How long have you been sponsored?
Since the end of ’97, so like two-and-a-half years.
Who was your first sponsor?
It was a shop, but they didn’t really do anything. I was just a local, and they made a team, but that was around the time I got on Think. So, it wasn’t like I was on the shop-sponsorship thing for a long time.
How’d you get on Think?
Through my friend Zach. He’d been telling Think about me for a while, and I’d been getting photos on my own every time TransWorld would come through here Austin, Texas¿you know, those little Texas articles, and things like that. I shot two photos with Geoff Kula, then somebody else came¿I think it was Jeff Taylor¿and he shot a super-sick sequence of me over this gap. I don’t know, I guess it was the talk of the town, so Think put me on.
Who are your sponsors?
Think skateboards, Indy trucks, Circuit wheels, flow from éS shoes, Mad Gods clothing, and Tek Gnar skate shop.
Are you still living in San Francisco?
Yeah, and I’m about to start school, I’m just taking a little vacation in Austin before I start school.
Where do you go to school?
Foothill. I’m gonna be taking some Internet-based courses, kinda like correspondence courses, so I can do some traveling. My brain was just rotting, sitting there doing nothing but being an am skater. It’s kind of boring¿doesn’t stimulate the brain.
How old are you?
Do you get paid?
Don’t get a dime, and I haven’t gotten a dime ever, except when I won myself 150 bucks in a contest right before I came out here. That was the first money I’ve ever won in a contest.
San Francisco’s expensive, how do you pay the bills?
It depends. I either come back here Austin, Texas and work for a while for my dad, or I work out there. I worked for a while as a valet in San Francisco. I basically just do what I can. That’s one of the reasons I’m going to school, so I won’t have to work. If I’m in school, my mom will help me out. She’ll pay for school and rent. So as long as I focus on school and keep skating the way I am, I’ll be fine.
Have you talked to Think about being pro?
Not really. It’s kind of like an understanding. We both know what it takes to get there, and we’re just working on it right now, you know?
What does it take?
It takes everything I’m doing, except I need a really sick video part, I need some more photos, and really I need to place in the top five in a couple more contests. I don’t see what else I can do¿I already do everything. There’s not much more I can do other than say, “You’ve got to pay me, or I’m gonna leave.” But I’m not gonna do that, I enjoy skating too much.
Are you working on a video part right now?
Yeah, I’ve been slowly working on one. I have all this footage and stuff, but I don’t even know where it’s going. A lot of it isn’t super-sick stuff, it’s just filler, so I need to get some super footy. I’ve got a few big gaps, not really that many big rails, but I need to get stuff people haven’t seen. That’s another reason I come out to Texas every now and then¿there’re all these untouched spots. You’ll go to a spot in Austin and there’s not a mark on it. You’re like, “Hey, this is the first time anyone’s ever skated this, so I can do whatever I want, and no one’s gonna say anything.” None of that “so-and-so did this down that, so you can’t do that.” The only problem I run into out in California is that you’re limited that way.
Especially in San Francisco. It’s a pretty small city.
It’s small, and when there is a skate spot, it gets destroyed. There’re so many tricks that go down on one spot in that city, it makes it really hard to go film or take photos. It’s gotta be super-duty tough work.
Does it feel like there’s more pressure now that you’re sponsored?
Yeah definitely, people expect things. When you reach a certain level, you’re expected to be at that level at all times.
Who expects things from you? Youur sponsors?
Not really. I mean, they expect it from me, and they get it, but they don’t ever say, “You need to go do this bigger.” It’s usually the filmers and photographers. They want their stuff to look super good, so they want the best stuff you can do.
What do you think will be different when you’re pro?
I don’t know. I don’t really get in trouble with my sponsors or anything¿I don’t ever do the wrong things¿so I’m not any trouble to them. So, I guess it will just be up to me to keep stuff up to par.
What do you mean by “the wrong thing”?
Not riding your company’s boards, and just not representing your company. Like going out to a demo in some Nikes, a plain T-shirt, cut-off shorts, and being, like, “Hey, I’m a pro skater. Look at me! Pay me for what I do¿which is pretty much nothing.” Not having loyalty to the company.
So you have a loyal streak.
Yeah, and I think that’s one of the reasons I don’t get any money.