Chaz Ortiz InterviewBy: Simon
Over the summer, this 14 year-old phenom has taken the action sports world by storm. This rising skateboarder took first place at the AST Dew Tour in Salt Lake City and won a silver medal at the X-Games. Currently ranked second overall behind Ryan Sheckler at the Dew Tour, Chaz has a chance to win the 2008 Dew Cup next week at the Tour's final stop in Orlando! Kidzworld was able to catch up with the rising superstar to talk Dew Tour, school and just about everything else!
Simon: You are currently in second place in the Dew Tour. Have you been surprised with your success?
Chaz Ortiz: Yeah, I mean, I thought I was going to skate the contest and do OK and maybe get on the podium once. I didn't know all this was going to happen at all. What happened was better than I asked for.
Simon: What has been the highlight of the Tour so far?
Chaz Ortiz: My highlight was winning Salt Lake. It was the biggest crowd in skateboard history. And that alone was even incredible being in front of all those people watching. When they called my name I was speechless, just like shocked. I knew I did good and I knew it was my day I guess. I was really happy, I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Simon: Do you get nervous or anxious before competitions, especially in front of all those people?
Chaz Ortiz: Not anymore, I used to a little bit, but now I'm getting used to it. I mean, I just skate. I don't think about that stuff, I just go out and skate and just pretend I'm doing my thing at the skatepark.
Simon: How has life changed for you in the past year ever since your burst onto the scene? Is it weird giving out autographs now?
Chaz Ortiz: It hasn't changed that much, just like all the traveling basically and a lot of new sponsors approaching. Other than that, I haven't changed, I'm still a regular kid at the skatepark just skating with all my friends.
Simon: You have a big weekend coming up soon with the last Dew Tour stop in Orlando. What are your feelings coming into that?
Chaz Ortiz: Well I'm just going to go in there and do what I do at any other stop. Just go in there and practice and get my stuff down. I mean, whatever happens. If I get last place, I don't mind because I'm just having a good time, but if I won it, it would be even better (laughs).
Simon: Do you think you'll win it?
Chaz Ortiz: I don't know, it's a possibility. If I land all the tricks I want to and more, it could happen. Everybody skates super well on the Tour. It all depends on who's hot and who's got their stuff down.
Simon: Ryan Sheckler is 8 points ahead of you coming into the final stop. Is there a friendly rivalry going on? Any trash talking?
Chaz Ortiz: Oh no way. He's super cool. I mean, after Salt Lake we went out for dinner and stuff, he's just super cool. We're just friends, but when it comes down to competition, we just take it more seriously.
Simon: So does he or guys like Paul Rodriguez give you a lot of advice?
Chaz Ortiz: Oh yeah! I mean I ask them for advice, they ask me. It all works out good. I hang out with both of them.
Simon: Do you feel any pressure to live up to Ryan, because a lot of people are calling you the next coming of him?
Chaz Ortiz: No, I just be myself. If I'm doing good, I'm really happy. I'm just trying to keep a good head on my shoulders and just keep skating how I'm skating and hopefully things will work out great.
Simon: Let's rewind time a little, what made you want to get into skateboarding?
Chaz Ortiz: Well I saw my cousins skateboarding. They were my role models basically. And I was like, '"Whoa I want to try that, I want to try it!" They got me a board one day when I was six and I was like, "Thanks!" And I was always out trying to skate and it was the funnest thing I'd ever done. So I just kept skating and my dad would take me to skate parks and I would get better and better and never stopped from there.