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Road to Pro: An Interview with Mitch Busk and Eddie Becerra

Eddie Becerra – Founder and Filmer

Interview by Gaby Levy

What has your overall involvement with skateboarding looked like?


Mitch: I started skating when I was 12 years old and fell in love with it and found an identity in it when I was going through perseverance. I found a lot of gratification in skating and then straight away you know, I got into some difficult times, and then refound myself through skating. I just kind of used it as a passion and a hobby and have an outlet to free myself. And then I got involved with Eddie, and we started Road to Pro in August 2020. I’ve  worked with kids in the past in different avenues as a behavioral therapist at Culver City Middle School. I thought it was really fulfilling working with kids, and then to bind that into skateboarding, it’s been a beautiful experience to see. 


Eddie: I started skateboarding when I was 13 years old. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. The area I was in wasn’t the safest place. So skateboarding. took me away from that and I was able to venture off out of the city, skate at USC and downtown, and fell in love with the sport. When I was about 18 years old, I ended up having an accident where I broke my arm. That’s when I picked up a camera. I’ve been filming for about seven years now, it’s my passion. I’m in love with documenting life. I started teaching skateboarding in 2016 to  2020 for this other company. I stopped working for them and that’s when I met Mitch and we started Road to Pro.

How was Road 2 Pro born? Can you tell me a bit about the origin story?


Mitch: It was a group-combined effort with me and Eddie and then the third person that we had originally, and when the pandemic hit, we got put off our jobs, so we were trying to find something to make a way by combining those passions Eddie’s filming and working with kids. Our previous third partner worked with kids, so it just all meshed together to this idea that we created and then there was a group of kids who  were down and they were the foundation of Road to Pro originally in August 2020. 


What does the monthly agenda look like with Road to Pro?


Mitch: For three weeks during the month we have three day trips 9am to 9pm and those are on Saturdays… (gets pulled away by campers).


Eddie: We were doing after school programs, but it wasn’t booming as much as the road trips are doing. Every two weeks on Saturday, we do a trip from 9am to 9pm and we pick and choose the location. We’ll go street skating one Saturday, then the next one will be an OC trip and then San Diego. So that’s what we’re doing and that’s the flow, so every two weeks.

What’s the mission behind Road to Pro?


Mitch: We want to provide a positive platform for kids to experience Los Angeles skate culture in a structured manner where they don’t have to worry about taking the bus in sketchy areas to get to these spots that are super famous. People grow up watching videos of these pros ripping and we want to de-stigmatize the negative connotations in skateboarding. Like “you got to drink beer and smoke cigarettes!” and I looked up to these people growing up, I’m sure Eddie can relate, where these dudes are skating and I thought they were the coolest people. They smoke a cigarette, I’m gonna wanna smoke a cigarette. We want to fill in for a positive mentorship. These kids are trying to find their identity. Eddie knows my story with this, where I used to be super into drugs and alcohol. Now I’m four years sober and I have this platform to be able to try to influence kids in different ways. I’m really passionate about that. But to bring it back to our mission statement, it’s to provide that platform to experience the California skate culture in an authentic way. We want kids to feel like they’re making a part for their dream sponsor and to feel that stoke. 


Eddie: We want them to feel like they could go pro is a part of our mission.


Well congrats on four years of sobriety, Mitch, that’s a big deal.


Mitch: It’s been quite a journey. This is definitely a result of me personally pursuing that. Road to Pro is such a blessing to me. I’m just grateful to work with Eddie and have this. 

Mitch Busk – Founder and Stoke Artist

So where do you see Road to Pro in the near future — one year from now or five years from now?


Mitch: In five years we want to have a facility where we can bring kids and group everyone together. We’d like to have multiple vans and have certified therapists for educational check ins and mental wellness check ins with the kids who come in. We want there to be access for the kids to have that help. Having mindfulness is a big aspect of what our goal is, but also having a facility and expanding.


Eddie: Just to have a place where kids can come and they can call one of us, have nice sessions somewhere that the parents can have trust for their kids to be there.


Can you tell me about a moment that made you realize something special about Road to Pro?


Eddie: Maybe when we started realizing that there are really good kids coming in and they’re inspiring the kids that weren’t too good. We’re inside a car and everyone’s just motivating each other and it just gave us a spark. We were like, “This is awesome. We can make this big.”


What are some of the obstacles — big or small — that you guys have come across during this project?


Mitch: Everyone has their personal milestones that they’re trying to achieve. There’ll be a kid getting super frustrated, and we just try to help these kids navigate through that adversity and understand how to be responsive and not be reactive. We want them to sit with these emotions that they have and understand that it’s not the end of the world if they don’t follow through with a particular goal. So just seeing different types of kids like to experience the trial and error of skating. It’s super relatable to life in general with the perseverance aspect. We haven’t really had any super big challenges. I think we face challenges together as a group with what our end goal is and we just want to keep growing and we have big dreams with us.


I think what makes you guys super unique is that you have a behavioral therapist on staff. Can you tell me a bit more about the sort of impact you might be able to make by being a behavioral therapist for these kids?


Mitch: Being able to talk to the kids on a heart to heart basis and having a vulnerable conversation with them, like ‘tell me about what you’re struggling with’ and having that as a kid, I didn’t really experience that so much. I wasn’t able to put my finger on particular things or even articulate some things. So having that accessible in this camp setting I feel like it’s unique. I haven’t seen that. We have kids that learn differently, and just seeing the emotional growth with them and not only them but the skaters who join us. Having them check in and share progress and be able to have me and Eddie go out of our way to talk about and ask ‘How’s your family? How’s everything with what you’re struggling with?’ So not only being solely focused on skateboarding, but bringing into the mental wellness part of a kid. They’re so impressionable. They’re learning and they’re trying to grasp an identity. So to have someone like me and Eddie there, I think is a really cool aspect of what we bring to the table. 


What’s the best way for people to be updated on the trips? 


Eddie: We have a schedule that we put on the @roadtopro Instagram page, all the kids repost and we also have personal Instagrams so we also post on that when everything’s made through.

Do you guys have any final thoughts or comments you wanna share for now?


Mitch: Skateboarding in general, I swear it saves lives. I know this might sound corny, but me and Eddie have personally experienced this with where skating has taken us. And if you’re struggling, reach out, and I know that sounds easier said than done, but there is help that’s accessible and no matter what adversity you’re facing, you will get to the other side of it. With Road to Pro, we want to be a change and we want to make a positive impact on kids through the avenues of skateboarding.

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