Checking In With Fred Olande – Interview With Europeskate

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from one Fred Olande letting me know that I had spelled his name wrong in one of the articles I had written a while back. No big deal so I checked it out.

Wait a second I said – the same Fred Olande from way back in the 90’s? Oh yeah, the vert rat who rode for companies like H-Street and New Deal Skateboards which left a huge impression on skateboarding, paving the way to where we are today. Fred had some serious skills which he put to the test especially in halfpipes and I can bet that some of these tricks haven’t been done in a while by any pro, that’s how tough some of his tricks were.

After getting the spelling right with Fred’s name, he even answered some questions for us. Sorry for the lack of pictures in this interview – can you guess who he’s hanging out with in the picture above? Make sure you watch the video so you can see how good he was already 20 years ago!

Fred, give us a little history lesson about yourself. When did you get started with skateboarding and when did you skate for which companies?

I started skating after I seen the first bones brigade video in 86 and just like everyone else I just skated with friends and decided to build a ramp. I called a few companies to get sponsored and then I talked to George Wilson of Z Boyz and I told them I had a ramp and the next weekend most of their team came down from LA and they just wanted to ride my ramp but ended up liking the way I skated so after that I was on their team and that was in 87. After I was a Z boy I rode for Blockhead and then Santa Cruz and then H-Street and my last team was The New Deal.

Who were you skating with back then and who were the big names for you?

I skated with Danny Way and Peter Hewitt quite a bit. Peter would come down to my ramp in Imperial Beach and we would skate all weekend long when we were in High School. In 1987 we had a little contest in my backyard and that is when I met Danny Way. He won the contest in the backyard and I took 3rd out of 5 people and from then on we became friends. As far as later on the next few years the big names were Jordan Richter, Brent Schneider, Alphonso Rawls, Matt Moffett, Sean Andrew, Derek Williams, Bucky Laskek, So many people to name.

Traveling and skateboarding go hand in hand – where did you get to go and what was one the most memorable experiences?

When I first was on Z when I was 15 it seemed like we drove to every contest. Every week we were in Arizona, Nevada, Northern California etc going to amateur contest. Later on when I turned pro for New Deal I traveled to England, Dominican Republic, Mexico City all the states etc. I been to a lot of places and met a lot of good people but I would say my most memorable trip is when we went to the Domincan Republic to do a demo back in 91. It was me Mike Vallely, Ed Templeton, John Montesi and Neal Hendrix. That was a crazy demo and the people were crazy rocking the van we were in and just the overall environment. I would love to go there now I heard it is a really beautiful place.

I never got to see the world when I traveled because most of the time you would fly to a demo or contest and then go do the demo and then stay in your hotel and leave the next morning, I never really got to sight see and do the things I would do now as an older person. I guess when I was young I didn’t care though. If I could do it again I would be a full on tourist. We did get to see England because we were there for awhile and that is a great place.

Were you a contest skater or did you like the normal sessions more?

I always like to compete and love the adrenaline of contest so I wasn’t the type of person that didn’t want to do contest but having a normal session with all your friends is something that you will always remember. I guess you will remember if you did well in a contest too but there was nothing like skating all day with your friends and learning new tricks and just having fun with no stress.

What are the biggest differences you see between the contests today and back in the 90’s?

Obviously the money and all the different places where they have all the contest. My first pro contest was in Jacksonville and I remember it cost like a 1000 bucks or more to get there and first place was a 1000 bucks and second place was like 500 bucks. That was when skating vert was basically dead and now they have The Maloof, Rob Dydreks series, X-Games, Dew. We had NSA (National Skateboarding Assoc.) and that was it. Skateboarding is so big now.

San Jose skatepark 1991 – Fred Olande first skater

How are you still involved in skateboarding and with the topic skate parks?

One of my friends asked me to help them get a skatepark in my city of Imperial beach,CA so I guess I am on a skateboard committee that gives ideas to the city etc. Other than that I skate once in awhile and also more of a spectator now.

Ever dreamed of riding the Mega Ramp?

I think to myself if I still skated everyday and than I could do it but I guess all’s it would be now is only a dream for me to do something like that.

Skateboarding itself has moved from the semi-underground movement to a multi-million (if not billion) dollar industry around the world. What do you think about this massive development, is it all good?

I guess it is good for the people putting on the contest and the owners of the different companies. Also the people who are consistently placing in the top 10 of these huge contest but it seems to me if you only have a board sponser and are professional than you still have to have a job to live in this economy to make ends meet. But I am glad its making more kids skate because of all the attention. I don’t know if its all good though.

Fred Olande at age 14

You are a family man with three children – I heard you have a mini ramp in your backyard (from the Joe Doe Zine Blog Talk interview). How is it like to teach your own son how to skate?

My son loves skateboarding and all sports. He wanted a ramp in the backyard so I built him one. I started taking him to all the parks and he caught on fast. He goes in and out of playing baseball and then skating, playing football and then skating etc. He could be good because he is not afraid, he falls hard sometimes and although he is only 6 he brushes it off and then gets back on it. It should say I try to teach him but I think he learns more when he sees kids his age that are better than him and then he goes balls out to learn a trick

Which skaters are catching your attention these days and why?

I always want to see what Bucky is doing next. Also P.Rod, Lutzka, Schekler, and of course my good friend Peter Hewitt. I am glad he never slowed down and I am proud of him.

Any final words for us?

First off thanks for the questions I really appreciate it. And thanks to all my friends past/present who I met throughout my skating days. Thanks to all the people who sponsored me and thanks to Alphonzo Rawls and Sal Barbier for being my good friends to this day. Stay Gold Ponyboy!!

» New Deal Demo @ 1991 Birmingham, Alabama : pictures on the Team Ping website

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