Zered Bassett Makes a Stop in Omaha with Converse Team
By Kyle Eustice
“I never expected to be where I am,” professional skateboarder Zered Bassett says.
The Massachusetts native and New York City transplant has been skating since he was in the single digits, but got sponsored at the age of fourteen. Skating for companies such as Venture, Expedition Skateboards, Red Bull, Converse and Spitfire, Bassett gets to travel the world extensively, something most twenty-somethings never get to do.
“I’ve been to South Africa, Russia, Japan, Australia—a lot of places,” he says. “It changes your outlook on life for sure. I realize that just being healthy and having a place to live is pretty amazing because a lot of people have it really shitty. It’s definitely an eye opener. I try to be a lot nicer to people these days. Some people have it really hard.”
Armed with a different perspective, he’s clearly grown up over the years and approaches skating in a way he never has before. For one, he’s sober, which in the skateboarding world isn’t an easy task. He also paints. (He’s a fan of the occasional white out tag. “Nothing too crazy.”) He’s learned first hand the commonalities between graffiti and skateboarding culture. After all, most people are going to assume if you paint or skate that you’re a drugged up, alcoholic loser.
“I just feel with graffiti and skating, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not just a hobby,” he explains. “I think getting fucked up is considered part of the graffiti lifestyle, which kind of goes along with skating, too. I definitely abused alcohol when I was younger and now I haven’t drank in about two years. I just have a better view on life. It’s hard to travel when a lot of dudes are sitting around in a hotel or waiting for somebody to land a trick, and everyone wants to go grab a beer. Everybody’s drinking so it’s hard. It’s cool if you can handle it. Graffiti, skating and addiction problems seem to go hand in hand. It gives them a bad rap, but it comes with the territory.”
And Bassett has covered plenty of territory. He’s proven himself to be a master of rails, ledges, sculptures, stairs, construction equipment, and nearly every other urban obstacle. He’s most likely to be found skating around Manhattan, dodging the New York City police, but his interactions with the city’s finest aren’t what you’d expect.
“We get hassled a lot,” he says. “Usually people call the cops on us, then the cops show up and they’re like, ‘we don’t give a shit so just maybe walk around the corner and as soon as we leave you can go back to skating again. We just need to act like we’re giving a fuck.’ That’s always pretty funny. It happens every couple months. It just depends on where you’re skating.”
As the 31-year-old Bassett continues on his chosen path as a professional skater, there’s a sense he’s just going to keep getting better. With his head on straight, his focus is razor sharp. Whether it’s graffiti art or skateboarding, he appears to be doing it right.
“I feel as you get better as a writer, you learn what’s going to last and where to paint,” he says. “Certain people give a fuck about their buildings and other people don’t. I just feel like a lot of dudes right now think ‘oh I’m going to write on this car so everyone sees this,’ but it just makes everybody look bad. It just takes that one person that doesn’t know what the fuck they’re doing to make everybody look like shit.”
Converse Skateboarding ‘One Star World Tour’ Pro Meet & Greet / Skateboard Demo, Silo, 517 S. 13th St., 3 p.m. Admission is free. www.silothestore.com
PHOTO CREDIT: JOE HAMMEKE/THRASHER