The Friday Interview – Catching Up With TJ Ellis

TJ Ellis had a super busy year after healing up from an injury and is now chilling in the off-season. We caught up with him with a handful of our own questions, then turned it over to our Facebook fans and let them ask some questions of their own for this week’s Friday Interview. -Fat

Name: TJ Ellis
Age: 24
Location: Moreno Valley, CA
Sponsors: Rockstar Energy Drink, Free Agent Bikes, Vans, Sullen, Deft, Skullcandy, Ogio, Alienation

No-hander over a hip at one of his local spots, The Compound. Photo by Fat.

You had a pretty stacked year with traveling and contests and stuff…Where all did you go?
2009 was my busiest year ever, but the 2010 year was squashed in like five months because I was injured for the first four months of the year. So when I got back riding I started going to every event to get back in the groove. Besides all the contests like Warriors of Wood, Stomping Grounds, and Dew Tour that went down in the states, I got to go to Cologne, Germany, for BMX Masters, Dominican Republic for a demo, and Tosse, France, for the Lords of Dirt comp, and did a road trip up the coast of France for a crazy air show.

Now it’s kind of the off-season, so what are your plans for the next few months?
Since Winter is coming around, trying to heal the body and just ride, dig, and hang out. I plan on hitting up Rye Airfield comp and can’t wait for Cam White’s Hillside Jam 2011 in early February.

Where have you been riding when you are at home, and who do you normally ride with?
When I’m home I ride Luke Parslow’s yard, The Compound park, Heath Pinter’s spot, and Nasty's place in Tehachapi. I usually session with Luke Parslow, Nasty, Hucker, Heath Pinter, Larry Edgar, DGAF Dan, Josh Stead, Matt and Joey Cordova, Kris Fox, H-town, DJ Launchin’ Lance.

360 double tailwhip for the packed crowd at the 2010 Salt Lake City Dew Tour. Photo by Fat.

Describe a typical session for you and your friends…
We usually relax first, dial in the bikes, patch up the trails, and have a good session with some trash talking, kick outs, and a bunch of laughing.

What would you say was your most memorable contest moment from this year?
The most memorable for me would have to be BMX masters not only because I took first place, but the things that went down. Like riding back to my room in the craziest storm I have ever seen, the nights out, and the crazy light show they do in front of the Hohenzollern Bridge and behind the Deutzer Bridge for their 4th of July. It was nuts witnessing that first hand while riding through town.

What would be your most memorable travel story or memory from this year?
Living in France for two weeks with Hucker and Dane Searls was an adventure.

Frontie turndown over the last set in Las Vegas during the Dew Tour finals. Photo by Fat.

— Questions From Our Facebook Fans

What does your initials TJ stand for?
Tommie Jr.

When did you start riding?
Sometime around elementary school.

Why did you choose dirt jumping instead of racing? Did you ever race?
Well, it’s not like I choose dirt over racing, it just never caught my eye…not sure, but freestyle on a bike just seemed so fun and it kept me coming back for more. I never raced in my life, but had like a pump section at the trails back in the day.

Canonball up the step up at one of the first jumping contests of the year, Warriors Of Wood in San Jose, California. Photo by Fat.

When did you realize you could become a full-time professional BMX rider?
Once I started doing big contest and I didn't go back to work for a whole summer; instead I was out traveling to a bunch of events then that turned into a year! That's when it became a reality. Now I’m living my dream…

What got you into BMX in the first place, and what inspires in your riding today?
Just being that kid trying to jump off everything I saw as a ramp soon became a fun challenging hobby that I wanted to be good at. I’m inspired by the people I ride with, the progression of riding that's going down, the level the younger guys are riding at, and the feeling I get every time I ride just motivates me more and more.

What do you love about BMX? What has it added to your life that you are thankful for?
I love the freedom and creativity everyone brings that makes BMX happen. BMX has taken me around the world, gave me some of my best friends, and has let me live the way I want to live…and get paid to do what I love to do.

Laughing it up with Vans teammate Jaie Toohey. Photo by Fat.

Who is your favorite person to ride with, and why?
Luke Parslow because we push and feed of each other and he’s just always so dialed with the big tricks and just on point.

Favorite place to ride?
Nasty’s yard.

Favorite trick?
Big backies.

Nac-nac, or can-can?

Do you have any tips for frontflips?
Fronties are all about commitment and popping off the lip.

PBR or Busch?

Would you do it all again?
In a heartbeat…

Throwing down his favorite trick...a big backie. Photo by Fat.