Out of the archives and on to the internet, we bring you a Sebo Walker interview from our Apr/May 2012 issue! Sebo rips and he used to live in a Van. Go back in time and see what Sebo was up to around this time last year.
Originally published in April/May 2012 issue
Words: Chris Nieratko
Photos: Garric Ray
Sebo Walker is not 35 years old, nor is he divorced, but he does live in a van down by the river. He’s a wide-eyed dreamer who hitched a ride from Portlandia to California to chase the skate fantasy. He thinks he’s going to get the world by the tail, wrap it around his finger and pull it down and put it in his pocket, and he’s had plenty of time to think about it…LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER.
Today is Friday the 13th. Are you scared?
So many people have been slamming at the skatepark, and there’s only a few people here now. It’s just funny because it happened to me earlier today. I was at Starbucks, and apparently there had been two car wrecks. I’m not superstitious at all. It’s funny that randomly on this day there’s a lot of slams and wrecks going down.
Are you concerned that the world is going to end in December?
I don’t think it is, but I think it may be smart to try and accomplish everything you can in the year for the people that think that, so when it doesn’t happen they’re like, “You killed it this year!”
How would you feel if on December 20 you went pro and the world ended the next day?
I’d be stoked because I was pro for a day. I’m just stoked to have sponsors and to be healthy, and living in the van is great now. I was couch surfing for a couple years and that was pretty tough because I always felt like I was bothering friends. Three years ago I had a friend who was driving to California and asked if I wanted to come. At the time I was Element flow and I was,like, “This is my chance. I gotta at least give it a shot.” I just winged it. Couch surfing for two years made me super appreciative of the simple luxuries of life when I went home. The first time I was back home I was tripping on having my own room and a kitchen and a shower. It seemed like I was a king. Now in the van I just need a good night’s sleep and I’m out and about all day.
When you went back home, would you still go outside and sleep in the van because it felt more normal?
No, I keep the van down in Venice, somewhere safe. It’s a Chrysler Town & Country and it fits a mattress perfectly. Now when my friends offer for me to sleep on their couch, I have to kindly decline because I can’t get a better night’s sleep than in my bed in the van.
You’d rather sleep in the van than on someone’s couch?
Yeah, because when I was sleeping on people’s couches I’d wake up with my back tweaked out. There’s nothing like home, I guess. It makes sense because that bed is my mattress from my home in Oregon. The only time I go to my van is to change or to sleep. I’ll get in, put the curtains up, park in a safe neighborhood. I’m not loud or bothersome, and it’s not a big van where people would think there’s people inside there. I’ve been doing that for a year.
How about with a special lady friend? Do you go back to her place or go back to the van?
I had a girlfriend for three years and that ended in October. Since then I’ve been on the skate program 100 percent, not even thinking about anything else. I don’t go to the bar and pop my collar and try to pick up girls. I just skate for hours, go to the gym, stretch a bunch, workout, then I’ll read, paint, or listen to music and go to bed early. I guess it sounds like a skate-nerd program, but I feel super good about it. I feel better on my board because I’m stretching and getting a good night’s sleep.
When you had the girlfriend, did you pork in the van?
We spent a night in the van just because I wanted to show her what it was like.
Was the van a rockin’?
I think we kept it pretty quiet.
Are you ever nervous when you change in the van after skating a schoolyard that the cops will catch you getting naked by a school?
No, I’m too smart for that. I don’t ever put myself in any sort of position where I could get into trouble. If I need to change, I go to the gym. I don’t want to get into any trouble and I don’t want to get caught slippin’, so I try to make sure everything is kosher at all times.
Where’s the nicest place you’ve ever parked your house?
I pretty much park it in West LA, close to Stoner Plaza because I like to skate there and I have a lot of friends in that area. I don’t think I’ve ever taken it to Beverly Hills. I guess I could say I live in Beverly Hills if I did that. I’ve stayed at the beach before.
Are you calling me from your house line?
Well, I’m on my iPhone, so I suppose. It’s the mobile home phone.
Has your house ever been stolen or towed?
Nope, never even had anyone knock on the windows. I make sure to keep it simple, safe and out of harm’s way to insure that it lasts as long as possible.
Where do your sponsors send your product? Does the mailman leave it outside the van?
My friend lives close to Stoner, and I have boxes sent to his place. I can’t really give them the license plate number and the street and have them drop it off at the van; I don’t think that would work.
Has your house ever broken down on you?
No, a couple days ago I had a gas leak fixed in it and I think that’s pretty much it. It’s a trooper. I feel like even if I was making a ton of money, I wouldn’t want to spend $1,000 on rent. Just trying to save money is the moral of the van-life story.
If you won the lottery, you’d still live in the van?
I feel like I would as long as I’m down in California. I definitely wouldn’t ditch the van. I’ve thought about it before, like, “It’s going to be hard to part ways with that van.” It’s been so crucial for me in being productive.
It sounds like you love the van. Do you ever have lonely nights in the van and stick your banana in the tailpipe?
No, no bananas in the tailpipe. I will have lonely nights, but I’ll just cycle that bad energy toward reading or painting.
What happened? You moved to LA and Element told you you’re never going to make the team?
Yeah, I was down here for a year getting flowed by them. I got a call one day and the team manager told me they’d still give me two boards a month, but I would never get on the team. I was pretty devastated because I felt if I worked really hard I could make this dream come true. But it just so happened that I filmed an episode of Built To Shred, and two days later my friend Kevin who works for the show called and told me about Stacks. They saw my footage and were stoked on it. It was rad because it’s Michael Leon’s art, and I’m a big fan of Reese Forbes, and they put me on as their first am after skating with Reese. Since then, I got fully on Lakai and Autobahn, got the van, and things have been looking up since then.
Whenever you see Reese Forbes, does he always try to ollie you?
I wish; that would be sick. He’s the nicest guy, still super good at skating and still can blast ollies over massive objects, but he’s never tried to ollie me.
Do you think with so many guys getting as popular as park tranny guys that we’ll see more guys like yourself who are getting known with mostly street park footage?
It’s funny, a lot of people hate on it on Hellaclips or whatever. I guess I understand that they want to see more street footage, but there are a lot of good parks down in LA. When you go out for a day and you get kicked out over and over again, it’s like, “Man, I just want to skate.” I don’t want to sit in a car and drive around and get kicked out all day. And I say any coverage is good coverage. I can’t put out a street part every week; it’s not as easy as filming at a park. People see I skate parks a lot because those clips are up on the Web, but I skate street just as much. People just don’t see that until I have a full part to drop.
I heard Drehobl pissed on you.
I was in the bathroom in one of the stalls in Tampa, and he came in sloshed out and wandered into the stall next to me. He had no control over his body and he pulled a 360 spin move and wound up on my side of the stall and just swiped his pee stream across my leg. I went to wash my hands and was like, “Dude! I just got pissed on!” And he was like, “I’ll piss all over you!” I was like, “OK, you’re Dan Drehobl. You’re good at tranny. You just peed on me. I’m not going to argue.” I guess everyone that goes to Tampa parties hard.
What kind of name is Sebo? Are you one of the Three Stooges?
I wish. It’s short for Sebastian, but I’ve gone by Sebo my whole life. It’s pronounced See-bo. A lot of people think it’s Seb-o. My parents gave my two brothers and I unique names; they’re Skylar and Shamon. It’s cool; it sets you out from the crowd. There’s not too many Sebos around. I think it worked out for me.
If you had to pick a nickname, would it be something normal like Doug or David?
No, definitely not. I think weird and unique is way better. Other people call me Sea Biscuit or Sea Bass. I’m not stoked on regular names.
So you think my name is bullshit?
No, Chris is sick. Your last name is unique. As long as one of your names is unique, you’re in there. But if you’re a John Smith, you’re super bland.
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