Weedmaps just announced the newest member of their skate team, Venice-native Haden McKenna. Marijuana.com had the opportunity to chat with Haden about his roots, who he really skates for, and much more. You can peep Haden’s new video part for Team Weedmaps following the interview. Spoiler alert: the kid shreds.
Marijuana.com: What’s your favorite thing about skating the Venice park?
Haden McKenna: It’s not even about the skating, it’s the women. I’ll see a hot ass chick pull up and say to myself, “alright, I’m gonna go land this trick.” Then I’ll roll over and ask for her Instagram, it’s pretty simple. Skateboarding at Venice park is more of a show. We have people walk up with footballs and throw them across the park and we’re playing skat-catch with the ball. Even though that’s not really what we’re into, we just have fun. The best part about skating the Venice park is how much fun you have.
MJ: It sounds like a lot going on around you while you skate, is it hard to focus?
HM: When I really want to skate, I go there at six in the morning when nobody is there. That way I can zone out and have the park to myself and don’t have to worry about other people. Later in the day, I’ll show up and it’s like a giant barbecue in a sense, or a festival. I love it.
MJ: Do you notice all the crowds while you’re skating, or is it just background noise?
HM: Skating at the Venice park tends to be so overwhelmingly crowded with people that, once you’re good at skating there, you can go to contests and don’t even think of the people there, just another day at the park. There’s a lot of good stuff that comes out of skating Venice park.
MJ: What’s your favorite part of the park to hit?
HM: People always ask me this question, and I have to answer it the exact same way every time. I don’t have a favorite section, because I fly through that park in and out of everything. I literally just love my park in general because it seems like a big park, but when you’re going fast and you’re going in and out of everything it’s real small. You fly through the whole thing like a racetrack.
MJ: When you hit the park, are there spots you like to hit on the way?
HM: I like a lot of spots in Venice that are on the way to the park, there’s some slappy curbs and ollie up curb cuts. When we leave here and go to the park I’ll show you, this little street on the way has like five perfect curb cuts. You could film a real line there, and it’s a super sick place to warm your legs up before you hit the park. I really love to just feel my board, just flying down the street doing powerslides and really just getting in the rhythm. Smoking helps put me in my rhythm, too. There’s a lot of iconic skate spots in Venice that I don’t skate all the time because I’ve been here for 20 years so I’ve skated them a lot. I save those spots for when I’m showing someone around Venice, take them to the dopest spots. When I take them there, they feel the energy. They’re like, “wow, I’ve seen this on a video before, I didn’t know it was right here.” I’m like, “yeah, it’s right here, homie. This is in our neighborhood.”
MJ: You said smoking helps put you in your rhythm while skating, can you expand on that a little bit?
HM: I’m a super fidgety person as it is, and I get overly conscious of what I’m doing on my skateboard. When I smoke, I don’t think about it. The weed puts me in tune with my board, really makes me one with what I’m trying to do. Smoking also helps me be creative, I’ll start trying tricks that I’ve never attempted before and I’ll get it first try. Most people would be like, “wtf, I guess it’s just meant to be today,” but I know it’s from smoking. It puts me in the zone.
MJ: You’re cut from special cloth in skateboarding, can you let the readers know a little bit about your heritage?
HM: I come from punk rock and down-to-fucking-Earth skateboarders and surfers. In the world of skateboarding, it’s important to remember it came from surfing. The surf mentality has a lot to do with Venice, the local attitude and “get out of here” vibe is all my city. Even with all the cops and cameras everywhere, we still have that localism. To this day, I still see fights at the skate park where it’s random people coming in and disrespecting by tagging on the park. They get what they ask for, we’re just protecting where we come from. I was born in Venice and blessed to be a part of the culture. I was born in a natural birth center down the street on Rose, and lived on Rose and 3rd until I was three. I’ve lived in the Venice area my whole life, born and raised.
MJ: When did you know you wanted to skate competitively?
HM: My Dad is a Z-boy, so skateboarding has been in my blood my whole life, but it wasn’t until I was nine years old that I really liked it for myself. That’s when I took it seriously to the point where I knew it was what I wanted to do.
MJ: What does your family’s rich history in skateboarding mean to you?
HM: I was born into the history of skateboarding, the founders and pioneers of skateboarding. I was born into a world of craziness where you can thrive from it or let it bring you down, it’s your decision. I’ve seen a lot of people make careers and then just throw it down the drain and I’ve seen some who’ve succeeded, and shout out to Stacey Peralta for being one of those guys. He was one of the original three to turn this image into the fame and fortune we all deserve coming from here.
MJ: Who are your biggest influences in skating?
My biggest influences are Jessie Martinez, Polar Bear, John Cardiel, and Jay Adams. Those guys all played a really big part in how I like to skate style-wise.