As no less an arbiter of the streets than Jay-Z himself noted: you can’t knock the hustle.
Yoshi Tanenbaum has the full skate arsenal: control at speed, courage, every trick worthy of the name on lock, and the confidence to stick them when it is do or die.
It is no wonder the newly-minted Stereo pro blew up off the back of his Berrics debut, because he only knows one way – go in, hard, and all the time.
We linked up with Yoshi to talk about the emergence of Japanese skateboarding, board control and skating the mean streets of Washington DC with Darren Harper.
Enjoy his Checkout!
Hey Yoshi, can we start way back with the basics: how old are you, where are you from, how long have you been skating for?
My real name is Yoshi Tanenbaum; I’m 23, born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel until I was nine when I moved to Silver Spring, Maryland… which is where most of my progress started.
I was a young boy growing up skating Freedom Plaza in Washington DC every day: watching Bobby Worrest, Darren Harper, Daniel Kim and all the older OGs kill everything in sight and with style.
That sparked me – made me want to skate every day, and progress. I’ve been skateboarding for 15 years, now – every single day.
You’re part of only a handful of people who are keeping pace with the Brazilians and Japanese in terms of progression and consistency: who do you rate, right now?
The Brazilians and Japanese are definitely the most consistent skaters I’ve ever seen; it’s a true beauty to watch, and learn from.
In my opinion, Luan Olivera and Carlos Ribeiro have the most board control of any skateboarders in the world – and the best street parts, hands down.
The Japanese and Chinese guys are equally as consistent with tricks, although not with video parts, or street skating. That takes a lot of hard work from the bottom up. They’ll achieve that one day.
If you love what you do, you’ll be willing to make sacrifices to keep doing it”
Riding for Jason Lee’s board company is no small thing – how did that come about?
I turned pro this year for Jason Lee and Chris Pastras’s company, Stereo Skateboards.
I filmed a few of my best clips with my filmer Lawrence Ekin, growing up. We submitted it to the Berrics for a Bang Yo Self street footage contest that we ended up winning. They flew me out to California to skate the old Berrics and film all sorts of things, like my own Bangin’, and a story behind who I am and about my footage.
Chris Pastras happened to be sitting watching me the whole time and asked me if I had a board sponsor.
I said no, and so he gave me his email from there and hooked me up with Stereo boards ever since. That was a true blessing.
Skating has gone big, then technical, and now people like yourself are doing both at the same time – where does skating have left to go, beyond here?
Skateboarding has been progressing non-stop; there are no limits to what you can accomplish on and off the board – it’s all about your work ethic.
If you’re willing to put the work in, you’ll eventually see results.
Where do you stand on the old ‘contests don’t matter’ debate?
I think skate contests are important for young skaters. You get to meet all sorts of new people, and that means lots of new opportunities.
Even if you don’t win, just dropping in shows you believe in yourself. I love skating contests against the best in the world – it motivates me, watching the best – really brings out my potential.
The landscape of sponsored skateboarding has changed a lot since the financial crash of 2009. Does that make people hungrier, or are we losing a lot of talented people to the 9-to-5 world as a result?
Im sure the 2009 financial crash had a big impact on the pros that were already getting paid. The up-and-coming kids have to deal with real life and skate life – and figure out how to balance it out, without support. The struggle tests your love and dedication: if you love what you do, you’ll be willing to make sacrifices to keep doing it.
What are your plans for 2019?
2019 is a huge year for skateboarding! I plan on competing in as many pro contests as I can, and filming my street parts… the road to 2020 is on my radar. It’s hustle season!
Lets make dreams happen!