Collin Graham: the child prodigy of Virgina Beach

October 24, 2023 / By yann

Position : Regular
Age : 26 ans
Hometown : Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Instagram : @Collingraham
Sponsors: Embassy skateboardsWave riding vehicles surfshopSpeed lab WheelsAce trucks187 killer padsMerge4 socksJarritosSkeleton key clothing

Collin Graham isn’t your typical skater. Firstly, he’s a vert skater and secondly, he started skateboarding before he could walk. His unique talent and the difficulty of the tricks he does on his board might lead him to think of himself as a superman, but it’s quite the opposite. He’s a humble young man, hard-working, generous and enthusiastic about sharing his passion with beginners and pros alike. Having grown up surrounded by professional skaters, at the age of 26 it’s now his turn to inspire the next generation. As part of his visit to Quebec, at Area51 skateclub, Jackalope wanted to introduce you to the chic guy who’ll be with us.

When and how did you start skating?
My dad skated and all his friends too so I was always around skateboards. As soon as I could stand my dad made me stand on a board. I cannot remember a time when I did not skate.

Do you still skate with your dad?
Yes, he comes to the ramp sometimes and does some tricks when he’s not too sore from work. He’s a carpenter so it’s pretty physical.

Were you always into vert skating even as a kid? I was always around it so I was always into skating. I saw some of my dad’s friends travel the world and compete and I thought it looked fun. As soon as I could drop in on the vert ramp, I was hooked.

Who are these people who inspired you?
My dad Shane and his best friend Rob Aglio who was a pro back in the days. He is like a second father to me and he looked over my progression. He was better than my dad so I tried to learn his tricks and all. There is also Henry Gutierrez, he is a pro from the old days and we still skate together often. Allen Midgette was also pro and Sergie Ventura who was probably the biggest skater from Virginia but he moved to California so I don’t see him that much any more.

Who do you skate with these days? It’s a mix of all the new and old generations! I skate with Henry but also with Allen’s son Nathan so I get to share the stoke with the new generation too now. Some of the younger kids are interested in vert skating too. There are often kids skating on the ramp when I go there.

What is the situation with the vert ramp you skate? Is it private?
The vert ramp is at a city public skatepark called Mount Trashmore which is super close from where I live and there has always been a vert ramp there. It used to be fiberglass but now in 2006 they renovated it really well. It has a metal frame and it is 13,5 feet tall.

How often do you go there? Approximately four times a week. I try to balance resting my body and learning new tricks.

How was your last year on the board?
I feel the experience getting in and my body is not 21 anymore but I feel like I still have a lot to give. My passion and hunger is stronger than ever and I am still learning new tricks almost every day. I want to keep my career going and my skating better and make a decent living because I love it so much and have so much fun.

Do you skate with the top pros and legends often? Not where I live. I skate with really good skaters but when I go to California and get a session with Tom Schaar or Bucky or anyone that good, it is definitely motivating.

Do you go to California often? I go for events and contests. Probably three or four times a year. I will go this winter.

Can you live off your skate career?
I make decent money but not enough to do only skating so I have a side job working construction. We do custom cabinets and some fancy woodworking. I used to work with my dad and he taught me a lot but I work with a guy who has his own company. He gives me a flexible schedule so I can prioritize skating.

Do you build skateboard-related stuff with your skills? I do, I’m pretty involved with my local skateshop and I help them build obstacles. They do these local contests every year and I help them. I built cool obstacles for the past two events and it was fun. Like I said, I’m pretty involved so I help with the judging, the organization and the whole thing to make sure it goes well.

How is the scene in Virginia Beach?
It’s pretty solid as it has always been. From as far as I can remember it has always been quite strong. My dad and all those Vert guys had something cool going on and my generation is a lot of fun. Of course vert kind of died a bit at some point but there are a lot of really good street skaters and good people around here.

How do you approach a contest versus events or jams?
It’s a lot different for sure. For a contest, you want to learn the course if it’s a bowl and you focus on performance the whole time with the best lines and the best tricks. For a demo I’m just having fun and the most technical tricks are not necessarily what a crowd will cheer for. Big air time is a must, anything to get the crowd stoked is what I go for during a demo.

You get to travel for both, what do you enjoy the most about traveling for your skateboarding? Traveling is the best thing in the world. Seeing different cultures and different skate cultures is amazing knowledge to get. You cannot learn that in school. I love it. Any time I get to go somewhere new it opens my eyes to new perspectives.

What places do you like the most? Let’s see. I think Prague in the Czech Republic is my favorite place. Totally beautiful city, amazing people, delicious food and beer and it is not very expensive.

What food did you eat there? Goulash is delicious and the pilsner beer is from there so it’s very tasteful. So yeah Prague is number one.

And number two? Probably Australia. It was one of my first times outside the U.S. and I have not been back for a while. People are super funny and really friendly. I like Brazil a lot too. It is very different from North America. People are super happy there so I like that.

Are you going to travel a lot this year?
I will probably go to Prague for the Mystic cup and I might as well stay in Europe for the Helsinki hell ride. I have not been there and I try to visit new places as much as I can. Pat Duffy was telling me about it since he lives there.

You are also coming over here to the Area 51 skate club. It is a very small vert scene. What do you expect?
I like any skate scene, small or big. I’m very excited to meet the locals who skate vert and see what they like and how they skate. I look forward to sharing a session with the locals for sure. I’m stoked to see a different scene.

You and PLG are going to make them stoked for sure. Have you skated with him a lot?
Not a lot but I had the pleasure of skating at Jackalope with him for the last two years so we have been catching up. He is awesome. I’m stoked that he has been skating a lot lately.

You are young but you have been into skating your whole life so what do you think the future of skateboarding will look like? I think it’s going to be insane. The tricks we see keep getting crazier and the kids from this new generation are incredibly good. Especially in the street contests. The tricks people do are beyond what we used to see. Lots of skaters are doing video-part-ender kind of tricks on demand now. I think it is going to be insane in 10 years.

How are you going to keep up?
I will keep learning new tricks and think outside the box.

So you can become a skateboard legend like your dad and his friends?
Hopefully! I just got to stay healthy and happy doing what I like the most.