Nike SB Street League Skateboarding | Weekly Recap: Tommy Sandoval Interview

Share This:

Tommy’s 2014 Season participation was cut short immediately following Stop One in Chicago due to injury, but at least he went out on a high note finishing eighth in Chi Town.

Nike SB sat down for a very entertaining conversation with Tommy to find out more about his personal life, what he’d be doing if he wasn’t professionally riding a skateboard, his personal approach to Street League Skateboarding and much more..

You were born, raised and still live in Chula Vista. What’s your favorite part about living there?
I’d say just kinda like, got a little bit of a small town feel to it. If you’re from there you’re gonna know everybody, or if you know somebody they know somebody that knows you. Everybody knows everybody in a weird way. It’s a pretty tight knit community I’d say. That’s kinda my favorite thing. You go down there and expect to see somebody you know, or somebody sees you and you’re like, “oh I haven’t seen you in a long time”, so that’s always cool.

Seems like a nice place to raise a family?
Yup. At the same time, a lot of my friends that I grew with from Chula are having kids right now. Everybody’s getting older so either they’ve got kids or their married, so they’re on their way to having kids.

Are either of them on the board yet?
My daughter’s not quite on the board, but she’s able to stand on it and gain her balance a little bit. She’s at the stage where she’s learning to balance and center herself. She usually gets on and if she’s moving she’ll slip out and fall, so we’re just trying to keep it stationary for now.

Do they ever come to Street League or see you on tv?
Both my kids have been to Street League. My little guy went to maybe one this past year, and my daughter’s been to three or four over the past couple of years. My daughter’s more excited at the moment because she’s more aware of everything now than before, so she’ll go and she knows what she’s looking at instead of just being a kid, well she is a kid, but I mean like three years old when she first started coming and had no clue what was going on. Now she knows she’s going to see me skating with other people and knows what a contest is, so it’s a little bit different.

What the most challenging part about skating in a Street League contest?
Every year the level of skateboarding keeps getting heavier and heavier, and just keeping up with that sort of thing is sort of hard depending on what your position is in skateboarding and what area you excel in the most. So, I don’t really have a lot to worry about as opposed to the tech dudes because all the tech people are doing crazy flip in flip out and all that weird stuff, and I’m just finding the gnarliest thing on the course and trying to do something that nobody else would do so that way I have my own little niche in the scene. I guess that’s my only way of feeling comfortable is doing something that nobody will do, or trying something that somebody doesn’t see on the course. I think it’s just hard knowing that more and more people are coming into Street League, and I’m just hoping that I’m not gonna get replaced one of these times. [laughing] The competitiveness of just staying relevant to the whole situation is kinda crazy.

In and out of SLS, it seems like you enjoy jumping down big stuff. What pushes you to get gnarly like that and skate that way?
I dunno, I think it was from growing up. My first couple videos, Welcome to Hell, Church of Skatan, and then 411 videos from there. I think seeing people just going for it and just going for broke making it happen. I don’t know dude, it even got me interested when I saw people slam and like get back up and I’d be like, “Damn. That dude slammed hard, but he just got right back up.” I figured I could do that. If I could take a slam and get back up and keep skating, then you’ve already won in that sense. As long as you get up and keep trying, that’s pretty much what you need to be a skateboarder. You have to just keep on trying because skateboarding is one of the most persistent things you can do. You can try so many times and land it so many times, but at the same time, in between those tries you’re going to be failing. You gotta have the ability to constantly get up and keep on going back for it.

How do you deal with nerves and skating in front of such a big crowd?
I almost get tunnel vision I guess. After practice and all that stuff’s over and once it’s about that time, say I’m in the first heat or the second heat or something, I got a person or two ahead of me and right before I’m going, I just look around real quick and think to myself what I’m trying to do like, “Well I at least want to start my line with this.” If I land my first trick I’m either in a zone and going on this line, or if I mess up on my first trick I kinda feel all funny and just try and put whatever I can for the rest of the time. I can either be really in the zone based off that first trick and forget about everything that’s going on around me, or I get really self conscious after that first trick and start thinking, “Oh, I just messed up. What am I gonna do now?” That’s when it really gets ahold of me.

Alright, last question. What’s your all time craziest or most memorable Street League story?
Ooh! That’s definitely Las Vegas, it was like four or five years ago. Me and all my homies took a 15 passenger van and drove out from Chula to Vegas. Raging it the whole way there, showed up at the Hard Rock and I got two rooms in advance. We had known we were going to get paid five Gs for showing up for Street League, so I put a previous payment down and was like, “Oh well I’ll get it back from Street League anyways.” So, I bought two rooms. Bought a suite for me and this chick I was with at the time, and then I bought a suite for my homies [laughs]. A bunch of my friends in this one room going berserk crazy, and me and my chick in the other room just mellow kickin’ it. So, our room was the clean chill room where everybody comes up and decides what we’re gonna do for the day, and their room’s the night time rager, just come up from the casino party room.

[Source: Nike SB Street League Skateboarding]

Share This: