Don "The Nuge" Nguyen has been turning heads and dropping jaws since he made the scene nearly a decade ago when he moved to California from Oklahoma City and ollied the massive 20-stair at El Toro High School. Raised in pool halls and embraced by the original Oklahomie skate crew, The Death Squad, there was no doubt that The Nuge would go on to big things in life.
Now, after spending nearly his entire pro career under the Tum Yeto umbrella (first at Hollywood, then Pig Wood and then at Foundation), The Nuge has left the fold to roll with his homies on Baker skateboards. We caught up with The Nuge to hear about his recent sponsor change, his passion for pho soup, his favorite tour moments and more.
The kids want to know: Why the switch from Foundation to Baker?
This wasn't an easy choice, but it was one I had to make. It's pretty rare when your boss [Andrew Reynolds] shreds harder than you, but that gets you motivated. Foundation is sick and it was hard to leave, but I felt like Baker was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Is a new Baker video in the works?
Not that I've heard but I'm gonna go ahead and start trying to get as much stuff done as possible. No time to waste, time is gold.
When was the last time you saw Reynolds miss a frontside flip?
Never actually. He makes every one, every time.
What was the last tattoo you saw Antwuan Dixon get?
The last one I saw was a "Devil's Reject" tat. That was insane.
Who gave you the nickname "The Nuge"?
Justin Roy and Richie Belton. They couldn't say my name so they made their own.
Give me five things that are good about coming from Oklahoma?
1. Good pho spots.
2. Good skate spots that aren't blown out.
3. Friends that have nothing better to do than party.
4. No traffic.
5. Fireworks are kinda legal there.
Bonus: No helmet laws, good BBQ, and last but not least, Edna's bar<./p>
Where do you live in Los Angeles?
I live in Highland Park.
Can you smell Gareth Stehr from your house?
Pretty much. His mustache is probably the distance from my house to his.
How did so much of the old Pig Wood team end up on Baker/Deathwish [Sammy Baca and Nuge on Baker. Lizard King and Slash on Deathwish]?
I heard the last Baker tour was the Pig reunion tour. It's pretty strange but insane at the same time. Sammy on this last trip was like, "How are we all back in a van on the same team?"
What are the biggest differences between [former Foundation pro and one-time Foundation team guy] Josh Beagle and [Baker filmer] Beagle?
I don't know ... maybe the music?
How did it feel to get the cover of Thrasher and have it come out on your birthday?
Yeah, that was perfect timing, accidentally. Life's an accident.
Corey Duffel is claiming you'll have tricks in his next video part.
I want tricks in all his parts. Duffman is the best. He has always had my back and I got his the same.
Give us a good Duffel story.
One time in Denver we were in the van and this chick rolls up next to us jamming a song he skated to. So we're like, "Duffel, open your door and do something crazy." He jumps out of the van and on top of her hood, starts jumping up and down and the whole time the chick is screaming "Corey Duffel?! Oh my God!" It was insane. She didn't even care about her car.
How many times a week do you eat pho?
Four or five times for sure. Every Monday with my Pops, though, pho-sho!
You got to love it to have the tattoo, right? [Nuge has a bowl of pho tattooed on his arm]
Oh, it's the best stuff ever. I got so many peeps hooked on the pho.
What should be different in skateboarding?
It should be legal. That would be amazing. Even once a week, if you could go hit up all the good street stuff you can on that one day.
If you were a kid and you were shopping for skateboard stuff, how would you go about picking it out if you didn't know anything? How does a kid decide what's good with all the product out there?
Any big plans for 2010?
Travel, skate, camping trips. That's all.
What's your New Year's resolution going to be?
Skate every day and bail tricks less.
Is the world really going to end in 2012?
Who knows, man? Just live 'til you're dead.
Want to give thanks to anyone?
You [Mike Sinclair] and everyone at Tum Yeto. Baker for everything, C1rca Combat for shoes, Commune for threads and all the homies, the Green Room, The Death Squad. Oklahoma City kills it! Thanks to NS Krue, too. That's it.
Words of wisdom from The Nuge?
Go straight. If anything gets in your way, turn.