Updated: Nov 30, 2017
Freddie when did skateboarding enter your life?
I started skateboarding at fourteen after I recovered from an accident I had while BMX racing. My neighbors John Ernst and Scott DuVaul had boards that I tried and then my dad made me a board out of plexiglas. There were a bunch of pipes in Anaheim that we went to skate and from there we went over to the infamous Flower Street. The first parks I skated were Upland's Pipeline, which is where I learned to pump, and Concrete Wave. At the time, Mike Hirsch was a ripper at the CW that could pump the deep end of the pool and I was determined to learn that. I did and that was when I got the bug.
What were your local skate spots and whom did you session with?
In the early days I skated Flower Street with John Ernst, Eddie Meek, Mark Bailey and Kent Douglas. I remember skating Concrete Wave with Skip and Martin Disney, Mike and Steve Hirsch. We use to go to Skatopia and Skateboard Odyssey as well. As time went on the "Big O" was my home park. I was fortunate to skate with the Hirsch brothers, Jim Gray, Janice Behrmann, David Padhorski, Eddie Meek, Bob Serefin, Teddy Bennett, Neil Blender, Duane Peters, Todd Smoke, Kent Douglass, Jason Richardson, Steve Schneer, Gerry Hurtado.
Photo by Lance Mountain
What stoked you most about skateboarding?
Learning something new and skating with heroes is always a big stoke. Touring the U.S. with Variflex in the summers of '80 & '81 was a great stoke. Skating Mount Baldy with Steve Alba and Wally Inouye was a huge stoke. My biggest stoke from skateboarding is the lifetime of friendships.
What kind of equipment were you riding prior to getting sponsored by Variflex?
I believe it was Powerflex. I can't really remember exactly what board or wheels I had just before Variflex. I was sponsored by a little shop in Tustin called "Sessions", it was owned by Nick Dragonav. Stacey once gave me a set of Bones wheels. Doug (Pine) Saladino and Dennis Martinez gave me some G&S gear also.
What was it like skating the "BIG O"?
The "Big O" skate park was the best thing that happened to me. It took a while for me to finally get to skate there, but when I did, I never quit. We had all kinds of Pros and sponsored Ams coming through there all the time. It was awesome. I got a job there after high school and ended up being a manager along with Gerry Hurtado, Lenny Sarmiento and the one legged skater Mike Johnson.
Photo by Lance Mountain
When and how did you get asked to ride for Variflex?
Let me first say that I am very fond of Gil and Janet Losi, according to Steve Hirsch, I begged my way onto the team. Since I couldn't quite remember, I asked him and he said we left Powerflex to go over to Variflex. I was doing well in the contests and Gil asked me to join the team. This would probably have been in late 1979.
What did your family think about you and skateboarding?
I don't think my parents understood what the sport was like. I only remember my dad coming to one contest at the "Big O" skate park and my mom and some relatives came to see me skate in the Kona contest.
What are your feelings about skateboarding getting into the Olympics?
Back in the early 80's, there was a push to get skateboarding into the Olympics. We were asked to do a compulsory run. It was foreign to us mostly because it was contrary to our free flowing skate style. I just hope they let the riders continue their free spirit.
How often do you get to skate these days and what do you ride?
I don't really go skate at all lately, but I have a new setup! I just need a good spot to frequent. I just got to skate the park in Eugene, Oregon and it was great. One of my favorite spots is the pool in Malibu.
Variflex Team Riders can you name the guy on the left?
Any last words?
I am truly honored to have been asked for this interview . I just want everyone to understand that because of skateboarding, I have many great friends from some thirty five years ago, when we were all rolling around together. We have a unique family that I will never take for granted. Skateboarding allowed this young black kid in Orange County to tour the U.S. and meet all sorts of people with a common love...skateboarding.
I have to give a big shout out to the Hirsch family. Mr. and Mrs. Hirsch invited me to live with them when my parents divorced and moved back to Florida. This allowed me to continue skating and hence turn pro. We have maintained a relationship that lets me refer to them as mom and dad. I love the Hirsch family in its entirety. Steve and I still talk often.