Clifton Wallace

Photos: Chad Phillips

I first noticed Clifton Wallace similarly to how his first and former sponsor, Zumiez, noticed him when he was in sixth grade tearing up a local skatepark. Clifton now 21, was dominating the volcano on 9th and 9th in west Salt Lake, when I asked him if I could take some photos of him. He looked puzzled, took out his earbuds and asked, "Me? I guess if you want to?" After he landed a monster frontside flip on the volcano he looked at a few frames, glanced at me and said "I can kickflip 5-0 that ledge over there." I looked at the ledge and the ledge looked back at him ... "OK." An hour later and after he had dialed dozens of tricks, we decided to rendevous a week later and tear up some skate spots but this time in his hometown ... Kerns.
I made my first trip into the heart of Kearns to pick up Clifton at a Maverik near his home. I watched him ollie over a massive cement barrier at Kearns High, first try. In between second attempts he would reminisce about how when he was in high school he would have two tries to kickflip a ten stair, inside the school around lunchtime ... but before the teachers or anybody would show up. We stopped at 7-eleven or "Steve" as Clifton calls it, to grab some water. He noticed that I caught a glimpse of a prescription pill bottle he was carrying and told me why he can't drive. "Epileptic seizures. I hit my head really heard skateboarding when I was nine, I don't know if I was dehydrated or what?" Clifton said. Ultimately, that is why he has epilepsy, a freak accident on a skateboard.
One would think by the way he punishes his board he is going to battle with it ... and by the looks of it ... he's winning.