Interview: Billy O'Neill about SSM and life

Shot by Mike Buckalew

Billy O’Neill has been killing it on the pro circuit for years, after his potentially career threatening injury and a steady recovery process he is back on his blades and stronger than ever! The American Pro rider has recently parted ways with his long term boot sponsor USD and signed for Shima Skate Manufacturing First Blood team. For the first time ever is proud to introduce SSM’s latest Pro Billy O’Neill.
Update: Dont miss the first teaser edit with Billy on SSM. CLICK HERE!
Full Name: Billy O’Neill
Age: 28
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
Currently living in: Oakland, CA
Blading since: 1996
Sponsors: SSM, CO, ST.AR.
Setup:SSM, CO, ST.AR.
Hey Billy, long time no talk. Thanks for doing this with us.
You’re not living in New York anymore. When did you move away and why?

I just had to change things up a little bit.
What do you miss the most about New York and do you have plans of moving back soon?
Yea, I’m going back to New York soon. I miss pizza.
How soon and what are the plans back in NY?
Well, for now it’s just an idea between a few friends, but if all goes well, we should be in the by the summer.
Are the Brooklyn Banks gone forever or are they just rebuilding the area and it will be blade-able afterwards again?
As far as I know, when the construction on the bridge is done, they’ll open up again.
Frontside Torqueslide (Shot by thinh le)

You are not on USD anymore. What happened and how many years did you ride for them?
I tore my meniscus while on tour in Russia and it kept me from skating for 6 months. During that time, I wasn’t feeling good about my relationship with USD based on a number of things. While in Oakland, I was spending a lot of time with Brian and John and it just felt more real to me. I appreciate the years I had with USD, but in the end, I wanted to be on a company that stood for something more.
You just got a new Pro Wheel from Street Artist, are there any other Billy O’Neill Pro-Products on the way?
Yea, some new stuff is on the way. Somewhere down the line a pro skate for SSM, but no release date yet.
You were injured for almost a year, is that right? What happened and how are you doing now?
I was injured for 6 months. I’m skating again now.
What kind of injury? And was that the reason that you didn’t had a full profile in “Pariah”?
Like I said before, it was a meniscus tear on my left knee that I received while skating in Russia on tour…and yes, that’s why I didn’t have a section in Pariah.
Fishbrain (Shot by Mike Buckalew)

Can we expect a full length section of you at some point in 2012?
Yes. The SSM video, as well as some online profiles with CO. No release dates yet, but we’re working on it daily.
Last year’s NYC Street Invite was a much needed, refreshing blading event and instantly happened to be one of the biggest and most important gatherings of the year. Can we expect another one in 2012? If so, can you already give some details about it?
I would love to do another one of those and I definitely have some ideas for a new one.
The whole idea behind the first competition was simply to make a comfortable atmosphere with street “style” obstacles in a setting where blading could be exposed to the outside community on our own terms. That day, a lot of people who had never seen blading before had the opportunity to get an idea of what our sport/lifestyle is like, without seeing Taig Chris superman frontflip over a net, or some other gimmick. So I’m just gonna try and do it like that for the next one, just make it fun and entertaining for everyone.
What products are coming next from Create Originals?
A new pro line of frames, as well as some online content of the whole pro, am and international team…other cool things in the works right now, but I can’t talk about it quite yet.
360 Mute Launch (Shot by Chris Dafick)

What happened to the CO online video?
Postponed due to some injuries, but still in the works.
How is your typical day looking like right now?
Skate music work.
What’s up next? Any plans for the year, or are you just going to see whatever happens?
Skate hard, work hard and focus on projects with SSM and CO.
Billy O’Neill related content:
Be-Mag Billy O’Neill on the NYC Street Invite 2011
ONE Magazine Interview
Billy and his dog Ralph (Shot by Mike Buckalew)