Yeah I was just dropping some shoes for my homies. I had a bunch of old pairs. Gotta help the homies with the struggle.
That’s nice of you.
I love my friends. If they ain’t got it, I got it.
That’s a great way to be. Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Long Beach and raised in Long Beach and also Norwalk, then moved back to Long Beach and then Huntington. Now I’m back in Long Beach. I’ve been here ever since. Long Beach is beautiful. It’s right near the coast. It’s one of those beach cities where everyone is level-headed. It’s got palm trees and the beach. Like any city it’s got its bad parts and beautiful parts as well.
Who are your sponsors?
Furnace Skateshop, Famous Stars & Straps, Mophie, FMS Shoes, Kontrol Wheels, and Diamond Supply Co.
Tell me about your career in a few sentences. You’re here and then sometimes we don’t hear from you and then you’re around again and then we don’t hear from you.
Basically I was still always here. I got a lot of stuff done, but I hurt my shoulder really bad to where it was popping out all the time. I didn’t really have time to get it fixed because I was skating a lot –working on getting a pro board, so recently I just started doing more contests. A lot of people see those, especially corporate people and a lot of sponsors, like those who put on the contests, and I was still street skating with my bad shoulder. But I wasn’t trying to go frontside flip a 12 stair. When I finally got shoulder surgery is when I started filming my Famous part. I just went hard again. I’m actually going to drop another part hopefully by the end of the year. I’m going hard with that just to let everybody know I’m still here and I’m still progressing. I ain’t going nowhere. I love this sport. I love this game. I love everything about it.
This is an industry that has really been affected by the declining economy. Companies have had to cut programs, let riders and employees go or completely shut down. You said you got into the contest circuit to be seen and pick up more sponsors. Explain how difficult it is to get a board sponsor.
It’s really difficult. I’ve been without a board sponsor for two years now, maybe three. Me and World Industries parted ways and I haven’t had a board sponsor for a while. It’s really hard. You just have to keep grinding. If you go hard and do what you do you’ll get something in return. Right now I have Daggers taking care of me and I’m just working hard to see what could happen. It’s a homie thing. They told me if something comes along where they’re going to hook me up, that I should take it. At Daggers they’re just homies and they want to take care of me. That’s mad love right there. Not too many people say that.
But it’s hard, you know? Corporate companies, when it comes to them, everybody always looks at the situation like you’re “selling out.’ Look where the skateboard industry has gone? It’s hard to make money off of boards. It’s hard to make money off of wheels. I want to keep living and doing what I do. Corporate companies want to get into skateboarding so why not help them out? Do what you got to do for them and it lets you and your family live at the same time. That’s an amazing thing to keep living off of what you love to do for as long as you can.
That’s pretty interesting and it’s cool how you make that work for yourself. A while ago you told me you were just happy you could skate and take care of your family. What would you say to people who are trying to make it and want to connect with corporate companies?
It’s all about networking. Always be out and on your grind. Always be on the lookout for the next person trying to get in. And when I say next person I’m not saying like I’m looking to take people’s money, but I look for the shit I think is cool. I ride for Mophie and they make a battery charger and a case for your Iphone and a bunch of other dope accessories that really help out. They make a lot of cool stuff so I want to be a part of anything I feel is dope.
I’ve been blowing it up so much to other people, that everybody’s hyped on it, even in the skate industry. People I thought would hate are hyped on it. I’m always looking for that next cool thing. It may not be cool at the time, but anything can look good and go the right way, you know?
Mophie is definitely doing it the right way. They’re in the Apple Store now and I’m hyped to be a part of it. Everybody over there is amazing. Same goes for Famous Stars and Straps. Famous is amazing. Felix is amazing. Travis is amazing. They’re good people. I try to surround myself with sponsors that are going to take care of me like I take care of them.
Speaking of companies taking good care of people, talk about Daggers a little more. They’re giving you a board?
I just got a homie board on Daggers. We just finished the graphics. I’m really hyped on that. Duncan hooked that up. Eddie Raedeke too which is super cool because for an OG company I’m the first youngin’ to have a pro model. They did it on some homie shit. They said, “We got you.” So I really appreciate that.
But you’re not really a youngin’. You were in a 411 video mad years ago.
For the Daggers era I’m a youngin’. They’re old school. All the people who are with them are OG’s. They brought up skateboarding. But yeah I’ve been in the game for a minute. I’m blessed to still be here having fun on my skateboard with my friends.
Tell me about the last couple contests you were in.
The last one was in Milwaukee. Lutzka was hosting it and Bam was too. Lutzka actually skated it too. I ended up taking first in two of the three best trick sections. I was really hyped on that. I won some money which was a blessing.
The one before that was Skate For a Cause. Thanks to Sheckler for always inviting me, and Gretchen for always taking care of everybody as well. I went out there and I just have my son on my mind. I just want to take care of him and do the best for him and be “daddy.” I don’t want to be that dude who’s always gone. I want to stay here and be daddy and at the same time do what I love and bring him up to maybe do the same thing.
He is obviously your life, but what has fatherhood done to you personally?
It’s changed my life. It’s got my head a lot more on my shoulders. It’s got me thinking about my kid first, especially when I’m on my skateboard. Being older you know what could happen if you try certain tricks or sometimes you might bitch out. When I think of my son Kruz, I get to a spot and I start thinking of all the bad things that could happen. But my mind tells me, “You’ve got a kid; do it pussy!” It ends up working out. It gives you that motivation to go do it and grind in all ways, not just skateboarding. In a networking way, in the way you treat people and the way you drive your car – it just changes your life. It’s for the better. My kid helped me grow up a lot faster, so thank god.
How did you come up with your son’s name?
His mother and I were thinking of names and personally I was pushing “Kurtis,” but she wasn’t having that. She actually came up with Cruz and I said that’s dope but if we do it with a ‘K,’ I’ll be down. She said let’s do it and I said that’s dope. It goes with skating, you know, cruise? I think it’s a dope name, as I should cause it’s my kid, right? I love that dude more than anything, though. He just turned 1 on the 26thof April. I just threw him a nice skateboard birthday party. It was really cool man. We had a dope cake, compliments to World Industries. World Industries gave me some tech decks to put on it, so the cake turned out really nice. He loves skateboarding. He actually stood up on a board on his own for the first time in the house, yesterday.
Tell me about riding for Famous Stars and Straps.
Famous is like a family. One of my favorite logos of theirs is the family logo. It’s not bullshit, it’s the truth. Everybody over there respects each other over there. Everybody just wants to be together. They always had everybody there. They always made sure that everywhere we went everyone is there, just repping. That made us so much closer together. Now if someone has something else to do and can’t be with us they’re genuinely bummed they can’t be with the rest of the team. It’s amazing. From the workers in the warehouse to sales reps to the team, everybody’s got love for one another and everybody takes care of each other. It’s really amazing. Famous is the one and only team so far that I’ve skated for where everybody got along with everybody. That’s a good feeling. There’s no bullshit. Let’s go work and let’s go do what we do, together. Felix is the man with the master plan. He knows how to put things together. He’s one of my favorite team managers ever. He pushes you and pushes you and pushes you. That’s what a lot of people need. He gave us all a chance and hopefully we’ve proved him right.
It looks that way because it was about 5 years ago I started to take notice of Famous. Some of you are more high profile than the others, but you’re always together and no matter what nobody has been let go from the team, so I had to wonder
We’re just having fun with each other the right way, with no hate. That’s basically it. Sometimes you have that one dude on the team running his mouth behind your back, but there’s none of that. We all came from the hood basically. Pott is from Inglewood. Manny is from Lowell. Darren is from DC. Mostly everybody grew up in the hood, so all we wanted to do is get there. Travis and Felix gave us a chance, so why are we going to sit there and bullshit around?
Entering any contests this summer?
The dew Tour and Maloof Money Cup in Africa for sure and wherever else they’re having it. I went to the one last year in South Africa. Going there was amazing. Everybody was taken care of. The Maloofs did it properly. The course was amazing. Just seeing Africa was cool too. We went on Safaris and we went out and partied. We even connected with the people there. We hooked these two kids up with mad gear and we drove them home to their hood where they lived in shacks. It was scary, but we wanted them to get home and they were walking around with ripped up shoes and one of the Maloof girls asked if we could help them out and I said whatever I have here on my last day they can have. We hooked them up with two trash bags worth of stuff. I hope they got to keep it all. They were so happy, and considering the way they lived it just makes you appreciate what you have a lot more. It was an amazing time. The crowds were huge. People drove from all over Africa just to come see it. Even the way the course came out, I think Rowley helped them out with that, it was one of the most fun courses I ever skated it. And it was funny because me and Manny had to go head-to-head. We kept pushing each other back and forth. Manny killed it. That’s the homie and you don’t want to beat the homie, but at the same time it’s nothing personal cause you want to win too. But it’s mad love.
Yeah nobody loses in that situation. It’s family. We hugged it out right after, so it’s all love.
So is there another Famous video coming out?
I hope so. We do a lot of web clips. Last year we got the FTV going and Famous and Felix are working together to get some new things together, so I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be.
Name everyone on the squad:
How do you like riding for Kontrol Wheels?
They hit me up at Black Box one day and they told me they watched me grow up and they wanted to offer me a wheel. A wheel with my name on it is everything I’ve tried to work for, just anything with my name on it, you know? I was hyped. It’s going good. They take care of me. They always make sure I got some wheels. It’s kind of the homie deal, they’re doing what they can for me and I’m doing what I can for them. They really are good wheels. You don’t want to ride for a company where you’re going to get a flat spot every time you put a set of wheels on. That’s annoying. I hate changing wheels.
You didn’t mention a truck sponsor or a bearings sponsor so do you get those things from your shop sponsor?
Yeah Furnace takes good care of me. I used to ride Ventures for like 12 years and then when they moved on to DLX they made some changes so I simply thanked them for the trucks all those years and kept it moving. I’ll go to Furnace and they’ll pretty much give me whatever I need. They switched ownership two years ago but it’s still family over there and they’re one of those companies that got my foot in the door and put my name out to a few different people to take care of me. So I appreciate them a lot and I always take care of them.
What trucks are you riding right now?
I’m riding some Royal’s right now. I got them from the shop and I like them. I was scared at first because I haven’t ridden a different truck than Venture’s in a long time. I’m feeling Royal’s.
Would you considered yourself addicted to tattoos?
Yeah, of course. Look at me, man. To be honest when I was 5 years I used to see all the gangsters walking around with black and white ink. I used to tell my dad, “I want to look like that, when I get older. I want to look like they do.” He used to tell me, “No, you’re not!” As soon as I turned 18 I started getting tattoos and kept going and going. I didn’t want to stop and I still don’t want to stop. I just keep on getting them wherever I can put them. I just love to be different. I always am going to be different.
My favorite tattoo is my son’s portrait which is on my leg. One of my favorites is also this one I got that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
What made you put that on yourself?
I grew up not being one of the best kids in the world and I didn’t like how I was behaving. So I put that right on my forearm so I could read it everyday. Even if it didn’t make me perfect it would make me try and try and try.
How often has looking at that tattoo changed your state of mind?
Very often. I always tried to treat people with respect. That’s how my dad taught me and that’s how I was raised, but I didn’t always do that. It definitely made me a better person. It’s a little note that reminds you that that’s how life should be. If you think about it, you want everybody to treat you with respect, so why wouldn’t you treat everybody with respect?
Where’s your favorite place to eat in Long Beach?
Legends is a sports bar in Long Beach. Eric and Matt are two of the owners who are really good people. All the bartenders and bouncers are all good people. It’s just a good feeling being there. Anything you eat there is good. The chicken club sandwich is amazing. They always have really good jalapeno poppers. I like to go during Happy Hour.
Where’s your favorite place to skate in Long Beach?
Cherry Park. The new park off of Martin Luther King is really fun too. It’s awesome that they just put a few more parks in Long Beach.
Name some skaters readers might know that you run into just being out in
I’m always running into Rob G and Montoya and Darrell Stanton who’s a really good friend of mine. Nick Trapasso all day. That’s my man right there he’s good people. Sierra Fellers, can’t leave him out. He’s always grinding and he’s a great person. Anybody who claims Long Beach is usually out there. Scott Cain and Brian Wilson
What advice do you have for dads who are expecting or just dads in general?
Just be there for your kids and be the best dad you can be. That’s all. No half-assing when it comes to a kid. You’re either going to be the best dad you can or you’re not. Thank god my dad taught me right. I just want to with my son every step of his life. I’m not with his mother, so I’m a single dad, but I still love every second of it.