Throughout our lives, friends will come and go, romances will blossom only to shrivel, and enemies may seem haunt our steps like specters. The most solid friendships are based on mutual respect, and regardless of whether or not you’ve seen someone for a decade, you know they’ll always have your back. Emmanuel Guzman is one of those friends. I’ve known him since I was eleven or twelve, and while I was entrenched in the surfing community and he the skate, we had a sort of mutual solidarity in the fact that we’d dedicated our lives to two of Santa Cruz most well-known, and core, pastimes. What I’ve always liked most about E-Man, or Manny, is his honesty, humble nature, and the icy look of intensity in his eyes when you talk to him…you can feel his investment in your words, and his intent to hear you, not to just listen. His uncanny ability on four wheels and plywood is undeniable, and to quote Suicidal Tendencies, this young man is, and has always been, “Possessed to Skate”. I chatted with him recently and wanted to share some of this cool cat’s insight into his world.
Q– I remember being baffled watching you heelflip a six stair in middle school. It was apparent from an early age that you were skilled at skating. Was there a point when you knew that you could be a pro skater, or did you just do your thing and things started falling into place?
A– I didn’t think that being a pro skater was a possibility until my first real sponsorships around my sophomore year in high school, I was about 15 and realized that if I worked and skated as hard as I could that people would notice and want to give me more opportunity to prove my hunger for being pro.
Q– What’s the sketchiest bowl or spot that you’ve skated? What made it so nuts?
A-It’s hard to pick one crazy spot but one that comes to mind is the Quito (Ecuador) park! Its built around the same time as Derby park here in Santa Cruz, but is fifty times the size and twenty times the gnar! It’s in this huge central city park and goes on for as far as the eye can see. It all funnels into this huge full pipe and bowl that has a gladiator like seating arena that people watch and cheer from. It’s intense!
Q– It seems nowadays that to be a top skater you’ve got to have the street stuff down and also be able to throw down in pools and bowls. Do you think being well rounded is important in skating?
A-I think that there’s nothing better in a skateboarder and their style then to be well rounded. If not for one’s own want to explore new terrain and step out of their comfort zone it’s just better to be well rounded in Skating as in life! Skate And Destroy means Skate and Destroy EVERYTHING in your path, not just a ledge or a bowl but fucking EVERYTHING!!!
Q– What have you been up to lately? Where would you say your motivation lies? Are you still chasing the dream?
A-I’ve been skating a lot! Starting to film for a new Santa Cruz video that will be out by summer 2016! Super hyped on that project as well as all the travels that will be involved! The dream lives as long as I want it to, it’s my dream!
Q– Who are your favorite skaters and why?
A– John Cardiel is my all-time favorite skater not because he’s the best or most technical but he’s pure heart and passion on and off the board! He emulates the raw, real, danger, and passion for what I love in skating! All Hail Cardiel!!!
Q– Can you pinpoint your greatest accomplishment in skating? Was it a particular trip, trick, photo, or props from someone you looked up to?
A– My “Let’s Do This” part in 2008 (Transworld) was pretty monumental. It’s an honor to be in those vids and then to get last part curtains was unreal! My whole family flew to Hollywood for the premiere and we all got the surprise of me having last part together. I’ve also had all the major mag covers ( Thrasher, Slap, Skateboard Mag, Low Card, Transworld, Sidewalk, Automatic) minus Skateboarder which is no longer in print.
Q– Where do you see skating going in the future?
A– Unfortunately, the Olympics. Fortunately, the sky’s the limit!
Q– Why do we always see shots of guys in the mags without helmets on? Is it a fashion thing? The limits are being pushed and the stacks are hard, does this lack of safety equipment scare you?
A– I think kids should wear helmets no question! I prefer not to merely out of the fact I haven’t in so long it feels foreign and distracting. Sure I crack my head from time to time, but I’m an adult and can make the choice to wear or not wear a helmet, and I’ll be responsible for the consequences, nobody else.
Q-What’s your favorite part about being a skater from Santa Cruz?
A-That I get to say I’m born and raised in the hometown of shred and hometown to the company I turned pro for and have become an integral part of the history of one of the raddest companies and local stories ever!
Q-Any shout outs?
A-All of my sponsors and homies who have supported me, and many others with the dream to ride! Keep the fire burning!!!