BY SUSANA MARTINEZ
Skateboarding enthusiasts had the opportunity to meet with the members of pro-skating group Six Starz this last Friday at Driscoll’s Surf and Skate Shop in El Centro. The team was holding a free meet and-greet and autograph signing at the storefront and participated in a skate demonstration at El Centro’s Sidewinder Skatepark later that evening. The event was an opportunity to meet with professional skaters who wanted to encourage fans to follow passions, skateboard related or otherwise.
The Six Starz team consists of Ruben Najera, Jim Bates, Jose Medina, Al Garcia, and Brandon Tillman, all of whom have been skating for over 20 years. Though the Six Starz brand had been established before the group came together as a team, the pro-skaters have helped to introduce the brand to the West Coast.
Being together during is what the team enjoys most about these events. All five are inspired by each other and feed off of their positive energy in a way that generates good feeling all around and makes for a great get together. Najera cites a specific example of having been a fan of Garcia’s career well before they began working together on the team. He said growing up watching Garcia, a Latino skater, inspired his own skating career. Najera has gone on to be the first professional skater from the Imperial Valley. This kind of admiration the team has for each other makes for great comradery that in turn helps spark ideas off of each other.
That good feeling transfers over to their interactions with their fans. They inspire each other, and by meeting with their fans they hope that they can do the same for them. The purpose of the meet-and-greet is to create inspiration and to spread the positive message that each individual can make their dreams happen.
That sentiment certainly rings true for the team members. As well as being a professional skater, Bates is also a published children’s author. Garcia and Najera dabble in film, and Medina and Tillman are making a name for themselves in the skating world. Upcoming projects for the team include board series where they create a line of skateboards based on a theme, and each member has their own character that goes along with the boards. A possible tour will occur during November, some of which will be filmed for a full length video that they are planning to make. Currently Garcia is working a new dystopian film titled “Skate God”; another film, “Paved New World” begins shooting in October.
Each member of Six Starz attributes their successes outside of skating to the opportunities that pro-skating has given them. Skating has taught them tenacity and discipline. The industry is tough one and injuries are a common occurrence; however, this is not a deterrence. If one falls, then the next step is to get back up and try again. While that is in direct relation to skating, it is easily applicable to life’s other challenges. The hard work and individual successes of the Six Starz maintain their belief that at any age, anything is possible.