Natural Born Influencers: Chima Ferguson Takes Skateboarding From Sydney Around The World
Presented by Oakley.
Sport 5m

In our new ‘Natural Born Influencers’ series, we interview young talents who are taking the world by storm, presented by Oakley. Chima Ferguson wears Oakley Trillbe sunglasses available at all Oakley O Store and online right here.

Emerging from Western Sydney, Chima Ferguson has steadily risen to become one of the world’s most prominent street skateboarders.

With signature boards and shoes under his belt, Chima has spent the past few years skipping between Los Angeles and his hometown, recently landing back in Sydney City briefly before more international escapades. We caught up with Chima in Harmony Park to talk about rappers, the changing face of Sydney and skateboarding in the Olympics:

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Coming back to Sydney City, what are some of the major changes you’ve noticed not just in skating but general youth culture?

I have to say around here they’ve definitely cleaned it up – around Surry Hills, Redfern and all that where I live. There used to be a lot more junkies around which there aren’t anymore, and I noticed it’s a lot more family orientated when before it used to be kinda cut throat. They used to refer to Darlinghurst as Razorhurst, it’s pretty gnarly. I guess it’s becoming more and more of a yuppie city I think, a lot more rich people moving in… It has its street aspects that people go after, but at the same time those people are making six figures. I like it a lot more the way it used to be rather than how it is now.

You’ve achieved a lot throughout your career – how do you think skaters measure success and how has that changed over the years?

Well now instead of when you used to make a video part or interviews with magazines and covers, but now it’s mainly just Instagram really. Everything runs off Instagram and social media… You can just do something at the touch of your fingers and it goes out to however many followers you have all over the world. It’s convenient for companies but for skateboarding itself it’s definitely lost the OGness of it all. You put all your stuff on Instagram now instead of working hard and doing a video part over a year or two.

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How much time do you think skaters in 2016 need to allocate to social media, etc?

Depending on who you are. There’s still a lot of skateboarders who still have their street aspect to them but there’s a lot of people where 80% or 90% of their career is based off an Instagram like. For example, me, I don’t put that much on Instagram so it doesn’t really matter to me too much. Someone like Shane O’Neill or Nyjah Houston, a good amount of their fan base and everything runs off Insatgram.

You previously made a board with Tyler, The Creator. Are there any other rappers you’d like to make a board with or even a song with?

I don’t like the sound of my voice so I probably never want to do music, but if I could do a board with someone it would probably be Max B, he’s in jail. He’s pretty sick. Or Cam’ron, someone in Dipset.

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What music do you like to skate to?

I listen to basically everything. Travis Scott’s new album just came out so I’ve been listening to that. But if you’re trying to get fired up to do something, probably Slayer or King Diamond.

You have one of the most popular contemporary Vans models under your name. What were your emotions going into a sneaker release with such an established brand?

The main thing I was worried is that when you get a pro shoe it takes you to way more responsibility and you have to be in America a lot more to hold it down. I guess I kept on doing everything the way I normally would and it’s worked out so far. As long as the shoe keeps selling I’ll be happy.

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What are your thoughts on skate’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympics?

I think it’s gonna bring a lot more random people and random companies into skating which I’m personally not really into. Everyone that’s involved in that side of it is going to make more money. I have friends who are probably going to be in it and they’re going to make millions of dollars and I’m stoked on that. There’s already a lot of bullshit in skating and it’s probably going to bring in a lot more. It’s going to be interesting to see how you can judge skateboarding in that way, because there’s a style aspect which I don’t know if they’ll include. I’m not really down for it but I’m pretty interested to see how it goes.

You had an early sponsorship from Juice Clothing. What skate brands or skate style trends would you like to see resurrected?

Basically everything from the 90s is pretty funny. I guess people are doing it again now, but big swooshy pants with elastic bottoms, flexifit hats, I don’t even know. Skateboarding gets recycled like that – there was a point where everybody was wearing tight pants, and now it’s gone back to 90s stuff like faded jeans, three-stripe Adidas pants and all that kinda stuff.

What’s on the cards for Chima for the rest of 2016?

I’m going to China next month and then back to the States. It’s already warm now, I’m just going to enjoy the summertime and drink a bunch of beer here.

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September 15, 2016