COCI No. 11
Check Out/Check In: May 1994, Vol. 12, No. 5
Words: Mackenzie Eisenhour
It has been nearly two years since our last Check In with one of the hundreds of skateboarders blessed with a TWS Check Out over the past four decades. By some small act of budgetary benevolence we are back with COCI 11. When I moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 1994, Weston Correa was one of the hottest up-and-comers in the industry. To myself, looking at it from the outside—Weston had it all. He was Lance Mountain’s prodigy pick for The Firm. He skated Courthouse with Jeron Wilson and Guy Mariano one day, then would be at Pioneer with Ray Barbee and Lance the next. He had that “clean basics/white tee/blue jeans/Goldfish-era” style on lock. He was one of the very few during that timeframe who made tech skating (see fakie inward heel to backtail) look very good. He was the first person I saw kickflip the Imperial double set (411 #1 The Firm Industry ender in the summer of ‘93). He even skated to Buffalo Tom. Weston was my favorite. Then he all but vanished.
I had heard various rumors of a knee injury through the years but had never really understood the whole story. As luck would have it, back in 2013 we both had children and began following each other on Instagram through mutual friends. When word came down that we might be able to do a few more of these interviews I immediately reached out to Weston. His Check Out ran in our May 1994 issue with a portrait by Lance Mountain and Courthouse fountain stairs noseslide shot by Chris Ortiz. Lace up your Airwalk Ones and call Stiggy over for a metal mini ramp sesh—here’s Weston’s story.
Hey Weston. Thanks so much for calling back. I don’t think we’ve ever met even though I’ve lived in LA for over 20 years.
What part of LA do you live in?
Just up from the Courthouse in West LA.
Oh Okay. I’m not really out that side much since I had my kids. I’ve been over here in Eagle Rock and Pasadena and Glendale and just back-and-forth to the San Fernando Valley all the time.
I think we had kids around the same time. We followed each other on Instagram I think when we had them.
I see your skating man. Keep it up. That’s motivation right there. How old are you by the way?
I’m 44. You?
I’m 43. So same age bracket.
Do you remember this Check Out coming out?
Yeah. Lance did it all for me. He was my photographer and filmer. He got me in the magazines, got me on Independent Trucks, got me ads and Check Outs and into the 411 videos.
Let’s take it back a bit. Can you break down starting skating to riding for The Firm?
I think I started around age nine. We went to Target looking for the Kamikaze skate deck but my brother and I just got these Jack the Ripper boards. Then we went to Val Surf and saw this Alva demo—Tony Alva was there. We were watching Jeron (Wilson) going off the launch ramp as a little kid. He was a year older than me maybe and had this little freestyle board. But I tripped out on him being able to do it—that made me want to skate.
You and Jeron were buddies early on right?
Yeah. Me, Jeron, and my older brother Willy. Willy is three years older than me. I also have two older sisters that skated. One is four years older and the other is eight years older and they both skated and their boyfriends would leave their skateboards in the front and my brother and I would just grab those. That was kind of how we started. Just pushing around on our knees.
Then you saw Jeron?
Yeah. I was amazed. I couldn’t even go off a launch ramp yet and he was already doing 360 saran wraps and Judos. I was just like, “How is he doing that!?” It was tripping me out. You know when you first see skateboarding. I saw Guy Mariano at another Val Surf demo and he did the 360 saran wraps too. That was like the trick. I also saw John Thomas ollie up the loading dock there. It was super high. Like higher than the Courthouse stage. I just tripped out. Like “What dude!?” It was like magic to me. Another time we were driving around with my family and I saw Ray Barbee and Danny Way at a demo. It was the same feeling. I just had to do what they were doing. I was never good by the way. I felt like I was never good at skateboarding. But I think after doing it a lot you start to get the hang of it. But I do think some other people are just talented right away and are naturals.
Weston’s 411 Wheels of Fortune from Issue 4 (Feb./March 1994)
Sometimes the naturals end up quitting sooner because there’s no challenge while the guys that work at it end up sticking with it.
That’s true. Those good guys—I would get so bummed when they quit.
What was your first sponsor?
It was called Valley Skate & Surf. It was right down the street from Val Surf and it was mostly rollerskates and even rollerblades when they came out. The shop was actually pretty awesome. I remember seeing Janet Jackson in there buying rollerblades and then I saw Lance Mountain skate a demo there on this super skinny vert ramp in the front. They wanted him to do a Mctwist on this crazy narrow ramp and then Jeron just pulled the launch ramp across the street and we all skated that. Eventually we all wanted to get on Val Surf but it was hard to get on.
How did you end up finally meeting Lance?
Well, what happened was my brother had this friend named Dave Dillmar. And the Dillmar family opened their own shop called Railslide in Reseda. This guy that worked at that shop named Brian Kagari then started Blue Alliance Skateshop in Chatsworth. Jeron and I had met Ethan Fowler at Railslide. He was really good already. Ethan Fowler is one of the best skateboarders I’ve ever seen. Ever since he was little. So the Blue Alliance team was me, Jeron, and Ethan—and we would win all these contests, like the Powell Skatezone contests as our shop team. We were trying to be the next up-and-comers (laughs). Then after those shops finally closed, Val Surf was still there—I can’t even remember how I finally got on. I started working there too.
What was your first board sponsor?
Eddie Reategui. He got me on Public Skateboards, which was out of New School (the re-branded Alva Skates). I was on the team with Chet Thomas.
Did you get on after that ’92 video they put out? I think it was New School and Public and it had like Fred Gall?
Yeah, I wasn’t in that video. They put that out and then I got on. Fred Gall—his footage back then was so amazing. I loved all his Tracker stuff too. He was like the East Coast Guy Mariano to me back then.
How did Reategui decide to put you on?
It was like this, (Christian) Hosoi grabbed Ethan and Jeron for SK8 Culture. I never thought I was that good to be honest. I wanted to be sponsored and Reategui grabbed me for Public and Eddie always skated with Hosoi so I still got to skate with Jeron and Ethan. It was like we were all one big team except they were with Sk8 Culture and I was with Public. Then Sk8 Culture became Milk I think.
I didn’t even realize Jeron and Ethan had ridden for Hosoi Sk8 Culture. That’s rad.
Yeah, then it became Milk. I remember those Milk shirts with the little Lakai looking logo. Basically Skate Master Tate picked us up one day and drove us to Hosoi’s house and we stayed over for the weekend there. It was crazy. I’m skating with Eddie and Hosoi and Hosoi had the vert ramp with a Jacuzzi on the platform. He could skate and then jump in his Jacuzzi (laughs).
This was the famous Hollywood mansion Hosoi had right? The W.C. Fields house with the vert ramp from Mark and JLee in Video Days?
Yeah, in Hollywood. Like right above that Pioneer Chicken stand where Rudy does the Cab back tail in the Blind video (Note: Also the Pioneer Chicken stand from Warren Zevon’s song Carmelita). I would always go down to skate that curb while I was at Hosoi’s. It was like right across the street on the hill. That was like a dream come true for me and that was before I even met Lance really.
Hosoi was still huge right then.
Yeah, he and the guys like Eric Dressen. They had that style that just made us go, “Whoa, we wanna skate like that.”
How did Public with Hosoi and Reategui turn into you riding for The Firm?
Keith Gruber of the Gruber brothers (Joe and Keith) worked at Blue Alliance skateshop. He brought me and Jeron to Lance’s. Right around that time Jeron met Tim Gavin. I was hella jealous because Jeron got on Blind (laughs). Lance wanted to be a part of all of it. He wanted Guy (Mariano) on The Firm. We wanted to do The Firm with the same vibe as Blind. Lance was friends with Mark (Gonzales) and everything was happening all at the same time. The way it all turned out was Jeron went to Blind. I wanted him on The Firm. All these people were going to get on The Firm that in the end never got on. It ended up being the Grubers, and Keith Gruber got me on.
Were you on when that first The Firm video (La Buena Vida, 1992) came out or when they were filming for that? I always loved that video.
I was getting boards by then—just the blank logo boards with The Firm flame.
I loved that early Firm stuff. That logo too. I had the first Lance board.
The first time I saw Lance and Ray (Barbee) at the Powell Skatezone with The Firm stuff on I thought it looked so cool. Then I saw Henry (Sanchez) at EMB skating with The Firm collared shirt on. He had the striped one. I was tripping. Like, “Is Henry gonna get on?” Because Lance was friends with him too and had been talking to him. All I could think was I had to get on The Firm. When I saw Henry wearing it I couldn’t believe it.
So a lot of big names were almost on that first Firm team?
Yeah. It just came down to who Lance chose. Even James (Qua). I would skate with James at Glendale High School with Jeron. That’s where we met. And he was always killing the ledges at Glendale so we picked him too. Pat Brennen (RIP) was on. Ray and Lance of course. I think there might have been other Powell guys too who almost got on. I was just blessed to know Keith Gruber or I would probably never have hung out with Lance.
The Firm, Industry Section, 411 Issue 1 (1993)
When was the day you met?
Keith and Joe brought me to Lance’s house and we skated that metal mini ramp in the backyard. I wish I could have skated that vert ramp next door. I would always look over there and imagine the Mountain Manor ramp like, “Man, it was right there.” His parents lived next door and we could go to the upstairs part, but I was always walking down those stairs imagining the vert ramp there. I wish I got to skate that like we got to skate Hosoi’s.
Did you guys have some vert tricks?
Jeron did. Jeron could do backside airs. I did one too but landed hella flat. Like he landed in the middle kind of. When you do a backside air it’s hard to land near the top of the lip. But I just had the basics like 50-50, rock fakie, fakie rock. It’s scary. You pick up so much speed coming back in, getting speed wobbles and all that stuff. At Hosoi’s, I was really nervous too just being there too.
I wanted to ask, while The Firm was sort of taking shape, for myself watching from the outside, it seemed like you were kind of their prodigy like Guy was for Girl. I always wondered if you had been approached by some of those brands.
I don’t even know if it’s true or not. I don’t know who I could ask to say if this is true or not but Plan B—at one point, I met Mike Ternasky right before he passed away, almost a day before. It was in Canada. I’m not saying I was going to ride for Plan B but it was one of the teams I wanted to ride for because they were super big when they came out. I think it was right when Pat Channita got on. I would have been so down to ride for Plan B straight up. But I couldn’t ever leave my situation because Lance had done everything for me. I would have never left The Firm. I could never do that to Lance. Just because you blow up and are one of the popular skaters at the time, it’s kind of whack to just diss the dude that got you to that point. He’s Lance Mountain. I mean to me it’s Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero.
Going back to the Check Out, you said that “Mysterio” was actually Ray Barbee. He wrote it?
Yeah. Ray would always do little things, like Ray picked the song for my part in the video too. I would always ask Ray for help with things and on the Check Out text I think he just forgot to put his name. It was just about to be published and they didn’t know who wrote it so they just put “Mysterio.”
Lance shot the portrait by the freeway and Chris Ortiz shot the Courthouse noseslide?
Yeah, Chris Ortiz. I always thought Chris Ortiz and Lance did 411 (laughs). I thought they did the whole thing. I didn’t even know who Josh Friedberg was. I thought Ortiz ran it. He has always been a really great photographer. Ortiz is the man.
Weston’s part from The Firm Video (1994)
On the 411 tip, I was a huge fan of your Wheels of Fortune part. I was into that band Buffalo Tom right then too and I loved it. Was that just a 411 pick? Are you going to burst my childhood bubble?
Yeah, they chose that (laughs). I always wanted some hip-hop in my parts (laughs). Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul—I would say put that or jazz because I wanted to be on that Mark Gonzales tip. Jazz song or hip-hop. But I love that Buffalo Tom song. It reminded me of the songs that Lance would choose for The Firm videos.
Did you get to choose where the footage went?
I did actually get to choose some of that stuff. I chose what I think was my better footage for 411. And then my plan was to get more stuff for The Firm video. But I always knew 411—like everybody watched that then. I got to choose every trick for that. For The Firm video, Lance would let us write down the order we wanted our tricks to be in. It was so natural—just skating with your homies and you’re all part of the same company.
Was it a knee injury somewhere along the line that started limiting your filming?
Oh man. I could tell you this story. Man, nobody knows. Here goes. I had a knee surgery, or just some water taken out. I was skating this one rail in Pasadena one night, just doing a caveman. Landed it first try then did it again and jumped off. Landed on my feet but I guess my ACL just blew out. It was just weird. Like I knew I needed to do big tricks like rails and all that stuff. I could have come back from it. But I had another knee surgery when I turned 17 or 18. Like right when Lance turned me pro. At that point too, the responsibilities in my life were starting to grow too. I had a situation with my sister living with me. She is bi-polar and she was going through an episode. I had to be there, they were going on a trip to Texas to do a demo. It was basically, if I don’t go to the demo, but I had to be there for my sister.
Just an impossible situation?
It was just gnarly. I kind of had to just quit skating. I still skate, I still skated. But I had to quit the sponsored life. But I still always skated every day of my life for fun. There was never another team other than Girl or Chocolate that was on The Firm level to me.
Girl/The Firm/Chocolate Tour, 411 Roadtrip Section, Issue 8 Oct./Nov. 1994
I did have a question about that, Lance was close with Rick and Guy and you guys had that 411 tour together with the Coolio song. Was there ever talk of you guys joining forces?
Lance said no. I was in the van with Meza and James Qua.
Lance said no to you riding for Girl?
No. Lance said no to The Firm being a part of Girl.
Oh wow, like putting The Firm under Crailtap distribution?
He just said that it didn’t fit the image. The Firm didn’t fit the same image as the Girl riders at the time. I don’t know his whole opinion on it but I just personally thought it would have been so sick then. We went on the tour together and then Rick asked Lance.
Everybody loved that tour.
Dude I was so bummed on Lance after, like, “Lance dude, oh man” (laughs). Like we could all make videos together. You could ask them their opinion on it but my opinion was I was bummed. All this new stuff happened after we got back from tour. Mike Carroll wasn’t on that tour. So I don’t even know if Mike Carroll wanted The Firm dudes. I don’t know everybody’s opinion. But I know Rick was down.
There’s always a different story depending who you ask.
Yeah, you get everybody’s angle. My angle at this point—all these years later—is just that I’m thankful. It was like a dream. The first video I saw was Bones Brigade Video Show. And now I’m skating with Lance.
In the ’99 TWS Photo Annual you kind of came back with that sick backside flip photo by Blabac over the couch. I always thought that was rad just as a fan who wondered where you went.
That was so sick. You know why? We were actually there for Jeron’s photo (front heel). I was just there skating with them that day. They were in the car ready to go, like, “All right, later!” And I was still skating. So he (Blabac) shot that photo from the car (laughs). I landed a few of them but I’m not sure I landed the one he shot. It was like that black tar ground where you kind of stick. But we used to blast off of that thing like a launch ramp every since we were little kids. It was in the back of a grocery store in Sylmar I believe.
When you had sort of stopped being pro, was there an official meeting or anything with Lance or did it just slowly fade away?
Oh no, I was still trying to make it work. I tried to go down to The Firm when it was at Birdhouse [Blitz Distribution based in Huntington Beach was run by Tony Hawk and Per Welinder in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s and housed Birdhouse, The Firm, Baker, Flip, Hook Ups and more]. I tried to drive down there once and got a flat tire on the freeway. Changed it myself and got to Birdhouse (Blitz) and everyone was just sort of like, “Oh, hey Weston Correa.” But it just felt like, “Man, nobody wanted me on The Firm no more.” I was done. That was how it felt. Unless I came with some footage. But the only person I ever filmed with was Lance. I didn’t really ever have another filmer. I had Victor Vasquez filming for a little bit. He might still have some stuff I never used from his 60/40 days.
When did you have kids?
Around 2013. That changed my life. I’ve been sober since then. Got sober when my daughter was born. No more beers or any of that stuff. If I ever did drink and go hang out with the homies or something it would be bad news. I turn into a fucking idiot. I had some good times, but I think that’s what was great about having children for me. It saved my life. My dad also passed away during that time and I was going through a downward spiral of my knee, then my dad. But the truth is a lot of people have had knee surgery. A lot of people have had injuries. There are people out there skating with no legs, so on some level it’s just like, “Come on man.” I just had to get out of that depression. When I had my kids it just helped me focus better on all that.
You have a boy and a girl, how old?
My son is seven and my daughter is five.
Mine are eight and six. We are on a similar path.
Did you ever have any sponsors growing up? Let me ask you. I see you ripping on Instagram.
(Laughs) No. I think what happened to me is I never fully invested myself in it. I went to high school, was skating throughout, came out to UCLA for college, started right into working after that. I never really considered giving my skating a chance. Like putting it before everything. Then this pandemic happened and I just started skating every day.
Are you doing the Zoom school like me at home?
God yes. We’ve spent a year now being teachers’ assistants. I think that’s why I have to skate when I have breaks. I’d go nuts otherwise.
That has been an experience. I have to watch what I say on there because I still cuss all the time (Laughs).
Oh man, I’ve done that one. My son will actually try to trick me and unmutes his audio secretly then tries to get me to yell at him in front of his whole class.
(Laughs) You got to keep an eye on them to make sure they’re doing their work.
I think when all is said and done we will have lived a pretty unique parenting experience.
Yeah, I think one good thing is that almost every kid will have experienced this moment. All of us had to deal with it no matter where we were in this world.
It’s true. We sort of all had a shared experience. And we got to spend a lot of time with our kids.
Exactly. I just take it one day at a time.
Big thanks to Weston for taking the time to do this. Salute to Lance Mountain and all The Firm vets. RIP Pat Brennen. Stay tuned for more COCIs.
Keep up with Weston on Instagram: @westoncorrea
Follow me for more skate nerdery on Instagram: @deadhippie