Sid Tapia Interview. Introduction by Andrew Currie. Interview by Yeoh and the fans
“Pistolas . . . Guns . . . The Gun.”
These were the opening words I wrote for a short introduction to Sidney Edmundo Tapia back in the mid 90’s. Nothing says ‘authority’ quite like a firearm, which is why to this day I believe ‘Gun’ best describes my Ecuadorian brother from a different mother.
From my earliest memories of Sid Tapia owning the inner-city streets of Sydney with his mind-bending lines at Chifley Towers, ‘authoritive’ was the term that best described his command of skateboarding. With the technical accuracy of a self-loading 9mm Luger, and “that pop” with the brute force of a Gatling, Sid has always been lethal on a skateboard.
I’ve always thought the phrase ‘friendly fire’ to be somewhat of a contradiction in terms, though Sid Tapia is one gun I’m happy to be around when he goes off. With a genuine love of life, and the same true compassion for his closest brethren, as for the down n’ out stranger he just met in an ally-way, Sid always has, and always will, represent the best in humanity.
Now with his sights focused passionately on his artwork, whilst still finding time to stomp Tre’s in Hyde Park, both barrels are loaded and the bayonets fixed, and Sid Tapia continues to be as deadly as ever.
-Andrew ‘Cuzza’ Currie
Hey Sid, let’s get the basics out of the way. What made you pick up a board for the first time?
Fascination ... I was a wee 3yrs of age and i still remember seeing my older brother, Walker skateboarding across the road from our old house on Bourke St, Redfern.
How did you end up connecting with other guys on the CLS crew?
Mick . . . locally as we lived one suburb away from each other. Steve . . . introduced by Mick. Phil . . . through sessioning a spot in the city together. Davo . . . in Parramatta through a mutual friend who I went to school with , Jean-Mic Laboulet. (R.I.P)
What was the funnest part of skating SYD CBD in the 90’s @neadb via instagram
Hmmm... SO many !!! Maxing out with CLS & the city heads, hangin & skating with Greg Stewart & Ben Harriss when they'd come n visit, goof sessions with Dean & Davo, city sessions with Cuzza, Al & Westie & late / early morning (1am or 2am depending) Pit sessions with CLS & then getting night rides to Mick's house for rad convos, skate vids, noodles, bed by 4 or 5am the up again the next morning to keep the session happening. Hangin and shooting photos with O'Meally and Mah.
Who were your biggest influences in skateboarding coming up?
Everyone on a skateboard really. It captures my attention to this day. As for names in no particular order, Tony Lopes, Assad, Natas Kaupas, Matt Hensley, Jason Lee, Kempt Field locals, Alex Smith, The Bones Brigade, H-Street, Christian Hosoi, early 'World' companies, CLASS, all the original 'Time' riders, Grace team, Melbourne city heads (Greg S. Ben H, Tas & Ben, Dom K, Eddie M, W.G.C, Steve J and on and on ... There's just so many guys that stood out to me for so many rad reasons. I still love seeing these guys do what they do.
Funniest memory hanging out with Davo? @aaronjenkin via facebook
Way too many hahah... Lately it's the CLS viber convos.
I suppose someone should ask about the knee...did it frustrate you not being able to hit rails and stairs like phil or davo etc? Did you sometimes have to rack your brain coming up with ideas for photos or ads? @ anthonywhittingham via facebook
Sure did have to rack my brain for ideas. Still do. My knees have been wrecked since I was 11 yrs old and it was frustrating that I was attracted to going big or taking risks. Restrictions pushed me to make the most of what I had and caused me to work on my flatground & gettin big on my ollies. I was so stoked on seeing guys like Syd City original and ol mate Tony Lopes, Assad & international ripper Natas Kaupas. Those lads knew the art of the Ollie.
I know this is a CLS interview, but can you talk about how you got on Grace? In the early 90's I met Cuzza (Andrew Currie) in Qld, When Cuzza moved to Sydney a little while after that we started street skating together way more. I was riding for Kewday distribution at the time (who were based in Qld) & when Cuzza approached me about about the board company he was starting I was stoked as it meant being more involved with shapes & graphics that were more close to home. It was also rad to be on an official team with Cuzza, Adrian Powell & Marty Baptist.
How has fatherhood impacted on your skating @ablekay47 via instagram
Fatherhood is such a massive blessing. It's a prominent seal of manhood and has further deepened my appreciation for skateboarding so that when I skate I'm way more aware and thankful of what I'm doing.
I enjoy your artwork. Is it a greater or an equal passion compared to the stunt stick? @troyeberhard via facebook
I've been drawing and hand writing since I was around 3 yrs old & i started graffiti around the age of 10yrs. I stopped getting up (graffiti) around the age of 16yrs and legally picked it back up again in the last 2 years. Within those 2 years I have found a real love for it in that I can easily paint from way early morning till evening with absolute pleasure. Seeing that it's not as physically demanding as skateboarding, the approach to the passion is different yet pretty equal. The older I get though I'm painting way more.
Were you nearly shot by police in Santa Cruz for not showing your hands and surrendering? If so can you please elaborate? @philmackie via facebook
Yes Phil and no I won't elaborate unless I'm with a good crew of peeps and we can all have a laugh n half at the extreme measures of the human body ; )
What was it like being in the states and what came of it ?
It was pretty cool in some ways making things happen in the States. Gettin a little coverage here & there in international mags and vids, playing small parts as an 'am' with some international brands etc. As for migrating & making a living off skateboarding in the States . . . the opportunity arose yet my life at that time was going down way faster than ever & it just wasn't meant to be.
Do you remember Jaffa eating glass and then being on the radio afterwards? @morgancampbell via facebook
Nope, sorry Morgs but I'm looking fwd to you reminding me. That road trip we took was a blur... Mainly cause I felt like a lost unit throughout it.
When did you decide to go to God? @pathenos2013 via instagram
At the age of 25 I'd come to a point where the long search ... and i mean 'long search' was over . . . Through extensive & ongoing study into the matter of life & God etc., i believed Jesus as the son of God. So yeah, the knowing began and continues to this day.
You still seem to be out there in the streets, skating, creating art and having fun. What’s your secret?
I thank God I love skateboarding / art, productivity etc. At the moment I work on areas of photography, my t-shirt label (Crown St), graffiti & skateboarding. When you sincerely love something you're content with it & when you're content with it, you're thankful for it and when you're thankful for it, you have joy.
A very definitive, deep, transparent & revealing question . . . Hmm last words? Thank you for your time thus far, may the good times roll, Love God & Love one another.