Very few times in your life, you will run into people who will make a lasting impact on you and your perception on the world. They may not always be the person you expect. In this case, it was a young hispanic kid who used his humor to get through every minute of every day. Not to say he never took anything seriously, but... well yeah he pretty much never took anything seriously. Which was inspirational for me to be around, because sometimes shit just really ain't that serious.
Skateboarder - Photographer - Comedian - Cat Lover - Great Human
The first time I met Ricardo Aparicio was at his niece's birthday party, I think he was like 15 or 16 years old. He was a pretty funny kid, but I was closer to his older brother at the time who I worked with. His brother went on and got a job somewhere else, and Ricardo ended up working with me. The thing that stood out to me was his ability to make me genuinely laugh. Most of the time at work I just laugh at people's stupid ass jokes because I feel obligated too. But this kid was really fucking hilarious, even when he wasn't trying to be. He lightened up every situation, no matter how stressful work got.
As he has gotten older, it has been fun to watch him continue to be himself and make an impact on others. I know he's probably reading this like "This doesn't describe me at all, I'm just a normal ass dude." But it's a front he puts on, he really is a nice guy with good intentions and cares about others I don't care what he says. When I started this series of interviews, I knew Ricardo was someone who would be a fun read for y'all.
How it all started
Ricardo is a young 24 year old who was born and raised in Salida, California. Through the years, I have heard people talk a lot of shit about the people from the Modesto/Salida/Ceres area. But honestly, some of the most unique people I have ever met are from there. The diversity this area offers allows the people to connect with people of all races, backgrounds, and classes.
Being the youngest of all his siblings helped shape him into the man he is today, kinda. When I asked him what it was like, he said "As the youngest you’re kind of house bitch aha I’ll tell you what, I am so good at watching people play video games." It's pretty funny imagining him just sitting there never being allowed to play, but that's how it works when you're the youngest. He still has family there for him, even if they probably made him feel like he never belonged and that he should just find a new family. (That's sarcasm, but he gets it)
The power of skateboarding
As a young kid, he fell in love with skateboarding. It all started with video games ironically, he would play Tony Hawk Pro Skater with his best bud Devin. He specifically remembered a time when he was walking home and saw some older kids skateboarding in real life, and he used his knowledge he got from the game to help him sound cool and seek acceptance. He never viewed skateboarding as something that was tangible, but he would soon find out how much it could change his life.
Skateboarding created characteristics within Ricardo that would mold a carefree kid into a compulsive worker. He would spend hours trying to perfect tricks on his board, never stopping until he felt that he had succeeded. It reminded me of the traits of Kobe Bryant, just an unbelievable amount of time dedicated to perfecting his craft until it was right to him.
But one of the things that stood out to me was his use of the word "brotherhood." He treated the people he would hang out and skate with as his second family. Just learning how to navigate through life as a young kid, and trying to talk to girls which I'm sure he probably failed at multiple times. He has since improved his game, and that is an inspiration. It shows anything is truly possible. But seriously, his building of relationships and just learning how to grind out there in the streets gave him an edge that allowed him to be successful in any atmosphere.
I asked Ricardo who some of his biggest influencers in skateboarding and life were and his answer was simple, yet insightful. He said "In life, I am not sure. Just anyone who I've ever met that were themselves. I really like people." If you've ever met Ricardo, you know he really means that, and that shit is deeper than even he realizes. The day and age we live in, people glorify famous people like they are god-like figures or are viewed as role models, when in reality it's the everyday people who go through the same bullshit we have to go through everyday that are the true role models.
He has created a platform to share with the world his vision of skateboarding. Whether it's him behind the camera getting some dope ass photos or videos, or him gripping a brand new board, or him writing about some dope kids he's met at the park. His website has inspired me to grind harder, and his photos give us an insight to how intricate this sport really is. Droid is just the beginning for Ricardo, and the world will soon know that it is more than just about skateboarding, it's about life.
Just like in many sports, you can find something relatable from skateboarding and show how it translates to the real world. Ricardo was able to find the words to describe it when he said, "Trial and error. It starts creating patience. It forces you to really take in self-awareness and think about what you got to do yourself to get the result you need." Practice makes perfect. It may not make you into the greatest at whatever it is that you're doing, but it'll definitely help you master your craft and perform at your highest potential. Failure is just a lesson, it's what we do after failure that defines us.
Being a part of a community is vital in how we change the future of our country and how we influence the youth. Ricardo has been a part of a group that has been building a skatepark in Woodland to create a new place for people to skateboard and just hang out. I remember him always telling him about skating in vacant parking lots, downtown on weekends, and other random spots that he probably wasn't supposed to be skating at. So to hear that he is doing something for the future of skateboarding, and for the kids who need a place to chill is pretty dope.
His website is an escape from reality. It allows the viewer to see a side of skateboarding they may not be accustomed too. A view through the lens has given us a glimpse into what is like to build a skatepark, and the challenges that come with it. It takes an entire community to come together for a project, and Ricardo is an important piece to that puzzle.
The thing that caught my attention most from our interview was when I asked him how the sport of skateboarding could help build a better future for the youth. Instead of giving me some fluffy bullshit answer, he was straight-forward and honest.
Well what if it isn’t? The thing about skateboarding is that, it’s not like karate
This kid just gets it, that’s the best way I can describe it. He understands that life is complex, and sometimes it's better to see things as they are instead of trying to sugar coat everything. He never takes things too seriously, yet he knows how serious everything he does is. He helped me realize a few things about myself throughout my time knowing him, and I needed to share it with you all.
The only way to get through this bullshit we call life is to laugh through it all. Not to say it's all one big joke, but I mean Donald Trump is our president for Christ's sake, that's the biggest joke of them all. Ricardo is better than Donald Trump, and if you ever get the chance to have a conversation with him and you disagree with that then you're just a douche.
If you would like to read the full transcript of our conversation, read below!
● Introduce yourself, your name, where you’re from, etc. Give people a little introduction to
who you are and what you do
○ Whats up man, my name is Ricardo Aparicio I am 24. I’m from Salida, California but currently live in Davis. I am a full-time shift supervisor at Starbucks and part time student in Woodland, which is just under 10 miles from where I live. If I’m not at school work or with my girlfriend its safe to say I am skateboarding with my friends. Right now, I’m sponsored by New Culture Clothing.
● What is like being the funniest person that I have ever met?
○ Well for beginners it’s flattering
● What it is like being the youngest of all your siblings?
○ You know it becomes whatever as you get older. When I was young though I remember it being shitty. As the youngest you’re kind of house bitch aha I’ll tell you what, I am so good at watching people play video games.
● When did you fall in love with skateboarding?
○ I was in 3 rd grade. Every day I would go around the corner to my best friend’s (Devin Montarbo) house and play Tony Hawk. This would happen every day! One of those days I was walking home to catch some of the neighbor kids hanging out at the curb practicing 50-50’s. You know it’s weird too, up until that point I was playing Tony Hawk every day and skateboarding never seemed to be tangible. It wasn’t a real thing to me till I saw these kids doing it. One of those kids was in middle school teaching the younger kids. I came up and I knew the lingo. I’m sure he thought I was cool because of it aha but yeah after that day I hung out with those guys for weeks just watching them skate. Until I went to friend’s house and pretty much begged him to give me his skateboard. The rest from there is just the rest of life.
● How did skateboarding help shape you as a person at a young age?
○ Yeah most definitely! It made me super compulsive. Learning to skate was so hard, still is. Spending countless hours in the front yard just to learn pop shove its and ollies. That took all my time! I didn’t care about homework or school. I just needed to skate. It was everything! Plus I had my friends. All of us were there at the park, in the streets, shop lifting together and learning how to talk to girls together. I think that’s what I take most, the brotherhood. I can’t imagine ever building or learning how to build relationships that I’ve built through skateboarding. Seriously, to this day there’s something about being a skater to other skaters that they just get. You can go to the skatepark alone and probably just hang out the with anyone there and it’ll be lit.
● Who are some of your biggest influences, either in life or in skateboarding?
○ Man, that’s a god one. In skateboarding it would have to be Rodney Mullen and Jerry Hsu. Rodney Mullen because well, if you know skateboarding you would know it’s because of him. I really like Jerry a lot too because he’s not some skate superstar. To me he was the first pro skater that made a career in skateboarding a real thing. He was just Jerry, he killed it. In life, I am not sure. Just anyone who I’ve ever met that we’re themselves. I really like people.
● What have you learned from skateboarding that has translated to the “Real World”
○ Trial and error. It starts creating patience. It forces you to really take in self-awareness and think about what you got to do yourself to get the result you need.
● I’ve heard your trying to help build a skatepark in the Sacramento area. How is that
Woodland, just 12 miles from the Sacramento airport. I have to give that credit to Jose Fierro my sponsor. The first couple day I helped with clean but with both school and work I get out there like at 10:30 the lights go out at 11 some thing you know. Jose is the one who is really making sure to spend time out there. He’s mixing in the cement and doing mold. Huge shout out to him! The whole community is so appreciative of what’s going on. He’s out there right now as I type this. Man much love to him really.
● Why is it important to give the youth a safe place to skateboard?
○ The kids are going to be alright, I mean honestly its hard to find a legit spot to thrash and having a safe skate place really helps. I like to believe what Jose has started is inspiring people to skate. Showing them that there is a place to this. At the same time if it wasn’t happening you’d would still see kids out in the street getting some real raw street footage. Cuz that is what’s it about. I feel like the skate park is the homies aha we only get few hours in between our real life to skate. That’s not enough time to stretch out and kill a street spot.
● In your mind, how can the sport of skateboarding help build a better future for our youth?
○ Well what if it isn’t? The thing about skateboarding is that, it’s not like karate where its intentions are made for focus and discipline. That just happens to be a side effect. Its roots and founded in rebellion, and non-conformality. Some of the greatest skaters struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. What makes it great is that its not done for anyone besides the skater doing it. Beauty in the eye of the beholder type deal. You take what you can from it and if you take nothing from it, skateboarding won’t mind.
● What are your next steps in your skateboarding career?
○ Career?!?! Aha that’s a very romantic view of what skateboarding is to me. Uhm nothing really, I just want to keep documenting it. Skateboarding has given me so much and I have something show for it when the wheels fall off. Until then just hanging around, summer contest. Maybe I can Amateur in a few but I am already 24, man am aha
● What advice do you have for people who want to perfect their craft, whatever it may be?
○ Just keep on keeping on. Things will change, and other things will stay the same. As long you’re being yourself you cant be wrong! But let’s not get carried away that’s doesn’t mean you’re not going to make mistakes being yourself. Does that make sense? I hope, that is going on my tombstone.
● Talk about what you’ve got coming up for the website.
○ Droidskatemag.weebly.com ! I’m super excited to have this running. This is my window to world! There is so much going on in skateboarding and this where you can see what’s going on on my side, check out every few days! New photos constantly and some video projects in the works.
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.