J. Greenwood pinned down Sergie and got the lowdown on the high flying life…
How is the end of 2007 treating you?
The last couple of months have been super busy, I’ve been home maybe 4 weeks since the end of May. It really started in March with the Protec Pool Party, every bowl contest on this year’s schedule, to the Hawk tour, and finally the international X Games events. It’s been a busy year and the ride has been amazing. Going to places I’ve never been, places I’ve never skated and always dreamed of skating, traveling with the same group of guys all year, good friends, and meeting so many cool peeps along the way! I know next year will only get better.
Would you say it was a good year for you?
Oh Yeah, it’s been a really good year for me, I’ve stayed healthy and skated my butt off all year round. Making the finals in every contest. I was representing my sponsors in more ways than one. Now I know what I gots to do next year.
What was your best skateboarding thing this year?
Gosh, there’s so many trips that meant so much this year. The whole bowl series for 07, Tony Hawk summer Tour, Soul Bowl, skating all the bowls in Oregon, the amazing trip to Orcas Island WA., and the Trifecta with Daniel Cardone, Jimmy tha Greek, Omar Hassan, Tyler Mumma, Brian Patch and Rune Glifberg! In the last couple of months, I’ve been invited to some vert contest, and it’s been like 8 years since the last X Games event or invite, mainly the international X Games. There were 3 events, Mexico, Shanghai, and Dubai, all within the last three months. They were invite only and I was honored to be one of the invited at each. I am pleased to say that I made the finals in all three spots. So for me, it’s been super busy and super fun! Going to places that I’ve been to, but not in like 12 years. Seeing places that I’ve never been before and reconnecting with old/new friends along the way. Skating everything and having nothing but fun riding my board!
Your just finishing up with the X Games Dubai, you gotta tell us your impressions of Dubai and what some of the highlights were on this trip?
Well, I have never been to this part of the world before, and because of everything that’s been going on the in the world since 9/11, I was intrigued to see what it was going to be like! I have heard many stories from other skaters that have been doing demos there in the previous years, and each were somewhat the same but different in many angles and views.
My buddy, Simon Tabron just bought a place there a couple months ago and when I stayed with him in Mexico during the X Games, he told me HIS version of the place. You see, we did the Hawk tour together a couple years back so we’ve had a great friendship since then. It was his first time on the tour and I was sort of showing him the ropes! He told me, I should definitely come and he would take care of everything and show me the place. I did and it was exactly like he said.
The main thing that I noticed, besides their religious beliefs, style of clothes, and language, was their way of life and how they interacted with each other, it’s nothing but respectful. There are some things you are not allowed to do and the level of respect for their government and their people was amazing. Just follow there rules and it’s all good. No hollering at women, no drinking on certain days, they Friday was like our Saturday, and Sunday was like Monday, they went back to work on Sunday.
Now, I thought it was going to be like crazy there, but it was one of the richest countries I’ve seen, it was kind of weird, just coming from China and noticing their immaculate growth, Dubai was the same, but it was Top Dollar. The architecture there was phenomenal! Since that’s what I wanted to be after High School, I was in AWE, like a little kid looking up at all the buildings, a true tourist if you will! The food was amazing and get this, crime is next to nothing! The president is cool and takes so much pride in his country and people! He’s really trying to change the image that most have about Dubai.
It’s an amazing place, Check out the little islands that they built just off the coast, it’s called the World and the Palms! Just watch the video on the internet and you’ll get a feel!
How does the feeling skateboarding now compare to the feeling skateboarding in the 90’s?
Good Question, in the early 90’s, I was mainly a vert skater, I remember back then Christian, Grosso, and Lance would try to get me to go skate some backyard pools with them in Australia, I was having an allergy attack and I was getting frustrated trying to learn how to carve round-wall. I ended up giving up, couldn’t get it.
It wasn’t til about 5 years ago that I just got into round-wall and concrete. Omar & Brian Patch would take me skating backyard pools and other bowls and it was then that I fell in love with round-wall! You see, for me, since I was just introduced to it, it was like a new world that I have yet to discover! And ever since, again, I was like a little kid again. It was exciting because it was new to me, I was feeling stagnant on vert, wasn’t really learning anything new, same ole thing, back and forth. Where bowl riding was always different, different lines, different ways of getting there. It was like a blank canvas and your the artist, but the difference was that you could do it however way you wanted! It really reminded me of carving while surfing, and since I grew up surfing, I really felt like it brought me back to my youth, even though I feel like I’ve never grown up.
Just in the last two years I just started skating contests, the bowl series, and it’s such a different format than the Vert, it made skating contest fun as hell! I mean, you can’t drop into a vert contest and someone drop in on you, and when your in the air, that other person is carve grinding under you, and we pull it off like it was meant to be! I was referring to Jimmy tha Greek and I in AZ last year, I loved that! The fact that we can do that in those circumstances & on the drop of a dime! My first contest back on the contest scene was Protec two years ago, I missed the cut by 1. Since then, I’ve made the finals in every event since!
Back then, in the 90, it was so competitive. Now, it’s more about the fun, especially for the bowl series! Skating with other great talented skaters in different bowls is the best! As of the last couple of contest on Vert, it’s been the same thing too! Same guys, but different mentality. It’s not about I’m going to beat this guy, it’s about, I hope my friend does the line that I know he wants to do and I hope he does, because now, my friends are thinking the same thing too, not, I hope this guys falls! We all have been doing this for a long time, the same 30 guys for the last 20 years and each have grown into their own style and evolved into different things, but most of all, we’ve grown to know that the only comp we’re in is within our own minds, we realize the fun we are suppose to be having riding our boards in the first place! We are all dealing with the same pressure, and I think that when everyone supports one another, it makes it fun with less pressure, therefore, skating with that smile and the enjoyment of being on our boards!
You believe in a lot of energy and flow in life, how does it incorporate into your skateboarding?
Yes, Definitely! I think the best way to describe this is when you watch someone’s line in a bowl contest, like at the Combi. Chris Miller’s lines is a perfect example! From a Judge’s point of view, many just do tricks along the way, not thinking about how the Miller tricks connect and how the flow into one another. Chris has really good lines with the right tricks right after one another that flow into his next wall. It’s more exciting to me to watch someone’s line that’s tailored like this because in most circumstances, most would just have fillers to get to certain walls for their banging tricks, Chris fills these walls with tricks that you would probably not have enough speed or flow to get through or to! Okay, indy air in the round to back lip slide to bs bluntslide in the tight corner of the round, to fs ollie on the wall to fs carve grind the same tight corner, back into the round with a fs lipslide all the way around to fs tailslide to his patented Lein! Ya feel me? That’s flow to me. Everyone has their own way and chose different tricks, that is what makes it so exciting to me. Like for me, when I get to a bowl, I study it, mentally figuring out lines in my head until I get in to try them physically. I love seeing how others decide and choose to do them. Lance, Grosso and Christian are some of my favorites to watch, I’m always taking notes! YOU SHOULD TOO! They are the Masters!
Do you meditate?
I only meditate when I’m practicing my Kung Fu! Contest don’t bother me anymore, the pressure, especially when you understand the fact that it’s all in your head! When you can take deep breaths, control your mind, think about what your going to do and your line, then you can control your body more accurately! Your mind controls your body.
When your relaxed and not thinking about anything else, except what your about to do and how your gonna do it, then and only then can you really control yourself. This is how I relate martial arts to skateboarding! It’s when you start thinking, oh, what if I don’t make that trick before I get to my bangers, that’s when doubt takes over! When you start to doubt yourself, it BECOMES an option in your mind, therefore, becoming an option in the outcome! Be confident, stay strong in your mind, know that you can and you have done it in hours before in practice. Remember to breath slowly and calmly during your run, block out everything, listen to yourself repeat your tricks right before you get to them, remember every little trick to making each trick! Just like in practice, forget about the crowd, the noise, the negative thoughts, think that you WILL make all your tricks, feed from the hoots and hollers from your friends, remind yourself that they have your back and they want to see you ride to your fullest abilities! And that’s what your really there to do anyways, RIGHT?
Have fun! I think that is what is forgotten these days in skateboarding, the reason why we ride our boards in the first place!
What inspires you?
Learning new tricks, things I’ve never done or experienced before, places I’ve seen in photos that I wish I could skate and then skating them! Being with good friends and skating a sick spot with everyone and everyone is pushing everyone! Just the amazing experiences.
Who’s / What’s the best:
Style – Christ, Miller, Grosso, Mountain, Kasai, Blender, Rune, Greek
Airs – Love ’em, Christ, Miller, Kasai
Footplants – Christ, Miller, Kasai, Blender
Inverts – Blender
Being Gnarly – C.Johnson, Greek, Rune, Hassan
Lip tricks – Hassan, Bucky, Bob B, PLG, Greek
Hair – Benji had a proper Mullet
Coast – Bi Coastal, East for the love and energy, West for the scene
Vert Ramp or Pool – Lately – BOTH, skated Culver City CA. before I went to Dubai
Skate Artist– So many, I grew up skating with Andy H.
Skate book – Haven’t seen any in a while, the last one I saw I was signing an autograph in. It might have been “Skate Legends”?
Skate Video – I have been traveling so much that I never get a chance to check em out, the last one I saw, I actually went to the premiere , the Birdhouse video
Brian Patch and Sergie Ventura checking out Culver City’s new bowl – proper doubles action
What places are your favorites to skate?
I Really like skating the China skatepark, I like Culver City because it’s new to me, Burger bowl, I like tons of Oregon bowls, Orcas Island is one of my favs! Red’s bowl is fun as hell. Pier Park in Oregon.
Do you ever think there are too many contests? Not enough?
I like there being tons of contest, I get to skate with many of the same sick guys. I like the energy that they bring and how they bring everyone together that’s in our industry! I skated in a Death race in AZ. last year with EVERYONE, all the masters and young guns, it was the best time and the most fun I’ve had in a contest. They should have more of those!
Slam City Jam Kickflip Indy over your head!
What do you like about competing and what do you not like about it? What could be better about contests?
I see contest differently I think, I’m not attached to the results as much as most, I’m just so happy to be there and to be in the mix of things. I like competing because it pushes me to be able to do any trick, anytime, anywhere in that moment. A form of mastery of oneself, in that time. A creative form of expression and art of flow and focus. What could be better about contest? I think they’re still trying to figure that one out. I don’t mind if there’s more, I don’t mind if there’s less. I do like traveling to them and I do like my time to relax.
What goes through your head before a competition vs a demo?
I really think about what I’m gonna do, I concentrate on the tricks I want to do, the line I want to make and I stay calm the whole time, but inside I push myself, reciting the trick in my head and exactly how to do them when I’m getting ready to go into that trick.
Do you do anything to psych yourself up before hand?
No, not really, I just tell myself that I’m gonna do what I came here to do! And I go OFF!
Did you think skateboarding would find a place today for so many old pros coming back?
I hoped it would because it’s such and honor to still skate with the guys we all grew up watching while we were growing up, they paved our way now! Respect to each and every one of them. I love skating with Hosoi, especially now that I can carve compared to back in the day. I call Lester [Kasai] up all the time. Pat Ngoho, I’ve been skating with him for years.
Being that I has spinal surgery this past year because of skating I sometimes think some of the older pros are wrecking themselves pretty bad. Do you think some of the guys are asking for trouble with their health?
We all our brotha! Each and everyone of us, but what is that telling you?
It’s in our Hearts, regardless! We love it! That’s why they’re still here!
Your always traveling or staying East Coast and West Coast, Do you have a home base of operations?
Basically, and especially this year, it’s where my suitcase lays! I’m planning on moving here after Bondi Bowl [Australia] contest in Feb.
Is there any place on the planet you could see yourself living permanently?
Somewhere where the sun is always shining and I have a choice to skate so many things, yes, Cali
What are some of the best places you have traveled to?
China, Dubai was super cool, Northern Sweden, All over Europe. Brazil is dope as well. I love going to places and learning about the culture and experiencing the real truth, not what we’ve learned from books in school, but from the locals, the true story and history of that place.
How long do you think pro skateboarders can make a living? Do you think they can make enough to get through life now?
I’ve been doing this for a while and YES, it is possible, and YES, if you play your cards right and get hooked up with a couple sponsors, stay on top of your game, YES, guys are doing it right now, and have been for years!
What is your take on Skateboarding Magazine Media’s treatment of skateboarding?
I think not all gets covered properly, there’s always favorites everywhere, what’s the hotness for the month. Just stay true to the game.
What is your take on the internet as far as skateboarding goes?
Man, it’s a way to stay connected everywhere! Places to skate, what it looks like, you know, great info!
What do you think some of the biggest revolutions in skateboarding have been?
For me, I think when Danny [Way] did the mega ramp.
Besides maybe Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, or Hosoi, Who do you think has left some of the largest influences on Skateboarding?
It’s hard to say because there’s different peeps for different disciplines. For me, it will always be those guys!
Is skateboarding heading in a good direction?
I like to think so! We don’t really have that bad boy, gonna wreck shop type of image. More and more each year your seeing skating in all different types of things, especially as a marketing tool for bigger corporate companies.
When is the last time you went street skating?
Wow, it’s been a while because I’m always skating bowls or ramps. A long minute!
What is the most stairs you’ve ever ollied down?
I’ve done maybe 5 or so, it’s been a while!
What are the first couple of things your going to do when you get back home from Dubai?
Relax, regroup, and relax some more! I’ve got to tidy up things with the wheel co. before the end of the year. Plan things out for the next couple of months and the whole year. It’s growing faster every month! Relax, get a couple 2hr massages. Go Christmas shopping! Get ready for the New Year!
What does 2008 got in store for you?
Well tons actually! I’m gonna spread myself thin again throughout the year, probably even more! Now that I want to do more vert comps along with both the Bowl series plus the tours and demos all year around, You’ll be seeing a lot of me hopefully! It will be busy but exciting and fun as it is always!