Bucky Lasek Interview
Born on December 3, 1972 in Baltimore, Maryland, Bucky’s real name is Charles. Starting skateboarding in 1984, he has listed his occupation as pro skateboarder (vertical) since 1990 whenever he fills out a form. Bucky’s biggest trophies include 12 X Games medals, six of which are gold. He usually places in the top five at any contest he enters, making him one of the top contenders in Tony Hawk’s post-competitive era. Speaking of the Bird, Bucky was also a character in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series of video games. In addition to skateboarding, Bucky also enjoys racing rally cars professionally. Above all of this, his proudest achievement is being a dedicated husband and father.—GSD
When and how did you start skateboarding?
I was 12 years old. I was at a mall near my aunt’s house, and while I was inside, someone stole my bike. I figured if I could take my transportation with me inside, that was most logical. So, I asked for a skateboard for Christmas, and my friend Charlie got a Lester. All we did was street skate and do slappies on curbs and Boneless Ones off of driveway bumps. After about a month, we met other skaters and ended up skating hours and hours a day.
Describe your first good skateboard.
It was a Steve Caballero complete with Trackers and maybe a Lapper.
When and how did you get your first set of Trackers?
I went to a Powell-Peralta demo in Baltimore, where Tony Hawk and Mike McGill saw me skating and asked if I’d like to skate for Powell one day. Stacy Peralta spoke with me, too, and said I had to quit Skull Skates before they could send me anything. I did and they did. That same week, I got a box of trucks from the Tracker team manager, Bryan Ridgeway. I was 14 years old at the time.
How did you get on the Tracker team?
I heard Stacy, Hawk and McGill all spoke to Ridge, and that was good enough. I think I got the Tracker trucks before the Powell stuff, actually. I can’t be sure. It was fast, though.
Which Tracker truck models did you ride?
I rode Sixtracks, Quicktracks, B52s and Hawks.
Tell us about your favorite Tracker ads.
I spent a lot of time with Tony, so I always liked anything with him skating. I liked the ads with a series of comments about why we rode Trackers. They were funny and pretty true, actually.
During your time on Trackers, What stood out about their performance?
They were so stable, and any adjustment I made remained, so I knew what I would get run after run. They were strong. I could ride the same pair forever, but I gave my old ones to my friends who couldn’t afford new gear. I hated new cushions, though, because they took a long time to wear in just right.
Tell us about a couple of memorable times with the Tracker team.
I just remember traveling to contests and seeing someone from Tracker every time. As a little teenager, it really meant a lot to have someone looking out for you when you went to new locations. Everyone who ever showed up was just the coolest. Ridge, Chris Carter and Keith Lenhar all were just cool! Maybe we connected more since they were from the East, too. I just knew support meant a lot then, and looking back, I’m glad I realized it then. I had great times filming videos, because they would come film back East instead of me having to go to California.
Tell us a couple of crazy stories from road trips.
I was staying at Ridge’s place with Dom Kekich and his brother from Australia, and we were driving back from McGill’s skatepark in the dark. A spider went up Dom’s brother’s leg, and he screamed, “Spider up mmmmmeeeeeeee leg! Spider up mmmmmeeeeeeee leg!” He was going crazy in the back seat. 🙂 At an NSA district qualifier in Virginia Beach one year, I was on the deck with Ridge talking through my line. He said how funny would it be, despite all of the crazy tricks I had, to fall while dropping in, which was something that had never happened in a contest. We both laughed hard at the prospect of the silliness. I dropped into my run, made it three quarters of the way through, and then bailed on a trick. I ran back to the top of the deck to finish, then dropped in and fell! I looked up at the deck to see Ridge with his mouth wide open. Neither of us could believe it! We laughed for days. I think I got dead last. At another contest, Omar Hassan and I got locked out of our rooms and no one would let us come into theirs. They kept opening doors, but by the time we got to any open door, they shut them on us.
Why was Tracker so important in the history of skateboarding?
I can just speak about how it was important to me to have the support and the product, and to know all I had to do was skate. They cared about how I did, they cared about my mom, and they took the time to come to Baltimore and spend time with me on my turf. They also had a lot of my favorite skateboarders on the same team, so they had that history. The older I get, the more I realize who came before me, and tons of them had connections to Tracker, as well—product, riders and support over years and years.
Which skaters inspired you the most? Why?
Tony Hawk the most. The way he was always coming up with something new and fresh gave me so much reason to want to learn new stuff. Staying with him helped me a bunch, too. That’s mostly where I stayed in California. There are plenty of others, but he had the biggest impact on me. When I won my first contest, I’ll never forget him saying, “What took you so long?” Danny Way pushed me, too. We were on the same team, Powell, when we were little, so we pushed each other.
What have been the highlights of your time in skateboarding?
Seeing the world while doing the thing I love. My three kids and beautiful wife being in my life. X Games giving vert another shot in the arm. All of the people I’ve met, skated with and worked with over the years. Being in Hawk’s video games and doing my best in events over the years. I had a rough go for a while with injuries and a lack of sponsors believing in me, but I always believed in myself. At age 40 last year, I won all of the major events. I always got a text from Ridge before and after events, through thick and thin, even though neither of us are with Tracker. That says something right there.
What are you up to today?
I have a bowl at my house that I skate and have charity events at. I drive a rally car and am sponsored by Puma and Subaru. I alternate races with skateboard contests series. I help raise my three daughters.
Thanks to Tracker for all of the support, meals, couches, trucks and, in general, great times during the best of years. You never forget the ones who stood behind you in the beginning.