Back to the Feature – Kader Sylla


Photos and words by Andrew Peters, film by TJ Gaskill

Kader is one of the best up and coming skateboarders in the world.

He may be 16 going on 11 when it comes to his social interactions, but he’s damn good at decking. He skates for the same teams as Kevin “Spanky” Long (Baker and RVCA) and is in the Carcass crew with Spanky, Andrew and Stella Reynolds. He has some of the best guidance and inspiration to keep his skateboarding on track and hopefully his maturity level will one day catch up too, but hey, let’s just count on his skating for now.

Brian Gaberman was hands down my favourite skateboard photographer growing up—my biggest inspiration to try to document skateboarding in a certain way. My photos have never ever looked like his, no matter how much I might have wanted to imitate. Hopefully, the most important lesson I learnt from him was to take risks… but the whole point of this exercise was to just try to make our picture of Kader Sylla look like Brian and Spanky’s picture of this hurricane at the Etnies park in Orange County.

(LEFT): KEVIN “SPANKY” LONG CIRCA 2005 BY BRIAN GABERMAN // (RIGHT): KADER SYLLA CIRCA 2018 BY ANDREW PETERS

Spanky was the star of our last ‘Back to the Feature’ so it made sense to pay homage to this legend, even though he is definitely still considered a very relevant and current professional skateboarder. This photo is from 2005. Kevin said it might have been his first hurricane photo, and he’s now famous for them. That makes Kader about two-years-old when this was shot, so I think it’s old enough for us to use in this feature.

We looked up the forecast to determine where the moon might be when we were shooting and it seemed like it was going to be in the same spot for our photo, but when we got there, it was overcast and there was no moon to be found in the background. We also had the obstacle of the park being a helmet-only park. They lent us a helmet to try to get the feature done but we really didn’t want to recreate the photo with the inclusion of a helmet; Kader already looks pre-teen, so the helmet probably would’ve thrown him into toddler category. The other thing is that Gaberman made this photo look as though it could be anywhere. Who knew it was at the helmet-wearing Etnies park in Orange County? We needed at least a chance at recreating that vibe.

After a couple of stack-hat-less hurricanes, we actually got kicked out of the park. We all felt bad as the kids running the park for the night wanted to help out and they were getting in trouble from their bosses remotely. No one wants to get somebody else fired, but helmets are for 12 feet and above and Kader was scratching about five.

Hopefully, we all still have a job after this one.

Check out other ‘Back To The Feature’ episodes right here and come back for more adventures through the skate-space-time continuum.

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