“I flew over the guy’s head and almost rolled away. Before I could stand up, a cop had seen it all and twisted me up and slammed me back down. They threw me in jail for six hours on disturbing the peace.”
Interview by Mitch Barrette / Photos by Sam Fidlin
How did a slim-fitting, tranny skating kid like Sam Lind come out of Ottawa, ground-zero for the tall-tee and pinwheel New Era hat? I guess there are exceptions and outliers to every scene. While he may choose to skate different terrain than his peers from Ottawa that have garnered attention in the skateboard media, Sam does in fact exude the same confidence in himself and his abilities that I’ve noticed tends to be prevalent among skateboarders from the capital region. Recently, we had Sam’s childhood friend Mitch Barrette get him on the record about avoiding that G look, sacking handrails, and spending some time in lock-up. —Jeff Thorburn
Alright, Sammy-boy, where are you from and who you riding for?
I'm from Ottawa, Ontario, and I'm riding for Antihero, Spitfire, Vans, Ace, Brixton, Stance and Top of the World.
Who got you stoked on skating growing up in Ottawa?
I guess there were a few people that got me stoked on skating. You were definitely one. Keith Lanctot, Spenny, Gio, Ricky Sarrazin. Remember that indoor park we had a long time ago—Capital park? It was some private park that was run by dudes that liked to party. Top Dollar had just come out so the Ottawa skate scene was pretty lit you could say. All those guys hung out at the park every day, so it was pretty sick for me as a kid.
I don't remember you ever wearing tall-tees, but were you influenced at all by the G, tall-tee look?
I was definitely into that whole look. I have a pretty huge collection of New Era hats somewhere in my parent’s basement from when I was super small. I think the biggest shirt I wore was a large, but for me, at that time, it was huge. I for sure had the double tongue in my shoes to make it pop, you remember that one. I remember trying on Wade’s tall-tee once and it actually touched the ground over my feet.
Do you remember that time when you were a kid and I told you you'd be the smallest kid to ever Boardslide the handrail at the Orleans park and you tried it?
Yeah, fuck you! Looking back, I honestly don't know how you convinced me. The rail was actually up to my shoulder. I sacked and scorp’d so bad. Everybody just crowded around and laughed. You should be ashamed of that. I was only 9 or 10.
What are you good at besides skating?
[Laughs] Not a whole lot. I like to cook, but I guess you could say I'm not really passionate about anything else besides skateboarding. I'd honestly like to give snowboarding a try. It's never ever appealed to me before, but now that I'm living out West, it seems like a cool thing to do with some homies. I also like to fire it up to go fast and charge, so it might be something that I'd like.
Let's say skateboarding no longer existed. What would you have spent the same amount of time on?
That's a good question, Mitchell. I'd probably want to spend time on something that might make me more financially set. Not saying I want to spend all my time trying to be successful, but being able to work at something you enjoy and that also enables you to have time and freedom would be the best. I don't really know what exactly I’d do though. I'd have to think about that for a while.
Tell me how you got locked up the other day.
I tried this Wallride on the roof of a pretty ballin’ glass building in downtown Vancouver. The security guard stood in the way when I was up there. I decided to try it anyway ‘cause there is only one way down. I flew over the guy’s head and almost rolled away. Before I could stand up, a cop had seen it all and twisted me up and slammed me back down. They threw me in jail for six hours on disturbing the peace. The worst part was sweating in the back of the paddy wagon in the pitch black for hours driving around the city, picking up cracked out people before I could even get to the jail. It also sucked because the guards in the jail thought I was drunk and was waiting to sleep and sober up.
Remember that time you, Will, and I were driving to Atlanta and they found weed in your jacket pocket at the border? Thanks for that. Nice red flag after that one.
Yeah. Fuck. That shit sucked. The officer just finished asking me if I've ever smoked weed before and I told him no. Seconds later another officer comes in holding my jacket asking, "Who's is this?" They instantly thought it was your jacket, thinking you’re a chron-don ‘cause of your voice. They ended up holding me for three hours, telling me how I'm never allowed in the States again for the rest of my life. Told you and Will you had to bail me out and spend all our trip money. Then all of a sudden they let me out and let us go. We looked at each other like we are going back to Canada but they actually let us through. Dealt with some heavy red flags after that.
Over the years of watching you grow up, I've seen you with some pretty funny and different sponsors. What's up with that?
Yeah, I have definitely had some funny sponsors. I rode for Ipath, Satori, and Creation skateboards when I was 15 or 16. I thought I was a little Rastafari. Also, riding for Fallen and Mystery was pretty funny. My style of skating and what I like to skate has changed over the years. I'm happy with everything that's ever happened for me and what I have now. Grateful.
You seem to have an unusual effect on girls. Especially when partying. How many times has a girl punched you in the face while partying?
Oh god. What a question. I don't know. I guess I can be pretty mean with my choice of words after a couple of drinks. I think I just know how to get under people's skin, which has led to quite a few girls trying to beat me up over the years. I think someone still has the footy of some girl smashing me with an avocado. Got straight guac’d in the dome.
What happened to your shoulder when you tried that Wallride at UBC? Didn't it pop out while you were trying the trick?
Yeah, well I originally fell with my arm out in front of me on one attempt and it fully came out of the socket. I've never felt that upper body pain before and it was actually crazy. I couldn't lift myself up off the ground. I think it was you who lifted me up and told me to hang over my body and let loose. After like 30 seconds of swinging my arms I felt it pop back into place and it was instant relief. I thought that if I kind of flexed my shoulder and kept it tight to my body when I tried the Wallride, that it would stay in place. One attempt it fully came out again mid-Wallride, and the impact of landing on my feet put it back into place.
Let's finish this up with a good Charlie Bowins’ story. What you got?
That’s hard on the spot. Probably the time we broke down in his van, rolling like eight-deep driving back to Miami from Orlando. Late at night, only option is a tow truck. Six of us hid inside the van on the floor/seats with blankets while the tow truck towed us all in the van without knowing. Charlie banged on the window when we got to the shop and we all snuck out without the guy noticing. Good times.