't have any structure really, you don't need any structure. I want to build more structure in my life. I'm feeling a little too loose with everything.

© Elizabeth Willoughby 2009

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