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US CitySlicker Violet: Q&A with Gary Smith, Pro Skater and Owner of the Vú Skate Shop

Gary Smith has been a pro skateboarder for 9 years now and has lived in Florida, Oklahoma, Maryland, California, and Philadelphia, PA. He’s been interviewed and featured on the covers of several skateboarding magazines and has traveled a lot of the world for skateboarding. I recently caught up with Gary to chat about skateboarding, his shop and of course, Lomography. Read after the jump to see what he has to say!

The Vú Skate Shop Storefront

Name: Gary Smith
Home Location: Baltimore, MD
Occupation: Pro Skater / Owner of the Vú Skate Shop in MD
Years Skating: 2 decades

Describe your “Ah-Ha!” moment that shaped your decision to start a skateboard shop.
Moving back to Baltimore from the west… Knowing I was getting older and wanting to stay in skateboarding. The day my shop opened I went Ah-Ha!

What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
Running a business everyday is a challenge. But the biggest challenge would be making the right choices and if I make a mistake, making sure to learn from that and not do it again.

The name of your shop , Vú, is an interesting choice, how did you come up with it?
Well, Vú which is pronounced “View” stands for how we view or perceive skateboarding. We help educate the masses on the unique culture and chosen lifestyle of skateboarding.

If you could destroy one myth about skateboarding, what would it be?
Myth: Skateboarding is easy.
Truth: Skateboarding is WAY harder than it looks. It’s only easy in video games.

Do you think there is a decline in skating?
Skateboarding is bigger than it has ever been. It’s more mainstream than ever, it’s everywhere; think about it, even Lil Wayne raps about it.

What is your biggest accomplishment in skateboarding so far?
Got to live the dream… making a living off of what I love to do and travel the world with people who share the same common interest.

Has photography or video played a major role in your career as a skateboarder?
Without both of these, the industry side of skating wouldn’t exist. Without the media, people have no way to know what’s going on. Photos & videos are everything!

Have you ever used film to capture any of your tricks?
Oh yea, I have an old Pentax 35mm camera and have shot a bunch of photos. Don’t forget, I’ve been skating a long time, so I can remember shooting a “film” sequence down some stairs and the photographer wasting 25 rolls of film on me. I never landed the trick either. Sometimes that’s how it goes, you win some, you lose some.

Would you consider skateboarding as part of an analogue future?
Yea!!!

Lomography has come up with 10 Prophecies of the Analogue Future, which one do you most associate yourself with or the skateboarding community with?
I feel # 7. Let Loose. I just went to Cuba on a skate trip and that prophecy just sums it up. No communication with anything but what’s in front of you. I loved it.

So, are any of you analogue readers inspired to take up skateboarding? Gary Smith also gives one on one lessons and teaches Skate Camps throughout the summer in Maryland. This week (during Go Skateboarding Day), he’ll be in Ocean City running a week long Skate Camp. You can also check out his store’s website for information on upcoming camps, pictures from last year’s camps and even the store’s blog which features the latest product lines.

written by vtayeh

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