Carson Starnes was raised in an open home that welcomed its guests with love, skate ramps and large meals prepared together and enjoyed over long conversations with family and friends. Once just the longhaired little kid flailing around the skate park, Carson has grown into a well-travelled man with a solid conversation and an open mind. Continuing the tradition of his family, Carson plays host to most of the people that come to shred in Atlanta. A true person of the house, he welcomes his guests by facilitating parties, having plenty of couch/floor space and keeping the kitchen full of wonderful meals after long sessions. Carson skates big shit. Beyond pushing his own skating, Carson is also responsible for hosting the longest running skate contest in Atlanta, The A-Town Stomp. It is great to see Carson getting recognition for his skating and grow into his leadership role in the Atlanta skate scene. The Starnes family, and their homes, have helped to breed a generation of incredible young men that represent everything good about our culture. Atlanta is back and Carson’s love for his friends, skating and our community as a whole was the glue that kept it together. Congrats on the article, Carson, you are a rad human being and deserve all the opportunities that are coming your way. Love you, hombre.
– Kevin Dowling
Wheel Scene: You went on a tour of Puerto Rico earlier this year. Who was involved and what did you guys get up to?
Carson Starnes: The crew was Ivan Narez, Brandon Smith, John Vossoughi, Brian Bina, Neil Chen, Chris Smith, David Sizemore, Brian Freeman, Vinnie Minton, Eric Rodriguez, Franky Morales, Dave Lang, Kruise Sapstien and Miguel Ramos. The plan was to get a van, get some tents, and pillage and plunder treasure island. Captain Ramos escorted us on a private skate-cation in Puerto Rico. Rolling 14 deep in a 15-passenger van, we camped on public beaches and in skateparks, dominated street spots, and washed it all down every night with a sunset swim and a shit ton of Medallas.
What were some of the highlights from the trip?
Watching Lang get buck on an asphalt mega. Team Atlanta in the back of the van. The secret bowl deep in the barrio of Old San Juan covered in vines until Sizemore took the liberty of clearing a path in the deep end. Living in Miguel’s home park in Quebradillas and waking up to a super regal beach view every morning. Starting a dance party at a festival and getting the whole crowd to bum rush the stage to rage with us. Scaling the wall into a second story patio bar to evade the cover charge. Skitching with a car with no skates. Getting to film with Ivan. Gozalandia.
Earlier this year you won the Summit Blade Comp in Minnesota. It seems like things are going great at the moment.
Thanks, dude. Jeff Howard throws a sick ass competition. I moved into my backpack in June and have been hopping around Europe doing skate comps and tours with the boys ever since.
“Competitions gave me a reason to travel this summer. Without them I wouldn’t have gotten to go to half the places I visited and I wouldn’t have a third of my new friends from this summer.”
I understand you have notched up more competition placings. Care to tell us about that?
Competitions gave me a reason to travel this summer. Without them I wouldn’t have gotten to go to half the places I visited and I wouldn’t have a third of my new friends from this summer. I got third at OSG Budapest, second at Unit 23 Open and first at Copenhagen Real Street.
How was Budapest?
Short and sweet. I was only in Hungary for like 35 hours, just enough time to make new friends, blade the comp and party until my flight home.
I made it to Barcelona a few weeks ago and I am going to study Spanish at the university here until next summer.
So you’ll just be focusing on education for the next year?
I’m a fourth year international studies student, I do some modelling on the side, and I work for an organisation that specialises in cryogenic restoration.
I didn’t know you were a model as well. I thought you were just some pretty boy that bladed! What kind of modeling work have you done?
Who are you currently riding for?
Razors and Ground Control.
You recently got bumped up to the Razors amateur team; what does that entail?
Being on the amateur team basically means more exposure and opportunities to travel, which is super tight because I really like travelling, especially to blade. So far I’ve gotten to go on a sick South America tour with Dre Powell, some comps in the states and help getting around Europe this summer. The guys have been treating me really well.
How would you like to see Razors develop in the future?
I think that, over the past year, the team has been refined quite a bit. This concentration should allow us to build tighter bonds and start producing shit as a crew, like a team should be. I also think that there are a few guys in particular on the team that are progressing with the sport and showing innovation in their skating. I would like to see these guys get more exposure and help shape the next era of rollerblading.
Are you filming for any projects at the moment?
We’ve had a ton of fun filming Razors Tapes with Burston, so hopefully we can keep the series alive and come correct with some fresh footy. I need to film for my GC Watchlist edit. And now that I’m in Barcelona, I plan to start filming with Marc Moreno and be a part of his next project.
When can we expect your Watchlist 13 edit to drop?
I started filming for the Watchlist in Atlanta, but I would like the clips to have a feeling of integrity, so I’m starting from scratch here in Barcelona. Skating happens every day here, so it could be a month, could be a few. We’ll see.
I am guessing you have watched loads of videos featuring Barcelona and heard all the stories. Hell, your friend Julian Bah filmed most of his section in Black Market there. What are you looking forward to the most about living there?
Being here is a dream. There are spots for days. Every time I pop out of a random metro stop I’m facing a legendary spot with so much history. The downside to having Barcelona be a Mecca for rollerblading is that a lot of the classic spots are rinsed. So much cool shit has been done. You see it and think, “All right, is there anything I can do on here that will actually be new?” That being said, there are nooks, crannies, back allies and plenty of unchartered territory in the mountain towns. My plan is to try and approach the classic stuff creatively, find my own lines and unlock some secret spots in the surrounding areas.
Atlanta has produced A LOT of great skaters over the years. Who are some of your favourite ATLien bladers?
Walt Austin, K-Dirty and Andy Kruise, these dudes were always around shredding when I was growing up. I was a little long-haired pre-teen, skating Rampage Skatepark when all these guys were dropping full parts and hanging around the Skatepile shop. Tom Hyser actually gave my brother and I skate lessons when I was like nine. There’s a sizable age gap between me and some of the older blader guys like, Olmstead and Dirty, but I’m lucky to still get to kick it with them, drink some beers and go out for the occasional swerve and skate.
“I already spend $100 on porn every year; why shouldn’t I pay that much to see fools rip?”
There has been a surge in charging for online content lately. What’s your stance on pay to play blading videos?
I’m for it. Honestly, there are dudes out there killing it who can’t sustain a lifestyle from skating. I feel like charging for online deals creates a way for skaters to get paid and supported by other skaters. It has the potential to create a web of support within our industry, where money isn’t filtered through sponsors before the skater gets paid. It also has the potential to inspire people to get fucking buck. I mean, Shima’s 666 edit was fucked up. He really set the bar high with that one. Overall, I say, “Support the homies.” Push them to come out with next level shit at fingertip convenience. I mean, I already spend $100 on porn every year; why shouldn’t I pay that much to see fools rip?
What have been some of your highlights from this summer?
Filming Razors Tapes edits with Burston and the boys. Roskilde. Summerclash. Party weekend with CJ at NASS. Getting to know Elliot Stevens. Staying with Kare Lindberg in Copenhagen. That weird night in Prague with the Razors team. Waking up on the beach in Ventspills, Latvia at 7am with no shoes. Finding Lagunitas IPA in Eskilstuna, Sweden. “The South is in the building” with Montre Livingston. Fuck flatspins at Unit 23. Getting to meet the DRC crew. A few days with Haitian Mag guys in Denmark.
Does your brother still blade?
For sure. Brian’s living a sort of dream life on a Caribbean island called Utilla. He works at a bar at a scuba diving shop/hostel, dives every day, plays all night, and strings his hammock between two palm trees to rest up and do it all again the next day. He’s got his blades with him, but the island is like 11 square miles and only has one handicap rail, which happens to be at the courthouse, so for now there’s not much blading availability.
You have visited many countries this summer, which are your favourites and why?
For sure. I’ve hit ten countries in Europe this summer – Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, UK, Sweden, Scotland, Latvia, Holland, Spain and Hungary – everywhere has been sick. There’s always blade love, people to stay with, a chance to make a little cash and a big party. I really fell in love with Copenhagen. The crew is super tight, the city is beautiful and good vibes all around. Spending a week at Unit 23 was a real treat. The park is amazing and we got taken care of so well there!
“We’re not in it for the money; nobody would blade if that were the case.”
As someone who is trying to come up through the ranks of the industry while the sport is at one of its toughest points, what have you realised about the current state of blading and what other advice would you offer to young bladers who aspire to get sponsored and travel?
I don’t know if I can reasonably offer up any wisdom while I’m still trying to navigate my way through all of it, but I can say that the blade game is tough. Everything you get, whether it’s a free flight, a small cheque or even winnings at a comp is very rewarding, but compared to real life monetary success, it’s relatively negligible. That being said, we all would have done it anyway, just for the love.
We’re not in it for the money; nobody would blade if that were the case. I see getting hooked up as a compliment. It’s like tapping your girl on the ass, giving her a wink and saying, “Nicely done, babe. Keep up the good work!”
Haha! That was a weird analogy!
To all the bladers pushing to make it through to the top, I’d say keep going for it. You’ll make your best friends, have your best experiences, learn your most valuable lessons and be able to travel the world while only having to pay to eat and party. Just keep in mind that it is transient, so it’s good to have a plan B.
What are your plans for the rest of 2014?
Well, my summer skate-cation has come to an end, so I guess it’s about time to get back to reality and try to finish up school. Fortunately enough, my reality this year is Barcelona. So I’m looking forward to shredding one of the skate capitals of the world, becoming a Spanish guru, making new friends, filming for new projects and washing it all down at the end of the day with an ice cold Estrella.
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