Nic and Tristan Puehse may look familiar.
Study those 14-year-old faces. Where have you seen them before? Considering they now live on Hilton Head Island, it may have been at South Beach Marina, Park Plaza Cinema, Harold’s Diner or Stu’s Surf Side Subs, three of their favorite hangouts.
You may have also seen them on World News with Katie Couric, ABC Nightline, the Ellen DeGeneres Show or CNN.
If you don’t watch cable TV, maybe it was their newspaper spread in the New York Times or the one in The Sacramento Bee.
It could have also been their feature film, “Nic & Tristan Go Mega Dega!?,” which was released on DVD earlier this year and is currently in rotation on Showtime and The Movie Channel.
Maybe it was a music video with rapper LL Cool J or the band The English Beat. Maybe it was one of their YouTube videos, which has drawn more than 13 million viewers. If you have seen them before, it almost certainly was with skateboards in hand.
Their skating prowess led to all of those television, newspaper and movie appearances. It also led to many sponsorships, including a four-year contract with Nike 6.0, which they signed a day before their 8th birthday.
If you haven’t seen them before, there’s a good chance you will soon. It just won’t be at the X Games, though. Next time, it will almost certainly be with tennis racquets in hand.
Last year, Nic and Tristan gave up it all up to focus on a new love -- tennis. Their family moved from Shingle Springs, Calif., to Hilton Head and the twins are training along with their 10-year-old sister Natasha at Van Der Meer Academy. Nic and Tristan recently took a break from their training to chat with Hilton Head Monthly about hot girls, great weather and adjusting to life in the slow lane.
Hilton Head Monthly: So, I guess the first question would be why? You had such a good thing going with the skateboarding. Why give all of that up to focus on a new sport?
Nic Puehse: I guess we are both ready for a new challenge.
Tristan Puehse: Skateboarding was something we did for such a long time, like six years. We were just ready to try something else.
HHM: What reaction did you get from your fans when you announced the decision?
NP: Actually, not very positive. Most of them were pretty upset that we weren’t going pro. We posted a goodbye video and the comments (below the video) speak for themselves.
TP: About 20 percent of our fans were supportive of us. I would say about 80 percent were negative. They didn’t understand why we would do it with all the sponsors. They were just kind of mad we would give it all up for something else. A lot of (skateboarding fans) think tennis is a ridiculous sport.
HHM: When did tennis come into the picture?
TP: We were actually on vacation in Carefree, Arizona. There were some tennis courts at the resort we were staying at. Our whole family likes to play stuff for fun and we just started playing. We really liked it. After that, we started playing more often.
HHM: What about it made you want to focus on that more than skateboarding?
NP: We were starting to get bored with skateboarding. It was just something we wanted to do and we’ve stuck with it for the past nine months.
TP: The challenge. We obviously weren’t as good at tennis as we were at skateboarding.
HHM: What has been the hardest adjustment?
NP: Probably the mental aspect of it. It can be exciting and frustrating within a few minutes.
TP: It’s pretty much like an emotional rollercoaster. At one point, you feel like you’re playing great. Two seconds later, you feel like you’re playing horrible.
HHM: Even though you are still very young, does it almost feel like you are starting over with this?
NP: It kind of is. We knew we were going to have to give up a lot if we wanted to do tennis. We’re both willing to put in the hard work.
HHM: There are lots of places between here and California. What made your family move to Hilton Head?
TP: At the time when we started playing tennis, we were in Arizona. We were actually looking for a house in Arizona. I told my parents I wanted to find a house by the beach because a couple years before, we shot a skateboarding video in the Cayman Islands. I just fell in love with the ocean. I told them I wanted to live by the beach. They started looking at beach towns in the U.S. and we found Hilton Head.
HHM: It’s a little slower here. How is island life treating you?
NP: It’s really good. There are really nice people, hot girls and awesome weather.
TP: I love it. It’s very laid back and it’s a lot of fun.
HHM: What school are you guys going to?
NP: We go to Puehse Academy. My mom is the headmaster. She’s been home-schooling us our whole lives.
HHM: How long do plan to stick around?
TP: At least until Saturday. Just kidding. I’m not sure, but we all love it here, so I’m sure we’ll be here for a while.
HHM: Has anybody here recognized you from TV, movies or YouTube?
NP: Some people recognize us from time to time. Somebody just recognized us today.
TP: Yeah. I would say from YouTube mostly.
When you do get recognized, what usually is the reaction?
NP: They are kind of shocked to see us playing tennis and not at the skate park.
HHM: When not playing tennis, what hobbies do you have?
TP: Definitely riding our bikes, going to the movies and hanging out with our friends at the beach.
HHM: What do you hope to get out of your training at Van Der Meer?
NP: My goal is to work hard and become the best possible tennis player I can.
TP: I want to get pushed as hard as I can, progress and I want them to help me get as far as I can in tennis.
HHM: How good of tennis players are you?
NP: I think I’m headed in the right direction. We’ve only been training for like 10 months. Our tennis experience is pretty short compared to the kids we’re competing against.
TP: I feel pretty good about my progression so far.
HHM: What are your goals?
NP: I would like to get a scholarship to a (Division I) college and then go pro.
TP: My main goal also would be getting into a good college and becoming a professional. I want to get as far as I can with that.
HHM: Do you still skate at all?
NP: A little. About a month ago I hopped on a board and skated for two days. It was pretty fun.
TP: I actually haven’t stepped on a board since I quit about 15 months ago.
HHM: What achievement are you most proud of?
NP: Probably winning a gold medal at the California State Games and doing a feature film.
TP: I would say signing a four-year contract with Nike the day before I turned 8. That, and making our movie, “Nic & Tristan Go Mega Dega!?”
HHM: Is there any chance you will go back to that if this tennis thing doesn’t work out?
NP: Never say never, but I’m very focused on this new chapter in my life.
TP: I don’t really see that happening. I haven’t really missed it at all. Now I’m 100 percent committed to tennis.
Check out some behind-the-scenes footage from our photoshoot with these amazing twins.