Shogo Kubo may be fun loving, but he takes his skating seriously; he's punctual and has a no-nonsense attitude about everything he does.
Shogo was born in the southernmost part of Japan, in Kagoshima City. Growing up in the Orient has given him an entirely different attitude about most things that we all take for granted; like being able to communicate. When he came to this country, he did not speak English. At school his peer group made fun of him and thought he was slow; the first word he learned in English was "stupid." He now speaks two languages fluently, has adapted with total ease to the informal lifestyle of Southern California, and still manages to retain the moral values of his traditional Oriental upbringing. He is reluctant, to the point of being taciturn, to speak of his own accomplishments, but is not hesitant to extoll those of his friends.
Shogo's endeavors are as multifaceted as his personality; always active in sports, he played soccer in Japan for four years, and in America he accepted football, basketball, gymnastics and surfing readily as his own forms of self-expression. It was only by coincidence that his first introduction to skateboarding was at his judo dogo. One of the students used to skate before and after class, and the whole rhythm and movement intrigued Shogo enough that he got to know Jay Adams, and tried using his board. The moves came easily to him ; he has a fine sense of balance derived from his varied athletic background and, most important of all, judo has taught him the proper art of falling. The banks (upon which he learned the finer aspects of skateboarding) could not intimidate him. He takes an aggressive approach towards skating, but does it in a subtle manner. At skateparks he likes to give the people a good show, but he really prefers the free and easy, plush lands of West Los Angeles and Santa Monica, just skating with his many friends.
His favorite spot was the now defunct Keyhole, Upland, Reseda, Skatopia and the more recent Dog Bowl have since become the terrain he travels most frequently. He rides a 30" Z-Flex equipped with Tracker Trucks and Tunnel Rocks or Power Flex Wheels. He has been working with Z-Flex on his own board design and testing prototypes. He likes to skate to the music of Jimi Hendrix, explaining that Hendrix was ten years ahead of his time, an innovator, completely original and unparalleled. Nugent and the Zep provide variety to his musical tastes.
Shogo has always been a spectator of a varied amount of sports events. O.J. Simpson is one of his favorite athletes, and he finds the boxing matches amusing. He has always enjoyed watching skateboard freestyle, admiring the gracefulness of the girls. Paul Hoffman's agile ability, and the fluid moves of Russ Howell. He had been into competition when he was on the fabled Zephyr Team, but felt that freestyle was too confining for him. He says that the whole contest scene deprived him of time that could be more freely spent elsewhere. Shogo prefers walls! He says that when contests are held in bowls, he will again compete. His style is smooth, yet forceful. When asked if he practices to maintain this appearance, he replied, "No, when I am in a bowl, I just have to go for it; it is not a routine that can be practiced, as only the first move can be planned." He explained further that each successive move depends upon the manner in which the preceding move is completed. If his foot should come off the board, an improvised slide down the face of the wall can save the whole performance. He rarely falls.
"Being high on the wall is a full-on rush, its like surfing-only more intense." Frontside axle grinds, one-wheelers on the coping, and two wheels out carving are his favorite maneuvers . He considers the frontside airborne the most difficult of all bowl maneuvers. "Sometimes I think maybe all this is dangerous, but the moves come so fast it's hard to give that idea much thought."
His ambitions are not limited to excelling in skateboarding, but include becoming proficient upon the guitar he has been playing for over a year, and a trip to Japan where he would like to see how things have changed, what skateboarding and its parks are like there, and to see his mother.
(SkateBoarder Magazine December 1977, Vol. 4 #5)