Wrex Cook IS skateboarding, and literally has been since he was 11 years old, Wrex current sponsors are ATM Click Skateboards, Acid Wheels, Independent trucks, Flyaway Helmets, 90 Clothing, The Black Sheep Underground and Chain Reaction Records… Wrex grew up in Tempe, Arizona and moved to Colorado in 1992 and has called Colorado home for most of his adult life. He’s not only dedicated to building community in skateboarding, he literally has built skateparks for California Skateparks and many others. He truly cares about the communities he’s worked with and it shows. We are stoked to be able to catch up with Wrex Cook!
OGRT: Wrex, thanks so much for doing this. What’s new with you?
WC: Recently I’ve been doing my carpentry more. Not as much masonry or concrete work. Me and Kim have helped on a few voluntary backyarders, but haven’t been doing the skatepark business so much now that I have Kim in my life. She makes it nice to come home every night. I’ve started making hammer handles out of old skateboards in my free time, which is pretty cool.. But the main thing I’ve been concentrating on, is really getting back that mental state as a child when riding my board. Demo’s, contest, photo shoots, etc. over the years can kinda’ put your mental ‘state of skate’ in a more industry driven endeavor.. You need to have photos and ads to be able to keep that flow going, ya’ know? It’s not intentional really, but acquired over time riding for the industry.. So lately I’ve been really working on getting back that mind state when I was a child, and had no agenda or sessions to hit. I just grabbed my board a ran out the door…. I never knew what the day held for me, but I always had an epic time riding. And that innocence and energy of our youth is really what I have been recapturing lately.. No expectations = no disappointments..
OGRT: How did you get started in skateboarding?
WC:I started skating in 1978 when I got a Free Former. Most of that time was spent pushing on one knee. Christmas 1979, my mother bought me a used Logan Earth Ski with Gullwing trucks and green Kryptonics… From that day on, it was all about skateboarding. I would look at the Action Now and Skateboarder magazines in the library, as I really didn’t know where to go for such info. Eventually, I found Cheapskates in Tempe, AZ. That shop would become my local hang out for the next few years..
OGRT: After many years in the west and southwest states, you spent some time in Mississippi, how did that come about?
WC: My association with Mississippi is a true a love story. When I was riding for Z-Flex a friend asked if I’d fly out to do a demo at a new Grindline skatepark opening in Oxford, MS. Well, I called Eric “Tuma” Britton to come out with me, and we both flew out to skate and judge the local contest… Well, when we were doing the event, I met Kim, who was the thriving force behind getting this park built.. She was so nice and really took care of us while we there.. Well, I got a call several weeks after that event from another friend to do the same type of thing for their event in Jonesboro, Arkansas. We flew out again and sure enough, Kim drove up for the event. At that point, me and Kim hit things off… So with a relationship starting with this wonderful woman from Mississippi, and growing stronger over time, I moved to Mississippi to be with her and her kids.. Hence my association with Mississippi.
OGRT: Who were your first sponsors?
WC: My first sponsor was Mom of course, but my first real sponsor was Bare Cover skate shop. Dave Boydston was the manager, and main force behind the shop. Eventually he bought one of those fiberglass ramps from Pepsi, and repainted all the Pepsi logos with Bare Cover logos, and started the “Bare Cover Trick Team”… We did demos at school events, company picnics, Art Fairs, etc.. The cool part was that when pros would come into town they’d often do demos with us to make extra money while in town, so we got to skate and meet lots of various pros. Tony Hawk, Billy Ruff, Tony Magnusson, etc. Eventually Brian Brannon hooked me up with JFA Skateboards and started taking me to events, and eventually got me on Thunder trucks, Spitfire Wheels, and Supercush Bushings.. That’s when Bryan Ware owned Deluxe… He took me to Las Vegas to compete in the NSA qualifiers one year.. I didn’t do too well in that contest, but while skating a backyard pool called “The Blue Tile Lounge” with a lot of heads, Dave Duncan approached Brian asking if he could add me to the Alva roster. Brian eventually came to me telling me of his discussion with Duncan. He told me TA and Duncan could take way better care of me than he ever could, and asked me if I was down to be on the Alva Posse? Well, that started my Alva sponsorship..
OGRT: At what point did you decide you wanted to become a professional skateboarder?
WC: I never really had a plan for going pro. Honestly, I’ve always had a small part of me that always felt that I was never as good as “those guys”, ya’ know. I still get crazy goose bumps when I talk to other pros. I guess I’ll always have that side of me, but I accept it, for it keeps me humble and appreciative..
OGRT: What was your favorite pro model graphic, and what was the meaning behind the graphic?
WC: The one graphic that sticks out in my heart, is the one Pushead did for me. It was for Conspiracy in the mid 2000’s. A drawing from his childhood sketches of a scarecrow.. That was a treat, and I’ll always love Lindsay Kuhn for getting that together… My second favorite was my Old Man Army board with the bombers.. It had a drawing of bombers flying over and dropping bombs. Wherever the bombs landed left pool shaped holes in the ground.. That was a fun graphic.
OGRT: You’re very engrained with creating skateparks, besides loving to ride them, what was it that intrigued you about creating concrete artforms for skaters?
WC: What can I say about the proud feeling of creating something to create on, so to speak… It’s a lot of hard work, but to build something to ride, is such a treat. The reason I left California Skateparks was because they were stacking jobs so close together, we never got to ride what we spent months making… As soon as we’d pull the tape and wash the parks, we’d have to pack and get to the airport to fly to the next hell job.. That killed the stoke real quick.. Funny, almost every company I’ve worked for seems to say the same thing, “Park building kills the skate bug”.. For some that’s true, but to others it’s another step in evolution of their art and another step to understanding the next level of their commitment to skateboarding…. I still dig and pour with a lot of those folks, and we have a great time doing it. No pay or anything, other than an appreciation for building something to create and evolve our art form in… That, and of course they joy of riding a new spot..
OGRT: What was your favorite place to skate in your youth?
WC: Oh man, all time favorite place to skate would have to be the original Upland, Pipeline Skatepark…. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was GNARLY!! The Combi Bowl had 6 feet of vert in some spots!! And when you got to see Chris Miller, The Alba brothers, Tim Galvan, and the rest of the locals skate there, you really got an idea of how far you can take skating, and gnarly of an area you ‘can’ do tricks on. That park and the locals that rode there changed everything for me.. I never saw saw skateboarding the same way.. I rode Del Mar, and a few of the other parks at the time, but nothing was as insane and as gratifying as the Pipeline…
OGRT: Which spot is your favorite today?
WC: Hmmmmm, It’s really hard to pinpoint one particular spot to be my favorite.. For as a skater, we both know it’s not about the spot, but about the energy of the session.. It could be a dry curb, or it could be a brand new vert ramp.. But the energy of the session is what makes the spot for me. This is another reason I don’t always hit the ‘big sessions’ or have been missing at certain events… The energy of a session can make or break it. You go to an event or session where someone is young and competitive and hungry for exposure, the vibe tends to get tense. But when the decks are full of “yeahs” and good vibes, there becomes a feeding frenzy of stoke, and that’s when everyone is a winner, because we all get fed. So for me, my favorite spot, is where the appreciation and stoke gets passed back and forth
OGRT: Do you still skate everyday?
WC: I try to skate everyday. Even if it it’s just taking 15-20 minutes every morning before work, just to get some Zen time in on the board. It’s not always about tricks for me these days. It’s more of an expression session these days. Just flowing, wiggling and sliding.. I find that this time really affects my attitude and well being. These are the times when everything kind of fades away, and you just concentrate on the cracks and pebbles.. This loss of the ‘real world’ and the returning of the attention span a society can absorb on a daily basis is where I find my Zen.. And sometimes it can really make a difference to just take a few minutes for yourself, and your soul… So yeah, I pretty much try to ride everyday if possible.
OGRT: You’re so active in skateboarding and we know it can take it’s toll on us as we get older. Do you have any routines or exercises that help you keep your body in shape?
WC: I always remember the saying, “rust never sleeps”, and it always rings true to me… I was the kid that jumped out of the car and just rolled right in, but yeah, these days take some stretching.. My best advice to stay limber and in touch, is to keep on rolling.. Stretching helps, but keeping the body physically in touch is very important. Another reason I try to ride whenever I get some free time is to keep my muscle memory conditioned.. Hyperactivity still affects me so it’s it’s almost a must to get out and skate.. Ha! But my best advice, is to stretch, and keep on getting out there..
OGRT: What was the biggest slam you’ve ever had? Worst injury?
WC: My worst injury would probably be when I broke my leg.. Lame part was I landed the trick, then washed out going across the flat bottom of the Vans vert ramp in Phx. It was so dusty, it was a death trap.. As a hyperactive person that loves to skate, there’s no worse torture than being stuck in a chair on pain killers.. I’ve had several crazy injuries over the years, but the ones that lay you up for long periods are the worst.
OGRT: What’s next for Wrex Cook?
WC: I’m not sure what’s up next. I’ve been playing the bass again lately, so that could possibly be a fun new adventure soon. But what my main thing lately has been just having fun, and re-acquainting myself with that inner child again. And to help teach kids about that inner soul of skateboarding. I want to bring the stoke back and the root system of a family environment that attracted us to begin with.. Just get stoked, ya’ know?
OGRT: Again, we greatly appreciate the time Wrex.
WC: Aw shucks, guys… I really appreciating you guys taking the time to learn a little bit about me. This has been a treat. Thank you. I hope it helps motivate others, as it has motivated me. Thanks again… Now I’m off to go skate!! Hope to skate with you soon!! keep on ripping, old guys!!!
A few more photos of Wrex skating and creating: