A Sit Down With Sean Malto, Newest Member of the Oakley Skate Team
The prestige level of the Oakley Skate Team took another step up this past month. Welcomed to the team is Street League champion, video part master and all-around good dude, Sean Malto. The 24-year-old Jayhawk (born in Leavenworth, Kansas) may look like the boy next door with equal manners, but the guy is chilling in a contest setting, with a steely nerve that allows him to dismiss what the rest of us would consider high stakes nerves. While the contest accolades and jaw-dropping video parts (see “Pretty Sweet”) equate to the sort of reputation that makes him a big-damn-deal in skateboarding, Malto still finds himself in awe of all he’s experienced due in large part to a grippy piece of wood with wheels.
During his first visit to the Oakley Compound – alongside some high-profile travel companions (Eric Koston, Atiba Jefferson and Curren Caples) for a project soon to be announced – we took a few minutes to run some tape.
First of all, welcome to the team.
Oh, thank you. Psyched.
Tell me a bit about getting into skateboarding growing up in Kansas.
I grew up in a small town, called Leavenworth, Kansas, and I used to swim in this pool and I’d see this skate park from the pool, me and my brother – I have three older brothers – and I was with the two closest in age to me and we were swimming and we look over and see this skate park and it looks so fun, everyone looks so free. I don’t know, something about it just caught out attention and we all just started skating, and once we started it was like something we could all do together. We started driving to different cities and taking road trips together and it was just something that we could do as brothers and as friends and it just kind of evolved from there.
How old were you when you got started?
I was 10.
When was the moment you felt you arrived in skateboarding?
Getting a pro board, like turning pro obviously was like the dream come true. I was so excited just to be a part of this culture and a part of Girl too. I love Girl Skateboards, such an amazing team, so to go pro for them was a real big, pivotal point in my life.
You’re just 24, have you had any Holy Sh*t Moments, where you’re just asking yourself, ‘is this really my life?’
Every day. I just walked into Oakley and I got some free glasses and I was like, holy shit. Every day. I mean it’s crazy when I have time to just sit and think, sometimes while I’m traveling, you just think about the events that have happened in the last week, month, year, it’s pretty amazing what skating has done for me and for all of us here.
What would you say is your focus right now? Video parts, competition, something else? Or is there a focus at all?
I’m just trying to have fun and to skate the best I can in the situation I’m in. I do like skating contests, it does get you in that state of being scared and overcoming things and trying to be consistent, and video parts are what skating is all about, doing tricks that you’ve never done before and compiling them up in a way that looks good to a good song with a good feel. I’m just trying to skate, that’s it.
Who were the guys you looked up to?
[Gives a telling glance toward Eric Koston, who’s standing nearby.] Uuuumm, Eric, who’s right over there. Eric was a big one, Jamie Thomas was huge, Andrew Reynolds, a lot of those guys are still great today and I see them around and I still trip out on it. That was even a Holy Sh*t Moment today, I was in the car and was like ‘Eric Koston and Atiba Jefferson, we’re going to Oakley, that’s insane!’ Yeah, I looked up to those dudes a lot and partly because not only are they the most talented people who ride a skateboard and do what they do, but they carry themselves well and they’re good people. That really meant a lot.
What’s it mean to you to join the Oakley Skate Team?
Oakley is just all about good, quality, high-class products and feel. Its awesome to be apart of something like that. And they care about skating. They are bringing us into these meetings and it’s way more than I ever expected a company of this size to do, I’m sitting in there thinking how cool it is that we get to collaborate. I’m just excited about the future and just psyched to wear the product.
We’re halfway through the year, but what’s on the schedule for the rest of year?
Just get my ankle back. Once my ankle’s back, just get back into the rhythm of everything I was doing before. Try to sneak into this Nike video and hopefully catch part of this contest season.
When do you think you’ll be 100 percent?
It’s anywhere from three weeks to two months. Somewhere in there, this thing is going to finally feel right. The progress is slowly moving and I can skate, but it doesn’t quite feel how I want it to. Once it gets to that certain point of comfort, I think the progress will really start moving forward quickly.