Professional skateboarder Connor Champion recently chopped it up with Quarter Snacks about going on tour with Lil Wayne around the United States of America and Europe.
Connor talked about how he got picked to go on the America’s Most Wanted music festival, skating on stage in front of thousands of people while Tune performs live, what an average day was like on the tour, living on the tour bus with Mack Maine and Gudda Gudda, what the craziest thing he saw while on tour was, his opinion on Wayne taking up skateboarding, and more.
You can read Connor Champion‘s interview about Weezy F Baby below!
How did you get hit up to go on a Lil Wayne tour?
I’ve known Ryan Clements since I was a kid. He used to work for Skatepark of Tampa, and Lil Wayne’s people hired him to staff the skating part of his tour. Ryan knew I was a big Wayne fan, so he called and asked, “Do you want to go on tour with Lil Wayne for two months and skate on stage?” Before he said anything else, I just went “Yeah.” They didn’t tell Ryan any specific details, so I didn’t know what to expect.
Who else was on the tour?
It was me, Kyle Berard, Jeremy Knibbs, this kid Yo-Yo who rides for TRUKFIT, and Wayne’s little cousin, Dante. I’ve known Kyle since I was young, and all the other dudes were sick. I couldn’t ask for a better mix.
What was the first day like?
I flew from Atlanta to Birmingham, Alabama the day after they called me. We just showed up to soundcheck on the first day and saw two small quarter pipes, one large quarter pipe, and two small handrails. They were just like, “See what you can do.” At first, there was a routine where we would all go after each other. But when Wayne got on stage, he stopped the music once he saw what was going on and said, “Fuck that routine shit, just skate.” It turned more into a jam session for each show.
Did you have to try hard tricks or anything specific?
Just tricks we knew how to do. After the first show, we started having little side bets with each other about who could do the best trick. It got easier as it progressed, after a few shows we got used to it and were just skating. I did get bodied a couple times in front of a few thousand people. I was doing backside bonelesses on the larger quarterpipe, and a few times the lights onstage were going crazy so I completely missed the quarter pipe on the way down. Kyle would do lein to tails and the crowd would go wild. They were just hyped when people landed tricks, not when they busted their ass, which is honestly not what I thought would happen.
What was an average day on the tour?
That dude has people on a nocturnal schedule. We’d wake up at three or four in the afternoon, go to the show, eat there, warm up, do the show, hang out for a little while after, and wait to see if Wayne wanted to skate that night. If he did, we’d go to the skatepark and skate until like seven in the morning. We were staying up until nine or ten after that. On the days off, we were on the bus driving to the next city.
What was the bus like?
We were on the Young Money bus with Mack Maine and Gudda Gudda. It was like a full tour bus with twelve bunks, Mack had a room in the back, and there was a common area for everyone. There were supposed to be other rappers on the trip, but Wayne replaced the rappers with us. I’ve been listing to Sqad Up mix tapes since I was a little kid, so it was surreal to be on a bus with those dudes and for them to be cool with all of us. They’re down to earth and hospitable about having a bunch of random skateboarders on their bus for two months.
What’s the craziest thing you saw on the trip?
Seeing girls do things to be around certain people was something that I’ve never seen before. Their whole world is something else. But on some little kid shit, the craziest thing was just Birdman coming onto our bus with a million dollars worth of jewelry on and rolling dice with Gudda and Mack.
Everyone who skates has has an opinion on Wayne taking up skateboarding. What impression did you get from him skating based on those two months?
I was a huge fan of Wayne before the skating, so I’m biased. I had his back prior to this trip. But skating with him changed my perspective even more. When you see Wayne stand on a skateboard, you can tell he genuinely loves it. He’s a little kid that just started skating in a grown millionaire’s body.
Out of everything he could be doing with his free time, he’s choosing to be at the skatepark with us at three in the morning. You have to realize he could be doing literally anything in the world at that moment. I’ve seen people move mountains for that dude. It’s not like, “I gotta go practice skating so I look legit” or whatever people may think. We were on the studio bus with him on the way to a park, and he would be in full creative mode, in the middle of making a song for the mixtape that just came out. As soon as we pull up, he’d stop and say, “Aight, let’s go.” Granted, we skate differently, but he would be skating longer than any of us. We’d be dead, covered in sweat at 7 A.M, and he’d just be laughing at us.
I’ve seen so many non-skaters come into the industry, use it and throw it away. I fully understand how other skateboarders might think it’s a gimmick or that he’s using skating, but coming from someone who has skated for a long time and has been around him for a while, trust me, he’s not using it for that. If you’re bummed on that dude, you’re bummed on someone who genuinely likes skateboarding and that’s weird.