Luis Tolentino for Chapter 63 – New York Skate of Mind

MM: I’m Maximilian Mueller, and we’re here with Luis Tolentino! I pronounced it right, right?
LT: Yeah, whatever, Tolentino. Tortelinni.

MM: Tortelinni. Yeah, we’re here to learn some more about your past and what you’re up to in New York. So I know you’re from Queens, right?
LT: Yeah.

MM: Born and raised?
LT: Well I was born in the Dominican Republic.

MM: Okay. Actually that was the next thing I was gonna ask you. All right, so you’re Dominican, right?
LT: Yeah, but I came when I was a baby, like three months, so yeah.

MM: That’s the mainland ... I’m going to get to that later down the road with Olympics and stuff like that. But yeah, so with Queens, so what, you moved here when you were like ... You said before one or something like that?
LT: Yeah.

MM: And then you grew up near ... where is this, Astoria? What part of Queens... How close are you to Flushing Meadows Skate Park?
LT: I used to skate there. It was like a 45 minute skate.

MM: Oh Okay.
LT: Skate all day over there and then skate all the way back home.

MM: Oh Yeah!
LT: Yeah, it was some good times, in the summertime.

MM: When was that park built? You’ve had that since ... You skated there since you were a kid?
LT: No, but it was all like a skatepark for me. It skated at the Globe a lot.

MM: Got it. Yeah.
LT: Then later the skatepark came around. That was years later.

MM: Right, right.
LT: So I’m not sure exactly-

MM: More recently actually, right?
LT: Yeah, yeah.

MM: Like 2010 or something like-
LT: Something like that. I’m not too sure exactly, but it was definitely recent.

MM: So you went to the famous Globe spot a lot, right?
LT: Yeah, I used to go there all the time.

MM: Even before sponsor days and stuff like that, right?
LT: Even before sponsored days, man. I remember seeing Rodney Torres over there. He was the onewho was like, “Yo, what’s good with this guy?” He was going 90 for no reason, with a bowl cut, and some Old Navy pants.

MM: Oh yeah. Yup.
LT: It was good times.

MM: ‘90s days probably, right?
LT: Yeah. Well no, not ‘90s, like ...

MM: Early 2000s maybe?
LT: Early 2000s.

MM: Did you go there with a crew… who was your crew growing up? Are there people you’ve skating with since you were young?
LT: Yeah, I used to be ... I used go to Boy Scouts or whatever, and then I freaking ... I just fell in love with skateboarding and I started skipping that.

MM: Didn’t make it to Eagle Scout? Haha
LT: Definitely didn’t make it to Eagle Scout. I was like, “I’m outta here.” So then I started just skating around the neighborhood. Then I bumped into some homies. I didn’t even know ... I didn’t know people skated in that neighborhood at all, but for some reason I said, “Let me go this way.” Then I saw some guys with some random ramps and some plastic ramps and some rail like thing

MM: Someone’s driveway or something like that?
LT: No in the street, just walling out, just like, “All right. Wow, what’s up with these guys?”

MM: Jump ramps, boxes, rails, stuff like that? Okay.
LT: And then from there we made a little thing called “Unhinged Team” or something, and then we started skating everywhere, filming.

MM: Yeah. Any names… Are any of your friends from then still skating, or sponsored or anything like that?
LT: Not really, no.

MM: Yeah, yeah.
LT: This kid, Adonis and Omar.

MM: Okay.
LT: Omar used to film us, but they’re doing their own thing now. Adonis is like a photographer. He was always watching the videos, pressing pause. So, I call him “Tech Master Flex”, and he still has that screen name, so ...

MM: But they both still landed in the creative field, that was probably influenced from their skating days.
LT: Exactly.

MM: So they’re still into that.
LT: Yeah.

MM: Cool. So… Talking about Rodney Torres. When did you actually meet Rodney... Did he come up to you? Did you come up to him? How did you meet ...
LT: Yeah, it was like, I was skating this Hubba ... the Hubba down the stairs, and I was lip sliding it.

MM: The one in Flushing?
LT: At Flushing Yeah.

MM: Right, right.
LT: Yeah, down the sixth stair, that long one.
I remember just waxing it like crazy. Then every time I landed I couldn’t land straight. I would just keep sliding all over the place. I remember I landed one, it was like ... I started screaming like ... He was like, “Yo,” cause I just had so much energy I couldn’t control it. I’m just starting to control this craziness now. It just got out of hand. At first it got so channeled and I was so precise. Everything got channeled into my board, all the gauges, like pa-pa-pa; every try, every try, every try every try, every try. Then I just started meeting girls and started seeing some money, and then I just started just to...

MM: Go off track?
LT: Went on a detour that was. Oh my goodness, I can’t even think.

MM: It seems like you’re still on it. From the outside I would have never really seen that.
LT: Yeah, exactly. Everybody, they always see you over there, like you’re shining.

MM: Right, ‘cause we know ... This is what’s fun about us sitting down right now, is we know each other through passing, and I’ve seen you a bunch of skate demos or art shows. We never really got to catch up that much or get to know each other that much. But, that’s awesome. So was Torro your first board sponsor?
LT: No.

MM: Was there anything ... before Torro? Let’s go back...
LT: Before Torro, oh man.

MM: Let’s go back to there.
LT: Okay, before Torro.

MM: Early Queens days.
LT: Rodney met me that day that I was doing that crazy lip slide. Then he was like, “Yo, let’s meet up.” Then I was like, “Okay.” So then we started meeting up and he hurt his knee, I think from some Osiris tour or something. He used to get in the Osiris. You could see some of the footage ...

MM: Oh my God, fat, chunky shoes.
LT: With those chubby marshmallow shoes. You know those.

MM: Yeah, yeah.
LT: I was like, just following his lead and he was like, “Yo, let’s film this.” I’m like, “All right, whatever. Let’s film this. All right, whatever.” At that time I was like a stuntman, for real. It’s like, “Yeah, let’s go, whatever.”

MM: Just doing whatever, things like ...
LT: Doing whatever.

MM: Go down that double-set?
LT: It ended up being a footy tape at the end of the day.

MM: Awesome!
LT: I’m like, “What the heck?” He’s like, “Yo, look.” I was like ...Yeah, like a whole bunch of footage, and then I had some footy tape ...To show a resume to sponsors. He started showing it to ... He showed it to Supreme and Spitfire right there, boom, they hooked me up.

MM: Whoa!
LT: Rodney Torres, he walked me straight through the whole thing, straight into skateboarding like, “Oh man, okay.” Met Alex Corporan, at Supreme, and started skating-

MM: Big shout out to Alex Corporan!

LT: Yeah, a big shout out to Alex Corporan. He hooked me up with Etnies!

MM: Yeah, Etnies days, okay.
LT: He looked out for that. It was cause of Alex. He looked out. Oh, and then 5Boro, oh my gosh. Steve Rodriguez!

MM: Yeah! Steve Rodriguez!
LT: Shout out to Steve Rodriguez. He helped me realize that you gotta push 90 down the street, you have to. You gotta just push 90. He was always like, “Yo dude, get out the van. We’re gonna skate the rest.” I’m like, “Are you serious?” He’s like, “Yep.” We were like on 50th. At the time I’m like, “This is crazy. Come on man. We’re gonna go downtown?” He’s like, “Yeah dude, we’re gonna make it before them dude,” and I’m like ... And we did. I was like, “What the heck?” And he’d just be like ...

MM: Weaving between cars?
LT: Charging, charging, charging. I’d be like, “Ah!” Pushing like-

MM: Cramping legs and all that.
LT: Just following the lead.

MM: Yeah. So hey, those are great mentors to have. So did you get on 5Boro? That was your first boards, essentially?
LT: Yeah.

MM: You also rode for SHUT for a little bit, right?
LT: That was later, yeah.

MM: That’s down the line, okay.
LT: Yeah.

MM: you were chilling with Steve Rodriguez, Rodney Torres. What else was happening in those days before the SHUT days?
LT: I was riding for 5Boro.

MM: Any local skate shop ...there was no Belief NYC then…
LT: No, Supreme was the skate shop for me.

MM: Right. So you got clothes and stuff from them?
LT: Yeah. Well, like one shirt and some wheels. ‘Cause the freaking money was like crazy.

MM: I was gonna say.
LT: I capped out if I freaking took out a hoodie or something. I’d be done. Be like, “Yo, can I get one of these jackets? It’s freaking raining.”

MM: Probably like a $500 jacket?
LT: “This is waterproof, can I get one of these?”
“One of those is like $500, are you crazy?”
Whatever. Then I started riding for 5Boro and they started taking me on tour and everything like that. That’s how I started learning transition and stuff. They were just skating demos all day. It was like, “Damn.” It was just demos, like 10 demos a day. It was like, “All right, now we’re going to this spot dude.” I’m like, “What?” “Need to go on this spot.” Like, “Oh gosh.” From there I started skating for
Official, Official Skateboards where Dan Howe, Brian Chin were the ones doing it.

MM: Yeah? So Official went under at some point I’m assuming?
LT: Yeah. Then it was just like real interesting times during that whole phase. It was like ... Then I started ... Then I got hit up to ride for SHUT, and then
I was like ...

MM: Was that Michael Cohen, or was that before Michael Cohen?
LT: No, Michael Cohen ... Yeah I didn’t see Michael Cohen around at that time.

MM: Right. So that would have been ... Eli wasn’t a part ... Or Rodney…
LT: It was Rodney Smith.

MM: Rodney, okay!
LT: Rodney Smith. I went under Rodney Smith’s wing right there.

MM: There we go!
LT: Ronnie Smith, he was like, “Yo, you need a cellphone. You gotta do something.”

MM: Yeah. We need to be able to contact you.
LT: “How are we gonna get in contact? How are you gonna be called a professional person?”

MM: So that’s another amazing person to have ... Rodney Smith.
LT: Yo, and just back to back to back.

MM: SHUT and Zoo York are legendary right there!
LT: Then I started riding for SHUT and that’s how I met Felix Arguelles. I met him out there and he had that huge Hummer at that time, with like 28-inch rims. I was like, “What the heck is going on?” He was like, “Yeah, let’s go.” I’m like, “All right.”
I went up in the parking lot and I’m like, “That can’t be his car.” It was his car. Get in there, I barely got in and we went to his house. He had a pool on his roof. I was like, “All right, this is skateboarding? This is what skateboarding does?” He was like, “Yeah, just gotta pay attention and listen.”

MM: He was on SHUT with you?
LT: Yeah, he was on SHUT with me.

MM: Okay. That’s how he was getting it ... But that wasn’t even SHUT’s prime?
LT: Yeah, he was making tons. He’s just a hustler, man. He works so hard. Every day he woke up
at the same time. Every day did the same routine.

MM: Routine. Yeah.
LT: Ironed his shirt, sent out a million emails, designing something, editing something, calling up some people for future projects. Always moving forward, always. I was like, “Damn! I’m never gonna be able to do this. I don’t know how he’s doing this, but okay.” Yeah, he had a really nice life over there set up.

MM: Yeah. So what’s going on with SHUT now ... SHUT doesn’t have a shop anymore... like an actual storefront.
LT: No, they don’t have a storefront.

MM: I saw they just recently did a pop-up, so I know they’re obviously still around. It’s so wild to me, cause I always saw SHUT as such a staple in New York Skateboarding, so it’s wild that they’re not around... physically. If you can say anything, is there hopes that they’ll get a storefront again?
LT: Yeah, of course. SHUT is the legendary ... It’s the first skateboard company out of New York.

MM: Yep. First East Coast skateboard even.
LT: First East ... Oh my goodness. It’s like there’s so many legends that came out of that fricking ... Oh my goodness.

MM: Jefferson Pang. There’s tons to name, but ...
LT: Sean Sheffey.

MM: Sheffey!
LT: Oh man, and Harold Hunter was on that.

MM: Yeah, all the early ... And that kind of crossed over with the Zoo York people too. So there was like ... Right? ‘Cause Zoo York came a little after, right?
LT: SHUT was 1986 and then Zoo York was ‘94 I think, in the ‘90s around there. They transitioned to that when it got real urban and more to that time or era, like Robbie Gangemi. That was like ... When I saw his skate park, I was like, “Yo, I need to grind up everything.” That’s what inspired me to grind up everything. I was like, “Damn, that’s it.” When I saw him grind up that handicap rail at the end of his Zoo York Mixtape part, I was like, “Wow.” Then Vinny Ponte

MM: Mixtape! Oh wow, classic.
LT: I was like, “This guy, look how ... “ He’s shorter than me.

MM: Yeah, he had a cool style ... I love Vinny Ponte’s style.
LT: He just like, pow! I was like, “Oh, it’s possible.” You know what I mean, like “Damn.” Started seeing stuff like that. It’s amazing, man. Danny Supa’s style.

MM: Danny Supa too!
LT: I still see him around. He’s like-

MM: Also, RB filming too.
LT: RB, yeah. Eli.

MM: Tons of names through those companies. So through SHUT... when was there a point between ... Was it within, like when you were at SHUT that you had the opportunity to maybe go to Torro? When did even Rodney start Torro?
LT: He started in 2012.

MM: Okay, so pretty recently actually.
LT: Yeah.

MM: I thought it was a little earlier, but yeah.
LT: Yeah, I think it was around 2012, I think.

MM: Were you the first ... Who was on the team even when Rodney approached you? Was there a team yet?
LT: Yeah. It was Leo Heinert, Dennis Mirong… Who else is on the team? Oh, right now he has Brandon Johnson.

MM: Oh Brandon, okay. He’s AM on it, or is he Pro?
LT: Yeah, that guy.. Nicka was real ... Nicka Kopalicia

MM: Brandon’s insane too!
LT: I’m sorry, it’s a strong name.

MM: Hey, if you can’t say I don’t think I’d try to say it haha.
LT: Nicka K. Yeah, that guy is ... Oh, he’s deep man. I appreciate that kid.

MM: Who else was in that board series ... There was a series of you right?… You have the board right here, right?
LT: Oh yeah, this is hilarious. Look at Rodney.

MM: Oh it’s Rodney’s, okay.
LT: It was Rodney’s face.

MM: All right. I thought you were riding your own model, but that’s even better.

LT: Yeah, no, no. I feel like ... I’m gonna be on the train and people are gonna see my face and they’re gonna be all, “Oh that’s his name?”

MM: Yeah, haha. I feel that.
LT: Oh man, I don’t know.

MM: So it was a three-deck series of Rodney, you and Leo, right?
LT: Yeah, Leo.

MM: Leo’s on it too.
LT: Yeah, Leo Heinert.

MM: Okay. Right, right, right. I actually never remember his last name.
LT: Yeah, Leo Heinert.

MM: I love Leo Heinert.
LT: Represent.

MM: Yeah man. I’ve partied with that guy a lot.
LT: That guy is amazing. He got fire. Oh my, he’s a fire ball. He’s like ... All the time, man.

MM: That’s amazing, honestly. Who was the artist that did that ... those decks.
LT: I don’t remember his name.

MM: All right. Well Shot out to Torro though!
LT: I have it on my Instagram, and I really appreciate what you did.

MM: That’s awesome, yeah. I always saw Torro as a very NY company ... There aren’t many left... There’s 5Boro, there’s SHUT and then it’s like ... think about all those New York legendary companies that you’ve been a part of. I look at Torro right now and it’s like ... I just think Queens right away. There’s not many companies left even in most areas that represent a city.
LT: Yeah. Seriously Rodney Torres is really a legend, and a great example, a great person to be around. He’s so positive and he’s really always trying to produce and ... I don’t know, just his skateboarding.

MM: Just push everyone on there.
LT: It’s so technical. It’s like-

MM: And he’s still skating ... pushing himself!
LT: Yeah, he still skates ... He did this front heel over this gap. I was like, “What the heck?” But did it perfectly.

MM: That’s who you want running companies these days, ‘cause there’s a lot of brands popping up all the time and it’s not always people that really made a big impact, even as a pro, or whatever, through their careers. I know you at one point you were with Red Bull. What other sponsors throughout the years or ... even if we want to talk about them or gone through ... Maybe they’re not like what you’re doing now but ...
LT: All right. Well yeah, I rode for a few different ... I’m riding for Thunder right now, Thunder Trucks.

MM: Okay. I’ve always rode Thunder, so that’s awesome. That’s a great sponsor!
LT: They’re great.

MM: Either Indies or Thunder, that’s what I’ve always said.
LT: I got hooked up by Reda.

MM: Okay. That’s a huge connect right there.
LT: Reda man, that guy’s hilarious man. Thank you Reda. I really appreciate you, Giovanni, going all out. He always kept it real with me. He always kept it 100.

MM: As he should, as he does.
LT: Bones Bearings. Vern hooks up that up. Thank you. Shout out to Vern from Bones. I really appreciate it. I was riding for SpitFire, but now I ride for Savage wheels.

MM: Okay. That’s a new wheel company, rad.
LT: Rob Campbell. Shout out to Rob Campbell. That’s a strong name. It’s been around for a little bit. I don’t know exactly when it started but it’s been around for a bit.

MM: Cool!
LT: Yeah, Rob Campbell was one of those guys I rode with through the streets all over the place. That guy’s another one who has energy that’s like ... I was like ... So us together was like ... All the time. We’ll be on the train just making all types of ruckus.

MM: Ruckus! Ha
LT: Just having fun.

MM: Shenanigans.
LT: You know, having fun.

MM: For sure.
LT: What else? Oh, Lakai . Thank you Lakai.

MM: Yeah?
LT: Yeah.

MM: Getting flowed shoes?
LT: Yeah, getting flowed shoes from Lakai!

MM: Amazing man. You think there’s opportunity ... So do they put you under an AM or Pro category or is it just flow for now?
LT: No, I’m flow. I’m flowing, as I should be, as I should be. I need to get that video part.

MM: Hey, you’re out there.
LT: No, I really appreciate it though. I get shoes ... I’m wearing shoes right now that ... I feel nice and warm and I don’t got holes at the bottom of my soles, like I used to. No rain water sneaking in there.

MM: That’s huge ‘cause Lakai also just recently split off from Chocolate & Girl. So that’s huge to be apart of Lakai right now, because they’ve basically gone on to be their own company on its own. To be a part of that right now, they also just straight up got Toni Hawk on team too.
LT: I saw that, and I saw that!

MM: That team is crazy ... Riley Hawk’s also on that which is also amazing.
LT: Got the whole fam?

MM: Yeah, the whole fam’s on there. Now the Lakai team is crazy.
LT: Yeah, I’m grateful man.

MM: Yeah. Well hey, you got the whole setup. You got everything.
LT: Yeah, I really appreciate that. But I used to ride for Red Bull…

MM: How many years did you do that? How was that, riding for Red Bull?
LT: That was so huge.

MM: Red Bull / Monster money. I feel like that’s the industry right now, outside of the shoes.
LT: Oh, and Louis, Louis, Louis, what were you thinking? You had some money. You could have put it away.

MM: I see, you’re saying you screwed it up?
LT: Oh Mr. Louis, let me just take a detour…

MM: Or did you not like the Red Bull? Maybe you didn’t even like the weight of that life ... How was it ... ‘Cause I saw you on RIDE Channel.. and that time I think you were still with Red Bull, right?
LT: Yeah.

MM: Yeah. You also skated in that contest with them, right?
LT: I’m not gonna lie … Yeah. But I can’t say anything. I just gotta ... I appreciate everything that was done for me. It’s not the best thing to drink. I don’t want to disrespect anyone or anything like that. I appreciate everything that they did for me. But then when I started learning about the planet and everything like that and all these things. But at the same time it’s like you can use ... If you do your part, you can work together with a company to help people ...

MM: For sure.
LT: If you do your job, but at that time I wasn’t doing my job. I wasn’t being a productive, innovative skateboarder that I’m supposed to be. I’m supposed to be pushing something new and fresh out there by using my creativity and my love. I’m supposed to be fully submerged more than ... but I wasn’t-

MM: It sounds like you’re on the right path now ...
LT: I am.

MM: Retrospective to looking back at that.

LT: Yeah man, I am now.

MM: But I agree, I have never really drank energy drinks or soda. I drink a lot of coffee…
LT: Yeah. Right now I’m more about the health and the soul of a person.

MM: You should get Kombucha sponsor! ha
LT: Yeah, some positive, something that brings nutrients and life. I don’t want to be part of the thing that takes away.

MM: Right. So, getting to contests… Tampa Am.
LT: I won the Hai Holi contest.

MM: So you were never in any of the Red Bull contests?

LT: No, I never really did any of those things. I was mostly just doing Hai Holi stuff.

MM: Not a lot of contests demo skating?
LT: Yeah.

MM: Okay.
LT: Demos and Hai Holis and street skating.

MM: Demos at LES, right? Were you ever a part of those?
LT: No.

MM: Damn Am? I guess those weren’t started really around then.
LT: Yeah, they started later.

MM: Yeah, yeah.
LT: I was like, “Damn, why can’t I just be in the Damn Am right now. I want to be Am. I shouldn’t be Pro…

MM: So you don’t want to be Pro right now?
LT: Kind of … cause then I feel like I’m over here.

MM: You know what, I definitely think you’re Pro worthy! You rip!
LT: Nah, it’s all right. It’s okay. It’s good. I gotta start learning how to be behind the scenes.

MM: Yeah.
LT: I still want to skate though. I still want to push it. But I got a lot of responsibilities right now. I have money that I owe, taxes, because I wasn’t being a responsible person being Mr., “Oh, I’m Pro getting money,” and I just keep using all the money instead of saving it.

MM: Not pay taxes?
LT: And pay the taxes and save a percentage, “No, no, I’m gonna take the whole thing because I’m not getting paid enough. So I’m gonna just use this ... I’m gonna get a freaking ... whatever, truck or old school car. Put a transmission in there. Let me just keep on buying more stuff. Oh, I blow up the engine now, blow it up again. It’s all right, just keep paying it. Forget about the taxes.” Tax time comes, here we are.

MM: Well it sounds like you have a head on your shoulders to at least know that now, ‘cause now you also have some big things coming up and I think you can change it around. Aren’t you ... apart of Tokyo 2020 Olympics?!
LT: I’m apart of Tokyo 2020.

MM: Are you going to represent Dominican Republic? Do they have a skate team? Or are you gonna ride for the US?
LT: No, I’m on the Dominican team, that’s it!

MM: Cool, awesome. That’s good to hear!
LT: I’m not going nowhere.

MM: So they’re gonna have a team?
LT: Yeah, they have it already.

MM: That’s sick.
LT: They already got the team.

MM: Who’s on the team?
LT: They got Daniel…

MM: A lot of Dominicans in New York too. That’s what’s interesting. Hey, Alex Corporan’s Dominican.
LT: Yeah?

MM: Yup!
LT: This is weird though, all of these little segregation things, “He’s Dominican, bam-bam-bam.”

MM: True, true.
LT: But at the same time it’s whatever. If you want to have fun and make it interesting.

MM: Hey, it’s the Olympics. You got to represent a country.
LT: So, you gotta make it interesting.

MM: That’s cool to hear you get to actually represent your home turf!
LT: Yeah, that’s cool. I gotta get a job right now.

MM: What’s preparing for that… Does the Olympics have training or is there even like … up to you basically? ‘Cause that’s what’s so interesting about skateboarding coming up in the Olympics, is there training for it? ‘Cause other sports have full-blown .. coaches making them do stuff every day.
LT: Skateboarding?

MM: See? Right, right. It’s subjective kind of activity… I wouldn’t really even call it a sport, but it’s gonna have to be categorized into that, ‘cause it has to be judged objectively.
LT: Skateboarding is a weird thing because it’s like you got a paint brush and you’re gonna be by yourself painting or whatever. You’re not gonna want somebody, “You gotta do it like this and like that.”

MM: Exactly!
LT: You could get pointers of like, “You know Bob Ross”

MM: Right. Haha!
LT: But at the same time you can’t ... You don’t want Bob Ross there all the time. You want to express yourself and you gotta go deep inside. Nobody can teach you to go deep in there and be like, “Boom!” Like to do that, that you want to do. You can’t push that out of somebody. They gotta find that. It’s deep. You build your style, not by watching someone else’s style. You build your style by being comfortable with yourself, getting deep and deeper and deeper and deeper. Then you become one or whatever with your craft, but it can’t be taught.

MM: Yeah, exactly. Style is manifested within someone’s own comfort.
LT: It’s deep.

MM: Yeah. Are you gonna go out to Tokyo at any point in this waiting period?
LT: Just to look at the Tokyo land?

MM: Before it? Yep. Before flying out there…
LT: I would love to. I’m not gonna lie, I went to karate school for no reason, just so I could get more in touch with the Japanese culture.

MM: Definitely!
LT: ‘Cause I was like, “Man, this is gonna be ... This is deep. I want to really absorb something,” ‘cause I’ve never been to Tokyo. So I started doing that and they had me counting in Japanese. Oh my goodness, they killed me man. That was crazy.

MM: Start doing Jiu Jitsu too!
LT: I guess. I don’t know, I went just for a little bit man. It was a rough time. So that was a good thing to do, ‘cause I was like, “I can’t skate right now.” I don’t know, I felt like my blow was like oil. I was like ... It was so crazy that time. Thank God I got some spark back.

MM: Yeah, something positive to put your energy into, right?
LT: Yeah. It’s like starting to walk again. It was like a couldn’t even walk so how could I skate? You know what I mean?

MM: Did you get injured or was this more of like a ... You’re saying this if more of a mental thing, but a physical thing?
LT: Yeah, it was like, “I’m gonna just think of this whole thing one time and try to do it myself,” and all of this. Then it was just like ... I was like a little submarine made out of pressure, like ... “Let me put more on myself, I got it today.” Then when you get stronger you’re like, “I got it now,” but really you just got a little bit stronger. You didn’t get that strong. You gotta be patient and keep going, ‘cause you forgot how it really feels to be normal, so you can skate and you can do these things. But you think just because you get a little stronger in little increment that one day that you can go and be Mister ... freaking save whatever the heck you’re trying to do, or whatever, and then you find yourself going back down again like, “I’m drowning again. What is going on? Why am I deeper in this abyss? It’s dark down here.”

MM: You should start doing maybe yoga too or something. Maybe you oughta.
LT: No, not yoga.

MM: No? No you can’t do that?
LT: I was just gonna start working on something just ... I don’t know, I saw some goats, people doing yoga with goats and I freaked out. I was like, I don’t know what’s good with that.”

MM: There’s also like metal yoga. There’s everything out there for everyone.
LT: I got freaked out by the goats. They’re good for climbing hills, but I’m good.

MM: It’s hilarious, yeah.
LT: I’m happy I could laugh now. I’ll tell you that.

MM: Yeah, that’s good.
LT: If you would’ve had an interview before that would have been the most dreadful interview ever.

MM: It would have been pressing.
LT: Yeah, it would have been dreadful. Dread.

MM: It seems like there’s positive things to come from here. You’ve got things to look forward to.
LT: Oh yeah. Oh my goodness. You have to. You can’t ... If you don’t have things to look forward to then how are you gonna move forward. You’re just gonna be floating. You can’t just float nowadays. You gotta move forward doing something, and then that will lead you to the next. You can’t just float. I remember floating. I don’t like that. I thought I was cool. It was look no fear, Jedi style. There’s no timezone, you’re just in freaking space time. No such thing as time. “When are you gonna sleep?” I’ll sleep whenever. Because, the only reason why there is time existing is ‘cause we’re in the solar system and the sun is positioned in the place and the planets positioned there. So then, what the heck? It doesn’t matter ‘cause we might be in space tripping. Space cadet, I’m done with that.

MM: I dig it.
LT: I’m here right now though, so I gotta be with what I have here.

MM: Yeah. So what other projects do you have on that note? What other projects are you looking for? Are you filming any new parts any time soon, or working towards any new projects?
LT: Yeah, Rodney Torres man, always something going on. It’s like “Hey man, so what’s up?” I’m like, “Yo, let’s do something, whatever. Let’s go skate or let’s go film. Try to grab a trick with Dema.” That’s our filming homie. Or if not we go film with the phone or Rodney with the GoPro, whatever to keep it going, at least. Then just messing around learning about car stuff or whatever, just something to work with my hands or just keep myself moving.

MM: Yeah. So do you work a lot with cars then?
LT: I like to. I mess around with my mom’s car and I try to learn little things. I was going to school, but I think I’m gonna get out of there right now, ‘cause it’s like I’m paying money and I’m not ... I don’t know, I can’t do everything.

MM: You mean to like mechanics school?
LT: Yeah.

MM: Okay. So you saw that as a path to maybe start working on cars, doing stuff like that?
LT: Yeah, ‘cause it’s all intricate.

MM: That’s fun.
LT: I was like, “What can take the place of skating
or something just in case?” In the future. I’m like ...

MM: For sure.
LT: Trying to make some money. But you never know, maybe something might turn out. But you always gotta have some sort of knowledge of working with your hands, because ... It could be a carpenter. It could be, whatever, something that people need, something that people need to live.

MM: Exactly.
LT: People don’t really need skateboarding to live.

MM: Yeah, it’s entertainment.
LT: It’s entertainment and it’s fun and it’s a great thing to do, but you gotta be honest with yourself and you gotta feel secure. You gotta have a strong foundation and keep your spirit alive. I’ve been looking for God. I saw this movie and in the move said that. He was talking to little kids, Jesus’s father, Joseph, he was like, “If you use your hands you’re a free man. Do you know how to use your hands, your a free man.” That stuck in my head. I was like ...

MM: Craftsmen. So have you always been religious throughout your whole life or is it more like a more recent finding? If that’s not too personal.
LT: No, that’s okay. I don’t mind. Yeah, I’ve always been ... My mom is so deep and we’ve always been going to church and everything like that. Just when I went into that abyss, the abyss plane, I was like, “All right, this is too dark down here. How do I get out of here?” Then I just be crying and stuff, trying to figure it out like, “What the heck do I do?” I feel like a pile of bricks every day. I don’t want to move. I just started moving that way and I felt like I was just ... I wasn’t worth anything. I was just thinking about my past and everything I’ve done. That was the only what that I saw of movement, like actual propulsion actually helped me move forward, that was the only thing at that time. It was so crazy.

MM: Yeah. It helped you get out of it, right?
LT: Yeah. I remember reading the Bible and feeling such the spiritual thing, details like sounds and ... I don’t know, it was like, “What the heck, why is that noise happening, like these weird sparks?”

MM: Well it seems like there are a lot of skateboarders that either ... throughout their career is like ... have been ... ‘cause there’s like Christian Hosoi and Steve Caballero. I find it very interesting how in certain people’s life they have to ... or maybe they feel like that’s how they can get out, finding that.
LT: It’s because you go on such a dark path and then you see how, Jesus as an example, what he did and then it’s like, “How the heck did somebody just
sacrifice them self that hard so that people could realize that they have way more to offer than what they think they are and that there is a second chance?” If it wasn’t for that then it’s like, “Damn, I’m done. There’s no reason for me to keep going, but now I see reason.”

MM: Yeah. That’s great, man.
LT: Yeah.

MM: Going on a good path I think.
LT: I’m so hyped man. I’m happy.

MM: That’s awesome.
LT: My mom is more calm now.. She’s like, “I’m gonna go to sleep.” She’s like, “I’m tired.”

MM: What do people think ... When you tell people, like maybe at church that you’re a skateboarder, that’s your career, what do people say about that?
LT: They’re just like, “Oh ... “ “All right, anyways, so where do you work at?” That’s it. Then I’ll be showing up at that time with a car or something. They’ll be like, “How did you get that car? I don’t get it.” “I skate. I get paid.” They’re like, “For what? What do you do?” It’s like, “I skate but I come out in magazines and you get paid if you represent their logo. You get paid to do video appearances. You get paid ... “ Then I start breaking it down, they’re like ...

MM: You already lost them by that point…
LT: “What?”

MM: Yeah.
LT: “You need to get a job bro.” I’m like, “All right, I guess.”

MM: Hey, it is a job though man. You’re working hard. Like you said putting out video parts.
LT: It is a job. It is, it is. When you do your job it is a job. Do you treat it like a 9:00 to 5:00? If not ... I think the fun night’s about, you don’t then you don’t have it.

MM: Yeah. That’s awesome man. It sounds like there’s lots of things coming up. Excited to see what happens next at Torro, if you guys put out a video in the next year or so. Hey, maybe I’ll see you out in Tokyo!
LT: Thank you for this man!

MM: Yeah, man, my pleasure!
LT: Awesome man. Thanks man.

MM: It’s been real!

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