It’s appropriate that Ishod Wair is calling from his home away from, home, Paine Park in Philadelphia. The skateboarding site isn’t far from the skateboarding mecca, Love Park, where the Bordentown native developed many of his skills, which will be on display Sunday when Street League Skateboarding hits the Prudential Center in Newark.
“I was influenced by many of my friends in this area, particularly in Love Park,” Wair said. “I didn’t start there, but it was a place that had a big impact on me. So I come back here when I’m not on the road since I live in Center City (Philadelphia).”
Fun and surprises
Wair, an X games skater, is a dynamic, innovative performer. “I just try to have fun and slip in some different stuff,” Wair said.
So what can we expect when Wair visits Newark? “You’ll see lots of different things,” Wair said. “Some of it will be random. I’ll figure it out later and I don’t want to ruin any surprises. But I can tell you that I’ll do an Ollie, for sure.”
For the uninitiated, an Ollie is a jump done without the aid of a takeoff ramp, executed by pushing the back foot down on the tail of the board, bringing the board off the ground.
Wair is proud to have been named the skater of the year for 2013, courtesy of Thrasher magazine. “That is pretty much the coolest thing to ever happen to me,” Wair said. “It’s an unbelievable honor to be recognized like that.”
Skateboarding was banned in Love Park, but that made headlines recently when cellphone video revealed that a skateboarder attacked a city park ranger.
“I don’t get how skateboarding can be banned there when you look at who hangs out there,” Wair said. “It’s ridiculous that crackheads can be there on the benches but not skateboarders. We’re not harming anything.”
Fortunately, Wair has plenty of skating options.
“I’m lucky that I’m all over the world skating,” Wair said. “I don’t have to be in one particular place. I’m lucky I’m a pro skater. I’m where I should be. I had hoped to be a professional basketball player, but being a skater is perfect for me. I’m not part of a team and it’s not like there are a lot of rules. I can be innovative. I can create. I love it.”
STREET LEAGUE SKATEBOARDING
WITH: Ishod Wair
WHEN: 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24
WHERE: Prudential Center, 165 Mulberry St., Newark
TICKETS: $29.75 $49.75