Interview with Chaz Ortiz Pro Skater for DGK Skateboards

Interview with Chaz Ortiz, Pro Skater for DGK Skateboards

September 26, 2023

DGK Skateboards and Chaz Ortiz have recently collaborated with the Chicago White Sox baseball team and released a limited edition collection consisting of a board and clothing. We had the opportunity to learn more about this collaboration with Chaz Ortiz, who joined DGK in 2020 after leaving Zoo York in 2018. We discuss baseball, skate graphics, collecting boards, contests, having fun skating and more.
How did the collaboration between DGK and the White Sox come up?
I have a friend that works at the White Sox and she’s the social media editor. I had thrown the first pitch out before and I’d seen that DGK was doing collabs with the LA Galaxy or the Padres and everything. So I just reached out to her and I was like: “Hey, why don’t we do a DGK/Chaz Ortiz/White Sox collab?”, she’s like: “Cool! I’ll reach out right now”. It took a little while but everything got done and the designers over at DGK came up with the graphic. I was involved in the final project, I approved everything and everything went great. We had the opening at Uprise skateshop, all the boards sold out. And at the stadium, it was really cool, they did a whole presentation. It was way more than I expected, so it was a really cool collab.
Why didn’t you put your name on this board?
I was thinking about it but they already had the graphic done, and I was like: “I don’t mind it”. I just wanted it to be more global DGK/White Sox, but I’m the face of it because I put everything together.
Interview with Chaz Ortiz Pro Skater for DGK Skateboards Board Graphics 1
Chaz’s first pro board on the very left
How was the experience of throwing the first pitch?
I had fun! I’ve done it before for the Cubs and the White Sox, that was actually my third time. I played baseball so I know how to throw a ball, but I was still nervous. I’m glad I threw a perfect strike right down the middle, but I’m not gonna lie, I was shaking. And all the dudes from DGK and Uprise were there, I was like: “I can’t go down like that man, I gotta show up” [laughs]. It was an all around good experience.
Did the guys at the White Sox know that your first pro board was a Cubs inspired graphic?
They knew about it, my first pro board was a Cubs inspired and the second a White Sox. It was funny because my family grew up Cubs fans, but I lived more in the south for a little bit so I’d grab it towards the White Sox. I have a good relationship with them so it only made sense to make that happen.
Interview with Chaz Ortiz Pro Skater for DGK Skateboards Quote 1
How much of an influence do you have with your board graphics?
I’ve come up with a couple ideas but usually I just let them handle that. I honestly don’t even know when boards are dropping, I’m like: “Oh sick, new board, new graphics”. I did have an inspiration with the 1942 bottle looking board. I thought it’d be a really cool graphic, it’d say my name with 1994 [Chaz’s year of birth]. That one happened really quick. But they usually know my vibe and what I like.
What’s the process with the designers?
If I shoot out an idea, they’ll definitely make it happen, but I’m so used to just being a skater, the art world isn’t really my forte. I enjoy their graphics, sometimes I have solo boards, but most of them are in a series, like a serious theme, which is cool because that makes sense.
Interview with Chaz Ortiz Pro Skater for DGK Skateboards Board Graphics 2
Are you interested in skate graphics in general?
Yeah for sure! I collect and I have every single one of my pro models, even from Zoo York days. My dad saved them all and I have a bunch of OG Shorty’s ones, the Muska was my second or third board ever growing up. Then I save collabs that Uprise will do and little series that I like. It gets overwhelming having so many boards. It’s like when you move, you gotta bring them all, but luckily my parents have a basement so I just stacked them down there.
Do you display some of your boards at home?
I have a whole wall in my house. I have my first and second Zoo York board and my first and second DGK board. They’re all hanging over my door and then I have random graphics that DGK made that I liked around the house.
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Do you know how many of your pro boards ever came out?
Probably around 80-90, half Zoo York, half DGK, somewhere around that ballpark.
Do you have a favorite board?
I really like the first one that DGK came out, it was called The Chalice, with the red foil. It’s a shiny one, that’s one of my favorites.
Not your first pro board at Zoo York?
It’s cool but I wish I had more say in it, but I love what DGK did. I mean, it was awesome but I feel like when I was younger, I didn’t really appreciate it as much as getting older. Me and Stevie [Williams] have always kind of talked about DGK, but I was like: “I don’t want to just hop on the team, let the word get out and then we drop it right”. So they had sent me my board graphic and the head dude was like: “Don’t post this yet, I’m just showing you what we’re gonna do”, and then he sent it to Stevie too and he posted it right away, and he’s like: “Well, I guess the cat’s out the bag, you can post it now”. He wasn’t supposed to post it but he did [laughs].
Interview with Chaz Ortiz Pro Skater for DGK Skateboards Board Graphics 3
Chaz’s first three DGK boards on the left
You’ve been pro for more than a decade, how does it feel to see your name on a board?
I honestly would rather not skate my own boards, I like skating other people on the team’s boards. But I will skate my boards, don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing, it’s just weird to me sometimes looking down and seeing my name.
What makes a good skate graphic for you?
I don’t know, just something that stands out, something that people can collect, like a dope series.
Do you prefer vertical or horizontal graphics?
I think vertical.
Interview with Chaz Ortiz Pro Skater for DGK Skateboards Quote 3
So what do you like about being a pro skater?
As I’m getting older, I enjoy just having fun skating. DGK’s super mellow, I don’t have as much pressure on me, I can actually be more creative. I skate the bowl all the time more than street because I’m hurt at the moment, and it’s like I could just be myself more.
What about contests? Like the Street League.
That was fun, that shit’s cool, but when you’re skating the Street League, it’s a 24/7 process. Skating doesn’t really become fun, it’s like: “Oh I got a contest coming up, I need to do this trick”. But I’ve done that since I was 14. I just wanna cruise, have fun, film when I’m back healthy, just chill. The fun of skating now is what literally keeps me going.
Interview with Chaz Ortiz Pro Skater for DGK Skateboards Board Graphics 4
It’s great that DGK lets you do things you enjoy.
It’s awesome man, Stevie and I are homies. Zoo York was really corporate and it was like: “You gotta do this, you gotta wear that shirt…”, and DGK is like: “As long as you’re doing you and you’re just repping and having fun and skating, you’re good”. That’s what makes skateboarding fun. I’m gonna be 30 next year, I wanna enjoy my years that I have and not have so much pressure on me.
What’s next for you and DGK?
I’m just getting my knee better right now, going to therapy. I sprained it and have a bad bone bruise, so I haven’t really been able to skate, that’s why I haven’t really posted anything. But we’re gonna keep filming and maybe go out somewhere warm during the winter.
Check out more of Chaz Ortiz’s skating on instagram.