SOMETIMES Dakota Schuetz barely sleeps for five hours in three days but that frugality in time doesn't stop the world champion action sports athlete from dreaming.
"I dream bigger than you ever think I do," says Schuetz, who is among leading global innovators who have helped turned freestyle scooter riding into an art form.
"My drives can be pretty cool," says the 20-year-old from San Diego with a laugh.
"I guess I can go wherever I want anytime but you can do that, too.
"You've just got to work hard and I don't do it that much because I like living so it's a trade off for whatever I want."
Schuetz, who only slept five hours in three days in Australia last week, arrived in Napier on Tuesday for a two-day visit to conduct a "Kota Kamp" clinic for Napier Skating Club members whose Sk8 Zone park is going to be relocated at the former Marineland site along Marine Parade.
"If I'm having fun and my body's working, then it's fine."
He spent a day touring Napier, visiting the aquarium, playing mini-golf and enjoying the vintage car tour.
The skating park was one of the better ones he had seen, offering beginner ramps to complex ones and a foam pit to entice anyone to practice.
During his interaction with youngsters, he came across a couple who he rated among the best he had seen in New Zealand and Australia.
"They are riding everywhere and there are a couple of big kids because they've pushed themselves farther than anyone else but the facility, as I told everybody else, is the bigger thing because you can only progress so much from a small ramp.
"When I use ramps I like to go as high as gravity lets me so the bigger the ramps the better ... so there's enough speed here to burn all the bigger tricks so that's why I like this place."
He says he'll return when the new park is done, as the club, in compliance with a Napier City Council eviction notice, tries to dismantle everything by tomorrow.
"I go to Australia all the time so I can just come from there."
Just as he has kept in touch with Thor Larsen, 9, of Napier, Schuetz has progressed to sponsoring children. Larsen's mother, Trish Kearns, invited the American via social media.
"I just look after them to make sure they know what to do and what it takes to become a better person and a rider," he says, adding he visited Napier because of a lull in his hectic calendar.
On Wednesday evening he left for the inaugural Nitro World Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the world's elite action sport athletes will congregate from today in freestyle motocross (FMX), BMX, skate, inline and scooter to higher echelons.
"It's not a world championship for action sports but it's like one of the biggest events because TV in America [NBC] will put on a three-hour live contest," he says, revealing seven gold medal events will be on show at the Rice-Eccles Stadium in what is the brainchild of extreme sports enthusiast Travis Pastrana and creative director Michael Porra.
The Napier waterfront reminds Schuetz of the boardwalk in Cannes, the mecca of international film festivals, although the French location has high rise buildings as a backdrop.
Venturing to "the other part of New Zealand", he was thrilled to see the skate park from "one of the best views".
He finds Bay people affable although it took him a while to pick the Kiwi accent.
"It's not that hard but everyone from America thinks you say 'feesh 'n' chips with long e's rather than i's.
"I think everybody respects New Zealand, in general, and realise it's not just an island in the middle of nowhere. I think everybody thinks it's part of Australia but I know it's not," he says with a grin.
Schuetz intended to spread his wings to other parts of the country on this trip but Australia had more things to do then he had anticipated.
"In summer, we'll come in to Auckland and drive all the way down to the bottom."
His flirtation with action sport began as a 6-year-old letting his inhibitions go on a trampoline in the backyard.
Two years later he graduated to rollerblading, he says, acknowledging a couple of Bay whiz kids caught his eye with their skills.
The skate park scene beckoned once his BMX bike demanded more space for tricks.
But it was an older teenager hooning around on a scooter at a neighbourhood skate park that captured his imagination.
"He was just cruising around the park and tearing through some ramps, which changed my look on ... I never thought you could do a trick on a scooter because I used to just ride it around the park and whatever."
The then-10-year-old hung out with the 16-year-old who went on to become a professional the following year.
"At the time I was doing it, I guess scootering was a brand-new sport so you could do whatever you wanted to so there wasn't a trick to try and if you wanted to do one then you just had to make it up.
"If you wanted to do a triple tailwhip then you had to go to a park to figure it all out because there were no videos or teachers."
In 2007 there were riders around other parts of the world, such as Australia, who also were trying to provide a skeleton for the sport.
Schuetz points out Australian professional Coedie Donovan, of Penrith, who turns 28 on Sunday next week, had started developing tricks a few years before.
So did English professional Terry Price, 27.
"We were kind of doing the same things but I hadn't met them until I won a world championship when I was about 15 or 16 so that's when I kind of met everybody who were so far away," says Schuetz who has been jet setting non-stop since he was 12.
"I like Australia and this part [Hawke's Bay] because it's the same as California but on the other side [of the world].
"You've got the same attitudes and you live by the beach so it's pretty close to there."
He has made four trips to Australia already this year and will return in September and December.
Schuetz started freestyle scootering for fun and still enjoys it in the same vein despite its commercial growth.
"If I didn't enjoy it I wouldn't do it.
"It's great. I just like having friends all around the world and I like to have my adrenalin going in anything."
The only thing Schuetz hasn't done is wing suiting, a sport of gliding through the air using a birdman or flying squirrel suit which adds surface area to the human body to enable a significant increase in lift. It ends with the deployment of a parachute for landing.
But he gets his adrenalin fix from "just about anything".
"I like driving fast cars, motorcycles and whatever."
His father, Gary Schuetz, was an Olympian who made his mark as a velodrome cyclist but didn't compete both times.
"He didn't go because they boycotted Russia [1980 Moscow] and in the other one he broke his shoulder," he says of the 56-year-old who now runs a sports marketing company.
"But he was one of the better ones on the team and he came close to Olympic teams for five years after that."
The attitude of anything is possible stems from his father. His father travelled with him from the time he was 12 to 18 but now he stays home and "builds cars".
"If I said I want to do something he'd help me figure it out so nothing has ever been impossible," says Schuetz whose mother, Cheryl, is a flight attendant.
His brother, Hunter, 18, a top-15 professional freestyle scooter rider, was in Napier with him. They have a sister, Savannah, 16, still at school in California.
While children will gravitate towards the sport he has intentions of pushing it to the limits because he has the power to do that.
"Right now, in relation to population, it's one of the biggest action sports but I'd like it to be better than the contest series."
He yearns for more structure in it akin to other professional competitions in the US and UK.
"No matter what, it's a new sport so you kind of expect it but we just blew up because of the internet," he says, revealing it is quite normal for him to post something on the social media and have 10,000 like it or contribute to it in a couple of minutes.
"It's pretty powerful if you have the internet behind you."
Schuetz woos sponsorship "not for money" but to help him achieve promotional goals.
"I've done a lot of stuff without sponsorship because I don't like being told what to do but I control everything now."
He is on the cusp of signing a sponsorship deal with an energy drink and, hopefully, other multinational corporations to give him the licence to create new frontiers.
"If we have structure then they'll look at it from a sponsorship point then it'll be easy for them to dump some money into it because they'll see the value when I have 100 kids at the park and what they can get out of it."