Missionary Position: The Colt Bowden Saga Continues

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This back tail looks good and feels good, so it's art. Photo: Swainston

Colt Bowden has a deep, throbbing relationship with his skateboard. When asked what motivates his raw-dog approach, he said, “The push.” When he grabs his wood and throws down, you can tell he’s putting passion into every thrust he musters. Bowden likens skateboarding to jazz music. He’s most happy when improvisational poetry is coming out on the streets. Bowden tells me that he is intensely familiar with every crack on his block, and penetrates them often during daily rides.  It’s no wonder that after a long session in the hot sun he often finds himself wet and satisfied.  Carving, grinding and railing are his favorites and he can do them all night. Bowden’s an abstract guy and enjoys hittin’ it switch.  He’s so carefree and playful that you can tell he’s just out having fun with the guys.  Skate obstacles are canvas for his proverbial stick to stroke as he creates his perverse performance art. Bowden has been pounding asphalt for a long time and over the years he has seen and adapted to many a skate trend. Nowadays, it looks like he’s got it pretty figured out. Let’s all watch and listen—his queer approach to boarding might proselytize us all a handy lesson.

SLUG:  You served a mission in Hawaii.
Bowden:  Yes.

SLUG:  A lot of babes in bikinis?
Bowden:  And a lot of dudes in speedos.

SLUG:  Is skateboarding sport or art?
Bowden:  It’s art when I’m by myself and I’m trying something different that feels good, not just trying to show someone up.  It’s art when it’s not like, ‘Yo, I’m gonna show you up with my backside tailslide.’ It’s art when it’s like ‘I’m gonna do a backside slide and it’s gonna feel really good and slide really long—it’s gonna look really good.’  That’s art, it’s full of finesse, it’s almost like ballet.  When I’m competing against Tully Flynn in a handrail contest, it’s sport.

SLUG:  Have you ever sat on a long rail?
Bowden:  I butt slide down these rails when I get out of class at the Y.

SLUG:  That reminds me of junior high.  My school had some kink rails we’d butt slide.
Bowden:  I don’t butt slide the kinks.

SLUG:  Shut up, you don’t get kinky?  Sure you don’t, tell me about when you have gotten kinky.
Bowden:  I boardslid this rail with a kink at the end, I think board slides are kind of the crazier trick to do.

SLUG
:  So you have gotten kinky.
Bowden:  Gotten way kinky on those handrails.  Kinks remind me of rollerbladers.  They’re all about kinks.

SLUG:  Yeah, they’re distasteful.
Bowden:  You know those rails on South Temple in front of the cathedrals?  I looked at them and I was like, ‘Dang, I wanna skate these,’ but then like afterwards would I have to go into confession and be like, ‘Father, I grinded thy holy rail’?

SLUG:  Where is skateboarding right now?
Bowden:  It’s like when Gator and Hosoi were competing in the late 80s when it was just about to die, ‘cause it was like so mainstream, but it wasn’t as mainstream as it is now.  So it’s gonna do something different than it did in the 90s, but something drastic, and it’s gonna suck for a lot of people.

SLUG:  You were known as the annoying kid, the grom, the one upper, the little snake.  I’m just wondering if you have any concept of skate politics or if you have motives?
Bowden:  I think it was more that I was a little brother and my older brother always had the attention so I had to show off.  I remember in elementary school all the kids would call me the show off kid.  It wasn’t planned, it’s just how I rolled.

SLUG:  What would you say is the number one thing that you have contributed to the SLC skate scene?
Bowden:  Hucking my carcass down salty steps.  I showed kids that they could hurt themselves and that’s okay.  We rolled deep as carcass-hucking teenagers.  I don’t think I made my mark, ‘cause kids don’t know who I am.  I’ll go to the skatepark and introduce myself and sometimes it’s to people I know and they’re like, ‘Who are you?’

SLUG:  You moved to California and got sponsored, right?
Bowden: I moved down there and I was skating for Lib-tech and Savier.  Savier went out of business and I quit Lib-tech.  I started skating for I-Path and Toy Machine for a year, and after the Good & Evil video came out, Ed Templeton was like, ‘We’re gonna turn Matt Bennett am instead of you.’  So I got my video to Stereo and skated for them for like six months and then I moved back here to do my mission.  I never told the Stereo guys I was leaving—I just moved.

SLUG:  What made you finally give up on the dream and come home?
Bowden:  If you’re not the bro or whatever, you’re gonna have to bend over to make it.  I wasn’t into the party scene and if I woulda been I probably would have made it somewhere  as far as sponsors go, ‘cause that’s what they’re all about—if you party, you’re their bro.  Like Adam Dyet, he’s perfect for the industry.

SLUG: Did you ever justify moving to California and not going on your mission by thinking you would spread the gospel to fellow skaters?
Bowden: Yeah, yeah, sometimes I’d be like, okay, I’m sponsored and maybe this will be good for my religion if I get to a certain point. And then I realized I’m not that good that people are gonna look at my skating and be like, ‘Oh, I wanna join his religion,’ or ‘I’m interested in his beliefs.’ You know, I’m pretty nice, I’m a good dude, maybe I could be a good influence and maybe someone would look at the church, but they never really did.

SLUG: Back to the subject of skating full pipes. How big have you ever gotten in a full pipe?
Bowden:  Probably 9:15 [on the clock].

SLUG: Pretty conservative.
Bowden: Is there an A.M.? 

SLUG
: How do you feel about lubrication?
Bowden: I like my bearings loud.

SLUG: What’s changed in skateboarding in the last decade, in this city specifically?
Bowden: There were no free cement skateparks. In ‘99 all we had was Classic Skating, Tully was a regular and I was too sometimes.  So you had to pay to go skate in the wintertime, or anywhere with transitions. Or drive to Tooele or Farmington. We’ve had “a” professional skater come out of Salt Lake City, Mike Plumb. Most of the dudes who were filming skate videos for Utah have moved to different cities. Hardly any of those dudes are on the scene. So, the scene’s entirely changed, if there is a scene.

SLUG: What’s the difference between leaving a skate video premiere now compared to leaving DH DETH, say, 13 years ago?
Bowden:  It’s almost to the point now where it’s too diluted.  It made me want to go find spots in Utah and if I found a spot in the video it felt like I’d made it.  Ah, Shane Justus did a drop, melon grab 180 off this ledge at Hillside.  Dude. I wanna go skate that. And we’d go skate it in the snow.

SLUG
: So, it never made much sense to me, how you went from skating in Vans to moon boot Saviers.
Bowden: Mostly it was like free shoes.

SLUG: Is there any pride involved skating free shoes?
Bowden: Sometimes there is. Like yo dude, I’m reppin’ this dope company. 

SLUG: Are there any favorite memories from filming for the Mutiny videos back in the day?
Bowden: Getting holes in every pair of jeans that I owned.  My favorite was filming in the pre-wintertime from September to late November when we’d all do Shelby missions.

SLUG: Did you have any funny Greg Wrotniac moments?
Bowden: We’d just mock him ‘cause we could, ‘cause we thought it was funny.  It’s true though. I’ll just say Connections.  One thing was he was shorter than most of us, a little pudgier than us.  I think it was the shaved head thing, it kinda like wasn’t going for him ‘cause he was short, you know.  He was an easy target to pick on.  He really thought he had this underground music thing going on, and knew something that all of us didn’t.  And we could all just see him for who he really was.  So we were all just mean to him.

Photos:
This back tail looks good and feels good, so it's art. Photo: Swainston Buck nasty backside flip. Colt Bowden. Photo: Colton Fakie ollie, no lube necessary. Photo: Colton Backside smith. Photo: Colton Colt ollies this wire fence on his way to Wall Mart for some garment shoping. Photo: Swainston  No-comply pipe jam. Photo: Swainston Check, please. Photo: Swainston