Words: Stuart Gomez
_Portrait: _Anthony Acosta
When Blake Carpenter got his first skateboard in 2003, he had no way of knowing that it would shape his life and take him all around the world. It’s become his support system and his only reliable escape valve. Making the cross-country move from the Sunshine State to Long Beach, then turning Pro in 2015, Carpenter is no whittler—he’s carved out something special while others are content to lumber past.
Where are you from and where do you live?
I was born in Tampa, Florida, and now I reside in Long Beach, California.
What music / bands are you into right now?
I like all music. I didn’t know of any music besides Top 100 shit until I started skating and watching vids. Bowie, Kanye, Yellowman, Mac DeMarco, all dat!
Who has been your biggest influence on your skateboarding or what skater inspired you the most?
From an early age it was all of my friends at Flagler Beach skatepark. I started there when I was twelve and all the locals would rip so hard. There was a group of surfer bros that would push the limits, and then my close friends taught me everything else. The TUM YETO family is on fire right now and it’s easy to rip when your friends are setting the highest standards.
All of 2016 Dan Lutheran was inspiring, we traveled everywhere together for the process. We’re both the type of skaters that have to work for it. Also, TJ Gaskill and I were reunited and he put on his gnar boots and inspired me to skate better!
Crook bonk. San Diego, California. Photo: Rodent // Frontside 180 heelflip nosegrind. Sacramento, California. Photo: Gould
What was your first board and how did you get it?
My first board was a Tony Hawk skeleton graphic. It had blank trucks and red gel wheels (my grandma and momma collab’d for Christmas). I remember thinking I wasn’t too into it and saying I’d quit after I could kickflip. I literally said that. The complete opposite happened.
Whats your favorite thing / place to eat?
I like me some good Mexican food while I’m away from home, but if I’m in my mom’s presence she cooks better than most restaurants I’ve been to around the world. Most of my friends can vouch for that.
Name your top three movies.
*Castaway *; *Inglourious Basterds *; and *Pulp Fiction *.
Switch 360 flip. Okinawa, Japan. Photo: Haruta
What’s your favorite video part?
It’s hard to pick one, but I like gettin’ chills while watching. The first part I remember that happening is probably John Motta in *Peter Vlad’s Wonderful Horrible Life *.
What’s your favorite trick and who do you think does a perfect version of that trick?
My favorite trick… nollie heels are fun. I think I wanted to do them like Evan Smith (being from Florida and all).
If you could hang out with anybody, living or dead, who would it be?
I guess someone like Hurler so I could headbutt the shit out of him.
What would be your idea of ultimate happiness?
Wake up feeling healthy every day, getting to have fun on my board or with close friends or family eating good food. And a beer and a game of pool to end the day.
Frontside 180 fakie wallride. Santa Monica, California. Photo: Rodent
Are Pro skaters role models?
Some of them are but most aren’t. I try to keep it professional around kids but when you’re out skating—and on trips—anything goes.
What’s your favorite quality in a person?
When they make you smile just by looking at them, or knowing you don’t have to entertain them—they can just hang. Basically, genuine people that don’t want to take, only help.
Do you think that skaters should represent skateboarding at all times?
Yes, now and forever.
Switch backside 180. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo: Acosta