Zero Club | June 2022 | Shane Sparks

1. Name / Instagram Account?
Shane Sparks. @ShaneTSparks, although I post infrequently.

2. Age?
49 and counting.

3. Where are you from?
San Diego is home, although I started skating in Reno and lived there until the summer after 7th grade.

4. How long have you been skating?
39 years - I fell in love with skating in 6th grade, 1984. My neighbor got a board and I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I had my own. It was my world until 11th grade, then I skated less as I became distracted by less important things and thoughts of growing up. I regret not staying focused on skating as I was fortunate to be in the heart of the street skating revolution and had tremendous opportunities without realizing it. I skated with Willy Santos, and I unwisely compared myself to him, “I’m not even as good as this little kid who is a few years younger than me!” Little did I know he would go on to become a legend – I still love his videos, he is an inspiration and an awesome family man. I also skated with John Reeves and Kien Lieu, so I felt like an average dude next to these rippers.

I skated by myself in college at UCSB, then moved to Tahoe to snowboard for a few years where I didn’t touch it. I remember selling my board at a garage sale at age 28.
I fell in love with it again at age 30 when I started teaching 5thgrade and would go skate with my students. Then my son grew old enough to skate with and it was awesome. For some reason I didn’t skate much from 37-45, playing soccer instead which is much harder on the body. I moved to Santa Rosa at age 45 and fell in love again, I swear now I’ll never put it down! Moved to Louisville, KY last year and miss the CA skateparks big time, although I’m grateful for the big park here.

5. What’s your set-up, including shoes?
Anything 8.25 or 8.38, Mob grip, Indy 149s, Spitfire 99a 53mm, Bronson raws. Etnies or DC. S-One helmet and Killer 187s when skating transition or anything big. I also have a vert board that gets little use, Grant Taylor with 169s and 58mm wheels.

6. Ok. Let’s just cut to the chase. You have the most insane bag of No Comply tricks alongside that Norwegian guy (IG: Undertime74). Like Ray Barbee can’t even hold a candle to you two. How did you get started on them, what do you like about them, favorite variations, etc.?
Thank you! Long answer warning: I don’t remember doing them until age 32 when I became addicted, likely because it started to become harder to pop and do flip tricks! I like trying to do them with some speed, aiming to get them higher than normal and land smoothly and with speed. My ego gets pumped when Internet people tell me they usually don’t like no complies but enjoy my videos.

I distinctly remember ‘inventing’ the Noah Comply (named after my son) and after finally landing it there was no going back. I started my quest for more variations and was encouraged by the responses to my first YouTube video, “25 Tricks You Maybe Haven’t Tried Yet” an homage to Mullen’s Thrasher article (7 Tricks You Can’t Do). Link:

I can thank the Covid lockdowns for closing the skatepark and forcing me to explore more flatground, where my mind started racing with no comply possibilities. I went on a quest to document as many variations as possible, resulting in the “47 No Comply Variations at Age 47” – the responses again stoked me out and pushed me to keep learning.

I am a skate nerd and I scoured the Internet for ideas, building a spreadsheet to track variations I had landed and those I hoped to get. Of course, I took it too far and eventually put out a “108 No Comply Variations” video ( which is simply too many for most people to care about! I’m still stoked on the first 30 or 40 variations in this video, especially the tricks into grinds, slides, manuals, and wallrides.

Someday I’ll get the courage to land the 270 no comply back lipslide that William Nguyen makes look easy! Lately, I’ve been doing frontside and backside no comply wallrides constantly, I’m almost ready to try them down a few stairs.

7. What terrain do you like to skate?
Curbs! Mini ramp, flatground, kidney pools with real coping (wish there was one in Louisville!) Snake runs and flyouts.

8. What stokes you out in skating?
Everything. Feeling alive with the wind in my hair. Going fast. Metal on concrete. Pushing myself to try something new. Teaching kids and giving away gently-used boards/gear. Watching others get stoked, I’m always encouraging people and love sharing the stoke.

9. What could be better in skateboarding?
Nothing. Personally, if I had more spots, more curbs, ramps and pools to skate here in Louisville.

10. Talk about your job.
I am stoked to work from home in finance/operations for a small company.

11. Helmets?
As a dad, helmets are essential although I don’t always wear one on flatground…probably will soon though.

12. What bands/music do you like?
80s all the way. Bad Brains, Descendents, and Pennywise. Modern music: some of Chris Webby’s stuff is amazing, I love inspirational lyrics.

13. What makes you laugh?
Just about everything, life is hilarious! Pushing myself with friends and being humbled. My wife and kids. Mitch Hedberg. George Carlin is a hero.

14. Favorite books/movies?
I’ve always been a nerd and seeker of truth. Skateboarding books. Nonfiction: science, nature, history, geopolitics. Aldous Huxley, Kurt Vonnegut. (Auto)Biographies - reading Last Words, George Carlin’s memoir presently. Countless documentaries. Recently enjoyed Everything Everywhere All at Once.

15. Major injuries?
From skating, only ankle rolls and shinners thankfully. Off the board - age 24 smashed my face into my bike handlebars riding to work with no hands, lost my lens and iris in my right eye. Always had a dominant left eye so it didn’t change my experience of the world, grateful to say!

16. Skating as a kid vs. skating as adult over 40…talk about the differences and similarities.
Over 40: Like Aaron said, I don’t take it for granted anymore - I love not caring about what others think and keeping it pure. Still the same stoke learning a new trick and feeling alive in the moment as the rest of the world dissolves. As a kid I was super lucky to have great friends and the peak experiences of cruising and owning the sidewalks! As a kid I could skate all day every day, now my body limits me to 1-2 hour sessions, 2-3 days a week.

17. Favorite skate videos?
Future Primitive. Animal Chin was life changing. Shackle Me Not and the H-Street vids, Soldier’s Story, Streets of Fire, the first Plan B Videos. Yeah Right! Sorry. I could barely sleep after the DC Video came out with the first Mega Ramp footage. Dogtown & Z-Boys. Tony Hawk’s doc. I check the Thrasher site on the regular to enjoy new stuff.

18. Favorite skaters?
So many! My family teases me for saying, ‘he’s one of my favorite skaters’ about so many dudes! Incomplete list in somewhat chronological order: Gonz, Natas, Hosoi, Lance, Neil, Barbee, Hensley, Way, Willy Santos, JTMR, Kien Lieu, Vallely, Cardiel, Penny, Burnquist, TNT, Louie, Haslam, GT, Milton, Kremer, Raybourn, Giger, AA, Bucky, Foy. Nick Mullins and other blind/visually impaired skaters are amazing and inspiring.

19. Favorite skate graphics?
Lance and Gonz.

20. Who should we interview for the next episode of the Zero Club?
The Mods! Michael Crabtree is big-time hyping me up lately! Would love to hear more from SOTY Nguyen! All the Dans rock and would be great choices…

21. Last words?
I seriously love this group and am inspired by the stoke it brings, very grateful! Life is short, keep pushing and giving!