Lester Kasai – Juice Magazine State of Skate Interview

Name:  Lester Kasai
Hometown:  Anaheim, California
Age:  49
Sponsors:  Madrid, Theeve, Type-S, Rockers Bearings, S-One, 187, SoCal Skate Shop, Hurley, Black Flys, OMSA, Osiris flow.

What set-up are you riding right now?
8.5 Madrid Lester Oak Leaf deck, Theeve Titanium trucks, Type-S Lester wheels, Flypaper grip, Rockers Lester signature 6-ball bearings and Pig rails.

What’s the most fun DIY, skater-built or renegade spot that you’ve skated lately?
That would be the Flora Bowl in my wife’s home base of Hamburg, Germany. It’s a DIY skate spot behind the famous squatted Rote Flora Theatre.

Have you ever built something to skate?
I built a quarter pipe at the end of my driveway, when I was 12. It had two sheets of plywood nailed to a Black & Decker vise top portable workbench. I nailed a cut-off broomstick at the top of the transition for coping. It was so rad, but hilarious at the same time.

Who do you like to skate with lately?
I mostly skate Vans Huntington Beach with a few local rippers, Rob Gonzales and Eddie Anaya, and I skate with Lonny Hiramoto and Daniel Cuervo.

Best skate graphic you’ve seen lately?
Steve Olson Dogtown deck.

Best thing you’ve skated in a skatepark?
The “Washboard” at Winchester Skatepark during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. It had 3 or 4 concrete pump bumps leading to a 30 or so foot wide, maybe 8-feet high concrete, kind of bowled quarter with no coping. The speed you could generate was insane. I could skate that thing all day long.

Favorite skateboarders of all time?
Neil Blender, Pedro Barros and Kiko Francisco.

Is there anything that hasn’t been built to skate yet that you’d like to see built?
Snake run full pipes, or has it been built already and no one told me?

Best road trip you ever took?
East Coast Tracker Tour in the ‘80s.

Any skate-related charities you support?
In the last few years, many in our skate community have been passing away and getting cancer. In that time, I’ve attended several skate-related fundraisers to help support our skate family members. I have to say, the whole skate community is amazing and really steps up when one of us is in need. I definitely have to give props to Mike Rogers and the fantastic job he’s doing with Grind For Life, which helps to assist cancer patients.

What music have you been listening to?
When I skate, I listen to punk like The Clash, the Ramones, DEVO and Agent Orange. When I’m chilling, I listen to Bob Marley, HAPA or Bruddah IZ.

What do you consider the responsibilities of a professional skateboarder?
To inspire and support people to have fun on a skateboard no matter what their age or skill level.

Which skate shops do you support?
SoCal Skateshop has a super cool crew running the place and they have just about everything. I’ve bought stuff from Identity and Vans before too.

Favorite skate photo of all time?
Well, one of my favorite photos is of Brad Bowman doing a frontside ollie at the Marina skatepark “Dog Bowl Pro” in Skateboarder Magazine in 1979 shot by Ted Terrebonne.

What’s your take on girls skateboarding?
I think girls riding skateboards is cool. My wife, Insa, skates with me sometimes. I go to watch the Girls Combi Pool Classic every year and it’s an amazing event. My friend, Amelia Brodka, made a sick documentary on women’s skateboarding called Underexposed. Amelia also holds an annual all-female skateboarding event called Exposure.

What skateboarding memorabilia do you have that means the most to you?
I have an original fiberglass Neil Blender coffee break board from the ‘80s.

Who contributes the most to your local skate scene?
I would have to say Hosoi, Hiramoto, Dave Duncan and Jim Gray are always giving back to the local skate community. Of course, Steve Van Doren has contributed so much to my local skate scene by having two amazing skateparks and organizing insane skateboarding events.

Top three favorite skate tricks?
Carving, frontside grinds and frontside ollies are my favorites.

Do you think skateboarding should be in the Olympics?
I’ve heard some concern about how skateboarding will be represented in the Olympics. I’m always that dude that says the more the merrier. If someone is going to have fun, why not? It should work out one way or another.

What is your proudest moment in skateboarding so far?
That would have to be watching my one-year-old son, Keenu, stand on a skateboard as he smiles back at me.

Lester_Kasai-RayRae_Goldman This is how a method air is supposed to be done, flared and flying. Lester keeps tradition alive in Venice Beach. Photo by Ray Rae Goldman.


When we started Juice Magazine 22 years ago, you could count the number of skateparks on one hand and grindable pool coping was mostly a distant memory. Now there are thousands of skateparks all over the world, along with a vast quantity of DIY spots built to skate. In 1993, the majority of skateboarders listened to punk rock or hip hop exclusively. Now skateboarders listen to almost every kind of sound created. Two decades ago, skateboarding related charities were non-existent. Today, there are numerous non-profits giving back to skateboarding in many ways. One of the most important differences between now and then is that, 22 years ago, there was a clear division between old school and new school skateboarding. Now that wall of separation has followed the same path as the Berlin Wall, allowing for an unprecedented unification of skateboarders all over the globe. Great strides have been made for girls that skate as well as the acceptance of skate history and long overdue recognition for skateboarding’s pioneers and its artifacts. At the same time, the current generation of skateboarders is taking skateboarding to new heights, previously unimaginable. As the landscape of the skateboarding industry changes on a daily basis, and the topic of skateboarding in the Olympics rears its head once again, along with the disturbing subject of who controls skateboarding being tossed about by corporate entities, we decided it was time to take a good look at the State of Skate. We asked 20 questions to 100 skateboarders, ages 8 to 58, and found that skateboarding is as diverse as the skateboarders that are addicted to it, no one controls skateboarding except skateboarders, and the State of Skate is savage and strong. Now get out there and skate tough!

JUICE MAGAZINE STATE OF SKATE features interviews with 100 skateboarders including: Tony Alva, Dave Hackett, Chris Strople, Duane Peters, Steve Olson, Dave Duncan, Steve Alba, Tony Magnusson, Pat Black, Jesse Martinez, Bill Danforth, Jim Murphy, Ric Widenor, Lester Kasai, Glen Charnoski, Bryan Pennington, Peter Furnee, Jeremiah Risk, Ryan Smith, Jason Jessee, Omar Hassan, Cam Dowse, Jen O’Brien, Depth Leviathan Dweller, Brett Roper, Travis Beattie, Chris Gentry, CW Dunn, Chris Albright, Charlie Wilkins, Cairo Foster, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, BJ Morrill, Dr. Lenore L.A. Sparks, Sid Melvin, Jesse Irish, Packy Fancher, Greg Lutzka, Jimmy Larsen, Adam Dyet, Luis Tolentino, Greg Harbour, Frank Faria, Ryan DeCenzo, Dave Bachinsky, Johnny Turgesen, Casey Meyer, Edward Sanchez, David Gravette, Ben Hatchell, Brian Geib, Felipe Gouveia, Eric Santos, Kyle Smith, Cameron Revier, Josh Stafford, Justin Grubbs, Etienne Eden Archila, Sanzio Piacentini, Josh Elder, Eddie “Mighty” Moreno, Kevin Kowalski, Otto Pflanz, Jeremy Smith, Adam Wiggins, Jimmy Wilkins, Danny Gordon, Jake Hilbish, Corey Blanchette, Adam Legassie, Nick Santos, Trey Rounds, Curren Caples, Justyce Tabor, Andy Anderson, Sarah Thompson, Coral Guerrero, Collin Graham, Derek Scott, Ace Pelka, Sonny Rodriguez, Jarren Duke, Mikayla Sheppard, CJ Titus, Noah Schott, Emily Earring, Julian Torres, Wyatt Wisenbaker, Josh Forsberg, Nathan Midgette, Roman Pabich, Yago Dominguez, Jack Winburn, Jonas Carlsson, Kiko Francisco, Bryce Ava Wettstein, Desmond Shepherd, Matty Jessee and Luke Kahler.


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Juice is an interview magazine featuring skateboarding, surfing, art and music. Since 1993, Juice has been independently owned and dedicated to the core. Juice Magazine specializes in coverage of core skateboarders, surfers, musicians, skatepark builders, artists, photographers, rock n roll, metal, hardcore, pools, pipes & punk rock. Keep Skateboarding A Crime.
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