Last July 12, New Balance invited pro skaters like Jamie Foy, Franky Villani, and Sanggoe Dharma along with local Filipino skaters Margie Didal, Demit Cuevas, Jeff Gonzales, and Mak Feliciano, for the Asia Skate Tour of their Numeric brand.
Apart from the release of the NM 306 design by Jamie (his first shoe for New Balance’s skate-specific brand), the skaters also attended special meet-and-greets at New Balance Trinoma and GRIND UPTC – and they were surprised by the large reception they got from Filipino fans.
MB Life sat down with Jamie and Margie to talk about skateboarding, and how much their lives have changed since first encountering a board:
Did you guys expect this much people to show up today?
Jamie: I kinda did, I heard it was gonna be a good crowd and it was – they came in hot and super hyped to see us and get their stuff signed, it was really fun.
Margie: I know Filipinos love Jamie and they were waiting for him..
J: And Margie! (both laugh)
The Philippine skating community is growing bigger and faster, as we see today. Do you think it will get even bigger in the next few years?
M: Yeah I think the Philippine skateboarding scene is big, and it’s getting bigger and bigger because they submitted them for the Olympics. Some parents are even interested about their kids taking up skateboarding now. I’m super hyped that the skate scene is getting bigger and being noticed.
Your (Margie’s) popularity boomed because of your gold medal at the Asian Games, how has life been since then?
M: It was scheduled events after scheduled events, and checking the rankings for Olympic qualification. I’m always with Jamie after every event, so yeah I’m super happy about it and getting support from the Philippine government and New Balance – getting to fly out for training. Life has definitely gotten busier, but it’s fine because the skating scene is being noticed now compared to never at all before.
Did you ever think that, when you started skateboarding, you would become a catalyst for the sport’s popularity?
M: It wasn’t even a sport before, skateboarding was just for having fun – even now we’re still having fun – in a good way we’re getting more support and exposure. Skateboarding is just so much fun, you wouldn’t have expected it would become a sport, and it’s changed me and my family’s lives.
What is the best and worst thing about skateboarding?
J: I can’t even think about the worst, but the best is just travelling and skating – we’re like a huge family – you go somewhere new and people are stoked to meet you, and you have something in common; you can go anywhere and there’s always gonna be skateboarding, it’s pretty sick.
M: The worst would probably be getting hurt.
J: Yeah! Definitely getting hurt, and putting your body on the line. But I’d rather do this than anything in the world.
How pivotal is it to wear the right shoes in skateboarding?
J: Skateboarding depends on anyone, it can be a super basic shoe or a super hi-tech show. And throughout the spectrum New Balance has been making shoes for a really long time, so it was pretty easy for them to come in and put the nail on the head. I’ve never really worn New Balances until the new [Numeric] skate line came out, now that I have them on it’s just super comfy; they’ve been killing it, it’s awesome.
Can you give a tip or two to aspiring skateboarders out there?
J: Yeah just do what you wanna do, have fun with your friends, and keep having fun with your skateboard – that’s the way to get anywhere with skateboarding, as long as you’re loving it and having fun, you can take it as far as you want to take it.
M: The only thing I can say is, skateboarding is fun. (both laugh again)
J: Yeah! That’s the reason we got into it, and it’s why we still do it. We’re thankful that we get to take it around the world and share it with everybody, it’s awesome.
How do you guys feel being an inspiration to kids who love skateboarding?
J: It’s pretty crazy ’cause growing up it’s not at all what I thought about, it was just a toy to me. Now that we can take it to the level it has been, share it with everyone, post it on the Internet, and the respect we get from it, it’s really amazing. It’s something I never thought would happen, but I’m glad that it did.
M: For all the young skaters out there who’ve been inspired by pro-skaters like Jamie and I, it feels amazing that we do so, even for skaters of other ages and skaters who stopped for a while but want to come back because they miss the feeling.
Is there a specific age for someone to start skateboarding?
M: No age limit!
J: The right age? I started when I was one. You can start whenever you want. I mean, the younger the better, but there’s no age – start whenever you want. Anyone can do it.
Any message for the female skateboarders out there?
M: Back then male skateboarders dominated the scene, but now girls skaters are growing all over the world. And that’s good, seeing girls coming out for every big event.
J: The progression has been amazing, just seeing it grow from Elissa Steamer who was the first to label girl skaters as simply skaters – there’s no in-between – it’s just the same thing, people out there having fun. It’s been sick, all the contests now, everyone can hang out and do the same thing.
What legacy do you want to leave for Filipino skateboarders?
M: To teach younger generations of skaters, like in a skate clinic, maybe in my hometown. I want to share my talents with everyone.