When Omar Salazar steps on a skateboard, it’s a non-stop hell ride of barely contained energy and controlled chaos. It’s as if Omar’s intentionally scaring himself, hitting the sketchiest spots at high speed for nothing else but the absolute thrill of the rolling ride. It’s burly as hell, and it all makes for amazing skateboarding.
Omar’s in the spotlight these days with a new shoe from Nike SB, which gave me a perfect excuse to call him up. We talked specifics about the Salazar LR, outer space, skating fast, riding the edge of The Great Wall of China and more. Read on and get to know one of the all-around raddest dudes in skateboarding.
When Nike first told you they were giving you a shoe a while back, what was your reaction? It was a dream, man. It was something I really believed would be possible for me and people didn’t really think it could be. And it came true for me. It was amazing. I had had people tell me that no one’s getting a shoe [at Nike]. We have the guy. And I just remember thinking, Nope, not if I’m around (laughs). I’m not trying to sound like a d**khead or anything, I just felt like I had something that was different from a lot of other stuff. And even though I wasn’t a gold medalist or the top skater in the world…I think I’m different, my vision of what skating is, it’s my way of expressing myself without words. So I felt like I had something different, I think. So when they told me, it was a big deal. I was psyched.
So is this your second shoe that just dropped or would you say it’s more of a revision of your first shoe? It’s my vision of what it was supposed to be. In a way, it’s still my first shoe; it’s just my take on it.
How is this one different from the first one? Well the silhouette of it for what I wanted from it…for support, ankle and foot support, that’s why I wanted a mid-top. Originally I used to wear Blazers. That was my main shoe that I always wore. It was really thin and it was really supportive. So for me, it was important to design something that had support for my ankles. It also was light and thin enough to have your pants fit over them. So when I came out with it, at the time there weren’t many mid-tops, but I was so used to hi-tops I wanted to cut it down a little shorter.
So this one’s trimmed down a bit? With the new shoe I personally wanted something much more classic looking. But the trick was, I wanted a classic looking shoe that had technology that you could feel. You don’t necessarily see it, but it’s all about the feel. With this shoe, having the Lunarlon, it’s awesome. It’s the best for your feet, man. How light the shoe is, and being able to jump stuff and the flexibility…it fits like a glove.
Did you work with designers on getting this one going? I came up with the design and I drew it out. Instead of having two pieces on the toe, I wanted one piece because I like the idea of skating a shoe for a week or two and not having the second layer come up. So having a single toe-piece is awesome. I definitely wanted some stitching designs in there, so you can still see your feet. But it’s pretty much exactly what I wanted.
Does the shoe have the outer space stuff in there? The Lunarlon insole is the only space thing that’s in the shoe. But I might be saving that for a later update, who knows. But outer space still lives.
What inspired the whole outer space theme for you? It’s kind of awesome because I’ve always been obsessed with outer space and mars and all the crazy planets. The smartest dude in the world, Stephen Hawking, says that it’s impossible that we’re the only living things in this whole galaxy. So I’ve always been obsessed with outer space and aliens. It’s always been with me. And then later on when I got on Nike, I was on some trip just being me and my team manager Hunter goes, ‘Man, you just think different, you’re crazy, man…you’re outer space’. And I was just like, ‘Yeah, I’m outer space’. And ever since, that’s how it worked. And my initials are O.S. so….
What about skating fast intrigues you? It gets my endorphins going and gets me psyched. When I try something really sketchy or to me that might be scary, I enjoy getting my endorphins pumping. That’s why I get scared and excited. Not scared in a negative way. It just gets me psyched.
I saw that footage of you riding on the side of the Great Wall of China. That was sketchy as hell. I knew it was sketchy, but I feel like I know what I’m doing. One of the other guys who was actually drinking was like, ‘Man, I want to try it.’ And I was like, ‘Man, you shouldn’t try it. If you weren’t drinking I wouldn’t say this.’ I mean, I just feel like I know what I can and cannot do. I feel like when it’s a situation when I can get really injured or maybe even die, I feel like I have more control over that, if that makes any sense.
When you were growing up, your dad wasn’t too hyped on you skating. Has his perception changed since all your success? Totally, yeah. He’s psyched on what I do. It wasn’t that he wasn’t supportive, he just didn’t understand it. He wanted the best for me and I get it. He’s a parent. In a way it was love for me, because if he didn’t give a sh*t, would he even bother to care? He wanted his son to be successful in something. So, he’s super supportive now.
What’s up next for you, Omar? Just skating. I’m working on a couple video projects. Doing a couple things with Alien and something with Nike, so I’ll definitely be having a lot of video and coverage coming out real soon.
All Photos Courtesy Of Nike SB.
Get Omar’s newest signature goods including the new Salazar LR.