Damon Franklin: The Tehachapi Beast Interview

(All screenshots taken from Damon Franklin’s 2015 Edit by Erick Rodriguez)
Since the time Damon Franklin and I began drafting up this interview late last year things have changed for the better. He went from Xsjado to USD…he just dropped a great edit with Erick Rodriguez showcasing his street skills…and he is traveling much more to blade as much as possible thus increasing his exposure. Instead of scrapping the interview and starting over we decided to keep some of the old and mix it with the new. The result is a look into the mind of a young blader with a hunger for progression.

SUAS: First off, state your name, where you’re from and your sponsors soldier. 

DF: My name is Damon Franklin and I’m from a small town called Tehachapi, CA. If your not familiar with it, it’s the hometown of Woodward West. My sponsors are Xsjado (USD as of 2015), The Conference and Intuition Skate Shop. 

SUAS: Being that you are from a small town like Tehachapi how did you get into the blade life and how is the scene there these days? 

DF: I got involved in the blade world basically by just competing in the AIL event at Woodward every year put on by Pam & Richie Velasquez. That’s where I met alot of my blade friends.

The blade scene out here is very small haha, there’s definitely not a lot of street but I maintain and try to stay creative. I mostly ride with Miguel Ramos that’s one of my best friends and mentor out here. But being that I grew up basically at Woodward I get to shred with some of the best around the world that come to visit and train.

SUAS: In a blading scene filled with a lot of hungry Up & Comers you have rapidly made a name for yourself with a drive that is inspiring. Who and/or what fuels the passion to push yourself to be a standout on blades? 

DF: What pushes me in blading is all the hungry bladers. I feed off of their energy and that’s where my passion comes from.

SUAS: You are also a versatile blader since I’ve seen you destroy Park & Street. That is definitely a great skill set to have. And you throw down the hammers too…what do you prefer to blade mostly when you have a choice?

DF: I grew up skating park, mostly Woodward West so ya that’s where I feel most comfortable at. But ever since I got on Xsjado I got introduced to a lot more street skating an the art of it, and its been really fun and something I would wanna do a lot more. 

SUAS: The Xsjado Team is a great collection of influential bladers who take their blading to that next level. With you being in the same family with them I can only imagine what the sessions are like. Who do you roll with regularly when it’s time to blade with the boys? 

DF: Since being on Xsjado I’ve gotten real close with Mike Obedoza, that’s the dude I’ve kicked it with the most. He’s always pushing me to take it to the next level. I’ve shredded with most of the dudes on the team, like Ben, Victor and Chris Famer. We actually just got back from a NorCal tour. It was sick and alot of fun besides the fact I got pepper sprayed, kinda had to turn up on some haters out in San Jose at a skate park haha but good times though. Skating with Mike, Vic and Chris have really opened my eyes to the creative side of blading, they’re always looking at the bigger picture of spots. 

SUAS: Care to elaborate a little more on that story of how a blade session ends up with you being pepper sprayed? 

DF: I don’t mind at all. Well, when me an a few of the Xsjado dudes were on Xsjadofornia tour we stopped in San Jose to kill some time at a random skate park and just chill and get a few clips before heading to Oakland. Long story short while we were leaving the skate park a few of the skater dudes wanted to just hate super hard and talk shit that we were using too much wax. We all tried to ignore it but I just had enough and had to stick up for myself and the team.

So, basically I got into it with the skate border dudes and started hatin’ back through the skate park fence and as I got closer to the fence one of the dudes skated by an sprayed me in the face with pepper spray through the fence. Ha ha never been pepper spayed before but that shit is no joke I can tell you that lol. And after I got sprayed of course I couldn’t see at all so Victor Galicia helped me to a water fountain to help get my eyes open. They say it only last about an hour but the pain I kid you not it last about 5 to 6 hours. Haha and of course the skater took off an got ghost once my eyes finally got opened. Haha, pretty crazy experience but it’s all good I still had a blast on the tour an can’t wait for the next one 🙂

SUAS: As well as being on the creative side of blading that you aforementioned, you also drop hammers too. What goes through your mind when you “go big”? 

DF: Alot that goes through my mind all the time when I decide to step my game up and challenge myself as far as a hammer goes;…I basically tell myself this is what I love and who I am and I don’t think about it too much. I just stay confident an make it happen for the most part lol. 

SUAS: Just to back track a bit and gain some insight on your background in blading, how did you get down with the Xsjado team?

DF: How I got on Xsjado haha maaaan! Well, I just started working like any jobs I could find to get bread just like any other unsponsored skater would to get myself out there as far as getting to a session and comps. Like I said before I’m from a small town with no bladers an it’s like a hour or two to get close to more bladers. Long story short I drove out to Paramount for a BBQ to go shred with all the LA blade homies. And shout out to all my BladerGang niggas out there, good dudes! During the session close to the end there was like a battle with me an another kid Oscar, an Mike Obedoza was there watching. Toward the end of the day me an him chatted it up and he let me know about this first Friday session in Long Beach the following week.

So, I showed up the following weekend and I don’t know why, but in my head I thought this was a contest and come to find out it was just a p-rail and a box. Keep in mind I live 2 1/2 hours away. So, I was like maaaaan I’m about to skate this little set up like I never have before an that’s what I did. When the session was over me and Mike talked and he said thank you for coming and good blading. He also said he would talk to me soon. The next day at like 8:00a.m. Mike gave me a call and asked me if I would wanna ride for Xsjado. That’s how this whole Xsjado thing popped off. 

SUAS: We got to about 3/4’s into finishing up this interview and you already made a switch to a different boot company within the same family being The Conference. How did the switch to USD come about?

 DF: Ha, yeah it was a quick change. I just really wanted to be on a solid boot and I’m really cool with Franky Morales. He basically is the one who made it happen. And I love USD ever since I was little and unsponsored, I even got a USD tattoo on my chest when I was 16. It was a great experience riding for Xsjado though because if you really skate you know Xsjados are a very unique skate.  

SUAS: You just dropped an impressive edit with E.Rod that is gaining a lot of views in the blading community. How long were you working on this edit and how was it blading in front of the lens for Erick Rodriguez?

DF: Well, I did a little bit of filming with the homie Ulyess Prom and Erick Rodriguez, so all together I would say about a week of filming. Filming with E Rod is always a good time, dude’s definitely a Real ONE and he gets shit done…like for reals he really be on that team NO SLEEP!!!

SUAS: Now that your name is out there even more this year than compared to last year at the same time, what do you have planned for Damon Franklin 2015?

DF: Really just blade, blade, blade, blade and blade, film alot, drop cool edits and get more kids on blades. Oh ya, an push USD ,IntuitionSkateShop and BladerGang to the fullest!

SUAS: Any last words and/or shout outs?

DF: Shout out to GOD first for always keeping me safe and healthy to do all these crazy blade tricks. Shout out to  Tehachapi for the most supportive small town I know! Ray Fanklin, my little bro Nick, Stephanie Johnson, my Grandma Sandy, Boo, Isaiah, Lavail, Sophia & Alicia Johnson.  Shout out to my Mom and Dad Stephanie and Thomas Bustamante for the most support I could ask for I love you both for always believing in me even at my worst. 

Shout out to Max Clark, Tyler Holstrom, Pam and Richie Velasquez, Rachard Johnson, E Rod, Ricky and Shawn Rodriguez, Matt Mickey, definitely my my nigga Mike Obedoza, KaSH,Vinko, Tyler & Robert Slaven, Breon & Treyvon Mosley, Travaris Williams, all my church and bible study family, Miguel Ramos , Franky Morales, Dave Lang, and just all my Woodward family & BladerGang family. Oh ya, can’t forget a shout out to my Grandpa Andy and Grandma Nancy Cortez I love you guys. If I’m missing any names I’m sorry but much Love to everyone that supported me and believes in me! 

Damon Franklin USD 2015 Edit



2 Responses to “Damon Franklin: The Tehachapi Beast Interview”

  1. […] Damon Franklin: Interview on Shutupandsk8.wordpress.com. Support Rollernews: make your purchases on Amazon via this link. Thanks! […]

  2. dope!

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