How did you get into Distance Skateboarding?
I got into distance skateboarding from a cross country background, and to manage depression I’ve had for almost 10 years now. I used to run from 5th grade throughout high school, so I naturally developed that endurance. After competitive running I was eager to fill the void. When I got into skating everything transferred very smoothly; short skates became hour-long cruising ventures. Of course everything changed one I got into the racing scene because I was introduced to competition. Distance Skateboarding promotes endorphin release, it soothes my soul.
How many distance skate events have you completed?
I’ve completed at least 31 skate events since I started getting serious in 2012, so you could say I do a lot of traveling 😉
The races I’ve done vary widely. Most of them are short push races of anywhere from 3-10 miles. Other ones that are a lot more serious get way up there in length. My favorite has to be Chief Ladiga down in Georgia/Alabama; we skated a total of 188 miles over 3 days through some of the most gorgeous scenery and terrain this country has to offer. Normally I listen to music while I skate, but it was so beautiful down there, not once in the 188 miles did I turn on my music.
What was your first longboard?
My first longboard was a homemade board I bought from a good friend back in high school. It had a green bottom with a smiley face painted on it, Abec Gumballs, and no grip tape. It was the raddest thing ever until it broke.
What did you ride at Adrenalina Marathon?
At Adrenalina Marathon I rode the Bustin Maestro Pro top-mounted on Don’t Trip Poppys, followed by 75mm OJ Thunder Juice(weapon of choice) with Bones Swiss bearings.
Who do you train with?
Normally I train alone because I believe your biggest competition is yourself, but whenever we get the chance Alyssa Monteiro and I will meet up to skate Chicago or some of the smooth paths we have out here in Naperville.
What does your local community think about your distance skate habit?
When I skate through my town or downtown Chicago some people get annoyed or pissed that I’m in the streets, but on paths I’m always getting waves and smiles from bikers, joggers, and more. They’re athletic, and they see I’m in for it too. I’m not in jeans, sneakers, and without a helmet. Tights, running shoes, and a HELMET are a must! Style points for those features are a HUUUGE plus. People will see me bookin’ at 20-25mph and be amazed that I’m doing that on a skateboard, so I guess overall it’s pretty positive!
Who do you believe are the most competitive distance skaters of the field in 2015?
That’s a tough one.. Because distance varies soooo much for races like the 24hr Ultra-Skate versus Adrenalina, I guess for me it comes down to whoever shows up to most of these races and really throws down. Well-rounded competitors, you know? But if I had to put together a small list in no particular order, I’d definitely have to say definitely Alyssa Monteiro, Andrew Andras, Kaspar Heinrici, Kiefer Dixon, Kyle Yan, Harrison Tucker, JJ Cobb, the Frank brothers, Eric DANGER Palmer.
Who is your top competitor?
My top competitor would probably be Andrew Andras. He has the endurance for Chief Ladiga and Ultra-Skate. I’m great at shorter races, but when it comes down to the equivalent of a cross-country trek, he’s got me beat. That’s something I haven’t mastered quite yet..
What is your competitor’s strength and weakness?
My competitors’ strengths are that they all want it(to win), and to have fun while doing it! We all do! Lol. We all train very hard for these events, and even traveling across the country to show support for this sport is a huuuuge strength. I’m not sure if I know of any weakness in the community honestly, we’re all very tight in the push scene so it’s a struggle to even try to make something up that’s a weakness.
Do you prefer flat courses or do you enjoy elevation changes during a distance skate?
It depends… I like changes in elevation though, preferably uphill pushing. I like flat courses for short races because it really tests the athlete on what they can do alone. For longer races it’s nice to have changes in elevation to keep things interesting. Buttery paths are great, especially on circuits where you can really settle into your lines and make improvements every lap; if you can even sense the slightest changes in elevation for those kinds of races and use them to your advantage, you’re golden.
What is your push strategy?
My push strategy is to ‘want it.’ I always say to myself that I am my biggest competition, and that every race is training for the next one. So while in the middle of a race and even shortly after, I’m making mental notes for improvement the next time around. Everything is a learning process. Or are you asking literally my push strategy? I push goofy with pumping, no switching lol.
So, you don’t switch your pushing leg while you skate?
Nope, I’m a one leg kinda dude. I’ve been meaning to learn to push switch but I’m lazy and kinda scared honestly. I’ve heard of people pushing one leg for years then start switching, all of a sudden they become injured or something else happened because their body isn’t used to that kind of change for skateboarding.
Why did you choose to fly to San Diego to skate the Adrenalina marathon?
I chose to fly to San Diego to skate the Adrenalina marathon because I didn’t have enough time to skate there 😉 I see the Adrenalina Marathon as a huge event for the push scene, not to mention that race in 2014 was the first ‘professional’ push race for Alyssa and I, so naturally we had to go full circle and compete again. We hoped Andrew Andras could make it out again this year because he’s the first one we met at Adrenalina 2014 and he really brought us into the push scene. Perhaps next year!
What would you say to someone who is interested in marathon skating, but might be afraid to try?
II would probably have to say you never know until you try! My first marathon was very impromptu. It was a couple years ago when my longest skate was probably 10 miles and I had just gotten into longboarding (not LDP yet!). One evening I was bored and decided, “Why the hell not?” It was a long and painful experience, but it was THAT experience that helped lead me to where I am today. This applies to everything in life, where there’s a monumental task in order to progress. It may seem daunting, but there’s no other better way to find out what you’re capable of and where it can lead you other than just doing it.
What was your finishing time in the 26 mile marathon? What is your best time?
For this year my time was 1:37:03.9. 3:52 pace. My best marathon time ever is 1:35:45. 3:38 pace.
My favorite course for marathons has to be my home course, because I’m so used to it and it’s a very well-rounded route. I must have skated it at least 10-15 times already. I start from my house, skate through my downtown area, a college campus, neighborhoods, then off on a smooth bike trail along a river and through a forest preserve. My turnaround is then a 4 lap circuit around a lake. It’s beautiful, and like I said in the question about flat/elevated skates, if you skate a certain route enough, you learn where to take your lines, breaks, where to haul ass, and mostly where to improve for competition. I love this route because I’ve learned a lot about skating on it, and a lot about myself and what I’m capable of on and off a skateboard. It’s so scenic, incorporates flatland sprints as well as elevation changes, different environments, and is just an overall great course. Alyssa and I skated it last year together as part of our Adrenalina training and she fell in love with it as well. As for the exact route, it’ll be our little secret 😉
Topmount or drop through longboard?
TOPMOUNT 4 LYFE, 95% of the time lol. Dropthru when skating looooooong distances though.
What is your goal for 2016?
My goal for 2016 is to skate across the country, which only a small handful of people know right now.. so shhhhhh! I just hope my body can make it. I currently work in an auto shop so everything is very rough on my body. There’s a decent sized group willing to make the trek from West to East, so being with others that express the same love for the sport will make for an amazing journey. Smaller goals include reaching past 200 miles at Ultra-Skate, and trying again for the gold at Adrenalina 2016.
What is the future of distance skateboarding events? How could distance skate events improve?
I’m not entirely sure what the future is of distance skateboarding events.. As much as I see a lot of people hoping it will be in the Olympics(and I do as well!), I do not think it will happen.. at least in our prime of LDP. The Olympics features an array of distance racing with sports including running, swimming, biking, speed skating, etc., but when a skateboard comes into the picture I feel that most people believe skating is illegitimate, especially as a professional sport. That’s very sad, but it’s true. Nowadays I also feel that people want more action, and I’ve seen some posts here and there of skateboarding being in the Olympics. but only for downhill, slalom, freestyle. Slalom would be fine, but downhill need to be kept in more of an X-Games arena, freestyle is debatable. I’m not sure if they CAN improve. It would be nice to have more spectators, or have the ability to block off dozens of city blocks for an LDP race, but for now it’s cool as an outlaw sport. It would be great if we could get funding for that reason of more organized/sanctioned events, but I believe the sport is steadily growing so perhaps it will come soon!
Do you anticipate travelling internationally?
I do!! I was actually trying to get down to NZ this past September for the Ruapuna Ultra-Skate. Unfortunately funds weren’t there, as international traveling is usually pretty pricey if you don’t know someone :/ Hopefully I will get the chance at some point though!
How important is sportsmanship in distance skateboarding? Who is a great sport and who is a poor sport among the field of rider? Spill your guts!
Extremely. I cannot tell you how many times at these events where the competition is so fierce and we’re in such a mindset to dominate, yet the skate family atmosphere overpowers all of that. Sportsmanship goes a very long way, especially in this sport. I got a taste of this at Ultra-Skate 2015, but it really hit me at the 3 day Silver Comet/Chief Ladiga Skate Challenge. Everything was such an incredible bonding experience, but what makes it better is the fact that this is the same thing I went through in high school when I ran cross country; everyone was family. The teams that I’m on are amazing, and underneath all the board specs, who’s riding what setup with what trucks and wheels, who’s been training more, all of that and much more, we all came together for one purpose, to skate. Winning and doing well are great things, but at the end of the day that’s not what matters; and there’s a lot you can tell from a person who has bad sportsmanship.. Story-time! I took 2nd place during the 1mile at the Arlington Sk8 Festival because of a stupid mistake, and beat myself up a lot afterwards because of it. I was extremely pissed at myself for that preventable mistake, but I knew he couldn’t be mad at my friend who took 1st. He did what he had to do, what anyone else would’ve done in that situation. I admit I was sour at first, but soon pushed my frustration aside and congratulated him afterwards. When people ask me what I do and I respond that I race skateboards, they are amazed that such a thing exists. I’m one of the top pushers in the country and they don’t even know this area of skateboarding exists!! I think a lot about how small and almost insignificant skateboarding is compared to other sports, and I am very humbled by it. It’s a remarkable feeling to step back from all the chaos.. to see that as much as we live and breathe this skateboarding, at the same time it is nothing. That may be depressing and random, but I keep that in mind during every race. That parallels sportsmanship by realizing that this is just a sport, friendships are the focal point, doing great and winning is just a bonus. **Also, I just read Alyssa’s sportsmanship post about Colby and I in the PNW, check that out as an extension of this post 😉 Ehh.. I could spill the beans but.. no comment..
Thanks Joe! You are a great skater and we’re honored to have you on the Bustin crew. 2016 looks to be a BIG YEAR, stoked to see you reach potential following your rookie season!