photo: brendan klein 2014
Judging Omar by the way that he skates, I always figured he’d act kind of like a sugar fueled kid off his meds, but, as it turns out, he’s more like a wizened veteran in the skate biz who is off his meds. His nearly two decades in the game have taught him a thing or two about the industry’s challenges, lessons that he’s visualized in the logo of his developing brand, Doom Sayers. I caught up with the fast talking, faster skating Omar to talk with him about being force fed Ritalin, the demise of Alien Workshop, and whether or not we’re alone in the universe.
You are known for your energy and hyperactivity. As a kid were you ADHD?
You know what, I was, but I was diagnosed by shitty teachers. I went to Catholic school, which is the worst place ever. I remember my first time with drugs was when I was introduced to Ritalin by my Catholic school teacher. She was like, you need this! And I was like, uh, no, I’m totally normal. And they just kept saying, “No, no, you need this, my son takes it too.” They tried to give Ritalin to all the students. Insane! They made me take it, and I was just like, oh my god, why do I want to just focus? I didn’t like it. But they kept giving it to me and the other students. Eventually I’d put it under my tongue and when they weren’t looking I’d spit it straight out. I don’t recommend it.
That’s fucked up! And illegal… Are you turned off by religion as a result?
Yes. I wish I woulda known, I woulda sued those mother fuckers. It made me all crazy for a little bit. St. Rose school, shitty school. I respect what they teach – don’t cheat, don’t steal, I agree. But man, that was fucked.
Are there any other weird things they made you do in Catholic school?
I was always getting in trouble for the dumbest shit. Like they always told us, give to the needy, give to the poor, etc… So I thought, yeah, OK! I would take my lunch, go over to the school fence where all these bums would hang out, and for weeks I would give them my food. Then once they found out, this fucking lady, Ms. Fradis – I’ll never forget her goddam name – she pulled me by my ear and yelled, “What are you doing!!! What do you think you are doing!” I was just doing what they told us to do! There was a lot of lies, it was so much bullshit.
Did anyone try to molest you there?
Ah, no, dude. But there was a lot of weird shit going around with other priests – people making up stories and lies.
fs blunt / photo: kyle camarillo
You’ve had some bad experiences with skateboard companies early on, like with Foundation.
Are you burnt on the industry from such experiences?
For a long time I was really bummed about that and hurt by it. But, you know what, it definitely made me more prepared for when shit happens. I’m not trying to make drama or anything, you asked, it’s just part of my history. I understand it, but I think the situation wasn’t handled well. Hopefully a lot of other people agree. I was told what to do and I did what I was told. When riders are going through a hard time, you don’t just fucking get rid of them. Maybe if they just told me, “Hey, it’s not working out,” instead of just stopping communication all together…
I was just 15, really stoked to be on the team, but I think they just thought I was some fucking dummy. I ended up hurting my knee really bad. The doctor told me I tore my meniscus and needed surgery. I tell the dudes at Foundation about my knee, and the guy was like, “we need to film for this upcoming video, and if you don’t have any footage then you’re not in this video. And if you’re not in this video, well… you know what that means.”
So I went out and filmed as much as I could while my knee was totally fucked up. I’m hiding skateboard packages under my bed because I’m too afraid of my parents knowing that I’m getting sponsored because they might try to put an end to it. I filmed some stuff and sent in the footage right before going into surgery. Then in the middle of the procedure I woke up with the doctor yelling, “You fucked up! You didn’t listen to me!” I was all gassed up and drugged and crying. He just kept telling me I was never going to skate again. They went in and took out cartilage from my hip or somewhere and put it in my knee. I thought, at least I made it into the video, I’m still a part of something, you know? But the premiere came, and I wasn’t really invited… so I invited myself. I just called Tod Swank [Owner of Foundation], and he’s like, “Come down, just hit us up when you’re here. We’ll get you a hotel, you’re all good.”
”I was wall gassed up and drugged and crying. The doctor just kept telling me I was never going to skate again”
So these two guys who are like my older skate bros drive me down there – it’s like 7 hour drive – and I was so thankful I told the guys that as long as we made it there we’d have a hotel to stay at and we can hit the premiere. But as we’re driving there I call Tod Swank to let him know we’re coming, but nobody answers. There was nothing set up. It was just the biggest nightmare. These guys drove for 7 hours! We didn’t have anywhere to stay, so they slept in the car. There wasn’t any space left in there for me, so I ended up sleeping on a rooftop. I didn’t even really sleep, just so bummed that my friends thought I lied to them. Then the premiere was the next day, and as soon as I got there, I just knew it was done, these guys didn’t even want me there.
I do want to say that there’s good people that work at Foundation and Tum Yeto now, things are different, I don’t hold anything against anybody there, that’s just my experience.
I heard you used to get free food from hotels when you were struggling.
When I was struggling, I lived on a couch for a really long time. I am super thankful. I stayed at this place called Tea Street. Me, Brandon Biebel, Richard Angelides, sometimes Stefan Janoski and this girl, Joey. We just stayed in this apartment and pretty much survived off of that place. For food I would basically skate around Sacramento all day, and look for open houses to stop by and be like, “Oh hey, my mom’s gonna be right back. She said she really likes this house.” And then they’d be like, “Oh yeah, have some cookies, fruit and a water bottle.” So I’d eat it all up and then just bounce. That’s how I would get by. Go to the grocery store on the weekends for the free samples too. I was probably only 15, 16.
Do you believe in aliens?
I think they are out there somewhere. I’m intrigued by a lot of that shit, like the Anunnaki civilization and why they built the pyramids. I guess I’m kinda into it. Look it up. I had a conversation with Marc Johnson about it, it’s something you have to watch and check out the research for. Like, there’s a vibration and sound frequency which can make things float, it’s crazy. And they noticed that this frequency is all over the world, so there are scientists who are experimenting with these sounds. That’s how they say the Egyptians were able to move these big stones with the tools they had.
Anyway, that’s as far as I’ll go, I’m not gonna get completely crazy about it. But you know what though, the JFK shit? That shit’s rigged. There’s a really good book called They Killed Our President and now, before you laugh, it’s a book by Jessie Ventura, but it’s really fucking good, and he’s really smart.
What are you doing with all the free time you have now that you’re hurt? Just on Pornhub a lot?
[Laughs] Nah, not as much as I would of been if I had this much time like 5 years ago. Dude, honestly, I have been so busy with getting my knee back, doing physical rehab, and then doing my Doom Sayers project while trying to have a regular life too. I’m constantly trying to come up with something new and something that will go right with our message. It’s a lot of work, man. Some days I just can’t sleep. Going side to side, thinking, all right, man, do people get what we are doing?
photo: Jonathan Mehring, originally appeared in Skateboarder Magazine
Do you have a girlfriend?
Somehow I do, yeah. We’ve been together 5 years. It’s been on and off. It ain’t easy though with all the traveling that I do.
After 5 years, does the sex get boring? You ever read those Cosmo tips?
If you’re not a creative person, then sex can get boring. I’m pretty creative I think [laughs]. When I was younger I would be looking at a skateboard mag at a store, and you would see the cover of a Cosmo like “How to Seduce Someone in Under 5 Minutes” or some shit like that. When I was younger I was just like, yeah, lets see what I got. But I mainly just stuck to reading the skateboard mags.
Are there any crazy sexual positions you can offer our readers to try out?
Ah, man, just experience, man. Just let it flow, let it go wherever it wants to go. [laughs!] I don’t know! Is this sex ed all of a sudden? I always like to say experiencing and trying different things is always OK. You got to make things fun. You can translate that into skating and everything else. Keeping yourself open to trying different things is always good in general.
”If you’re not a creative person then sex can get pretty boring. I’m a creative person, I think”
Where is a good place to meet girlfriend material girls?
I don’t know, man… Maybe at a concert or a show you really like, then you know it’s a good place to listen to good music too. A nice quality girl isn’t there to get fucked up and laid, they are there to go listen to the music. Well, maybe they wanna get laid by the drummer or the singer or some shit, but typically they are there to go out and have a good time with their friends. And then you know she digs your type of music, so it’s just like, “whats up!” I’d say that’s the best way.
We asked Austyn Gillette the same question and he said to meet them at Home Depot.
[Laughs] Yeah right, dude! They are probably so pissed off that they have to fix their own pipes and shit. No man, that’s the worst place ever. I give him credit for trying though. Like I said, just give it a shot.
Can you tell me what’s going on with your sponsors and what happened with Alien and you?
I wish I had info… you know, the whole Alien thing is just so fucking lame with how it went down. I was kind of a little bit bummed. Around the time Ave and Dill left there was one time I think I had a good opportunity to leave and do something too, but I decided to stay with Alien Workshop because of my friend Chad Bowers and my team, so I decided to stick it out. I felt like I couldn’t leave everyone and I had to stick it out.
That was a while ago, and I stayed there. Next thing I know they get rid of Chad [Bowers], and I’m just hanging by a thread like, woah, what the fuck is going on? Now I don’t even know who to talk to.
So I continued riding for Alien for 3 or 4 more months until I realized, holy shit, I haven’t gotten paid in 3 fucking months, what the fuck? We were just winning awards, team of the year, had a video and all that, and then Rob Dyrdek, this guy who is supposed to save us swoops in, and all of a sudden it was done.
I never spoke to anyone. No one ever called me, I’m just like, who is running this thing? They got rid of the only dude who I was talking to [Chad] who told me to stick around. And that’s how you get rid of people after all these years? I was bummed and then got hurt.. But no phonecall. No Rob Dyrdek phonecall… I mean jesus, who are you, man? I thought we were homies, bro [laughs]. Just kidding. Whatever.
Yeah, but I imagine Rob was in over his head and just spread too thin… He really tried.
I guess, but I mean, you don’t have a phone call to give? Yeah, I do understand he has a lot on his plate, I kind of get it.. but that’s what happened. I called Rob ever since he got involved in buying Alien Workshop and before that… probably like 50 calls. I know Rob’s a hardworking guy and he comes from a good family, but damn.
”That’s how you get rid of people after all these years?”
Look, I had a good time with them, I ended up doing their thing and it was rad. But I’m done with it now. I was just disappointed on how it went down and I still haven’t heard from anybody. Sometimes you just gotta know there’s other people working really hard out there, and then all of a sudden you made me not believe anymore. And I still haven’t got a paycheck like, oh, here you go, thanks for your time. Cause I could sure as hell use that for my medical bill right now. Thats all I gotta say about that.
How do you feel about Alien Workshop relaunching?
I guess they are doing their thing. I don’t really have anything to say about it. I actually talked to Heath Kirchart the other night at his bar, Black, really cool spot – that’s actually a second spot I’d say to go to if you want to meet a chick – but I talked to Heath about it, and no one knows anything about it, they didn’t talk to any of us about it.
I don’t get burned out by it because I just learn there’s other ways to go around running a business. You can learn from these things that people do. It’s called communication, man. If you can’t hang any longer or run the company, then you talk to your people and say, thanks for your time, here’s some money for your hard work. Because we have responsibilities of paying our bills too. It’s like, give us a little time, we are trying to be responsible skaters and people in this skateboard profession, but the truth about it is that there is no preparation for this. We are just a bunch of young kids who get into skateboarding, and it’s the fucking best thing ever, but no one is there to tell you to pay your taxes, get insurance, do this, do that. So it’s really difficult when you get everything pulled out from under you.
So what’s the deal, are you on this upcoming skate brand, Mother Skateboards?
Right now, I’m not skating for anyone.
I talked with them about it, but I just told them that I’m not in any position to be anywhere near any kind of team at this moment because I’m hurt and don’t have anything to offer as far as skating. I’m not gonna collect a paycheck if my mind and body and interest aren’t fully into it. I’m not gonna waste anybody’s fucking time. Not them, not you, nobody. Because if I was all about that, I would have already taken an energy drink’s paycheck… but I don’t wanna do that. I’m stoked on the sponsors that I have.
”I’m not gonna collect a paycheck if my mind and body and interest aren’t fully into it. Because if I was all about that, I would have already gotten an energy drink sponsor”
I’ve seen the graphics, they are fucking sick though. I’m just not skating again yet, I don’t have any rush to do anything. Mother is Jake Johnson, Gilbert Crockett, and Tyler Bledsoe. It would be so sick right now to be getting a check, sure, but I’m not gonna do that just because. I’ve had some offers, really sick companies, but I said my heart isn’t there right now. And some companies even offered to hook me up for the next year or until I get better. I really appreciate that, but I don’t feel right doing it. Most people would probably tell me I’m a fucking idiot… I’m trying to figure it out. I hate asking for shit unless I can do something for them in return. I wanna be back on my board. I was going so fucking hard, so stoked to be filming for the new Nike video. I was doing really good and then I had this freak accident. This was like, 9 months ago dude. It’s been a while. I still got another 4 or 5 months or longer.
Would you consider making your company, Doom Sayers a brand that makes skateboards too?
I don’t have a plan to make it into a skateboard company unless there’s a reason to do it. With Doom Sayers, I just want everyone that’s out there that has people doubting them or is around a lot of fucking negativity, to know that you can take that and turn it around. Turn it on them. That’s the whole concept behind Doom Sayers and I think a lot of people see that from our message with the snake. Be like, “Oh, you don’t think I’m gonna do this? Yeah? Watch me,” boom, and go do it.
This content was originally published here.