From Extreme Sportsman to Top Stuntman - Mike 'Rooftop' Escamilla Interview

From Extreme Sportsman to Top Stuntman - Mike 'Rooftop' Escamilla Interview

Stuntman Mike Escamilla skydivingMike “Rooftop” Escamilla has been known for his work as a  professional BMX rider, extreme stuntman, cameraman and TV host. Now he’s adding a new title to that list: dad.

Known for changing the face of BMX street riding, Escamilla lives by his personal motto “Be the Adventure,” constantly taking extreme sports to new levels. Whether he’s on camera or off, Escamilla can be found jumping out of planes, snowboarding, diving with sharks, getting set on fire, or taking on some other wild adventure. But now that he and longtime girlfriend Soraya Espinoza have added “Rooftop” junior to the mix, will that mellow out the young buck’s drive to to take on dangerous new adventures?

Escamilla sat down with TopKit to discuss what’s to come.

How did you get into action sports?
Growing up, I was lucky that there were a lot of kids in the neighborhood. We all road together to school and on the local jumps after school and weekends. They all ended up getting out of riding BMX, but I stuck with it. There was no hope of being pro back then, I just really loved it. I think the idea of searching for things to ride and how to ride them fueled me then — and now.

What’s the most memorable moment of your action sports career?
Wow!  There are so many. Probably one of the most relieved and sincerely happy moments was when I pulled a trick back in 2000. [I was] doing a grind to back flip into a huge drainage ditch. I had already crashed close to 50 or so times. The skin on my knuckles was ground down to the bone and bleeding everywhere. I had to wear gloves so I could keep the blood off my grips. I was so scared. I had been thinking of that trick for years. After finally pulling it, I almost teared up because I knew I wasn’t gonna quit ‘til I either pulled it or went to the hospital.

Stuntman Mike Escamilla new fatherFrom there you want into stunt work. What was the scariest moment so far?
I don’t think there have been really any “scary” moments, but I once had to crash through a window on my bike for the movie Stick It.  On the second take the window didn’t break on time so I ended up breaking it with my head instead of my wheel. I then came crashing down in all the glass. I broke a rib and knocked the wind out of myself. Not gonna lie – take three right after that, I was a bit nervous about it happening again. But when they yell “Action!” nervous or not, it’s go time.

Is there a secret to becoming a stuntman?
Mostly it’s who you know. That, and if you really want to work, you have to be willing to hustle.

So the big question here: You just had a baby. Will that impact your career?
It’s going to have more impact on my travel schedule than anything else, I think.  I am just going to have to pick and choose which trip or jobs I accept. I don’t want to miss her growing up.

Are there any less dangerous careers that interest you?
Acting or directing. I think I would find myself fulfilled directing.

What are your hobbies outside of action sports and stunt work?
Probably the thing I enjoy most is skydiving.  I guess you probably consider that an “action sport,” but to me it’s relaxing.  I also enjoy driving and discovering lost and abandoned places.

What are five pieces of adventure gear you couldn’t live without?
My GoPro, My 511 Tactical Moab backpack, Leatherman Skeletool, my FJ Cruiser, and my bike.  And to hydrate, I like Xenergy+Hydration.

Stuntman Mike Escamilla XyenceWe know that wasn’t just a sponsorship plug — you really like their product. What is Team XYIENCE and what do you with company?
Team XYIENCE is a group of sponsored athletes who represent the company’s energy drinks and sports nutrition supplements to educate consumers about the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle. But I think it really means different things to different athlete participants.

I honestly love the Xenergy + Hydration Tropical Punch drink. It’s literally a part of my refueling every day after shredding. So to me Team XYIENCE is an idea of providing a product, like any other tool, to serve a purpose and to do its job. In this case, providing high quality drinks and supplements to meet a range of customer needs.  As far as what I do, I’m an Ambassador to that tool. I use the product, know what I’m using and help spread the word about XYIENCE products. I feel like when people ask about XYIENCE I can give them information that they may not know about. And after they taste it I can see they understand what I’ve told them. It’s pretty awesome.

Escamilla  co-hosts Fuel TV’s Strangers in Danger with BMX rider Zack “Catfish” Yankush. He will be next seen hosting World of Adventure Sports, which captures the world’s greatest events and behind-the-scenes stories that reveal the passion of those who play to the edge. The show is on NBC and scheduled for December 22.