Best of Phoenix

Let It Ride

Aaron Homoki, 15, beat out more than 1,500 entrants from around the country in an MTV skating competition tied to a promotion for this past summer's Lords of Dogtown picture. The northeast Phoenix teen is the polar opposite of the outlaw punks immortalized in the movie as skateboarding's pioneers -- one of which, Tony Alva, he got to meet at the Las Vegas finals (he finished second in the top three), broadcast on MTV's Total Request Live. Nevertheless, this quiet kid with a mouthful of braces, who always wears his helmet, practices in a church parking lot and worries about his grades at school, is the perfect example of where skateboarding -- now about as counterculture as Little League -- is headed. The Shadow Mountain High freshman is still rooted in Greater Phoenix by his parents' choice -- even the trickest board won't get you far on the interstate.

"And stuff" -- the "yada-yada" of Gen-Y: We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, where MTV was doing their summer Beach House thing, and I got to meet Tony Alva and Adam Alfaro and Johnny Knoxville. All these famous people were there. I saw Snoop Dogg and stuff.

To be young, gifted and backed: I'm sponsored by three companies: Kronik, which is like an energy drink company [in Scottsdale]; PV Grind, which is a skate shop [on 40th Street and Bell]; and then Decision Clothing [of Tempe]. They all give me free stuff. And when I want to enter a contest or something, they pay for my entry fee and give me free gear when I need it.

He's got the hook-up: I can skate for free at Phoenix Skatepark [located inside Metrocenter]. Because I'm sponsored by Kronik energy drinks, and Kronik has some kind of deal with that place, I just get in for free. And that's really good in the summers, when it's, like, 110 degrees outside!

Might as well jump: When I was 2 years old, my parents have a picture of me jumping off the side of the roof into a trampoline in our backyard. I guess my mom wasn't too happy about that. They've also got a picture of me jumping off of a fort. When we went up to the lake, I jumped off a 75-foot cliff into the water. After that, they finally bought me a ramp.

It's a hard-knock life: I've broken all of my fingers, and I sprained my ankle a couple of times. But that's about it. I've had to go to the hospital, but that didn't scare me off from doing this.

Z-Boys versus the PV boys: Our scene is a little like in the movie, because there's always a chance of getting hurt, and if you go to some street spots, there's always a chance of the cops coming and telling you you're trespassing. In Tucson, you can get arrested sometimes. But most of the time around here, they just say, "Hey, you gotta go," and you just leave. You have to go really late at night to some spots.