Skateboarder Tristen Moss’ adolescence was notably different from that of his peers. He’s been a sponsored skater since the age of 12. When his classmates were having sleepovers and playing video games, he was making his mark as an up-and-coming ripper in the Sacramento skate scene. While most boys were picking out tuxedos and corsages for prom, he was getting ready to tour with the San Francisco-based Blood Wizard skateboard company. On the verge of the release of his second video part for the company, Moss continues to lead a life unlike most 20-year-olds.
How did you get into skateboarding?
It was pretty much my dad. I was 8 years old. I just had some janky Nash; this janky classic board that I use to ride on my stomach. I looked up to [John] Cardiel. I saw him skating on Broadway and 21st Street, and I was like, “Dude is fucking awesome.”
What is a typical day like when you are touring with a company like Blood Wizard?
I have been on two Blood Wizard trips to the Northwest trying to skate as many parks as possible. It is pretty much what you would imagine it being. You pile into a van and go for it. You don’t necessarily get a per diem for every day. You are kind of on your own in a way. You pay for some meals; they pay for some meals. They pretty much supply beer, weed, skateboards and a place to stay.
Other than that, dude, when you are on a trip, you never want to leave. It’s so rad. You have no cares in the world. You get to skate every day. You don’t have to go to work or worry about being responsible. It is all fun and games.
How’s the new Blood Wizard video project?
It’s cool. The video is called Wizard, Bloody Wizard. Everyone on the team definitely wants more footage—or at least I do. Pretty much I am just trying to get out there and film as much as possible and make my part the best that I can. I’m trying to step it up from the last video, for sure. With the first video, I was hyped on it, but I rushed to grab my footage from everybody that filmed me. Once it was all put together, it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be.
Do you have any street-skating horror stories?
I don’t know if you would want to hear about running from cops, but we were at the Fourth Avenue light-rail station skating. My friends and I got kicked out by this security guard. He was being a total dick about it, so we went and put our boards in the car and went back to mess with him because he was being such a dick. He ended up calling the light-rail police on us, and we weren’t even skating.
I was really young, so my first instinct was to run, so I ran down the railroad tracks, hopped the fence at Round Table [Pizza], and ran all the way around Land Park until I got around to my mom’s house. They put [my friends] in the back of the cop car and sent a helicopter after me. They were yelling my description over the loudspeaker. When I got home, I found out about [my friends]. The cops thought it was such a waste of money to send a helicopter for a 12-year-old kid for skateboarding.
What do you enjoy outside of skateboarding?
The only thing I really do outside of skating is nerd out on bicycles. I work at a bike shop, College Cyclery. I don’t have a road bike now, but I’m super into old-school vintage road bikes. I like the craftsmanship. Old Italian bikes are made with the highest quality steel.
I think skaters like fixed gears because they are dangerous. It’s similar to skating, in a way. It’s not like a beach cruiser where you have brakes. You are riding a fixed gear with no brakes and constantly pedaling. You have to pay attention to what you are doing because if you fuck up, you’re done. It’s the fear factor involved that makes it popular with skaters.
What are you happy to say you’ve accomplished with skating?
I’m just stoked that I’m still skating and still love it as much as [when] I first started. Some people get over it and stop. I just don’t see myself quitting. There’s always more to learn and every day is like new. The best feeling is learning a new trick, practicing it, nailing it. That feeling you get is like nothing else.