Jun 27, 2011
After The Berrics popularized tournament Games of SKATE with the first Battle at The Berrics, many Canadians immediately thought of Morgan Smith as a strong contender for the next one. After his name was absent from the second and third Battles, many lost hope of ever seeing him throw his hat into the Game of SKATE ring. However, to the joy of many Canadians, as well as other skateboarders across the world, Morgan was finally selected for the fourth US vs. THEM themed Battle at The Berrics and has been doing as well as many expected. With the contest wrapping up this coming weekend, we got on the phone with Morgan to ask him how the contest has been so far and what his plans are for the rest of it.
Warning: This interview includes spoilers from the contest. If you need to catch up, you can check out all the games that have happened, here.
What were your expectations going into the battle?
I don’t know, I always watched them, everyone watches them. I always thought I wanted to be involved with them, I don’t know.
How did it come about?
I think I was talking to Chase, the filmer and asked him how you enter or how people were picked to be in it. And I think from there, he kinda put the word out for me.
“what the hell? That was a low blow”
So there were no second thoughts when you were asked to be a part of it?
I always wanted to do it. I like contests where they're not really contests. Like Lord of the Lines or Games of SKATE. It’s more fun.
Did anyone give you any advice before it started? Anyone in the contest?
Not really, no. It seems like people are taking this one a little more seriously. I guess since it’s been around so many times, people know that they can kinda come up big if they do well in it. But yeah, no one really told me anything, I just kinda did my thing, I guess.
Was there anyone that you dreaded playing before the start of the tournament?
Uhhh… I knew Luan was really good. I’ve seen him skate before and he’s nuts. Obviously PJ is really good, I’ve played him a bunch and it’s tough.
How do you fare against PJ usually, since you could be facing him in the finals?
It’s tough, we just go forever and it gets down to back and forth tricks that neither of us can do consistently at all, but we just try anyway. Sometimes he wins, sometimes I win, but it’ll get to the point where we’ll have to be doing pressure flips or weird stuff. It’s fun though.
Have you been working on any weird flat ground tricks specifically for this?
Umm... I don’t know. Because I don’t really know what the etiquette is. If both of you are doing normal tricks and then randomly you do pressure flip underflip or something, is everyone else going to be like “what the hell? That was a low blow”
I guess when it comes to the point where you’ve both exhausted your normal tricks, you gotta have something?
Yeah, you gotta have something. I watch all of the games and kinda see what everyone else is doing. It’s kinda cool, kinda fun.
Have you been watching Mike Mo’s games at all, since you’ll be playing him next?
Yeah I watched a couple things, mostly the current Battle at the Berrics, just to see how it’s going since I’m not out there(Southern California). Because some people are out there and they can watch all the games. Like Ronnie (Creager), he just goes down there to watch for the hell of it.
Have you ever played Mike Mo before?
Umm, no. I’ve met him a couple times briefly. That’s about it.
Do you have any ideas what his weak spots might be?
I don’t know, he seems pretty insane. I’ve seen him do crazy stuff like backfoot varials and 3 flips. He seems like he can do anything.
Which game has been your toughest so far?
Alex (Mizurov) for sure. Just because I know he won that Es Game of Skate, that kinda popularized Game of Skate contests. So it kinda seemed like skating flat was his thing. Also, my visa stuff was all crazy, so I literally got off the plane and had to play that game.
Did you know that was going to be the situation?
No. The game was on Saturday and I was sitting in Toronto on Friday. I was actually at the skatepark and I got a call saying “This is your flight, go to the airport right now.” And I just flew overnight, stopped in Montreal, slept on a bench in the Montreal airport for 3 hours. Got up, right when customs opened at like 5 am or whatever it is, went through it. Got to California at 11am and the game was at 12:30. So I grabbed a cab straight to The Berrics, dropped my bags, warmed up, then played him.
Yeah, he also had to catch a flight back to Germany at 2pm that day. So he was sitting there, being like “Let’s play, let’s play!” And I was kinda like “what the hell, I just got here, this is crazy.” He’s super good though.
That seemed like an example of a match where you run through everything and get down to some weirder tricks.
I think he has tricks that he knows a lot of people can’t do. So I think he threw those out there and thought he’d be good.
It was a pretty down-to-the-wire game, I think a lot of people watching it were nervous for you. Were you getting a bit worried in that game?
Yeah, I thought I was done, right there. I was definitely hyped to win that one.
"I literally got off the plane and had to play that game."
The upcoming game is Friday, Will you be more hyped if you win it, being Canada Day?
Yeah, that would be pretty fucked. I was actually looking at the calendar and noticed that. Oh, wait, is everyone else still in it American?
Yeah I think it’s PJ, Davis Torgerson and Mike Mo.
Holy fuck, eh
Sorry to add any pressure.
That’s fucked up. I didn’t even realize that.
You’re the only THEM left.
Haha, fuck, that’s kinda crazy. I think I’m going in there with nothing to lose. Just try and see what happens.
Are you going to be repping anything Canadian in the games?
Fuck, I probably should. I don’t know.
Maybe rip off your shirt after to reveal some Canadian chest paint?
Haha yeah, something like that. I probably should, I’ve definitely got some pride.
What’s tougher, the games or getting interviewed by Reda afterward?
Haha, Reda’s cool. They replaced him with Active Erica, though.
Is it tougher being interview by Reda or a chick?
I’ve actually yet to be interviewed by her, she just took over recently. I don’t wanna say anything bad about Reda. It is kinda tough being put on the spot though.
You seemed to hold your own well on them so far.
Yeah, usually I’ll just end up getting asked the cliché Canadian questions, so I’m like “alright, just go with it.”
I guess you don’t want to play into the clichés by wearing the Canadian get-up, or actually, maybe you could wear the Tall T from TJ Rogers interview?
Yeah, that would be mellow...
Do you have any strategy going into the Rock, Paper, Scissors match?
No. I guess you could tell them “I’m gonna do rock”, then do something else to fuck with them. Ronnie’s done that to me before, but I think he’s thinking too much into that.
Do you have a go-to choice?
Yeah, I usually go with… actually I can’t say, someone will read it and then know what I’m gonna do. Obviously rock’s the easiest since you default to a fist.
Has your flat ground routine differed since this tournament began? As lame as that sounds…
I just try to play as many people in SKATE as I can. I think it works since everyone’s got a different bag of tricks.
Who’s a good person to play against?
Ronnie’s pretty good. Honestly, Paul Liliani is the best to play when he’s on it. Usually he asks me right when we get to the park to play SKATE, no warm up. Or I’ll be the one to ask him. Ronnie is really gnarly, but he never tries his hardest. When he tries his hardest, I’m pretty sure he can do anything he wants.
Do you have any preference on who you might face in the finals?
It’s fun to play PJ, so I think I’d rather play him. I mean, I’ll play anyone, I think it’s fun playing SKATE.
After the Canucks loss, I think you’ve gotta win this.
Haha, fuck. I don’t think there will be any riots if I lose.