The Tech Na$ty Interview, Part 1
Meet Tech Na$ty: Pro skater, goofy rider, and international boarding icon. The newest member of the Board Blazers skate squad, this is the first of a two-part series about his 360 degree career change. Check back later this month for part 2, and keep up with Tech in Thailand @wakebakegoskate.
First off tell our fans about yourself, where did you grow up and how did you become a pro skater?
Oh damn. Well I grew up in Orange County. I was back and forth between my mom and my dad which is like Anaheim and Santa Ana but I've always been like that rascal kid that is cruising down everywhere on their board. I was just up and down all over Orange County busting it or just mobbing it with friends on our boards. You know what I mean?
Yeah man. At what point did you know you wanted to become a pro skater?
It was like...usually that's every kids little fantasy or whatever. I never really had a plan for that when I was a young kid because I started skating late in my age, or for my time. I was like 13, 14. I was the last kid at my high school to start skateboarding. It's kind of crazy how I fell into that. I used to play varsity soccer for my high school and I got kicked off the team. The day I got kicked off the team is the day I got my first skateboard from a friend and I got into skateboarding that day. It was crazy, just how it happened, it was like perfect timing.
How’d you get so good so quickly then?
I always grew up around a lot of skateboarders. A lot of friends made from school and stuff like that. I was always cool with them and they would always get me to let them borrow their boards just to get around. I knew how to just ride it but I never really tried any tricks until that day when I got kicked off the team for bad academics. It was all bad. There is more to that story. This one coach would steal my board that my friends give me. He would take it and put it in his office and I would try to steal it back and then he is like no you can't be doing that and kicked me off the team. It was bad.
"I started working for the mouse."
Haha, looks like it turned out alright. How did you land your first sponsor?
What’s funny is, I never tried to get sponsored as a kid. It was never really part of my dream or anything to do that. I [skated] throughout high school and then I quit skateboarding around 17, 18 when I started work. I started working for the Boys and Girls Club. I was still skating then. Then when I really got deep into work I started working for the mouse. You know, Disneyland. I started working for them and then started picking up other jobs from there. Skateboarding wasn't really like ... I didn't really have time for that. I just kind of abandoned it, sad to say.
Then I didn't actually pick it up until I was 23. There was a big gap from there. I mean like from 17-18 until like 23. 22-23 ... Like a 5 year gap or something? I just totally felt like there was something missing in my life. I was making all this money. Working, going to school. I was making great money for someone my age because you know, I was always hustling but it's just like something was missing.
I didn't know what it was and then I met my friend Cheesy. That's what I call him. I met him and he was a young guy. He was still in high school. He just got me into it. I was able to pick up kind of where I left off. For some reason it was like a whole me too. I knew tricks somehow that I didn't know before. My style was way different from when I was a kid to an adult.
I just started skating around. We started messing around making small videos. My first sponsor was actually called Shelter Skate Shop. I went there for a skate contest I was just going to try to do for fun and they liked how I skated. They asked me to turn in a video to get sponsored. While I was still working on that video, their team was already going out to this big contest in New Mexico and they invited me to come with them. Some of the guys, they liked me, so they invited me to come with them.
I wasn't sponsored from them at the time so I had to pay for my own trip. I had to get some money and stuff, which was cool. It was a cool little experience for me. The thing is when I got the contest we skated and everything, I beat out their guys. You know what I'm saying? I beat out the guys from the squad and they were pretty impressed about that. Later on they asked me to join. They actually, what really got them to ask me to join was the fact that I came out on Field TV. I was featured on Field TV wearing one of their shirts. It was like a triple X yellow shirt. I used to wear even baggier clothes than I do now. That's how I got my first sponsor with Shelter. From there everything just started falling into place, they started feeding me other sponsors.
Now I have to ask, how did you get the nickname Tech Na$ty?
Actually, Tech Na$ty came from back in the day with one of my late homies. We used to always, every time somebody did a tech trick the term for it was called “tech money.” Everybody in skateboarding knew about that at that point in time. They called it tech money, but the tech nasty thing came from us. It's not like I was called Tech Na$ty or my friend was called Tech Na$ty, we just called the style tech nasty.
If we did a trick and it was sloppy, that was kind of nasty -- that wasn't tech money that was tech nasty, but the name actually came from one of my clothing sponsors. A former clothing sponsor called Suspicious Clothing. They took me out on a couple of trips and I was telling them this story and he started calling me Tech Na$ty and people started catching on and I just kind of went with it.
Dude, it sounds like you’ve been on a lot of trips, where’s your favorite place to skate?
I love going to Mexico for some reason. I'm from there originally. I'm from Mexicali, Baja California. I just love going all around there. Since I got back into skating I just started going out there a lot. It's pretty cool because the shops out there invite me out for demos and signing whenever they have other big pros go. I always get an invite. I always get that email like “hey come through so and so is going to be out here and we want you out here too!” It makes me feel special. I like it, it's cool.
How has the SoCal skate scene changed since you turned pro?
I don't know, it's really cool. How should I say it ... I mean a lot of stuff has changed since I was a kid for the whole scene. I'm not dropping any names but you got those people who are know-it-alls and stuff now and everybody has got their 15 minutes of fame with Instagram and stuff. I know it was not like that back in the day because nobody had any type of social media. I liked that. I almost wish there wasn't that social media so I could just get myself out there without promoting myself through social media. Do you get what I'm saying?
I like putting sweat and tears into it rather than to just go and upload clips, hashtag a bunch of stuff and hope everybody sees it. Not to knock Instagram or any social media. It's cool, I have it myself. It's cool to keep in touch with friends in other countries that you can't just call every day. It all has its purpose, it’s cool.
Yeah you have over 22,000 follows on Instagram. That’s almost as many as Rick Ross. What’s the secret to gaining such a large following?
I don't know I have a secret for that. It just kind of happened. Like I said, I never really was into it, but my sponsors influenced me to get it. They made me my first Instagram, my first Twitter and stuff like that so I could promote the shop. You know what I mean? That's Programme Skate Shop which I ride for now. We were talking about Shelter earlier, I don't want to confuse anybody because the shop unfortunately went under.
Who are your sponsors now?
My sponsors now are Programme, that's a skate shop in Fullerton. Board Blazers too, haha. I also ride for Delta Nine Clothing. That's my newest sponsor outside of San Diego. I also ride for Baby Dubz Wheels which is the first patented skateboard rim in the world. I was really stoked on that because they basically made me the first pro skater in the world to ride rims on their skateboard. I'm pretty stoked on that. They got us featured on ESPN through the wheels and they had my name on there and everything. My family was stoked about that. They were like “oh cool it's ESPN,” they know it's legit. I thought it was cool.
I actually just got a blow situation with Silver Trucks, that’s Rob Dyrdek’s company. I had been getting hooked up with Tensor for the last 5 years by my friend Matt over at Dwindle. I don't think he could do that, he couldn't help me out anymore, so Programme got me a blow situation with Silver.
Dude, how’d you get the ESPN deal?
That was through Baby Dubz. That was Baby Dubz whole gig. They loved the rims and they hit us up to do a little video.
"I just thought it was taboo."
That's awesome! Now tell me about this Thailand trip. You’re about to go leave to go skate in Thailand for a month. What’s up with that?
Oh Thailand. I just thought it was taboo. It's right up Baby Dubz alley, you know? It would be cool to just go up there and film something where nobody has seen it before. People have seen the rims out here but out here it's kind of different. I get a lot of people complementing on my rims on my board. Sometimes I forget I have them because they’re regular wheels. It's not a gimmick, you know what I mean? It's a legitimate wheel. I perform on it.
The thing is out here everybody is so caught up in what is cool and what's not. Just because since it's new ... it's something new so some people just don't really like it. I feel like if we go out to Thailand and do something out there it's probably going to stoke a lot of people out.
So what’s the plan for Thailand?
Basically what we are going to go do in Thailand is go film and have fun. I'm mostly going to just be dedicated to skateboarding out there. I'm willing to try out all the new food and learn about new cultures. I'm all about that. Record it in my memory, you know?
You can go skateboard anywhere in the world, and Thailand seems like an interesting place. Why do you want to go there?
We just want to go just because it's somewhere new. It was actually the owner of Baby Dubz. It was his idea to send me out there in the first place. I was just stoked. I was like okay cool. I'm down to go anywhere.
Yeah, well after Thailand where do you want to skate next?
I want to go to Chile. I want to go out there. I have a couple of friends out there that have been bugging me to come out. I'm just like, I'm going to get there, I promise. That's on my list right after. I'm going there and then in the summer I believe I'm going to Spain. And then just cruise around Europe.
Maybe I’ll come along! Now what’s the skate scene like in Thailand?
I'm not really sure to be honest. I was actually looking up some videos doing my own little research and there was somebody on there that did a skate around Thailand type thing and it was pretty cool. I noticed that they have a different type of structures there then they do here.
It's way different. You know, the type of materials they have there like marble ledges and stuff like that, it's really cool. They don't really have that kind of stuff out here, it's something different to skate. That's what I noticed about skating all over, everywhere is different. It can be something as small as rugged ground to how hot it is. It's always different.
What’s next for your skating career?
For me, I just want to keep pushing it. Keep pushing my sponsors. I'm all about them right now. I'm just trying to travel the world and skate and build my skating up. Do new things with my skating. Help people out. Go do demos and help out the less fortunate. You get what I'm saying?
I'm all about that, just giving. You got to give back. No matter how much you take, you got to give something back. You can't just take take take take from the world because that's bad, to me anyway.
Speaking of giving, what advice do you have for somebody who wants to become a pro skater?
Like I said earlier, I never wanted to become one, it just kind of happened, so I don't know. Maybe that might help. What I like to tell the kids out there is to just kind of kill that ego. We all have it. There’s no need for it. There’s no need to rush into things. Being a pro is a big responsibility. Sometimes it gets more stressful than fun. That's why you have to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place. Then you snap out of it and you are like dude, it's supposed to be fun.
Just kill that ego. Everybody has got it. I even got it, you know. Just go with the flow. Try to help people. Try to help as many people as you can, always extend a hand out for a fellow skater.
Check back for part 2, coming later this month. In the meantime, keep up with Tech in Thailand @wakebakegoskate.