Interview: Mark Suciu finds his voice

Mark Suciu on sticking with Habitat Skateboards despite its unsure future and his own unsteady past.

© Miguel Valle

“I’m preparing myself to get psyched,” Mark Suciu says, explaining that his brother gave him a book about Japanese architecture, which he’s poring over, a day before he heads to Japan for two weeks with friends.

It’s no surprise that he would prepare for a trip in such a way. Pretty much any skateboarder prepares to get psyched – it’s one of the best parts of the game, really. But Suciu’s preparation is perhaps just a little bit more intense. He’ll admit he wants more out of his travels, somehow, and that he had a foundational distrust in himself and his skateboarding as little as two years ago, before delivering a blistering 2013 during which he cemented himself as one of the best dudes out there, a point of discussion with a standard all his own.

At 21 years old, Suciu, a Bay Area native, has a year under his belt in his new digs of Philadelphia and at least one crisis of faith out of the way. He has found his voice on his skateboard, and man, we’ll listen, every time.

Mark Suciu
Mark Suciu© Miguel Valle

Let’s go with the elephant in the room – were you surprised with Habitat going under and what was that like?
Is it under? Alien Workshop, from what I hear, is completely gone, but Habitat is sticking together well. It’s unclear what will happen to the name, that is in jeopardy, but everybody is sticking together, it seems.

Joe Castrucci is working really hard to get the name back from that Pacific Vector company and he’s also kind of motivated by this turnaround. It’s kind of giving him some energy to start something new or to hold on to this thing that could go away. It’s shitty, especially on the side of Alien Workshop, but on the Habitat side, of course, there’s this radical change that could have some pretty terrible effects, but I don’t know. I’m excited about the positive side of it.

If I were just to go away it would be shady after all they’ve done and what they mean to skating. I’m definitely sticking around

Just to make it clear to people reading, you're not shopping around or taking offers, you’re waiting things out?
Oh, definitely not, I’m sticking with Habitat. I feel like I’m a pretty big part of Habitat and I think if I left I’d be throwing them under the bus. Of course, the main weight of the team is held by Silas [Baxter-Neal], Stefan [Janoski], Freddy [Gall] – the big gamers – but I think that I play a part too, and if I were just to go away it would be shady after all they’ve done and what they mean to skating. I’m definitely sticking around.

Mark Suciu, Backside Lipslide
Mark Suciu, Backside Lipslide© Miguel Valle

You’re about to go to Japan. I’d say it’s fair to say you travel quite a bit: Do you ever get jaded with all the travelling?
Yeah, I do. Maybe not jaded – that might not be the best word. It’s funny, I try to explain this so much and I think people might hate me for it. I feel this disquiet. It’s like, I get to travel so much and it’s amazing, but at the same time I’m realising that as you travel like this, more and more, you come to the realisation that you’re only touching the surface of things. You feel like there’s something more that you’re not reaching.

Could we say that moving to Philadelphia, somewhere different from where you’re from, old city, East Coast, is that almost an answer to that disquiet?
Yeah, definitely, I’m settling roots in a different area and I’m trying to get to know a different region. It’s definitely an answer to that, if not a direct relationship. I might settle my roots too deep here in the East Coast, then all of a sudden realise that I can’t leave because my whole life is here. So I want to have a little bit of living space, room to move around and say, “Ok, this works, this doesn’t,” and not to have it all based on comfort.

You keep up a good travel schedule. Does that help you produce so much footage? Because I think you’re pretty prolific in that respect.
[Laughs] Yeah, I think it really does, because you get inspired all the time. You see a new spot and it’s hardly ever like staring at the same spot and saying, “Oh, what can I do here, the grandiose idea of one certain trick that would be perfect for the spot.” On a trip, it’s a give and take. Staying in one area you get to really understand a certain spot, and putting a lot of time to think about if something is going to yield a great trick. But, also, on the flip side, travelling from spot to spot, you don’t really care, like, ‘Oh, this is really an amazing spot, I need to get something here, even if it’s a simple trick.’

Mark Suciu, Backside Nosegrind
Mark Suciu, Backside Nosegrind© Miguel Valle

I’m realising that as you travel like this, more and more, you come to the realisation that you’re only touching the surface of things. You feel like there’s something more that you’re not reaching

What are you most proud of, skateboard-wise – what’s stoked you out the most?
When things started to work out, I was so excited and just filled with this kind of fear that I would come up short a little bit. It was very possible, if I didn’t get hurt and kept progressing, that I could make a career out of it. But at the same time I felt like I wasn’t going to do anything special. I really felt like I hadn’t found a rhythm of my own, the way an author will complain about not knowing his voice. But for me it was just about a certain trick here, a certain trick there, a certain way of putting together a video part. The first time that I felt reassured, like maybe I really can do something cool, was when I put out the Cross Continental part. It was all filmed at spots that I loved with just me and my friend Miguel [Valle], who I really trusted, working on it together. The editing was perfect, the music choices were really close to me and I felt like they went well with the skating. That’s what I’m most proud of, I’d say.

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