After my rededication to God it seemed like skating got easier and more enjoyable, and I’m not sure if I exactly know why. Maybe I started to feel like I was skating for the Lord now instead of myself, which took some of the pressure off and allowed me to just skate and have fun, and to progress without worrying so much about “making it” in skating. I guess I felt that whether or not I made it in skateboarding, God was going to be there to take care of me, and this took a lot of pressure off and made skating easier and more fun. Before I gave my life to Christ, I thought that if I didn’t go pro and make it in skateboarding than I was going to have a miserable life. Christ changed that apparently, and it’s an interesting paradox that ceasing to stress so much about going pro made me progress faster and enjoy it more. My new found love for Christ had purified my love for skateboarding, it became more of an unconditional love instead of a love based on the conditions of getting sponsors and going pro so I could be happy. Christ had blessed me with contentment and peace of mind, I didn’t need to go pro to be happy, it was like I had found the source of peace and happiness in Christ. And what better place to look for happiness than in the one that created happiness? Skateboarding or anything else we do can never carry the huge burden of supplying our peace of mind and a lasting happiness, only the creator can carry that burden and supply the remedy. And because that burden was no longer put on skateboarding (which can’t, and was never meant to carry that) and put on something that could carry it, skateboarding and life in general became more enjoyable.
A little bit after my rededication to God, my friend Edmund became Team Manager of Robedom Clothing, (a small clothing company that a guy in his church started) and I got my first clothing sponsor. My first package was seven shirts, and after that I periodically got a sweatshirt, a hat, more shirts, and a bunch of pants. My first pair of stretchy pants were Robedom pants and I’ve never been able to wear pants that didn’t stretch since then (if your not familiar with the skateboard industry, stretchy pants are big in skateboarding). We got our friends Josh and Will on the team as well and it started to feel like a legit sponsor. The brand was getting in shops, we were throwin out product at skateparks, we were getting product to give to our friends, we were getting ads in magazines, and we were filming a lot for a video. Everyone that had a part in the company was constantly putting in work, the owner and his partners were constantly working on graphics and talking to shops, and the skate team was constantly filming and getting photos. I thought for sure that this was it, I thought, “this company is about to blow up and I’m about to blow up with it, it won’t be long till I have a sponsor for everything and be a Pro skateboarder.” What was happening with Robedom, and how it seemed like skateboarding got easier after my rededication, I thought God had destined me for Pro skating. And then one day Edmund and the owner had a falling out and the team was over. Seemed like overnight, all my hopes with Robedom and going pro for them came crashing down. I still kept filming a lot, pursuing sponsors, and building my hopes for going pro, even to the point that I started to once again look to skateboarding for my source of peace and happiness. I started missing church and slacking on making sure my relationship with God was developing, because skating and filming was becoming my number one priority. Edmund and my homie Andy helped keep me from going to far in that direction, but I ended up having another wake up call after a youth conference and I felt like I needed to take a break from filming, get my priorities straight, and put a little more focus on school so I didn’t become a 25 year old dude, still working a dead-end job, convinced that I was destined for professional skateboarding. I ended up moving out of my hometown and I moved in with my mom in Porterville (a little town outside of Fresno) and started to feel like sponsors and professional skateboarding was a dying dream. I started getting what we would call “grown up dreams” instead, like first I wanted to be a firefighter, then a radiologist, then a pastor, and then a writer, and then I eventually came back a little bit to my roots and developed a dream to be a skateboard company owner.
It took me 3 or 4 years to realize that I couldn’t completely walk away from skateboarding as a career choice, so instead of trying to make it in radiology or ministry, I thought I would just start my own board company and use skateboarding as an humanitarian relief effort, combine my passion for skateboarding with ministry. I’ve seen a lot of joy come from skateboarding so I feel like it can be used to ease some of the plight in 2nd and 3rd world countries. God blessed me with skateboarding, so I want to bless the world with it too. I have dreams of starting skate camps and using my company to donate product to other skate camps that are used to minister and bless the community. And the team of Pros and Ams that I would have can come to the camp every so often and do demos and minister and hang out with the kids. The fact of the matter is that I love skateboarding, and if I can’t go pro then I’ll find another way to make a living from it. I tried pursuing careers that had nothing to do with skateboarding and every one of them seemed to come up short and unfulfilling. So I don’t think God ever intended to take skateboarding away from me, just to show me that I can love it in a different way and without all the spotlight of being Pro, and that I can use skateboarding as a means to serve and bless the world.
A few months ago a sponsorship by Embassador Skateboards fell into my lap, and now it seems that maybe that old dream of going pro might actually be a reality again. Being a part of the company, I’m also basically getting free schooling on how to run a board company. I get to travel and do demos now, the company just paid for me and a few other riders to go from LA to Seattle, visiting skate churches, putting on contests, and doing a lot of filming. All this traveling and being in the spotlight has made that dream of Pro skating arise a little bit again, but we’ll see if this ends up being a second shot at going pro, or if it’s just a means to fulfill my dreams of owning my own board company and using skateboarding as an humanitarian relief effort and a ministry throughout the world. Either way, I’m blessed and God is better than I could ever imagine. I’ve tried giving up on God, and I’ve tried giving up on skateboarding, my purpose is in both and it’s both that keeps me going in life. God of course means more to me, but skateboarding will always be a big part of me and a big part of why I’m on this earth. So the adventure continues and is far from over; and whether or not I become a skateboard company owner, or a Pro skater, or both, bottom line is that I love God and I love skateboarding, and I look forward to seeing how God uses the two for one purpose. Future’s looking bright, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.