K2K: How Koston Stole the Year 2000

The truth of the matter is, 2000 was a pretty damn good year forEric Koston, especially when you consider his WorldChampionship win in Dortmund, his just-this-side-of-revolutionaryvideo part in éS’s Menikmati, a new house, a new car, a new dog,and a World Championship for his Lakers. TransWorld’s AtibaJefferson sat Koston down to recap his Y2K.

Atiba: Let the kids know what time it is.

Eric: It’s November 27, 2000. It’s eleven-thirty.

A.m. or p.m.?

P.m.

Where are you at?

The Jefferson residence.

Let’s take a look back at the year 2000. What was the lastthing you accomplished in 2000?

I bought a new car.

So you’re stepping it up in the car scene, huh?

I don’t think I’m stepping up–people have way more exaggeratedcars out there.

When you got your first Civic, did you think, “This is it, I’mpsyched”?

I was pretty psyched on the Civic.

What were you thinking about back in January?

I wasn’t really worried about the contests–they’re just there, everyyear. There are more and more of them each year. I was pyschedabout getting the video done. It had to be done by the summer, soback then I was thinking about getting that done.

Did Fred film most of your part?

Pretty much.

So the hammer that got the ball rolling for your video partwas the noseslide and the cover you got.

Maybe, I don’t know. It didn’t roll that fast–I wasn’t flyin’.

When you’re filming for a video, do you think about whatyou’ve got to do to get your video part done?

No, I just roll with it.

You don’t write out a little hammer list?

No, no lists. There are things I think about trying, but thinkingabout something is a whole different thing from actuallytrying–your imagination fools you.

The video part was for your shoe sponsor, and it seems likepeople put more effort into parts for their board sponsors.Did you think your part would be gnarly?

I wanted to do a legitimate part for the shoe company. Boardcompanies will always be the main sponsors, but shoe sponsors dojust as much for you, if not more. I wanted to do all I could tomake it a good video, ya know? I don’t think you should treat it asless important than a part for a board company. If you’re gonnafilm for it, you’ve got to go all out.

It seems like your hammers have gone to your boardcompanies over the last couple years.

Well, they were the only ones making videos. They boardcompanies are more together, too–the teams are closer to eachother, so it’s easier to get it together. Shoe companies can be sorandom–the teams are scattered, and the different schedulesconflict, so it’s harder to make videos. It’s the same for all thesmaller companies that make accessories, wheels, and trucks.

Soyougottheballrolling,andthenthesummercontestshit.ButyouwenttoEuropebeforethat,didn’tyou?

FirsttherewastheGirl tour, and then toward the second half of the tour, RickMcCrank and I left to film with Fred.

How was filming in Europe?

It was good. You don’t get kicked out as much there, but whenyou’re on your own and don’t know where anything is, searching insome random city gets old after a while. It’s tiring going back tothe same spot because it’s the only thing you know of. At leastwhen you’re at home, you know where and when to go. If youdon’t feel like skating, you can just go home–you’re not trapped.On a trip like the Europe tour, you’re force-fed skating.

Do you think that’s good?

It’s good because you don’t have the distractions of home, or theresponsibilities–ya know, water-heater blow-outs, bills, dogs.

So you did the Europe tour, and then what?

I got back from Europe in time for the beginning of the Lakersfinals. They played two here, three there, then one back here.

Were you nervous?

No, I knew we had ’em.

The whole time?

Yeah, I knew we weren’t gonna lose to them, especially when theycame here. I knew because we took two games there, right?

No.

Oh, we took one, that’s right. We took the first two here. I wasn’tworried though–I had faith in the boys.

You bought the tickets, right?

They were definitely good purchases.

For the record, Eric was five rows off the floor, where themovie stars sit.

Yeah, five rows off the floor, center court. I definitely found a gemof a ticket.

How did you get it?

I just called ticket agencies all day. One of the last places I calledhad a ticket.

Would you say that was one of the highlights of your life?

For sure. Rick and I have always said if the Lakers go to the finals,we’ll pay whatever it takes to go. You can’t pass that up.

You may never see that again.

Exactly, that’s why.

So after that the Europe contests started, right?

Yeah.

How many contests did you enter in Europe?

Just two: Switzerland and Germany.

You brought the lady, right?

Yeah, it was by far the worst Euro mission ever. It rained and wascold the whole time.

What did you get in Switzerland?

Fourth.

And after that?

Dortmund.

When you went to Dortmund, did you think you’d win?

No, not even close. The course was kinda weird and not really mydeal.

So would you say it was a fluke that you won?

Yeah, they’re all flukes.

Were you pretty psyched?

Yeah, it had been a while since I’d won a contest.

Was it the Lakers’ influence?

It could’ve been. I was carrying the torch for the boys.

So you went to the Lakers party to see the highlights andsaw Rick Fox. After that was the X-Games?

No, the Gravity Games was first.

How was that?

It was a fluke.

So basically they’re all flukes.

Laughs Well, there are a couple strategies, but I can’t reveal thosecontest-winning trade secrets. I might sell them to ESPN for avideo. Have you seen the Tony Hawk trick-tips video? That’s sosick! I wish I’d done that. If I was Tony Hawk, I would’ve donethat a while ago. It’s brilliant.

It’s gonna sell millions.

When I saw it, I was so pysched.

After the contests, you had to do the video part. Were youtired?

Yeah, the contests were taking up too much time.

Did seeing other people’s footage from the video, likeRodrigo’s, spark you off?

I didn’t see his until we were almost done with the video. I’d seensome of Arto’s older stuff, and some of McCrank’s. That wasenough right there–those guys had a lot of stuff, and I was trailingbehind. I had three tricks on film, two of which I didn’t want touse.

Who did you skate with for the last couple months offilming?

Whoever. I skated with Jim at night, Arto, and with McCrankearlier in the year.

Do you think it was good to skate with those dudes?

Yeah, for sure.

Do you think things would’ve been different withoutGreco?

It could’ve changed the course of the whole video part without Jim.

What about Lee Dog?

Who? Laughs Lee Dog helped out–he hooked it up, especially inthe night sessions. I always need extra light.

What’s up with that?

The eyes are the first thing to go. In my older years, I’m losing mysight–I need extra light, that’s for sure.

A lot of your stuff’s filmed at night.

It’s easier at night–there are less distractions, less people, and youdon’t have to worry about getting kicked out, so you feel morecomfortable. On the other hand, it’s harder to see, and it’s cold.

So you got most of the stuff for your part in the last month.

I’d say I did most of the part in the last two months.

Is that usually how it goes?

I guess so. Video parts always work out like that. Even if you havea lot of stuff, toward the end you feel like you haven’t doneenough. I always feel like I haven’t done enough, and I’m alwayssqueezing stuff in at the last minute.

What was the hardest trick to film?

All of them. Laughs Half of them.

Do you think
of yourself as a natural or someone who hasto work at his skating? Do you have to practice?

Yeah, sometimes I feel like I have to practice. I think it’s so I canmentally feel like I know what I’m doing. If it’s a trick I haven’tdone before, or if I’m doing a trick on something new, you neverknow what’s gonna happen.

So the nollie heelflip noseslide you’d done before, but itwas big, you know what I mean?

Yeah, it was bigger. It was just a matter of time–you either make itor get really hurt. It’s a race.

What’s your favorite trick?

Maybe the backside noseblunt slide. It’s a fun trick, and it feelsgood to do.

Tell the kids about going back to the Bricks.

Don’t go there now–the place is done. Don’t go there thinkingyou’re gonna kickflip into it, because there are bolts all over thatf–ker.

What did you go there for?

Some people wanted to fly down the stairs. I didn’t really have anyplans. The switch heel varial was a random move–those are thebest ones.

Do you feel a lot of pressure to get stuff?

Yeah, especially when there’s no footage. Months before, whenthere’s a minute’s worth of footage at best, that’s when you feelthe pressure.

Did you ever think, “F–k, I may not be able to pull thisvideo part off.”?

Of course I did. I was gonna do what I could do, and whateverhappens, happens. I guess I didn’t know whether I’d be able to putsomething together that I’d feel good about.

Are you psyched on your third éS shoe?

Yeah, definitely.

Compare it to the other ones.

It’s the only shoe I can skate in right now. There’s not much moreto it in the way it looks, but the way it feels is different. You’vegot to skate in it to know what I’m saying.

Do you think it’s the flip, the toe?

It’s got a good flip and grip, and it fits well on your foot.

Do you think about how it’s gonna come out?

No, I never worry about if someone else is gonna think it sucks. If Idon’t like it, there’s the problem. If I like it and other peopledon’t, that’s not my problem. I made it for me.

Did you think 2000 would be this good?

No, you don’t plan shit like that. Everything is so random, monthto month, day by day. I just take it day by day. It would be toomuch to think about planning that far ahead.

Do you think the Lakers made it happen for you?

The Lakers may have done it for me. It may have started with thehouse a little prematurely.

Did you get the house in 2000?

No, I got toward the end of December 1999. I was living in itright before Christmas.

Then Billy the dog.

Oh yeah, I got her in July. Do you wanna know what kind she is?

Yeah.She’s a lab pit-bull mix.