Transworld Magazine caught up with HUF team rider Joey Pepper and discussed recently getting married in Maine, his experience building a skatepark in La Paz, Bolivia, as well as his upcoming second pro model shoe for HUF. Check out a preview below and click here to read the entire interview.
How was your experience at this Levi’s Bolivia skate park build?
It was great. I mean I had just come off of a long two-month trip to Australia and New Zealand. So I was only home for about two weeks before Bolivia. So I was already traveling a bunch and then going into Bolivia it was obviously just a whole other realm. Just pretty rugged. It was sort of like flying in there and not having a clue what you were flying into. I think they might have kept it a little secret on purpose as far as what the sleeping conditions were and where the build site was. I think it actually worked a little better that way actually. Because only people that really wanted to be there were there.
No four-star hotels.
Yeah. It was sort of like, “Do you really want to do this? Or are you just going there for fucking vacation and to get pampered?”
Josh Mathews was saying a bunch of people got dysentery.
I think that’s a little bit inevitable. Sort of par for the course. Bolivia in general is obviously a little sketchy on the food front if you’re not from there. Then you get a hundred skaters using the same bathroom and the same kitchen for three weeks or a month and you pretty much aren’t going to have a choice. Half the time there was no fucking toilet paper. People would go straight from the bathroom to the kitchen and start grabbing food, washing dishes with no soap. It was a miracle all of us didn’t get sick. I got sick after I got home.
Josh said the same.
I was really really sick the second I landed then for another two weeks. Josh was too. Take home a parasite.
Did the DIY vibe overlap with your own woodworking at all?
Yeah. As far as the whole DIY thing, maybe I’m not as experienced as some of the other guys as far as concrete work goes. I’ve done a few things here and there but I’ve never been part of a full process before. But I was able to use a little of my woodworking experience—making templates and cutting pieces and stuff like that. A lot of it is the type of stuff anybody can do. I guess that’s the beauty of DIY. You can be told how to do it once, and then anybody can do it. As long as you’re willing and able to work hard and aren’t scared of getting dirty—not scared of getting cold and getting wet—anybody can do it. It’s just hands and bodies.
I asked Josh (Mathews) about the cocoa leaves down there so figured I should get your take.
That stuff, I don’t know—the jury’s out. Honestly, I don’t know how much of that stuff is just placebo effect. But there were days were I was just so exhausted and I was definitely chewing on those things and it was feeling like it was helping me skate, on the days that we had to skate. The crazy thing there—because of the altitude—it seemed like nothing heals (At nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, La Paz is the highest capital city in the world.) I was chewing cocoa leaves to get over my tiredness but we went skating heavy because there were a lot of rad spots there. The second day I skated all day long and got sore and I just felt like my muscles just could not recover. I felt that sore for the rest of the trip. I cut myself on my hand, the first day too and it never healed either. But as soon as I flew home the next morning I swear to God—my cut was healed and my muscles weren’t sore.