Jimmy Riha: Rad Train Conductor

Jimmy is so stoked! He tells us about skating in Cali, his adventures around the world, and life after sponsorship. Rad Train!
Happy JimmyStoked to talk to you buddy, how are you?
Its 2013! I am stoked I am not dead, the world is still turning and my skateboard is going to be in my hands later. Feeling a bit under the weather but that’s all good! Right now, I am getting ready for Puerto Rico! Gotta go back and I guess defend something haha. Excited to hit the 3 different races they are offering and immerse myself in the Puerto Rican skate scene. Should be a blast with no sponsors to help me out as well. This year is a RAD TRAIN ONE.

How was your Christmas?
Christmas was a mellow one this year, just hanging out with the family and doing that type of stuff. Stoked to say that there was a lot of skate traffic coming through my area, plenty of rad videos and media to come. I had Skate PHX’s Cole Kurts hanging out in San Diego (home of The Rad Train) to film, kick it, get wild and what not. Plenty of skating went down through the Christmas break. Get ready for plenty of Rad Train and skate PHX videos.
Why are you feeling under the weather?
I have a feeling I am getting a bit sick due to the weather and skating so much. Me and my group of friends have been waking up at 6, driving about an hour away to go skate with the homie and legend TIM DEL ROSARIO of L.A. county. Be ready to see some ”second nature” type edits coming from Rad Train.
1904 photography photo

1904 photography photo

What is Skate PHX?
Skate PHX is a rad place where you can check into the Arizona skate scene. Its a small operation like everything in our scene but it’s a positive one. A group of skaters who all wanna promote what they love and how they live. Promoting house ­guests, rad locals and the events that go down. Putting together some mad cool media that I am stoked to be a part of. its Cole Kurtz and Justin Suryanta hold it down for them hard. 

Where are you from?
I have been waiting to answer this question….Cali­fucking­fornia.
What’s it like being a Cali native?
Being from Cali is wild! There are so many people who live in Cali it’s crazy! If you have ever been to L.A. you would know. Traffic jams, bullshit smog and pollution. Its LAME! I am thankful to be able to say I am born and raised San Diego. The farthest down south you can get in Cali before you hit Mexico. California is a big place, plenty of rad stuff out and around, you just gotta get away from the city and into the country or nature. We have more people who live in Cali than in all of Canada… WTF!!!
Exploring the state has been something I have found myself doing the last couple of years. California has too much to offer from its beaches to its snow topped mountains. I just want to see all of it and ride it down all of it.
 I don’t ride for Arbor anymore but they have some sweet videos I will still be in for the 2013 year. We took another team trip through Cali and did the filming stuff. Get elevated bro! Its time to move on though it was a fun ride! 2013 will be even better, looking into the future and staying positive.
Riding with Erik - Trent Stake photo

Riding with Erik – Trent Stake photo

What have you found on your explorations?
The true natural state of mind, being out and about, semi disconnected from reality and enjoying nature and your skateboard for what it is. Flowing down hills and mountain passes with little thought of what could happen, only thinking about what is happening.
What makes skating in Cali special?
When you leave the concrete jungle you may end up on top of a mountain, looking down on everyone else and think to yourself -what am I doing? I love the feeling of getting up early, getting in a car and driving up a mountain to fly back down it with my friends.
I like skating and I like being out in nature, so heading to camp out, kick it with the homies and skate mountains gives a feeling that I haven’t found in other places. Filming it is just another way to let all you guys be jelly of what we do.
Who doesn’t like getting driven up hills with Hollywood actresses and all that jazz only to head back down the canyons to grab a bite of food down by the river.
When did you start skating?
Skate, surf or snow. I have been on a board for some time now, always seeing what is possible and what is not i.e. breaking yourself off.
Later, I started to take skating kinda serious (never take it serious). I got out more when medical issues in my ears took me out of the water for good. I had been an avid surfer growing up in the water and at the beach. That’s all I did till I was about 15 or 16. Then shit hit the fan for me; I was in contests having a blast surfing with my buddies when I was diagnosed with small Eustachian tubes and an MRSA infection. The infection was in my ear canal. Looking back now, I can remember going into the doctors office with a glob of yellow puss, blood and other nasty stuff spewing out of my head! I hope one day I find myself back in the water blasting airs over fools. If you thought you had fun doing standups or bombing hills… I used to toe in, it’s like bombing more than a mountain!
Barrett Junction Outlaw - 1904 photography

Barrett Junction Outlaw – 1904 photography

Which is your favourite type of board to be on?
My board, the J.R. squared as it was originally called. The Riha­housen, the Gemini, the Vugen­housen… all the same thing, different names but designed by me for me and my style of riding.
The name was from my good buddy Josh Hunt and I. We came up with it while sitting down 3 or so years ago in my room with a blank piece of Canadian maple. You might know it as the Arbor “vugenhousen” another name Josh Hunt spouted out. It was designed by Josh Hunt and I for me.
I never thought people would take note and like what was going on in our heads. I have mixed feelings about this, but the symmetrical shape we had is now Arbors downhill line.
If you see me around ask me what “Vugenhousen” means I may tell you. Any other story of its origin is probably a lie.
Would you share if I bribed you with bacon?
I would have to kill you after.
How is the stoke from skating different?
The stoke from skating differs from other sports in little ways, but for the most part it’s all just good fun and smiles. The amount of stoke I get from skating keeps on growing because more and more people are starting to bomb hills, do big slides and tricks.
I find myself capturing more of the skating stuff with my camera and being able to post it on Rad Train for everyone to enjoy. I want to start covering more of the underground scene, because it is harder to capture its true essence. Shout out to all the kids in Laguna California who are capturing the true meaning of having fun on a skateboard. Keep it up.
BBDH with Alex and Max - Jati Boards photo

BBDH with Alex and Max – Jati Boards photo

What sort of skating did you do in the beginning?
I had my little popsicle stick deck, I think it was a vision deck. Was a bad ass old school deck for sure Then I won a longboard at a surf contest. It was the start to something I couldn’t imagine.
Have you had any time off from skating since then?
I was hooked from the start. Ate shit, didn’t care, got back up and did it again. It’s a lifestyle and I intend to live it up in the best ways I can. RAD TRAIN.
How did your skating evolve over the years?
Probably like everyone else, one push at a time and one corner at a time. Walked up hills till I was scared I wouldn’t make it down then bam!
When did you start skating down hills?

I started skating down real hills in 2008. Did not know anything. Jeff Budro showed my how to make down hill gloves with a blowtorch and cutting board. Now look at companies making BANK off us buying their gloves. Evolution…. and business.

Happy skater - Dakota Millard photo

Happy skater – Dakota Millard photo

Who did you ride them with in the beginning?
You know that meme with the old guy skating and it says “ I’d give a fuck but I already gave it to your grandmother”? That is Victor Earthart. The guy has been skating hills longer than you have and will continue to do so till he can’t do it anymore. He has taught me a lot of what I know about roads, people, life and plenty more. Shoutouts for sure go to Jeff Burdo, J.M. Duran, Rick Kludy, Striker Lyons, Victor and all of Skate PDX for the SKATE EVERYTHING attitude that has rubbed off on me.
What’s the most important thing the OGs have taught you?
Because you want to be able to skate for a long time – be smart, be safe but charge. Chase your dreams  and make them all realities. If you want to be the best, just put yourself at that level. Become a product of your environment, if it’s a good one you will be okay.
Getting rad on hard wheels in NY - Khaleeq Alfred photo

Getting rad on hard wheels in NY – Khaleeq Alfred photo

How did Coast longboarding influence you?
 The coast family and Striker Lyons are one of the reasons I am still skating, still stoked and will always be skating and will always be stoked! They have taught me a valuable life lesson, fuck it go skate. Be who you are, don’t let anyone change that. If the skate/downhill/long board family wasn’t so epic why would I still be here?
What do you enjoy about going fast?
I enjoy being able to feel wind drafts hit my face, boosting buddies into turns and then slam it down into a hairpin. Being in the moment, thinking about nothing but what’s happening now and what is about to happen next around the corner. Go fast, be safe and have fun. Always wear your helmet!
What’s your favorite skate terrain?
SKATE EVEYTHING! I got that one from J.P. Rowan and Casey Morrow of Rip­city skate. Guys kill it with what they do on skate PDX! I do love to just lay down fat stand up slides with my A.U. buddy Gabe Guynne on an epic hill in Canada somewhere in summerland. If it has coping, or is steep and is somewhat paved, I will ride down it!
In the rad zone - Mark Golter photo

In the rad zone – Mark Golter photo

How do you live the Skate Everything mantra?
Don’t limit yourself to one thing when there is plenty of other fun stuff to skate! Pick up a double kick and go bash some kick flips then hit the hills. It’s more fun that way!
Who did you look up to when you were learning the DH ways?
I looked up to none other than Cliff Coleman, Sergio Yuppie, J.M. Duran, Noah Sakamoto, Patrick Rizzo, Jeff Budro, Victor E, John Rogers, Danny mother fucking Conner! I didn’t watch all the videos on the computer only the good ones. Blue suit bombers eh?
Who was in your initial DH gang?
Local group of San Diegans. Just surfers and skaters having fun on the hills we grew up on. Josh Hunt, A.J. Haiby, Dave Govie and some more cats. The sad thing is only some of us still skate.
1904 photography - skating everything

1904 photography – skating everything

Where do you see the scene going?
Its all up to us, the skaters, to drive the skating in a positive way, create followings, promote the stoke, be cool with other skaters and companies. I want to say the scene in general is killing it! Keeps getting me stoked.
The ball is in our court. We buy the stuff they sell, we have a choice to buy what is good and ignore the crap.
Support skaters making stuff for skaters. Be a smart customer and know what you’re buying.
Do you compete?
What are we competing for? haha. I love and have loved to be on the road traveling around going from race to race free ride to free ride or just hill to hill. Skating has taken me to amazing places I never thought posible and hope it continues to take me places that I never thought I would be going to.
What was your first race?
My first race was an out­law race probably like everyone else. You know the out­law races where it’s completely illegal and a bunch of skaters try to shut down a road. Danny Connor and a couple others back in ’09 had a couple of out­law races going on. The O.G. Cali­outlaw series. This was the most bad ass time of downhill skateboarding. Pure stoke and pure skateboarding.
They would gather around 30­/40 people from all around Cali, Arizona, New Mexico and Canada – people wanted to race!
D.C. outlaw was my first one, didn’t know what to expect, just skate down a hill and try to beat the other 3 dudes. I didn’t know what the hell was going on with the partying, the wind and all the other skaters haha.
The hill was straight into a flat left 90 where I saw O.G. Rick Kludy. Kludy would go straight, not hit the left and go full speed into the dirt… breaking one or 2 of his ribs.
WINNING - Alexander Joh photo

WINNING – Alexander Joh photo

Has DH lost its bad­ass edge?
It’s still there. Guys like Mischo Erban go out and haul ass. Guys like Liam Morgan do bigger slides than you can. People are still killing it, just don’t wanna see people just trying slides.
The freeride image has kinda taken over, not that its a bad thing, but there is more to do than going sideways kids. Skate it all, get out to the parks with your trick decks and go learn all of it!
What were the skating highlights of 2010?
The skating highlights of 2010 had to have been:
*Being able to start something with that one company, O yeah Arbor.
*Designing my own boards.
*Seeing my skating progress and take off. I saw it more than I did in school in other sports, just skate more and it will all come.
Did you do many races in 2011?
I got my ass on skate bus with J.P. from skate P D X! Went to Canada son! Whistler was going on, it was arbors race. It was my first time in Canada and I didn’t know what epic adventures were ahead of me.
BBDH 2012 - Cameron Bowser photo

BBDH 2012 – Cameron Bowser photo

What was the best thing about that year?
The good memories I have to look back on in times like this. I love looking back on the great times being shitfaced in the skateparks in Canada talking shit and just being skaters. Going out the next morning to try and race? O yeah haha that stuff. Meeting new faces is a plus, girls are always out there in the world, just hit em up!
When did you first get sponsored?
I was first sponsored back in the days with Tracker Trucks. Still have the full page shoot. Have not really had one like that since.To have had it with such an o.g. company was really epic! In some ways that put me on the map.
In 2012 I was able to hit up a lot of events. Got my sponsors figured out for the year and was off on my own. Had a couple bucks in my pocket some registrations payed for and a fat smile on my face.
What do you enjoy about competing?
I love the stoke the scene has been able to bring me. When I compete it’s another aspect of stoke. I mean who doesn’t want to win? I was told by people that if you’re not first you’re last. I ended up laughing and sticking my tongue out and doing my own thing. If it works then okay, if not; shit happens in racing, people don’t understand that.
People take you out, you might fall or it’s just not your day. I want to be able to skate for ever. We put our bodies through some serious beatings and I try to make up for that. Icing, rest compression, wearing my N.J.Ks and making it known that HEY I am racing you or I am taking it chill. There are times to push it and there are times to just take it mellow. It’s something I find important to bring up, racing is something I am passionate about, racing skateboards is even sicker! It’s you, the board and your competitors most of the time. 2013 should be a rad year that’s for sure. I’m going for it even more I guess.
Maryhill 2012. Spot the odd one - Bustin boards photo

Maryhill 2012. Spot the odd one – Bustin boards photo

How was the 2012 season for you?
The 2012 season brought me a lot, was on some cool sponsors that had been helping me get where I needed to go. Taking off at the start of the season hitting up most of the Canada events put on by Coastlongboarding, Uncle and the igsa.
 First it was Danger bay, where the skate bus pulled the trigger and made the trip happen. Barely got on the ferry from House Shoe bay B.C. Canada ( thanks G. Mac. for leading us through downtown B.C.) Having locals on the trips is always a plus.
Then I was off to the sunshine coast, only had heard about this place and was amping on the good times ahead. The trip was long but epic, showing up for Danger Bay 12 with Skate bus was righteous haha. The danger bay experience is one that I will be chasing down for a while. Striker you got me! Camping with over 150+ down hill skaters in the woods can be hectic at times but way too much fun.
After raging most of the night and being woken up early (if you even get some sleep) by the one and only DANGER BAY MORNING RACERS ANNOUNCMENT! GET ON THE BUS!
 I took it easy and got a bit more sleep it. Showed up to danger bay for my first time late, hung over and tripping out. Not on drugs, on life. I was on the sunshine coast, walking up the Danger Bay race course back at it with every one else in there leathers.
It’s the longest running down hill skate race, EVER… The start was a kick race into a flat right with jank heading into carnage corner. A left 90 with some more JANK on the inside and plenty of that stuff called HAY, you gotta watch out for the hay on this track!
Besides Danger Bay, I kicked it with the L.Y. dog Dillon Stephens at his pad chilling skating and getting ready for the next weekends race and… next weekends race…. O and maybe a trip into the great mountains of Canada.
Places like ride the giant, Vernon, Sun Shine Coast, Summerland….Portland Washington… all are amazing.
Canada was rad, Filmed skated, raced, almost died skating B.C. neighborhoods. Watch out for the other people on the roads! Placing 8th in time trials at Maryhill, going back to Whistler, winning a race in Puerto Rico, getting sent to the Broadway bomb, judging kids at a slide jam in Chicago, filming the get elevated 2012 before separation and getting the RAD TRAIN up and running full steam ahead!
Gravity defying - Don Sheffler photo

Gravity defying – Don Sheffler photo

What were you riding that year?
In 2012 I was ridding one of my custom Riha­housen (vugenhousen) shapes. Thanks to Kevin Reimer, I was on some aera trucks. Also magic bearings and rad wheels.
What is the rad train?
A small blog I made and put stuff up every day for people to check out what I like about skating. It started off in 2009 when  my skateboard took me places I never thought I would see. The goal is to try to promote skating in a positive way. If it’s out there and its rad skating… I wanna know about it. Rad train in here to promote riders!
How did you hook up with arbor?
It was my good friend Josh Hunt who opened the door to Arbor. We had a board design we worked on for some time. Went to the head office in Venice L.A. and talked for a bit. Now if you have a Vugenhousen know that it was originally called the J.R. squared.
Rad train

Rad train

What was your role in RAD?
My role in RAD wheels was to ride them test them and give feedback. And win a race or slide jam – that’s always a bonus.
What led to separation?
Life led to separation. Not my choice, but it’s all good. Shit happens. If you fall you get back up and do it again!
How is life after sponsorship?
I’m free to skate other people’s stuff and try new things. Stoked on it. Always wanted to try an evo! Hahaha. Got plans for 2013… RAD TRAIN and whoever else is down to support the stoke, its gonna be a fun wild ride.
What will be different about racing in 2013?
Racing in 2013 will be crazy, so many good people out there now. The competition is becoming world class at almost all the events. Everyone around the world is getting it together and making it to events to have fun, skate and compete for some cash!
Sick ghost skate photo

Sick ghost skate photo

How will you choose which teams to join next?
I’ll figure out where I fit in this scene/industry. Maybe try something new or do what I did with arbor. Start something kinda epic and see where it goes from there.
What sort of company is the right fit for you?
Companies that want to let riders make a product, test products and make only the best for the riders. If its wheels, trucks, decks or bearings… any of it. Only a few companies out there have caught my eye for being able to do something along these lines.
Shout out to the guys at Landyachtz! Nothing but rider innovation that is brought back to products for the world. I dont ride for L.Y, but it would be cool. For now I’m still lurking, skating and enjoying life.
Can you be a pro skater without sponsors?
I think you can be a pro at what ever you want if you spend enough time at it and gather certain skills. The sponsor part only comes from the people who help making a living from skating easier by paying for flights or rent etc.
Make sick videos or get on podiums. It’s all about skating. Skate what you like how you like.
Surfing - Brad T. Miller photo

Surfing – Brad T. Miller photo

What do you do when you’re not skating?
When I’m not skating I’m thinking about what to skate next. I am always trying to get dope skate sessions going with the homies around the San Diego area. I am also the conductor of The Rad Train. I’m constantly working on edits, photos,  interviews and any other rad content that I feel should be shared.
Do you work behind the camera?
Yes, the one and only Gabe Guynne from A.U. got me amped on photography and videography. I’m not saying I’m a photographer, but I’m stoked on taking photos and trying to edit some video every once in a while. Hard work!
How can interested sponsors get in touch with you?
Theradtrain.blogspot.com find my contacts on that. Everyone has a Facebook and such.
Tongue out steeze - Alysha Frizzell photo

Tongue out steeze – Alysha Frizzell photo

Pick 3 numbers between 1­-41.
1, 7 and 21.
1 ­- What do you take with you when you go for a skate?
Oh, now I get the pick the number game!
I take my trusty helmet along with them gloves that keep my hands safe. A board with trucks and wheels… hope they have bearings and spacers inside of them and you always need griptape!
7 ­ What is your favourite meal?
I like eating California burritos. They consist of
-french fries
-avocado… lots of avocado
-Dank meat…carnitas… carne asada…
-salsa freska
-rice/beans and what ever else you can put in that bitch!
21 ­ Would you pick the red or blue pill?
I’m not sure I can remember the movie this came from but I would hit up the Red Pill.
Air Riha - Don sheffler
It’s been really rad talking to you bro! Stoked to hear about your life. Wish you all the best this year and forever.
Yeah it’s been the same telling ya! Can’t wait to see how the interview turns out. You have had some really cool interviews the last couple of months. I’m off to go still skate find what makes me happy and have fun. Take care Thane Mag! its been great telling ya about myself and skating… Keep it rolling fools!
Any thank yous?
Plenty of thanks! Thank you skate community for being 100% bad ass. Keep killing it and support what you love. Everyone on Sk8bus every one at Rip­City Skate, COAST MOTHERFUCKING LONGBOARDING, LES ROBERTSON PUERTO RICO!!! Josh Hunt, M.R. 9 Fingers, Bob Skuldberg. Plenty of other cats out there as well!
on the rad train - andy russell photo

on the rad train – andy russell photo