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Hi I'm Ray Flores

I grew up in Santa Monica. I was skateboarding at the age of five, surfing at ten, and a Mormon at 50.

About Me

I grew up by the beach & started surfing by the age of 10. My parents divorced when I was 12. My dad was an alcoholic always giving away his money at bars. I grew up with my Mom and 2 sisters. We were poor but happy. She was a hard working waitress & my Dad moved to Mazatlan, Mexico. I devoted my time to surfing & skateboarding; school was important but secondary. When I would visit my Dad in Mazatlan the surf was Fantastic! In 1966 at the age of 15 I became a World Champion Skateboarder & was on the Hobie Skateboard Team! I was on T.V. commercials & ABC's Wide World of Sports but always wished my Father could be there cheering me along. I've always felt that Heavenly Father took the place of my earthly Father guiding me spiritually. I was raised Catholic but went to whatever church was close to home. I spent a lot of time thinking about the existence of God. When I graduated from High School I went to college in San Diego where I met a lot of different thinking people in the 70's. I took an interest in Eastern Philosophy and became a vegetarian at the age of 19. While attending college a group of Hare Krishnas gave a talk in my Philosophy class. When the semester ended I quit school & joined them. I lived in Krisna temples in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Florida, and others for 3 years as a celibate monk with a shaved head and robes. I make my living designing skateboards & surfboards promoting the sports & making action sports movies.

Why I am a Mormon

When I became interested in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I was very impressed by a chapter in the Doctrine & Covenants. The chapter is called "The Word of Wisdom" and is way ahead of its time in the advice it gives on nutrition and health. It really was amazing in the effect it had on my soul. Shortly thereafter my daughter at the age of 12 asked me if she could be baptized in the Mormon Church. I had been divorced for several years and my wife had moved to Hawaii. My kids were raised there and my daughter had been going to Mormon Sunday School with her friend. She decided on her own free will to become a Mormon. My kids would always visit me in the summer. After my daughter was baptized and came to visit me she asked me to take her to church on Sundays! I decided to not just to drop her off but to go to church with her and to my surprise I Loved To! Not just the people but the actual philosophy as well. Now 10 years later I am still member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am closer to my daughter and my whole family and I know I am closer to God.

How I live my faith

I'm 60 years old now but I still skate & surf as much as time allows. I also work with under-privileged kids teaching skateboard skills, from making a board to riding one safely. I go to schools & skateboard parks and give demos and talks. A lot of people think that all Mormons are rich but there are a lot of poor ones as well, and I make sure all the kids in our congregation have a skateboard if they can't afford one. I teach Sunday School to the youth in my ward and I never thought I would be doing that, but I really enjoy it. It also helps me learn so much more. I have a large collection of skateboards and surfboards dating back to the 1950s which are featured in galleries and museums, such as the California Heritage Museum. I frequently give talks on the history of skateboarding at events & shows as well as movies & documentaries. I even gave a fireside once & taught practically the whole congregation to ride a skateboard, even the elderly ladies! When we have potluck dinners or (linger longer) lunches at church I really like to promote healthy eating and I bring a lot of vegetarian dishes which are always a big hit! (Eat Healthy, You Are What You Eat!)