Name: Sean Fontenot
Location: Long Beach, California, USA
When did you start riding?
I started taking BMX as a sport seriously when I was about 12. I rode streetdirt with a little until I was 17. I tore my right ACL bailing out of a manual incorrectly at full speed, and struggled with BMX after that. I quit riding when I was 18 over knee frustrations. I picked up soccer as a hobby when I was 23, blew my left ACL/MCL out at age 24. I had bi-lateral ACL/MCL repair on both knee’s and 14 month’s of rehab. After re-tearing my left ACL again playing soccer I gave the sport up. A few months after quitting soccer, near my birthday (September 24th), decided to pickup BMX again. I specifically chose flatland because I felt it was a “safer” route to go. I am currently on my 11th month riding flatland.
How often do you ride?
I ride pretty much every day. At least 10 hours a week, and sometimes as much as 30.
Do you ride contests?
Where do you ride?
I ride either at UCI (University of Irvine, CA) or at Rush Park in Los Alamitos. Occasionally in my underground parking lot in long beach if it’s raining.
Can you tell us a bit about the riding scene in your town?
Non-existent? J I see an occasional street rider, but never any flatlanders.
Imagine you could make a flatland world tour, which 5 places would you like to visit for riding and why?
Japan – A huge scene of flatlanders is always an attraction, and Japan produces some of the finest. Combine that with a love for the culture, food, and their women, and it makes my #1 destination.
France – There are a lot of very talented riders that hail from France and some very beautiful spots -architecturally speaking- that I would love to ride in. The majority of my ancestors are French, so that gives me some further motivation.
Belgium - I’ve always loved the beer and the people, and most of what I hear of the food is good. Belgium has always been my #1 touring destination, so I might as well throw it on the list to ride at for good measure.
Germany – Germany has a good flatland scene, great food, great beer and a long history, making for a lot of good riding spots! More than I could ever find in a lifetime likely. I’ve never met a German that was not an incredibly nice person.
New Zealand – Supposedly more beautiful than Australia, and true from all the pictures I’ve ever seen. We all love a New Zealander accent, and I could not miss all the country sights. Not that huge of a flat-scene from anything that I’ve read, but hopefully I could link up with some Aussies for a good session.
Is there a goal you would like to reach concerning your riding?
Nothing specific. I just want to push myself harder and harder every day, to perfect the tricks that I’ve seen pro’s do and been jealous of.
Which trick/combo do you work on at the moment?
Carving brakeless nose manuals to pinky squeaks to various ‘outs’ (decades, hydrants, McCircle). Once I get the links more consistent I want to start linking in cliff hanger’s, wheelchair’s and hiker variations when I learn them better.
Same link as above but with hang 5’s or hang 10’s to start instead of nose manuals.
What kind of music do you like? Tell us your 3 favourite songs.
Hip Hop, Rap, Electronica.
Mac Dre – Dredio
Zion I – Birds Eye View
Pretty Lights – Double Love
Tell us 3 things you like and 3 things you don’t like.
Sticking a new trick/combo
Game Console Modification
People with overbearing Arrogance.
What is your job/what do you study?
Outside Sales in large format industrial reprographic equipment. I study business, finance and sociology in small portions.
What are your hobbies besides flatland and do they influence your way of riding?
IT administration (Websites, servers, etc). Game console modification (modchips, exploits, homebrew, alternative operating systems [Linux] and emulators). Reading is my largest hobby besides flatland. I’m a fantasy geek. My favourite series is the “Wheel of Time” by Robert Jordan. Nothing influences my riding other than watching other people’s styles/links/switches/ to get idea’s. Music motivates me to ride and helps keep me happy and calm when I´m frustrated or too absorbed with life difficulties.
St Martin Diamond frame; KGB Electro Bars; DK Stem & Forks; Profile 3-piece cranks; Quamen Sprocket; Some random beach cruiser platform pedals; Primo front hub and rim, Rear freecoaster is a Alienation Rush converted into a Geisha with a Hoffman chrome rim; Odyssey G P-lyte tires; Front and rear brakes; Macneil signature Travis Collier pivotal seat.
Flatland is for dedicated. It takes true dedication and motivation to progress and learn such an art form. I have nothing but the greatest respect for each and every flatlander out there. I also deeply respect people who take their free time and put it to good use to help motivate people out there to ride. Specifically Mark Dandridge, whose video was the first motivation flatland piece that I watched when I started riding again. It was deeply inspiring. Pat Schoolen of flatlandfuel.com for his positive efforts to see the flatland community grow. Global-flat.com for its archive of information. Without such a bounty of trick tips, forum posts and video’s, I’m sure half the trick’s I’ve learned would have taken at least double! It has also allowed me to network with people across the world, and to make a few local friends to ride with as well.
Having a friend or mentor to push you can be an extremely motivational tool to use. Music is also very inspiring. I cannot ride without my jams! I hate to see politics and semantics ruin what should be an untouchable scene. We all ride, we all aim to progress and we are all of the same breed. Riding is an art that bridges culture, race and religion. I do wish that flatland was a bigger scene and could afford to pay the top ranking flatlander’s a lavish salary. Being sponsored and getting free shoe’s or gear unfortunately does not pay the bills, as nice as it is!
I sometimes refer to myself as “the robot” because of how many injuries, surgeries and metal I have in my body. Picking up such a physically exerting hobby ‘later’ in life can be difficult. People like Mark D. amaze and motivate me. I have two knees’ that bend the wrong way – making some tricks unfortunately impossible for me to learn due to the physical constraints and errors. But as ‘older’ and hurt as I am, I ride every day. I continue to progress and constantly amaze myself. The point of this self abasing rambling is – It is NEVER too late to learn or pickup a new hobby, especially flatland. It can be an incredibly frustrating thing at times, but is always worth it in the end. Never give up!
In conclusion, I can honestly say that if it was not for flatland, I would be much less of a sane person right now. Going out and riding everyday is very seriously what keeps my sanity. It keeps me from depression, sadness, anxiety and a slew of negative aspects. I only love few things in life, and flatland deserves a very valuable place on that list.