Zero Club | May 2022 | Aaron Decker

1. Name / Instagram Account?
My name is Aaron Decker and my IG account is @decker8er but I don’t post on the regular.

2. Age?
I was born in 1973 when Richard Nixon was still President. That makes me 48 years old.

3. Where are you from?
There’s no real answer to that question, I am kind of from all over. I was born in Oklahoma and lived there until I was 13. My parents got divorced and moved us out to Sacramento, California in 1986. I lived in the Sacto metro area until after HS graduation in 1992. In 1993 I moved down to Santa Barbara, California to “go to college” and ended up staying there until 2008. I have been up in Hillsboro (Portland metro), Oregon for the last 14 years. I guess I am an Oklaforniagonian.
4. How long have you been skating?
I got my first “real” skateboard in 1985, probably after seeing Back to the Future or something. I don’t remember that movie being the specific impetus for me wanting a skateboard, but that movie came out in 1985 and I am sure it had something to do with it. I lived out in the country in Oklahoma on gravel roads so I only could really skate our driveway. I was always riding and jumping my BMX bike and bombing hills and eating shit. I also loved to ski when we visited family in California, and I pretty much just want to do anything that went fast. My first board was an orange Nash Executioner. When we moved to Sacramento, my Nash was not up to Cali standards (it was a piece of shit board) so I “upgraded” to a Vision Shredder in about 1986. This is when I really started skating because there was actually concrete to skate in the city. My first pro board was a Cab Dragon in 1987. I skated consistently from 13 years old until I was 30. Between 30 and 40 I went back to school, got married, had kids, moved, started a career, and pretty much started “adulting” so I didn’t really skate for 10 years. When I turned 40, I picked up a board again, but I had multiple leg injuries that wouldn’t allow me to skate regularly. About 2 years ago, my youngest son who was then 10, decided he wanted to skate, so I got back on a board again and realized that my patellar ligament injury and healing broken leg didn’t hurt when I skated. I have been going for it since then.

5. What’s your set-up, including shoes?
I mainly ride an 8.25 Welcome, old ass Indy 139s, 54 mm 95a OJ Nomads, Bronson stage 3 bearings. My curb setup is an 8.8 Partanen Creature, Indy 159s, Bronson stage 3s, and 54mm mini logos. I wear Vans Highs at the parks (shark bite sucks) and Adidas Matchbreaks for curbs.

6. Speaking of gear, I hear you have an unusual skate bag. What’s up with that? And something about orange coping pieces in it?

Hahaha…yeah, I get shit for my skate bag. It is literally just a cloth bag. Like something you would take into a grocery store. I am not sure how I started using it. I think I just grabbed it from my laundry room 2 years ago to put shit in when my son and went skating. I am a very utilitarian person and I don’t really care about stuff like that. It holds my skate shit and that’s all that matters to me.

Last May, Steve Fisher and I went on a 5 day and 9 park skate/camp trip down the Oregon coast. We both got broke off pretty bad at Lincoln City. That park is like none other. It is gnarly and so much fun but will tear you up if you aren’t careful. Steve found a small orange piece of painted concrete that had fallen out from under the coping on the upper section (where we both slammed really hard and got hurt). Steve put it in my awesome bag and told me after we left. That piece of crete has been sitting in my bag since then as a reminder. Lincoln City is once again a stop on our skate camp trip we will taking a month from now and I plan to return and leave the little memento at the park.

7. What terrain do you like to skate?
I was lucky enough to live in Santa Barbara back when The Powell Skate Zone was around. I skated there a lot and ran into street Cab and Frankie Hill a few times. We skated a lot of the SB school spots (UCSB, La Colina, San Marcos High) that were in Ban This and Propaganda and I would also run into Muska and the Shortys/Church of Skatan crew in the mid to late ‘90s because they were always skating around Santa Barbara back then. Now I live in the land of Dreamland parks so I skate a lot of transition because that’s what we have up here in Oregon. Only problem is I suck at transition. I never really skated ramps or bowls back when I was skating in my teens and 20s. I usually just skated street and found spots in Sacramento/Santa Barbara/Goleta so I have been trying to learn and get better these last couple of years. I also love slappys and curb skating. Steve and I try and have a curb session at least once a week. I started up a FB group called Curb Skaters for Life if anyone who enjoys curbs wants to join.

8. What stokes you out in skating?
I love seeing someone else progress and reach their goals or land a trick they have been working on. I love watching my son skate and seeing the smile on his face when he makes something new for the first time.

9. What could be better in skateboarding?
Less gatekeeping. It’s a lot better now than it used to be back in the ‘90s but attitudes still happen. Just let people skate how and what they want to skate. If you are rolling and having fun, that is all that really matters. Skating is a personal expression and there is no wrong way to skate. Just go roll and fuck the rest.

10. Talk about your job. And helmets.
I do CT scans in a level one trauma center. I have been in the profession for almost 17 years and have scanned hundreds of thousands of people. I have seen just about every traumatic injury one could imagine, and probably a few that are unimaginable. I have scanned thousands of people with traumatic brain injuries and brain bleeds. Many of these head injuries are from falling off a skateboard, snowboard, or bicycle while not wearing a helmet. Many of the patients come in intubated from the field and are in comas for weeks. Head injuries are potentially life threatening and are most definitely life changing. I am not going to ever tell someone to wear a helmet. That is your choice. I will strongly suggest here that people skate with a helmet ‘cause brain bleeds and TBIs ain’t no joke. I can also say that my son and I will never skate a park, bowl, or ramp without one. My helmet has saved my brain more than a few times over the last couple of years.

11. What bands/music do you like?
I will always be a punk rock skate rat. I started getting into punk music when I started skating back in the mid to late ‘80s because that’s what I liked and punk music was just a part of the scene. Skaters were shunned, picked on, and ridiculed. The only people that would hang out with us were the Mod/Goth girls who had dyed black hair, wore creepers, and wore The Cure and The Smiths T shirts. I first heard Joy Division, Social Distortion, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, The Dead Milkmen, The Circle Jerks back in the mix tape days of 1987/88. I still listen to all those bands and love the 90s SoCal EpiFat skate punk bands as well. Lagwagon is from Santa Barbara and would play local shows all the time. NOFX, Pennywise, Face to Face, Green Day, No Use for a Name, Avail, Propagandhi are still on my regular rotation. That being said, I managed and worked at a CD store in Santa Barbara for 10 years back in the day, so I love 90s Hip Hop, Jazz, OG country, and Trance and Jungle stuff too. I just love music. I spend way too much of my money on vinyl right now too. I can’t help it.

12. I heard you coach some youth sport (basketball? Soccer?) and that you never played yourself. Do tell.
I played soccer in High School and coached both of my son’s teams when they were between 5 years and 8 years old. My oldest son (14 years old) joined the rec basketball league this year and they were short coaches. I volunteered to coach his team because they spent a few weeks without a real coach and were being disserviced by the half ass kinda coach that was filling in . I figured even though I never really played organized basketball, I knew enough about the game to do better than the limited instruction they were being given. After I took over the team, we won 5 of the 7 remaining games and beat the only undefeated team in the league in our last game of the season. I try and volunteer and give back when I can, especially to the kids.

13. What makes you laugh?
To be honest, I don’t laugh enough. I think awkward situations make me laugh more than anything, that and random people falling and eating shit.

14. Favorite books/movies?
I love Cormac McCarthy, Orson Scott Card, Steven King, and Robert Frost. My favorite move of all time is The Graduate because it is such an awkward story and it makes me laugh every time. I will watch anything Wes Anderson or Paul Thomas Anderson decide to put on the screen. They are both film geniuses in my opinion.

15. Major injuries?
I injured my left patellar ligament like 10 years ago when I was carrying my then 2 year old in my right arm down a steep grassy hill. My right foot slipped and caught myself awkwardly with my left leg and left arm so I wouldn’t drop my son. I couldn’t run or jump or ollie or do anything without sharp stabbing pains in my knee for about 6 or 7 years. The MDs wouldn’t do anything about it. They just told me to wear a knee band or get a knee brace. 4 years ago I broke my left fibula right below my knee and jacked my left ankle when I slipped and fell off of my deck. I was in a cast for about 4 months and it took me another year or so to feel comfortable on my leg. These leg injuries are why I wasn’t able to skate for long in my early 40s. Two years ago, I jumped on a board again after PT and exercising and lo and behold my knee and ankle didn’t hurt when I pumped or ollied or skated. I was so happy. I have been skating 2 to 3 times a week since then. Last year I fell and separated my shoulder at Lincoln City. I didn’t realize how bad I had injured my shoulder until a week later. I skated another park the next day and I just skated through the pain. I knew it wasn’t broken but it hurt like a son of a bitch when I tried to lift my arm over my head or rotate my arm. It’s all good now though.

16. Skating as a kid vs. skating as adult over 40…talk about the differences and similarities.
I don’t take skating for granted now for sure. I know that this could be fleeting so I try and take all the pleasure I can out of each session, whether I suck that day or not. I still get the same thrill and stoke now that I did back when I was a kid though. I skated from 13 until 30 so I wasn’t that far removed from the scene when I tried to start back up again at 40 (before my leg injuries). At 48, I am just happy to be able to roll around and do my mediocre tricks and not die after a session. I know I will never be able to hit a 10 stair or a handrail again (I will boardslide a hubba though) and I am ok with that. My glory days are over and now I am stoked on a nice long FS slappy or smooth BS carve grind in a bowl. Simple pleasures.

17. Favorite skate videos?
Future Primitive, Chin, Propaganda, Streets and Wheels of Fire, Questionable, The Rodney vs Daewon stuff. They don’t really make any new “videos” these days but I watch most of the YouTube Thrasher drops by the skate teams and follow quite a few IG pages.

18. Favorite skaters?
To be honest, my favorite skater is whoever I am skating with. I love skating with my son and watching him progress. He broke his femur last June and it was a long time back on the board for him. He is finally comfortable skating again and I love sharing the smiles with him again. I skate a lot with Steve Fisher and Irving Savage/Thosser as well and they both rip and inspire me every time we skate. Paul Lewandowski and I have skated together a few times as well and he always brings a great attitude and is an awesome skater. I am super lucky to have a great group of guys in the Portland area to skate with and the scene, in general, up here is pretty rad. Professional skaters: Tony Hawk (duh). Cab was my jam back in the late 80s. Loved Sam Cunningham and the Blockhead team back then too. I don’t really have a favorite skater now but I would love to see Chris Hiett get his own deck. That young man rips and reminds me of all the kids I used to hang out with and skate with back in the day.

19. Favorite skate graphics?
Cab Chinese Dragon, Kevin Staab Pirate. The Barnyard board is legendary too. I love the Welcome graphics lately and the There boards have some cool shit going on now too.

20. Who should we interview for the next episode of the Zero Club?
Shane Sparks’ no comply game is on point. He’s got my vote.

21. Last words?
I could wax poetic about skating all day but, when it comes down to it, the only things to really do are keep rolling, keep smiling, and push yourself a little bit each time you skate. We may be getting older but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn new shit.