Reese Forbes has been an east coast skateboarding powerhouse since before the days of "Eastern Exposure 3", right through to the rebirth of Nike SB and launch of Rasa Libre. For sneaker nerds his colors and designs of Nike Dunks are classic and always sold out instantly. Recently he left Nike to try and bring his shoe magic to the new line of shoes at Quiksilver. Although Quiksilver has made skateable shoes before, this is the company's first time putting a rider behind the program. We caught up with Reese to discuss the move as well as his new board brand with Michael Leon, Stacks.
What were you thinking leaving Nike?
By the way you're phrasing it, it sounds like I'm stupid.
No, it's just that no one leaves Nike. At least, not alive.
I do. I do whatever I want. In 2000 or 2001 when SB restarted I was a part of that with Danny Supa, Gino and Richard Mulder. They were just trying out the shoes and trying to make them skate-able. That was the beginning of the dunk revolution or whatever you want to call it. Fast forward to 2010 and I'm working at Quiksilver and still skating and I have a family and it was time to move on. I did what I could there and it's very established now. All my buddies still ride for Nike so that made it hard; it's like a family. It's hard to leave a family but beyond that it was just a decision I had to make for my own family. I had some opportunities at Quik to do some things with shoes that sounded interesting and cool and I need those little charges in my life to keep me going.
You're already wearing a bunch of hats for Quiksilver. Is there a new title that you have? Are you a shoe designer?
I have a little bit of a hybrid role at Quik. I'm Director of Skateboarding, if you really want to put a label on it. I basically move all around and help with different things. The attractive part of it was for me that I wasn't designing a skate shoe, it's more like a skate-able shoe that's a regular shoe, a lifestyle shoe, that I've wanted to do for a long time.
Is it called Quiksilver shoes? Or does it have a different name?
It's Quiksilver shoes, yeah.
Does the world need Quiksilver shoes?
I don't know. I think they need my shoe ... maybe. I hope.
Is it safe to say you probably had the best selling dunk colors in the history of Nike SB?
You're a shop owner that carries SB. How did it do at NJ Skateshop?
Every time you did a shoe it sold out instantly and was amazing.
Thanks. That was also the marriage with me and Nike. I probably had something to do with it but it was still Nike's doing. It was fun doing it. I loved everything I did. Everything I did came out the way I wanted it to which was really cool. And they carried little ideas I had with specific shoes on to other shoes so I felt like a part of the history and evolution of the company, which I like seeing. That was cool.
Will you be stoked or sad if they do another camouflage shoe?
It will be bittersweet. But more happy than anything. I think ideas are cool when they're successful and people are into them. It's like you've contributed something to the world and that's bigger than getting mad over something.
Within the past year you switched from Skate Mental to starting your own board brand, Stacks. How's that been going?
Stacks is picking up where I left off with Michael Leon when we were at Rasa Libre. It was some unfinished business. Its not like we're trying to continue Rasa Libre because Matt Field is still doing that and it still exists. But there were ideas that were never followed through on and we get to do them now. It's exciting. There's not many people picking up and buying a skateboard right now, I don't think, maybe certain brands are on fire. We are trying to hit a person that is a little more sophisticated and I think we have our place.
Can we expect a team from Stacks?
We'll have a team but it's not going to be a big team. I don't see it being like that. We have a couple kids that we're flowing and that are on. This kid Sebo Walker is awesome and this kid Cameo Wilson that lives in Canada. We're just trying to hook these kids up that are unknown and giving them a chance to do something and be a part of something. Similar to Rasa Libre at the beginning just with different characters at different points in their life. Like when Dylan Rieder was on Rasa he was at the point where he was going to come into his own skin and it was the same with Omar Salazar.
You had a Jaguar to drive around for a year. Do you still have it or did they come take it?
They came and took it. Now I drive a 1986 560SL Mercedes that I really like but I don't have a deal with Mercedes Benz or anything.