Q&A With Thrasher’s 2021 Skater Of The Year, Mark Suciu

2021 was a huge year for Mark Suciu, as the adidas Skateboarding Pro team rider was recently crowned Skater of the Year by Thrasher Magazine. We caught up with Mark and caught up with him on life since winning SOTY, his work with adidas Skateboarding and Paradigm, and more.

NK: Congrats on winning SOTY! What have the past few weeks been like since being named Skater of the Year?

Thank you! I was really blown away to win the award, excited and overwhelmed, so I’ve just been chilling. The last leg of filming for Flora III was so intense too. 

I was in the Bay Area for the party and spent a lot of time with my mom. Came back to the East Coast after Christmas and have been hanging out with my girlfriend Claire. We went to Vermont to be with her family and I got to ski. So so nice up there.

NK: In this collaboration with adidas Skateboarding and Paradigm Publishing, how did you and Paradigm founder Theo Constantinou connect? How big or little was your role in bringing the two together for this Paradigm collection and “LIFE BEFORE” book?

Theo and I have been friends for years. He makes amazing books that I’ve helped with a little here and there, and he’s always collaborating with other brands and doing apparel drops for his brand. Since I ride for adidas and he’s a big fan, we’ve talked about how cool it would be to do an adidas and Paradigm collab. But it was all Theo. I think I introduced him to one person at adidas, that was it. From there I just showed my support as he spoke with them and got the gears turning.

“Spread Light, Leave No Trace” is a mini-documentary featuring Paradigm Founder Theophilos Constantinou and Mark Suciu for “LIFE BEFORE”

NK: “LIFE BEFORE” is about climate change and you were tasked to write the intro for it. What was the writing process like for you?

When Theo first brought up the project and suggested I write the intro, I was skeptical—I’m not a climate expert and wasn’t about to write a research paper. But I realized my job was to engage with the ideas of the artists in the book and show how all these artists, friends and family of Paradigm, come together and create a democratic space for thought. So I had a good time with that. We had an amazing Zoom meeting during the pandemic where everyone spoke at length about their experiences and worries about climate change, and what work they had planned for the book. That was a big inspiration that helped me coalesce the message and feel of the book and of our group.

NK: In an interview with the Nine Club, you talked about the burden and expectations of being a pro skater but made an interesting point of making obligations and filming parts for sponsors as a personal project and putting your creative spin on it so it doesn’t feel like a job. Was this Paradigm collaboration something where you enjoyed the process of because you made it your own?

Yes. I guess in that interview I was thinking mostly of video parts and the product drops they correspond with. Product drops are the most evident time when skating is a job since you’re working with a manufacturing schedule and have to release some sort of content to endorse the product. Since I skate and film a lot, and really like to film video parts, I’ll normally put out a part with the release, but that isn’t expected. So it feels like most of the parts I work on are my idea, and I’m not just doing them because I was told to.

With the adidas Skateboarding and Paradigm collab, I was so proud to be able to shoot ad photos and film for a project that my close friend set in motion. That project wasn’t a very long process on my end, but every day I was working on it felt great, lowkey and refreshing.

NK: You also had your own take on the adidas Skateboarding x Gazelle ADV release earlier this year. What was the design process like for that? Why the Gazelle?

I started skating the Gazelle ADV at the beginning of 2020—I think that was right when, or a little before, it got reintroduced to the skate line. It’s such a sleek shoe and I love the little bit of padding they added for skating and the new tread. I used to skate slimmer cupsoles, so it feels familiar, a little nostalgic. 

I worked with Scott Johnston, senior designer for adidas Skateboarding, on my colorway. He showed me some vintage Gazelles that had different stitching which I liked—we pulled that into our design and I added some more padding to the tongue for comfort. From there we just went back and forth on the colors until I found exactly what I wanted. And the insole illustration was done by Gordon De Los Santos, a good friend of mine—for that we just met up at a bar and he did some sketches for me. Then he worked on it a little more on his own to get the finished product.

NK: Skaters are either very particular about their board and shoes or really don’t care as long as it works. Where do you fall when it comes to your board and shoes?

I’m very particular! Then I don’t think about it after I get it right. So I’m set now with this twin tail Habitat board I’m riding, an 8.375, and the Gazelles.

NK: What’s next for you in 2022?

SOTY trip! Not sure what after that, just looking forward to a stress-free year of more skating and travel.

Much thanks to Mark for taking time out of his busy day and the Paradigm x adidas Gazelle ADV is available for purchase on adidas.com/skateboarding and “LIFE BEFORE” is available for purchase on Paradigm’s website.

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