How long have you been sponsored for?
Probably like a year. I guess if you want to include shops, probably more like three.
Tell me you sponsors.
Santa Cruz, Emerica, Fresh Jive, Nixon, Spitfire, Independent, and Universal Bolts.
Who was your first big sponsor?
How’d that hook up?
Well, I actually owned a little company called Persona, and I sent a video to Independent. Jeff Kendall looked at it and gave me a call, and we started talking. I decided I was getting into too much debt with Persona, and my dream had always been to travel and skateboard everywhere, so I decided to go with Santa Cruz.
How old were you when you started Persona?
Whoa! Did you actually sell any boards?
Yeah. My friend Josh Feldman and I started it Persona up in Ventura, and it was just like a local thing. It was such a good learning experience.
Now you know when your sponsors are trying to jack you around. You can be like, “Hey, I know how that works!”
Laughs Yeah, I learned a lot about how hard it is to get a company going.
How old are you now?
When you got on Santa Cruz, did you fit in with the team?
Actually, the team was going through a lot of changes. But I’m stoked because Santa Cruz treats their riders really well.
What does that mean? Do they pay you?
Yeah, they pay, and I’m just happy about the way they’ve been really positive with me.
Do you work another job?
Yeah, I work at skate shop called Whitesand.
To make enough to pay your cell-phone bill?
Laughs Yeah, exactly!
What’s the biggest cell-phone bill you’ve ever had?
Like 240, or something like that.
You’ve lived in Ventura County since you were twelve¿how come you don’t ride for Powell? Aren’t they the dominant skate company up there?
I’ve never been too into Powell.
Have you ever thought, “Shit, I have to move to L.A.”?
Actually, I love where I live. Yeah, I’ve considered it. I’ve thought about moving up north, too, like to Sacramento. L.A.’s good, but I’d never want to live there. My family’s here, all my friends are here, my girl’s here, I live with my best friend Thor, and I’m so close to everything. I’m really rooted.
Has being sponsored helped your skating?
As far as traveling and skating new spots, it definitely has, ’cause that’s what gets you excited about skating¿seeing a new spot and being able to skate it. For a while it was kind of hard; I had to really step back and realize that skateboarding is all about fun. That’s why I started doing it, and that’s why I do it today. For a while it seemed like it was just about filming videos and shooting photos. There is pressure in being sponsored, even at my level, which isn’t the highest level. So now, when I feel the pressure I just think, “I’m gonna go out, and if I get something it’s gonna be because I’m having fun.”
Have you talked to Santa Cruz about turning pro?
Yeah, we’ve talked. It’s been a little questionable about when it’s going to happen, but it’s probably coming up pretty soon.
Do you think there’ll be even more pressure when you’re pro?
Yeah, but as long as I’m skating and having fun, I’ll be able to deal with it.
Do you have any advice for people who are obsessed with being sponsored?
Yeah, I do. Remember why you started skateboarding¿you did it for fun. As long as you do it for that, you’ll be doing it for the right reasons. Being sponsored is just a result.