Place Presents: Peeling an Appleyard

Mark Appleyard is a staple name inside our little bubble that we like to call skateboarding. More precise inside this bubble Mark is the kinda guy that set some trends. He made you listen to Placebo, he wore cool hats, he introduced Courtney Love’s music to you (Yes… shocking.. she is not only famous for dating Kurt Cobain). He made you do more Nollie Big Spins than you might want to admit to and he is responsible for some of the nicest Heelflips ever caught on film. So clearly people want to see Mark skate, but how does it feel to make a part in your late 30’s after you won SOTY and achieved more than most ever will? That is what we asked Mark on a Saturday Morning (Evening for us).

Interview by Roland Hoogwater.

Photos by Alex Papke.

Hey, Mark what’s up, what time is it over there? 

11:15 am just made some scrambled eggs, now we are here doing this interview. Where do you live?

Berlin.

Yeah, i like Berlin a lot. What is the name of that huge open space where you can skate?

Tempelhof, Vogelfreiheit. I saw you had a clip there!

That place is awesome!

So let’s jump into the reason for the interview, your new Globe Part, what has the reception been like?

Really good man! People are hyped! A lot of people reached out to me personally, people that I hadn’t heard from in a long time. It has been an overwhelming amount of positive feedback in general, people even said it reminds them of the early 2000s. 

Some other people said, “I can’t believe this dude is still skating” (laughs). A lot of legends like John Cardiel, Ronnie Creager, Donny Barley all reached out and gave me props.

I kind of forgot the power of a good old-fashioned video part!

Switch Stance Backside Tailslide.

You did put the work in, it is not a two-minute thing.

Yeah, I did, it wasn’t easy this time. In the past parts have always just kind of come together. Not to say I didn’t work hard on my tricks before but I am getting a bit older and the level of skating now is so crazy that it can be hard to put stuff out that feels good. But I tried hard, the traveling helped. I went back to Barcelona and got to relive that vibe, which really gave me a good feeling.  

At first, when the idea of a part came about it was really tough, I didn’t know if I would be able to do it but as we did a few trips footage started to stack up. Then the Coronavirus hit and the part got pushed back from March to August which actually helped a lot. I was happy to have that time because I got my ender like a month back so I spent that time rounding out the project.

I have been reading some of the feedback as well and people seem to love the project mostly. 

People are even referencing the Flip parts, which is crazy to me because those were done during my prime. At least what I thought was my prime (laughs). I really tried hard for this one, I never felt like I lost the skills but it is a little harder to make things happen nowadays. 

Do you put pressure on yourself, in a way competing with your resumé? 

Well, fuck man the reception of this part surprised me, They did a good job with the editing and the coloring of the footage, it looks great. I was nervous, I felt like I only wanted to put footage out if it would be classic good tricks. So once we got in the editing bay, and I saw the stuff being put together I was shocked, I got a good feeling and it came out pretty cool! 

I was wondering about the standard you hold yourself to. Because there is not much left to achieve for you in skating, you got the SOTY, TWS awards, had all the covers multiple times. But I still see skaters like yourself struggling to enjoy skating because of the pressure those things put on them.

For sure, I did all those things, and I built up a legacy through that. So if I make another part it needs to be quality otherwise I would not want to go and make a part. I’d rather go out with a bang. That being said, because of the response to this one I am gonna make another part. I want to keep this momentum going and put stuff out that I feel is good. I don’t want to be thought of as milking it, I want to be remembered as someone who went for it and did good shit. So if you see another part drop it will be because I felt like I did that.

Truth be told, I was surprised, I didn’t know what to expect but I was stoked seeing you still nollie crooking handrails and more. You are 37 years old, and skateboarding isn’t the easiest on the body.

(laughs) Fuck I am almost 40 man! Your 20s are your real prime but some people in their 40s are still doing some great skating.

Andrew Reynolds springs to mind.

Yeah, look at Steve Caballero! He is in his 50s and is still enjoyable to watch. But it definitely hurts to jump down shit, you can’t deny that! If you are past 35 years old and you are having a session on a 10 stair rail it is just not going to feel the same way it did when you were 24. 

I got so sore making this video-part I had to take many days off. I also focused on skating rails a bit more because I wanted to push myself. I know I can do those things the same with some of the other tricks. In the end, my friends, filmers, and TM’s really motivated me to get the best shit. 

Let’s not forget that you as a father you also don’t have the same type of life that you did at 24. You have more responsibilities and less time in general to go skate. 

The spot and the trick are pretty classic Apples, 360 flip of the roof into the bank.

Yeah, I couldn’t skate every day but I wanted to hone in and find the time. Making this, I kinda felt young again. Experiences in the van, with the guys, I surprised myself from time to time. I am just grateful that my work translated into all of this great feedback I am getting.

What are some of the tricks you liked best and surprised you?

The Nollie 360° Kickflip over the can took me a while, I wanted to get one of those. I can do it on flat ground pretty good but once you want to take it to an obstacle it becomes a different thing. The pivot grind kickflip out didn’t come easy, I tried that for a long time. 

I often would skate spots and just tried the trick until I was exhausted, so there where a couple of things we went back for 2-3 times.

It also depends on the spots, the nollie big spin backtail took me a while. That spot looks great but the run-up and the kicker are pretty rough, you can’t hit the bump exactly where you want. The spots look great in theory but it feels like Barcelona is the only place where the spot is as good or even better than you thought. 

True, I have been to that spot where you did the nollie big spin backtail and it is much rougher than it looks.

I am just grateful for the response, it motivates me, there are a couple of haters but whatever.

At least people care enough to hate, it is not caring that truly sucks.

Haters can kiss my ass (laughs). They don’t know shit about shit.

(laughs) I also wanted to ask you about the kickflip over the rail, that kinda reminded me of the one you did in “really sorry”.

Yeah, I did the splits on that one super hard (laughs). I was getting a bit heavy there for a while, going to the gym working out, I was top-heavy and forgot how to deal with impact pretty much. 

So I tried it, foot slipped off, did the gnarliest splits, knee touched the ground, but I managed to do it the try after that. The impact is the hardest thing to deal with nowadays, I can’t jump down things as many times and if I do, I pay for it. My ankles start to hurt and I have to hold the railing going up the stairs in my house (laughs). It makes me feel like a senior citizen or something.

I can try tricks like the Nollie flip crooks for days just because there is no drop, tumble & roll if you bail the trick (laughs). 

The Kickflip in question!

Do you do a lot of body-work to keep fit or are you just skating?

Well, I never was one to sit still, I am always moving around. I was going to the gym, but since they all closed I have been doing stuff in my garage. Stretching, lifting some weights, a little bit of yoga and I ride my bike around. 

Another thing is that I don’t really remember you having any heavy injuries.

I have been pretty lucky with that. I had some rolled ankles and some hippers and in my 20’s I broke my arm but besides that, I have been lucky. I am pretty good at risk assessment.

I guess that helps a lot, the fact that your body seems to be in good shape. And that makes parts like these possible at a later age.

Yeah, we go and we skate, I get my ads for Globe, they have been such a huge supporter of mine. So there will be more footage, I still feel that I can do more, put another part together, it really is just about trying and staying active on the board.

Is it hard to stay motivated for you, like we said before you have achieved a lot already?

Good question. Well to tell you the truth, I kinda grew up in this lifestyle, I was so young when I started making parts. Also, it is what makes me my living, so I want to continue that. The fans play a part as well.

It also seems like people like Sammy Montano and Aaron Kim have been a refreshing influence as well. You guys as a three-piece work well together.

Yeah, we all feed off each other, sometimes Ryan Decenzo comes out and puts it down. We have a lot of laughs too, and we support one another. So it is just a good crew, man.

Our visit to Mark’s house in 2018.

Another thing I wondered is what is the part you put out that you are most proud of and the one that you felt went the most under the radar.

They all mean something different to me. The first flip video was a breakthrough for me. I went hard for that and I kept that going all the way till we got to the third video.  

I had an Element part called Soul Rebel and it isn’t online anymore, I did some nice tricks into big banks for that one and skated that green kinked rail. I was really happy with that one.

I think you always were pretty good at rounding out parts and making sure there is a bit of everything in there. Sure “Sorry” is pretty hammer heavy but those were the times. If you look at “Extremely Sorry” you start to see more transition and other creative things popping into your skating.

I might be not as good at pools but I am a skateboarder and I want to skate everything. I try pretty much everything even a wheelie trick from time to time (laughs).  

A whole transition part would be fun too, but for this part my filmer Aaron really wanted me to just skate street spots. Which worked out well but man, I do love transition. If there is a natural transition spot where you can just backtail slide that is like my favorite thing!

What about the kids, do they take an interest in skating?

I do take them to skateparks, they have little boards, they try it out but they aren’t really into it that deep. They want to do iPad games, bike around, and see their friends. Be kids you know!

I understand, any final words?

Let me heal, up recover and then I will be back at it! I just wanted to thank everybody for the love. It has been a different kind of praise. When the flip video dropped people were like “wow that kid can skate!” but after you have been a staple things change. Now if Frank Gerwer or Bryan Wenning would put out a part that would just make you feel a different type of way. Because they have been through a couple of decades. 

This is very true, thanks for talking to us and we are excited to see what comes next. 

Mark might be hella sore right here.