Today we welcome someone to the Place Presents ranks who has been on our site many a time… Amin Sharif seems to have put in his 365 to make this his first exclusive offering together with us. And it is a warm welcome, for me personally talking to Amin resulted in one of my favorite interviews, ranging from fun to serious. At the same time, the video rates highly in my personal “Place Presents” ranking. Truth be told, at only 21 years of age Mr. Sharif seems to have caught a perfect mix of keeping life fun while also having his priorities straight as he slowly slips further into adulthood. During his interview, we made use of humor to diffuse and talk about serious things, making it easier for us both, while keeping it interesting for you to read. Don’t believe the hype? Just read the damn interview and judge it yourself. Enjoy!
Intro & Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Filmed & Edited by Sean Grohs.
Hey Amin, how are you and where are you, L.A.?
Hey, I am fine, I’m in Silver Lake to be exact.
So, what’s been going on in your life since you finished this part?
I just returned to school after a couple of months of Christmas break. I got two friends from Texas… Well, currently they live in New York… staying on the floor of my living room. It’s been pretty fun the past couple of weeks skating with them.
Do we know them?
Maybe… they are called Nico Marti and Alan Bell.
Yeah, we know Nico a little, we just did a Placelist with him, how did you meet them?
Alan was actually my camp Woodward counselor when I was a kid and I met Nico through Alan.
How is it to have Alan Bell as a Woodward counselor?
So gnarly, it would be like 9 a.m. in the morning, you know, at skate camp, and he’s already doing inverts and stuff.
And now, he’s sleeping on your floor (laughs).
(laughs) I am trying to go to NY this year so, I will be on his floor soonish.
Quid pro quo. So how did this part come about then? Is this a STUNT part?
I don’t know, I’m always filming and I had the idea to make something for Marko who does STUNT.
STUNT is getting so big, so I guess doing a part for them would do me some good as well. But also I just wanted to do something for him, you know?
I mean, that’s kind of what it should be right?
It’s a good video part, by the way, I really enjoyed it. I watched it a couple of times before I went skating. Did you film a lot for this one?
Everything always takes way longer than you think it’s going to. I only really filmed on Sundays for this part with Sean (Grohs). Everything was pretty thought out though, I’m not very spontaneous.
Did you prep spots?
Before I try a trick, I have to go on the spot and make sure I can do it. Then I go back on the weekend to try it. There are no spontaneous clips in this video, everything is just filmed on “Sunday Church Day”, basically. Except for the last trick, We randomly drove past that and I was able to do it without having to go check it out before.
I heard you got hurt during the making of this video part?
I got pretty hurt over the summer you can see the clip in the video of me getting hurt… I hit my head really hard and had this seizure that tore the ligament in my knee and that was it for a bit… The rest of it was filmed after that injury. I was really scared of everything, and I had to make sure the spot was good and I could do a specific trick at the spot. I wasn’t able to really just go out and skate and have fun and do whatever I want to do until recently.
It is crazy that you had a seizure during the filming of this! How did you get the seizure? I have slammed before, even hit my head but it didn’t really lead to anything like that.
I actually got lucky, I probably had the seizure just because I was dehydrated in combination with me hitting my head. But I got away pretty well, I was left with a concussion and a partially torn MCL. I fractured my shoulder as well but everything was just minor and it could heal concurrently.
Directly after the whole thing, I was pissed because, that was the first time I tried that trick at that spot, and I really thought it was going to be easy… And then I just woke up a few hours later in the hospital, like, how the hell did that happen?
That sucks! At least those injuries all start to heal at the same time! And you probably heal faster because you don’t drink, right?
Maybe, I’m not the healthiest, but I don’t drink or do any drugs so that definitely speeds everything up. And if I was out skating and drinking things might have gone differently… I’ve thought about that! if I hit my head that hard drunk, something really bad might have happened. Your body reacts differently to head injuries when you drink.
Yeah, it could have been way crazier. Now you woke up a few hours later in the hospital. I mean you were probably conscious, but not conscious. You see that a lot in fight sports, people get K.O.ed and they walk out of the ring but after they don’t remember doing that at all.
Yeah, so I had a seizure for, like, a minute, and the next thing I remember is being in the hospital bed. Luckily my parents were there because the spot was maybe an hour away from where my parents lived. They managed to get to me and be bedside when I woke up.
“I really thought it was going to be easy… And then I just woke up a few hours later in the hospital, like, how the hell did that happen?”Amin Sharif
And how is it to watch that back?
Actually, I think it’s fine for me. I know my girlfriend has a hard time with it and a lot of my friends don’t like watching that clip. But I don’t have any memory of the fall. It’s kind of cool. It’s a pretty insane clip, you know?
In a way, including it in the part is fair, those things are also a part of skating, right? So I guess, why not.
Originally in the part, it was going to be like the first clip or something. But after a while, we decided to put it in the middle… Like… No warning, all of a sudden I’m just having a seizure filmed fisheye (laughs).
Having a seizure fish (laughs). It’s only funny because you came out okay. If you didn’t come out okay, it wouldn’t be a laughing matter at all.
It would have been rough! Now I was just out for six weeks and after that, I was good to go.
That is so short, you were really lucky then.
Yeah, and my head was fine after maybe two weeks. It was literally just my knee that was taking a while. I forgot to say, but I also lost a fingernail. That was weird. I woke up in the hospital, covered in blood. Feeling sad and a bit confused, and then I look at my hand and I just lost a fingernail.
What did the people with you do, call an ambulance?
It was just me and my friend Sean, who works at a treatment center. So he’s trained to know what to do during seizures. He held my head so it wouldn’t hit the ground more than it already did and called an ambulance.
Again you were lucky Sean has trained to deal with those things!
Yeah, when my parents heard about the fall, my mom was really hoping that it was Sean that was out with me because not all these skaters are responsible humans. But Sean is a full-grown adult who’s married and works a proper job, he was the best person to get hurt around for sure!
So, after that all happened, was anybody like, “Nah, you’re not skating again?” Or were you considering wearing a helmet or anything like that?
No, I mean, every doctor says, “You weren’t wearing a helmet?” and I just respond by saying “If I was wearing a helmet, I wouldn’t be here!” (laughs).
Did you have to do any Physical Therapy after?
Do you know who Doctor Kyle Brown is? He’s like a skate physical therapist. He dedicated his shit to skateboarding specifically. And my insurance covered sessions with him. I went in and he was like, “So how many stairs are we talking here? What kind of skater are you? are we going to the skatepark? Or do you skate street?” (Laughs) That guy has exercises for everything, and afterward, you’re better and healthier than you were when you came in! I think I can get on to some taller things now, I can pop like an inch higher to get on ledges.
Shout out to Dr. Kyle Brown for that one. Skate PT, that’s some L.A. type of shit!
Yeah, there are a couple here! He has a popping Instagram with, like, exercises for skaters.
To stay on topic, skating is huge out there, when did you first start skating?
I grew up in Santa Monica, we moved to Venice and, to be honest, skating’s been there forever. I don’t even remember learning how to push on a skateboard. It’s not like my parents skateboard or anything. But I feel like it’s pretty normal for kids in that area of L.A. to skate. It is just around you.
Should we talk about getting sober? I’m not sure if you do, if you don’t, that is fine too.
I think it’s fine. I had a Jenkem interview in May, and that was pretty much the main topic of that article. But it’s pretty good to still talk about it. Just in case somebody reads it and can gain anything from it you know?
Yeah, I understand, so, shoot!
Well, I celebrated three years in November, and I got sober at 18. That is pretty much it, I mean, it’s been the main theme of my life for the past three years after. I kind of put it before everything else and make sure that I’m okay. I am open about my addiction most of the time but there are days I want to hide it all still.
So you’re actually sober, not like California sober.
Oh no, I do smoke cigarettes but no, like, mind-altering substances. In the past, at 17 I was just smoking a bunch of weed, and within a year, I was strung out on every single drug. I didn’t know how to stop, somehow something happened to me and I kicked it. I became willing to not live like that anymore. Every time I drink in my life, I end up in a pile of vomit, like instantly!
I don’t instantly blackout, but as soon as I have one, I just keep drinking until I black out, even though I don’t want to. That was kind of the way I did drugs as well. I didn’t skate much anymore before I got sober. And then I remember being in rehab and skating flat around in front of the rehab every single day. And getting super hyped to skate again.
Kind of a weird question, but what was the best flat-ground trick you learned in rehab?
Oh, I mean, maybe Switch Backside Flips can’t do them anymore. But when I was skating flat every day in rehab, I had them on lock. That was the best skating ever felt!
That’s a very complicated flat-ground trick.
Yeah, it was so much fun. That was the best skating’s ever been! Just flat ground skating, it felt like the first time you skate.
There’s a certain thing, a meditative thing about skateboarding, especially flat-ground skating.
I was talking to Alan & Nico about Frontside Noseslide Heelflips to Fakie, I learned that at 30 days sober and I never thought I would be able to learn that. That trick was one of the best things I have ever felt on the board and every time I land one it feels just as good, which is crazy.
What’s your favorite trick in the part, if I might be so frank to ask?
I think it is that Wallie through the tree.
Is it your favorite because of the finding spot aspect as well? It is hard to find a wallie through a tree.
I try to find at least a spot every day. I’m always driving around just to get to school or get home or to get from here to get there. And I’ll just, I don’t know, take side streets.
“I remember being in rehab and skating flat around in front of the rehab every single day.”Amin Sharif
Are you like Bobby Pulleo with the spots, kind of territorial about them? Do you need to get the first trick?
I find a bunch of spots that I’ll never skate that I just give to my friends. Since Alan and Nico have been here, I shared my spot album with them and there are two spots that they skated and got tricks on that I never skated. I will log anything, it might be a 30-stair handrail or something, I’ll save the location for somebody.
Just hit up Nyjah in the DM’s like, “Yo dog, here, I got, I got one for you!”
Yeah, definitely (laughs).
(Laughs) Ok Amin I don’t have really any questions left! I think I got it, I think we got something really fun here.
Thank you so much, that was a super nice talk!
I feel the same way! Please give Nico & Alan our regards as well. They’re really sick, Nico really killed it in that last “Late Nite Stars” video. He went all the way up to the Quartersnacks’ top 10 number one spot!
Luckily I don’t think he’s gotten big-headed… but I see the way people kind of move around here, they saw the part and they are like gravitating toward Nico now. Checking his skating out in the park, and things like that.
Spontaneous last trick question: Devil’s advocate…If you had to choose, either you can only watch Nico’s videos or you can only watch him skate… but you can never watch an edit by him again… Which one would you pick?
But his music selection is so good though!
True! But his skating in person is so exciting.
Alright, I feel you! That was really the last question, thank you, Amin!
Thank you again. Thank you for your time.