The Tech Na$ty Interview, Part 2
Meet Tech Na$ty: Pro skater, goofy rider, and international boarding icon. The newest member of the Board Blazers skate squad, this is the second of a two-part series about his 360 degree career change. Read part 1 here, and keep up with Tech in Thailand @wakebakegoskate.
So what’s the best way for a young up and coming skater to get sponsored? I’m sure you get that question all the time.
Usually what people do is they make a 2 minute video, maybe a minute and a half, and they go and they send it in to the owner of a shop of your best stuff. Make sure it's filmed properly. It's not all shaky or any stuff like that. Make a cool legit little video and also the first thing you have to do is try to get sponsored by a shop. That probably will be your main sponsor. Pick a shop that you want to back and help them out to help out the community.
Yeah, that's the best way to do it. You can go ahead and send it to another sponsor, but chances are you are not going to get hit back up unless you are super super good. The best way to do it is by skate shop because they will basically work as your agent and they will get you other sponsors, like Programme does for me.
What’s been your gnarliest injury while skating?
So far, I'm knocking on wood right now. The worst injury I had was my broken wrist. I've hit my head. I've sprained ankles. I've hurt my ribs. I've hit my chin on the floor and the board bounces up and chips your tooth. I've had that happen, I've fallen hard trying hard stuff and have got injured but I was able to walk away from it. But the worst was my wrist. This happened last year in November, 2 days after Halloween. November 2nd. I remember.
The thing was I wasn't even doing anything crazy, it was all a freak accident. I was skating with a bunch of buds out in Koreatown in Downtown LA. There were 13 of us in a van. We just got out, I went and cruised around. I was the first one to go and hit the ledges on that side. They got caught looking at something. I just went ahead.
I went and skated around on the ledges and I slipped out on one. I planned to fall and I accidentally landed on my board again. I was totally off balance. I landed on my board on accident. My board shoots out. I fall backwards and I accidentally put my arm out. I extended my arm and I locked my elbow. Obviously I made my hand stiff, and when my left hand hit the floor I just felt it pop out of place.
It was just a feeling I never had before because I had never broken a bone before in my life and I was just like what the hell just happened? I was just in shock so I put the bone back in place myself. Now I have pins. Let me tell you, right when I was trying to pop it, nobody saw me fall. Nobody saw anything. I got up and I started walking toward my friend and he looks at me. I'm holding my wrist, and he's like, dude I think it's broken. I'm like nah, maybe it's just dislocated, can you pull on my hand? This dude is like pulling on my hand and my other buds come and they’re like “you need to go to the hospital.”
That's when my boy NickLovin, he's my filmer and one of my best friends, he drove me out to the hospital. He was like no dude we got to drive you out to a hospital like right now. That was in a hospital in downtown LA.
NickLovin: filmer, homie, and ambulance driver.
I had the pins in my arm for 3 months. Worst time ever. That's the longest I went without skating was 3 months. Honestly I tried to skate with the pins in my arm for a little bit and people weren't having it. They were like nah dude, you can't do that.
Well after all of this, what advice do you have for a young skater to keep them from getting injured?
I'd say...you can't. Injures are inevitable. It's going to happen. You just can't think that. I always felt that if I went into something scared I'm probably going to get hurt. Freak accidents like mine? Those are going to happen. They are inevitable. All I can tell kids is hope you have insurance.
As far as being safe goes I would say make sure you can be spotted at night so you don't get hit by a car and always make sure you look both ways when crossing the street. No matter what. Always.
We always try to have spotters for that kind of stuff. Sometimes when there is not a spotter you just have to try your best to not get run over. If your board shoots into the middle of the street, don't chase after it. It's not worth it. Have your Board Blazers ready for night time skating. It's not worth it at all. Make sure you can be seen.
"I would like to think I'm a Board Blazer myself."
What do you like about Board Blazers?
I would like to think I'm a Board Blazer myself. Let the record show I winked. I love the color. I love the colors it's cool. When I wasn't skating and I was working I used to do drifting and race cars. I like messing around with the muscle cars but I also had the Japanese imports. I always had the undercarriage lights. That's what that reminded me of. That was a very important time in my life too for me, driving, that taught me a lot, especially when I got busted.
Thanks for the shout out. Who inspired you or helped you get where you are today?
I would like to say friends and family but…that's a would like to. But I've had that small circle of friends and family that inspired me but in a weird way. My family inspired me with my skating by putting me down if that makes any sense. For me there is not a better motivator then somebody who says you can't do something and it's not worth your time. But you love it anyway.
It's not saying that I had bad friends or anything, I'm just saying they had the best interest out for me. They thought that skating, maybe it's not going to work for you. You’re such a hard worker. Everybody knows I love labor and I'm a hard worker. Everybody that knows me knows I'm a hard worker. They think I'm just having fun but now everybody has come around to it. I'm really glad. Everybody is really hyped like my mom or my dad. They came around. My grandfather, rest in peace, he just passed away a few weeks ago before my birthday. I was really happy that I could convince him that what I was doing was good. He was stoked on me too.
"He was a G."
I know your grandfather had a big influence on you. What did you he think and what advice did he have for you about skating?
He just always told me to work hard. Don't be lazy no matter what you are doing and always take care of your family first before anything. Watch out for the crooked friends. Stuff like that. It was good advice. He was a G. He was a lot like me and he was a hustler too. He was anything but lazy and taught me a lot.
I know you started your own skate company, Fiesta. How did that come about?
It was crazy. What happened was, I was riding for this board brand a few years ago and I totally got dissed. I was doing so much for them. I was putting them out there, running contests for them but unfortunately I had to get let go. I thought it was unfair but to each his own. Around that time the guy who was my team manager, his name was John, he passed away from cancer. He was one of my best friends ever. He is the one who got me on that company and he was the team manager.
He got let go and we were working this odd job together. He told me “dude you have so many good ideas, you should start your own brand.” I thought about it dude and thought oh shoot maybe I should. I was looking for a name for it and my really good friend Franky, we grew up in Santa Ana together he was like dude you should call your company Fiesta. Right away I went and looked it up, it wasn't taken, I went and got the LLC and I was like dude I guess our thing is Fiesta.
"I guess our thing is Fiesta."
We made a couple of jacket, shirts, beanies and stuff like that, the usual but I'm just concentrated on the boards. I'm putting it in select skate shops. I didn't even make a website for it and I’ve already sold out on the first batch of boards that I made. We just started off this last year. Legitimately four years ago I popped the name and everything and didn't do anything with it. I was always planning on just run a small little business but still ride for another brand without promoting it.
That is what I was doing. I got my big break with this company from Mexico called Panic. They are the ones who actually turned me pro, was that board company. That turned me pro. They took me to that Rocky Point context to go support. I wasn't in the contest but I was there supporting the younger kids and stuff over in Puerto Peñasco. I was like, wow you know about Rocky Point, that's dope.
Yeah, we went out there and yeah they turned me pro. The thing was, here is how I ended up riding for my company. It's crazy because since they turned me pro they were going to run my pro graphic which is going to be coming out for Fiesta.
How’d your pro graphic get launched?
Let me tell you how that happened. I was chilling at Programme Skate and Sound, the shop I ride for. We do music and skating. The reason we do music is because one of the owners is the main singer of Death by Stereo and Manic Hispanic.
So he's in big bands. We are really good friends. We were like they are going to make this graphic for me for Panic skateboards. He was like dude he was stoked for me and then he hit me with the reality check. He was like look dude, I know you are doing Fiesta Skateboards, honestly I think you should do that graphic for your company.
I was kind of iffy about that. I didn’t want people to think I turned myself pro. You get what I'm saying? That's just weird. The self proclaimed, I don't like that. That's how it happened. He convinced me right then and there. He was like dude you need to make this graphic for Fiesta.
I thought about it for a couple of days and then I called up my friend that was running Panic and I told him you know what, I'm just going to do my own brand now and I'm going to have to use that graphic were going to do for you, I'm going to do it for mine. They were so cool with it. We're all still good friends and they still invite me out there for tours and stuff like that.
Dude that's awesome. Did you ever actually ride for Panic?
Yeah, they turned me pro. That was amateur for them and they turned me pro. They were like okay we're going to run your pro model. It never got to run because it's going to come out for Fiesta but they are the ones who turned me pro and they’re the one who inspired the pro model for Fiesta. I think that's pretty legit. I know [Efrem’s] not a pro skateboarder but hey man, the dude knows what’s up.
Every skater has a signature trick. What’s yours?
It used to be switch kick flips when I was younger and now it's nose manuals. Sometimes in just one wheel lol.
Now that you’ve been pro for a few years, how is being a pro skater different than you expected?
You always think it's going to be the best thing ever. It's dope, but it's not exactly what you expect always. I said before, some things get kind of stressful. You start thinking more of the job than having fun but you just snap back into it and you tell yourself this is all for fun.
Are you glad you turned pro?
I'm stoked. I'm really stoked. And the way it happened? I'm really stoked. Everybody has their play in it. My boy John Cinnamon. My boys at Programme. Program, the owners are Chris and Efrem. They all pushed me. They all just kept pushing me. Baby Dubz, they have had my back. My new sponsor Delta Nine, the owner is super cool. All around, it's all good man. I've had a lot of sponsors in there and they have all been cool. They all helped me reach for this particular level getting me paid.
Tell everybody, why do you love skateboarding? What is it about skateboarding that you love so much?
It makes me reminiscence about all the old times I had with old friends. I have a lot of late friends that I used to skate with and they passed away. It makes me reminisce. It also makes me feel like I'm still skating with them if that makes any sense. It's something I love to do. I love pushing around on that piece of wood and like Rodney Mullen says, you can use any part of that board. There is not one part of that board that you can't use, and he's right. There are so many tricks out there that haven't even been invented.
That’s a good question too, who are your pro skater heroes? Who do you look up to?
There are three people. Randy Mullen being one of them, he is one of the godfathers of skateboarding. Peter Smolik is one of them. I'm super stoked because a lot of these other pro skaters that I met like Lutzka and Smolik and all those people, I've got to kick it with them already. I'm really stoked on that. A lot of these guys I've got to skate with. I'm just like aw man, it's so surreal.
"Greg Lutzka's super cool...I like that dude."
Greg Lutzka’s super cool. He’s one of my favorites. I like that dude. He doesn't act brand new or anything you know? He says what's up every time. He's one of those dudes, perfect example. The first video I ever watched was called Fulfill the Dream and that had all my favorite skaters like Lutzka, Peter Smolik, Steve Olson. It just had a bunch of those guys and I actually got that tatted on my arm, it says “fulfill the dream.” That was my first skateboarding video ever. Somebody showed it to me in high school and I was hooked after that.
Anything else you want to say?
I would just tell everybody keep skating. Keep skating, follow your dreams, don't let anybody put you down. Don't listen to the naysayers, let them motivate you if anything.
Lastly, how can our fans keep up with you and follow your trip to Thailand?