John Baragwanath – Issue 34 Interview


After uploading John Baragwanath’s alternative ‘STATIC VI‘ part, we have published his Vague, Issue 34 interview online to accompany it. Enjoy the beaut photography of Pep Kim and words of Pat Stiener, we’re stoked to have made this one happen! Have a read below!

If you would like to get hold of Vague Issue 34 in physical form click here and get a copy of Static VI on DVD here!

John Baragwanath ~ Photo: Pep Kim

Introduction & Interview by: Pat Stiener

Photography by: Pep Kim


Have you ever met those people who are just good at everything? Like the high school quarterback who can also back smith the skatepark handrail. They have perfect hair, usually a man bun for some reason. No matter what room they’re in, everyone loves them- the guy who can hang with the nerds in the chess club and then smoke cigarettes with the bad boys right after. They’re usually at least six feet tall, and always have on some new pants they got while in Europe. They can beat you at pool while simultaneously buying

the table a round of beers. They are the life of the party wherever they go. I hate those guys… yet, somehow, I love John. Although I can’t say for certain that John was ever a quarterback, I do know he had a man bun.

John Baragwanath – Nollie ~ Photo: Pep Kim

So first things first, where does Baragwanath come from? I don’t think I’ve ever heard that name before.

Well my family is from all over the UK, I don’t really know exactly where it’s from. The internet says Cornwall, but who knows. Everyone just trips out on it cause it looks pretty nuts, maybe I should do one of those DNA things. Remember that beer cap picture puzzle you made to help people pronounce it? I was hyped on that.


And when did you start skating?

Probably in 2005, I know it was after Hurricane Katrina because that storm just went through us so school was shut down. I saw other kids skating and it was just something to do.


And this is in the Keys?

Yeah, Marathon Key.


Like Key West?

Nah, that’s further out – I’m closer to Miami…

John Baragwanath – Frontside Boardslide ~ Photo: Pep Kim

Don’t you have a connection with Jimmy Buffet?

Yeah, Jimmy Buffet and I share the same dentist. He’s an old hippie and his staff doesn’t wear shoes. It’s very chill vibes there haha.


Okay, I just wanted to get that out of the way. So, back to Marathon Key, at this point you’re just skating with local friends?

Yeah, just doing flatground manuals and learning the basics.


So how were you learning stuff? Did you have videos?

Yeah, the first video I saw was Flip ‘Sorry’. It was on sale at some surf shop, that’s the only reason I ended up with it. I didn’t know what the tricks were or what I was watching, I could just see their style and see how it should look.


How did you end up venturing out of Marathon?

Basically just meeting older kids who skated, mainly from Key Largo. They would come to Marathon because we had a new skatepark. Eventually I would take the bus to Key Largo or to Miami which was crazy long, like five hours.


So you would only get to skate Miami for like an hour?

A little longer than that, but it was so sick just being in a city. I was 16 or 17 so I didn’t know what was going on, or where to go.


Going to check out all those Sorry spots?

Naa, I had no idea those spots were even in Miami. I do remember one day going to Nautilus for the first time and tripping out on the long ledge where Arto gets skitched in on to do a tailslide.

John Baragwanath – Nollie Backside 180 ~ Photo: Pep Kim

Eventually you end up staying in Miami though, right?

Yeah I started going to school at Miami Dade College, but super lazy style. I found this crazy spot that was $200 a month. It had no windows and only had a mini fridge. It was basically an office they converted. I had to share a bathroom with this IT guy who worked there 9-5, but it was cool, I didn’t care at the time.


So you’re getting good at skating now, who are you skating and filming with?

At this point I was probably out filming with Mikey Bueso and skating with Josh Narvaez, Eric Torres, Alex Yurrita, Mikey Higuera… I don’t know, there’s a lot of people.


And you guys started coming into New York?

My mom is from New York, so I would come up here as a kid and always loved the city. There’s always been a Florida / NY connection. We would just fly up here without a plan and start texting people when we landed, which was kind of crazy now that I think about it. Nothing was planned but it always worked out. Some nights you could just sleep on someone’s roof if there was no space in the apartment, that happened a few times. We would do that every summer, and one summer I just decided to stay.


John Baragwanath – Backside Fenceride ~ Photo: Pep Kim

Didn’t you break your femur then?

Yeah, I was here for two weeks and just snapped it right in half. I was skating the Bond Street street gap and just threw my board down wrong. I got wobbly and was going super fast and this lady on the street was also in my way so I went to dodge her and hit the side of this rail and it just snapped.

I went straight to the hospital, it was a whole scene; they cut my pants off and were rolling me around naked in front of everyone. It was insane, but then they gave me a shit ton of morphine and I was fine. It sucked but was kind of a good experience also, because I had to go stay with my aunt who I didn’t really know at the time. She helped take care of me and that brought us closer.


Who do you usually skate with here?

You, James Sayres, Dustin Eggeling, Josh Stewart, Keith, Jovi, Jersey Dave, Steve Brandi… there are lots of skaters in New York, always some homies down to skate.


Who’s the best pool player out of that group?

Probably you or Dustin, but I crush you both every time so who’s to say?


Why are all Floridians good at pool?

We spend a lot of time at bars I guess… My mom was a bartenderat this resort for a long time so I grew up there and learned from hanging around old fishermen. I couldn’t drink of course, all I wanted to do was run around and play games and swim in the pool.


What’s up with you and giving dogs massages? You’re like Dr. Doolittle.

Just a little party trick haha. People get a real kick out of it, I don’t know how it started but now anytime we’re at a house party and there’s a cat someone says something. I should probably open up a little pet spa, make some money, haha.

John Baragwanath – Switch Kickflip ~ Photo: Pep Kim

How can you switch flip and nollie flip so good? Where did you learn that one?

Just skating flat. I remember an older homie of mine, Matt Tirillo, would tell us how Penny did everything switch and regular. I didn’t even know about switch really until then, and I was like, “I’ve got to learn how to do everything regular and switch.”


What’s your weakness in a game of SKATE?

Can’t tell you, it’s a secret. But Sayres knows.


Where do you usually skate?

It’s hard in New York. There is a ledge plaza that’s good to skate all the time whenever you want. In the winter we have Chauncey, and that’s great cause the sun shines bright there during those cold days, but once it starts warming up the ground gets soft and the ledges don’t work as well. Reggaeton is good all year round, but it’s a basketball court so it’s hit or miss depending on how many ballers are there.


When you film, do you like to have a plan or just go out and see what happens?

A lot of times it’s just seeing what happens. I like to have at least one idea, but sometimes it doesn’t work out and you find yourself in the middle of nowhere with not too much stuff to skate around.


VX or HD?

I prefer VX man, nothing beats the look and sound. But I’m also not anti HD.


On the subject of filming, what’s the deal with Static VI?

I think it comes out next month! I feel like Josh has been saying that for about three years now haha, it took him like three years to actually decide to make another one. He was just flirting with the idea for so long.


What’s it like filming a part for 7 years? I feel like you grow a lot in that amount of time. Just imagine if you started filming in 8th grade, you would be in college now still waiting for the premiere to happen.

It hasn’t really felt like 7 years because we’d just film and use stuff for different edits. If we got something we really liked we’d hold on to it longer, but with Josh I could only get out once a week with him for the most part, so that makes the process much slower.

John Baragwanath – Switch Crooked Grind ~ Photo: Pep Kim

Did you travel anywhere for this part?

No not really, I think it’s pretty much all New York – I think there’s a LA clip that is probably the oldest clip. I remember doing it and Josh was like, “I’m not using that for an edit, I’m holding on to it for something bigger,” but that was like 2 to 3 years before he even mentioned doing another Static.


What does it mean to you to have a part in the final Static series? Did you watch any of the old ones when you were growing up?

It’s an honour. Static 3 was my Static. The first and second are amazing as well, but I can remember watching that one repeatedly with Mikey Bueso. Renaud’s part was so good, and Olly Todd’s and Nate, Coakley and your part are all my favourites. I’ve seen people fan out on you because of that part a few times haha. Four and five were really good too. When those came out I felt like a kid, like, “I have to go to this premiere, I need this DVD,” you know?


Oh of course, that’s how I feel waiting for this next one. So what’s your day job, and are you gonna quit once this video comes out?

I’m an art handler. Kevin Coakley got me the job a few years ago and I’m still doing it, it’s super chill. They’re really relaxed with me leaving for weeks or months at a time to go on trips, it’s super nice. Before that I worked for Lou Moves You for a while, that was crazy hard. Lou is the best. Respect to any skaters that do that then go skate, Brendan did that while filming for Static – it’s gnarly to move couches up five flights of stairs then try and film a trick.

John Baragwanath – Frontside Bluntslide Transfer ~ Photo: Pep Kim

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen while doing art handling?

Probably the craziest thing is how much money people have, polo fields in the backyard kind of money. I think working at Lou Moves You was more interesting, finding handcuffs and sex toys under people’s beds haha.

I did install a piece of art at Paul Rudd’s house a few years ago. He was super chill and ordered us all burritos. I got a shrimp one and he showed us the new Ant Man trailer that hadn’t been released at the time. Good man, that guy.


Why do you love shrimp so much?

I don’t know, I guess just from growing up in the Keys where there’s lots of shrimp everywhere. But I’ll tell you, sometimes shrimp isn’t the right choice. I’ve learned that the hard way. Remember that shrimp pizza in Mexico City? Countersunk into the congealed cheese haha.


Don’t remind me.

Wait, is that it?


Yeah, I think we’re good. Thanks for doing this John! Any last words?

Just thanks to everyone for the support – Josh, you, Pep Kim and Shier.

John Baragwanath – Static VI Part – Alternative Edit

Filmed + Edited by: Josh Stewart

Static VI is available on DVD here