Portland to Panama with Roamers Brand Ambassador Joey Carnera

In 24 hours we followed Roamer, Joey Carnera, around his home turf of Portland, Oregon, and surrounding areas. Through his one-of-a-kind vintage skate and style, Joey's perspective took us to true local spots. Coffee shops on every corner, quaint & quirky neighborhoods, sidewalks smothered in roses and succulents, big trees and vintage flairs, a city where the 1990's dream came alive, there's no place like Portland.

"Hopefully, I'll be smiling at the end, whatever I do in life." - Joey

In Depth with Joey Carnera


Where were you born?

I was born in Portland Oregon in the United States of America.

What is your zodiac sign?

My zodiac sign is obviously a Pisces because I definitely feel like I'm meant to be in the water, I'm a fish.


Top three bands on your playlist right now?

I've been listening to a lot of punk rock lately. I really like Agent Orange, The Spits, and to go off of punk rock I like reggae a lot. The Black Uhuru. Sometimes you gotta go fast and sometimes you have to tell yourself to slow down, so it's a good balance. 

Any favorite magazines right now?

I like the Surfer's Journal and my friend Bri came out with the magazine called Sea Together; it's in all women's purpose magazine, she's one of my really good friends, and the first issue just came out... So I was stoked to read that a little bit because it has art and surfing and talked about lady's surfing. 

What would your perfect day look like?

I would wake up before the sun came up, I would be on the Oregon Coast near Cannon Beach, Oregon. I would have all my friends together and we would go get some coffee at my favorite coffee shop that I actually work at called Sea Level, get some caffeine in our bodies and then go out for a little surf at some random beach break. Afterward, we'd go for a little skate. There are some fun skate parks around here [Cannon Beach] and then midday do some art maybe go swing on a hammock on a cliff and then in the evening go down to this place called the Salmonberry, it's a new spot, I really like the vibe of that place maybe have a beer there until the sun goes down. That sounds like a pretty perfect day to me.

Where are you from? And what’s it like there?

I'm from a small town in Washington called Camas. It's about a half an hour north of Portland, there's not much going on there there's a paper mill and it's funny because in high school our mascot was a paper maker. *laughs*

It was nice to grow up in a small town because we had a little lake. It was pretty mellow it wasn't like living in a big city like the hecticness of traffic.

Did you get time to go into the city even though you’re from a small town?

I grew up skateboarding before I even started surfing or snowboarding, I would go into Portland every weekend with my friends from Portland and we'd go skate around, we had all these indoor skateparks they're kind of shut down now we were really stoked because we could skate when it was raining outside. We'd go to the Department of Skateboarding. We'd get dropped off, skate all day, and get sweaty. The Max (transit system) was actually free at the time. So we didn't have to pay for the Max and we could go street skate and skate down parking garages and follow each other, definitely spent quite a bit of my childhood going around Portland skateboarding. It's a little bit different now because a lot of people are moving there and because of social media people are finding out what special about the Northwest is. There's a lot of forest and city life, as well, everyone is seeing how special it is.

Where do you call home?

Right now I'm still in the Northwest but part of the year I have a gig in Panama. I live there for 7 to 8 months out of the year so it's a nice balance living in the tropics and then coming back to wearing a jacket and it being cold. It's a good balance but I think home is where you feel comfortable and where your good friends are and where people that make you happy are.

Surf, skate, snowboard how did that all begin and who influenced you the most?

My brother taught me how to skate when I was 5-years-old, we would always skate together and then he started snowboarding. My brother is about 6 years older than me, so he got me in the snowboarding that started when I was 12-years-old. Then my buddy RJ's dad got me into surfing when I was about 14 and when he got his license we just started jamming to the coast and just loved surfing so much even though we were so bad at it. We both never had a surf lesson and his dad was just like to take this extra large wetsuit and we'd get fully flushed with cold water. We were just floundering and then it was just a progression, we loved it so much, we were just constantly going out and getting after it.


I feel like for whatever you do you find those certain people that get you more and more stoked on it and I kind of found that with all three [skate, surf, snowboard] they all progress together. I progressed really quick with skating because when you start something when you're really young it grows with you and you get that muscle memory, but then you learn how to deal with a mountain and then it's the ocean, and it's more chaotic, but when you learn how to flow with it, it just works. At the end of the day, it's just another board.

Do you skate like you surf?

Surfing is literally like skateboarding but with a foam pit.

Do you think it’s necessary to keep a balance between the city and being away from the city?

If you live in the city it's pretty cool because you can ride your bike around you can skate to work if you want and it's fun to do that but you can definitely get stuck in the rat race. It's nice to live out here [on the coast] because you don't really have that many friends or all your friends live in the city and when you get off work out here you can just go hang out on the beach and stretch and just breathe fresh air where it's not toxic like a bunch of pollution from cars and lights. It's definitely more relaxing at the coast. 

What do you prefer or do you prefer both?

I think it's a balance I like going back to the city but either to see my parents or see friends or skateboarding. Skateboarding is really fun around Portland because there's an endless opportunity going around the city and having fun but at the same time, I love being out here [at the coast] because it's pure and it rains a lot but you just roll with it. I don't know I'd say I like both I can't pick one.


What would you say your personal style is?

I wear the clothes that I like to wear. People have definitely influenced me through clothing kind of but not really. My style came from my own brain and I think it's more of a different era. Nowadays I feel like there are so many trends going on that definitely go back to the 70s or like with Converse but I don't know I have a style of what I like to wear and I think more of an old-school look. I've also been really into painting my clothes. I feel like that's who I am because I just like to paint and if you see a pair of jeans that you want to wear and they look like everyone else so you just paint them and in a different way.   

By the way, Devos good for music, listen to Devo.


What are some of your other interests?

I like taking walks, I don't necessarily call myself a hiker but I like to take long walks either on cliffs or on the beach. Music is great, I love music, I love playing music with some of my friends. Some of my friends have bass guitars and normal guitars and a drum set -- the other night I actually went and played the drums and I kind of have a secret talent that I didn't know I have and so I'm kind of stoked about playing the drums -- I'd like to possibly pursue that into a band in the near future so stay tuned.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I thought I was already grown up *laughs* No, just kidding, I would like to not grow up into a normal adult, I would like to do what I'm doing. I'm just doing what I love to do and hopefully make a living doing it. I want to stoke people out. In Panama, I teach surf lessons and we do it in a completely different way. I feel like it makes a bigger impact on people's lives rather than just pushing people into waves and having them go over the falls; it's actually teaching people how to read the ocean and enjoy the ocean and deal with things coming at you at full force. I think giving back to other people that don't have what you have is what I want to do and pursue that into a career somehow. Hopefully, I'll be smiling by the end of it, whatever I do in life.


What do you think you’re giving to the people you’re giving lessons to?

I think they get a refresh on what life really is. What land and what the sea is, and how different it is being a normal human on earth where you have a normal job.

Some people don't have a get-away or a passion, and then they discover this passion. When people find these little things and a passion, whether its surfing or the ocean, they are immersed in a completely different being... They find a sense of refreshment or a wow! "I was so scared of this, and now I'm so calm." I like to teach people how to relax. We teach them that this is how you should be in your normal life. For example, your boss is running at you and you're freaking out, you think he's going to fire you. You just need to relax, take a deep breath, maybe he's there to give you a raise and you were thinking something completely different. 

The ocean does the same thing, the wave stands up, it's coming at you, and you're freaking out like, "This thing is going to eat me! What am I going to do!"

You just relax, just deal with it, look past it. 

I like to show people that and now they can go back to their life with a completely different mindset. 

What’s next for you?

I go back to Panama in October for a while and I'll be teaching surf lessons and definitely surfing a lot. I'm going to buy a new motorcycle and hopefully not break my neck. I'm going to kind of live off the grid, make a few films down there, and bring a camera. I'm going to have a cleanse while I'm down there and focus on what my body can actually do and how healthy I can get ...so try to focus on keeping myself young and be able to do these things as I grow into an elderly body.

If you could give anyone a wise piece of advice what would you say?

Whatever you're doing look at it and if you're not happy then change it, just change it and do something else, do what makes you happy, whatever makes you smile. That's the best advice I could give.  

Oh and save your money, so you can travel. 


Interview by Jen Yih

Photography by Logan Kruse

Logan Kruse