Ruben Torres Interview: September 14, 2007

Intro, interview, and photos by Mykespace.

Countless sixteen-year-olds are consumed with getting a hot whip to show off. Meanwhile, Ruben Torres is contemplating throwing a double whip in set of jumps. At recent local Arizona events, such as the Fort McDowell contest and last spring’s Local Exposure Tour, there was a kid that stood out from the rest. Not because he wass hucking helicopter spin flips, but because he was utilizing the whole course, sending big trick after big trick like it is nothing, and had a smile ear to ear the whole time.

When I spoke with Ruben, he seemed stoked on life and happy to be riding with everyone, which is a drastic change from listening to riders critique their peers while waiting for a turn to ride. I invited him to the bar to get some drinks and play dragon punch after the Fort comp and he replied with a smirk, “I’m not old enough.” I laughed and inquired how old he was. “Sixteen,” he said. Someone that level-headed and killed it on a bike, played off being sixteen quite well. I was in disbelief. The kid impressed me and I thought he would be great to hang out and shoot with.

Ruben lives in Douglas, Arizona, on the border of Mexico. I had only been to Mexico once as a child, so a trip was a must. I’ve heard stories of the diverse street Mexico has to offer, littered with yet-to-be-discovered street spots and many incredible ones already found. Although I had time constraints, we managed to hit numerous spots within a two-mile radius in one day. Mexico was a strange experience because, unlike America where you have to do a backflip to turn a head and get a “Yeah!”, locals watched in amazement as we simply jumped on ledges and grinded benches. While setting up at a plaza, I stopped to look up, and to my surprise, I was surrounded by hundreds of onlookers anticipating what I was going to photograph. The town embraced BMX, which was surreal. For one day I got to witness the cultures that were the foundation of Ruben’s upbringing. He has taken the best of both worlds and is one of the most down-to-earth, humble people I have ever met. I could only wish that I had been as talented and mature as him when I was his age. He has been riding for but a few years, and hopefully he sticks with it, because at the age of sixteen, who knows what level he will take it to in the future.

What got you into riding?
One of my brothers’ friend back in the day use to ride flatland and then got my bother into it. So one day I asked mom and dad to buy me a Hoffman 900 for Christmas and they did. Once I learned to bunnyhop I didn’t want to get off my bike. (Laughs.) I still don’t want to get off my bike…

Ruben Torres on a typical Arizona day… 105 degrees and it’s only noon!
Photo by Mykespace.

What’s it like being 16 in this sport?
It’s crazy seeing people I looked up to when I was younger at a skatepark or a street sesh. Guys used to yell at me for being in the way… Now that I have been traveling a lot, it is nuts being away from home for a long time with no parents and not sleeping in my own bed. (Laughs.) At times I wish I were older because the old guys make fun of me!

How old do people think you are?
Haha… I’ve gotten 18, 20, 22…I don’t know why.

You’ve been traveling a lot lately. Best places you’ve been to recently?
Mexico has the best streets spots, by far. Las Vegas parks are way fun, but I have to say I love my hometown park--that’s where I learned everything and ride every day.

Tailwhip over the subrail at Ruben’s favorite park, the Chandler, Arizona BMX park.
Photo by Mykespace.

What’s it like living on the border of the U.S. and Mexico?
I love it. The food is a lot better and life in general is a lot cheaper in Mexico. It’s cool because I can just walk over there and back.

Do you have your license?
(Laughs.) Yes, I do. I passed my driving test on the second try, but I never drive. I hate it...

What are your thoughts on the young up-and-comers?
Umm…there are a lot of kids killing it nowadays. It is good to prove that you don’t have to be old to do a trick…

Invert in Douglas, AZ at the Bicipartes ramps.
Photo by Mykespace.

Finish this quote: “Live fast…”
…Die trying.

What do you do outside of riding?
MySpace, golf, school, party, text, sleep a lot, hang out with friends.

Ever have problems coming across the border?
Yeah, curfew. But otherwise it’s legit.

Ever run into any trouble in Mexico?
Yes, many times driving to contests in Mexico and stopping at the tollbooths. The corruption of the federals sucks. That’s one thing that I hate about Mexico.

Ever get a girl to ride on your handlebars?
Many times. That’s my ride on 20s, son.

Handplant over the spine at the Chandler BMX park.
Photo by Mykespace.

Style or tricks?
Style, for sure. Try to make a trick look good, but if you can put style in big tricks that’s even better!

Where do you see BMX in the next 5 years?
Oh my god, it’s hard to try to even see where it’s going. It’s scary how fast people are progressing.

What spots would you like to ride?
Anything fun and weird!

Rail hop in Ruben’s hometown of Douglas, Arizona.
Photo by Mykespace.

If you had only one spot to ride, what one would it be?
The Chandler, Arizona bike park.

What’s the BMX scene like where you live?
Not very much of a scene, all the riders in my town are under 16. No lie…

Downside-whip at the Bicipartes ramps.
Photo by Mykespace.

Hip-hop or spock rock?
Everything is good, but it depends on my mood.

Favorite riders?
Tony Watkinson, Mike Miller, Dan Lacy, Dakota Roche, Johnny Stevens, Derek Riggs, Chase Dehart, Dave Rytel, Chase Hawk, Sean Sexton…

Sponsors?
Redendo, Bicipartes

What or who helps your riding?
Mom and dad for supporting me and letting me go on trips. John Dale for driving me everywhere, my brother for making fun of me and telling that I can do it better and higher. And I can’t forget Jesus Christ for giving me life and talent to do what I love.

Thanks?
To my parents, most of all. John Dale, Blas at my local bike shop, Mykespace, God, all my friends at school, and anyone that has help me along the way.

180 barspin in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico… Just across the border from Ruben’s house.
Photo by Mykespace.

180 turndown over the spine at the Douglas, AZ park.
Photo by Mykespace.

that has help me along the way.

180 barspin in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico… Just across the border from Ruben’s house.
Photo by Mykespace.

180 turndown over the spine at the Douglas, AZ park.
Photo by Mykespace.