Our latest installment of Spiffy Grants is a double dose of talent. We chose Ignacio Banuelos and Anthony Owusu, two brilliant young lads from Rancho Cucamonga, California.
They’ve been on our radar for a number of reasons. To start, they were literally the first people to embrace our clothing brand, promote it, and share with it with their networks. Second, they are wizards on their skateboards. I’m not just talking about dudes from the neighborhood that can do a little something. These two are consistently posting clips of their skateboarding on their Instagram pages and garnering the attention of top pros such as Daewon Song and Alfonzo Rawls. The number of followers they have on IG is mind-boggling and if you don’t believe me go check out them out for yourself- @iggybpoppin & @ohwusup.
Finally, as skilled as they are on their skateboards, they are just as focused on developing their business skills and learning how to operate businesses of their own. We wanted to give back to them as they’ve shown us nothing but love.
On a recent trip to San Francisco with Iggy and Anthony, we skated some of the city’s legendary spots, shot photos, and talked to these two about their skateboarding and vision for their future. Check out photos from the trip and their interview below.
Give us some background on yourselves.
IB My name is Ignacio Banuelos, I’m 24 and was born in LA. I moved to Temecula in 8th grade then moved to Rancho Cucamonga and that’s when I started taking steps towards things that I want. Got into skateboarding at 14 and now I’m the team manager for a skate shop in Ontario called Make Skate.
AO My name is Anthony Owusu, I’m 22 years old. I was born in LA, raised in Pasadena, and eventually moved to Rancho Cucamonga. I’m the team manager for Flik Griptape, I drive for Lyft, and I love to skateboard and play music.
Have either of you pursued higher education?
IB I did. I went to Chaffey College for a couple of years to study business. Eventually I decided it wasn’t for me and wanted to focus on myself but still learned a lot about that field.
AO I went to Chaffey College for three and a half years and transferred to California State University Los Angeles. Initially I really wanted to transfer just to be out in Los Angeles and I eventually realized I was forced to do other things and it wasn’t like how I thought it would be. I took business courses because I figured everything is business but eventually dropped out. I’m more of a person who sees myself doing my own thing and being an entrepreneur. That’s why I work for Lyft because I can do it on my own time, which I’ve been doing for about eight months.
You guys run a social media management company called Instavision. Tell us about it, how it started, and why you felt the need to start such a company.
AO I got into it because a friend of mine, Jeff, noticed the following and engagement I had on Instagram, which I built by posting clips of my skateboarding. He wanted to see if I could help him build a following for his clothing brand. I helped him build up his clout and he paid me for it. Through him I found a couple more clients and from there I thought we should take this a little more seriously. Now, we’ve been incorporated since August 2016.
What’s next for Instavision?
AO Stacking more clients and pushing it as far as we can. Really I didn’t drop out of school for no reason and not do anything. I felt like starting something of our own and the experience of running a business would help us learn more.
IB That’s so real because I feel like I’ve learned so much about how to run a business once we started growing.
AO Really the business is still in its baby stage but for us its really about the experience and learning the necessary survival skills.
Tell us about your skateboarding.
IB I first jumped on a skateboard around 12 years old, but I don’t really count this as my beginning. I had one of those Walmart boards and one day I went to the skate park and asked another skater how to drop in on a ramp. He showed me how so I tried and ended up breaking my leg. I fractured it in five different places and my doctor was so surprised that I didn’t mangle my leg. Once my it healed I didn’t try to skate again until I was fourteen. I was skating a lot through high school but in my later years of high school I had to skate a little less to focus on my grades and finishing school. I eventually got back into it after meeting Anthony around four or five years ago. Now we skate all the time and try to push each other but we’re also trying to get as well connected with the industry as we can. We figure if we work all sides of it, and the more people we know all together, the more fun we’re going to have.
AO I really didn't know I was going to be a skateboarder early on but I had the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game so I already knew all of the names of the tricks and what they looked like. The first time I got a skateboard was on my sister’s birthday. My mom bought my brother and me skateboards because she didn’t want us to feel left out. We started just riding our boards down a hill in our neighborhood. I don’t really remember when my friends and I decided to start learning tricks but I think I was around ten or eleven years old.
Funny story, to get my first real complete skateboard I ended up traded my iPod Shuffle and my Mom was so pissed! She even tried to make me trade it back but it wasn’t happening.
When did you see your skateboarding really start to progress?
IB I noticed I started learning things faster about four or five years ago. I had been skating hard for a year and things just started clicking. But really I just love everything about skateboarding and the way it trains your brain. It teaches you to think and see things differently.
AO I realized I started getting good at it when I tre flipped down the quarter pipe at Spruce Skate Park. This was in the eighth grade, so around 13 years old. A homie of mine said he’d give me a pair of trucks if I tried the trick. I tried it and actually landed it. I really couldn’t believe it and the next day I told all my friends at school.
Where are you trying to take your skateboarding?
AO Wherever skateboarding takes me. Whatever happens happens. I skate for myself and I do push myself but I also don’t want to overdo it and get really hurt.
IB Same here. I still want to progress and get better but there’s still a balance of skating and being healthy enough to pursue my other goals.
What are your other interests and what else are you working on?
AO I play music and more recently have been into repurposing old skateboards into different things. I’m working on a project right now, which I can’t disclose all the details of, but it does fuse skateboarding and music, so am looking for people to donate their old boards.
I ride for Active Ride Shop and we go out and skate demos and shoot photos for their catalog. I’m also the team manager for Flik Grippe so I send out packages to our riders. I check out new clips that riders send me, I run the Instagram, sometimes I answer the phones, and I’ll give my input on new grip tape designs.
IB I’m the team manager for Make Skate which is a skate shop in Ontario. Our budget isn’t crazy so we have a small team of three skaters and we have a couple other people who are regulars that come skate with us and we’ll hook them up with a few things. I like the vibe there. The owner, Brian, really takes care of me and makes sure I have new boards and shoes to skate. We have a good relationship and are looking to do more and more in the future. I also coordinate events for upcoming and coming local shops and brands in the Inland Empire to help get them more exposure. Other than that, I’m always looking to develop my business skills and meet more people and see if there’s a way we can work together.
Words & Photos by: Mike Bugaoan
Edited by: Lauren Tannenbaum
Additional Photos by: Jay Lim
Spiffy Brand is proud to announce our new grant program aimed at helping individuals who display an exemplary amount of drive, determination, and good will. We are in a fortunate position to provide these people with an array of resources including mentorship, counseling, and cash funding. This year, we will choose one recipient per month.
Our first Spiffy Grant recipient is Antonio LLoréns Wallace. We met Antonio while planning our trip to visit our friends at Dreamsea Surf Camp in Costa Rica. We quickly learned that he is one hard working dude. He puts his family on his back, runs the front-end of Dreamsea, rides waves like he’s been doing it since he was a baby (well, he practically has), all while developing his managerial and architectural skills.
Our very own Mike Bugaoan sat down with Antonio to discuss his upbringing, education, and future goals. Check out the interview below.
Mike Bugaoan: Give us a brief background on yourself and what you are doing here at Dreamsea.
Antonio LLoréns Wallace: I am 27 years old and am from Acapulco, Mexico. I studied architecture at Universidad Loyola del Pacífico and graduated in 2015. In August 2015, I was hired as a surf instructor at Dreamsea Surf Camp and by November I was promoted to Operations Manager, which means I manage the day-to-day on-site at the camp.
What was your process of getting hired at Dreamsea like?
After I graduated I had a little time to travel, so I was looking for a job where I could travel and possibly give surf lessons. Initially, I was searching for opportunities through websites like workaway.com. Eventually I found a job posting for Dreamsea and I reached out to them directly on their website. I was hired to give surf lessons in exchange for accommodations and began working with the camp owner, Carlos Tello, and camp director, Michael Blair. As I started working here as an instructor I became more and more interested in the operation and wanted to do more. Although I was hired as a surf instructor, I was soon offered the position of Operations Manager. After three months in this new role, the owner was completely hands-off and let me run the front end of the camp. It is very important to me to be able to work on my management skills and I am able to do that here. Still to this day my biggest motivation is getting the chance to build while I am surfing everyday.
You are an extremely talented surfer and skimboarder. How did you become so good at these sports?
My father began to teach me how to surf and skim at the age of four or five, and I have been doing it ever since. I remember the first time I was catching waves I was so tiny my dad would put me on the surfboard already standing. My family always spent Sundays at the beach. We would go to La Bonfil in Acapulco. We are the type of family that loves the water, we would always go snorkeling, surfing, fishing, or scuba diving. We've always been a water family.
Lastly, tell us about some of the architects who inspire you and what your larger goals are for the future.
I really admire architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Luis Barragan, they are both incomparable. For my future goals I would like to continue building and designing architecture and, if given the chance, I would like to run the building I design as that's what many architects do.
For more information on Dreamsea Surf Camp Costa Rica visit: www.dreamseacostarica.com
Spiffy Grant recipients are chosen by our brand partners. If you have an individual that should be considered please contact us at: email@example.com
Spiffy Brand has officially launched! There's a lot to get to but for now understand we're here making apparel that inspires us.
We're a team of creatives that constantly need different outlets for our vision and work. Spiffy is one of those outlets that enables us to create and connect, we're thankful for it and are thrilled to share it with you. Our first set of hats and shirts are available for pre-order now!
You better believe we've been out here working. Watch as we go beind the scenes with our friends The Epic Rap Battles of History. Hey what's up Nice Pete!