Roll Call Mike Peterson

GOING ALL IN

Sustaining a skateboarding career can be hard enough. Throw in a wife and newborn baby at home, a major team change, and a living situation that puts you 3,000 miles from the sponsors that are paying the bills, and the odds won’t be turning in your favor. But in a position where many fade off into the pro-skateboarding sunset, Mike Peterson’s been riding harder than ever in the opposite direction.
He’s now found the perfect fit on Consolidated, his part in their next video is nearly complete, and his drive to get the coverage he’s always deserved has been in fifth gear and pushing for sixth. This lifelong Floridian might have stepped down from the skate-all-day, Red Bull-and-vodka-all-night program he’s been on for years, but with a family at home, he couldn’t be happier.
We caught up with Mike in the middle of a 30-degree Virginia night skate session days before he and new Consolidated teammate Kyle Berard were to hit the road on a cross-country road trip-skating, fliming, and shooting photos the whole way there. So don’t think this interview is the last you’ll see of him, ’cause if you want to hit the jackpot, you’re gonna bet when the odds are against you.

What happened with World?
They pretty much just cut the pro team. I know we probably weren’t even selling any boards or anything. And with World, it’s kinda hard like… I mean, with Flameboy and all that sh-t, man-that’s what sells. They didn’t even really need us, you know? They were really cool. They hooked us up well, but we all kind of knew it really wasn’t working out.

Everybody saw it coming?
Yeah, we all kinda knew, ’cause Duffy left and then the team manager Tom Curran quit. And when those dudes split, I knew it was probably coming to an end.

When did Consolidated come into the picture?
Rodney Johnson (Billabong TM) called up Latisha over there and had been talking to her a little bit about me, and they just started sending me boards and stuff, kinda hooking me up a little bit, and I don’t know, I guess sh-t just worked out good. I’m super psyched on them, man-I kinda feel like it’s my calling in skateboarding. I feel stoked to be a part of Consolidated, for sure.

Was it a big change to go from a big company like World to a smaller, more underground company?
In some aspects it was, but I’ve always ridden for underground skate companies, so I already knew what it was about. It’s just, like, at World we had insurance and all types of things like that, and we don’t have that at Consolidated. But it doesn’t even matter, you know what I mean? It’s just such a better deal.

One of your first Consolidated board graphics was a drawing of you dousing yourself with gasoline as you held a lighter in hand and was respectively titled “Flameboy.” Did your experience at World influence that?
One of the artists at Consolidated drew that up and they sent them to me, and I thought it was rad-I was just like, “F-k yeah, man” (laughs). It’s cool, ’cause I know over at Dwindle they’ve always made graphics f-cking with people, so it’s kinda like something in return. I haven’t talked with anybody over there since everything went down, but I’m sure if they saw it, they’d just laugh about it, you know?

Just a little fun and games?
Yeah, that’s the way I see it.

How do you hold it down in Florida with Consolidated being in Santa Cruz, California and being so small? Is it hard to still keep in touch?
I’ve just been on the phone and e-mail. I’ve been traveling a lot with Kyle and skating a lot, and there’s just so much sh-t that’s been going on all the time. I’m home and then I’m gone probably just as much as I’m home. I had a baby and she’s eleven months old now, so when I’m home I hang out with her and my wife all the time, and then I try and just travel more and get sh-t done when I’m on the road.

Like, take care of the skating when you’re on the road and when you’re home, y’re home?
Yeah, exactly. It’s been cool, though, man. The past couple of months, a lot of people have been coming through Florida. Like three different groups of dudes came through this last month, so it’s been cool getting sh-t done down around where I live, you know?

Getting to skate and still getting some family time in?
My wife’s really cool about it when people come through. Just like, “Hey, I’ll be back later. Just call me if you need anything.” And it works out killer.

What about when people are coming through and need a place to crash? Is the house open or off limits?
Yeah, totally. I got a four-bedroom house, so we’ve got a full spare bedroom-it’s cool. The only thing I ask is you just gotta be quiet at night. It ain’t really like a party house anymore. People come through all the time, and like I said, my wife’s super cool about it. We’ve been together for six years, so she knows what it’s all about.

So it’s never been a real problem getting photos or coverage out in Florida?
The hardest thing is I don’t have staff photographers where I live. But as far as for ads, I got my buddy Beau Crum who’s been shooting photos for the past couple years. He’s shot a few of my ads, so it isn’t a problem. And like I said, lately people have been coming through, so I’ve been shooting with a bunch of different dudes and just getting sh-t done. It hasn’t really been that hard at all.

How long have you and Kyle been skating together?
Since ’97 or ’98. I met him at a contest in Tennessee. He was just this little dude, and he was rippin’. We got on the same board company for a while called Eastwood-it was out of South Carolina. Then he flew down to my house one time and stayed for a couple of weeks and we skated, and it’s just been on ever since. Then he moved and went to school down where I live and stayed with me for a while, so it’s been good. He’s an a-hole, but it’s all good (laughs).

Did you have anything to do with him getting on Consolidated?
A little bit. I always just threw his name out there. Like, “Hey, man, Kyle’s f-king rippin’ now.” He’s been getting good coverage. If you ever see his skating in person, it’s just f-king retarded, and now he’s getting the coverage along with it, so people are seeing what he’s all about. He rules.

Is there a Consolidated video coming out?
Probably like in May or the summertime. That’s another reason we’re going on this trip, just trying to film for that and then finish it up. Me and him both have a bunch of stuff from the World days ’cause we were supposed to have a World video, so all that footage went to Consolidated and to (Chris) Ortiz for the 411 thing. So I’m just getting some new stuff for both.

You were born and raised in Florida, right?
I was born in Michigan, but I moved to Florida when I was two, so I don’t even know what it was like up there. I grew up in Jacksonville the whole time, and I used to love watching Buck Smith skate all the time. He was the local pro.

What about the whole skateboard clichà‡ “American Dream” to move from wherever you grew up skating and come out to California and become a pro skateboarder? Was that ever something you wanted to do?
I was really tempted to do it a few years ago, but most of my sponsors were psyched where I was at, and it’s kind of rare that that can happen. They were like, “Oh no, it’s cool you’re in Florida.” ‘Cause I’d ask everybody all the time. A couple years ago, I was like, “Do you guys want me to move out there?” And they were like, “Nah, it’s cool.” I think as long as I can do my end where I’m at, everybody’s stoked. I know if I lived in California, I could get more done with the access to photographers and filmers, but now with my family I’m even more psyched that I live where I live.

Have things changed now that you have a daughter to think about?
Yeah, changed for the better. I thought I had, just like you were saying earlier, I thought that I had the “Dream”-like skating and I didn’t have to work or anything. But once I had her it was just like, this is better than anything. And that’s my motivation now. I look at her every day, and I’m just, like, man… I hate leaving now. I see how my wife gets to stay home and be with her every day, and I know if I keep doing this, I know that can keep going on. And then when I’m home I get to spend every day with her, so she doesn’t have to go to a daycare or anything like that. She’s definitely the 180 in my life, for sure.

What about before she was born? Did you ever see yourself having kids?
All we used to do was just skate and go to the bar. I’m still down to party-when I get on the road it’s still on, like going out, but when I’m at home it’s just chill now. But yeah, back then it was just wildin’ out all the time (laughs). Straight Red Bull and vodka ruling my life. But I don’t have any complaints about it. It was such a good time.

You don’t ever miss the wildin’ out way of life?
There’re some nights where I’ll still get some calls from my friends like, “We’re going to the bar.” I’m like, “Ah, man, that sounds killer.” But I have something so much better now that I don’t even sweat it.

Whether it’s handrails, ledges, or tranny, you seem to not limit yourself with what type of terrain you choose to skate. Is that how you’ve always been?
Just where I grew up, that’s how everybody always skated. I was skating way back in the early 80s, and back then it was like skating everything-that’s what everybody did, and that’s just how I’ve always been. Street, pools, and just everything- that’s just how Jacksonville is, we have a little bit of everything.

What’s up with that Atlantic Beach park? You’ve had a couple of photos hitting the tranny over the doorway, right?
It’s fun, man, and what’s rad too is there’s an actual kids’ park right there next to it, so I’ll take my wife and baby to go play around in there and then I skate a little bit and play with them.

Kill two birds with one stone?
(Laughs) Exactly. It’s like the perfect little spot.

You’ve been getting into some stuff lately other than skating-some golfing, some motocrossing?
I play golf probably once a week with my buddy, and then I usually ride my dirt bike whenever I can. I don’t get to do that as often as I want, but I’ve been rippin’ around on that. We’ve got some cool trail spots we go to. I ain’t no f-king extreme backflip dude or anything like that (laughs)-I just like to rip around in the dirt.

What happened the first night you got your dirt bike and your wife walked in on you?
Ah, it was f-ked up, man. I just got that bitch and I put on all my motocross gear and I went out and sat on the dirt bike like I was riding that bitch, and my wife came home and opened the garage and caught me sitting on it. She said I looked like the kid at K-Mart riding one of those quarter horses or something (laughs). I was stoked though, man. I got that bitch and I was all into it.

It’s like when you get a new electric guitar but you don’t have an amp-you just want to blast out a couple chords.
I did the same sh-t the first time I went snowboarding. I put all the snowboard gear on and put the snowboard on and was just jumping around in my house. I was psyched like a f-king idiot (laughs).

Where do you think your level of skating is at right now? Are you at your all-time peak?
Right now I’m at the height of just getting coverage. I feel like I’ve been skating pretty much the same for the past five or six years or so, but now it’s just meeting more photographers and filmers. Just getting more coverage has been rad. I never really knew how the industry worked back then, and now I’m starting to see how it goes and I’m psyched. I love going out and shooting photos and filming, man. It’s so fun-especially when you’re with the right dudes.

Beau said you’re bilin, I thought that I had the “Dream”-like skating and I didn’t have to work or anything. But once I had her it was just like, this is better than anything. And that’s my motivation now. I look at her every day, and I’m just, like, man… I hate leaving now. I see how my wife gets to stay home and be with her every day, and I know if I keep doing this, I know that can keep going on. And then when I’m home I get to spend every day with her, so she doesn’t have to go to a daycare or anything like that. She’s definitely the 180 in my life, for sure.

What about before she was born? Did you ever see yourself having kids?
All we used to do was just skate and go to the bar. I’m still down to party-when I get on the road it’s still on, like going out, but when I’m at home it’s just chill now. But yeah, back then it was just wildin’ out all the time (laughs). Straight Red Bull and vodka ruling my life. But I don’t have any complaints about it. It was such a good time.

You don’t ever miss the wildin’ out way of life?
There’re some nights where I’ll still get some calls from my friends like, “We’re going to the bar.” I’m like, “Ah, man, that sounds killer.” But I have something so much better now that I don’t even sweat it.

Whether it’s handrails, ledges, or tranny, you seem to not limit yourself with what type of terrain you choose to skate. Is that how you’ve always been?
Just where I grew up, that’s how everybody always skated. I was skating way back in the early 80s, and back then it was like skating everything-that’s what everybody did, and that’s just how I’ve always been. Street, pools, and just everything- that’s just how Jacksonville is, we have a little bit of everything.

What’s up with that Atlantic Beach park? You’ve had a couple of photos hitting the tranny over the doorway, right?
It’s fun, man, and what’s rad too is there’s an actual kids’ park right there next to it, so I’ll take my wife and baby to go play around in there and then I skate a little bit and play with them.

Kill two birds with one stone?
(Laughs) Exactly. It’s like the perfect little spot.

You’ve been getting into some stuff lately other than skating-some golfing, some motocrossing?
I play golf probably once a week with my buddy, and then I usually ride my dirt bike whenever I can. I don’t get to do that as often as I want, but I’ve been rippin’ around on that. We’ve got some cool trail spots we go to. I ain’t no f-king extreme backflip dude or anything like that (laughs)-I just like to rip around in the dirt.

What happened the first night you got your dirt bike and your wife walked in on you?
Ah, it was f-ked up, man. I just got that bitch and I put on all my motocross gear and I went out and sat on the dirt bike like I was riding that bitch, and my wife came home and opened the garage and caught me sitting on it. She said I looked like the kid at K-Mart riding one of those quarter horses or something (laughs). I was stoked though, man. I got that bitch and I was all into it.

It’s like when you get a new electric guitar but you don’t have an amp-you just want to blast out a couple chords.
I did the same sh-t the first time I went snowboarding. I put all the snowboard gear on and put the snowboard on and was just jumping around in my house. I was psyched like a f-king idiot (laughs).

Where do you think your level of skating is at right now? Are you at your all-time peak?
Right now I’m at the height of just getting coverage. I feel like I’ve been skating pretty much the same for the past five or six years or so, but now it’s just meeting more photographers and filmers. Just getting more coverage has been rad. I never really knew how the industry worked back then, and now I’m starting to see how it goes and I’m psyched. I love going out and shooting photos and filming, man. It’s so fun-especially when you’re with the right dudes.

Beau said you’re bilingual now?
Bilingual? I ain’t bilingual. I can barely speak English. I don’t know what the f-k you’re talking about (laughs). I can talk bilingual?

He said you can speak baby talk now.
Oooh, yeah. When I get around her I can talk baby talk for sure.

Florida’s been your home since you were two years old. Do you think you’ll be living there for the rest of your life?
I’m sure, unless my wife wants to split, but I’m stoked where I’m at.

You got a good thing going, so why ruin it?
That’s the way I see it. Everything
ilingual now?
Bilingual? I ain’t bilingual. I can barely speak English. I don’t know what the f-k you’re talking about (laughs). I can talk bilingual?

He said you can speak baby talk now.
Oooh, yeah. When I get around her I can talk baby talk for sure.

Florida’s been your home since you were two years old. Do you think you’ll be living there for the rest of your life?
I’m sure, unless my wife wants to split, but I’m stoked where I’m at.

You got a good thing going, so why ruin it?
That’s the way I see it. Everything