Mike Vallely

Keeping it real is our motto here at Real Skate, and who is keepin it more realer these days than Mike V. With no intent of hurting anybody, his "call a spade a spade" attitude has and continues to win him the respect of many in the industry, but perhaps ruffling the feathers of others.
       Back around '93 Mark Gonzales told me to put Mike on his KOOLS team because he was rad; and if the gonz sez you're rad, you're rad. I think he's rad too. Ironically, we all worked with "the king" every day but when Mike called, it was like we all got all star struck or something! "Hurry, hurry it's Vallely on the phone" "Wow, guess who's on the line, Vallely!" "Turn down the music, it's Vallely!"
       Mike Vallely is not only rad, he's a damn nice guy. In the course of conducting this interview, he's been most cooperative and attentive in spite of his beyond-busy lifestyle. I have a lot of respect for him. Mike had been turning down interviews due to time constraints, but he said he liked our questions, "I'm into it," he said.
     If you recall, several months back I held a contest to bring in some good questions for a pro interview. Some of those questions are being used here, as they are totally suiting for Mike—they are marked by an asterisk (*). Here we go!

*Aside from the ollie itself, if you can remember this far back, what was the first trick you pulled that sent your adrenaline to extreme heights and ultimately told you that skating was doable, nonnegotiable, and a state of being that would last an eternity?

The first time I ever stepped on a skateboard I knew. It had nothing to do with tricks or an adrenaline rush. It was more so a sense of self that I had never felt before. It felt right. I knew I'd found my thing.

*What has been your worst injury?

Watching skating become overrun with jocks, jock mentality, and money-hungry corporate types.

*Do you think of yourself as a "rockstar" or do you like to chill and talk to your fans on a same-status basis? The big question is, would you go out and drink with your fans if they invited you?

I don't play that rockstar bullshit. I like to interact with skaters. I truly enjoy meeting skaters and talking story. Of course I'd go out for some lemon water with some cool people.

*With all the commercialism lately, and the surge of skaters coming into the sport, do you think skating is gonna die down again and become uncool like it has in the past? Or, do you think this time it's here to stay as a part of our culture? Or, when do you see it dropping off again?

Tough question. I think what's here now is probably here to stay for a while, but in my eyes, what's out there now is not really skateboarding as I know it or believe it to be. I can only just keep doing my thing, trying to contribute and make a difference.

*With what's going on now in skateboarding like X-Games, Gravity Games, and large-scale corporations moving in, where do you see the future of skateboarding going? Do you see it keeping true to its roots, or will it give in to the mainstream?

It's pretty mainstream now. I think that war has already been fought and not even contested. But, there will always be those of us who are deep rooted in this and no matter what will always help skateboarding keep its edge.

*Nowadays with all these companies popping up and big companies that exist in other areas of sport trying to get in on skating, do you think that skating is just getting too crowded with pros and ams and that the kind of high status that pros normally have is starting to diminish, since it's not such an elite group anymore?

It's been too crowded for a long time. I think the opposite will eventually happen and/or is happening. The elite group is becoming more elite. I think the status of the top pros will only become higher.

*If you could walk up to any other professional and focus (break) their board right before a competition, whose and why?

I'd rather let those certain people expose themselves for what they really are than get involved in any way.

If you could name one person in your life who has influenced you the most who would that be? (Doesn't have to be a pro skater.)

I'd say my biggest inspiration is life itself.

Who is your all time favorite pro skater and why?

Lance Mountain wins. Commitment. The guy has given back to skateboarding every step of the way.

A kid on a message board asked for advice on how to get in a couple good punches on two bullies bigger than him who were threatening to beat him up. One of the answers was "Go ask Mike Vallely." Mark told me about you and Joey Suriel almost getting into it at a SCJ, and given the recent security guard incident at the 2000 SCJ—Are you a bully? Do you like to fight? How does this fit into your personality?

I'm no bully. I don't like to fight, but sometimes the last thing one wants to do is the first thing one has to do. I will stick up for myself, my family, and my friends without question.

How did you get interested in wrestling? Are you serious about it and maybe going pro eventually?

I've always been a wrestling fan, ever since I was a little kid. I've followed it somewhat ever since I can remember. I'm about as serious as can be about it and am determined to end up in the big leagues on Monday night television.

How do you balance your wife and kid situation with the responsibilities of pro skateboarding, touring, and now wrestling? Do they travel with you?

Yes, they travel with me quite a bit, they went to Europe with me this summer. All's I can say is I balance it the best I can. Luckily, I have their support in everything I do.

I know you're going to answer with "my wife" but try not to. What type of girls are most skate pros attracted to?

I can't speak for most skate pros, I can only speak for myself. I wasn't aware there are "types" of girls....Love doesn't get caught up on such boundaries.

How do you feel about women skateboarders in the industry? Do you know any of them? Chill with them? Support them? Think they're in the wrong place?

I am a big fan of the ladies.

What advice would you give a young girl wanting to learn to skate?

Just skate.

Do you have any dogs? If so, would you send a picture of it skating? You might win a deck?

I have two dogs, and English Bulldog named Betsy and a Boxer named Romance. They don't skate.

* "What color boxers are you wearing hah hah hah?"

Currently I am wearing gray boxers.

Thanks so much for your time Mike! Take good care.



Real Skate Copyright © 1999-2003 by Clarkie, Santa Cruz, CA. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means; electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the copyright owner, photographers, writers, or artists named herein. Trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. (What this means is, Please Don't Steal!).