Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eddie Elguera Interview by: Lester Kasai

Intro and Interview by Lester Kasai

During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, there were many concrete skateparks in existence and there were a handful of skateboarders in the forefront paving the way of progression in pool skating.  As skateboarders, we get inspiration from certain individuals who can capture this sense of progression with so much passion and creativity.  They show us the way… they show us what is possible… they show us how to break those barriers that hold us back… they inspire us with their persona and skill for what they love to do.  Even more so, only a select few of them can show us how we can accomplish this with class and honor.  One such individual who has shown us this path of progression and has made such an overwhelming impact on skateboarding is Eddie “El Gato” Elguera... a skateboarding pioneer… a true innovator… a hero to me and so many others throughout the decades.   

1.       How old are you now and how old were you when you started skating? I just turned the Big 5-0 last November. I started skateboarding when I was 8yrs. My first board was a wood Hobie with Chicago trucks and Clay wheels.
2.       What was your first local park? My first local park was Colton Ca. I lived in the mountain community of Lake Arrowhead, so I had to commute everyday about an hour there and back, but it was worth it.
3.       What is your all time favorite pool? My favorite pool!! There are too many to name, but I think the Combi has to be up there!!!
4.       Who was your first sponsor and who are your sponsors now? My first official skateboard sponsor was Hobie Skateboards, ironically that was my first board I skated. When Hobie went out of business I switched over to Variflex, then ending up with H-Street. My present Sponsors are Hosoi Skates, Jimmy’z, Osiris Shoes, S-One Helmets, Independent Trucks, Bones Wheels, 187 Killer Pads, SoCal Skate Shop, Pizzanista.
5.       Who were your best friends that you skated with back in the day and who do you skate with now? Back in the day I skated a lot with Alan Losi when he was a grom, and all the Colton locals. Now days I session with Christian Hosoi a lot, Lance Mountain and whoever is at the Combi.
6.       What contests have you won?  I’ve had quite a few contest wins over the years. But my first contest win was the Hester Series 1979 Del Mar Contest.
7.       What else is in your life besides skating? In 1983 after I stopped skating I became a Christian, and ever since then my life has eternally changed. I’ve been married for almost 30 yrs, and have 3 sons,  2 daughter-in-laws and a beautiful granddaughter. I was a youth pastor for 14 years, and now, for the past 7 years I have my own church, The Rock Church of Coachella Valley in Palm Desert Ca. I spend a lot of time “loving people to life”
8.       What tricks have you invented? Tricks I’ve invented include the Elguerial, Frontside Rock and Roll, Frontside Invert, Fakie Ollie, Boardslide Fakie, Air Fakie, Fastplant Fakie, there might be more smaller ones but these are the biggies.
9.       How did you get the nickname “El Gato”? Back in the day the pads didn’t have the capability to knee slide so I would always land on my feet like a cat.  In Spanish “cat’ is “El Gato”, and since I’m Hispanic they started calling me “El Gato”.
10.   What are the differences with skateboarding during the 70’s and 80’s compared to today? The equipment, the corporate sponsors and the mainstream recognition are the biggest differences from today. Back then we skated even if we didn’t get paid the big bucks!!!
11.   Tell me about your set up you skate now? My Hosoi model, Independent Trucks, Cab Wheels, Bones Bearings, Pig Rails.
12.   Any last words you would like to express? I’d like to thank my amazing wife Dawna! She definitely is my biggest supporter. Also my family and my Sponsors for believing in me, as well as everyone who has shown support since I jumped back on the board again. And of course my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!

Thanks Eddie… it’s been a pleasure and an honor… you have and still inspire me with your skating… much respect bruddah.