Seven Adams & Shota Kubo

Seven Adams and Shota Kubo

SEVEN ADAMS & SHOTA KUBO

INTERVIEW BY SEVEN ADAMS AND SHOTA KUBO

PHOTOS BY DAN LEVY, MICHAEL RIGGINS, KYLE KIFF & MARK KUSHIMI

Being born into surfing and skating has the unique advantage of joining this world with more than just your bloodline, but also with one of the biggest extended families on the planet. The uncanny resemblance that Shota Kubo has to his father, Shogo Kubo, and Seven Adams has to his father, Jay Adams, is evident in their inflections and is a refreshing reminder that Shogo and Jay will live on through their only sons. Shota is very shy and respectful and the second his foot touches his skateboard, his voice comes out and his skating speaks for itself with aggressively smooth style. Seven inherited many things from his dad, like his kind heart, relentless sarcasm and lust for life. His passion for surfing and skating are unwavering and his drive will take him far in life. Shota and Seven have become good friends since the passing of their fathers and they have plans to do projects together in the future. This interview between Seven and Shota is as real as it gets and we are honored to share their story and pay homage to our fallen brothers, Shogo Kubo and Jay Adams. – WORDS BY DAN LEVY

Seven Adams and Shota Kubo

SEVEN: Okay, let’s get this going. Where were you born and where did you grow up, Shota?

SHOTA: I was born in Japan, in Shinjuku, Tokyo. I moved to Hawaii when I was one year old, so I feel like I grew up there. Where were you born?

SEVEN: I was born in Hawaii with my mom, Samantha, and my dad, Jay. I lived there until I was four and then I moved to Santa Cruz with my mom and dad, for a second, and then it was me and my mom. I’ve been back and forth to Hawaii, but home base has always been Santa Cruz. So you don’t really remember Japan, do you?

SHOTA: No. I was a newborn. I’m full on bilingual, so I remember going to Hawaii and thinking, “I’m not going to learn English.” I was taking ESL second language courses. They wanted me to talk English and I was like, “No!” Eventually, I just gave up.

SEVEN: Why didn’t you want to learn English?

SHOTA: I just didn’t want to learn two languages. [Laughs] I was just being a kid. My mom was a typical, very strict Japanese person. I had school work plus homework from after school classes. Everyone in Japan does that to their kids. “After school, you have more homework.”

SEVEN: My mom let me take a mental health day from school every once in a while to go surf or go do something. My dad was doing his thing. He was around a little bit, until I was 12, and then he got incarcerated. His past caught up with him and he went to prison. He was doing pretty decent before then and he had married Alisha, my first stepmom, and that was right when my sister was born. She’s eight now. Her name is Venice. She’s really cool. My dad got incarcerated and we didn’t talk too much while he was in prison. He was just bummed on it, you know? I was 15 when he got out. By the time I was 16, he was around. From 17-21, I had a pops again and he was around a lot. He was clean and doing good and on a different path. During the time my dad was in prison, my sister and my stepmom, Alisha, moved back to Alabama, so we lost contact with them for a while.

SHOTA: Is that your half-sister?

SEVEN: Yeah. Different moms, but same dad. We just reconnected and it’s really cool to get to know my sister.

SHOTA: My way was the same as you. My dad left when I was in kindergarten. From zero to kindergarten, he was there. After that, he left the house. That’s what I remember as a child. Then he came back to Hawaii and lived with us when I was in the sixth grade. I have a younger sister too. She’s two years younger than me, and her name is Meagan. I pretty much accepted that I wasn’t going to have a dad, and then six years later, he popped up out of nowhere. From there, he stayed around. What was it like for you growing up in Santa Cruz?

SEVEN: Growing up in Santa Cruz, it’s a lot like the North Shore of Hawaii. It’s a tight knit, surf/skate town. Everyone is super close. I grew up on Pleasure Point, so I was in the surf scene as a little kid. They all knew who my dad was and who my mom was, so I had a lot of mentors.

SHOTA: Yeah. I have a lot of older friends too. I want to make more older friends to skate with. It’s the best way.

SEVEN: They give you good advice. They’ve been through stuff already and they’re like, “Okay, this is what I did that was stupid. This is what you should not do. Don’t let that ruin you.”

SHOTA: It’s like having second dads.

SEVEN: Exactly. That was nice.

SHOTA: Have you met Jef Hartsel before?

SEVEN: I think so, when I was younger.

SHOTA: He’s rad. When you come to Hawaii, we’ll link up with him. He’s like my second dad. He taught me a lot and I’m really thankful.

SEVEN: That’s super cool. I got lucky when I was younger with the Point kind of adopting me. A lot of people watched out for me. My mom was really good about being a single mom and taking care of me too.

SHOTA: You have to be thankful for that. I’m thankful for my mom too.

SEVEN: When I was 16, I got the option to move to L.A. with my mom or move into my best friend’s house, The Van Seggerns. I told my mom that surfing was my savior, so I couldn’t bail from it.

SHOTA: Were you working?

SEVEN: My first job was at Santa Cruz Surf Shop.

SHOTA: How old were you?

SEVEN: I was 16. My mom helped out for a minute and I was making a bit of money, and then that job fell through. They closed and I started working at this grocery store when I was 17.

SHOTA: Gnarly. I didn’t get a job until I was 18.

SEVEN: I feel pretty blessed with my upbringing. I had some rough times, but compared to some other people I know, I’m psyched. It could have been a lot gnarlier.

SHOTA: You have to try to let it make you a better man.

SEVEN: Yeah. You have to look at the glass as half full. Everything that happened molded me into who I am. It’s the same for you too. It creates us. It’s a weird blessing in disguise because we became who we are.

SHOTA: We’re in this world together, you know? We can keep it good and irie.

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SEVEN: Exactly. Wait. What was your first job?

SHOTA: My first job was at a surf/skate shop called Local Motion. It was by my house on Hawaii Kai on the East Side. It was cool. It was fun.

SEVEN: It’s fun working in shops. I worked at the Santa Cruz Boardroom, the NHS outlet in Santa Cruz. That was such a fun job. I would do these elaborate grip tapes for the little groms. Shops are so fun to work at. When I go to Hawaii, I might be working at North Shore Surf Shop.

SHOTA: You should open a skate shop there. There aren’t any legit skate shops.

SEVEN: The only place I know that you can buy skateboards is Raging Isle by Cholos. Maybe we should go open up a skate shop there. They should have one. That’s insane.

SHOTA: It’s crazy. In Oahu, I expect an 8-foot halfpipe right by the beach or a skatepark just like Venice, but that won’t happen.

SEVEN: I loved the original style of the North Shore skatepark. It was so rad. You walked across the Kam Highway from Rockpiles through the jungle and poked out at this skatepark. Now they added a parking lot to it and it got so different.

SHOTA: That park took like a year to make it better and it’s still messed up.

SEVEN: Growing up in Santa Cruz, if it rained, you didn’t skate that day. You’d write it off. In Hawaii, it would rain for ten minutes in the afternoon and all the boys had it on lock with their squeegees in their cars. They’d be right back drying the park. Then it would rain again in 45 minutes. The rain felt good. You were chilling in it. It would cool you off.

SHOTA: That’s one thing that’s nice about Hawaii. The passover rains and trade winds are really nice.

SEVEN: What’s your earliest memory of riding a skateboard?

SHOTA: I guess my dad put me on a skateboard when I was a baby, but I don’t really remember.

SEVEN: I guarantee that both of our dads had us on skateboards when we were babies for sure. I know my dad was paddling me out to Sunset before I was one year old. My first real memory of skating was at this spot called Jose Skatepark in Santa Cruz. It’s super mellow. It’s like a six-foot hill that goes into this little waterfall that has flat. You could air off it and get like two inches and be all psyched. I had my eighth birthday there. That was the year the Twin Towers went down. I was eight and these bombs went off on my birthday. I definitely skated before I was eight, but those are some of the memories that stuck. Until I was 11, I was super stoked and I wanted to be a skater.

SHOTA: Did you know your dad was a skater?

SEVEN: Yeah. I fizzled out on skating in sixth grade and got super hooked on surfing. I liked that you could eat shit on a surfboard and not be out for a week. You didn’t have to be bummed about rolling your ankle. My friends that were 13 or 14 were already getting knee surgery and injuries, so I kind of cooled down on it after I broke my wrist really bad. I just remember not being able to surf and I was like “I don’t like this.” It kind of drove me nuts.

SHOTA: Injuries suck.

SEVEN: Yeah. I decided I was going to be a surfer and I started doing contests and I was super stoked. I rode for O’Neill and then Rip Curl and then Monument, Shane Beschen’s company. They were almost like Volcom, but even weirder. They were super cool. Then I rode for Dragon. I was signing mini contracts, so I was psyched. When I turned 16, I really messed up in a contest and I snapped my surfboard and I was like, “I’m over it!” I quit my sponsors and tried to have fun again.

SHOTA: You quit your sponsors?

SEVEN: Yeah. Monument went under, so I went back to Rip Curl wetsuits. After that, I got over everyone else. They wanted me doing contests and I just was not into it.

SHOTA: Contests suck.

SEVEN: It just took the fun out of it for me.

SHOTA: Contests can really bring the aggro out in you.

SEVEN: Yeah. I wanted to go surf, but I didn’t want to have a time that I had to go surf for a 15-minute window and apply myself to these rules.

SHOTA: A perfect day for you is a bunch of waves. For skaters that try to surf and you’re the only surfer, it’s weird.

SEVEN: I love it. My friends will take me skating, but I’m not the best skater. Then I will take them surfing and I’m stoked because it’s like, “Now we’re in my world.” There will be the gnarliest skaters taking the heaviest slams and I’m like, “You guys are savages.” Then they get in the water and they’re in a different world. They’re like, “Oh, dude, you’re gnarly.” I’m comfortable in the ocean and they’re more comfortable on four wheels.

SHOTA: I’m scared of the deep ocean. If I’m in the deep ocean, I just want to go all the way down and touch it and be like, “Okay. It’s good.”

SEVEN: My friends are afraid of sharks because we lived up north in the red triangle, but I’ve surfed hard since I was 12. We lived 25 miles south of Ano Nuevo. It’s an elephant seal breeding ground. It’s the largest one in California I think.

SHOTA: That’s gnarly.

SEVEN: Ano Nuevo and Windansea are my favorite waves. I surfed Ano two or three times a week and I’ve never seen a shark up there. Knock on wood. If I got to see a shark, so be it. That’s my fate, I guess. The chances of seeing a shark, won’t scare me out of the water.

SHOTA: Go straight for the nose.

SEVEN: If I see a shark, he better be ready because I’m going to do everything I can to get him too. [Laughs] I’m just really comfortable in the water. I’d like to get more comfortable in bigger waves. It’s good going to Hawaii. When I moved over there for a while, it was so cool. It was such a humbling experience going out and knowing that Mother Nature is in control out there. You really need to learn how to play by the rules or you’re going to have a bad time.

SHOTA: That’s pretty much how I live my life. Mother Nature is in charge.

SEVEN: Did you ever surf?

SHOTA: I surfed a few times when I was younger. I need a board.

SEVEN: Do you want to talk about what skateboarding did for you in your life?

SHOTA: I learned a lot from skateboarding. Skateboarding makes me be a better man, and not be a pussy. It shows you that, if you really want it, you can do it. It gets me stoked to watch people that really want to land something and they land it.

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SEVEN: I just love the determination I see from skaters.

SHOTA: It’s really inspiring. You can see the fire in their eyes and it’s like, “Boom!” It’s probably the same thing for you with surfing. It gives you the fire.

SEVEN: Yeah. Honestly, coming out of a tube, it’s that same feeling as when you do that first stand up grind or drop into that backyard pool. You feel like you just had sex with the hottest girl ever.

SHOTA: [Laughs] I went through a bodysurfing phase in high school and that was the first time I experienced barrels at Sandy’s and Makapu’u. I got really hooked on it. I was like, “This feels so good.” I even bought fins just so I could get a longer ride. It was sick.

SEVEN: Sandy’s is cool. Getting barreled is crazy. It’s so cool.

SHOTA: It feels like you’re going in slow motion too.

SEVEN: I remember my first barrel and it felt like I was in there for a minute and a half and I was probably only in there a quarter of a second. It felt really good.

SHOTA: It puts you into that Zen state. It feels good. It’s fun.

SEVEN: I bet skating is like this too. Through thick and thin, you always got it. Even when I had some shitty times happening or I’d be super pissed and wanted to destroy the world, I could go surf and it was like free therapy. I don’t know if skating was like that for you. It probably is.

SHOTA: Yeah, it was and it still is. If I’m bummed out, I just go skate.

SEVEN: It’s such a great outlet. I could go do my thing and have some straight up Seven Adams time. I found that in the water and that’s pretty much why I got hooked. I found a lot of peace in the water.

SHOTA: I’ve been there. Things get messed up and crying about it just makes it worse. You can go skate. Change it around. That’s all you have to do. It took me a long time to realize that, but, eventually, it made sense. If you feel bad, go skate. PMA!

SEVEN: Yeah. Life is too short to be depressed. We have to be psyched every day that we’re here.

SHOTA: Yeah. Okay. Next question. What is your greatest accomplishment so far in your life?

SEVEN: [Laughs] I screwed two girls in one night.

SHOTA: That never happened to me. [Laughs] Perhaps soon.

SEVEN: What is your greatest accomplishment?

SHOTA: I skated around the island of Oahu. I went the North Shore way. If you go from Waianae, there is no road. From there you need an ATV. I skated from my house in Hawaii Kai, through town, through Mililani and Wahiawa and the pineapple fields, all the way around Kahuku.

SEVEN: That’s a gnarly mission. A bit more rad than mine, honestly. You did that all in one day?

SHOTA: No. It took three days. That was on my 24th birthday.

SEVEN: Did you do it with a group of friends?

SHOTA: No. I just did it by myself.

SEVEN: Wow. Why did you decide to do that?

SHOTA: My friend Takashi skated Japan from top to bottom. It took him like a couple of months. He was just chillin’. That was my inspiration. I was going to skate around the island since that dude skated up and down Japan.

SEVEN: That’s gnarly. That’s a mission.

SHOTA: There are people in California that go all the way to Mexico. I have to say that I did not get to bang two chicks during the time I was skating around the island though. [Laughs] In fact, I got jacked. I was pissed. I was by the Kaneohe 7-11 and this Hawaiian dude asked me for help. He was like, “Help me out. I need $1.” I said, “I don’t have $1.” We started talking and, all of a sudden, he has my board and he goes, “Give me what you got right now.” I was like, “How can you do this to me right now?” His little cousin that was with him looked all shook. He was scared straight that he was there when the guy did that. I was like, “Give it back. What?” At that point, I was really tired from skating. Before that happened, I was sleeping on the North Shore at Chun’s and I skated all the way to Kaneohe.

SEVEN: Where did you sleep at Chun’s?

SHOTA: I had a hammock right by the beach. It took me all day to skate to Kaneohe. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t even fight the dude. I was not in the mood. I wasn’t going to fight because I knew I was going to lose. I started to look weak, and then the little kid started giving me attitude too. The guy ran up on me and said, “Give me your headlamp and I’ll give you your board back.” I had this headlamp for night skating. From there, I grabbed my board and just pushed really fast and screamed at the top of my lungs because that was the only way to take out my anger and then I skated to the city side of Kaneohe. My friends were like, “Where are you?” I said, “I’m in Kaneohe. I got jacked!” They were like, “What? We’ll meet you in Kaneohe.” So I met up with them and we drank a beer and chilled and I felt better. They were like, “What are you going to do now?” I was so bummed because it had started pouring rain. I said, “I guess you have to leave me where you found me.” They were like, “Are you sure?” I was like, “Yeah. I’m sure.” I ended up sleeping at skatepark there for a good 12 hours. There was a flash flood warning too. The next day it wasn’t that far from Kaneohe to my house. It’s far, but not that far. I pretty much walked a lot during that distance and then skated some. I want to go longer next time. It’s really fun.

SEVEN: It’s cool to make it. Next time you have to get a group of friends to go. That would be fun. We can stop along the way and rage at night. I’m going to be in Hawaii, so I’m down to go on a skate mission.

SHOTA: Yeah. Surfing would be scary to go from Oahu to Maui.

SEVEN: Jay Moriarty paddled from Santa Cruz to Monterey. It was super sketchy.

SHOTA: It’s like pulling an Eddie Aikau. Have you watched his documentary?

SEVEN: Yeah. I watched it on Netflix.

SHOTA: That thing is really inspirational. It has sick old images of Hawaii and his way of life was really good and so natural.

SEVEN: Yeah. What kind of music are you into?

SHOTA: Since I’m in L.A. right now, I’m always with Bennett Harada, so I’m listening to a lot of dancehall and digital style reggae. It’s super sick. It gets you pumping. It’s super popular in Japan, and you’ve got all these Japanese girls bumping to dancehall in their bikinis and shit. It’s awesome.

SEVEN: Reggae is mellow and gets you in a good mood. Do you listen to music when you skate?

SHOTA: Yeah. I like something that really gets you pumping, so you can go for broke. Bad Brains is the best one. I can tell why Bennett likes to play a lot of dancehall too. It gets you really stoked.

SEVEN: I really like fast-paced punk. I love the Circle Jerks, the Adolescents and Black Flag. Those are my three favorites. Sometimes I will get all weird and listen to solo piano, like Clint Mansell. I love the piano. I think it’s sick. I’d love to learn to play the piano.

SHOTA: That’s cool. If you could hang out and talk to any band or musician, who would it be?

SEVEN: Dead or alive?

SHOTA: Dead and alive. One for each.

SEVEN: Okay. Dead first. It’s completely not punk, but it would be cool to talk to a guy like Tupac and see what was going through his mind. He was a pretty gnarly dude. It would be interesting to sit in a room and do this for two hours and talk to him. He was smart as shit.

SHOTA: I would interview Bob Marley. I would just want to hear what he thinks. He has had a big influence on my life about living natural and being positive. I just want to hear more about how he thinks. Okay. Alive now.

SEVEN: Keith Morris. My dad did an interview with him and I was there. He seems like a really cool guy. He’s really interesting.

SHOTA: I’d want to interview Ray Barbee. I like his music. I like Tommy Guerrero’s music too.

SEVEN: Their music is amazing. It would be pretty sick to talk to Tommy Guerrero.

SHOTA: Yeah. His songs sound really good with skating and in skate videos too. Here’s a question for you. Dream surf session, top five, who is in it?

SEVEN: My dream surf session would be me and my dad. I’d just want me and my dad surfing some secret tube.

SHOTA: Perfect.

SEVEN: Okay, dream skate session, who is in it?

SHOTA: My dream skate session would be me, my dad, Ronnie Sandoval and my friends from Hawaii. I’d want to skate with my friends and my sponsors. It would be rad if Grosso was there, because I’ve never met Grosso before. When he made that father and sons episode of Love Letters, I really wanted to be part of that. Ever since I saw that, I’ve wished that I lived in California.

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SEVEN: Tell me about your lifestyle, and what kind of food you like to eat, like healthy or junk food. I already know the answer, but tell me.

SHOTA: I eat mainly rice and fermented soybeans natto, because I’m broke. It’s the best for energy and it’s really healthy. I was a dread before, so I was a vegetarian for two years and then I got into chicken and then I started working in a restaurant and I started eating everything.

SEVEN: Why did you cut your dreads off?

SHOTA: It was for my grandma because she wanted me to come to Japan and the only way was for me to cut my hair. I got a free trip, so I did it. Thanks to that I got to go on my first skate tour on the Ace trip to Japan with Bennett. I have known Bennett since I was a kid. He came to my house and entered the North Shore contest and he came home with a black eye. Being around Hartsel and Bennett, I just got really rootsy. A week after the North Shore contest, Bennett was at my house and I came back home with dreads. My dad was like, “What?” My mom was just screaming, “Why?” I had long hair already, but my hair grows all mullet style. Six more months and my hair will turn into a mullet. I don’t know what to do from there. [Laughs] I might wear a hat.

SEVEN: [Laughs] What do you do to make a living these days?

SHOTA: I work at a restaurant. Whenever I work, I try to make it a full day. I work day and night. I’m doing two jobs for three days and then I skate on the other four days and try to get other side jobs with skating. My dad worked in Japanese production for TV, so he got me skating jobs doing photos at skateparks and stuff. I’d make $100 or $200 for one hour of work. I was really stoked on that. What do you do to make a living these days?

SEVEN: I do whatever I can find right now. Since my dad died, I’ve been all over the place, so no job wants to put me on their schedule if I’m going to be here for a week and there for a week. I’m on food stamps now, so I just try to live cheap. You just find ways to make the money you need for rent and your cell phone bill. At first, I had a 40-hour a week job, and I got a paycheck every other Friday.

SHOTA: When someone passes away sometimes they leave you money. Did you get any money when your dad passed?

SEVEN: No.

SHOTA: Same here. Did your dad leave a will?

SEVEN: No. He had no will. There was nothing like that. Someone made a private donation to get plane tickets for the family to go to the paddle out in Hawaii and I set up a GoFundMe so that I could afford to go to the paddle outs here in Los Angeles. I flew down to L.A. once and drove to L.A. twice. I wasn’t on food stamps yet, so I was mainly trying to find cheap meals, and then I lost my job and I fell into that depression.

SHOTA: I was the same way. You have to do anything to try to make yourself happy. Eat, drink, smoke, choke…

SEVEN: Yeah. I try not to drink too much because I break down when I get too drunk. I flip out. I’m still not in the best place after losing my dad, honestly. It’s been super rough. I’m pretty young and I don’t really know how to deal with losing my dad. I guess most people don’t really know how to deal with losing their dad at any age.

SHOTA: Yeah. Me too. It seems like the only way to get through it is by helping each other. If you help everyone, everyone will help you back and it’s all good. I just try to think of it like that.

SEVEN: Yeah. What’s your average day like in Hawaii?

SHOTA: On my skating days, I try to wake up early and do some chores or errands in the morning. I go skate around noon. I have my friend from Maui, Kale, who does Moke Life. He’s making clothes and stickers. He’s also a really good filmer. He lives in Oahu now, so I skate with him. My friend from Oahu, Conor, started TreeVisions, a Hawaii skate website (treevisions.tv) and he’s also a good filmer. We’re just showing that skateboarding in Hawaii is awesome. I’ve known Conor since I was little. It’s weird because I knew him from church before skating. I was raised in a Japanese temple doing judo. I’m not really religious. I was just raised that way. If they need help, I help them out. We skate all day and just chill.

SEVEN: Wait. What is Japanese religion like?

SHOTA: It’s pretty cool. It’s called Tenrikyo. It’s really chill and they’re all about making the world a good place and helping each other out. That’s their main thing. They have this huge temple in Nara, Japan, and I’ve been there a lot of times. You can go to their temple and they’ll have a place for you to sleep, eat and get drunk all night. It’s crazy. It was a really good experience. They paid for half of my flight there too. I’m really thankful for that.

SEVEN: Was it like a church retreat?

SHOTA: It was kind of like that. They have militant programs too. You get to play their instruments and their chants. They offer beer every night, which was nuts. They have a big room and like ten people live there. This whole room was stocked with beer from other churches that said “Thank you for helping us out. Please take this.” There’s a lot of hard work too, but it’s worth it.

SEVEN: That’s rad. Tell me about your skate tour to Japan with the Ace Trucks team.

SHOTA: That was so awesome. That was my first skate tour. That was in April through May of last year. We went from Tokyo to Osaka. We drove there, so we went the long way and hit a bunch of parks and did demos and skated.

SEVEN: Are there a lot of parks in Japan?

SHOTA: Yeah. The ones we went to were all really good parks. It’s kind of like here. You have to drive really far.

SEVEN: Who was on that tour?

SHOTA: Joey Tershay, Bennett Harada, Tom Remilliard, Ronnie Sandoval, Raven Tershy, Matt Rodriguez, Shrewgy, the filmer, Aaron Chilen and me.

SEVEN: How did you get linked up on that tour?

SHOTA: First, I went to Japan by myself because I wanted to get clips from Japan. I did that on my own. Coincidentally, Joey said, “We’re going to Japan too and you should come with us.” I was like, “Yes!” It was supposed to be a two or three-week trip, but I extended it to a month.

SEVEN: Sick. So you had places to crash over there with your family and stuff?

SHOTA: Yeah. I have family in Tokyo and Osaka.

SEVEN: Are you sponsored by anybody else?

SHOTA: Yes. I ride for Dogtown, Ace, APB, a Hawaii skate shop and I’m sponsored by a coconut water company called Waiola. I’m like on the D team for Stance, Brixton and Lakai. [Laughs]

SEVEN: Nice. How did you get on Dogtown?

SHOTA: That was through my dad. I tried one of their boards and I liked it a lot. My dad emailed Jim and told him that I really liked his board and Jim started sending me boards and asked me if I wanted to ride for them. Thanks to my dad. After that I just wanted to work hard to make a good video part. Hopefully, it will meet everyone’s standards. Have you ever filmed a surfing video part?

SEVEN: Yeah. Surfing can be annoying because you drive 45 minutes to surf and then there are 50 guys out, so I’m only going to get two or three waves. I’m always jealous of skating because you can kind of set up the shot and then decide to film it from a different angle and just do it again. In surfing, you can sometimes do that if there’s a good wind and you can keep hitting it, but every wave is different, so it can be frustrating to get a good video part. Then you have to find someone that’s down to go film with you too.

SHOTA: Are there a lot of surf filmers?

SEVEN: There are a lot more photographers than filmers. In skating, you guys don’t post pictures when you fall, do you?

SHOTA: No, not unless it’s a really bad one. I think they show that more in videos.

SEVEN: In surfing, there are a lot more bail shots. You can do a 10-foot air and you may not stick it, but the photo will run in surf magazines. I used to think it was taboo to put in a shot that you didn’t pull skating.

SHOTA: Oh, yeah, I would never want that.

SEVEN: Surfing has a lot of bail shots. A lot of times when a barrel is closing out, the photographer got right up in the wave and got a good angle and it’s a good shot, but the barrel closes out.

SHOTA: Have you ever had any surf videos?

SEVEN: I’ve had little videos, but I’d like to get more.

SHOTA: Do they ever do surfing videos to back up the surfing photos?

SEVEN: Some, but not really. Surfline was doing this thing where it was like, “Did he make it or not?” It would show three shots from a sequence, and you would have to vote if he made it or not. Then they’d release the whole sequence a few days later. Sometimes he fell, and other times he made it and it was the gnarliest shit. I think it’s getting better now with less glory shots. Back in the day, there used to be a lot more.

SHOTA: Skating too.

SEVEN: Yeah. My dad had a lot of shots that are really gnarly that he might not have pulled.

SHOTA: That’s how skating was then. It was the very beginning.

SEVEN: Yeah. I think surfing bloomed into that and now it’s getting out of it. Now it’s almost taboo to post something that you didn’t pull. I really like that. I think it should be mandatory to pull it. Where are you going to put your skate video?

SHOTA: The recent one that my friend made was called LOLO, and he made a DVD of it. It’s a way of growing skating in Hawaii. Skating in Hawaii is pretty cool. It’s like a mix of California and New York. It’s like a hybrid. There are some really good skaters that come from Hawaii.

SEVEN: It seems like the younger crew is really gnarly too. Every time I go to the park, these 12-year-olds are just blasting. What about Graveside? Have you ever skated there?

SHOTA: I’ve been there a few times. It’s gnarly. I need to go there more. I just have to make it out to the North Shore more.

SEVEN: That place is gnarly. When I get there, you can come see me on the North Shore and crash on my couch and we’ll go out to the surfer bar.

SHOTA: That sounds good. I need a vacation weekend on the North Shore.

SEVEN: You come over to California and chill sometimes. Who is your California crew?

SHOTA: It’s Bennett, Ron Chatman and Ben Thomas, J.T.’s son. Joey is always in my nighttime crew. Joey and Bennett are DJs too. Then it’s DJ time in Joey’s DJ room. He has so many records. He has these two big speakers with subwoofers. His room is like a clubhouse. Bennett is always DJing or we’ll go to Joey’s house and Bennett just takes over and starts DJing. [Laughs] It’s cool.

SEVEN: Nice. Was this the first time you’d met Jeff Ho on this trip?

SHOTA: No. I met him at ASR a long time ago at the Independent 25 year book party. It’s so funny. I found a photo of me and Cardiel that I never even knew my dad had taken. It was so rad. I found it on my dad’s computer. I felt like such a kook because I didn’t even know who Cardiel was then. That was when I first started skating.

SEVEN: ASR was so fun when I went.

SHOTA: Yeah. The Reef girls are hot.

SEVEN: Oh yeah, the Freestyle chick threw a pie at my face and then licked the whipped cream off. I think I was 12 years old. It was so funny. She was such a hot chick too. I had my little baby boner going off. I was like, “Oh no.” [Laughs] It was awesome. Okay, we’re in Venice right now sitting about 100 yards away from where the old P.O.P. Pier used to be where our dads kind of cut their teeth and Jeff Ho put them on the Zephyr team. Does that stuff affect you at all?

SHOTA: When I’m here, I have to rip. I have to represent Venice and my dad. What about you? What are you favorite surf spots?

SEVEN: My ideal session is sand bottom, right and left, peeling for five miles both ways with crystal clear water. I like surfing reefs too but being in the tube is the best feeling ever in surfing.

SHOTA: What are you thinking about when you’re in the barrel?

SEVEN: I’m thinking, “How much longer can I stay in this thing because I’m having so much fun?” I’m thinking about making it. It’s weird. Some people tell me that they think a lot when they surf, but I don’t. It just comes natural to me. I don’t really think that much when I’m on a wave. Some people say they’re thinking about their next three maneuvers ahead, but I don’t. I bottom turn sometimes and don’t know what I’m doing until I’m two inches away from the lip. Then I’m like, “Okay. Now I have to try an air because I went a little too high.

SHOTA: So you’re not aiming for something?

SEVEN: Well, there are certain times when I see a section and I know I want to belt this thing and do a big layback or something, but not every time. Actually, not even half the time. Probably 75% of the time, I have no clue what I’m going to do. Do you think in advance about the tricks you’re going to do when you’re skating?

SHOTA: I’d like to, but I don’t know how people do lines for that long.

SEVEN: What are your favorite spots to skate?

SHOTA: I like to skate pools and street. I like to go to Kapolei Skatepark. That is one of the few places with a bowl and pool coping in Oahu. For street, I can skate anywhere as long as I get to push fast on smooth ground, and pop a few ollies here and there with my friend. I like bombing garages and hills.

SEVEN: Why do you think you skate?

SHOTA: It’s my youth. As long as I skate, I can feel like I’m 14 like I was when I first started. It makes you feel young and you have fun. I just want to keep on skating. It’s my fountain of youth and stress reliever.

SEVEN: It’s the ultimate therapy, right? When in doubt, go skate or surf and you’ll be fine.

SHOTA: My friend Conor wrote on his board, “My car, my lady and my pillow in bed.” Why do you think you surf?

SEVEN: I got psyched on it really young and didn’t want to stop and it just felt right. It’s just like when you’re frothing to go skating. You just want to go skating because it’s really fun. It feels better than anything else. That’s why I go surf. When things gets crazy, you can go surfing and it can completely change your day. You can be having the worst day and get a big barrel and everything is okay. I’ve had times where I was upset and surfing definitely helped me. Surfing was my custom therapy. It’s the same with skating. There’s nothing better than laying down a gnarly grind when you’re pissed off.

SHOTA: Yeah. That’s really good.

SEVEN: You’re not thinking about anything else in the world. I went surfing the day after my dad died and the times that I was standing up on waves were the only times that I wasn’t freaking out and crying and being all depressed.

SHOTA: Yeah. I skated the day after my dad died too. I got a clip for my dad and your dad too.

SEVEN: That’s sick.

SHOTA: Whenever I’m in a bad mood, if I go skate, I’m like, “I’m going to learn everything right now. I’m going to land something and learn something and get a clip.”

SEVEN: Yeah. It was weird. When my dad passed away, the swells were just following me. I had a super swell in Santa Cruz, and then I came down to L.A. and it was Big Wednesday and then I went to Hawaii and they got their first swell of the winter and then I went back to Santa Cruz and we got the best swell we’d had of the year. For two months, my dad hooked it up. It was just firing waves. Where did you skate after your dad passed?

SHOTA: I just waited for my friend to get off work and I was like, “Let’s go film.” We went to Waikiki and I got a clip for my dad. The day that Jay passed, I got a clip for him too and I was really stoked on that.

SEVEN: That’s rad.

SHOTA: Okay. Next question. What do you want to do with your life in the future?

SEVEN: I got lucky when I was younger and had that spark of surfing put in me. If I could share that with others, and find a way to pay my rent too, that would be super rad. My goal is to be able to go to these spots that I visited when I was younger, in Mexico and Bali, and be able to bring them surfboards or build a halfpipe for the local groms and do something that helps them not go in a bad direction. I want to go around and start that flame in people and get them stoked. I think that would be super cool. Ideally, I want to be able to establish something that can support myself and my family and help make my dreams come true and do rad shit to keep my dad’s legacy alive and create my own legacy. I just want to be able to get barreled and have fun surfing on the side. I’m starting my own company, Adams Skateboard Co. It’s something that me and my dad always wanted to do. Now I’m going to make it happen. I want to have a family. I’ve always wanted to be a dad. My dad did some great things and I want to be able to do some great things with my son. We’ll see what the future holds. I’m only 21, so I’m still trying to figure it out.

SHOTA: I know. It’s crazy. I’m 26 and I don’t even know, but I want to keep on skating and keep on working and keep being healthy and keep helping out my family, one day at a time.

SEVEN: I want to work at something with surfing or skating. I don’t know exactly what that is yet. I’m trying to figure it out. I need to go back to school and take a few classes on business.

SHOTA: I have a two-year business degree and I didn’t do shit with it. I ended up working at a restaurant.

SEVEN: Do you want a career of any kind?

SHOTA: Skating would be nice. I would like to be second generation after my father, if I can. Even if I do become a pro skater, I’ll still be working at the same time. I’ll still be doing two jobs and hustling.

SEVEN: Do you want to have your own business?

SHOTA: I thought about that before because my dad was trying to have a company. It’s been on my mind, so perhaps in the future. I’d start off small. I’ll just wait until I have more skate knowledge.

SEVEN: It’s rad that you have a skill like cooking.

SHOTA: That’s pretty much thanks to my dad too. He used to tell me, “Whatever you do, you better be good at it.” So I just do everything. I need to learn more about cars. I can’t do car repairs yet and it could turn into a no car situation real quick.

SEVEN: [Laughs] I’m so not car savvy either. I can repair a surfboard all day long, but I don’t even know how to change the oil in my car. I’m starting my own company and I’m going to work with people like you. That would be rad. It would be cool to have our own t-shirt designs or decks or something cool like that.

SHOTA: Yes. That would be cool. Do you want to follow in your dad’s footsteps?

SEVEN: Well, I’m not going to be a pro skater, but I definitely love surfing and skating.

SHOTA: How does being a pro surfer work? How do you know you’re a pro?

SEVEN: It’s really difficult. You don’t get a pro model like skating. In skating, if you get a deck with your name on it, you just went pro. Surfing is like when you start making good money and get on tour. There are WQS warriors, which is the world qualifying series and those are, technically, amateur professional surfers, and they kill it. Some of those top 50 Ams are making good money. Then you get in the WCT, which is the top 34. Those guys are all pros. They are the best of the best. Just like in skating though, you have free skaters that don’t do contests and they just make video parts. In surfing, you have free surfers that don’t do contests and they just make video parts, like Craig Anderson or Dane Reynolds.

SHOTA: They kill it so hard.

SEVEN: Yeah. They’re pro surfers, but they’re not competing.

SHOTA: Do surfers put out video parts really quickly like skaters do with skating videos?

SEVEN: It all depends but, yeah, they gotta stay on it. We have the Innersection video, which was 25 pro surfers with their three-minute segments. There are videos like Dude Cruise, which was the DC video with Bruce Irons and Ry Craike and a few others. They had parts, but the part was like, “We’re in Indo” or “We’re in Mexico and here’s all of us surfing there.” It’s like a collaboration. They section it out into spots or the region they’re in. Isn’t skating more like parts for each dude? When I watched Pretty Sweet, I saw Raven Tershy had his own part, and the other guys had their own parts. They probably have skate videos that are team videos, like the Plan B video, too.

SHOTA: Yeah. I know what kind of videos you’re talking about.

SEVEN: A lot of surf videos have regions sections, not so much like Shota Kubo’s part or Seven Adams’ part. It might be like Shota and Seven at Venice Pier and then Shota and Seven in San Clemente. It’s kind of cool. What do you want to do with your life in the future?

SHOTA: Ever since my dad died, I just want to do everything. I want to be good at everything, like skating, working and life in general.

SEVEN: Yeah, for sure, you want to be the man.

SHOTA: Exactly. I want to be the man.

SEVEN: It feels good to be the man when you’re killing it on things.

SHOTA: Ever since my dad passed away, everything he told me sunk in. I have to be the man.

SEVEN: We have to take the positive parts of our fathers’ lives and do the best we can.

SHOTA: That’s my inspiration right there. It makes you want to be a better person.

SEVEN: That’s what our parents are for. They’re our role models and we look at their mistakes and learn from them, hopefully. Then our children learn from our mistakes, and we’ll have the perfect kid, ten generations down the line. [Laughs]

SHOTA: [Laughs] Yeah. Have you met Sam or Kelly Jackson before?

SEVEN: I have no clue.

SHOTA: Their family is so awesome. I just want to have a family that is able to communicate with each other and talk about anything. That’s what I want if I’m going to have a family. Maybe when I turn 40 or 50, I’ll have a 20-year-old wife and have a kid.

SEVENADAMS-SHOTAKUBO9-10

SEVEN: That sounds killer. My dad was really good at landing the younger chicks. Well, Tracy, his last wife, was more his age, but before that he had younger chicks. He liked to go for girls that were closer to my age. [Laughs]

SHOTA: Or maybe it was the other way around and the girls like older dudes. They’re just looking for men. They don’t want no boys.

SEVEN: Yeah. My dad did well with women.

SHOTA: My dad made me learn about respect. What was the best thing about your dad to you?

SEVEN: Surfing.

SHOTA: Yeah. You knew your dad was a surfer and skater when you were younger, but I didn’t know my dad as a skateboarder. I didn’t even know he was a pro skateboarder until I was in sixth grade and the Dogtown movie came out.

SEVEN: I knew who my dad was, but as a kid, I didn’t skate, so I’d get into fights with kids because they’d be like, “You should skate better!” I’m like, “What do you do? Oh, your dad is a math teacher? What’s 32 x 12 divided by 6.5? You better tell me the answer right away.” I’d get upset about it. It got to the point that I didn’t even want people to know who my dad was because it cast a little bit of a shadow and I hated that. That’s really why I started surfing. Plus, surfing was what me and my dad shared. Surfing was our connection. We’d go surf and go on surf trips together. That was huge. He taught me some cool stuff. I think the best thing that my dad ever gave me was surfing. That changed me for sure. Surfing really did help steer me in the right direction and keep me focused on positive shit. My dad gave me that initial desire to surf and I really loved going surfing with my pops.

SHOTA: If you could ask your dad one more question, what would it be?

SEVEN: I would ask what heaven is like. I have a million other questions, but I really want to know. I’d ask, “Why? Why now? Why survive through everything and then have to go now?” I guess that’s more of a question for him to ask God. Why did he have to be taken then? Was it so that he could make amends with everyone and then it was his time to go? How do you survive overdosing multiple times and then some stupid heart attack gets ya? I thought my father was invincible.

SHOTA: Yeah. Our dads looked really healthy the last few years they were here.

SEVEN: Yeah. When I was 14, I accepted that my dad was going to die from doing drugs. It wasn’t a good feeling, but I saw it coming. Then when he got out of prison, I was so stoked that I was going to have my dad in my life and he was going to be able to meet my children one day. That would be my big question. Why then? Why did it have to go down like that now? I kick myself all the time about not going to Mexico to visit him. He was going to buy me a ticket and I was going to go and I was like, “I have to work, dad. I can’t miss work.” I can’t keep kicking myself about that though. Nobody knew he was going to have a heart attack.

SHOTA: My last words to my dad were when I was leaving to go to my second job. He was like, “Be careful.” I said, “Okay. Bye.” The next day the cops woke me up and said, “Your dad is dead.”

SEVEN: I had talked to my dad two weeks before on the phone. We weren’t talking too much while he was in Mexico because he was surfing and doing his thing. I wasn’t worried or anything.

SHOTA: You were on good terms, right?

SEVEN: Yeah.

SHOTA: Me and my dad were on good terms too.

SEVEN: Our relationship was good. It really would have sucked to have lost him when I was 14 because our relationship was so bad then.

SHOTA: Same here, dude. It worked out.

SEVEN: I’m not too religious, but I believe in a higher power. Maybe whoever is up there gave him the chance to be the dad he never was and be the husband to Tracy, that he never could be back in the day. He got to do things correctly before he left.

SHOTA: Dude, your dad was sober and surfing and ripping it.

SEVEN: Yeah. He was super stoked.

SHOTA: Everyone tells me that. At least my dad passed away doing what he loved the most. I think it’s the same for both of us. If I could die on a skateboard, I would be stoked. I don’t want to die in a hospital with random people around me.

SEVEN: Yeah. In some weird way, my dad had one of the best passings he could have asked for. He got to fall asleep next to his wife. My friend Max Nunes saw my dad in El Puerto the day before he died when he got a double barrel and almost came out of the second one. He was on fire. He was hanging out with Allen Sarlo and Solo Scott. I really wish I could have been there. That could have been the cherry on top for me. At least he didn’t die strung out or with tubes in his mouth. That would have never have been the way that I wanted my dad to go or any of his friends would have wanted to see their buddy go. He really got a rad easy quick out. His heart attack lasted like 30 seconds and then there was no pain. Maybe God was ready to take him and just wanted to make it quick and easy. I don’t know. That’s a question that we will never be able to answer until it’s our turn.

SHOTA: That’s deep. What do you think your dad’s favorite thing about you was?

SEVEN: I think my dad was stoked that I started surfing. I think my dad always wanted me to skate. I loved skating and I’ve got a lot of respect for it, but it wasn’t my passion like it was his. I feel like when I started surfing, he was genuinely proud. I didn’t jump too much into the religion scene, but I know he would have been proud that I accepted Christ into my life at Christian Hosoi’s church and that would have probably been what he’d say was one of his proudest moments. Between that and surfing, he was stoked. What about you?

SHOTA: It was probably skating. I’m pretty sure. I’m going to tell a crazy secret. I rode a scooter for a year when I was young and my dad was pretty bummed, and then I started skating and my dad was really happy. At the same time, I think parents are always proud of their kids no matter what.

SEVEN: My dad was bummed because I played soccer for seven years when I was a grom. He did not like soccer. He really wanted me off that soccer program. Maybe that was his proudest moment for me when I switched from soccer to surfing. What was your proudest moment of your dad’s for you?

SHOTA: My dad got a guest board for Krooked. That was pretty awesome.

SEVEN: For me, my dad’s biggest accomplishment was getting accepted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, but was I proudest of him then? No. The proudest moment for me was when I really knew that my dad was finally going to be sober. There wasn’t an exact date when I knew that, but when I talked to him over the last few years, I could tell he had become a changed man. He had traded his addiction to drugs for God. It was a little gnarly sometimes when he would be dropping Bible verses and stuff. It was a little overwhelming, but it was so much better than having him shoot up or smoke something. My dad did a bunch of cool shit. He had a bunch of rad contest results and trophies and whatever. For me, I didn’t look at him as a pro skater. I just looked at him as my dad, so I don’t really care about the Hall of Fame. I’m proud of him for it and I’m proud of all his boards and stuff. It’s so amazing that he was that gnarly at something, but I’m also proud of him being sober. Through my dad’s death, I realized how influential he was on people. I’m super proud that he could stoke people out that hard. There were so many messages on the FaceKook that were so rad from people that were telling me how they turned their life around after watching Lords of Dogtown or the Dogtown documentary. They pretty much idolized my father and I was a little tripped out about it. At the same time, it was so cool that my dad could touch someone’s life or speak to them or be nice to them in such a positive way and touch someone’s soul. That’s one of the most proud things about my dad. He had a really good heart. I try to imitate that. He would take the shirt off his back for someone. My dad had a really good heart. He always had the person to his left and right best intentions over his own.

SHOTA: It was the same for my dad too.

SEVEN: Yeah. I didn’t get to know your father as much as I would have liked. We had breakfast together one time with my dad and it was cool. Your dad was happy and my dad was happy and I could see the smiles on their faces. They were so stoked to see each other.

SHOTA: You know they were best friends when they were younger?

SEVEN: Yeah. It’s so crazy. When they were sitting there at that table at breakfast, I could feel it. They were like, “Wow. It’s 35 years later. We’re not so crazy anymore.” That was rad especially because both our dads had hardships, you know?

SHOTA: Yeah.

SEVEN: A lot of the Z-Boys had hardships, but for them to come out on top and find the righteous path, and find the light at the end of the tunnel, I could tell they were both stoked.

SHOTA: Yeah. That was pretty cool. How would you describe the legacy your dad left behind?

SEVEN: My dad’s legacy, to me, was ripping as hard as he could and not caring about what other people think. Being yourself and being raw and real. Being very humble. My dad never had that attitude of “I’m Jay Adams. What’s up?” I loved that about him. That’s what I think he would want his legacy to be. Even if you’re the shit, don’t act like that. Be a humble, kind person, but rip as hard as you can in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s skating, surfing, snowboarding or writing a book. Put all of your heart into it and don’t worry about what other people think. That was good advice that my dad told me. What about you? How would you describe the legacy that your dad left behind?

SHOTA: My dad was Japanese American, but he was a traditional Japanese person at the same time. His legacy was being a good man and keeping it real. What do you want your legacy to be?

SEVEN: I just want people to think the same of me as they thought of my dad, like, “Oh, Seven Adams. I love that dude. He’s rad. He’d give me the shirt off his back.” I would just like to maybe be loved by a few people and do whatever I can to share some type of stoke throughout the world. What about you?

SHOTA: I just want us to help each other out and respect each other. I just want to be a good person.

SEVEN: It’s cool to be hanging out with you. My dad told me that he wanted me to meet you after we had breakfast with your dad, so I know for a fact that my dad would be super stoked on this.

SHOTA: It’s been really good hanging out with you too.

SEVEN: Okay. What is the one thing that you want people to remember about your dad?

SHOTA: My dad was a nice guy. He skated and kept it real. In skateboarding, it was his layback, which I still can’t do. I have to start doing yoga or something. Classic Hosoi can even do a layback.

SEVEN: [Laughs] No pressure.

SHOTA: I’ll get it. That will be my goal. What about you? What is the one thing that you want people to remember about your dad?

SEVEN: I want people to remember how my dad was just doing his thing, all raw and uncut. He just wanted to be Jay Adams and he didn’t care what anyone thought. He just loved what he was doing and that was rad to me. Even through his skyrocket to fame, he never forgot who his friends were. He always kept it real. I walk down the boardwalk and there are homeless people out there telling me about how my dad gave them money for food one time and he went with them and made sure they got food and talked to them about God. He got very religious at the end. I want people to remember my dad as a hardcore skater punk dude that was a really good guy and not so much of a punk at the end of his life. He had a heart of gold his whole life. He never forgot anyone. He was always a true friend. Everyone thinks that he was their best friend because he made them feel that way. He was an in the moment dude. That’s how I want my dad to be remembered. This has been a cool way to pay tribute to our dads.

SHOTA: Yeah. It has.

SEVEN: I’m stoked that we got to do this.

SHOTA: Me too. Thank you.

SEVEN: It means a lot to us that we can pay respect to our fathers in a positive way.

SHOTA: Yeah. Now it’s our turn.

FOR THE REST OF THE STORY, ORDER ISSUE #73 AT THE JUICE SHOP…

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