Interview by VHSMAG, Photo by Junpei Ishikawa, Special thanks: adidas Japan
VHSMAG (V)： You got on adidas Skateboarding earlier this year. How did that go down?
Diego Nájera (D)： What made me make the move? Honestly, it was more like… just a dream, you know? As a kid, probably every kid had a pair of adidas. You know what I’m saying? On the move situation, it was more like, I was open. I had no shoe sponsor at the time, because I had left éS on my behalf. It was never nothing against no one, no nothing. It’s more of a personal preference. I love those dudes over at Sole Tech and éS. Kelly and Don helped me out, and Matt Long looked out for me. But yeah, stuff happens, and down the line I was looking at stuff and situations going on, and then, as things went on, it was just in the loop. The word was going around and instantly I just went and bought my own pair of adidas and started skating adidas.
V： You bought your own pair?
D： Yeah, I didn’t even get a box of shoes. I was just buying them. That was something I grew up off. I played a lot of soccer growing up too, and so I had my turf shoes or my skate shoes. So I would skate my turf shoes. I had one to play soccer and I would just skate the same shoes. If I had an opportunity and if I was free of anything… if I’m gonna wear a shoe and skate, it’s gonna be adidas. So like, I just started putting out footy, footy, footy, whatever, with adidas on, and then people were like, Internet, Internet, Internet, like, “Aww dude, what, you got on adidas.” I was like, nah, I’m just skating these shoes, you know. And as time went on it just slowly just started to work itself out. I started to put footy out in adidas… the social media now-a-days is just, it can spread easily. Shit gets around easily.
V： Yeah, it does.
D： I kinda feel like it was just very natural, like it all happened so natural, without any like, “Aw, I’m gonna go talk to these dudes and try to have them send me some shoes.” It was not like that. And that’s why I’m mad blessed to be on adidas.
V： I think that’s the best way to get on any team. What would you say is the best thing about adidas skateboarding?
D： The best thing about adidas skateboarding, in my personal opinion, I would say the whole way they run it. It’s not like, “Hey dude you wear this, you wear that.” They let you be you. That’s the way he is, that’s his personality, that’s his culture. And they just respect everyone very well. Because I’ve heard of… down the line, people are put in certain positions, “Alright, you can’t wear that,” they tell us not to wear this, not to wear that in certain companies. I feel like that’s just not tight. And adidas don’t do that to you. They let you do you. They let you be you.
V： They never put you in a mold.
D： Nah, never in a mold. Whatever’s comfortable for you, they’ll work with you, so it’s sick. Skate shoes, they’re killing it. They’re bringing back the OGs… shell toes, like back in the day, everyone skating them. Making a slim down version for the skateboarders. It’s fresh, three stripes, simple three stripes. You just go one, two, three, down the line. You got three stripes, it’s adidas. It’s so simple, but it’s the hardest look of three stripes you’ve ever seen, you know. It’s fresh.
V： Which model have you been rocking lately?
D： It’s STAN SMITH VULC. That’s my favorite shoe of all time. That’s the one I just put on every day. I can put on brand new, fresh, and it’s gonna feel like I already broke it down, worn it out. My top number one shoe is the adidas STAN SMITH VULC.
V： Let’s talk about Skate Copa Court. Could you break down and explain what the event is about? I mean, you’ve been on like Europe, you went to San Paolo and of course LA. What’s the event all about?
D： It’s more about just to have fun and enjoy. So what it is, a little breakdown… It’s like a little party going on, music, good vibes, whatever. We put on a demo. Then after the demo, we have stacks of cash and kids is shredding you know, doing some gnarly shit. We just give them some money for their tricks they get. Just to have fun with your friends and see pros that you look up to. It’s a great thing that they do for the skateboarders everywhere around the world. Real fun, man.
V： It seems like adidas is doing the grass roots thing, you know, like actually helping out the local communities.
D： Oh yeah. They help out in a lot of ways, you know. And not even that, like the skaters who skate for adidas help out on their own. They all do their own thing for the community, you know. Let alone adidas, but every rider that’s on adidas as well, does something for the community. They all look out for everyone, give kids boards, shoes, you know. Show them mad love, and mad respect. It’s tight.
V： So the Skate Copa Court, one of the riders come up with the main obstacle. Which obstacle did you enjoy the most?
D： The one that I enjoyed the most, I would say… I really liked the one that TX built in San Paolo. That one was fresh, even the color combination of the course. That made it pop and the whole bump to net and bump to ledge. I don’t know, that was my favorite set up.
V： Okay. So you’re in Japan now. I heard this is your fourth time or something?
D： Yeah, yeah. For the past couple months I wanna say.
V： If it’s something you can share with us, what project are you working on?
D： It’s mainly just coming out here and film and see what I can get. We started something pretty big out here in the beginning, and then it didn’t get as much as we would have liked. So it was kind of talked about, “Hey you wanna keep going out there and film some more?”… because I like it out here. I like the scene, I like the culture. I’m a fan, you know, I enjoy it out here. I appreciate everyone and everything out here. It’s a great time and it’s a lot of things I can relate to. I feel comfortable. Japan is a place where I feel I can get some stuff done… with fun, you know.
V： Isn’t it hard to skate here though, street skate wise?
D： I think so, security wise. But I think if you have more open possibilities where you don’t gotta worry about security then it seems you’ll have more fun. But, other than security, spots are sick and they look good. Floor is smooth. Most everywhere you go it’s smooth.
V： Yeah, I heard you’ve been killing a lot of spots here.
D： Trying to man, trying to. That’s my goal every day to do something I can look back and be like “Yeah man.” I’m so stoked, stoked for that.
V： You started out skating in El Centro, California. Eventually you got hooked up with AMMO, then Primitive after that and you just turned pro for them. Then you got on adidas. So this year must have been a big one for you. You’ve come so far and now you’re in Japan. Did anything change after you’d gone pro and got on adidas?
D： For change wise, I would have to say everything’s pretty much the same. I would say maybe people looking at me has changed, to where it makes me feel good that I can make influence on kids and grown men… everyone in this world from women to men. I get it all the time when I go places, “you’re an inspiration.” All this positivity and greatness that they tell me, that’s probably the biggest thing that’s changed because before I was never looked at like that. Now it’s changed to the point where I have the ability in myself to where I can basically change someone’s mind from being sad from seeing me in person and their whole mood just changes. That to me is the strongest thing that I have ever felt.
V： So after this you’re going to Korea and come back to Tokyo again for the Skate Copa Court. And then after that you’re coming back in November as well with Primitive, right?
D： Yeah, I’ll be back.
V： Is there anything you can share? What’s the plan? Is there any signing or demo?
D： I think, when we come back with Primitive I think we’ll be doing a signing and a demo. And then street skating as well. Everybody be on the look out during that time, because as of I heard it’s gonna be basically the whole crew.
V： That’s amazing. Anything you wanna achieve through skateboarding?
D： Just continuing what I’m doing and make sure that it’s all progress. And me as a person, I’m always gonna make sure I progress in anything that I do. I’ve achieved the biggest goal that I could have ever achieved, which is from when I look back as a child. It was to become a professional skateboarder. And I have made it. From here on it’s to keep it and progress… just try to keep the love running my way. Make everybody appreciate it.
V： So next is Skate Copa Court in Tokyo. I heard the main obstacles are designed by The Gonz.
D： I personally haven’t seen the obstacle, but hey man, it’s the legend, Gonz. You already know it’s going to be a good one. And it’s going to be a fun one to skate with him for sure, because I’ve never skated with him personally. It should be my first time… skating the course he designed, so it’s going to be a pleasure man. It’s going to be a well off good day, for sure.