Interview: Stuart Gomez
Did you just get off work? What’s your job?
Randomly, I just work for this lady’s home business; she has a makeup company. I was on Craigslist, just trying to look for something. I’ve always worked restaurant jobs and I’d quit. For skating, it’s hard.
On Craigslist it said “ticketing and packaging,” and I talked to the lady and basically I go in there and package makeup for her to ship out of her house. Like a makeup company, she goes through manufacturers and chooses her style. I out hundreds and hundreds of price stickers on makeup and package it for her, an older lady. It’s so perfect, though! So fun and funny. She’s cool with me skating and stuff. That’s pretty much what I do a few days a week.
Restaurant work is a tough racket when you’re trying to still have energy to skate.
I used to wash dishes and be a busboy.
That’s hard work.
Dude, it’s just like a lot! It’s simple, but at the same time there’s just so much going on that by the end of your shift you’re just like, Oh my god… You just sit down and hope to never touch a dish again! It’s just so much repetition and gross work. [laughs]
If I knew I was washing dishes that night there’s no way I could skate. A few hours into that shift you’re going to be trying to sit down in the restaurant. It’s always something…
When did you move here from Virginia?
I moved to California around four years ago. I first moved to LA for a few months, had a couple of friends there, then I’ve been in Long Beach ever since.
How do you like Long Beach?
Dude, I love it! So many friends live in the neighborhood. In Virginia it’s like all my friends are spread out compared to Long Beach, where I have my main friends all down the street.
Compared to Virginia, all my friends live in one neighborhood instead of driving 15-20 minutes to everybody’s house. I can just skate down the street. I love it!
Long Beach is more laidback than LA, but there’s still a lot goin’ on. Especially with skating: you can skate all day, whether it’s Cherry [Park] or just trying to get out in the streets.
How did you start skating in Virginia?
I think I was in fourth or fifth grade, and I’d always play the classic sports but I’d also skate a little piece of crap board.
I just remember the kids in my neighborhood that were like the little badass kids, and I was younger than them. They all skated, and I was like, That’s what’s up. I would just follow them around when they’d go skate. I was probably ten. I just turned 23 in May.
You’ve been skating most of your life already!
Whoa, I never really think about it, but yeah. As time goes on, you realize, Oh wait, it’s more fun skateboarding than not!
What’s the main reason you came to California?
Honestly, a lot of random things just happened. But, basically I was in school—in freshman year of college in Virginia—and I was starting to get boards from Foundation.
I was skating every day but in Virginia it’s just hard. What really did it is that I was really miserable in school and one of my best friends that I lived with, who I would skate with all the time, passed away. And he was someone who was really inspiring to me. He was always pushing me with skating; we would film stuff all the time. When he passed away I was so done with school and I seriously just wanted to go do what I want, in a sense. I knew California was just happening and I had to get out of there, really. I had no choice. [laughs]
There just wasn’t much going on. I couldn’t live at home if I wasn’t going to school.
I had a couple of friends out here, and they told me I should just come out here. I ended up kinda gettin’ hurt, too, in the midst of leaving school. I was just like, Okay dude, once I’m better I’m moving out there. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was going crazy, you know?
Something tragic happened but it motivated you to do something positive…
Completely, dude. My friend, his name is Grant Forbes, he is just the biggest inspiration for everything I do today. He was the real motivational push, really.
It’s a terrible thing. He was just like the juice for everything. When that happened, I was just like, in honor of Grant anyway, keep going and try to do stuff with skating, and the other stuff we were all into. It is so motivating. Any time I try a trick or anything, it runs through my head, “All right, we know this is like work.”
Does that also, in some way, inspire you to give one-hundred-percent when filming or shooting a photo?
One-hundred-percent. Because when I started going skating with him, when we started going on trips and film for “Pseudo Visions” [his Virginia crew] edits, he’d be like, “Hey let’s go to Richmond!” And we’d have a blast. He was the driving force; I always keep him in mind. Like, this is what we’re doing this for. It’s not just for me, it’s above that.
I talked with Bart Jones, the photographer, and he said that you’re always down to shoot stuff.
I have so much fun with the whole thing! My best friend back in Virginia, Stephen Stalnecker—now that’s a name—shot photos when we were younger. We had no one around to film so me and him would always go out and shoot photos. The process is just so fun to go out and just do something! Anything skating, I just think that it’s all fun. Every aspect: whether it’s a photo, which is just the coolest thing to me; or seeing the footage; or just landing it. I really am too obsessed with it, I guess! [laughs]
Tell me about some of these legendary hijinx you’re known for. For example, tell me about the time you spread your butt cheeks on your aunt’s sandwich.
Oh… my… gosh. I really don’t even know if I can go into detail about that. [laughs] I don’t know, dude. I’m realizing this as I get older: I would never do any really troublesome shit now. When I was younger I would never want to be on my parents’ bad sides. I would get in trouble and it would be terrible—I couldn’t do what I want.
But… I was a prankster. And I don’t know why but I would prank my aunt. I would never really get away with it. I would prank her so much! One time there was a sandwich—I pranked the sandwich. I filmed it and showed it her [after she ate it] and she laughed so hard she pissed herself.
I was like thirteen and I was always doing little mischievous shit. Looking back, it’s like, Dude what are you doing?! If my little brother did that, I would beat him up or something. They were just little things just to get a thrill, but nothing too crazy. But yeah: prankster is what I would call myself. I never got into too much trouble; it was all in good fun. Nothing serious, thank God!
When did you get on Birdhouse?
I think it was a year ago now. Last summer. I’ve been skating with [Birdhouse TM] Adam Mills and those guys for years now, since I moved out to California. Before I started getting Birdhouse boards, I went on a couple of trips just as a friend.
A year ago, my buddy Mills mentioned some stuff to me. I wasn’t even like, Oh I could get boards from them. I was just like, Those are my dogs!
Ever since then it has just been so sick! Just natural and fun.
Have you been filming for Saturdays [new Birdhouse video]?
Just going out with Mills. When I started getting boards I was still recovering from knee surgery. But I’m just trying to film with them as much as I can. I’ve honestly never had a conversation with Mills about the new Birdhouse video, though. I’ve just been trying to get stuff with them. The video is coming soon. It’s coming in hot!
Can you share any details about how you started hanging out with Bruce Willis’s daughter?
To be honest, I really only hung out with her for one day! [laughs] We just hung out. But yeah… that’s hijinx. [laughs]
What are your plans for this year?
I just want to stay skating, just in the streets. That’s the funnest to me. No real big plans; just keep it up!
The Skateboard Mag issue #162 is available now!