Red Bull‘s ‘Skate Tales’ series is a deep dive into the lesser-known subcultures in skateboarding—groups that just keep doing their own thing, whether we see it or not. The six-part exploration of this underground element, hosted by famous outlier Madars Apse, which takes you from Japan to the Ethiopian skate scene, continues today with street skating pioneer Mike Vallely. (All photos are by Gaston Francisco.)
From his game-changing part in Powell Peralta’s 1988 full-length Public Domain, to his double-kick Barnyard board for World Industries. He rode for brands like Powell, Black Label, and Element, when each of those brands were at the peak of their powers before finally starting his own Elephant brand, then his Street Plant label in 2015.
Mike V. somehow found time along the way to front the re-formed punk band Black Flag and have stints in both semi-professional wrestling and hockey. Now settled with his family in Des Moines, Iowa, he has enjoyed a 35-year pro skating career on his own terms. Madars Apse hits the streets with a true original to learn about Street Plant, punk rock, and the poetic journey of this street-skating pioneer from Edison. They sure don’t make ‘em like Mike V. anymore.