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Skateboarding News

Sunday, April 3, 2011

isTia Interview: Keith Baldassare

Keith Baldassare DIY Spot, Tampa.
Hurricane, 2011. Photo Nick Nicks
 Keith Baldassare has been skating for about 8 years now. Some time ago, rumors were spreading that he had something secret in his backyard. It’s not a rumor anymore: long gone are the days (back to Animal Chin) when skaters were doing ramps in their backyards, now they build full-fledged skateparks! Although he doesn’t call it a skatepark but a death pit, he seems to skate there a lot. The park is actually a bowl built into his block wall fence and is about six foot with loads of vert.
Keith has been nominated one of the top 10 finalists to be the 2009 Sports Illustrated Kid of the Year (SKOTY) out of thousands of kids. Keith was the only skateboarder for this nomination.

Keith is also the guy who broke the Guinness World Record for “Most Consecutive Frontside Ollies on a Halfpipe”, ultimately completing 348 ollies back to back. With that record, Keith achieved a longstanding personal goal and helped raise money for Grind For Life. In addition to being an honor roll student and great all-around kid, Keith is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the skating scene, world record or no. He’s traveled extensively throughout the country competing in skate contests from Minnesota to Georgia and California and has racked up more First Place wins and top rankings than we can count.
Actually, on his last contest, NSB Florida Bowlriders 2011 on March 20, 2011 he landed at the AM 1st place, just before Kaden Cambell, Alex Sorgente and Clay Kreiner.

It was time for isTia to talk with Keith Baldassare.

Keith Baldassare #1 Keith Actually told me that he hates Pic#1 and Pic#2. But 1) I ran out of pix
2) say pix #1 and #2 are teasers and the nice pix are at the end of the interview. You have to scroll down guys!
Keith Baldassare:

isTia: Where do you currently live?
Keith Baldassare:
Merritt Island born and raised

isTia: What is the best and worst thing about your hometown?
Keith Baldassare:
It is near a lot of really good skateparks, but it doesn't have a downtown to go street skating

isTia: If you would have to change town, where would you like to live?
Keith Baldassare:
Orange County, California

isTia: How were you introduced to skateboarding and what got you started?
Keith Baldassare #2
Keith Baldassare: I think I’ve always had a skateboard. I just didn’t know much the sport. I always looked up to my neighbor and he skated. One day, my mom got my board out, and I started. I was about 7-1/2 years old. My neighbor taught me how to skate, he skated and got me into it. I always looked up to him and wanted to be just like him so my mom got me a skateboard for Christmas. Once I learned a trick, I just wanted to keep learning new ones.

isTia: Years skating:
Keith Baldassare:
7 or 8

isTia: Do you remember what your first setup was?
Keith Baldassare:
A Wal-Mart board
Keith Baldassare: Hangar Bowl in South Carolina, FS Ollie "Halloween" Tail Slap, 2010. Photo: Josh McFadden
 isTia: Were there any early influences on your skating?
Keith Baldassare:
Besides my neighbor Jimmy, Chris Chambers that now owns Eastwood Skatepark.

isTia: How are your parents feeling about you being at such a high level in skateboarding?
Keith Baldassare:
My mom is proud and always reminds me she is my number 1 fan haha

isTia: Are they supportive?
Keith Baldassare:
Yeah she is very supportive; she pays for all my stuff

When you skate so many hours every day, you don’t have time to stop and eat, so you eat and skate.
Baldassare compound, FS Hamburger Grind Late 2010. Photo: Wade Ulrich
 isTia: Do they skate?
Keith Baldassare:
My friend Rich Payne I call my pops, he skates. I've known him since I was about 9, and he's pretty much the father figure in my life. Even though he has the maturity of a 10 year old. Haha

isTia: I hear you have an extended list of injuries.
Keith Baldassare:
I have 11+ broken bones. Mostly in my arms but also my hip. Three elbow surgeries, one wrist surgery, broken testicles, concussions, lots of stitches, torn PCL, broken teeth, torn ligaments in my ankle, I can't even remember most of them.

isTia: How many surgeries did you have?
Keith Baldassare:
The Baldassare Compond. A Texas sized backramp in a Florida garden... Can you drop from the roof into the bowl?
isTia: Where all surgeries related to skateboarding?
Keith Baldassare:

isTia: What is The Baldassare coumpound?
Keith Baldassare:
It's a 6 foot tall bowl built into my block wall fence. It's super gnarly some walls have 2 feet of vert.

isTia: What’s your favorite section of your backyard park?
Keith Baldassare:
No section really is my favorite, I just really like all the pool coping

isTia: If you would have the time or money to redo it, what would be your dream skatepark?
Fish Bowl in California, FS Air, 2011. Look down the bowl what’s left over
from the last dude that tried to do a 540 here… Killer… Photo: Dave Kindstrand
Keith Baldassare: My dream Skatepark would be Washington street, channel street, the combi pool, and Eastwood Skatepark put together

isTia: Is it true that the county is asking you to take down your skatepark?
Keith Baldassare:
That was my old mini ramp. Yes, Brevard County is forcing us to take it down. It is now at the Dern's house.

isTia: Tell me of your 348 record ollies?
Keith baldassare:
It was in September of 2008 at my My house. On my mini ramp

isTia Who was there?
Keith Baldassare:
Just a few friends and family members and a couple people to make sure it was legit for the Guiness Book of records .

isTia: Who knew in advance?
Keith Baldassare
: All the people that came

isTia: How did you got the idea?
Keith Baldassare at the Fish Bowl #2 Photo Dave Kindstrand
keith baldassare: Me and my friend James were messing around one day after seeing the episode of rob and big where Rob Dyrdek broke the record, and then we went out back and started trying it.isTia: How did you prepare for this record?
Keith Baldassare:
I didn't prepare I just skated like normal I really didn’t train at all. I did the record a couple of times and that’s it. I stayed home from the skatepark the night before and practiced. After about 30 ollies, it actually got easier

isTia: How did you do your ollies?
Keith Baldassare
: They were all frontside. I realized that you only get dizzy going backside not frontside
Orlando Skatepark, Smith Grind, 2011. Yo mama never told you about how to wear socks???? Hahaha!
Photo: Mike Edwards
isTia: I’ve heard it takes more than 15mn to do 350 ollies. How do you have the stamina to skate 15mn on a ramp? What do you drink at breakfast?
Keith Baldassare
: I was 13 and it was just my normal energy level, and just a glass of oj for breakfast

isTia: Who were/are some of the other local skaters who inspired you?
Keith Baldassare:
Chris Chambers, Steve Workman, Cj Dixon, and Mat Call

isTia: What is your favorite surface to skate?
Keith Baldassare
: Concrete for sure
Keith Baldassare, Boneless Birthday, 2010. Photo: Wade Ulrich
isTia: Why do you like so much vert and less street?
Keith Baldassare:
I don't skate vert at all, I skate a lot of bowls. I skate a ton of street too though. But I don't know, skating tranny is just a lot more fun.

isTia: Let’s talk about your involvement in competitive skateboarding. - do you often go to contest?
Keith Baldassare
: I really didn’t start competing until I was 10 years old. It was a Grind For Life contest at the Cocoa Beach Skatepark. When I was 11, I won the “14 & Under” division of the Florida Bowl Riders Series. I go to contests maybe like 1 every month or so probably less

isTia: Do you like contests?
Keith Baldassare:
Yeah it's fun to skate with all my friends I don't get to see often
Keith Baldassare at Fish Bowl #3. Photo Dave Kindstrand.
isTia: Is it important to go to contests?
Keith Baldassare:
Not really, but it really depends on what the person expects out of it. I just expect an awesome session and a good time.

isTia: Your best contests ever?
Keith Baldassare:
Oregon Trifecta and Florida Bowlriders are the funnest –

isTia: Your worst contests ever?
Keith Baldassare:
None are bad

isTia: Favorite Music?
Keith Baldassare:
Anything Old, Favorite band? Slayer
Keith Baldassare #7
isTia: What’s sick:
Keith Baldassare:

isTia: What’s not sick:
Keith Baldassare:

isTia: Metal or Pool coping?
Keith Baldassare:
Pool Coping!!!

isTia: Roundwall or flatwall?
Keith Baldassare
: Roundwall!

isTia: Loose or tight trucks?
Keith Baldassare:
Looooose Wheels size?

isTia: Durometer?
Keith Baldassare:
55mm, 98D type-s wheels
Keith Baldassare #4
isTia: Sponsors: ...
Keith Baldassare:
Lost clothing, Demon Seed Skateboards, Vans, Type-S, Catalyst Besides skateboarding,

isTia: what do you like to do in your spare time?
Keith Baldassare
: Think about skateboarding haha

isTia: Who are your biggest competitors?
Keith Baldassare:
"I only compete against myself, I go to contests to participate"- Tim Johnson

Dalton Dern
isTia: Who are your favorite old school skaters?
Keith Baldassare:
Mark Gonzales, Jason Jesse, Duane Peters, Josh Nelson, Jeff Grosso, Buck Smith

isTia: What’s your favorite trick?
Keith Baldassare:
Frontside Grinds on pool coping

isTia: What trick are you trying/ training to do?
Keith Baldassare:
Fs Inverts

isTia: New trick you just learned?
Keith Baldassare
: Front Blunt to smith to fakie

isTia: What’s the most difficult trick you have done?
Keith Baldassare:
Hmmm I don't know.

isTia: What trick can’t you do?
Keith Baldassare
: Blunt fakies... I can I just don't like them
Nosebonk on the fire hydrant. 2011. Photo: Mike Edwards
isTia: At which skatepark do you go most often?
Keith Baldassare
: Eastwood in Rockledge, Fl

isTia: What’s your favorite skatepark?
Keith Baldassare:
Washington Street

isTia: Do you wear pads and helmets in a pool/skatepark/bowl?
Keith Baldassare:
No, because they are not needed. Unless I'm skating something monstrous like the combi pool.

isTia: Have you skated backyard empty pools?
Keith Baldassare:
Yeah I've skated a few out in California. My friend Dave Kindstrand always hooks me up. It's one of the most fun things to skate in the world, I'm always looking for pools by there is none in fla
isTia: When was the first time you dropped (in a bowl…)?
Keith Baldassare:
At paradise Skatepark when I was about 8. I was scared, but that gave me more of a reason to do it.

Keith Baldassare Goat Ramp in Daytona, Madonna, 2011. Photo: Wade Ulrich
isTia: What skate videos do you like?
Keith Baldassare:
My favorite is Cancer Dust. It's a bunch of rad backyard pool skating

isTia: What is your typical day like?
Keith Baldassare:
I wake up do school work then go skate then go to bed

isTia: Where do you like to skate?
Keith Baldassare:
Eastwood Skatepark

isTia: Who do you like to skate with?
Keith Baldassare:
Anyone that is hyped and isn't afraid to get hurt trying something new

isTia: Are there skaters that are so impressive that you just stop and watch them?
Keith Baldassare:
That's how this whole past weekend was at fla bowlriders. I would stop and watch both Brad McClain and Kevin Kowalski

Keith Baldassare: McMinville Skatepark in Oregon,
BS Crailslide, 2010. Photo Dave Kindstrand
isTia: What magazines do you read?
Keith Baldassare:
Thrasher, Lowcard, ftk, Fransworld

isTia: What non-skate magazine do you read?
Keith Baldassare:

isTia: How long do you spend skating every day?
Keith Baldassare:
About 5 hours on weekdays and all day on weekends

isTia: How long do you train in vert/bowl/park?
Keith Baldassare:
I don't train, i just skate, have fun, and session what ever my friends are.

isTia: How long in street?
Keith Baldassare:
Same as above

isTia: So far, what have been some of the highlights of your skateboarding?
Keith Baldassare:
Being lucky enough to go on skate trips with my friends is the main highlight in my eyes

isTia: What do you have planned for this year?
Keith Baldassare:
Skate, travel, progress, and not get hurt

isTia: Something else that we are missing?
Keith Baldassare:
I don't think sooo

isTia: Shout outs and thanks?
Keith Baldassare:
My mom, friends, and sponsors. If I was more specific, I would have to write an entire book, so thank you all.

Thanks for the interview Keith...

Pictures by: Wade Ulrich, Mike Edwards, Nick Nicks, Dave Kindstrand, Josh McFadden. All pictures used by permission. Thanks to Demon Seeds skateboards for the link

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I skate therefore I am: skateboard pools, pipes, parks, bowls and vert, daily skateboarding news...
posted by Xavier Lannes @ Sunday, April 03, 2011 


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