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The opening reception of the Vans Downtown Showdown Amsterdam presented by Monster Energy brought skateboarding legends, Pro’s, Ams, local Dutch media and skate enthusiasts together to celebrate 20 years of the iconic Vans Half Cab Shoe with photography, art, skateboarding and music. Twenty years, twenty skaters, twenty photos and one shoe, was the premise for the selection of images curated by Lance Dawes, to celebrate the legacy of the iconic Vans Half Cab shoe. Twenty customised Half Cabs complemented the photography exhibition, with artistic innovation from Shepard Fairey, Jimbo Philips, Chris Pastras, Lance Mountain and others.

We used the occasion to catch up with Vans Legend Ray Barbee, check it out here below.

Age: 40

Birthplace: San Francisco, California

Current location: Long Beach, California with my 2 kids and my wife

Year starting your pro career: 1989

H: What’s your favorite skate soundtrack?

R: Right now Cymande.

What’s your favorite skate spot in the world?

I don’t have a favorite. Where I live, in Long Beach, it’s really fun.

What’s your favorite VANS shoe/modell?


What do you like about Amsterdam the most?

The feel of the canals, the feel of walking through the streets and just the visuality. I also like the way the streets are build and the shops. It’s so far from what we have in the states.

What’s your biggest passion next to skateboarding?

I have a independent record label and till now 5 albums and 2 singles with a band called The Black Project. They are all professional skateboarders. I’m also very interested in photography. I am really happy to get so much support from my sponsors especially Vans in terms of my other interests.

3 essential pieces you’ll always put in your bag for a trip?

Leica m6, skateboard, guitar.

What was the most impressive place you ever visited?

Africa was really cool especially south africa. I’ve been there the first way back in the day when they still had the apartheid there. That was a really intense experience.

Looking back to the beginning of your career what changed the most over the years?

All the magazines were dominated by transitions back in the days. There were only 1-2 pages of street skateboarding pages. When the parks closed people started skating in the streets and it was more fun. The people are more open today, looking for inspiration everywhere. If you look at a skateboard magazine today it’s like a flip.

If you could choose a convenience you have today that you would have wanted to have back in the days, what would that be?

A Fender guitar. I’m so thankful, I mean those guys gave me a guitar when I’ve been at their showroom! I would have loved that in the past if someone of my sponsors would have given me a guitar!

What’s the biggest success in your career?

My family, I mean you generally love them but I just love these people so much more. Also my faith in Jesus, I’m so thankful for what happens around me and what I do. This is so crazy! I’m just grateful I have nothing to complain about.

Home is?

Long Beach, California. We just bought a house at the beginning of the year and I love this place.

Look out for more interviews in the Vans Legends series over the next weeks.

Photography: Robert Wunsch / Highsnobiety.com

  • Photography: Robert Wunsch / Highsnobiety
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I am the founder of Highsnobiety.com. I started the blog right out of college in 2005 and I am still as passionate and involved as I was on the first day. While I do not write as much anymore, you will still find the occasional article on the site wi...

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