Texas is the biggest state in the continental U.S. and yet we see so little skate coverage from there. As far as I know, it could be a bunch of cowboys yelling “Yeehaw!” while riding longboards around a prefab skatepark. Thankfully, those stereotypes were smashed when we watched the new video by Birch and the Wake Robins crew.
Wake Robins is the crew with Guru Khalsa, the long-haired dude from the Habitat vids of yore, at its head. They have a hardgoods company called Birch, and their website sells everything from decks and incense cones to self-help books that will unlock your higher consciousness.
Their video Monarch was filmed in 7 months and doubles down on the psychedelia in its editing and soundtrack. In their earth-tone wardrobes and organic T-shirt turbans, these guys are also on the forefront of the brown-cord resurgence that’s bound to follow the current (ugly) puffy-shoe revival.
We chatted with Guru and Jordan, founders of the brand to find out a little bit more about what these enigmatic dudes were about and their take on skateboarding (and dumb jokes) beyond the usual East and West coasts.
Q&A w/ Guru Khalsa & Jordan McCollough
Your crew is called Wake Robins? What does it mean? Does it have anything to do with being “woke”?
Guru: Wake Robins is an herb that grows all over the US and Canada and has been used for traditional medicinal purposes. Essentially it’s a brand and online store. If a person sees anything affiliated with it and feels woke then I guess so. Otherwise, I’d say no.
Jordan: Wake Robins is a beautiful plant, a trillium to be exact. We just like it. No affiliation with being “woke”.
Why is the video titled Monarch?
Jordan: It is a point of reverence for the feminine energy that exists within all of us. Strength and compassion.
You sell some non-traditional things on your web store, like books and incense. What connections do those things have to your brand or crew, or to skateboarding?
Jordan: Our original idea for (((wake robins))) was to offer healing properties to the people, skating the latter. We are inciting health and prosperity.
Texas skating is known for a lot of ditch footage, but Monarch isn’t overloaded with it. Why do Texas skaters love skating ditches so much?
Guru: You don’t get kicked out of ditches and can be skated hassle free. The older generations set it off and we followed. I think most skaters like to skate ditches, not just Texans. I imagine there’s ditches being skated everywhere there are skateboards.
That one guy in the video, I think Nico, wears the biggest pants ever. Is he competing with Gilbert Crockett?
Guru: Ha, I doubt he’s competing with Gilbert… What can I say? Big men wear big pants.
Jordan: Nico is in direct competition with Gilbert Crockett, and he will win.
If Texas Senator Ted Cruz wanted to buy a Wake Robins T-shirt, would you sell it to him?
Guru: I’m not taking political sides at the moment. If Ted Cruz ordered a shirt online I would pack it and mail it without having much of an idea what his beliefs are. Unless of course one of my peoples convinced me otherwise. I might even put some stickers and incense he could burn.
Jordan: I’m not judging anyone. I would hope for him to wear it endlessly, may it put a smile on his face.
Texas is a huge state, but why don’t more people know about skating there? Are there any big name skaters from TX we should know?
Guru: People know about Texas skating. And have for a long time. There are countless names. Everyone on Birch and everything Birch related without a doubt and no questions. Nico Marti’s Valor crew is powered up, And does damage, the industry should watch those kids. Auby Taylor’s vert revival happening now check in there.
Jordan: People do know about Texas skating. You should know about Mark Roberts, you should know about Athen McCrary.
Do you guys work jobs? How long was this filmed for?
Guru: Yeah, everyone is working regular jobs and skates when the time permits. It took about 7 months to film this video, I think. Originally you all asked to premiere a video, so that made me hyped to work and this is the manifestation of that! During the process, Nico appeared and joined forces and helped bring everything together, Both Filming and editing and of course skating.
Jordan: Personally, I’ve been injured since June, so I’ve been on the back end since then. Given the summers in Texas, the conditions were hellacious.
I make cut and sew clothing as well. My project is called Mount Prasaad. I spend half my time in LA and work in the production/fashion industry. Guru makes incense and has investments which have paid off. We all work jobs or are in school on paths to fulfill our hearts’ desires.
Is it true everything’s bigger in Texas? Does that mean the people too?
Jordan: Some people here eat terrible things, but everyones got heart.
Guru: No, just our dicks.