WORDS BY STUART GOMEZ
The man, the myth, the Figgy. Every time Justin Figueroa sets out to film a clip, you can see a wild-eyed determination on his face. The way he stares at a rail, with furrowed brow, it's clear that he's thinking, "It's either you or me, rail. And it sure as hell ain't gonna be me." As often as not, the ultimatum goes both ways—with blood on the hubba, and a crumpled Figgy at the landing. His latest part in MADE Chapter Two is no different. Bruised and battered, clothes torn and tattered, Figgy got some incredible do-or-die footage.
Figgy's had to take some major licks in order to get to the level he's at, but it's a level that gained him entry into Baker and Emerica. Being with these teams means that the standards stay high; there's no "good enough" anymore, it's all about meeting or beating your own personal best. That's a philosophy that we can all relate to… in a way. Figgy prefers to reach for the top in one fell swoop, as opposed to taking incremental baby steps. His body is paying the price right now, but the results are worth their weight in gold.
INTERVIEW BY ATIBA
How did you get on Emerica?
“Jetty Alejandro”—Jeff Henderson—he works for Lagunitas now. He’s a big, happy camper! He got Collin, Westgate…
What’s your favorite pair of Emericas?
It changes every couple of years. I started off with the Reynolds 3s then went to the Leos. I skated the Leos for a good three years. Solid amount of heel bruises, but I back ‘em! From there, the Cruisers. I just like shoes that make my feet feel small ‘cause they’re too big to be on a skateboard!
What size foot do you have?
I’m a size twelve, but I could probably squeeze into elevens.
Did you get to pick your own song?
Yeah. It’s kinda like, you work your neck off with a song in mind—something that gets you stoked. I don’t know, but it’s gotta flow with the rest of the songs in the video. Pretty much [Jon] Miner has to back it. And you’re not stoked if Miner doesn’t back it! You gotta find a happy medium in there.
This one—me and him definitely worked together. We generally like the same music so it wasn’t too bad for me.
How long did you film for your part?
Three really, really long years of an embarrassing amount of injuries. Like, the track record I’ve had with injuries compared to other skaters is embarrassing.
How many surgeries?
I can’t even count! But my injuries are so random and like…
They’re very random.
…freak accidents. And it’s hard to sleep at night. The fuckin’ injuries that I’ve gone through for this video—I don’t know if any other people go through the shit that I’m going through—fuckin’ ribs and lungs and all this shit! Not to sound whatever, talk about myself like that, but I’ve been getting fuckin’ rocked! Dislocated elbows, fingers, just random shit. I don’t see anybody else slipping this hard!
What trick was the hardest battle?
There was a lot, I don’t know. But I’ve been back and trying to get [some] that I just haven’t pulled. I’ve gone on random trips, spots that I’ll probably never go back to—kinked rails and shit. But I feel like every trick that I get I have to work so fuckin’ hard for. I have to go back to the spot at least a few times.
What do you like the most about the camaraderie with the team?
Everyone is under the same amount of pressure. I feel like everyone on Emerica puts a lot of pressure on themselves. The bar is really high and everyone holds themselves to such high standards and I think everyone kinda relates on that. It makes it easier because you’re not the only one.
36 full-bleed pages of Figgy and the rest of the stars of Emerica's MADE: Chapter Two, in The Skateboard Mag 152
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