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Mike Ogas Talks Skateboarding

By: Simon

Want to get more air on your ollie? Wanna know if Avril Lavigne's a skateboarding poser? I recently snagged the answers, and picked up some other skate tips, when I chatted with pro skateboard instructor, Mike Ogas.

Simon: So, when did you start skateboarding and how did you manage to make skateboarding your job?
Mike: I started skating when I was seven or eight years old. I got a board from my dad for my birthday. For the first few years, I just kind of messed around on my board in my backyard. Then, when I was 14, I made it a lifestyle. I hooked up with some friends who were really good skaters and then I started skating around the streets of Orange County every day. I eventually got sponsored and then got a job teaching skateboarding at a skatepark. I later met up with some people who wanted to put together a skateboarding instruction video and that's when I made Zero to Hero.

Simon: In that video, you give kids tips on becoming better skaters. I'm having problems with my ollie. Any advice?
Mike: The bottom line is practice. It also helps to learn how to do it the right way. Pay attention to other people around you who know how to ollie. Mimic what they do. Make sure your front foot's in the middle of the board and your back foot's on the tail. Timing, and the technique, are everything. In the Zero to Hero DVD - I show you everything. (Nice plug, Mike.)

Simon: What's the worst injury you've ever had while skateboarding?
Mike: I've been extremely lucky. I've banged up my ribs pretty good. I don't know if they were cracked or bruised. All I know is that I couldn't breathe for a couple of weeks. But the worst injury I've ever had is a broken ankle. I ollied off 17 steps and landed on my board and broke it. My foot hit the ground at a weird angle and now I have a metal plate and six screws in my foot.

Simon: Ouch! So, what's the best way for skaters to avoid injuries?
Mike: Always wear a helmet - it'll save your life. Wear knee pads and elbow pads too. It's also important to learn how to fall.

Simon: I heard you played a skateboarder in music videos for Avril Lavigne and Justin Timberlake. So, let's hear it, Mike. Can Avril really skateboard or is she just a poser?
Mike: Yes, she can skateboard. I wouldn't say she's good - but she does know how to skate. She's got her stuff going on.

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