Erinc Kocagil - Nobody is a Star interview

There are a lot of you out there who are not pros, or sponsored, or even trying to be. You don't skate for money, or followers, or views... just for good times, and for the love of it. In my book, you're the real star and Nobody is a Star interview series are for you.

Photo: Aaron Forjan

What got you into skating?
-It was in 1989 when I lived in Greece Athens. Me and my dad sitting in a park, he was reading the newspaper as I was playing with my remote controlled car. Its battery died. I was getting bored... suddenly, I heard that sound! There were 5 guys much older than me just pushing on their skateboards. They stopped right in front of me as if they wanted me to see. They stacked their boards and started to ollie over them, taking turns, 180's and such... my mind was blown to bits! I couldn't believe or understand how that was possible and how much fun it seemed! It just looked amazing. They were all friends and laughing having a great time... That's how I fell in love with it.... and I was lucky enough to meet other skaters when i moved back to Turkey... and thus my love continued and grew stronger as it became a lifestyle with the friendships and crews that formed... still love it like the first day I stepped on a board.
Good clean tailslide 

How long have you been skating?
-I started in 1989 as soon as I got my dad (somehow -'cause he thought my love would be short-lived, hehehe) to buy me a skateboard from a toy shop. I didn't know anything about the culture or brands and such. So I guess I was 11 when I started to push... but being super young and no one else to feed off of, I didn't learn the basics/tricks 'til I moved to Turkey and met skaters and made friends!...I guess I can say proper skateboarding for me started around '94 or so.
What's your all-time favorite board graphic? 
-My first true board was a second hand H-street Matt Hensley, it was green with a figure sitting on a chair, if I remember correctly. But I always loved the Santa Cruz graphics, the screaming hand for example. There are so many and I can't remember but I tend to like creative graphics rather than just a huge logo. I remember Jeremy Wray doing his own graphics for his pro-models and I think that's amazing! He is fully involved and it just shows how much creativity is in skateboarding. From graphics on wheels and t-shirts to even skaters forming a band for their video parts and such. Art-design-music is a huge part of skateboarding.


What trick(s) physically feel the most enjoyable to you?
-I guess I like simple stuff... a proper clean 50-50 on a tall ledge is an amazing feeling. Or if you do a nice relatively high, caught k-flip, maybe. I like grinds and slides I think and (used to) jumping down stairs. What counts is how stylish and good you do the trick and not how many tricks you can do. I don't like tricks that look like stunt work or that are super tech. I can't do them and I'm not consistent enough -plus the lack of talent, hahaha. But I just don't want to spend my hours trying to land a flip-in flip-out trick and/or get hurt and throw away the fun of it all. It's cool if you can do it, for sure, and if you make it stylish... but I prefer seeing a speedy tail-slide or a nice smith grind or something. What I'm saying is, I hate seeing kids who can't even ollie, or a slide, try to land a 360 flip. Where is the fun in that?! Start with the basics and have fun is what I'd say. 'Cause once the notion of fun is out the window, there is no point really. I guess it's difficult to explain the sheer thrill and fun of a smith grind or a front board slide to a person who is obsessed with landing a wicked flip trick.

50-50 180 out

What do you wish was different in the world?
-Many things!! I wish people understood the virtues and values of humanity more!!! Love, respect, don't kill, don't cheat, don't hate, don't lie, don't steal, treat others as you wish to be treated, love, understand, think! Very, very simple actually. You don't need a religion for these values. But, of course, making war is more profitable for industries-politicians-corporations... and of course once that thing called religion is abused by politics, humanity is killed. I am against any institutionalized religion (religion is an individual thing, must not be generalized or enter issues of state.) I believe in human values and mother nature and that's enough for me. Just be nice, humble, and kind!! Read 3 major books and even the stories and the origins are the same-down to the names we give our children, yet people kill each other over it, and hate... Far right is on the rise yet again on earth and I don't see a pretty hopeful future. If it were up to me, there would be no borders or passports or visas or anything....just one big beautiful planet and humanity. I know it's a utopia, but possible if we all could stop and think and question things in life. And for that, race/color/religion must die. Basic human values are more than enough to be one and happy. Actually that's what is amazing about skateboarding! It unites people!! You love skateboarding?? that's it! No race, no color, no religion, no nationality, or anything!!!

What do you wish was different in your life?
-I wish I was closer to my beloved friends and shredded more with them. 'Cause here in my relatively small city, I tend to skate alone, though there are a few very talented young ones... Oh, I also wish I could open up a coffee shop/skatepark kinda thing and run it with a few friends of mine! That's a dream I've had for a while...I wish I lived in a better country, a more civilized secular democratic republic is what I long for!
Backside rock n' roll - Photo: Aaron Forjan

What do you enjoy most about skateboarding?
-Trying to progress and do better, racing with oneself. If you think a little, I think it teaches you about life, too, such as not being able to do what you want all the time, or having to try hard to achieve what you want, having to deal with society and its negativity; even that is a part of skateboarding and I think one must reflect on it. But apart from the absolute thrill and joy of skating itself, I love the friendships that it creates. All my true and closest friends have always been skateboarders. Without the reality of friendship that skateboarding holds, skating wouldn't be the same. Just pushing each other on to do better and getting each other stoked all while having fun! Full support! Similar tastes in music and such. Most of my friends love punk rock, for example. Just pure energy fast and melodic rock with meaningful/politically aware lyrics! (Bad Religion, Off, Pennywise, NUFAN,...) The fact that music and especially art and design being a huge part of skateboarding is also what I love about it. I guess that's why its more of a lifestyle than anything. The streets are yours to shred and there is no end to what you can do with a skateboard! And the songs or bands you listen to will probably make you wanna go skate! It's up to your imagination and capability. There are no boundaries or set rules. You can go skate, have a beer at the pub, and then skate some more. Or if you are lucky you can be at a backyard mini-ramp BBQ with awesome music blasting! Imagine the excitement and joy of being with your friends and skating with rad music!...Though it is an individual activity, it is absolutely social at the same time!

What are some books and movies that you really like?
-Jonathan Livingston Seagull (by Richard Bach) was probably very influential for me. I read it a long time ago. It was about developing yourself, finding yourself, who you are, building character. It's a shame I forgot the author...Apologia by Socrates and The Republic by Plato and other ancient philosophical books are among my favorites. I mostly like philosophical books I guess. As for movies, too many to name but I like movies like Snatch, or The Usual Suspects, The Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, Star Wars, (some sci-fi)...  original Pink Panther movies, Monty Python movies...some TV series like: The Black Adder, The Fast Show (British comedy rules!) The Young Ones... I like movies that make me laugh and/or think, question society. I like movies that touch notions of human values. I can never get into horror movies or super cheesy action stuff though. Not my idea of entertainment.

What else are you into besides skateboarding?
-It's gonna sound lame I guess but nothing, really. I wish I could get into carpentry, I love setting up my new board or trying to fix stuff hehehe, working with tools and such. Like building a cabinet or dismantling stuff... I studied translation at university so some translating from Turkish to English or French maybe, if it comes by...but in all honesty, I guess I just breathe and dream of skateboarding and hanging with friends I miss. Feeling like I'm in exile here, being 38 now and still trying to skate in a pretty non-existing scene...I even started up something called Turks On Skateboards (T.O.S)....designed a logo and printed some t-shirts just to psych the scenes and filmed some short vids. It's strictly about skateboarding and friendship... didn't make anything off of it. And that's fine. It's uber underground! My goal was to get the scenes hyped just to get everyone together, be one and shred and have fun!

Who's an awesome person?
-I know this one amazing person whom I've been fortunate enough to have met in the year 1990. (He knows who he is.) I think he is the most talented, kind-hearted, thoughtful, bright, humble and fun individual I know! I know that he is the one who is the biggest influence for my love of skateboarding. It's a privilege to know you brother!

Any parting words/wisdom for skaters out there?
-Unite and skate and have fun! Skate for the right reasons, and enjoy!


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