Diego Tejada is from the great state of Texas and is absolutely killing it right now in the Texas scene. With sponsors like Sequence and the BYKE Project, he is well on his was to becoming possibly America’s next top Pro. I was always fond of his riding and figured it would be a great thing if I gave him some recognition. He is a pretty level headed guy and understands what flatland is all about. I asked him a lot of questions, so make sure you read the whole thing. Keep on eye out on this guy. Check out the teaser video at the end, that he talks about. Leave him some props in the comments.
Age: 23
Name: Diego Ivan Tejada
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Sponsor(s): The Byke Project, Sequence

How are you doing today Diego?
I’m doing great, bout to go fish at the lake in a little while.

So how did you get into riding?

I started riding bmx out of boredom, I wanted to stay productive and well basically out of trouble, haha.

What/Who influenced  you to keep riding?
First and most important, Rodney Williams, his positive outlook in riding is amazing, he told me to keep riding and to keep doing what I love to do. Another person would be Ruben Castillo’s, he gave me his signature frame G.M.F i been reppin’ that bike for a while now, it shaped my riding style a lot. also his part in stoked is so sick, he so fast and stylish. Another person would be Aaron Frost, he has a “I can say whatever I want” a true american haha, it is a rare breed now-a-days in my opinion. Also his company Sequence is very legit, well crafted designs that I’m proud to ride for it. Last but not least, Ez chris, he’s an awesome friend and expresses the true lifestyle of a freestyler/flatlander. ride all day, party all night, after all its all about having a good time haha.

I know you come from a pretty big scene in Texas, how is that for you?

I’m lucky, every time we have big events, I realize that most people aren’t fortunate to have such a scene as mines, but in time I know they will have one, I believe in if you can build it, it they will come.

What is it like riding with Rueben Castillo and Rodney Williams, who are legends?
It’s amazing, they keep me focused on having a great image for flatland, Rodney has all the knowledge about flatland, Ruben has seen the world through flatland plus he knows what’s hot, what’s not, so I see that in both of them and it keeps me pushing flatland harder and harder to a safe zone for commercializing it more and more.

I know you were riding Rueben’s signature frame for awhile, what was it like when he chose you to test it out?
I felt honored, at first I thought it was just in the air then it actually happened. I felt like a little kid on Christmas hahaha. The production is still being planned out and T hope it comes through for Ruben because that frame can and will change the face of flatland.

Mark Dandridge seems to hold a lot of jams in Texas, what do you think of his awesome ideas?

Mark (Rad Dad) is an awesome person to have within flatland and through friendship. His company www.bmxfreestyler.com has pushed our events around Texas by producing it through his media website, without him no one will know about what’s going on in Texas.

Has it ever influenced you to hold your own jam or contest?
Yes, I had my first Jam and now series, called “Freestyle Sessions” currently we had our last one (Volume 2)  in November inconjuction with a break dancing event/series called “Battle of the Alamo” hosted by none other Voodoo Child. Its a great feeling getting everyone together and just sessioning and having a great time.

Compared to where I live, what is it like getting to ride pretty much all year round?
Its okay, Its actually not that great if you like riding all the time, because you get burned out of riding, so yeah its all about the motivation that you have in you. I personally couldn’t live out there by the cold considering the fact that you can’t ride during blizzards. If anyone wants to move away from the cold, Texas would be the best spot, or Cali, I heard they have a great scene too.

How do you keep yourself motivated to learn new “impossible” tricks/links?

Well, I usually work with the tricks that I have and work with it like crossing my legs and then just figuring out what is possible from there. To me its like writing poetry, you think of words and then add more to make them rhyme. Perseverance is the way to succeed, the more you try it the easier it unravels.

What do you think of www.global-flat.com?
Its okay, if I had to rank it I’d give it a 4 out of 10 lol! I’m not gonna lie, they only focus on what is going on in Europe. We have countless of jams here in Texas and who knows about all of the ones that people have all over the states. I don’t even know why they call it global if they are not going to be interested in the rest of the world. Its more of a NAME website. If your one of the MAINSTREAM  flatlanders you’ll get on there exploited, but I feel they do nothing to EXPLOIT flatland in general.

If  you could change one thing about BMX what would it be?
People being bias at contests.

Do you just ride flatland or do you ride the other aspects of BMX?
I love to ride other aspects of bmx. I heard someone say “S well rounded rider rides all other types of bmx.”
I find it fun carving a concrete bowl and airing out of the quarters, it gives me an adrenaline rush its indescribable.

Do you consider yourself purely a flatlander only or a bmxer?
I would say freestyler, not because flatland is freestyle, its because I like to simple freestyle my life, normally I would say I ride bmx, because the majority of people don’t know what flatland is, but do know what a bmx bike is.

Who are some of your favorite riders?
Everyone with a positive outlook in flatland.

Who were some of the riders you looked up to when growing up?

Takashi Ito, York Uno, Michael Steingraeber, Frank Lucas, Matti Rose, Trevor Meyer, Ruben Castillo, EZ chris Anderson, Dave Weathersby, Rodney Williams, Aaron Frost, Ed Nussbaum, Kontaro Tanaka, Yammar, Viki Gomez, Martti Kuoppa, Travis Collier, Andrew Farris, James White, Jason Brown, Day Smith, Terry Adams, Mickey Gaidos, Scott O’brien last but not least Eugene Collins

I know you are apart of the BYKE Project, could give us a brief explanation of what it is and what you, yourself do for the company?
The BYKE Project is a Non-Profit organization that I’m proud to be a part of. Hector the creator of the BYKE Project helps out the local community in Houston, Texas by donating bmx parts/components to people in need of transportation. Also he does shows for kids who can not benefit good quality bmx parts. Its important to help out these kids because, realistically every kid out there wishes to have a bike, I know when I was a kid I always wanted to ride a bike and thought doing tricks was the ultimate. My duty is to exploit it more at contests with my riding and also do shows here and there to help spread the good work for The BYKE Project.

If you could choose one person to ride with, who would it be?
Anyone who loves flatland and wants to be the best at it.

What are you thoughts about freestyle and flatland? Do you think all aspects of freestyle/bmx should be together as one or completely separate?
It should be said together, I think flatland needs a new name, something that sounds a lot better lol, lets just call it dope hahah jk

With all the negativity that spreads like wild fire on the internet, do you contribute or try to keep things positive?
Always try to stay positive, negativeness will only bring you down.

What kind of music are into, whether riding or hanging out? You also have a music project, I think, tell me more about that.
I like to listen to good music, something that will make me move, something that inspires me to keep riding and well basically something to keep my head up. Mostly hip hop from gangster rap to hip hop rock, I like good rock, I like Tool, old hardcore like, Bleeding Through, Nile, anything to pump me up. I’m currently working on producing music, I love to make electronic music as for now. I’m saving up to buy me an akai mpc 2500, its a music producer and its perfect for what I want to do, right now I’m going to leave it at that, I don’t want to get ahead of my self but thats where I’m gonna go from there.

I recently heard you didn’t sign up for The VooDoo Jam, why not go pro this year?
Well, I didn’t know people where gonna sign up so quickly, it spread like wild fire haha. I don’t know about pro yet, I’m working to build my name a little more popular since it is a popularity contest on who can ride the best. Maybe next year, if I’m not permitted to ride in expert I’ll just sit and watch.

Speaking of VooDoo, do you think it has been a positive thing for the North American flatland scene?
Yes, I’ve been to all of the VooDoo Jam series and have watched it grow ever since. Its pushed a lot of riders to the next level including myself, it gave me the influence to one day have a contest as big as the VooDoo Jam, one day as for now I’m plotting ideas for it.

It seems flatland isn’t going anywhere soon in 2009, what do you think of all these contest, Indy Jam, FU5, VooDoo, JoMoPro?
I believe it all has to do with promotion, the better you promote your event the better the outcome will be, also the way you set up your event will have the crowd interested. In time flatland will be as big as it was in the early 90’s it just has to be done right. All the past contests that happened this year are headed in the right direction especially the VooDoo Jam followed by JoMoPro, its all a matter of time.

What are your thoughts about the European style of flatland to the American style?
I think they are stylish cats, they have their bikes dressed pretty. I never hung out with any of them to say anything good or bad, from the videos I’ve seen and the VooDoo Jam, they look determined and have a passion for flatland, I give them props I’m not a hater, we are about the same, except we know how to party better, and just have to put up with the law sometimes. The law here sucks, I believe that our police men are brainwashed into thinking we are the bad guys lol.

How is your bike set up these days?
Its set up really nice haha jk, pretty ghetto, everything is loose right now, not by choice but because I’m working on a lot of jumping tricks. I’m running the 36 mm Hook stem with the Sequence Xan Bars, they are really great with whiplashes I must add.

Are you more of a pumping, rolling, spinning, or scuffing kind of rider?

I try to do whatever I need to stay on the bike, it may consist of pumping, spinning and scuffing, as long as it flows and doesn’t knock me off the bike. Scuffing helps all the time so i strongly suggest people learn how to scuff and quit making fun of scuffing lol.

Do you have any hobbies outside of riding?
Music. I love producing music, I just started doing it about a year ago, I’m hooked, I want to make music like Apex Twin, The Prodigy and hip hop all together.

Do you go to school or work at all?
I’m attending Community College right now, its cheaper since I don’t qualify for any grants right now but in time, I plan on transferring to U.T.A in the next year or so, i plan to make a documentary film soon.

Who is/are your favorite rider(s) to ride with?

I’d say Dave Weathersby, he is so dialed. Everyone at the O.G. and everyone here in San Antonio, Rodney (Williams), Adam Diclaudio, Jose, George, they are all great guys to be with.

How many hours do you put into your riding?
Usually 2 hours now, but on Saturdays when I go up to Austin I put 6+ hours, I ride until my legs cramp up.

From what I’ve read on your Myspace profile, you seem to be really interested in problems, affairs, and news from around the world, care to expand upon that? Does it relate to your riding at all?

I can relate to it I guess, there are so many problems out there in the world that affect all of us that the thing that anyone could do is find a passion/hobbies to forget about it for the time being.

If you could be sponsored by any type of company, which one would you choose?

Nike. I know some kid in a sweat shop is probably making them shoes right now, so it would be an honor to wear them since I come from a third world country.

Coming from such a strong scene, what’s it like when new riders spring up in your scene?
Its a cool feeling, it lets you know that flatland is growing more and more.

Are there any new up and comers we should be aware of?
Yes, Kenny Boucher, he is so dialed and has a lot of style, Johnny T. He’s the same way, he’s almost got blenders down, and only been riding 3 years or less I believe.

Do you like competing or just riding with a bunch of friends?

I like both.

Do you ride with yourself more, or with your friends?
Most of the time with myself, but I’d rather ride with others most of the time.

Who do you think is one of the most underrated riders?
Adam Diclaudio, watch out for him soon! He’s out and he is hungry to be the best. Adam has all the sickest moves and flow that he is untouchable during a normal session at the Austin Garage.

What do you think of more and more rider owned companies popping up?
Its a good idea, I think they should keep going or team up and network.

Where would you like to see flatland in the next 10 years?
On the Pay Per View Channel.

Do you enjoy the webvideo side of BMX or do you enjoy the DVD’s better?
I lean more towards webvideos because its free, but DVD’s have better quality and you can add them to your collection.

What are your top 5 predictions for the world circuit this year?
I don’t care, I’m not in it lol! Its gonna be probably the same as last years, Terry (Adams), (Matthias) Dandois, (Sam) Foakes, Dominik (Nekolny), and probably (Raphael) Chiquet.

You put up a video of some of your riding a while back and it was absolutely mind blowing. Any plans for a new video?
Yes, I just need to find a camera guy. I’m all about good quality and good riding spots to attract the viewer. That video was a little teaser on what I could do. I promise more to come.

What does flatland mean to you?
Flatland means my gateway to reality, its my gateway to do other things such as music and to be the best at everything that comes my way.

Well thanks a lot for doing this! I hope you enjoyed doing it!

Here is the section where you give a shout out(s)/Thanks.
I’d like to thank Rodney, Adam G, Adam D, D.W. Ruben C, Ez Chris A, Jim, Anthony, Josh Duffek, Amahl, Alex Garcia, Kzoh, Jose P, George, Hector, The BYKE Project, Sequence, Aaron Frost, Jesse P, Scott O’brien, Kenny, Johnny, Paul M, Roger, Roger Jr, Mom, Dad, and anyone that I missed, my bad.

Anything else you would like to add or say?
Do What Makes You Happy.