From A to Z
Sit back and get to know Alexis Ramirez, a young ripper with a hidden talent for pool and an endless commitment to having fun on a skateboard. It's not very often an am gets last part in a video with dudes like Wes Kremer and Stephen Lawyer, especially when they're only 18 and it's their first video premiere. After watching his part, we can all agree this blossoming ripper will be around for years to come. Hell yeah, Alexis, you're a G. Congratulations once again!
What's up Alexis, how was the drive?
Not bad man, not a lot of traffic coming up from SD, I was stoked.
You're from Chula Vista, San Diego?
Yeah Chula, down by the border. Pretty close actually to TJ, [Tijuana, Mexico].
When you think of skateboarding in San Diego, what's the first thing that comes to mind?
San Diego is really mellow. Mellow spots, good times and all the homies.
Speaking of homies, was SK8MAFIA something you always looked up to growing up in San Diego?
I used to skate this park called Memorial, Memo Park. I would be skating with all my friends who I went to school with. I'd still be wearing my school uniform and shit, [laughs]. I would see all the SK8MAFIA dudes always killing it. I thought that was tight they were always there together. I would always see them skating with their homies and I was there with my friends too, you know?
From being that young kid to now being on SK8MAFIA, can you talk about that first time you were in the van with those guys?
I had the best time, it was all hype. The first time I was with them we went to a signing. I was tripped out like, "Am I really going to do this with them?" I was still figuring out my signature, [laughs]. It was all fun, it was tight. They were all really sick too, they made me feel like one of the guys.
You and Wes are DC teammates also, right?
Yeah, Wes is a G. Always.
Was there a godfather? Someone who got you on the team?
Honestly, it was all of them. We're all from SD so I would just skate with all of them, you know? No one really told me, they all made me feel comfortable.
I saw some footage of you as a kid, you were skating this ten stair and without breaking a sweat. You landed a hardflip, frontside flip and tre flip I think?
Yeah, that was filmed by the homie, Matt Brode. Rest in peace...
SK8MAFIA knew what was up even back then. You were killing it.
I guess, [laughs]. Thanks, G.
Did you know you had last part?
Not when I started filming for it. Actually, it was towards the deadline when we were trying to figure out the song for my part. Dan [Connelly] was hitting me up one night and was like, "We need a good song for last part." I had no idea and he just sent that to me through a text. I was like damn, I'm so hyped. For like my first premiere, like a big showing like this?
Wow, that's crazy.
It was shocking, [laughs]. Hell yeah, but I was hyped.
When you go out filming do you plan your tricks out or is it organic?
I usually go to spots just to have fun, sometimes I don't even go to film, [laughs].
Damn, what about that opening line? When you walk up the stairs?
We just went there to skate it with the homies. It was my homie Saul [Quintero] and some of us, Saul works so he doesn't get to skate that much. He likes to grind rails so we asked him if he wanted to skate that spot. We went to skate it for fun and I did one messing around and I thought it would be sick to walk up the stairs and grind both of them in a line. I don't know why [laughs]. I tried it and did one where I didn't even make it to the end or sex change out, but then my filmer Izzy, [Ismael Murguia] wanted to get it. Afterward first try I did it, the whole rail and with the sex change.
I noticed in your thanks in the video, you shouted out your mom for "always being a G." Can you talk about her a bit?
Yeah, my mom, she's a real G. She's always supported me since day one. No matter what, she always had faith in me. When I was younger, only 13-years old she would be letting me go out to San Francisco with the older dudes to skate. She would get stressed a little bit, kind of a scared but she was always down. She wouldn't ever keep me from skating. She knew it was positive and made me happy so she supported it. She would spend her money she would work hard for to buy me shoes and boards. It was always hella sick.
Tight, well dude you're on your way to hooking her back up.
Thanks, G, [laughs] trying to. That's the goal: give my mom everything.
One thing I noticed from both your part and your BANGIN! is how you skate everything. Literally, ledges, stairs, rails, manual pads, everything. Did you always skate everything?
I used to be really short, so I would only skate down stairs. It was easier to just huck myself down them because I was really light, [laughs]. Then I broke my wrist trying to skate this rail. I had a cast all the way up to my shoulder. It was like, fuck man this sucks. I literally skated ledges for like two years after that. Seriously, like two years straight. I broke my right wrist and then I broke my left wrist right after, but I was happy because skating ledges are super fun. I was learning new ledge tricks all the time going to the skatepark. Then I started to grow taller and skate rails. I've always thought manual pads were fun though too, especially warming up. Same with transition, I always thought tranny was hella sick. I kind of always skated it but I wasn't really good at it. I knew when I started skating it was hella fun learning how to do kickflips or do a tre flip. Whenever I find myself not being good at something in skating, trying to learn how brings back that fun feeling of learning how to skate. I told Chase when we were filming my BANGIN! It'd be dope to get a tranny trick in, [laughs].
Kickflip front crook right?
Yeah, I was hyped on that. Super hyped.
SK8MAFIA is a family, can you talk about the support they give you?
They help me like family. I know if I need help with anything they got me. They always help me get around to skate and get me into hotels if I need help staying somewhere. They always got my back. Dan helped hook me up with some of the sponsors I have now. He put in his good word for me. Thankfully, they were all down to hook me up and I really appreciate Dan for doing that. I can only imagine how strong our bond [SK8MAFIA] is going to be in the future.
You're at the premiere and Wes Kremer's part just finishes and you know your part is next. Can you describe what was going through your head at that moment?
It was insane. Since I knew, I was kind of waiting for it. I have this thing whenever I get nervous my hands get all sweaty. I knew my name was about to go up, my hands started to sweat. My girl was there next to me too, she knew. She leaned over to me and was like, "Just one more part." Right when Wes finished his last trick and the screen went black, my heart was beating unbelievably fast. Then my name popped up it was insane. After when people seemed like they were down I was pretty hyped. I just wanted people to be hyped.
That must have been pretty special?
Totally, but it was pretty scary at first. Hopefully, they enjoy my part is all I kept thinking to myself.
I mean you're only 18 and you have last part after Wes Kremer and dudes like Brandon Turner. It's not every day you get last part over a seasoned pro. Congrats dude that's fucking sick.
Thank you, man, but all these dudes killed it. I wouldn't be here or had a part if it wasn't for them.
Do you have a favorite meal before you go skate?
Yep, Little Caesars pizza, [laughs]. I eat that a lot. It's hella cheap and I like to cruise out with the homies so it usually feeds us all. That deep-dish, 5-dollar dank ready to order.
That hot and ready?
What about music? Do you have any songs or playlists hyping you up right now?
I actually listen to anything really. I like all music. I like hip-hop, rock, classical, I like everything. My family is like that, even my friends. We all just listen to hella different music. It just like happened, I don't know.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Well, I'm pretty good at playing pool, [laughs].
Yeah? Are you a pool shark? [laughs]
Oh man, [laughs] my homies are going to laugh at this. Yeah, we go out and play a lot. My homie Rudy that I came to The Berrics with right now actually has a pool table we go pretty hard on.
Do you call your shots and pockets and everything?
Yeah, I call my shots. Sometimes we play slops just for fun, but I like pool. It's something fun to do after the skate sesh.
So if you weren't skating you'd be a pool shark or an Olympic billiards player, [laughs]?
I don't know, [laughs]. I don't know what I'd be doing. It's hard to think about, there's nothing else I really like. I tried playing soccer when I was super little, but I didn't like that shit.
What's your earliest memory of skating?
My brother and I started skating at the same time. My mom bought us each a complete from Wal-Mart. He taught me how to do a kickflip the first day I got my board.
You could kickflip since day one?
Bullshit, no way?
He taught me how to do it, even though he didn't know how. I put that on my life, I promise you, [laughs]. I don't know how, though, he was just telling me when we were outside my mom's apartment, which had super rough ground: "Just try and like pop it up and kick it down." After a little while, I landed it. It was crazy, I learned it and he somehow taught me without knowing how to skate.
That's crazy you could commit to that first day... Well it shows, 18 now and you're fucking killing it.
Thanks, man, [laughs]. And thank you to my brother.
Any crazy stories go down when filming for your part?
I got a good one for you guys. So, that first line, right? Where I walk up the stairs? I was so hyped on that clip that day, but after I got the line and we were all hyped hopping the fence to get out of the school. We went to go back to my car and then my homie Saul was all, "You left your window open?" I looked at my window and realized they broke the driver side window to my brand new car and stole my phone. I totally forgot I left in my car. I was pretty bummed, [laughs]. I went from complete hype to like fuck this and having to cancel my phone and shit like right away. That shit sucked but looking back it was pretty funny, [laughs]. It sucked but shit happens you know? Fuck it, [laughs].
Do you see yourself staying in SD for let’s say the next five, even ten years?
Yeah, I'll stay in SD for sure. I mean skateboarders want to travel and I will definitely go and stay in places for a while, but I will always stay in SD. Best times right there, I can't leave the homies. It's where I grew up, it's where I started skating, where all my friends are, I'll always come home to SD.
Do you have a favorite trick/clip in your part?
My favorite clip was probably the back overcrook pop out on that tranny wall [trick at 4:27]. I worked for that one actually. It felt so good too.
Was that something you planned on doing? How did it come about?
It's crazy because that spot is right next to that rail I backside grinded. You know the black skinny one with the downhill landing? That tranny wall spot is right there and I've been there a gang because the homies always skate it. I've been practicing that trick [overcrook] at the park a lot too. Then after I got the 50 on that rail we went over to that spot to chill. I was just looking at it when we were there and was like, "Maybe I can back overcrook that, that'd be sick." The homie was down to shoot the photo and film the clip, so we planned to come back. First, we went to Crawford and I got that switch back smith on the rail, but I had to go to this family party but my filmer was like, "You don't want to try the overcrook?" I was like fuck, alright, especially since there was a rumor going around the spot was about to be destroyed. Construction workers already started marking it for demolition, so I was like okay, I'll try it like five times, [laughs]. Then we went and ended up staying for like two hours. It started drizzling and it was super humid. I was sweating like crazy, it was sick though I was so hyped. I went to the party after too and it was basically over [laughs]. There was still leftover food though so I was hyped, [laughs].
That last trick was insane. Was that something you always wanted to do?
It was a rail that I always looked at, probably the best-kinked rail in SD. I feebled it and bs 50-50 it before and I thought it would be a sick bs 5-0. I told Dan I wanted to try it and like a week later I went there with Izzy, Dan, Jimmy Astleford, and some homies. I started trying it but was too scared to fully commit. Plus, I had to wait 10 to 15 minutes each try because of all the traffic in the street. I landed one before the actual one, but I tapped my front truck on the rail but after like 40 minutes of trying it and after that first land; it was getting dark. I yelled out that it was my last try... I locked in perfect and took it all the way [laughs]. It was the best feeling ever like a dream come true.
Have you always gone by Alexis? Any special meaning there.
It was my mom, [laughs]. She named me after some Mexican singer that she likes, but I don't even know who it is. She just liked that name and named me Alexis Ramirez and I've been chilling on it ever since [laughs]. I'm down with it.
Are you Mexican?
Yeah, for sure.
Do you have a favorite Mexican dish?
Homemade tamales that my mom makes and her bean burritos. She makes the tortillas from scratch and everything.
Damn, that sounds bomb.
I'll bring some next time, [laughs].
Anyone to shout out? Now's the time.
Again, thank you, Dan Connelly, Kong, Joshua Preebz, Josh Lopez for always hooking me up with the freshest SK8MAFIA Boards, always packaging them for me. Also, Ismael "Izzy" Murguia for always sticking with me through them stress days filming. Jimmy Astleford, for keeping me fresh with them kicks. Hell yeah, DC Gang. Shout out to my mom, my family, all my SD homies and of course you Zane and The Berrics for having me. The whole SK8MAFIA team and all my sponsors. Thank you guys so much, really, everybody.
What's the future like for Alexis Ramirez?
Keep skating, keep posting Instagram clips for you all. Just keep filming for more parts and more videos to come out. Have a couple things coming out soon that I am super hyped on.
Any advice to anyone?
Keep skating every day and don't let the haters get to you because haters are going to hate no matter what. Just follow your dreams and remember shit happens sometimes but you just have to try your hardest and do what you love.
That's some great advice.
Thanks, Zane [laughs].
Hell yeah, dude. I can't thank you enough. You killed it.
Thank you so much for the support.
Trying to get some Little Caesars?
Hell yeah, I'm down, [laughs].
Participants: Alexis Ramirez
Photography: Joey Shigeo & Mike Blabac
Art Design: Joel Vandruff
Interview: Zane Foley