At 15, Chaz Ortiz is unlike regular teens his age…but don’t tell him that. He still thinks of himself as a regular 15 year old—just with a professional skateboarding career. With a breakout year in 2008, Ortiz pretty much knocked out skateboard heavyweights left and right at the 2008 Summer Dew Tour Skate Park Finals. He’s also one of P-Rod’s up-and-coming skateboarders to watch out for this contest season. He’s been skateboarding since he was six and landed his first endorsement deal in 2005, when the late-Zoo York pro and legend Harold Hunter spotted his talent.
The Chicago native’s burgeoning skate career is on the rise, but he doesn’t think much of it. His skate mentality is that of fun rather than a job, which is probably why he’s taking his newfound career day by day, allowing it to take its course.
How did you first become interested in skateboarding?
From my older cousins, who got into skateboarding first. I looked up to them and wanted to try it, so I gave it a shot. I was six at the time, and I just wanted to keep skating. I had fun doing it and kept at it. If I wasn’t having fun, I wouldn’t be doing it. If I looked at it as a job, I wouldn’t be doing it.
How did you go about perfecting your skills at such a young age?
I practiced a lot. If I’m going to learn a trick, I’m going to continue at it until I land it. I think that’s what every skater does. I dedicate myself to practicing all the time. But, perfecting a trick depends how hard the trick is. It shouldn’t take more than a day or two to get the trick down. There’s not one trick that you will land perfect the first time.
Who do you look up to in the sport?
I look up to all the older dudes, like P-Rod, Ryan Sheckler, Jereme Rogers…all those cool dudes.
You barely went pro at 13, having won the wildcard entry to compete in the AST Dew Tour prelims, and then won a spot on the rest of the tour. What was going through your head when you beat top pros?
I was really surprised and wasn’t expecting it. I was just there to skate and wanted to get at least top five or something. But to win and beat out all those dudes was a blessing for me; it was really cool!
What was your mindset when you went on to compete in the actual Dew Tour and won it?
I just kind of went in there saying, “I don’t care if I win. I could get last place and be happy ‘cause I’m excited to be skating with all these dudes that I’ve looked up to for so long.” I really just practiced a lot and got ready for the contest hard.
How would you describe your skating style?
I skate everything. I can skate whatever you give me.
What can we expect from you from this year’s contest season?
Well, I just got third in the Tampa Pro, and I have the various Dew Tour stops and, of course, the L.A. X Games, which I think is the biggest contest since everybody knows about it. I’m looking forward to it. It’s my first year competing in it. Last year, I did the one in Mexico City and got second, but it’s different since it’s in another country.
You said before that skaters like P-Rod and Ryan Sheckler are your inspirations. Are you still star struck by them now that you get to hang with them?
Ummmmmm, you know, in the beginning I did. But, you know, I got used to it and now they’re all my homies. I know them all better, so it’s not like that any more. I still look up to them, though. They’re just regular people.