Friend of the People: An Interview with TJ Harris
Where did you grow up and when did you first start skateboarding? Did you have friends who were also skating or did you mostly do it on your own?
I grew up in Orlando, Florida and started skating when I was 13. My friends and I did every activity under the sun but skating was the one that stuck for all of us.
What influences outside of skateboarding had a big impact on you? (movies, music, artists etc.)
I think when I picked up skating my homies and I were obsessed with shows like Rocket Power and Disney Movies like Brink (laughs) — so we always wanted to have a team that were doing extreme sports together.
Was there anyone whose style of skating inspired you? Who did you look up to?
I definitely looked up to anyone that looked like me growing up. My first skate video was “Sorry” and after seeing a young black kid, Bastien Salabanzi in there, I always wanted to be like him. After that, I think everyone wanted to skate like Antwuan Dixon at some point as well.
Was there a moment you can point to where you knew skateboarding was what you really wanted to focus on
I think In high school when I got my first shop sponsor I started to look at skating differently. Like in the movie Brink when he got sponsored by team X Blades and got all the gear and stuff (laughs) I think the first time you can say you’re sponsored you start to take it more seriously.
When was the first time someone filmed you skating?
My brother bought a camera from the pawn shop and we all took turns filming each other. Every day someone would forget to hit record on a trick and it would always cause a big fight (laughs).
You play basketball and skate in Arvin Goods socks. What do you like about them? How do they hold up?
Yeah I do it all in Arvin socks. I think my favorite thing is having a sock that isn’t slipping down in my shoe and isn’t too thick or too thin. Arvin socks are the perfect in between and still feel good after countless washes.
Dolores park in SF is super sick because there aren’t too many places like that anywhere else. Skate spot wise, give me a ledge that slides and a basketball hoop and I love it. LA has those two things at every school so you can’t beat that.
Is there somewhere you would love to skate someday?
Some homies make fun of me for this but I’ve never even been out of the country (laughs). But I would say China looks the most fun place to skate...marble ledges everywhere...I think I’d be scared of the food though (laughs).
What have you been listening to lately?
I kinda just listen to whatever comes out. A lot of times the homies send music and I’ll just listen to that...could be some Future or some Drake...but lately I’ve been bumping some oldies...Aretha Franklin or some Mary J.
What’s next for you? What’s something you’d still love to accomplish?
I told myself I need to put out another video part. I think with skating the best thing you can have to look back on is a video part so I need to do that. I think I’ll just crook some ledges and front nose and call it a day.