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BOSS XIE: THE INTERVIEW

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BOSS XIE – 采访

By Emmanuel “Manny” Lemire

Avenue and son的 兄弟姐妹们 爱你们 Peace

Photos of Boss from Tommy Zhao


Boss Xie was born and raised in Shanghai. He started skating in the early 2000s, and from 2007-2015, he was sponsored by Nike. He is currently sponsored by Lining. Besides skating professionally, Boss is also a husband, and father, and a businessman. In 2014, he started the Avenue and Son brand, and he recently opened a new brick-and-mortar shop for the brand in Tai Koo Li in Pudong (浦东前滩太古里). In this interview, we talk about how he started skating, Shanghai skate spots, his dream for the Shanghai skate community, Avenue and Son, and the new shop in Pudong.

Boss Xie 在上海出生长大。他在 2000 年代初开始滑板。从 2007 年到 2015 年,他得到了耐克的赞助,目前由李宁赞助。除了专业滑板,Boss 还是一位丈夫、父亲和商人。2014 年,他创立了 Avenue and Son 品牌,最近他在浦东前滩太古里开了一家新的实体店。在这次采访中,我们谈论了他是如何开始滑板的、对上海滑板场的看法、对上海滑板社区的憧憬、Avenue and Son 的诞生以及浦东实体店的期待。

Interview by Manny
Photos by Tommy Zhao
Translated by Bella Gong


1. How did you get the nickname ‘Boss’? 你是怎么得到”Boss”这个外号的?

In 2001, I had just started skating. One time my friend and I went to the skateshop. Through that shop, I learned about the concept of ‘sponsorship’. I thought that if one day I had a skateshop, then I’d sponsor my friends. So then everybody started calling me ‘Boss’. At that time I didn’t have an English name, and people were already calling Boss, so I decided to use ‘Boss’ as a nickname. But it doesn’t matter if people call me that. This is how I got this nickname. I think that when foreigners hear it, they wonder if I have a mental issue.

那是在 2001 年我刚认识滑板的时候,放学后我跟好朋友去滑板店买东西,然后一起聊天时知道了 sponsors 这个词。那时候我对我的朋友说以后我要有我自己滑板店,我来 sponsor 你们,然后大家就开始叫我 Boss。在这之前我没有英文名字,我觉得“Boss”听起来好酷,而且应该没什么人会用这个单词作为英文名,所以“Boss”这个外号就是他们给我的。但是我觉得老外听这个名字肯定会觉得这个人是不是脑子有问题。

2. Where did you start skating in Shanghai? 你是从哪里开始在上海滑板的?

The Shanghai Science and Technology Museum and Wusa are the first skate spots in Shanghai. That’s where I was when I first started skateboarding. We went to Wusa Square every Friday because it was near my home in Puxi. I usually went to Science & Tech on weekends. It’s empty. That’s why everybody goes there. Most of Pudong’s skaters skated at the Science and Technology Museum.

上海科技馆和五卅广场都是上海最早的 skate spots ,我刚开始滑板的时候就是在那里。因为我住在浦西,每周五我都会去五卅广场,那里距离我家很近。上海科技馆一般都会周末去,人比较少,所以大家都会去那边。大部分浦东的滑手都会在科技馆滑板。

3. How did you discover Wusa Square? 当你刚开始滑板的时候,是怎么知道五卅广场这个地方的?是因为很多滑手都会去那里吗?

The first time I went to Wusa Square was with a friend. In fact, Shanghai Stadium was another skateboarding place in Shanghai at the time. The first time I saw skateboarding was at the stadium. I’d skate at the stadium in the afternoon, then I’d go to Wusa Square at 4 or 5p.

我第一次去五卅广场是跟朋友一起去的。其实在上海还有一个滑板地方在上海八万人体育场零灵路那边,具体是几号入口我忘了。我一次接触滑板是在八万人体育场。然后下午在八万人滑到 4-5 点就会去五卅广场滑板。

4. Wusa Square was a popular spot in the late 90s/early 2000s. Why? 你知道为什么在 1990-2000 年的时候五卅广场会那么受滑手们喜欢吗?

I think it’s because the spot was near the Nanjing Road metro station exit, so there was usually a large crowd there and the audience was huge. At the time, skateboarding was a very novel sport – basically nobody had seen it. There were a lot girls in the audience. You had a lot of motivation to skate.

我觉得是因为它离地铁出口很近,在南京路步行街这边。人流大,有很多观众。在当时,滑板这个运动算是很新奇的,基本上大家都没见过。观众多而且有女孩子看,你就会有很大动力去滑。

Boss with a backside smith grind along Century Avenue

5. What about the big hubba at the Science & Tech? 当你开始去科技馆滑板的时候,有人在 big hubba 上滑吗?

The first time I saw the big hubba at Science & Tech, no one was skating it. I think foreign pro skaters were the first to skate it. I forget who was the first one to skate it, but it definitely wasn’t me.

我第一次看到这个 big hubba 的时候没有人滑的。应该真的开始滑是外国 pro 滑手来才有人做这个。我忘了第一个在这上面做动作是谁了,反正肯定不是我。

6. When you started skating in Shanghai, was LP a spot where people were already skating? 当你开始在上海滑板的时候,LP 是不是一个人们已经开始滑板的地方?

No, when I first went there and skated no one skated there.

不,当我第一次去那里玩滑板时,没有人在那里滑。

7. So it wasn’t like something you heard about? Like somebody wasn’t like ‘hey you should go check this spot out.’ 通常是别人告诉你“这有个不错的滑板地方,你应该来看看”吗?

No. I started skating in 2002, and before that I skated for Fly Skateshop. We were always going to a spot that’s very close to Fly – under the bridge by old Cheng Du Bei Lu. I always skated with Jeff and Jeremy. We always skated there because I was a kid, and it is very close to my house. I forgot how I found LP, but I grew up on Jin Ling Lu, which is the street that LP is on. One day we found LP. It was maybe 2004 when I first went there. It was very ghetto then.

不。我从 2002 年开始滑板,在此之前我在 Fly Skateshop 滑板。我们总是去一个离 Fly 很近的地方——老成都北路的桥下面。我总是和 Jeff 和 Jeremy 一起在那里滑板,因为当我我还是个孩子的时候,那里离我家很近。我忘了我是怎么找到 LP 的,但我是在金陵路长大的,LP 也在那条街上。有一天,我们就找到了 LP。我第一次去那里的时候可能是 2004 年,那时那里看起来非常像贫民窟。

8. Why did you guys call it LP? 为什么你们叫它 LP?

Before I didn’t call it LP. I just called it Jing Ling Lu. Then one day, we went behind the place.

在我没有称它为 LP 之前,我就叫它金陵路。然后有一天,我们去了那个地方。

9. Yeah, there was the circular part back there. 是的,后面有圆形部分。

Yeah, one day we went back there and saw the ledges inside and it was like ‘oh my gosh.’ There were no people there.

是的,有一天我们回到那里,看到里面的壁架,就想说“噢!我的天哪!那里没有人。”

10. And the ledges weren’t waxed at all, so you guys put wax on them? 壁架根本没有打蜡,所以你们在上面打蜡?

Yeah, we waxed the ledges. When we found it we were so excited. When I was a kid, I knew the real LP because I saw a video, and I thought ‘wow, here is the same.’ I have never been to the Philadelphia LP, but I saw the video, and they’re similar. So we called it LP. That’s why everybody calls it LP.

是的,我们给窗台上蜡了。当我们找到它时,我们非常兴奋.当我还是个孩子的时候,因为我看过一个视频,所以我知道真正的 LP。我当时想“哇,它们看起来是一样的”。虽然我从未去过费城 的 LP,但我看过视频,它们很相似,所以我们叫它 LP。然后大家也都开始叫它 LP。

11. What tricks do you remember from LP? 你还记得在 LP 哪个动作让你最印象深刻吗?

Bastian Salabanzi backside kickfliped the stairs.

Bastian Salabanzi 在楼梯做了 backside flip。

12. The stairs in the circular part? 在圆形部分的楼梯?

Yeah, he backside flipped it in 2005 or 2006. That’s when he came to Shanghai.

对,他当时在上海,大概是在 2005 或者 2006 的时候。

Boss at Pudong Airport

13. LP was really central. It must have been easy to get places after you finished skating. And there’s a lot of foot traffic there, so it’s a good people watching spot. There are things to skate there, but you can also sit back and chill. 因为 LP 在一个市中心的位置,当滑完滑板之后去别的地方也很方便。你可以在那里滑板,如果滑板之后你想放松一下,那里也是一个很好的选择,因为你可以看到很多的行人和车。

It’s easy, you know. It’s downtown. Like if you lived on Huang Pi Nan Lu, then it would take 5 minutes to skate to LP. Or you can take a taxi. It’s cheap. And if you live outside, then just take the metro. This spot can represent Shanghai until maybe 2014 or 2015.

Now I think that skating in Shanghai is a bit lost. We’re a little bit lost because we don’t have a central spot. Now we only have Binjiang, but Binjiang does not have the same feeling as LP. LP had this feeling because of the cars, the street, the people, and the girls. This is the street.

现在我觉得在上海滑板有点迷茫,因为没有我们的“位置”。现在我们只有滨江了,但是滨江没有 LP 那种感觉。因为在 LP 有车、街道、人和女孩们,让我感觉到这是在街头。

这很容易,你知道的,它这是市中心。如果你住在从黄陂南路,滑滑板到 LP 只需要 5 分钟,或者你也可以打车,很便宜。如果你住在比较远的地方,就坐地铁,地铁对每个人来说都很方便。这个地方可以代表上海直到 2014 年或 2015 年。

14. Yeah, you really feel like you’re in the city like with the buildings around you. 是的,你真的觉得你在城市里,身边的建筑物都围绕着你。

Yeah I felt like I was in the city. But at Binjiang, I don’t have this feeling. It’s more of a ‘just chilling with friends’ feeling. I want to go back to the community though. LP was the real community. I don’t have this feeling now because I’m a businessman. Sometimes, I’ll be at home and I will think ‘oh shit, I want to go back to this real feeling’ cause the business is the business you know. I still want to go back to the streets and skate with my homies. I need to find a new spot and go back to the community. So I was thinking that maybe I need to make a community here. I think this is what the real skaters want and everybody wants this. Now Shanghai is too much schoolteacher.

是的,我觉得我在城市里。但在滨江,我没有这种感觉。这更像是一种“与朋友一起放松”的感觉。不过我想回到这样的群体,LP 是真正让我有这种氛围的地方。但是现在我是一名商人,这种感觉和氛围离我很远了。有时我回到家里,我会想“哦,该死,我想回到这种真实的感觉”,因为生意就是生意,我仍然想回到街头和我的兄弟们一起滑板。我需要找到一个新的地方,然后回到这样的群体。所以我在想,也许我需要在这里建立一个滑板社区,让滑手们都加入进来。我认为这是真正的滑手想要的,每个人都想要这个。但是现在上海的老师太多了。

15. Schoolteacher? What’d you mean by that? 教师?你是什么意思?

Everybody grew up, and everybody has a family. They need to make money. So I think this is a big deal. Maybe we will go back to find a new way. Because Shanghai has changed a lot already. A lot of people have left. I wish everybody would come back. That’s my dream.

我认为这是一个关键,每个人都长大了,每个人都有家庭,他们需要赚钱。也许我们会回去寻找新的方式。因为上海已经发生了很大的变化。很多人已经离开了,但我希望每个人都能回来,那是我的梦想。

Boss, Jeremy, Tommy and the boys at the CX games 2009

16. Avenue & Son started in 2014. Back then, what was your vision for this brand? 在开始 2014 年你刚开始运营 Avenue&Son 的时候,你对于这个品牌的愿景是怎么样的?

I didn’t think too much about the brand when I first started, and I didn’t know what the future would be like. Then I went to America for a competition, and I saw how things were over there. I saw some professional skateboarders over there, and they all had their own brands. When I got back, I thought a lot about how to start this brand. I was about 26 years old at the time. What will my future be like? What will I do when I can’t skate? How to survive? These were all questions I had. Then, once in a while, my family and I would discuss these issues during dinner. Like if I wanted to grow old with skateboarding, then I must have a brand of my own in order to continue to survive in this circle. At the same time, I also wanted to let people all over the world know that China can also have a very cool skateboard brand. So the Avenue and Son brand was born through those dinner conversations. But I had no idea how far I could go. I didn’t even think about making any money. Because I was still getting paid from skating. I thought it would be fine as long as I didn’t lose money. Then I put what I had seen and wanted to express into the product. That’s it. Very simple idea.

其实刚开始做品牌的时候我门没有想太多,也不知道未来会怎么样。然后我去了美国比赛,看了看外面的世界。看到些美国的职业滑手他们都有自己品牌,回到国内就一直在想这个问题。我当时已经 26 岁左右,我的未来会怎么样。滑到滑不动的时候怎么办?怎么生存?都是一个问号。然后偶然有一次我门几个在吃饭的时候讨论了这个问题,就觉得如果我想跟滑板一起到老,我必须有一个自己的品牌,靠品牌我才能继续在这个圈子里生存。同时我也想让全世界的人知道中国也能有一个很屌的滑板品牌。所以在那个饭局上就有了 Avenue and Son 这个牌子。但是能走到哪一步完全没想过,也没有想过要赚什么钱。因为当时我还是有工资,我觉得只要不亏本就好了。然后把我们这些年所看到想表达的东西给做到产品上。就这样,很单纯的想法。

17. I remember the last time that I visited the Avenue & Son office, you guys had a picture of Du Yuesheng (杜月笙) on the wall. What do you think of Du Yuesheng? 我记得上一次我去 Avenue&Son 办公室的时候,看到有一张杜月笙挂照片在墙上,你对于杜月笙这个人的看法是怎么样的?

I don’t actually have an opinion about Du. Du Yuesheng is a symbolic figure. I think Du Yuesheng is handsome. Street shit. But if you ask me what I think about him, I can’t tell. I just think he can represent Shanghai. I respect him. The gang represents loyalty. Very street.

我其实没有什么看法。杜月笙他是一位代表人物吧。只是觉得杜月笙帅、街头、牛逼。但是你要问我什么看法我也说不清,只是觉得他是能代表上海的。我尊重他,因为黑帮讲义气,这很街头。

18. You sponsor some really good skateboarders in China. It’s great that you guys are supporting Zulnura. She has a true passion for skateboarding. You also sponsor some skateboarders outside of China, like Kaede Terauchi in Japan. How did you discover Kaede? 你在中国赞助了一些非常优秀的滑手,特别还赞助了像 Zulnura 这样对滑板有着真正的热情女孩子。同时还赞助了一些国外滑手,比如日本的 Kaede Terauchi,法国的 Titi,都是实力强劲的滑手,你是怎么发掘到他们的呢?

I think it’s fate that everyone knows each other. Helping them is actually pretty simple. Because when I started skating there were people who helped me get to where I am today. If I didn’t have friends around me, then I wouldn’t have some big brothers in the skateboarding world to take care of me, and I wouldn’t have their teaching. So I think what I do is heritage. This is also the meaning of the ‘Son’ part of Avenue and Son.It’s the heritage, and this is something that my door has to do. To me he is very natural. Because I also came down this road. I am very lucky.

我觉得大家认识都是缘分。为什么帮助他们其实也很简单,因为我刚开始滑板也有别人帮助,所以我才能走到今天这一步。如果没有身边的朋友,没有滑板届当时的一些大哥照顾,没有他们的教导,我也不可能有今天。所以我觉得我做的这件事是传承,这也是 Avenue and son 里 son 的意思。它是一个传承,这是我门必须要去做的一些事。对我来说这是很自然的,因为我也是从这条路上走过来的。我很幸运。

19. Why did you choose Pudong for the first brick-and-mortar Avenue & Son shop? 为什么选择浦东作为第一家 Avenue & Son 实体店?

I couldn’t choose, but I got a good opportunity in Pudong. It’s nice. It’s a cool shop. It won’t be a big business. I have a lot of skaters working for me right now. I need to give them some work. But, in my heart, I’m still a real skater, so I want the community to come back. That’s my thinking right now.

我无法选择,但是我得到了一个很好的机会在浦东,这真的很棒。它是一家很酷的商店但不是一个很大的企业。虽然我现在有很多滑手为我工作,但是在我心中,我仍然是一名真正的滑手,所以我希望滑板社区能够回归。这就是我现在的想法。

20. What can you say about the new store? It is open now, right? Avenue&Son 在浦东的实体店开业了吗?你对它有什么想说的吗?

I hope everyone sees this interview and learns more about Avenue and Son. Of course no matter where in the world you are. Remember if you’re a skateboarder and someday you come to Shanghai, then you must visit this shop. I can proudly tell you that it’s a skate shop that skaters can be proud of. If you’re a real skateboarder, you’ll know what I’m saying. I would like to thank all the brothers and sisters who have always liked, supported and helped Avenue and Son. I love you. Peace.

我希望大家看到这个报道以后能对 Avenue and Son 有更多了解。当然无论你在世界的哪个角落,只要你是滑板人,哪一天你来到上海,希望你一定要来看看这个店。我可以很骄傲的告诉你。它是能让滑板人感到自豪的一家滑板店,如果你是真正的滑板人你会懂我这句话的。我想感谢所有一直喜欢、支持以及帮助过 Avenue and son 的兄弟姐妹们,爱你们,Peace。


Boss in the water at Science & Tech museum

Check out Avenue & Son’s new shop at Taikoo Li in Qiantan, Shanghai

By Emmanuel “Manny” Lemire

@mannylemire on instagram.

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