Introduction and interview by Blair Alley
We used to see Alexis around San Diego, with his buddy George Torres. They'd skate our Come Up Tours, they became locals at Memo Park—they were good kids, good at skating, and just kind of quiet and humble. I remember going out one hot summer day with Alexis to shoot his Check Out, we didn't get anything, and then I didn't see him for a while. The next time I did see him, damn, he was good. 'mafia put him on as an am, and with Wes vouching for him, once the DC Shoes team saw him skate, he got on there as well. When we took a Transworld trip to China last year, we hand-picked Alexis to come, and he was everything you'd want and more: Mellow, always-smiling, and killed every spot we went to. So here we are, a couple years, a handful of amazing video parts under his belt, and 2019 is definitely the year Alexis will earn his pro model sitting on top of respected sponsors. Check the photos he's stacked and read up on our conversation.
Are you from a big family?
Yeah. I got seven brothers and five sisters.
Holy shit! Same parents?
Nah, different dad.
Are you toward the younger side?
Yeah, I'm the youngest.
What was that like growing up?
It was insane, but I liked it because I always had someone there. My house was always packed, so that was sick. But of course I got messed with all the time.
Did any of your older siblings skate?
Yeah, three of my older brothers skated, for a bit.
Did any of them get pretty good?
Yeah, my brother Eddy, there was this school called Sunset, and it has a five block, and he Ollie'd it and broke his board, I remember it was a brand new Zero board.
Is that what got you into skating? Watching your older brothers?
Yeah, I just saw them get into it, and my brother Carlos got a board and I just always followed him. So I wanted a board.
So were there always hand-me-downs for you?
Nah, my mom would hook me up. She's a legend.
Did she go to any shops that are still around?
I think our first boards were from Big 5 or Wal Mart.
And you always lived in San Diego?
Is some of your family from Mexico?
Yeah, my mom and my dad. My mom is from Guadalajara and my dad is from Guerrero. I've never been out there.
You've been to TJ though right?
Yeah, TJ for sure, but I need to go down there.
Did you grow up in Chula Vista always?
I was down in San Ysidro until I was eight or nine, then we moved to Chula Vista.
Were you born in America, though?
Were some of your siblings born in Mexico?
No, we were actually all born here.
Nice, that's an American story right there. Your shop sponsor is Slappy's Garage, do you know who the first skater to back lip a handrail was?
Oh yeah, Jason (Carney)! Cuong told me that. Cuong is always calling shit out. That's so sick.
Have you seen that H-Street video?
Nah, I haven't even seen it. But I might have randomly seen it in like On Video or something.
Jason always looks out for the skaters that work in his shop and skate for it. Has he given you some good life advice?
Yeah, he'd tell me like, to keep doing what I'm doing. If he likes what I'm doing, he'd tell me to keep it up, "You're going in the right direction." He'd give me more motivation. He's sick
What's your favorite skatepark in San Diego right now? There're so many.
Now I just go to the one by my pad (laughs). It's a new park in San Ysidro. It's super mellow to warm up, and it's just close to my house, so I'm always going there now and telling people to meet up there. But for sure all the OG ones, Memo and Chula.
Wes (Kremer) said to ask you about Taco Bell.
(Laughs) I just love Taco Bell and it's hella cheap. It gets you through the day when you're trying to skate all day. And it's good. Fuckin' buhm!
Best Mexican food/burrito in San Diego?
That's different. I go to Hilberto's, off Palm, right in front of Montgomery High School.
What do you get?
Either carne asada fries or a carne asada burrito.
They're money though.
Wes said you think Little Caesar's is better than Bronx Pizza?
Hell yeah! Fuck yeah (laughs)! It's cheaper and it fills up the homies. I'm always with all the little homies and we all gotta eat. Sorry Bronx.
How did the buhm language come about?
I don't now, Wes just kept saying it. "I guess I'm a buhm."
Spells it B-U-H-M.
I know, I like that, I like how that looks.
Have you heard of Jimbonics?
It's Jimmy Astleford's slang.
Oh yeah, he's got a lot of slang.
Now the new one is God Damn Legging.
(laughs) Oh yeah!
Marius just keeps saying, "GDL, GDL!"
God damn legging (laughs).
Kellen said you met your girlfriend at a 'mafia signing and demo in LA?
Yeah! It was at a Zumiez in like Riverside. I saw her walking in, and I checked her out for sure, but then she dipped out. Then she came up to me and asked if I was hungry, and I said, "Yeah." Then she asked if she could take me out to lunch, so I bailed and we went to Chick-fil-a.
You bailed the signing and went to lunch with her?
Nah, I finished the signing! It was mellow, though.
Did she live up there?
So it was a long-distance relationship?
Does she live down in San Diego now?
She's still up there?!
Yeah, and it's about to be three years. It's been a good time.
What tricks did you learn from some of the Sk8mafia guys?
JP (Jamie Palmore) always had 180 to switch crooks, and I always wanted to learn that. It took me forever, but I finally learned those in the DC park.
Do you remember the first time you saw Sk8mafia boards or the team guys?
I don't remember the first day, but I remember it was at Memorial Skatepark, someone gave me a used board and I was skating it. It was a Sk8mafia board, I think a KJ board. It was a skinny board.
Who was the first pro you saw in person and fanned out on?
I don't know. I don't know if I've ever fanned out. I've seen Tommy (Sandoval) growing up. At Chula park, I was super young and I'd see him there, and he'd take me to skate DC with him. He'd take me and my brother.
That's rad. Do you have any early memory of DC Shoes? Or a DC video you saw?
I would get them at ROSS. They were cheap. That's how I started seeing them more (laughs).
Did Wes help you get on?
Dan (Connelly) did. He asked Jimmy to send me some kicks. You know that switch heelflip over the rail for my Check Out? Dan was saying, "If you land this right here, I'll tell Jimmy to send you some kicks." And I didn't do it (laughs)! But he ended up hooking it up. A box just showed up. Then I saw Jimmy after that at the DC park, I think an event for Wes' shoe, I thanked him, and I stayed in touch with him from there.
What was the next step? Did you have to go on a trip with everyone?
I just rode for them for a minute, just getting flowed.
How long did it take, from getting flowed to getting on?
Like four years I think? I went on a couple trips with them. Like SF, Sacramento, just little trips. Then they started inviting me to like South America, bigger trips.
The LATAM Super Tour. You were on before that, right?
Yeah, they introduced me, Chase (Webb), and John Shanahan all together.
What are some ways that an up-and-comer can kook it and not get on a big shoe company?
(Laughs) Maybe like if the company tells you that they got you, but they're busy too, and you just keep pushing it on them, "Can you send me this? You still got me on this?" They're going to remember. Just chill and it'll come.
Yeah, you can't be too thirsty.
It sucks, because so many people are good now.
What are some words of wisdom you've gotten from Wes.
"Trust," with skateboarding. Just trust it, you know? He'll just be like, "trust." In life, it's not like he's told me, but I've seen, just be a good person. That's why I like hanging out with him. He's just mellow.
Is there one guy that embodies Sk8mafia more than anyone else?
Nah. It's gotta be all of us to make it that whole.
When you've gone to Spain, do you stay at Tyler Surrey's place?
Yeah, right there in Poble Sec.
Have you been out to Barcy more than once?
Yeah, I've been out there three times, and each time for a month or longer.
What were you expecting on your first trip out there, and what was it like?
I didn't really know what to expect. I just saw in videos, people would be like, "Oh that's in Barcelona." So I just wanted to see everything. I knew everything would be new to me so I was hyped. The city seems really compact, just people everywhere. And they stay out all night, I was trippin'.
What did you think of the spots out there?
They're great. There're perfect, amazing spots, and like dope architectural spots. And how they look too in footage, the background sometimes has the best stuff.
What about South America? You went to quite a few countries on that Super Tour, right?
Yeah, we went to Argentina, Buenos Aires, Chile, Lima, Peru, Rio, Brazil, and Mexico.
What was the best out of those countries?
Maybe Argentina. Argentina was nice! It had good-ass spots and good homies. They had a bunch of food. They set up this big-ass barbecue for us. It was mellow there.
They're proud of their meat down there. It's like in Spain, in the Basque Country in the north.
Yeah, San Sebastian? I've been there. And then in Peru, the ceviche, because it's down by the beach. Good-ass seafood.
What other small board companies are doing it right?
Pizza is pretty sick.
How much skating on the Internet, Youtube, Instagram, do you watch every day?
Not that much! I miss out on a lot. Some of the homies are more on it, so they'll be like, "Did you see this?" So then I go back and realized I missed a ton of videos. Sometimes I miss it if I'm actually out there skating (laughs). I can't be skating and be on Insta. And for my battery to last long, I turn my notifications off, so I don't see anything until I get back home and I'm eating or something.
What places do you want to travel to that you haven't yet?
Australia. Everywhere pretty much. Japan. I want to travel as much as I can.
What's the secret to holding a switch front crook?
For me, I learned how to fakie manny balance good. I think of it the same. If I get into that pinch, then I'm just in a fakie manny almost. You just sit in there as long as you possibly can (laughs).