The perfect fit -- Grant Taylor and Antihero
Have you seen the website thingsfittingperfectlyintothings.tumblr.com? It’s a site populated with pictures of objects fitting perfectly into other objects: an orange in the vacancy of an avocado’s pit, a mattress standing proudly in a doorway, a coin in a roll of tape, etc. Some of them are quite satisfying to look at. I've been fixing to make my own submission, but I’ve been unable to figure out a way to illustrate how perfectly Grant Taylor’s move to Antihero at the beginning of the year fits together. There hasn’t been a "trade" in skateboarding as obvious as this one in a long time. And the term "Grantihero?" That’s so fun to say that you have to wonder if that portmanteau wasn’t the sole reason for acquiring him. Or maybe I should just post that welcome video and its three minutes of fast, flowing, effortless skating that is the hallmark of the Antihero style?
"Definitely stoked on his move," said Nike’s Kevin Imamura. "That welcome video is amazing. Watching Grant makes me feel like a kid again -- he's the guy I would most like to have pictures and posters of on my wall. Between Chris Pfanner and Grant, AH is shaping up to be the Oakland Raiders of skateboarding."
"Grant was born to ride for Antihero," added NJ Skateshop owner Chris Nieratko.
There’s practically no one in skateboarding who would disagree this is a perfect fit, but we were curious why it took so long for Grant to get from being born to getting on the team he was born to ride for, and what happened at Alien Workshop? Images and footage of Grant riding Antihero boards have been floating around since May of last year and there was a lot of speculation about who exactly he was riding for. How come, why, huh?
"What took you so long?" I asked Grant over the phone.
"I’m not really sure," he replied.
"Why did you leave Alien Workshop?" I asked.
"Well, I guess it’s a different team now," Grant said slowly, "we had a good squad still, even though a few guys left. But I had a little itch and had to get something going for myself."
Grant, much like Julien Stranger, the Grand Poobah of Antihero, is a man of few words -- a quality I admire and aspire to myself (my motto: "Never miss a chance to keep your mouth shut"), but one that is unfortunately not favorable to interview conditions. Because that was about all Grant would say about the switch: he had a little itch.
"I do know that it was a process to get him to actually defect," Antihero team rider Jeff Grosso said. "We went out there last May or something. The ideas were floating around for a long time. I remember getting a text from [Peter] Hewitt that said, "Here’s [Grant’s] phone number. Work on him." So I started texting him in July with these really flowery texts like, "The time is now."
"So you were courting him?" I said. "You were writing him love letters?"
"Pretty much," Jeff said. "Yeah, I wrote him these strange little texts. I’d text him on the 18th and say, 'What’s the date today, Grant?' Just dumb stuff to annoy him basically. When he finally responded, he said, 'I don’t know how to do this.' So I said, ‘'This is what you do: you call [Alien Workshop] up, thank them, blah blah blah, and then call Antihero and you say this is the money I need. That’s the reality of it, since he’s probably never quit a team before, and I’ve quit quite a few. And then he did whatever he did. He kind of did it incorrectly, and then the Alien people had to get ahold of [Jim] Thiebaud [of DLX Distribution] and make some deals. We were all supposed to keep our mouths shut and not go on social media, but of course we all did because we’re not very smart and none of us communicated properly."
"I really enjoy the idea of you mentoring someone on how to quit a team," I said. "You’re so good at that."
"I was just like, 'This is a no brainer, come with us,'" said Grosso. "I don’t know what his reasons were for leaving, besides that AH rules, and this makes sense right now," he continued. "I then went on to tell him, 'You’ll have more fun with us anyway.' He was like an AH guy on Alien. I’m pretty sure he knew what he was doing. I just took it upon myself to let him know that the general consensus was that we really wanted him to come over. I’m just psyched on not being the new guy anymore."
All of the guys at Antihero have reason to be psyched that Grant has come over to their team: he might be just the component they need to bring the championship trophy home to San Francisco in the 2014 skateboard season.
"No," Grant said when I asked him if he was going to help bring the championship trophy home in the 2014 skateboard season. "Definitely not," he added.
I tried asking another locker room-style question. "What does riding for Antihero do for your confidence level in the upcoming skateboard season?"
"It hypes it up," Grant said, enthused. "It’s like 'get it, get it, get it!'"
I asked Grosso the same style questions, "What does Grant’s addition to Antihero do to the team’s confidence level?"
"Probably crushes it," Jeff said laughing. "But for me I’m stoked. He’s rad. I’ve been on tour with the kid, I’ve seen him skate multiple times, he’s amazing. It’s inspiring. It makes it way more fun. He’s an obvious addition. He might as well fly the eagle, he’s already in the van with us."
To see the welcome video and learn more about Grantihero, visit antiheroskateboards.com.