Looking Back at Look Left: Behind the Scenes with the Traffic Team

During the long, long journey towards the completion of a full length skate video, a lot of stories that get written along the way end up going untold. And although the polished and manicured video piece at the end of the process is what everybody wants to see, sometimes the experiences the skaters have along the way are just as intriguing. We caught up with nearly the entire Traffic team to hear some behind the scenes stories from the process of working on the video. So let’s get the full experience from the skaters themselves, in their own words….

Luke, Ricky, and Pat: Manhattan / Photo: Stewart

“On one of our filming trips down to D.C. We ended up at a spot about an hour before our bus was supposed to leave back to NYC. I was watching the time and yelling, “Ok, last try!” over and over. Eventually we got the clip, and jumped in the car. We sped all the way to the bus station, magically somehow we made it. So Luke and I are last to board, there’s only two seats left, Luke snagged the first one and of course the only empty seat left was next to a psychopath. I can smell the Wild Turkey as I sit down, I quickly realize he’s talking to multiple imaginary people while informing me he’s the “Road Runner.” Which also means every 3-5 minutes you would randomly hear him shout, “Beep Beep!” At one point he got up to pee and fell out of the bathroom with his pants around his ankles while simulatneously trying to fight me. I dodge all that and try to move but there’s no other seat available. Eventually I sit on the floor in the handicap area until the bus driver makes me move. Finally, we arrive at a rest stop! Needless to say, Luke and I found a seat together and just waited to see who would get stuck with the Road Runner. Sure enough right when we pull out of the rest stop I hear a, “Beep Beep” and a person yelling. I’m not sure who got the unlucky seat but they didn’t even last 10 minutes. The bus driver pulls over and threatens the Road Runner, surprisingly the threats worked, or so we thought. As we got closer you could see the Manhattan skyline in the distance and then you heard some shuffeling and arguing getting louder and louder... “Beep BEEP!!” and another fight broke out. That was it. Bus driver pulled over, Cop lights appear, and that was the end of the road for the Road Runner.” - Pat Stiener

Ricky Oyola: Broad Street / Photo: Stewart

“I trekked up to NYC the weekend before the premiere to get some last minute clips for the video. After an enjoyable Sat afternoon in the city streets I came up short of an accomplished trick. Its been a long time since I’ve had to deal with the mental circus of trying to accomplish something in front of the lens. Being in the middle of the street, my domain, has been lacking in my life. Spending the nighttime with the crew was equally enjoyable but Sunday came and went without a usable clip. I couldnt get it started which made me feel extremely disappointed so I set it up to take a day off from work and make a day trip for that coming Tuesday.

With a new setup and fresh legs Pat and Josh navigated us to some possibilities. First stop was a random pole jam that Pat just happened to come across a day before. Unfortunately it was a scorching hot day in Brooklyn but we did not have the luxury of time. I started with a smile and ended with a smile, but the in between was an emotional rollercoaster. Being stoked that I allowed myself to commit to the f/s boardslide up the pole in the first place I only set myself up with more fun in the sun.

After a few more ideas that didnt work out we randomly ran into Aaron Herrington who ironically suggested a spot that Josh mentioned earlier. So it seemed like it had to happen.

We get to the spot, but have to wait 2 hours for the cafe to close before we could get started. We had funny discussions and some beers to kill the time but we were committed to at least give it a go. In a bizarre twist the woman we were waiting for to lock up and leave finally finished and walked to a bar literally next door. Oddly enough, this little bar packs the house on a Tuesday night. Jazz night apparently brings out all the peeps in this quiet Park Slope block. We sent Pat in to scope the whereabouts of the woman and he emerged with the go ahead stating that no one in the bar could hear a thing happening outside. Mission accomplished.

I got home way later than I anticipated but the memories we created will be with me forever. Back in my everyday skating days I probably would of took the day for granted but in my current affairs I cherished that day. You always want more as a skateboarder and that will never escape you.” - Ricky Oyola

George Hanuschak: Back Tail / Photo: Myles

“I blew my knee out at the end of Summer 2016 (broken thigh cartilage and smaller MCL/ACL issues) but wasn’t able to schedule surgery until the day before Thanksgiving. Between August and November I rehabbed my knee enough to be able to skate a little bit and then started to try and film again before surgery. It was tricky because my knee stamina wouldn’t last long so I couldn’t really warm up or push my skating.

I had already gotten the metal guard ramp boardslide and wanted to get it frontside on the other side of the building. I got close during the day a couple times but we kept getting kicked out because the guards hate you skating those things. I decided to try again on a weeknight so I picked up my buddy Smalls straight from work and we headed to the Dept. of Health and Human Services aka the welfare banks. It was just another Tuesday in DC, except that it was also election night making most of the city a ghost town.

I think holidays and any big event that captures the ethos of a city can help you get time at skate spots because people are usually home or distracted, and this session played out the same. We were able to get time and I landed the frontboard which is the last trick in my Look Left section. I was so psyched! I went home and ordered a pizza with my girlfriend, who thought I was out shooting photos (I had been hiding that I was skating on my bum knee before surgery). We watched the election results come in and it was bittersweet to realize this would also be the same night Donald Trump was elected President.” - George Hanuschak

Kevin Coakley: Back Tail / Photo: Collins

“Yeah, so basically this back tail was one of my first Brixton ads about 6 years ago, I tried for a while, and came super close, landing but falling off. A couple times, I got stuck at the top and flew down the stairs and just ate shit. I had to give up at one point but we had the photo and Brixton was down to run it. I knew I still had to go back and land it though. So I went back two more times after that, and I couldn’t get it. It just kept getting harder and harder each time.

Now years later, I just filmed a whole part for the upcoming Traffic video and it was getting towards the end but that trick was still in my head. “What if I go back and try it again. I’ve been doing my yoga I’m in a better space mentally, my skating feels good, it might be different this time.” I was like fuck it, we have one more trip, one more weekend to film before the deadline. After a bunch of tries, one of them just worked. I couldn’t believe that I was rolling away. Even days after I was like, “Did I actually do that?” That was the last little thing I needed to get for my Traffic part and my life, like mentally.

I always want to land the trick if it gets ran as a photo. Some people have certain views on photos like it doesn’t matter if you land it or not, but I think you have to land it. I’m happy now that the footage will come out, even though it’s years later but it will be cool because I went back and I did it, I didn’t completely like write it off.

I actually had a dream, too. Weeks before we went there, I had a dream I landed it and rolled away and this was like before I booked the trip. I was like, “Fuck I have to try it now that I dreamt that I rolled away from it.”” - Kevin Coakley

Chris Teta: Backside 5-0 / Photo: Stewart

“The whole filming process was a good time. But there are two clips that come to mind mostly. One clip is a 50-50 at night on a kinked hubba. That spot is in Annapolis, Maryland. I grew up right outside of Annapolis so I was really hyped to have a clip from that zone where I grew up skating. Another clip is a kickflip manual. My Baltimore friends and I took a random day trip to a few towns in Pennsylvania. We ended up in Reading, PA and randomly saw this spot at a liquor store. Basically half of a bowl with a manny pad in the middle of it. The liquor store was open and my buddy went inside while I was filming. The lady working said she usually kicks people out immediately but I looked determined so she let me skate. Good times.” - Chris Teta

Luke Malaney: Pole Jam / Photo: Collins

“I would have to say being on the Toronto trip with Ricky and everyone else was rad! The guys at Blue Tile skate shop in Toronto hit up Pat and they wanted to do an article in King Shit. We drove from New York, stayed in Albany for a weekend, hung out with Trevor (Culley) from Seasons, and drove up to Toronto. It was a good crew in the van - me, Pat, Brendan Carroll, Coakley, Brian Clarke was a guest on the trip, Joe Bressler was filming, Joe Yates met up with us, and it was one of my first times being with Ricky, so that was amazing. He’s hilarious.

“Everyone in Canada is super friendly, and Toronto kind of reminds me of New York a little bit in terms of its variety throughout the city. We kind of didn’t get the best stuff, skating-wise, just because the weather was on-and-off, and we might have partied a little too much, whatever. One of our last nights in Toronto, we ended up at some wild house party, good way to end the trip. Ricky can dance. It was just a good time. That one sticks out for sure.” - Luke Malaney

Hiroki Muraoka: Ollie / Photo: Shinsaku

“My favorite clip would be the 50-50 up the ledge 180 into the banked rails. It was super tough because you have to land perfect onto the iron rails to get back down. The one I landed was also last try because the Police just showed up. I was so stoked rolling away I high fived the Police man.” - Hiroki Muraoka