INTERVIEW: MIKE “ROOFTOP” ESCAMILLA

mike escamilla, rooftop, interview, defgrip, bmx

Speaking of social media, you take the most epic selfies ever on Instagram. The skydiving ones are my favorite. What does it take to pull those off?

Most of the good ones are out of a balloon where for the first 500 to 1000 feet or so you”re picking up speed so you can control holding onto a pole with a camera on the end a little easier. It”s basically just a pole with a gopro on the end in time-lapse mode. Once you start picking up speed though, you need to choke up on the stick so you can control it and you a little easier. Once you pull you have to make sure your canopy is flying ok with no malfunctions and if it isn’t get rid of the camera quick and fix or chop your main canopy. If all is good stow your camera pole by tucking it on my shoulder strap and land.

Let”s take it back to the magazine era. My first memory of you was that Ride BMX cover in the mid 90″s. The one where you”re jumping off a Carl”s JR (was it Carl”s JR?). We”re about the same age and I though that was crazy at the time. Tell us about that shoot.

That was a Carl”s Jr near my house. I grew up riding with skaters Paul Luna, Jeremy and Jonas Wray and we all went to school together so I think it might have been one of their ideas. I mean it was just like today I guess, I climbed up there and somebody lifted me the bike. At first we had Povah”s big Cadi going through the drive-thru, but I think I felt like I didn’t get a good tuck off it so I went again which we had to do quick cause I think the people inside had seen me. I just hopped back up quick and gaver one more time. Brad McDonald shot that in “95 or so, I believe it was for my interview issue. Most or all the photos of me mid-early 90’s in Ride Brad shot and are still most of my favorite picture still.

Because of stuff like that cover, I was convinced that”s how you got your nickname. I know explaining your nickname must be your favorite thing ever, but for the sake of younger readers (or anyone who doesn”t know), please clarify how you got the nickname Rooftop.

Basically on a trip to an OKC Hoffman contest I drove with the POWs (Pros of Westminster) and I was like 15, I had never been anywhere and I talked too much so they said if I didn’t shut up they were going to put me on the roof of the car, like the grandma from National Lampoons. So anytime I talked they would just say “rooftop” – that’s it. Since then nothing has changed.

While we”re looking back, who is the first rider you remember having an influence on you and why?

Probably Mat Hoffman, I think it”s because the first mag I ever bought was the GO backflip fakie cover. I remember having a full wall of all Hoffman pics.

Who would be the modern day version of this rider?

Drew Bezanson or Morgan Wade.

What have you seen recently that amazed you, or made you say “Holy Shit or “WTF”?

Morgan Wade on Mega. And even though I”m not really into the flatland street riding that is today, I can still appreciate it. Some of the stuff those guys do is just plain hard.

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  • Oompa

    Solid guy, smart enough to enjoy life through the diverse opportunities offered but loyal enough to remember his roots. Funny to hear him talk about Morgan on mega when he was the first guy to step up and take it on AND he back flipped a helicopter!!


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