Featured Rider: Javier Tato


Enjoy this dope conversation with La Banda’s downhill smurf – Javi. He tells us about skating in Madrid, his adventures last season and making skate movies.

Las cuestas 2013, picture by Monkey Mike

Hola Javier! How are you?
Hey, I’m fine! I just ran over a dog yesterday, but he is okay. It was just a random dog, he tried to attack me while I was turning into a corner.

Driving or skating?
I fell too, it was very painfull flying to the sky, but I’m okay.

Is that the worst accident you’ve had while skating?
I’ve had more serious crashes. One of ’em was in Tuixent last year, I destroyed my knee and my shoulder and I had to stop skating (it was on the last evening). I also had a crash when I was doing tricks on my dervish, I broke my meniscus and I had surgery

Do you have a robotic knee now?
Haha, no! I just had surgery, they just removed a part of my meniscus (left knee).

Los ¦ngeles de San rafael, 2013 picture by Monkey Mike

When did you start skating?
2 years ago, almost 3 now. I started with an old sector nine model doing tricks. After that I got a loaded dervish, I kept doing tricks, and after that, I bought a rayne avenger then started to freeriding and downhill!

What made you into going fast?
First time I went “fast” was in my home town, a 62 km/h course, I was pretty scared. My friend Rolando Calderon wanted to start  downhill, so I followed him. But I got into serious downhill with Rafa and Tyler.

You never had a skateboard as a kid?
When I was 6, I had rollerblades and I had a board but I didn’t like it. I liked the rollerblades too much.

Have you given up that filthy habit?
I stopped when i was 14, hehe.

How did you find the light?
It wasnt really a concrete day, it was kinda progressive. Rolando just told me,”if you like to surf or snowboard, you should try  longboarding”. Another friend called Jose sold me a sector nine and I really liked it. We started “Lagartproductions”, making videos and skating too much. They both stopped skating by the way, so I’m “alone” now.

Freeride o inferno 2013 picture by Alejandra Cárdenas

What sort of work do you do behind the camera?
In my first year I focused on “clear filming” or clear style, like trying to do a great job with shoots and stuff, now I focus my filming style on showing skills of riding, I don’t care that much about “beauty”.

What sort of camera work do you enjoy most?
Follow shots!

Do you consider yourself a film-maker?
Not really, I just love making videos. Editing and filming is so much fun for me, I enjoy it a lot even the crashes (when they are not hard, and when the person is alright of course).

What’s the most important thing to capture when filming a skater?
1-Speed 2-Style 3-Passion.

How have the videos you make evolved in the last few years?
I started with beauty and nice shots and now I’m focusing on the rider’s part. But I’m considering making pretty videos mixed with talented riders and stuff. The problem is that it takes a lot of time and I’m a very impatient person, that’s probably why my style of filming is changing. Also, I’m making the vids as short as possible.

Salzadella freeride 2013, picture by Ivan González

When did you find others to skate with?
Longboarding is a sport in which you meet  a lot of people from different places, we just started to skate some spots around Madrid and we met people like Rafa Garrido, Tyler Harrington, Jorge Ualak and others. When my friends stopped skating, I skated alone till I started to skate with Rafa and Tyler.

Who is Tyler?
Tyler is a mad guy and very good friend, he shreds hard and he likes skating open roads,. He has a lot of experience on open roads, and its really nice to learn from somebody that has been skating for so long.

Do you still make videos?
Yes! I still make videos, but not for lagart productions. Now I make videos for Seismic and for “La Banda crew”.

What’s Madrid like for skating?
If you don’t like to do tricks, and you like to do Downhill, town sucks! But there are some dope freeriding and downhill spots around Madrid, not very far away, 20-50 minutes away! We have some sick spots.

How is the community in your city?
Pretty good, I really love it, especially “La Banda crew” – RULES!

What is La Banda?
La Banda is the most awesome community/group of friends/centre of fun that you may find around here. All of us love skateboarding and having fun, and that is all about us.

Velefique freeride 2012, picture by Rafa Ordovás

Who is us?
We are like 15 peeps right now, but there are people constantly joining us. La Banda was created by Luis Villaamil and Eduardo Cordero. These guys shred really hard! It’s an open group of fun and everyone is invited to skate and shred with us anytime!!

Do you have a gang uniform?
Not… YET!

How did going fast change skating for you?
That’s a pretty good question. When I started freerding, I focused on doing great tricks as fast as possible and many of them in the same run to make really nice videos. At this point, I’m focused on freeriding/downhil at the same time (if this is possible) down a nice course with nice hairpins and curves, mixing standups and predrifts.

Do you have an ideal course?
Of course I have one! The “inferno” which is in Vigo (Galicia) – North of Spain, the most amazing spot that you can find.

What’s so good about it?
It has great curves, speed, hairpins, I would say it has everything. VERY gnarly course, you can learn to do everything you want there.

Where is Spanish downhill heaven?
Everywhere! Spain is full of cool spots! I would say Spain is the downhill heaven haha,

Las cuestas 2012, Picture By Teco (Pablo Salto-Weis)

When did you first travel outside Madrid to chase speed?
First time was in Colorado, April 2012, and after that my first freeride, Tuixent, July of 2012 I remember that I just got my precision trucks and my helmet before that, and I was pretty stoked!

How was Colorado?
Colorado was AWESOME. I spent almost all my time filming the riders out there, and had a chance to skate awesome roads like Lookout mountain too. Seismic staff were the most amazing people I ever met especially Daniel Gesmer, Jilli Bethany, Lanny Norris and Laura Frade. Also the riders, Shaquille James, Dre Nubine, Brian Lugbill, Josh Mallin, Devon Reece. I had a great time and I will be back VERY soon!

What stuff did you get up to in 2011?
 Learnt lots of tricks, and developed my own ride. I was very focused on different stuff in 2011 – beginning of 2012  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmIIKU_pRks

How did you find the Tato ride?
Tato ride just came when I started to skate with Tyler and Rafa and La banda, all my vision of longboarding has changed.

What is your vision of longboarding now?
Have fun, travel around mountains with friends, have such a nice time, seeing Villaamil shred, seeing how Tyler kicks me out of the road because he always want to pass me on the most scary corners, seeing Gustavo doing standups on aspahlt changes. You know, I wake up early in the morning to skateboard, thinking about how awesome the day will be… that’s my vision!

Freeride O inferno 2013 picture by IXO boards

What setups did you play with in 2011?
Paris trucks, Seismic wheels, Tekton bearings and Rayne avenger, I’ve been riding the Aveger for SO long but now I just joined IXO boards. Something BIG is approaching!

What was the most important thing you learnt then?
Longboarding has shown me a lot of things, but specially in life. I’ve met a lot of people and I’ve had a lot of experiences, so many lessons learned, and I’m sure all of ’em are gonna help me in life. Every time I crash I learn something!

When did you first get sponsored?
It was in 2011, not sure of the date! I think it was October when I joined Seismic.

How did you join such a big team?
I made a video with the Avalon, my favourite wheel at the moment. It is a really sharp lip wheel, we had doubts about how they would work, but they were awesome. I made a video with them and I sent it to Seismic! Rolando and Suiso helped me film it and to send it to Seismic!

What was the experience of your first freeride like?
Its was pretty scary at the start going like 80 km/h. I just did that once before that, so I didn’t have much experience. On the last day, when I got comfortable with it, it was awesome!

freeride O Inferno 2013 picture by IXO boards (2)

How was the rest of the 2012 season for you?
It was AWESOME. I had so much fun, I went to 2 IGSA races – Padova and Lagoa Azul. Padova wasn’t really good in terms of racing, so many pro riders out there and I didn’t get much experience. I have to say that in that moment I learned a lot of things, how to low footbreak, how to take really good lines. It was my first race, funny stuff.
Second one was in Portugal, that was DOPE, and I felt like I gained experience in that race, it was quite fun and I did much better racing there. Crashed in my second heat when I was second, but anyway it was really fun and I learned a lot of things from there. I had  a lot of heats since we raced to qualify method, that gave riders a lot of race experience!

You missed seeing Rafa on the podium!
Rafa is Fucking dope, I was filming the final heat and all of us were really stoked on it, it was a really awesome moment for all of us! You have seen nothing yet, wait to see Rafa this coming season!

Why did it take so long for it to happen for Spain?
I really don’t know. Racing is racing but actually, Mikel Echegara KILLS IT on street and classic Luge, don’t forget it! And also, in 2011, Pablo Fouz Rey made some podiums in juniors!

What was the highlight of your season?
Velefique, of course, I’ve never had as much fun as I had there.

IGSA Lagoa Azul 2012, picture by Lachicadelacurva Longskates

What was your race setup?
Ixo deck, seismic wheels, tekton bearings, Bear trucks!
I have to say that I’m really happy with this gear, especially with Seismic and IXO. Probably the most advanced brands in terms of technology and innovation!

What is IXO?
IXO is a new SPANISH brand that makes Carbon stuff, Longboards, Protection. Also high quality accessories, like precision washers, and soon… more!

Why are technology and innovation important?
Longboarding technology is growing by giant steps. Every day brands come out with new awesome products and IXO & Seismic are making some of the best products out there.

How will innovation in board making change the game?
No material is more rigid than carbon, nor lighter, that will give riders less inertia in curves because of the deck’s light weight.

What are your plans for this year?
I’m going to 3 IDF races in Europe and Almatbrieb, its gonna be dope!

What do you do when you’re not skating?
I study engineering, so I spend almost all my time studying. When I get a chance to go to my home town with my parents, I surf and stuff! I did Trial Bike but left it some time ago! Engineering takes a lot of time, so I had to leave some of the things that I used to do!

Is there a future with your Engineering and skating combined?
Hopefully, yes! I have some good plans for my future.

Pablo Salto-Weis photo

Choose 3 numbers between 1-40.
33, 9, 22

30 – In a Zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice?

9 – What song would you like played at your funeral?
Back in Black – ACDC

22 – Do you have any hidden talents?
I don’t know!

It’s been really fun chatting to you bro, hopefully see you again somewhere this summer!
We will meet for sure dude! Its gonna be dope!

Any thanks?
Thanks to Seismic Skate Systems, they are fucking awesome, also thanks to IXO boards, and of course, La banda Crew!!


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