Eric Koston: Skating Legend Soars to New Heights
At 37 years old, skateboarding legend Eric Koston has achieved more than most kids in a skate park could dream of.
The Thailand native and revolutionary high-flyer has been featured in the "Tony Hawk" video game series, co-owns Fourstar Clothing and is a multiple-time X-Games champion.
Since he turned pro in 1993, Eric has been one of the premier faces of the skating industry.
Although he hasn't participated in the X-Games in recent years, he hasn't been resting on his laurels.
In fact, the California resident has been tirelessly working on his golf game while working on a signature series of sunglasses with Oakley.
I had a chance to speak with Eric over the phone last week, and although his skating days have slowed down just a bit, his immense work ethic and pursuit of success has not.
What Are Your Thoughts on the X-Games?
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Although he's a 12-time X-Games participant, Eric has stayed away from the premier event in action sports for the past few years.
"The courses have become so insane," he said. "A few years back, they became so ridiculous as far as how big some of the sections were."
While it's always thrilling to be on the big stage, sometimes the hype and pressure surrounding the X-Games can detract from the experience.
"I'm not a big believer in killing myself for a contest," he explained. "I don't want my life to revolve around competition."
What Stands out the Most from Your Skating Career?
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Despite his unparalleled success in the skating world, Eric remains a humble guy.
It's an impressive feat considering Eric can do some amazing things on a skateboard.
As one of the true revolutionaries in the skating community, there's no shortage of highlight-reel moments from his lengthy career.
Instead of dwelling on a single victory, Eric prefers to reflect on his career as a whole.
"It's interesting to see the way my skating has evolved and the way everything looked in the '90s compared to today. I don't look at a contest as 'This was that moment where I won; I can't believe it.'"
If You Had to Pick Another Sport to Compete In, What Would It Be?
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Oh, what could have been.
If he wasn't a professional skateboarder, Eric would trade in his board for a bag of golf clubs.
As a California resident, Eric is privileged to play on some of the most beautiful courses in the country.
Despite his busy schedule, he tries to play at least once a week.
However, despite his affinity for the game, Tiger Woods shouldn't be worried about seeing Eric on a PGA event anytime soon.
"You'd have to drop everything and that's the only thing you do. It's a lot like skating. It's personal. It's you."
What Is the Process Like When Designing Signature Gear?
As one of the most recognizable faces in the skating community, Eric is a hot commodity for companies looking to put a name and a face to their products.
Luckily, Oakley and Eric were a match made in heaven.
"They let me be very hands-on and are very willing to let me do what I want," he said. "Sometimes the bigger the beast, the harder it can be to communicate and get your points across and accomplish your goals, but it hasn’t been that way at all."
The two icons have worked tirelessly on designing a signature line of glasses, culminating in the release of three beautiful, unique pairs of shades.
Besides the company's signature Frogskins design, Eric's signature series also includes the Plaintiff and Holbrook designs.
Eric is most excited about the Frogskins, which feature a sleek tortoise shell frame.
"People have been using tortoise shell in jewelry since the 1600s," he said. "I wanted to do something classic and iconic."
How Does It Feel to Be Featured in a Documentary Series?
In the ultimate sign of respect, Eric will be featured in a documentary series, Epicly Later'd by Vice.
For anyone who's wanted to see what Eric is like away from the skate park, the series should be a must-see.
Vice will air the documentary in multiple episodes throughout the summer.
Although he's soft-spoken and doesn't always embrace the fame that comes with being a world-class skateboarder, Eric was humbled and excited about the project.
"It's a little overwhelming, but it's an honor. It makes me think about the life I have lived."
What Are Your Future Plans?
As if his plate wasn't already full, Eric still has several ventures on his to-do list.
He plans to continue developing Fourstar, the clothing company he co-owns, as well as the website for The Berrics, a private, indoor skate spark that he co-owns with fellow skateboarder Steve Berra.
What began as a small idea has grown into a time-consuming, but rewarding creation.
"It's evolved into almost like television programming. It's a media platform that helps promote skateboarding. We didn't realize how insane it would be."
In what might be every athlete's dream, Eric is also working with Nike on a signature shoe which should be released next summer.
"I've been a sneakerhead for a long time."
While he's building his brand and giving back to the dedicated fans of the skating community, the legendary trickster hasn't forgotten about his first love.
"I still want to be able to continue to skate, be able to film, be able to go to contests and tours. As long as I feel like I can, as long as my body holds up and is landing tricks, I'll be there."