I only talked to Robbie for an hour on the phone, but to me, Robbie reminds me of that new kid who moved to your high school from out of town when you were growing up. He was cool to have around from the get go and somehow managed to fit right into the group without disrupting the dynamic. Your crew knew that he skated but it wasn’t till you actually bumped into him at a spot to realize he might actually be better than you. He was never the one to seriously talk shit about anybody, would always hype you up and didn’t really ever complain. He might not have been your favorite person ever from the jump, but the more you got to know him, it’s like he was supposed to be there from the beginning.
To celebrate the newest addition to the professional ranks, we gave Robbie a call and tried to get to know him by making him squirm.
By skateboarding big things, does that mean you have a big schlong?
[Laughs] Yeah, that’s a true statement…
You know people are like, “do you have the balls to do this?” Do you think ball size corresponds to courage skateboarding?
I guess it translates. I think I just started skating bigger stuff as I grew taller. I just went a little bigger after puberty. I was like, “Now I got this big schlong, I better step it up.” [Laughs]
Most people know the slang term DTF but you have you have your own term, DFW. What’s the story with that?
[Laughs] The DFW term, I just say it for anything… Anyone asks me like, “What do you wanna eat?” I’ll just say, “Down for whatever,” or “Where do you wanna skate?” I’m down for whatever. Ever since I started going on trips I never wanted to be that dude that was calling shots, you know what I mean? I was always nervous as the younger kid. I didn’t want them to be like, who does this kid think he is? But then over the last year everyone started calling me out on it. They’ll be like “Oh, let me guess Robbie, ‘You’re down for whatever?'” and then I’m like “Yeah, god damn it…”
You wanna be the flexible one that doesn’t care that much, I feel you.
But then it’s better too cause everyone is down to throw me on a trip cause they’re like, “Oh yeah, that guy is easy, he’s down for whatever.”
Your brother is a legit NFL football dude. Have you learned anything from him that you can use in skating?
I think the one thing I took back from him being so successful and making it to the NFL—which is ridiculous—is just don’t slack and have good work ethic. And he’s really good with his money. He’s had the same car since he graduated high school, he didn’t get his first NFL check and go get a Benz or anything you know? He lives in Idaho and has a house that’s all paid off. And whenever he’s in North Carolina playing football, he just rents out a little apartment and rides his bike to the stadium for practice. He’s just super laid back, mellow and he has his degree and everything from college, since he played college football on a full ride scholarship. So after football, it’s up to him what he wants to do with his life.
So you’re both successful in these crazy industries where it’s hard to rise to the top.
Yeah, both are cutthroat industries in their own way.
You just picked the one where you get paid peanuts comparatively.
Yeah, what the fuck did I do… [laughs]
I heard you have a fast food habit.
I guess I just eat a ton in general, but I’m pretty bad with the fast food.
If you’re on the road and there’s a Wendy’s, McDonald’s or Burger King, what’s the go to?
I think Taco Bell is my go to. It’s probably the worst for you, and I still somehow manage to spend so much money there and I’m like wow, I could’ve just gone to like Chilli’s and got a shitty steak or something for this much. I usually get a Crunchwrap Supreme and a Cheesy Gordita Crunch. It might come out to like $6 but then I might get the large Baja Blast, then I’m like $7 dollars deep.
Have you ever beaten anyone up or gotten beat up?
I’ve never really gotten beat up before, but I’ve been in some random brawls. I was outside of a bar in San Francisco. Jake [Donnelly] was making fun of this pink little scooter. Jake was sitting on it and was just fucking around and the owner saw it and just came out hot and was like, “Yo, what the fuck are you doing on my scooter?!” And we were like, “We were just fucking around. Sorry, man.” So he was getting all aggro even though there were like 7 of us. We were like, “Dude, just go away, we’re not even trying to cause anything.” I just started filming cause the dude was nuts. He starts walking away and goes, “Alright I’m out of here guys,” then grabs his backpack and pulls a big ass wrench out of it and yells, “Gimme your camera!” I just dropped my camera and turn around to run and he just hits me in the back. By the time I turned back around the dude is already dropped on the ground because there was so many of us, and then I just ran at him and kicked him in the face. I was so pissed off that I got hit with the wrench cause I wasn’t even doing anything!
The second after it happened, a cop pulled up. They asked us what happened, and we told him this dude just pulled a wrench on us. He was like, “Oh okay, you guys are cool, just get the hell out of here.” And then we left and nothing even happened, the dude probably just got in trouble for that.
”I was so pissed off that I got hit with the wrench cause I wasn’t even doing anything!”
Are you around Jake Donnelly a lot? It seems like he loves fighting.
I feel like people just want to fight him, he’s never fucking with people when we’re out and about. People might get pissed that he’s having way more fun than them or whatever. He rubs people the wrong way? I have no idea.
We were at a bar in Denver and they were telling us to close up for last call. We were like, “OK cool, we’re out of here.” And then the bartender comes around again hella aggro and he’s like, “I told you guys to leave!” and just rips Jake’s beer out of his hand. Jake was like, “What the fuck? We were about to go!” but the bartender just repeated that he told us they were closing. We get outside and Jake is still kind of running his mouth or whatever and the dude just whips an ashtray at Jake, like across the whole bar patio straight to Jake’s eye. His aim was insane. It split Jake’s eyelid open and he had to go get stitches at the hospital. We were like what the fuck just happened?!
When you were 18 you had a fake ID, but I heard it said your age was 36?
I did. I used to work at Cowtown Skate Shop when I was younger. This guy Tyson that would always come in. He was like, “Dude! Here are my old IDs, you kinda look like me when I had long hair.” When I graduated high school, I went with my friend Joe on a trip from Phoenix all the way to Minneapolis and it was funny cause his ID had the same birthday as my fake ID. So when we went to the bar, it was kind of like we were homies, so everyone was just like, alright cool, you guys are both 1973.
But even after that, it worked forever and never failed. I was always tripping cause if I went somewhere with a bouncer, it would be like, this dudes looking at my ID and I apparently was old enough to be this guy’s dad. I got called out one time by a bartender and I was so used to it working all the time that I forgot all the information on it. He looked at it tells me it’s not me. I tell him it is, but then he asks me for my address. I just tell him, “I have no idea, that was issued so long ago, but here’s my new address.” And I gave him the address that I was living at in Phoenix. He goes, “Oh, OK cool,” and hands it back to me. [laughs] I was like, how the fuck did that just work? I thought that was finally the day it was going to get taken away. I still have that ID in my desk at my house.
What were some of the the most annoying comments you got while working at a skateshop like Cowtown?
I love the kids that came in, but the worst part is just those bad parents or shitty customers. A parent coming in complaining like, “My kids board broke in one day!” You try and be as nice as possible but you know like, it is a piece of wood. Wood breaks. [laughs]. A classic one is just like, “What’s the best bearing you got? I heard ABEC 7 is the best.”
What happened to ABEC? I thought that was a real thing when we were kids…
I thought so when I was a kid too, but I think ABEC ratings are based off of speeds you can’t even go on on a skateboard, so they don’t matter. They test them on speeds up to whatever miles per hour, but you can never go that fast on a skateboard. That’s why those bearings like Lucky would blow out so fast, because they’d have metal casing and all that stuff. You just want reliable bearings for slower speeds.
Your fingers are giant, have they always been that fat?
Yeah they look like ET hands…
[Laughs] I think they look pretty normal to my body now.
Every finger looks like a thumb!
Can you palm a basketball with those alien hands?
If the ball is a little deflated. My hands aren’t that big.
Can you dunk?
I can jump and hang on the rim but not with the ball. We always have this ongoing joke, because on some REAL trips we bring a basketball and Ernie and Davis [Torgerson] will play. We were like, man, one day we should have a Real vs Girl basketball game. We gotta line it up and get a little better, but they got Biebel and Malto and Mike Mo and I think they are all pretty good.
I know you play video games. What games and do you play with any other pro skaters?
We play a lot of sports games. NHL and Madden because it’s 1-on-1 and competitive, and all of the Call Of Dutys. I think Chima [Ferguson] plays a lot of Call of Duty actually. I used to play online with Ishod a while ago, he’d join my party and stuff. I would play Jake Donnelly in Madden all the time for money. Last time he stayed at my house he lost $100 to me. He didn’t beat me once. We were doing $10 a game, but then whenever he’d be down, he’d want to do a $20 game, then he’d lose so we’d play a $40 game. I just started feeling bad taking all his money.
Apparently you have a thing for Smurfs?
Oh my god. I get so much crap for this. [Laughs]… Whatever, I think I hooked up with a couple of chicks with colored hair. Like one of them had blue hair and one of my friends found out, so that’s an ongoing joke now, anytime a chick with blue hair walks by it’s like, “Robbie!!! Smurf!!”
Have you ever thought about dying your own hair to meet more Smurfs?
[Laughs] When I was younger I probably wanted to dye my hair in middle school or whatever. Influenced by like Blink-182. When you are in the biggest identity crisis in your life. I was more punk rock in middle school with the studded belt.
Are your parents really strict?
When I was growing up they were.
Are your parents gonna disapprove of this interview cause we talked about your schlong?
[Laughs] Uhm, my mom might be a little bummed, but whatever. Or she might be actually proud. Like, god damn right! I made that boy.