Figgy's "Baker 4" Interview
Are you done? Did you do the trick in SF?
No. I’ve been going on these obnoxious missions. I’ve done it twice where I pick up Beagle at five in the morning and we B-line it straight to the spot in SF, skate for three hours, fail and drive straight home out of pure anger.
I’ve talked to him twice where I was like, “What did you do today?” And he said, “Ah I’m going to SF.” I’m like, “Sick.” Then he calls me later like, “I’m heading back,” and I’m like, “You went there for five minutes?”
I get up there and I think it’s just gonna work out and then I get frustrated so bad that I don’t even wanna wake up there. I’m like “Fuck this. Let’s just grab a coffee and hit the road.” Then we make it back by two or three in the morning. I don’t recommend doing that, dude. It’s really fuckin’ brutal. And I’m just driving there to fail? I’ve done it twice. Fuck this now.
A trip to this ditch is almost as painful as a day trip to SF. Frontside 5-0 grab to fakie. Let’s never go back Photo: Burnett
Are you gonna go again?
I’m chillin’. And if I did I’d buy a flight like a fuckin’ normal person.
I know. I’m spending more on gas. I’m tripping. I like to drive, I like the craziness of just getting up early and being like, “Alright, Beags, let’s fuckin do this,” and then when it doesn’t work I’m just like, What the fuck, dude? I’m about to blow my brains out. But that’s the sickest part about just trying to get these last things— usually for me they just don’t ever go right. You just gotta work real hard and fuckin’ muscle shit.
So you drive there and then you just start trying the trick and you drive back home? You don’t take a day to acclimate?
I can’t sleep when I know I gotta go do something like that. So I feel like—well, obviously it doesn’t work better for me ’cause I’m not getting the trick. It’s just anxious shit, just like scared and hyped to get shit done. The thought of getting it done, I’m just like, There’s no fuckin time to waste. I could be done with this in an hour? Let’s go.
So you don’t have a second to spare.
That’s one word for it.
Tall tales? Nah, fool! Front tails on big rails Photo: Atiba
On a normal day do you just wake up and go straight into skating? You don’t even eat or anything, you just go straight into skating?
Nah, I mean, these last two months have been probably a little different because I am beyond anxious to get the shit finished up. This video’s been in the works for three years or something, so I kinda was relaxed with it ’til these last couple months. Now I wake up and I’ll go get some coffee and then I’ll try to roll around and go meet up.
Where do you get your coffee from?
C’mon, man. Playing for a couple teams out here. Wake up, hit the coffee shop, Steel Mill.
Who’s doing Steel Mill? Is that you and Riley?
Me, Lannie, Riley, Shea, this kid Chris and this girl Dana Tripp.
In Oceanside, right off Mission. You can see the beach. It’s fuckin’ killer. I can’t believe it. It was like a dream ten months ago and now it’s fuckin’ just sitting there and it’s there every day.
It’s doing good, right?
It’s killing it. It’s insane.
Are you guys gonna open another one?
I think that’s the ultimate goal. But I mean, we hit the ground running. It’s popping in there every fuckin’ day. I feel like a second one isn’t far off, within the next year.
Is it normal people going in there or just skateboarders?
Nah, there’s all sorts of dudes across the board, not just skaters. There’s fools walking in with suits; there’s bums cleaning up sidewalks out in front. It’s like the best of the whole scene. It’s sick. It’s fuckin’ taking off. I did not see it going as well as it is. I feel like obviously anything Riley puts his hands on just takes off. We got a good crew—Shea and this dude Chris, they’re the backbone behind the whole thing pushing it along.
He comes from a coffee family, right?
Yeah, Shea Cooper. He skates for Blood Wizard and stuff but his parents owned a coffee shop in Boise and they had an espresso machine that they kind of handed down to Shea and that got the ball rolling for us ’cause those things are way expensive and gnarly.
Switch biggie front board a Texas-sized handrail Sequence: Karpinski
That was his investment into it?
Yeah. And that’s what was like, alright, we have this and his whole background, his whole life is just from coffee. So that’s just a whole ’nother fuckin’ industry world that is just—it’s fuckin’ gnarly once you get into it. It’s like a whole ’nother thing. I mean, I been drinking coffee for a long time but I didn’t even know how tech this shit was until I started talking to these dudes. It’s like they’re speaking Spanish. But it’s sick.
Are you a health nut? Are you eating healthy?
I’m trying to. I have an apple every day. Is that healthy enough? I feel like I’m healthier now than I was. I’ve slowed down just drinking and partying for the past couple months in general. But I feel like when it comes down to deadlines and crunch time it’s like you should always do that. It fuckin’ helps.
So you know, he’s actually eating an apple right now.
Yeah. Look at me. I’m changing. I got a sparkling water. I’m all fucked up, dude.
You’re being weird. You’re whole family is fucking gnarly, right?
Yeah, they’re cardio freaks. My dad does motorcycle suspension as a side job and he’s been racing road bikes, riding dirt bikes. My whole life the whole garage has been filled with bikes, just road bikes, dirt bikes.
You rode dirt bikes when you were a kid, right?
Yeah, I rode dirt bikes until I was maybe ten or 11, then I had a couple really bad accidents and my dad was pretty much like, “Pick one. Are you gonna ride these bikes or are you gonna skate? Cause you’re getting too banged up in both worlds. You need to figure that out.”
You told me a story one time where your whole family was in the hospital at the same time.
We weren’t all in the hospital but I went and met up with my parents. We went to go eat dinner after a Volume 4 trip. This was a couple years back. My dad had broken his neck. He fractured the bone right next to the C2 and he was in this big-ass neck brace with a hockey-player-chest-protector-type thing, looking like a cyborg. This thing was massive and obnoxious. My mom had just gotten surgery on her foot and she had one of those scooter things that keeps your knee up. There’s little handlebars on it; it’s really silly looking. I just had gotten back from a trip and I had forgot that they were fucked up and I came in limping, too. I came in limping super heavy and I was looking at them like, You are just fucked up. What is going down? I’m telling them like, “You guys have already been through it. You’ve been there. Why are you pushing it? Just relax. You guys are still going?” But it’s sick, though. They’re giving me fuckin’ hope that when I get to their age I’m still gonna be hopefully jumping and just kind of thrill seeking.
Front blunt. This fuckin’ thing! Photo: Atiba
What would you be doing if skateboarding didn’t exist? Would you be dirt biking?
I feel like I would definitely be in that world ’cause that’s all my dad did and still does. I’m stoked that I kinda chose this path. Both industries are kinda silly but I think skating all day, that’s definitely what I chose.
Do you surf? Don’t you live near the beach?
Yeah, I’ve been picking it up. I picked it up probably four years ago after the last ankle surgery and it just helped rehab it back. And I’ve been living down by the beach for a while now. It’s just one of those things that you can watch people do and whatever, pulling the trigger to get out there kinda took a lot ’cause dealing with surfers is just kind of annoying in general. But it is fun as shit.
You have to be in serious shape.
And, dude, you gotta be ready to just humble yourself and get the strength to fuckin’ paddle around and stand up. Once you catch a couple waves and go down the line it’s like, Alright, I can see why everyone’s fuckin on it. And I feel I’ll be able to do it years after skating. It’s still like thrill seeking; it still gets really scary; the board’s heavy. If it hits you it’s no joke.
That’s pretty sick. How many bands are you in right now?
Do you remember the first time you came to me and Lizard’s house? What did you think? Did you remember anything from it?
I remember Dixon smoking all your weed and I think I was pretty annoying for you guys. That was sick. But you guys always fuckin’ kicked down and were down to show us the ropes. The chapter was so fuckin’ fun. We didn’t worry about shit! Not that I have to worry about too much now, but whatever. Wake up with a real good hangover from last night, go jump down shit all day. I was like 18, 19, 20 before I was even allowed at the bar but I would make it into Footsies and that shit was incredible. That chapter was insane.
Kickflip front board, apple a day Photo: Rhino
And didn’t Slash live down the street?
Yep. Thank you for that. I’m in debt, constantly.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
I tried everything—I did cross-country, track and field, soccer, baseball, football. I did all of them for like a season. My dad definitely had us running. We were active as shit.
I used to work in Tustin at a Jamba Juice. Didn’t you say you used to live right by there or something?
Yeah, pretty fuckin’ close to there which is insane. I would see fools just as a little rat, fuckin’ Heath or whatever. Just as a little skate kid. Didn’t really even care too much.
I seen Heath in the Jamba Juice one time. It was hilarious. And Mumford.
So sick. You’re like, “Yep, you guys get your shit for free.”
Yep. Hooked them up. Alright, here’s kind of a real question: skateboarding isn’t competitive. You don’t have to go head-to-head with someone unless you’re playing SKATE for fun, so what makes you want to go skate? The high of skating? To torture yourself?
A lot of the motivation right now for this video, I don’t know if it’s like skating as a whole or just for me right now going on all these butt head missions, but I wanna pull through for my dogs. I wanna pull through for everyone on Baker and Drew and all the others who have been looking forward to the vid. I don’t want to be sitting at the premiere like shoulda, woulda, coulda. It’s all for just giving back to skating in general, trying to keep fools fuckin’ hyped.
A family tradition of gnar. Switch kickflip Photo: Burnett
Solid answer. Like if this video wasn’t here and you were rich and you didn’t have to worry about nothing would you still be going out and getting hammers like you do anyway?
Well, I think it’s different now. All this shit—I mean, back in the day before I even had a real reason to go do it we were fuckin’ doing it just like the back of our hand. But now I’m like, everything’s harder, everything takes so long, the battles, getting hurt, it’s like I’m definitely doing it now like, This is what I gotta do to keep this shit fuckin’ going. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep this story going if that’s what you wanna call it.
So you’re gonna do this forever anyway?
I mean, yeah. I feel like I’m gonna be skating forever, but just torturing myself, getting hurt jumping down all this—
You’re gonna be 60, kickflipping.
I hope. That is the fuckin’ goal. Drew has been through hell and back jumping down mountains for eons and he’s still—he ollied a 12-stair five times in a row today just for shits. I don’t know anyone else who’s 41 who can still just casually jump down that shit on a Thursday. So I hope I can be on that regimen.
Reynolds is the man. That’s him clocking in at work straight the fuck up.
He’s still just as hyped as a 15-year-old kid skating down the street. It’s insane. It’s motivating.
After slaying this curved rail frontside, nothing left for Big Fig to do but to batter it with a Bennett Photo: Burnett
You’ve been on Baker the whole time you’ve been sponsored, I feel like.
I was on Powell back in the day when I was 15/16 and then Birdhouse before I was 21.
Wait, how did you get on Baker?
I went on a Tony Hawk trip with Riley back in the day and Reynolds was on it. It was, like, Mike Vallely, Bam Margera, Shawn White—it was one of those style trips. It was fucking insane. It was the shit. But Drew was just pretty much kicking it with all the kids, just playing C-Lo and fucking off with us. After the trip he hit me up. I think I was out to dinner. I don’t know who I was with, but yeah, I was just totally thrown off. I couldn’t fucking believe it.
So you’ve been on Baker for pretty much the entire time, like a decade plus. So what’s it like? Is it sick? That’s where you want to be, right? That was your dream?
What did you say once? “Skating for Baker is like being in Three 6 Mafia?”
It’s like being in the mob, like you said. Like once you’re on you’re a made person. Unless you fuck up super bad then you’re out.
Yeah, Drew can put you under his wing and you feel pretty fuckin’ secure.
Skating may change but there’s no replacement for heavy moves, Justin Figueroa or Baker fuckin’ skateboards. Roll forever, boys Photo: Karpinski
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