New Jersey has produced the highest number of professional and amateur skateboarders of any state outside of California. They say there's something in the water but there's no denying Jersey's contributions to skateboarding's long and storied history.
The Garden State's most recent offering is Ishod Wair, the red-hot Real Skateboards Pro from Hamilton, N.J., who exploded onto the scene and less than two years later crushed every amateur contest he entered, won a major pro contest as an amateur and was suddenly thrust into the pro ranks.
We caught up with Jersey's Finest to see how life has changed since getting bumped up.
ESPN.com: How exactly is your name pronounced?
Wair: Eesh-hode. A lot of people call me I-shod.
What does it mean?
Well my full name is Ishod-Kedar Burti Wair it means teacher and dark skin man of glory.
That's a good one. How has your life changed since going pro?
I guess people know me more. That's about it. I just kind of do the same thing, go around, skate and hang out with my friends.
Tell me about them turning you pro. How did it all happen?
It was at the Ambush demo and I was really surprised. My shoulder was hurt when I went out to California and I was so bummed the whole entire time I was out there, so salty. We were going to all these cool spots and I couldn't skate anything and then the demo came up and I couldn't take it anymore. It was the last day I was there I was skating the demo. And they ended up turning me pro. It was pretty crazy. Up until then I was so salty the whole trip.
Did you cry?
No, I didn't cry but I was happy. I was really happy. I called my mom right after and she was all screaming.
You have a problem where you can't handle not skating, huh?
Yeah. If I'm not skating that much I'll get real down on myself. If it's raining a lot and I haven't been outside I get all bummed and gloomy. I gotta be outside doing stuff.
I heard you go on tour and your team managers have to physically pick you up off your board to get you to stop skating.
Well, they kind of have to just leave the place we're at. I'll just skate until people actually physically leave. They'll be like, "Ishod, let's go," and then we just linger in the parking lot for five more minutes. Why not just skate that last bit of time and just leave when everyone else leaves? If everyone just bounces on me and are tired of waiting then I'll leave.
Have they ever straight up left you behind?
No. I'll follow them. I won't be like, "No, I'm staying." But I will try to stay as long as possible.
You turned pro the last weekend of 2011. Who are some guys that need to go pro this year?
Gilbert Crocket. Definitely Gilbert Crockett. I've been watching a lot of Gilbert Crockett stuff lately and even a couple years ago I thought he was going to go pro and I think he should have already been pro. That's just my opinion and I feel like a lot of people feel the same way. He's just really good and a nice dude. He kills it.
I interviewed Nyjah Huston recently and he said you were a guy he would like to see in Street League.
Yeah, actually I think I'm going to be skating in the one this year. I haven't talked everything out yet but I'm pretty sure I'll be in it this year.
He thinks you're a guy that could win it all.
I don't know about that -- I just want to get out there and skate with everybody because I feel like everybody just feeds off each other's energy and its good vibes. It seems like a good time.
You won Maloof Money Cup in South Africa as an am. Are you feeling unbeatable?
Heck no! I just happened to win and I'm thankful for that but I'm definitely not unbeatable.
You are the newest pro in a long line of great pros from New Jersey. Who is your favorite pro to come out of New Jersey?
Tim O'Conner and Brian Wenning. Wenning just kills ledges; he's solid. His DC part was tight. And I like Tim O'Conner's style a lot.
Aside from Street League this year, what else have you got lined up for 2012?
I'm about to go to the TransWorld Awards. I'm trying to plan out a trip to go to Barcelona with my homies. I want that to happen really bad. I didn't have a pro part or anything so I'm filming this year for the Nike video but I'm going to film a part all in Philly with VX footage. I want it all to be VX because I don't like HD that much. It stresses me out. I don't like the way anything looks. I don't like the sound and filming VX for so long and switching to HD I'm not used to seeing it and everything looks weird to me. Everything I do on camera in HD I just hate it. Everything. I don't like how it looks; it bums me out.
Would you go back and refilm something in VX?
I have done that before.
What did you think of Quartersnacks.com re-edit of your Real part?
I thought it was pretty cool. I liked the intro where I was talking to Rick Ross.
Are you saying you weren't talking to Rick Ross for real?
No, you weren't? Or no, you're not saying that?
That's for you to decide.