SK801: It’s for the 801

Levi Faust blasts to where no man has gone before ... In the warehouse. Axle stall pull-in off the wall! Photo: Swainston

SK801 started about six years ago on a trip to Denver. There was a video contest going on called Way of the Warriors that filmer Kyle Wilcox and all the kids on the trip wanted to be a part of, but they needed a crew name to enter. Nobody can really say who came up with it, but SK801 was the one that stuck. They didn’t end up entering the contest, but they kept the crew name alive and, by the next summer, had dropped the first SK801 video. Most of the original crew consisted of Colin Brophy, Sam Hubble, Alex Whipp, Moses Sanchez, Kyle Wilcox, Jason Gianchetta and Holland Redd. For the first few years, it was just a skate crew that was always out skating and filming. Sanchez was running Technique Skate Shop at the time, which gave the crew a good outlet to spread the name through video and board collaborations. As Sanchez became more involved with the shop, his presence in SK801 started to slide, along with some of the crew’s exposure. However, it never died. It kept evolving and, most importantly, everyone kept skating.

Then about seven months ago, a group in Provo started poaching the name, designing graphics and printing SK801 shirts. Wilcox said, “We didn’t want to see it go down that path ... It wasn’t what we were doing.” Gianchetta, being the only one with a job at the time, took the initiative to save the name from the poachers by forming an LLC for SK801, legitimizing the name as an official company that they could claim as their own. About the same time, Sanchez had stopped working for Technique and had started to refocus his energy back into SK801. Sanchez and Wilcox teamed up to brainstorm what they wanted to do with SK801. Once the concept of having a free park for the community that was supported by a shop was instilled in their minds, they started hunting for a space. They spent three weeks driving up and down 300 W. between 5400 S. (the furthest north they would go) and 9000 S. (the furthest south they wanted to be) looking for spaces to lease. They looked at nearly 15 spaces before settling in at 7016 S. and 400 W. The odd thing about it was that Jake Smith, Volcom team manager, was the person to find it. Smith told Sanchez, “This is the building. I’ve got a good feeling, just go with it.” So Sanchez jumped on it and, on Sep. 11, signed the lease and started building the SK801 Warehouse. Opening day was Nov. 6 and things have been progressively growing with Sanchez at the front desk, running the shop and keeping the park in good form, while Wilcox manages most of the website and films in the park. I pulled both of them aside to get the lowdown on SK801 and the transformation that is taking place.

SLUG: What made you want to start the SK801 Warehouse?
Sanchez: From the beginning when we sat down and did this. It was us, but it was everybody. We wanted to get back to the roots of skateboarding. It seems like a lot of people in Salt Lake had lost those roots because every shop in town makes a transition from skate to snow. When Hondo started Brick and Mortar, which is all skate, it was like, ‘Damn! That is so sick, let’s do it together, lets get back to the roots.’ Skateboarders skate all winter no matter what. It sucks skating around in the cold, and that’s where the Warehouse came about, we need to skate all winter, but have nowhere to skate.

SLUG: Has there been any animosity amongst the people involved with SK801 about who’s in the crew and what you are trying to do with it? Essentially, tell me what is the essence of SK801 to you?
Sanchez: It’s 801. It started as a crew, but now it’s evolving into something else. We want everyone in the 801 to represent SK801. It doesn’t matter if you are downtown, West Jordan or Sandy—everybody is SK801. We’re not taking anything away from the originals. Everything evolves and that’s why we created the Warehouse, so that all the good homies can be a part of it—from BC to Brick and Mortar, Blindside, Technique, Milo and Salty Peaks. We want everybody to come here and enjoy it because it’s for everybody in the 801 and everybody out there. That’s the whole look on it.
Wilcox: There will always be the originals. They should definitely feel proud for helping build what’s happening.

: What are your future goals with SK801?
Sanchez: Make more videos and help more kids come up out of Salt Lake. That’s what the web site is for.
Wilcox: Eventually get to where we have a budget so we can make shit really happen, get tapes for filmers the best we can and a gas card for people to go on trips.

: What are you going to do to make this happen?
Sanchez: It’s going to be SK801 product. Fourty to 60 percent is going back to the skaters for the web site, camera equipment, road trips, etc. We’re planning a big road trip this spring that we’re hoping to have a few thousand dollars saved for. It’s going to be a wild ride. We’re not going to be staying in hotels, we’re going to be camping and hitting all the parks in the Northwest along the coast. We are budgeting all the money for that trip.

SLUG: Why did you decide to have the Warehouse in the midland on 7200 S. instead of closer to downtown?
Wilcox: Our main thing was that we didn’t want to step on Hondo’s shoes because we love Brick and Mortar. We didn’t want to feel close to him at all. It’s hard to open a shop anywhere in the valley without being close to someone.
Sanchez: We wanted to be centrally located, definitely more south than north and close to the freeway. People that do live downtown can take the Trax and only have a short skate to the warehouse.

SLUG: Who designed the park?
Sanchez: Wilcox and myself, Todd Ingersoll and Tanner Montoya from Skate 4 Homies, this new non-profit organization. Those dudes helped us build everything. They were builders before they were home owners. With our minds and their skills, it all came together. We bumped heads a few times about how steep to make the quarter pipe, the hubbas, the pyramid, etc.

SLUG: How do you feel about the outcome of the park as of now? Is there anything you want to change or feel like doesn’t work?
Sanchez: Good, we’re building these cool obstacles. So when skaters come here, it will be a challenge to skate. Of course, it’s a skate park, but we want it to have a street feel. We’re going to constantly move stuff around.
Wilcox: We need to add more quarter pipes, make it a lot more fun to cruise around. More flow. It looks bigger with the fisheye in the montages. Just remember, it’s free.

SLUG: Tell me more about what you are doing with the website,
Wilcox: Promote local skating, music and art. Photos and videos from new filmers and skaters that you probably have never seen. Good coverage for local kids to be seen.

SLUG: How’s business thus far?
Sanchez: It’s pretty fresh, but business is doing good. People are starting to hear the word around town. There are always kids here. It’s definitely become a daycare. There are times when 6 or 7 o’clock comes around and I can’t go home until I force kids out. Thats what we wanted though, that’s why it’s free. So people can be here and support the Warehouse. It seems like we are starting something cool that everyone can be a part of.

SLUG: Any last thoughts?
Sanchez: Hell yeah, come skate and have fun—‘cause that’s what we are, skateboarders having fun. That’s our whole thing, and don’t take for granted what we have here, ‘cause if you do I’m probably going to punch you in the face. I’ve stayed up late for months now building what we have. It’s not some gnarly thing, but come and enjoy it and have fun. We’ve worked really hard to get it going. We’re going to keep working really hard to make it better. Maybe have a bigger warehouse soon. You never know what we can do. 

Levi Faust blasts to where no man has gone before ... In the warehouse. Axle stall pull-in off the wall! Photo: Swainston Photo: Swainston Photo: Swainston Photo: Swainston