Zion Wright and Alex Midler first met when they were kids and immediately took to one another, becoming a pair of skate wunderkinds from the jump. Even though they have very different styles, that hasn’t stopped their constant simmering competition that has helped them push each other to be their best. While their journeys have often brought them in different directions – Wright to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and Midler to top finishes in tournaments like SLS, Tampa Pro and the X-Games – they keep coming back together.
We are thrilled to welcome Alex Midler and Zion Wright to the StockX skate team. We caught up with them and the whole StockX skate team in Los Angeles for a session, some surfing, and an exclusive interview about their journeys in the skate community.
StockX: How did you guys meet?
Alex Midler: I’m pretty sure the first time we met was at the King of the Groms contest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I think I was around nine years old.
Zion Wright: Nine or 10.
Alex: Yeah. Way back, way back when.
Zion: Yeah, we were little and then, yeah, it went from there.
Do you remember anything specific that stood out? Was there something about each other?
Zion: I mean, I’ll go first. To be honest, I was just like, “Dang, this kid’s sick. He’s really good. I want to get to know him. He seems super cool.” And then that was that for me.
Alex: Yeah. When I first met Zion, he was just super friendly from the start. And then I saw him skating and he was really good. And I think it was just cool to start pushing each other at a young age.
Zion: I feel like we’ve traveled the world together.
Alex: Well, we were pretty close since we met, nine to 16, we were probably like, “We’re close,” but we didn’t see each other that often. And then Zion moved out to California when you were, what? 17?
Zion: No. 15.
Alex: Then we started really hanging out every day when I got my first car and Zion was living out here. Because I didn’t even know you were living out in Malibu and then we had linked up skating at the barracks or something. And then from then on, it was like he was sleeping over at my house every night was skating every day.
Zion: I was wherever Midler was. It was like a duo. Maybe still is.
And how would you describe each other’s skating styles?
Alex: I would say Zion’s skating’s just super powerful, in all aspects, anything you could imagine, any specific type of skating, I would say Zion can do it all. So really powerful and definitely noticeable, for sure.
Zion: And then I’ll describe Midler skating as super gnarly, just all-in, going for it, doesn’t matter what it is, he’s going to do it. How many slams he’s going to take. Relentless, just the work ethic to get through all that. He’s just all-in.
As a duo who are motivating each other how do you help each other navigate the industry?
Alex: I think just being able to feed off each other’s energy and skating. So if we’re just at a park trying to learn new tricks, one of we might start talking a little bit of smack and like, “I bet you won’t do this before I do it.” And then we’ll… That definitely-
Alex: …Pushes the progression of my skating and probably his, and that’s a fun way to stay motivated and make it a little bit more fun than it already is.
Zion: A hundred percent. Yeah. I would say the same on that. We’re over here. We’re obviously here having fun, but we’re trying to push each other. And then now look what we done started. We started being their monsters, created monsters and now we got to deal with it.
What does it mean to have your friends there to help you celebrate for those small moments and even the big moments?
Alex: I think being able to share these experiences with people you love and you’re close to is, it’s obviously just better than keeping that for yourself, for everyone to have a piece of it or enjoy it, to witness. If I get to witness Zion do a great trick, it almost feels like I did it too. You know?
Alex: Because you can feel the satisfaction.
Zion: And then I want to say skating has shaped and molded me and has brought people to me, as far as people Alex and all my modern day friends now, it’s… probably if I didn’t go down this path, I wouldn’t have met all the cool people I’ve I’ve met or had these interactions or been able to go on these journeys with the people I go on them with.
Zion, you had a knee injury before you qualified for the Olympics. What was that like?
Zion: I had got a tear on my meniscus, my right meniscus and they were just going to go in and clean it out. Just take out whatever was slowing out and yeah, that procedure was that. It was more so just me getting more so of the mental back because the physical was there. It’s like, “Okay, I’m already knowing I got to go put in this work to do this,” but it was more so of me knowing mentally like, “Okay, I’m going to come back. I’m going to be strong. I’m going to be right. You’re going to be able to succeed and do what you need to do.” So it was, yeah. That whole process, it didn’t take long. It was… Or actually took a little bit longer, took probably 12 weeks or so, because it was six to eight weeks and then I had got stem cell.
So then I was off for another four weeks after that. So, and then yeah, came back from that and then straight to training, skating a bunch and just getting in the motions of just what was coming up. I would honestly say that whole journey was really good for me to look back on because it really made me realize that if you put in hard work and you do what you need to do, it’ll all pay off. And that was literally a moment in my life to where I was like, “Wow, I really just did all this work and it just literally paid off,” this is crazy.
Alex: That’s a life lesson that literally anything is possible.
Zion: A hundred percent. So yeah, that whole journey was, it was good. Even though there was going to be lows and highs, but I feel just as far as you sticking through it, you’re going to be able to overcome anything. You just got to put your mind to it, have good people around you and just like, yeah.
What is it about the skate community that sets it apart from other sports communities?
Alex: I think the skate community is just very welcoming to everybody and I don’t know how it is with most sports, but I feel skateboarders are just very welcoming and very accepting of anyone. So it’s a really safe space for anyone trying to get into the sport.
Zion: It doesn’t matter who you are, what gender you are, skating is just skating and if you love it, then you’re going to all connect to that. I feel like skating’s the most diverse and it’s space as far as just welcoming all types. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are. It’s just skating. We love it so much. That’s what we’re going to share, that joy and embrace that joy of skating.
And seems the fashion and skating scenes are pretty tied in together.
Zion: Yeah. I feel fashion or skating has influenced fashion and if you look back and seen the style until now, up, it’s definitely been like, you can look, you can take, you can go and look out and be like, “That came from skating.”
Alex: A lot of the streetwear fashion that’s going on right now is a take on what skaters are wearing maybe five, 10, 20 years ago.
How do you feel partnerships like what you have with StockX might push the connection between fashion and skate communities?
Zion: As far as the connections where people are actually seeing the value that we bring and it brings to a whole as a culture. It’s actually coming from something core where it’s like, “Okay, they made really good influence to branch out” to be able to like, “Oh, okay, they doing that. We want to go, we want to work or mess with them or see how that goes.” So I feel the relation and the communication of it can really bring out what we’re trying to do. And we’re all just here skating, just trying to have fun, but do as we do, put a little sauce on it, you know what I’m saying?
Alex: Exactly what he said.
What are you looking forward to with the StockX partnership?
Alex: I’m just really excited to share more experiences with my friends and see more places and have a good time and experiment with some new clothes and shoes.
Zion: Yeah. I’m excited to branch out and be able to bring value in a different area and be able to put it towards something and make something out of it and just be like, “Look, this is what we want to do. Let’s make it happen.” And then obviously being with my friends, enjoying that whole aspect, but definitely changing the culture, not changing it, but yeah, shit. Changing it.
Alex: Elevating it.
Zion: Rising it to the next level to where it needs to go. So.
What’s it like to be joining with your friends like Robert Neal and Briana King already a part of it?
Zion: I mean, that’s fam right there. Yeah. I’ve known Rob for quite a bit now, and then it’s nice to get the new relationship with Briana and just being able to click and connect and just grow because you know, we all here for the same reason, we just here to skate, have fun, and just build.
Alex: Yeah. I skate with them a lot back home, but now that we’re on the same team and we got a couple trips planned, it’s just exciting to do the same thing we do here, but somewhere foreign and that we’ve never been before. Share those new experiences and travels.