Exclusive Interview: Sean Malto On Mountain Dew Skate Team
Sean Malto is having one hell of a week – and the only thing that would make it better is a podium appearance this weekend at the Dew Tour City Championships in San Francisco.
The 24-year-old is about to compete in the event for the first time and it comes on the heels of being named to Mountain Dew’s skate team. The Kansas native has been shredding street courses for a while now and joins some of the best in skateboarding – one of whom he’ll battle in Skate Street this weekend. It won’t be the first time Malto and his new teammate Paul Rodriguez have competed in a contest together and there’s no animosity between the two, only excitement for what is to come.
“I’ve known Malto since he was about 16. He is so well-rounded and a really good dude. I’m really, really psyched to be teammates with him again, now on Mountain Dew,” Rodriguez admitted.
Those are high praises from one of the best street skaters in the world but Malto’s accomplishments only further reinforce Rodriguez’s statement. We had to find out how he was feeling, both with his new skate team and in regards to the biggest event of his young career less than a day away.
You can catch Malto’s Skate Street Finals runs – depending on Prelim results – this Saturday, beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET live on NBC and don’t miss any of this weekend’s action on both NBC and NBC Sports Network.
CraveOnline: You’re sponsored by some of the biggest companies, so what exactly makes joining Mountain Dew’s team that much more special for you?
Sean Malto: When I choose my sponsors, you know, I would like what they do for skating and Mountain Dew has definitely done a lot – they’re the title sponsor of the Dew Tour contest. I think it brings a lot to skateboarding and skateboarding here [at Street Championships] in general. You know, their team is amazing, as well. Keelan Dadd, Nick Tucker, Boo Johnson and Paul Rodriguez – they have an amazing team and they do a lot of skating. Those were the two big reasons for me.
Crave: How stoked were you to join the team right before competing in the Dew Tour City Championships in San Francisco this weekend?
Malto: Yeah, I was super-psyched, you know. We were trying to work it out for a while and it’s just perfect timing – it couldn’t have worked out any better with the sponsor and the whole Dew Tour event. We have the entire team here as well and the [team] video just came out at the best possible time and everyone here skating this contest has been really excited and congratulating me, which always makes you feel good.
Crave: With the guys you mentioned [Dadd, Tucker, Johnson and Rodriguez] on the team, you’ve got to be looking forward to traveling and skating with those dudes, right?
Malto: Oh man, I cannot wait! This Mountain Dew team is incredible – talent-wise and personality-wise, all the dudes on the team, the people on and off of the [Dew] Tour.
Crave: Had you met any of those dudes before hand, like had you skated with them before?
Malto: I met a few of them here and there. Obviously, I have skated a lot of contests with Paul [Rodriguez]. But, you know, I took a trip with them, skating in New York, maybe a week and a half ago and met them all and got to hang out and they’re all like really awesome people. It’s cool when you look up to people in skating and their personalities are cooler than even what you expected. It’s kind of an amazing feeling to see how big this team is and how strong team Mountain Dew is, putting in their time and showing their dedication to skateboarding.
Crave: Were the guys pretty welcoming to you, was it an easy transition?
Malto: Yeah, it was super easy, you know. We all met up at the lobby when we got to New York and the whole team was coming up to me psyched that I was part of it and I was telling them I was psyched to just be with them. They’ve been on this team longer than me and I’m coming into this new. So yeah, they were psyched.
Crave: You’ve won Transworld Magazine’s Rookie of the Year and you’ve won the Street League Championships, so what would it mean to place this weekend?
Malto: It would mean so much! Obviously, you come into every contest thinking you’re going to win and that’s like the goal of just competing in general. The sponsorship with Mountain Dew and the Dew Tour – it would make me feel so much better to come out, take it slow and skate to my abilities.
Crave: How are you feeling heading into the Skate Street competition?
Malto: I feel pretty good, you know. The course is big, it’s a definitely little scary but visually it looks amazing. Everybody here is so talented, that, I’m just going to stick to my game plan and hopefully make it to Saturday and pull out what I need to win.
Crave: Have you been working on any big tricks for the event?
Malto: I’ve been working on a couple of new things. It’s just definitely hard to do tricks that you’re not comfortable with in a contest environment. But I think I have a couple new things to pull out and this course is definitely a lot different than any other contest. It’s a little different format and a little different obstacles, so it should get interesting.
Crave: What’s it going to be like competing against your new Mountain Dew teammate, Paul Rodriguez?
Malto: I’ve [laughs] competed against Paul a few times in the past and there’s no one more determined and just dedicated to skateboarding. That guy is so unbelievably talented, he is. He’s one of, if not the best, dudes here so I’m a little nervous about it but, you know. I think you stick to what you know and you skate your best – but he’s my teammate and I’m trying to take him out [laughs].
Crave: Absolutely. But skating with someone like that, does it push you a little harder?
Malto: Yeah, I think Paul kind of just pushes it, you know skateboarding in general, and it doesn’t stop for this contest. He’s here, he’s skating the tricks he’s capable of doing and he probably is going to do. You have to step your game up – you just have to be really focused and try to stay on the board.
Crave: What are you most looking forward to when you’re not competing?
Malto: Mountain Dew has done a lot for this whole Dew Tour experience. This whole compound is crazy, like I’m looking forward to this art show with a few local photographers and Common is playing on Saturday – so I’m just looking forward to the overall experience.
Crave: And what’s next for you, looking ahead after this weekend?
Malto: You know, a lot of energy has gone into this event, so I’m just focusing on this, trying to do well. I’m sure Mountain Dew will do a few trips coming up. I feel like they’re always doing something, always participating somehow – I just have to wait and see.
Crave: For sure. It’s a big weekend for you and you have to focus on what’s ahead in San Fran.
Photo Credit: Yoon Sull