Go Skateboarding Day: Q&A with Steve Ortega

Go Skate Day: Q&A with Steve Ortega

21 juin, 2023

To celebrate Go Skateboarding Day, we sat down with Steve Ortega, an IT guru at Brixton who helped shape the street progression era of skateboarding in the 80s.


Can You Tell Us a but About Yourself? And How You Got Into Skateboarding?

I was born on February 12th, 1971 in Oceanside, CA to Nadine and Raymond Ortega. I was the last child born. I grew up mostly in the barrios of Vista, on Connecticut and California Street. I was raised by my mother, Nadine, and my sister, Gail.

I first experienced skateboarding when I was around 8 or 9 years old. Some teenagers had a quarter pipe at the end of the apartment complex. I convinced my mom to buy me a Madrid Beau Brown complete setup from the local skate shop. When the teenagers went inside for dinner, I decided to try the quarter pipe unsupervised. I only observed what the older kids were doing such as kick turns and grinds, so I never practiced physically. I took my newborn baby deer skate legs and went for a grind. [I assume] I only made it halfway up the ramp. [Next thing I saw was] plywood, evening sky, then being woken up by this teenager named Larry. I proceeded to skate more until I broke my arm by hitting a crack in the concrete just deep and wide enough to immediately seize the rotation of my Powell-Peralta Bones wheels. Mom was not stoked, so she strongly encouraged a break from skating. After a few years of riding and racing motorcycles, I was right back into skating with some new friends in 7th grade.

Steve’s early 360 varial ollie kickflip

Steve’s early 360 varial ollie kickflip

Can You Tell Us a but About Yourself? And How You Got Into Skateboarding?

I was born on February 12th, 1971 in Oceanside, CA to Nadine and Raymond Ortega. I was the last child born. I grew up mostly in the barrios of Vista, on Connecticut and California Street. I was raised by my mother, Nadine, and my sister, Gail.

I first experienced skateboarding when I was around 8 or 9 years old. Some teenagers had a quarter pipe at the end of the apartment complex. I convinced my mom to buy me a Madrid Beau Brown complete setup from the local skate shop. When the teenagers went inside for dinner, I decided to try the quarter pipe unsupervised. I only observed what the older kids were doing such as kick turns and grinds, so I never practiced physically. I took my newborn baby deer skate legs and went for a grind. [I assume] I only made it halfway up the ramp. [Next thing I saw was] plywood, evening sky, then being woken up by this teenager named Larry. I proceeded to skate more until I broke my arm by hitting a crack in the concrete just deep and wide enough to immediately seize the rotation of my Powell-Peralta Bones wheels. Mom was not stoked, so she strongly encouraged a break from skating. After a few years of riding and racing motorcycles, I was right back into skating with some new friends in 7th grade.

Steve’s early 360 varial ollie kickflip

Steve’s early 360 varial ollie kickflip

Who were your favorite skateboarders/inspired you growing up?

My friends - Matt Hensley, Michael Crum, Mario Rubalcaba, Tim Tillman, Brennand Schoeffel, Danny Way, Damon Way, and Tommy Grijalva, to name a few.

Favorite spot to skate?

Anywhere on the streets of Vista. Such an organic skate spot for all levels.

Were you a sponsor-me-video kid, found in local contest or did you just flow?

No sponsor videos, just skating in a local C.A.S.L. contest, already had sponsored friends, and skating near skate shops.

How have the dynamics of skateboarding changed since you started?

Visibility, money, and the skill level of all ages. The tricks are mostly the same, but what they are engaging in and out of or down is just so impressive. Amazing how talented these athletes are today. The growth of and well-funded skateparks have given kids access at a young age to excel in the sport. Not to mention, the ability to showcase their talent in the Olympics is an epic gain for the sport.

What’s a favorite memory of yours?

Being with most of my friends at the first Shackle Me Not H-Street Video premier.

What inspired your interest in I.T.?

To be honest, a knee injury… The reality of knowing that it can all be over in an instant made me realize that I needed a backup plan. Plus starting a family helps encourage stability.

What was the last thing you read, watched, listened to?

Read: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (David Hume) hahaha that was a while ago. Mainly IT whitepapers and procedure documents.

Watched: Ben Affleck’s “AIR”

Listened: Earthless (Mario Rubalcaba’s Band)

What are some of your favorite Brixton essentials?

Brixton has a lot to offer. Great designs, art and feel. What stands out the most for me… The Brixton culture. It promotes a style that encourages communal growth, while maintaining individual expression. The brand has made its grooves in the industry, and they will become deeper while continuing to inspire older and new generations to come.

What are some of your favorite Brixton essentials?

Brixton has a lot to offer. Great designs, art and feel. What stands out the most for me… The Brixton culture. It promotes a style that encourages communal growth, while maintaining individual expression. The brand has made its grooves in the industry, and they will become deeper while continuing to inspire older and new generations to come.

Watch Steve & Friends in

H-Street’s
“Hokus Pokus” (1989)

Lire
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