BLADE LIFE: An Interview with Tony Rivituso
From the first day that I met Tony Rivituso, he has been a close friend. His intense, fast-paced, always-fakie-or-switch approach to skating is a stark contrast to his laid-back, mellow and generously kind personality. And over the past year his skating has been speaking for itself, from contests to edits, proving that he is hungry and capable of staking his claim in blading. At the humble age of 26, Tony is by no means a rookie to our sport, and if this is your first look at him, it certainly won’t be your last…
Tony, I met you about a week after my first submission was published by ONE, but right away I knew that at some point I would be writing something about you. Here we are about 10 months later, and well, yeah, what’s up? Why don’t you tell the readers out there a little bit about yourself? What do you do besides rollershredding?
For sure, a lot has happened since we first met. I’ve really just been focused on keeping that momentum rolling. I love to get out of town and travel as much as I can. Skating is the perfect outlet for me to do that. I get to see parts of cities and meet people that I wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise. I’m 26 and have been skating for the better part of 11 years. I would by no means consider myself old, but I feel it more these days. I don’t live an overly eventful life outside of rollerblading. I’m really close to my family. My sister and I hang out regularly. I have the best dog in the world, his name is Dude. Both of my roommates, Brett and Jeremy, skate as well. We all stay pretty busy, but skate together every opportunity we get. Some of our local bars have good shows, you’ll usually catch us at the Griffin or Beauty Bar on Fremont Street. Vegas has a lot of great hiking, so I get out to do that as much as possible. I also enjoy reading, drawing, and a good game of disc golf.
This past year has been huge for you. You won the Phoenix AIL Event in the summer, went on tour, and have kind of been on a roll ever since; why don’t you fill in the details? Sponsorship non-sense and what have you.
I jump at any opportunity to get out of Vegas that I can. I was blessed this year. I would just hear about competitions weeks before the event, and miraculously be able to line up transportation. So many people helped me get around. Due to an unfortunate series of events… well, I’m just going to play the “economy sucks” card, I can’t drive my car. Getting to and from competitions was the determining factor, and everything worked out. I guess that’s where having amazing friends and kick ass sponsors really helps out. Sean from Jin Joint will take care of competition entries, room, food, etc. Kato and JC always help keep my set up nice and fresh. I really wouldn’t have been able to make all this happen this year if it weren’t for all the support that I received. I got to live out my childhood dream and skate Woodward West for the AIL competitions. I’m a park rat at heart, so skating perfect ramps and transitions was beautiful. I had the opportunity to make my way out to Detroit for Bitter Cold Showdown. That was the biggest competition I had ever attended, let alone skated in. I will for sure be going back next year.
What’s the scene like in Vegas these days?
It’s awesome. We have plenty of dudes out here holding it down on the filming and shredding end. We are slowly attracting more and more bladers as time goes by. Our Sunday Night Skate is still going strong. Every Sunday at 7:00, if you’re in Vegas and want to blade, look us up, we have a very hospitable community. Vegas is constantly growing too, so we keep finding new spots regularly. Desert skating is kind of a blessing and a curse. Our spots don’t have to weather the elements, so our street spots are pretty much like park skating. But, what we are utterly lacking is grass next to rails. What we do have, however, is plenty of shitty rock to mess up your bearings.
How’s your sister Shannon doing? Tell her I said “hi.”
She is well, I shall extend your greetings.
Didn’t you tell me some story about someone trying to hit on her during WRS weekend or something, while she was “dating” CJ (Wellsmore)?
I’ll thank you to leave her out of this debacle. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
What was your favorite memory from Bitter Cold this year? And you can’t say Sean from Jin Joint eating the surf-n-turf at White Castle, that shit was mad gross.
Are you serious? I was jealous! He had the privilege of eating it for free, too! That’s a hard question though, there were so many amazing things that happened. Let’s see… could’ve been the moment of relief I had when we were at White Castle that we hadn’t left for Al’s party yet. Dealing with militant cops is always a buzzkill. Seriously though, I was the most excited about the trade show. It really restored my faith in our community’s desire to support the industry; it was incredible! My biggest grom moment was getting props from King Dirty while I was skating. That got me so juiced.
Speaking of Jin Joint, you guys went on tour through California last summer, this year you got some new heads reppin’ the team. (Including ONE SOTY nominee Iain McLeod) What can we expect to see in the next couple of months from JJ and just from you in general?
Sean and I had a heart to heart on this. There is only so much influentially-profound shit that you can do with a clothing company. Mainly the goal with Jin Joint is to get the riders as much exposure as possible. Sean is very helpful in supporting our endeavors. Iain of course is a blessing to the team. His talent is unbelievable. The caliber of skating he delivers on a casual level is an absolute mindfuck. All of this on top of him just being one of the coolest dudes ever. It’s kind of a testament to how far Jin Joint has come since it’s modest beginnings. Jin Joint is now available at Aggressive Mall, big ups to Justin for the support! As far as me, I’m just stacking clips for a few projects right now. I’ll be out there travelling again as soon as contest season starts.
How many times a day do you log onto Be-Mag?
Technically, I rarely ever “log in,” as my username and password are saved. But Be-mag is a guilty pleasure I indulge in far too much.
Fakie Stale 360 / Photo by Jeremy Raff
What do you think it means to be a “professional skater?”
It’s hard to say, considering there are only a handful of rollerbladers out there that can actually make a living off of rollerblading. I would say the ones that are currently successful are doing exactly what they need to do, if not epically more. It’s a grey area I think. Of course, if you are representing a company, there is a certain “etiquette” that must be followed. But how much can really be expected when you are making the same wages as a fast food employee? Personally, I feel it is healthy for myself, and the sport overall, if I can maintain a positive image for what I love to do. Pro or not, it’s every rollerblader’s responsibility to make rolling look fun.
What’s the best city that you’ve ever skated? Like in terms of spots and the overall vibe of the local scene?
I consistently enjoy skating in the OC with my dudes at the RK house. I had a blast when I visited San Francisco few years ago. The most unique was probably when I spent two weeks in St. Louis. I met up with Crazy Tom, who seemed to be the liason for the blading scene there. The majority of the time was spent with my friends who skateboarded taking me to parks where I was the only rollerblader. Being the only rollerblader at a spot isn’t unusual, but these people acted like they had never seen rollerblading before. I was a spectacle everywhere I skated. That was a pretty cool experience.
When you came to Phoenix and stayed with me in December, you fried me up some chicken that would give even Colonel Sanders a culinary boner. What’s the secret recipe?
If I remember correctly, that was you and Chris cooking that. I don’t really think I did much on the cooking end. I do know the breading consisted of “Progresso Italian Recipe” bread crumbs and BBQ chips. Then fry it up ’til your kitchen stank like the dirty south.
You’ve been doing this a long time. What was it that got you into blading?
The Mighty Ducks movie is what got rollerblades on my feet. When I moved to Chino Hills, California from Missouri in ’99, I saw a dude hauling ass down the street and he 180ed off the curb or something… and I was basically like, “I need to do that.” I sold my NES and SNES, mowed a few lawns… and managed to save up enough to get some Oxygen AR 3.1s. I’m pretty sure I wore my skates more than my shoes that summer, and knew from then on that rolling was what I loved to do.
Top 5 video sections of all time?
1. Aaron Feinberg — “Brain_Fear_Gone”
2. Dustin Latimer — “Coup De Tat”
3. Jeff Stockwell — both sections in “Film”
4. Brandon Campbell — “Noir”
5. B.J. Bernhardt — “Under the Influence”
Tony, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, and for coming through with the edit and photos. I turn 21 in June, so who knows, maybe I’ll come hang out in your neck of the woods, we can get down with some strippers and blade Vegas. Anyone you want to thank or shout-out, holla at em’!
You know you always have space on the couch here at the blade house out here in Vegas.
Thank you Ben and everyone at ONE for hooking it up with the interview. I would also like to thank anyone who has supported and motivated me: Mom, Mom, Dad, Shannon, Brett, Jeremy, Kaz, Jimbo, Brandon, Okie, Stangel, Adam and Sean, Kato, Sean T, DERF, Winston, Iain, Alejoh, Dom, CJ, JC, Pez, Dieter, Buller, Raff, Yee, Davy, Schmiib, Stefan, Lang, Dante, Krans, Spencer, Frodo, Bass, Kai, E-rock, Nappy, TJ, Justin @Amall, French rollerbladers, and anyone that I forgot, you know who you are.
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Tony is the shit! The kid can shred like a beast. Ben got it completely right on his personality!
See you this weekend, man! Finally glad I can repay the couch generosity.
Joseph, you shredded really hard. I mean, really hard.
My God… this guys is fun to watch! Great edit. Great read… Las Vegas!!! Whatttt!!!
Dude shreds. Fresh on the feet. Win!
Best dude. I need to get to Vegas asap.
Tony is the fucking man! Such a good attitude and some of the steeziest bladeing have ever witnessed.
I love you Tony!
Tony is a ‘cult of personalllitty’…. nice interview Ben. First blader on I’ve seen on camera to 360 over a bike