Mike Hamilton – Columbia’s Most Hated Skater?
Ryan: Tell me about the rumors that have gone around about your bionic powers.
Mike Hamilton: Oh yeah, the rumor that I have extra ligaments in my ankles that give me superhuman strength was one of the best rumors. That one went around for years.
After that the rumor was that I wore ankle weights on my legs so I would build up strength to make me ollie higher, or something that was pretty queer. Those went around for a while.
There was one after that about how I rode heavy boards like how Alan Peterson did before high ollie contests. He put together an old school board when everybody else was riding the new school boards with the little wheels. He put a nine inch board together with big old Rat Bone wheels and rode that and did nothing but ollie high everyday to try to build strength for the contest.
So the rumor went around that I did that when I wasn’t in town riding with everybody so I could ollie higher. But the extra ligaments was probably the best one. (Laughs)
Ryan: So why did people come up with these rumors?
Mike Hamilton: I think because I was able to ollie so high so quickly after learning to ollie. I mean the first time I ever tried to ollie I ollied a board on its wheels.
And then two weeks later I was ollieing paint cans stacked up. Then my second trip downtown ever I ollied up on to a picnic table and we had never seen anything like that before. I just wanted to get up on it so I jumped on it. I guess back in the day I was just so far ahead of everyone that none believed it could be normal.
Ryan: You’ve gone beyond the local hero status and became more of a local celebrity. Would you agree with that?
Mike Hamilton: It used to be like that but what really hurt me was taking a break for so long. I used to go to the mall or grocery store and some kid would yell, “It’s Mike, Mike Hamilton.” Or, “Mom, you know who that is?”
That was always rad always positive. But now the age gap is so different. Those kids have moved on to something else and the kids skating now are so young that they don’t even know anything about skateboarding past even in their own city. So now it’s more like further away people know me. I’ll go out of town and people know me better.
Ryan: They don’t know your real name though.
Mike: Yeah, a lot of times they’ll call me “Jesus.” (Laughs)
Ryan: Because of your tattoo?
Mike: Yeah. Or even a lot of times I’ll go out of town and be talking to someone and tell them that I’m from Columbia and they’ll say, “I heard about this guy that lives there and can ollie like anything. Do you know him?” And it’s always kind of awkward because you don’t want to sound like you’re bragging and say, “That’s me!” But at the same time you do want to say, “Well yeah, what’s up, brother? That’s me!” (Laughing) That one happens to me all the time! As soon as I tell people where I’m from they start asking me about it.
And one time after a guy had told me about it I started skating with them and about five minutes later he came up to me and said, “Hey man, that’s you! You’re the guy I was talking about!” (Laughs)
Ryan: You used to write “Columbia’s most hated skater.” On your boards
Mike Hamilton: For years and years.
Ryan: Why did you write that?
Mike Hamilton: Because I have always been and always will be. Because what my friends say and I think it’s totally bogus is people said they were intimidated. Because of my size and stuff and because of Martial arts and the stuff I was into.
And because I got so good so quickly. I mean I don’t want to say I was better than everyone else because that’s bogus but back when we were starting everyone was on their normal level of progression up the ladder. I was just lucky enough that I just really flew up the ladder and skipped a bunch of it.
So I would go places where everybody was skating and they would leave. And they never wanted to be around me and it got to the point where it was always that way.
None would invite me to skate with them and it’s always that way even today. People don’t want to ride with me. I don’t know what it is.
Ryan: But you don’t write that on your boards anymore.
Mike Hamilton: Not all the time. Mainly because I’m trying to stay more positive as I’m getting older. My newest slogan is ” I can.” That is really starting to help me. Because for a long time it really got to me and it was affecting my skating.
I’ve always been the guy who only got to skate four or five times a month because I lived in the boonies and I just didn’t get to go downtown that often and out where I lived there was nothing to skate.
And it was bad when I went downtown because there was just a couple there and they didn’t want to skate with me and it brought my skating down. I would get so focused on the negative. Now I just try to put more positive images on my boards.