Red Bull recently invited Mike Schneider, a professional fingerboarder -- yes, that’s how he makes his living -- out to California to make a video showing off his skills. During the shoot, we got to talk to him about the growth of the fingerboarding industry and how the burgeoning sport is so similar to skateboarding.
So tell us a little about yourself. How’d you get into fingerboarding?
My name is Mike Schneider. I’m 19, and I’m from Andover, Massachusetts. I’m a professional fingerboarder, but I skateboard too. I was 9 or 10 when I started fingerboarding and skateboarding. I’m pretty obsessed with skateboarding in general! There are no rules. You can do anything you want. You can be creative.
In other sports there are so many rules, but skateboarding allows you to do anything. Red Bull watched my videos on YouTube and really liked them so they reached out to me to see if I wanted to do something with them. I was super stoked!
So I flew out here with some ramps and borrowed some ramps from friends. Filming here with a whole crew, lighting and other stuff was sick -- especially doing tricks through fire, that was sick! The smoke machine was pretty sweet, too. We got a lot of over-the-top stuff for sure. Definitely something different and fun.
Do you have a favorite skateboarder or is there something specific that inspires you?
I pretty much watch whoever is out there. I like to watch for new skaters. I don’t like to see the same stuff over and over. Anyone who is really tech or who is creative -- you don’t even have to be pro to catch my interest.
Do you consider fingerboarding a sport?
I don’t know if I’d call fingerboarding a sport. Some people would, considering that it’s at that level now. It’s getting really big, and people are doing it all over the world. There are tons of fingerboarding companies now and there are contests and parks. I guess it’s a sport, or a hobby, but it actually really doesn’t matter what it’s called.
But you take it pretty seriously considering you have your own company, right?
I do. I’ve been fingerboarding for nine or ten years and have always liked making my own stuff like boards and wheels. Kids started to buy my boards and stuff so I started my own company, which has enabled me over time to make new stuff.
It’s all grown from there and a lot has come out of it. I was able to get my own house about a year ago -- all from fingerboarding. I have a mini ramp that I skate all the time in my backyard, it’s pretty sweet!
Does fingerboarding come with the same pressures as regular skateboarding or is it different?
It’s almost the same because just like in skateboarding no matter how good you are, you can mess up. It’s the same physics and motion as skateboarding, but it’s with your fingers. Any trick you do you can mess up, whether it’s nerves or you think too hard. Like with flip tricks, as soon as I know how to do it on a skateboard I can do it on a fingerboard.
So if you know how to do a trick on one -- like if I can do a hard flip on a skateboard -- then it can help me do the trick on the fingerboard, since I know how to move my fingers in the same motion and am able to get it down really realistically.
Is there a specific trick that you’re known for?
I guess it’d be casper flips and 360 shove-its. I’ve been doing kickflips, front-flip impossibles -- people really like those. Once I learn a trick it’s easy but the combos are sometimes difficult, like switch hardflip backtail and 3 shove out or something like that is hard to learn on a fingerboard. Basic kickflips or casper flips that people can’t do are pretty easy for me now.
Any plans for the future?
I’d like to continue what I’m doing now and try to do more cool stuff like this film shoot we did. I’ve been doing a lot of travel too. I just want to keep improving. I hope everything we filmed comes out really sick, and I hope people will check it out!
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