J: So I have a bunch of questions written up – mostly they are ones a lot of my friends wanted to ask you – I just organized them and added so they would hopefully flow a little bit.

C: Alright.

J: So this is for Ventilator mag – have you heard of it? Maybe from Jennifer?

C: She told me something about it but no, nah I never heard of it.

J: It’s like an online punk zine – and a physical mag, sold in stores – out of San Francisco. And I ‘m gonna be posting the interview on my site too – and hopefully get it linked from DLXSF and maybe Think. Let’s start it up:

Is there anything in prison that you wanna skate? Things you see or anything?

C: Yeah. Everything that I see…

J: Everything smooth?

C: From the tables in our place – they’re all metal – they’re all stainless steel – bench tables I’d say about 8 or 10 feet long that are perfect metal. And then our bunk beds you know – you could flop that over and we could skate on those.

J: tight

C: But other than that, not much.

J: Mostly ledge stuff huh?

C: Yeah…

J: Where would you skate today if you could? Would you skate ramps, would you skate streets?

C: Well the basketball courts are pretty smooth for flatground stuff – they got a little grass area, pull-up bar, couple basketball courts.

J: I know you look at it, every skateboarder does – looks at stuff like that just on the bus or whatever.

C: Oh yeah.

J: Thinking, oh I could ollie that…

C: They got a little drainage ditch that we walk by every single day that’s only about a foot tall – you know -- it’s a bank only about a foot tall . . . . . one of those half-moon styles.

J: Parking block.

C: Yeeah … and then at the very end there’s a hip (laughing) and like a drain and then another bank so I was like uhh – from here to there, no problem.

J: Tight.

C: and then there’s another plastic bench out there that.

J: How has being a skateboarder affected your view on imprisonment? Just being a skateboarder, the act of constantly pushing yourself…

C: A lot of freedom.

J: Exactly.

C: You know, when you’re outside you don’t really think about how much freedom you have – when I was outside I didn’t realize how much freedom you have to actually do what you want and not um alone being a skateboarder doing your own thing – it’s not a team sport – you do it with your friends but you do it solo – when you’re outside – before skate parks were open again it was freedom to do like you said how in here you look at everything you can skate cuz that’s our life is to look at anything possible – every obstacle in your way you wanna create something to do on it.

Nowadays you have skateparks like we did when we started skateboarding and I think that’s awesome cuz now you can take your creativity to utilize it on stuff that’s made for skateboarding – stuff that flows – instead of finding something. But the creativity in your mind about being able to find something I think is the fun part also just like you said. It’s something to search for. You seek for it and you wanna find it and you wanna grind it you know, it’s a part of a skateboarder’s life – creativity in an artistic way – it’s definitely something that’s taken away from you when you realize how much freedom you had on the outside and you didn’t really take advantage of it or you didn’t really cherish it as much as you should have.

In my situation I’m now in jail – I can’t even see a skateboard. But I have a lot of memories and I cherish those and I just praise God that I am still alive. That’s something that I pray on everyday. You know I have my relationship with Christ now and it’s brought me to a whole other spiritual level. You know I thought I was spiritual before but now it’s a whole different level of thinking and being and just understanding. The knowledge of reading the Bible – I’ve been reading the Bible since I’ve been here – a whole year and 2 months now and I’ve read it completely through – just a few months ago I did that.

I’ve read it a lot – in parts – like the New Testament and some of the Old Testament and parts that I like. There are parts like the Psalms and the Proverbs that are really knowledgeable and give you wisdom so that you don’t make the same mistakes you know. I believe it was a gift from God that brought me to this place so that I could figure that out.

J: Where is the prison at?

C: It’s in San Bernardino.

J: I just wanna get a little history of why you’re in there. Like what happened and stuff.

C: Well I haven’t gone to court yet –

J: - so it’s kind of a touchy subject?

C: Yeah, well I made some bad mistakes. I was addicted to drugs you know – when you’re addicted to drugs you make foolish mistakes – you have bad judgment. A year ago I didn’t have any foundation spiritually and I was caught up in the world and you make critical mistakes that can cost you a lot of time. And that’s what happened to me. I believe there are statistics involved that really make it - - it’s not – this isn’t my lifestyle – I’m not a dealer – I was addicted to drugs and I was basically making bad judgment calls – it cost me this.

I would advise kids to not only stay away from doing drugs but also any kind of handling of drugs you know? I wasn’t a dealer, but when you get involved and you wanna do the drugs you get involved in that scene and automatically you’re guilty by association and who knows what can happen.

J: Do you think being so famous and being such a big name skater led you into that lifestyle?

C: Well, no – it does have a little bit to do with fame –

J: like being a rock start you know?

C: It does have a little bit to do with that because you are so attached to those worldly desires, you know, money and fame, and just flirting with disaster – it’s a form of thrill seeking but it’s not what it’s cracked up to be. It’s a road to destruction. If you think about it you need to preserve your life, you need to think about your children if you wanna have children, you need to think about your family if you have family –

J: Truth

C: You know – you need to really cherish them and really keep in contact with them so that you have a family that you love and that love you – and then I think you won’t have these problems. Like me, when my dad and mom were living in L.A, I had a real good foundation and it would keep me grounded and keep me from falling into those traps you know of doing drugs constantly and falling into the darkside, getting a warrant.

I didn’t want to go to jail at all – I was kinda trying to run away from jail for a long time – a couple of years. And then finally it caught up with me and they said "You’ve gonna go to jail – you’re gonna go for about 6 months to a year," and I was just not wanting to go. I was scared to go to jail. Then I got popped doing something stupid and now look I’m in jail and have been for 14 months – I should have just gone to jail.

But those are the mistakes you make because you’re scared and you don’t know what to do. But you can’t go because you got bail bonds men looking for you and the state looking for you and it’s just a big nightmare – and it leads you into a corner and you end up – if you’re relying on surviving by not being yourself – being hidden. I had to do all that and I regret it all. It’s a lifestyle that I wish I didn’t lead but you know what?

Everything is for a purpose and we all go down a certain road to get to a certain destination. I believe that this is a planned out situation, I believe that I am called here to be able to speak on behalf of all these people and on behalf of skateboarders that need guidance that are coming up.

J: Yes they do. There are a lot that do yes.

C: They’re just caught up. They’re making a lot of money. I remember making a lot of money a lot of fame, hanging out in L.A. chilling out with all the famous people. But you’re missing something that keeps you grounded and that’s a foundation with the Lord or at least your family. You need to be grounded with some love. When you don’t have that, you tend to slip away and you can get caught up.

J: Is your family still in L.A.?

C: No, my mom got married 5 or6 years ago. She moved to Virginia, out near DC. My dad lives in Hawaii. His father passed away, so he moved out there and moved into his place. I was out here by myself with no family just trying to run away from the authorities because I was scared to death. And then I wound up just wanting to move away from this town because it was all catching up with me. And I wanted to get away from doing drugs and I was told to just go home and then I messed up in a situation. See how easy it is to just lose everything? And that’s where I’m at.

J: Are you Japanese.

C: Yeah.

J: Full Japanese or hapa?

C: I’m _ Japanese, Scotch-Irish, French, Chinese, Hawaiian.

J: Same with me. My mom’s Cantonese and my dad is Scotch-Irish German and Finnish.

C: Alright, hapa haole!

J: I kinda wanted to see how you felt about that kind of an upbringing with mixed race parents.

C: My parents were wonderful and they were loving and caring and supportive and everything throughout my whole life. And that’s what gave me the drive and the motivation and the encouragement and the insight to actually search out my goals and to conquer my goals, and then to actually accomplish the dreams that I dreamt from when I was a little child looking at a skateboard. And then from that wanting to be a good skateboarder, and then from there, wanting to be the best skateboarder and then from there wanting to push that limit and push skateboarding to another level.

And believe me those accomplishments are cherished so much and I thank God every day for those blessings that I never even used to thank God for. I used to just think "Oh I’m good" or something you know? Or, I don’t know why, thank God I made this run, or please, please let him fall, you know what I mean, so I can win! When you’re skating against Tony Hawk, you know, there’s a lot of days when it would be me or him in the contest and it was either for him to fall or me to fall and then game over.

J: Well all the kids that looked up to you definitely were rooting for you, and still are.

C: It’s just truly, truly amazing how much He was in my life, the Lord Jesus was just walking with me through my life. I’ve been around the world 12 or 13 times you know, I’ve been everywhere and you can imagine how many incidents I’ve had that were just so close. And I’ve just been blessed with such a graceful life and now I just need to thank Him for all those times and just concentrate on His word. And that’s what I do every single day.

I read His word, I read the Bible. My girl sends me Christian books. I am really becoming spiritual. What I really wanna be able to do when I get out of this situation is to be able to skateboard and to go around the country helping kids with their drug addictions and their family problems or just their foundation of a good lifestyle.

J: They definitely need it – something definitely needs to be done.

How were you spiritual in skateboarding before?

C: Well my whole life – it was Christ (? Stairs?) and crosses and my name is Christian and you know I always knew there was a higher source of spirituality and I believed in God, but I didn’t have a foundation, I didn’t have a relationship with Him. And that right there – it’s night and day. Now I can actually speak to Him and talk to Him and relate to the realities of it. When you read the Bible is when you find the truth and the true understanding, and the wisdom, and you can apply it to your life.

Any little situation that comes up – it’s in the Bible. Back then I was caught up in the world. I had everything going for me, there was nothing to stop me – I could do whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted and it would be accepted. That’s just too much of a smokescreen. It smokescreens you and then you get caught up hanging out with some of the wrong people. Next thing you know, you’re just in that little rut and you can’t get out because then you get caught up and get in trouble and then you start to stay away from the good things and you’re messed up.

J: What would you say to some of these other pro skaters that are kind of living the life right now? One name comes to mind, just off the top of my head like Muska…They have a lot of skill and a lot of people looking

C: I just talked to Muska the other day. And he’s been a true bro, you know? He’s helped me out a lot since I’ve been here. You know they did the graphics and I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from that. And that’s awesome. I believe there is something there that was really revitalizing and really recognizing me. And I’m really thankful b/c I think it’s awesome. He [Muska] just recently kicked me some money to help me out with my court situation and me attorney fees. He’s just being a real friend.

He’s got his head on his shoulders b/c he’s sticking with his skateboarding. And he’s sticking with his music. He sounded good he sounded like he had a lot of enthusiasm and I believe that’s what you need to stay on your feet. But yet I hope they’re not getting caught up in anything that’s too dark for them to get out.

J: I just ask because I noticed in skateboarding there’s this whole new trend that everybody be a punk rocker and be just drunk all the time and on drugs all the time and skateboarding. It’s kind of like you have to \do these things to throw yourself down huge gaps and 15-stair railings and do flip-tricks. It’s like this whole punk rock attitude that’s been taken on from the old school.

C: But then you get hurt and can never skate again. That’s the skater that’s going to be a one trick wonder. But then they’re going to be wondering why they’re so careless. You’ve got to learn; some people have to learn the hard way. Some people don’t. Like Geoff Rowley. He didn’t learn like that. He learned gradually, slowly building up, working his way up till he gets it wired and then he just does it fluently. That’s why he can do it. You got guys like Aarto Saari, you know those guys are just amazing when it comes to handrails and types of tricks that kids can’t really relate to yet but they’re trying them right off the bat anyways – you know you’re gonna break your leg or crack your head open.

J: Yeah they see it in videos

C: And they do it – I’ve seen it and seen them in stretchers all bloody and knocked out – but they learn how to fall and everything. Like when you go to a martial arts class, they show you how to fall first before you get thrown to the ground and break your ankle or your wrist. Just like skateboarding on a ramp, you’ve got to learn how to fall before you go up and learn some tricks and it’s something that skaters don’t really think about. They just think "oh I’m gonna try it" then they accidentally fall ok and think they should try it again. But really if you ask pros who have been doing it for 20 years like Tony Hawk and Lance Mountain and Steve Caballero they’ll tell you it’s a dangerous deal.

J: If you got out right now right now would you skate for Lance Mountain’s company The Firm because it’s Christian?

C: I would love to talk with Lance and share some scriptures with him and be on that level with him because me I was so flamboyant, so enthusiastic about life at the time and skateboarding, we were just skateboarding together. You know we’ve always had a great time skateboarding together since we were 11 or 12 years old. So, we’ve been skating contests since we were 12 years old together. It’s amazing to see how far he’s come and Tony and Cab and all the boys – it’s truly amazing to see how far they’ve taken it and it’s good to see he’s got that foundation and I’m so glad for him and I bless him in every way.

And of course I would love to get together with all my fellow Christian brothers like Kelly Rosencrantz, he’s a missionary in Norway. It’s just awesome to see brothers like that. And Jamie Thomas, he speaks the word and he’s got a good foundation. I just hope they all abide by it and they read their Bibles and they keep the word going and focus on God all the time and not just use it for their advantage, but actually use it to apply to their life.

J: I got some questions about some of your older stuff that some younger kids asked me to ask you: Who are your favorite skaters?

C: It goes on and on I tell you – It’s hard to say one because then I’m gonna have to tell you them all.

J: We could get the list out in writing later too…

C: When I was a child there was Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Shogo Kubo, Polar Bear… who else did I like back then, it was the DogTown team, Jim Muir, George Wilson, Eddie ‘El Gato’ Elguera, Dwayne Peters, the Salba brothers. When we’d go to Upland, what, I was 11, 12 years old and I got like 3rd place skating against John Gibson and I don’t know who it was, and like doing acid drops in the corner, at 12 years old hahahah. Then I look back and I go what a nut we really were at such a young age, I don’t see anybody skating vert at such a young age

J: How do you think that the skateboarding scene has changed from then to now; do you get skateboarding magazines to keep up with the skateboarding scene? How do you think the scene has changed, in terms of attitude and tricks?

C: Yeah, I’ve got subscriptions to all the mags. I think skateboarding will always be on the up and up of the cutting edge of a lot of things, but it was just a lot more innovative back then, a lot more on the cutting edge of innovation of every day, every month there would be something new coming out, a new trick, a new maneuver. Now, only the top guys come out with new tricks, it’s hard to invent tricks when they’ve done them all.

But yet there’re still new tricks coming out by the best. There’s always gonna be the best that are gonna be pushing it because you don’t have fun unless you’re pushing your limits, and I believe that skateboarders all know that, that they don’t have fun unless they’re pushing their limits, and that’s one thing that separates the men from the boys and actually you can tell the difference in creativity in their minds, you know the idealism of skateboarding.

So it’s definitely also an artform as well as a sport, cause nowadays it’s more of a sport, cause you got the X-games, you have all this advertisement that’s going down, it’s in every commercial, it’s in all the videos, everything. It’s truly a blessing to be like that now; skateboarding has gone so far. I remember when I was starting my own company and I was telling my dad, "skateboarding is gonna be huge," I was telling my dad, I’m like, "this is gonna blow up". And sure enough, after the recession, it just blew up.

The war happened in ‘90 and skateboarding went down and I had to sell my house, sell my cars, and all the companies, you know, Santa Cruz told me, "We can’t do your company any more," and I was just trying to survive doing other companies. It was there from ’95,’96 I did Focus, and we had our little business problems in Focus, you know, inside the business which created it to go bankrupt, but that’s in the past now, and now skateboarding has just blown up. It’s amazing.

J: Where do you see it going now? It’s so commercial and so big right now, do you feel that maybe with this oncoming economic depression it might drop off again? Or do you think it’s going to keep going strong?

C: No, no I don’t think so cause there’s skateparks out there now. Because skateboarding is just fun, it’s like snowboarding, it’s like surfing. There’s a strong force behind it now, and for kids it’s not a fad anymore, it’s actually something that people know is cool and know is gonna stay.

J: Tight.

End interview tape 1.