Do you correct people when they say ‘Loads’?
No I just go along with it, sometimes I correct them if they’re standing right there I’ll say ‘Lode-es’.
Pick and choose your battles.
Exactly. I dealt with it growing up in school so I’m used to it. I don’t get mad or anything.
What was it like growing up in Moraga.
Moraga’s up in Northern California in the East Bay area. It’s a small little town in the valley, thirty minutes east of San Francisco. It’s a really small town, it’s like the safest town ever. There’s no crime or anything like that. You didn’t need cops, the biggest crime is a bike at the skatepark.
Was that good or bad? Was it so safe that it was boring, or was it more of a utopic spot?
It was definitely boring. It was one of those towns where there was literally nothing to do. When I was in 8th grade they built the skatepark, but before that there was literally nothing. They had a bowling alley but then that closed down. Other than that literally nothing to do. So if you’re kickin it around all day you had to find stuff to do like go to the forest and run around or hike.
You used to wrestle, that was your sport growing up?
Yeah my brothers were into it so I got into it so I got into it. But in high school it got too serious. I tried it for a year but then said fuck it I just wanna ride.
Have you ever used your wrestling skills in a fight? Have you ever been in a fight?
I’ve been in one fight and I used my wrestling skills to take a guy down. Not really though. I don’t fight and get myself in those situations.
Was there a BMX scene [in Moraga]? How were you first exposed to BMX?
My brother used to race with his friends and that’s how I first really found out about it. So I wanted to ride because of [him]. Then I met Christian Rigal when I was in 3rd grade, and ever since then me and him rode bikes, and yeah, here we are. Pretty crazy.
I always think it’s interesting how there’s a lag between when riders are first exposed to BMX, and when they see their first credible BMX magazine or video. Was there a first impression you had of BMX after you had been riding? Like see a photo of Van or something and think this is way cooler than I thought?
Honestly man, I can’t even remember a time like that. It sucks to say. I honestly just looked up to this guy Steve Taiariol who was the local pro from the town. He was sponsored by S&M and DC and he was the nicest dude ever. I just looked up to him and wanted to be like him, you know? I remember seeing Etnies Forward and seeing Ruben’s part and being like, whoa. Him and Taj’s part were ridiculous.
Was it difficult growing up in such small scene? Did you always feel pressure to get out of there or were you content with the town?
In a way I always wanted to leave and ride different stuff. Moraga was so boring. I felt like I definitely needed to get out of there.