Just swept the 2017 World Championships in all disciplines – Giant Slalom, Hybrid, and Tight. Eight time in a row World Champion. Impressive facial hair. Totally not a dick. What else can you say about Joe McLaren? He’s an unstoppable force in slalom skateboarding.
I met Joe, like, 15 years ago, when he was just a pup. Over the years I’ve run into him at many races, and I had the pleasure of working with him as a slalom instructor at Woodward awhile back. I will say two definitive things about him: he goes really f’n fast, and he is not douchey. Let’s face it, I’m a fat hack of a skateboarder at best. And I can be annoying. No, really, I can. But Joe has always been very cordial to me, never dismissive, free to offer advice, or trade insults. Did I mention he goes real fast too? And he’s like that with everyone. After all the success, you kinda expect a big head and all that, but it really ain’t there. Look, we’re not going on a couples getaway anytime soon, but I’m really not blowin’ smoke here – he’s really an okay guy.
Okay, ass kissing aside, let’s get this interview goin’:
It doesn’t matter what Joe does- he always rips at it.
Okay – regular, goofy? How long skating? Vert? DH? Ramp?
Regular. I skate everything – slalom (obviously since that’s the reason you’re even giving me the time of day), vert, street, pools, bowls, ditches, downhill – you name it and I’ll skate it! I started skating about 21 years go at the age of 3. It started just messing around in front of the house. I quickly made my way to skateparks and that’s when I really fell in love. In 2002 I met Chris Barker at the skatepark and he introduced us (me , my dad, and my brother) to slalom and took us under his wing.
What’s with the slip ons? How do you race in those?
I strayed away from the slip ons a few years back. But I just love super basic shoes like that that have tons of board feel. When I did ride slip ons though I would always buy them a little small so that they would stay on.
Current race rigs?
I’m current ride my pro model Sk8kings board for tight and hybrid and a Sk8kings Maximus for GS. Both boards have Sk8kings Turbo wheels, Radikal Trucks, Venom Bushings, and oust bearings. Set up to grip and drive out of every turn!!
Favorite type of pie?
Warm apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on the side. But it all honestly I would choose my mom’s cheesecake over pie any day. She makes the world’s best cheesecake – and I’m not just saying that because I’m her son. Ask anyone would has ever tried it they will tell you it’s changed their life. I’ll send some out to you Fatboy.
The lighter side of Joe Mac, featuring Maria Carrasco, Richy Carrassco, and Joe’s mom. I’ll let you figure out who’s who.
Purely speculation of course, but who do you think would be the better kisser, Richy or Maria Carrasco? Sure, Maria is extremely pretty, but Richy has those full lips.
At first thought you would obviously choose Maria. She is far more beautiful (sorry Richy), extremely sweet, I imagine it would be a fair more “gentle” experience. Richy does have the full lips. The other thing you have to think is he would always have some tasty food on his breath from his last meal/snack, which probably wasn’t any longer than a half hour ago, so it’s still fresh.
If you see don’t your opponent in your peripheral vision, do you back off a little? Or do you always just go balls out?
I definitely try to race smart and not blow my load if I don’t need to. Unfortunately I have had a lot of injuries over the year and have a really bad back. So that sometimes limits the amount of runs I have in me.
These two photos from the 2014 Nationals show the sort of intensity it takes (left) to manhandle a burly slalom course (right). You don’t become a multi-time world champion without it.
What was the 100 cone challenge like? Do you just get in a zone and wail?
The 100 cone challenge is crazy, it’s a totally different experience. You get into a groove there you are just going with the rhythm and looking for the centers. It’s interesting because you don’t really have time to think. It’s almost like you temporarily black out and then you’re riding away from the finish line.
Since you’ve raced all over the world, what was your favorite city? What was your favorite race? Favorite local food?
Czech, Czech, and Czech. Czech has been by far my favorite place. The city is extremely beautiful and fun. Cool bars and crazy good food!! The races there have always been amazing. They really go above and beyond to have an outstanding race…. and hey you can’t complain about beer trucks on the hill.
Other than me, are you intimidated by any other racers? Or do you know you’re just gonna school them all?
I don’t know if intimated would be the word I would use, but I definitely have a lot of respect for a lot of racers. There are many racers that could beat me any day of the week (and a lot of them do beat me). Somehow I just keep getting lucky.
Being a multi-time world champion means…
… being in a lot of promotional advertising. Must be a rough gig, being a rock star and all.
What do you do when you’re not dominating races? Hobbies? Job?
I do have a “day job” as a manager at a bank. It’s a very different world than skating but I love it. I’m a huge golfer so golfing, watching golf, thinking/talking about golf takes up a lot of my time. If I’m not skating, working, or golfing you can probably find me cracking a cold one open with the boys.
Tell me something most people don’t know about you – like you’re an accomplished triangle player, or Ouija Board master, or omelet chef, or ocelot breeder.
1. I’m color blind
2. I’m allergic to chocolate and peanuts
3. I’m obsessed with flamingos
What are your bands of choice?
Wu-Tang Clan is hands down my favorite. But really It depends on my mood. I listen to so much different stuff; rock, classic rocks, rap, punk, reggae, a little country. I also listen to some stuff I’m I little ashamed to say like; Fergie, Dido, Nelly Furtado, Natasha Bedingfield. Whatever, I’m a freak!
Rodney Mullen pulled out of competition years ago for a number of reasons. One of them was that he was just expected to win every contest. Do you ever feel that way? Is it still fun to race?
No not at all. I definitely don’t feel like there is any pressure on me to always win nor do I put that pressure on myself. I still have a blast racing. How can you beat traveling the world, with some of your best friends, doing what we all love to do? I’m in it for the fun. As long as I skate my best and have fun – that’s a win in my book.
Top 3 all time favorite movies?
2. American Sniper
3. The Hangover
What was your first car? And can you drive a stick?
1995 Ford Aerostar covered in skate stickers. We called it the “man van” back I the day. It was awesome – kinda wish I still had it as a second car. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not the best at driving stick, but I can. I prefer to drive an automatic though. Much less stressful for me.
Do you do any cross training? Weights? Cardio? Watch what you eat?
I go to the gym quite a bit and lift weights and do a little cardio. I definitely try to watch what I eat, but I also am a foodie and love beer, so I do fall off the wagon a little from time to time. It’s just too hard to resist sometimes.
Other than me, who is your favorite skater living or dead?
That’s a hard one. I would probably have to go with Steve Olson. He has such an amazing style and rips anything and everything. Beyond on that he is a great dude and I’m honored to call him a friend.
I’ve met your Mom, she’s a real nice lady. Does she brag your shit all up in her friend’s faces? Does she make you call when you get to the race? Hahahahaha , mine did and I was 50! Did you call her today? Tell her I said hi.
My mom is by far my biggest fan so she loves to talk about me. She brings it up whenever she can. It’s a little embarrassing for me sometimes because I’m super humble and don’t like to talk about my skating too much, but I love how into it she is. I call my mom every single day (usually multiple times a day) so it’s not that she makes me call her but more that I want to call her.
Here’s to another decade of slalom domination, buddy…!
How do non-skaters react when they find out you’re a famous World Champion?
They freak out, a lot don’t believe me until I show them video. It’s funny too when people from my job figure it out. A bank manager in pressed dress clothes and shiny, fancy dress shoes is not what you imagine as a professional skateboarder.
Other than me, anyone you wanna thank? Sponsors? Mentors?
First and foremost my parents, they have been beyond supportive of my skating and life in general. I wouldn’t be where I am without them and couldn’t ask for better parents. Next of course, Richy and Maria Carrasco. They play so many roles in my life; sponsors, skate coaches, life coaches, managers, parental figures, but most of all two of my greatest friends in the world. I would also like to thank the rest of my sponsors; Keith at Radikal Trucks, Justin and Zak at Venom bushings, Marshall at FlyAway Helmets, Carl at Oust, Wild Bill at Pro Designed, Jeremy at Rocky Mountain Beard Company. All of the COSS crew for mentoring me as a young racer, especially Chris Barker and Jason Mitchell. I would like to thank my little brother Kyle as well as all my non blood brothers; Dustin, Stin, Wesley, Doug, Koby, Josh, Anthony and Niko. Everyone who I just mentioned have changed my life so much and made me the person and skater I am today. Love you all!! And if I forgot anyone (which I’m sure I did) I apologize and I love you too. And most of all -thank you skateboarding!!!
Well there you have it, race fans – Joey Mac in his own words. Thanks for reading and thank you Joe for being a good sport. I tried not to ask all the same old questions, that’s boring as shit.