The time has come! Tomorrow, “Trail Boss“, the next game in the Pumped BMX series from Adam Hunt drops on iOS and Android! We’ve been anxiously awaiting this one since the first hints that the game was coming well over a year ago. The game might resemble the previous Pumped BMX games, but this BMX game is a complete rebuild from the ground up to make it 3D and give the game a whole different look from the past games! With the release coming tomorrow, we figured we better get ahold of Adam Hunt, the games developer, to get the low down on this new BMX game that’s bound to keep you guys glued to your phones for the next few weeks and months! Check out what this game is all about below!
Over the last decade or so, there has been this constant flow of amazing new public and private skateparks popping up all around the world, and progressively that number has grown faster and faster with each year. It’s definitely a great thing for BMX riders out there that want more options to ride. Unfortunately there’s been a little bit of a disconnect in finding places to ride and getting an accurate idea of just what the park offers. There’s nothing worse than driving hours to ride a place that ends up being terrible or, worse yet, doesn’t allow bikes for some ridiculous reason that doesn’t make any sense or that it has been closed down entirely. Then there’s that problem thinking there’s nothing near you worth checking out, all to find out there’s been an amazing park just waiting for you to stumble across it that wasn’t all that far of a drive away.
We’ve seen a handful of websites and apps pop up over the years that pinpoint skateparks and definitely helped finding new places to check out, but that’s about all it offered. That’s what inspired Justen Soule to take his amazing talents behind the lens and blend it with that need for accurate information and high quality footage showing you just what there is to ride out there. That combination is what lead to Session Atlas! A new combination of video, photos and modern technology to give you a very detailed, accurate look at the best parks to ride around Canada! With the Youtube channel, website and App dropping in about two weeks, we figured it was time to catch up with Justen to find out just what Session Atlas is all about! Here’s what he said!
Alright, Justen! Let’s kick this off from the beginning. Around two years ago you started working on a new project called Session Atlas. What was it that got the idea running through your head?
This one has definitely been a few years in the making, I had been tinkering around with the concept for some time trying to figure out the best way to make it work. Logistically Canada is such a massive place to cover, so finding a way to make the pieces fall into place was crucial. The initial concept dawned on me a few back during a Red Bull project that involved Kriss Kyle travelling over to Canada and touring through some parks in the region. There’s a strange thing happening with park construction where small towns seem to be building better outdoor parks than the larger cities. So during that project I made it a point to take Kriss on a tour through some of the lesser known, yet incredible parks. When the video was released people were more blown away by some of the unknown parks, commenting and messaging, curious to know where they were located. I realized at that point that I should be capturing these parks and creating a way to help people find them. Since then the project went through a couple different variations. At first it was just going to be done through social media, then there was a YouTube channel, then a website and app, then it finally grew from covering just the province of Ontario into all of Canada.
Can you tell us what exactly Session Atlas is? I feel like there’s a lot more to this than what the trailers you released might expose.
The key element with Session Atlas is how a park is shown. Using drones, I’ve gone to every quality park in Canada, filming those setups to create a set of videos and photos that more accurately show a park’s layout and the park’s features. Sometimes a different park could have the perfect setup for a new trick, or maybe someone is just looking for something new to session, the goal is to help people find these places using visually accurate videos and photos. That media is captured via flying the drone through a park literally in the lines that people use. It gives a sense of spatial setup that a traditional photo never could. I’ve joked that it’s almost like virtually pro-walking a park without actually being there. Session Atlas lists the every single park with a feature drone video, photos, as well as list of other nearby parks. The site is purpose built to list and locate parks so that the user can plan a day trip around riding with friends.
I know there have been a handful of websites and apps dedicated to pinning skateparks and even some street spots over the years. What’s the biggest differences between Session Atlas and those other apps that have come along?
My issue with the existing skatepark lists and apps is purely the content. Most of the photo and video examples are poor quality, and are difficult to judge. Their intentions are noble to list the parks in a way that people can find and use, but there’s a definite gap in video and photo quality that can be improved upon. For example, it’s really difficult to tell how good a park is by looking at a Google satellite map, or couple cell phone photos shot from the side of the park. We all know those skatepark lists that use nothing but fisheye shots, which is a huge problem when you’re trying to judge the parks size and scale. As a professional videographer and drone operator I feel that it is an area that I can really lend my expertise towards and create something better.
The drone’s aerial perspective is an incredibly powerful tool. You can move the camera independent of the skatepark’s layout, completely untethered by gravity while flying over bowls, up stairs, and any direction to give a better sense of the park’s lines. I have actually found new lines and transfers at parks while watching back through the footage when editing, it’s incredibly helpful. So that’s Session Atlas in a nutshell: Each park has a featured aerial video flying through the park’s layout along with a photo gallery and description of the park, the park’s location, and a list of other nearby parks. The user can find a park that they like, then plan a day trip around that.
Do you plan on doing any bike parks or even indoor parks at any point?
All of the above. The vast majority of the list is concrete, but there are some wood, pre-fabricate setups and dirt parks. Basically if it’s fun enough to ride it’s on the list, so the construction of the park wasn’t necessarily the defining factor. Chilliwack, BC, or Richmond Green, Ontario are great examples of fun prefabricated parks. I have also been adding indoor parks as I work through the list, the idea being that you can use the list year round, as much of Canada is covered in snow and ice for a good portion of the year. Fortunately there are quite a few indoor parks popping up across Canada in the last 5 years so there’s plenty of options.
So Session Atlas is featuring skateparks only, or will you list street spots or dirt jumps?
Session Atlas only lists public outdoor and indoor parks. The last thing I want to do is blow up street spots and cause great locations to become a bust, so instead the focus is on skate and bike parks. Besides, that’s a huge part of the fun that is street, you have to hunt and work for the street spots. Session Atlas is a comprehensive list of skateparks, bike parks and indoor parks.
For the past two years you have been bouncing around Canada visiting all of these parks, right? Did you have any help with documenting these places or were you just crushing a lot of miles to get this done?
I have personally travelled to and shot every park in the list. Haha, it’s kind of insane to look back on, when I started this I never could have guessed that I’d cover all of Canada. That being said there are some absolutely incredible parks out there, and I’m hoping that this will help people find them.
Any idea how many miles you clocked throughout the past two years to get everything to the point where it was ready to launch?
That’s a tough one. I tried to tie in some of the parks with work projects as I travelled to shoot TV shows, but I did also make several trips to the West Coast and East Coast specifically to log parks for the list. It’s a very large area to cover, so it usually involved flying out to other provinces and staying for a week or two at a time to cover as many parks as possible.
So Session Atlas will be primarily focused on Canadian parks. Do you see there being a way for others outside of Canada to use it?
That’s the funny thing about Canada. Most of the major cities and population centres are located within a couple hours of the U.S. border, so this Canadian list could be used by Americans just as easily, especially for those living in the Northern States. Growing up we used to drive across the border to ride Indoor parks during the winter, the trip is an easy one to do. I also plan to start adding parks in the U.S. this year after the launch on a state by state basis.
There will be a Youtube channel with videos showing each of the parks launching soon. Is there a website and app to go along with Session Atlas? Can you tell us a little bit about what people will be able to find for info with each of the parks?
Yes, there is the YouTube channel, Website and mobile website versions. There is an app in the works as well that will mirror what the website does, however there has been a few logistical hurdles getting that into the Apple store. Which is funny because the Android play store was totally flexible and had no issues with the project, Apple always tends to be a little more difficult.
When is the official launch date of everything?
The Website, Mobile site, YouTube channel are all launching March 20th, 2018. The plan was to get everything live right as the snow melts, spring sets in and everyone is thinking about being outdoors. After the initial launch I hope to have the app ready shortly after that. In reality though the app and the website do exactly the same thing, so the experience will remain unchanged, the app simply makes it easier to access.
What kind of criteria did you have for each of the places you went to? I didn’t see much for pre-fab parks in the trailer video, so I would imagine some parks didn’t make the cut?
It was really just a question of the park being good, or fun enough to ride. If it’s worth making a special road trip, 2-3 hour drive to reach and ride, it’s on the list. The other varying factor was location and proximity to other parks. The are a few smaller plaza sized, skate-spot style parks that are on the list simply because they are within an hour or so of 15 other parks. Those smaller parks weren’t all that great on their own, but add the fact that you can ride a few of them and it can be a fun session. And the reverse is true, there are some incredibly large and fun parks located in small towns that are an hour drive from anything else. If the park is fun it’s on the list!
Are there still more parks in Canada you haven’t made it to that you want to get on the list?
Oh definitely, it’s kind of a never ending list. I’m at the stage that I’ve covered all of Canada’s major and well known parks, so now it’s just a case of adding some of the more remote options. For instance there’s one single park in Newfoundland. For those that aren’t as familiar with Canadian geography, Newfoundland is a remote island province located on the far eastern edge of Canada in the Atlantic. It’s a massively far trip for a single skatepark, but it will be done and it will be added to the list. As I add those more remote parks new ones are constantly being built, so there will always be more parks to shoot and add to the list.
Session Atlas is focused on Canada at the moment. Do you have any plans on expanding to other countries like the U.S, U.K, Australia or anything like that? Are you looking for contributors in the future to help you tackle more parks?
Growing this to cover as much as possible is the goal. I’m currently speaking with a couple contributors to begin capturing and listing Australian and U.S. based parks. The catch has been that we need to provide a lot of paperwork, including government licensing to use drones in order to get the filming/insurance permits and Apple requires for the apple store’s listing. So unfortunately we can’t use footage shot by just anyone with a drone, they have to be insured and licensed under their government’s regulations. If we just through the right hoops it can and will happen.
Based off the footage, it looks like you were putting your full arsenal of filming gear to use. What cameras and drones did you use while out collecting the footage?
Haha, I am a slave to the gear, and I take as much as possible while traveling… Probably too much. I used a mixture of DJI Inspire 1 and Inspire 2 drones, along with a DSLR to shoot the photo content. There were a few parks located immediately next to airports that I couldn’t legally use the drone, so for those I used an Osmo gimbal, or a Ronin Gimbal with an A7RII. There were times that I duct taped the Osmo to a stick and skated around to get a higher perspective. I got some funny looks from people driving by, but it worked, haha.
Out of all the parks you visited, which one would you say is your favorite? Any reason why?
That’s also a really tough one, there are so many incredibly good parks out there now that at least 10 popup as the possible best. I’d say in Ontario, as a more local park, my favourite would be Port Colborne which is located on a shipping canal and is shaped like a large cargo freighter. Hips for days in that thing, it’s too fun. But overall some of the legendary West Cost British Columbia parks are strong contenders as well.
I know you have been battling with your wrist for the past few years and it’s basically a robot at this point. Did you get the chance to ride many of these places you visited? Any that you didn’t get to ride that you really want to get back to?
Yeah, I’m thinking at this point that cutting that hand off and getting a sweet pirate hook could be a good option soon, that or just having the doctors install a zipper so I can do the tune up surgeries myself… The fun of a fused wrist. Whenever possible I took my bike with me and rode the parks. It’s really the best way to get a sense of how good a park is, with bumpy transitions and weird sticky ledges/rails being a possibility. There were times that it was pouring rain all day, or I was shooting a TV show somewhere that I couldn’t take the bike, but I rode as many of the parks as possible. At my last count I rode 178 of them.
Beyond Session Atlas, have you been working on any new projects that are BMX related? I feel like it has been a little while since we’ve seen a video produced by you?
The work in Television takes up a lot of the time in the warmer summer months, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s a nice change of pace to work on large scale projects with harsh deadlines. It keeps you focused and your skill set razor sharp. Whenever I’ve had spare time over the last two years the rest has been focused entirely on Session Atlas. Travelling and shooting the parks was time consuming, and then the editing of the videos and photos, with hundreds to sort through took almost a year.
Alright, so let’s wrap this up! How can people keep up with Session Atlas and all the updates that will be coming as soon as it launches on the 20th?
The best way to stay up to date would be to follow the Instagram or YouTube channels which I’ve been keeping up to date with regular posts. The social channels are a great way to see new parks daily. Those would be @SessionAtlas or Session Atlas on YouTube.
You can also find Session Atlas on Facebook!
So there it is! Session Atlas is due to launch on March 20th and from there on you should be getting plenty of updates from around the world giving you a look at some of the most amazing parks there are to ride from Skateparks to Bike Parks!
Let’s get to know BMX filmer Doeby Huynh!
Photo: Jeff Z.
If you have been keeping up with the constant flow of BMX videos these days, there’s no doubt that you have started seeing a name that has been constantly popping up in the credits for videos featuring riders like Chad Kerley, Dennis Enarson, Kevin Peraza, Devon Smillie and more. That name would be Doeby. It seems like his name is constantly popping up and that’s awesome because he’s been producing some amazing BMX videos that do not disappoint. We’ve been really stoked on his work, and we realized we really didn’t know a whole lot about this guy that is always Tweeting about food, so we figured it was time we hit him up and get to know him a little better. Let’s see what he had to say and check out some of his latest work!
Name: Doeby Huynh
Location: San Diego, California
Years Riding: 10
Years Filming and editing: 5
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any sort of memories come to mind?
Seeing X-Games on TV was what gave me the spark to get into BMX. Growing up, I was the typical Nerd (still am). I was around 12 and I learned how to pedal a bike that year. I wanted to do something cool, so when I saw BMX on TV I knew that is what I wanted to do. It still hasn’t made me cool though, Haha. Oh well.
What about filming and editing? Was it something you got into through BMX or was it something you were into before the two ever came together?
Yeah, filming and editing was something I got birthed into thanks to BMX. Honestly, it wasn’t something I wanted to do. I was hurt at the time and was the fat kid of the group, so I was blessed with camera duties. I developed a passion for it down the line after I made a few videos. Now I love it. I’m thankful things happened the way it did.
Haha, that fat kid in the group… In the past year it seems like you have been popping up all over the place with different video projects. Was it ever your goal to be a full-time filmer or did it just kind of happen?
It became a goal eventually when I didn’t want to live off the $1 menu anymore. But no, it wasn’t at first. As my passion for filming developed, I knew I wanted to be filmer.
I swear you have fired out a unreal number of really dialed edits in the past few weeks like Kevin Peraza’s new Mongoose video and Broc Raiford’s latest for Dan’s Comp. How many different videos do you think you have done in the past year?
Thanks. I don’t really count how many videos I do, haha. I just try to work on as many projects as I can throughout the year. I like to film the best I can whether it’s for instagram or video part, so I don’t try to fire out too many videos. As long as I can stay focused and put out videos the best I can, I’m happy.
Being based in Southern California has its perks with so many riders to work with. Who was the first rider you filmed a legit video for?
Living in California is a blessing for sure. Having weather that allows you to ride all year is the best. But just living here and owning a camera, doesn’t mean you get to work with whoever you want, haha. My first legit video was with Albert Mercado.
Who are you currently working with on projects? Any hints at what’s coming?
I’m currently taking a little break, but I do have a few things lined up this year. I’ve just been filming around locally with Christian Rigal, and Gary Young lately.
Who are your top 5 favorite guys to film with? Any reason why?
I really can’t answer that. Haha. All I can say is that all the guys in San Diego are my favorite people to work with. I love SD. It’s awesome to have so many dudes out here that are so well rounded, and being able to film everything. It’s always a good time when you can just session around with your friends, and randomly be able to stack clips.
Is there a rider that you haven’t had the chance to work with yet, but really want to make happen?
Theres too many to name! Haha. I would love to work with dudes like Jake Seeley, Garrett Reynolds, Alex D, Kriss Kyle and Dan Foley.
Do you get into video projects outside of BMX at all like weddings or anything? I feel like you might have a secret food vlog with all of the food related tweets you fire out.
Haha, there are a few things I work on outside of BMX, I just don’t talk about it or promote it. I do love food. I would love to make a food channel soon, but I’m just lazy.
Did you ever go to school for film work at all, or has it all been self taught?
Honestly, I wish I had the opportunity to go to film school. It’s mostly self taught, but anytime I need help I reach out to Film Gods of BMX , and thankfully they have helped me out a ton!
How important do you feel school is for something like making videos and everything?
I feel like you can always make anything out of something. It’s all about working with what you have available. If you have an opportunity to go to school, I would say take it. I don’t think school is necessary for filming BMX, but it would help a ton in camera settings and post production.
Who are a few of the filmers that you’re really into these days? Where do you get most of your inspiration for projects?
I love the work of Dave Sowerby, Mike Mastroni, Christian Rigal, Darryl Tocco and Tony Ennis. Growing up I was heavily influenced by all these guys! It’s crazy I get to call most of these dudes my friends.
What was your first camera setup when you started out?
I started out with a Canon GL2. I hated it, but it worked and it’s all I had so that’s all that matters.
What are you working with for a setup these days?
I’ve been filming with a Sony NX100 as my main camera. For second angles, I use a Panasonic G7. Other than that I use a fluid head tripod, and a Glidecam if necessary. Also snacks, always bring snacks.
What are you doing all of your editing on?
I edit on a Macbook Pro using Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere and After Effects
Do you have a dream setup as far as cameras, gear, computer, etc. go? What would you be working with if you could afford it?
For Now, I’ve been wanting a few DVX200’s and a better fluid head tripod.
What’s the weirdest thing somebody has asked you to film? Did you do it?
Some dude I asked me to film him working out, and of course I said no…
I know you mentioned you were taking a little break at the moment, but are you up for other jobs right now? What’s the best way to get ahold of you?
I’m always open for ideas and to work on projects. The best ways to contact me are through Email – firstname.lastname@example.org and Instagram – @doeby.
What kind of advice do you have for the guys who are just starting out with making videos?
My advice would be to work with what you have, and make the best out of it. You don’t need the best to make the best. Also, film as much as you can! The best way to learn is to just go out here and do it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people, the worst they can say is “No”.
How can people keep up with you these days?
My instagram and twitter is @doeby.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Thank you to BMX! BMX is great, fuck y’all who thinks otherwise. I would like to thank Henry at East
County BMX for everything and holding it down for the bmx scene in San Diego. Everyone who has trusted me to work on a project with them. Barthalomou the Gawd for being the best dog ever and Albert Mercado, sometimes.
Anything else you want to say?
AGE IN BMX SHOULD NOT BE A THING. No matter how old or young, everyone deserves respect. No one should discriminate on age, if you can ride a bike that’s all that matters. I feel like there has been way more salty young dudes than salty “old” guys lately. Fuck everyone
Not too many BMX filmers can say they have an X-Games medal. Doeby ended up with a Bronze medal for his work with Dennis Enarson on his “Real BMX” part.
It’s not everyday that a new rider pops up and you instantly know that you need to keep an eye out for them. Over the course of the past year, we have started seeing Casey Starling popping up more and more and he definitely caught our attention right away. Since then, we’ve crossed paths with Casey twice and had the chance to watch him ride in person, and it’s safe to say he lived up to our expectations. After seeing him throw down some heavy moves during the Kink Rust Belt Tour, we knew it was time to hit him up to find out a little bit more about him! Turns out we didn’t even know his actual name! Let’s get into this!
Name: Kayin Starling, AKA Casey Starling
Location: Rahway, New Jersey
Years riding: 3
What was it that got you into riding BMX? Anything stand out that really made you want to get on a bike?
Umm… No, not really. I actually used to ride scooters and my motivation at the time was that if I could flair a scooter, I could definitely do it on a bike, haha.
You almost seem to have come out of nowhere after popping up here and there in a few edits prior to your welcome to Kink video. Where were you hiding all this time?
Haha, I wouldn’t really say I was hiding. I haven’t really been on a bike long enough to really get out there I guess. You could say but I’ve mainly just been riding the local parks around my town that’s really it.
We heard a rumor that you were actually sponsored for scooter riding before BMX, can you confirm or deny that one?
Hahaha, yeah, maybe a year after I officially stopped riding scooters, I ended up sponsored by this company called Alpha Omega or more commonly know as AO.
That’s funny how things like that go. We’ve seen a bunch of riders transition from scooters to bikes, or throw scooters into the mix. Would you say scooters helped you out on a bike or vice versa?
Yes, it definitely did. It helped me learn how to flair my bike like I mentioned before for example. It is literally the same thing, just on something bigger.
Obviously things with BMX have been taking off for you these days. You were added to the Kink team a little while back. How did that opportunity all come about?
I was in New York city one night for an Animal jam and I did a flair out of this statue thing. Afterward, Tyrone Williams had hit me up asking for info to give to some friends. The next day I got a call from Rochester, New York where Kink is based out of, haha.
You have had the chance to travel with the guys already between the Rust Belt Tour and everything. How has that been for you? Did it kind of trip you out being on a trip with a guy like Chris Doyle? Has it kind of changed your perspective on riding and everything at all?
The Rust Belt Tour was so sick, especially getting the chance to ride with some of my favorite pro riders such as Doyle and Tony Hamlin. I was definitely a little nervous before going on the trip. It really hasn’t changed my perspective too much. I still look at riding just the same as the day I started. It is just something I do to get away from the everyday bullshit.
Fresh off the Rust Belt Tour, what do you have cooking with Kink that you can tell us about? Any trips, videos or projects in the works for 2017 at all?
I’m honestly not sure as far as trips go, but I’m currently working on what is supposed to be my official welcome to Kink edit. I’ve been working on that for about a year now and it should be coming out pretty soon!
You’re also doing it for Merritt these days as well. Any sort of back story to how that opportunity all came about?
I’ve actually been officially rocking with Merritt for a while now. It has been about a year and a half now, actually. I’ve actually known Montana Ricky almost since I started riding and working at Extremz Bike Shop, so I had lot of contact with Ricky and he’s basically watched me grow to where I am today, so that’s how that opportunity happened.
Any trips, videos or projects in the works with Merritt? It seems like those guys always stay busy these days.
Merritt definitely has been pretty busy lately. After I finish up my Kink video I plan to start working on a Merritt edit as well.
What about Ethik, Dead Krow Army and your other sponsors?
Nothing big at the moment really.
So, I’ve had the chance to watch you ride at 5050 Skatepark in New York and 4Seasons in Milwaukee, and so far I’ve gathered that you’re into both park and street riding. What are your favorite parts about both styles of riding?
Street riding is definitely my favorite. Just the idea that what we’re riding wasn’t intended to be ridden and, in a sense, turning nothing into something. My favorite thing about park riding would be that the possibilities are endless. The amount of tricks you could do and learn at the skatepark is like the training grounds where you go and dial everything in before you take them to street.
If you could only ride skateparks or street spots for a year. Which would you pick if you had to? Any reason for one over the other?
Damn that’s a hard one! If I hands down had to choose I’d say street spots only because I have been basically riding the same skateparks everyday for three years, so I’m kind of over going to skateparks at the moment.
What was the first legit trick you learned and was really stoked on?
I don’t even remember my very first trick, but I do remember my very first hop whip back when I was goofy footed. My friend Isac looks at me and goes “if Stevie Churchill can do it why can’t you?” and I turned around and did it first try! I was so stoked that I just started screaming and freaking out, haha.
How did you end up learning fakie front flips and how are you so good at those? I’ve seen you do that trick a few times and you almost make it look easy.
Haha, well, the story about fakie fronties and how I started trying them is kind of funny. One day I went to the Incline Club after I had just put my freecoaster on. During the session, I basically just decided to send it and see what happens and ended up pulling it. After that day I would just randomly try them and see what happened. It’s literally all trial and error with that trick. It’s not really hard, it’s just very intimidating.
Everyone has that one trick they just cannot do. What’s one trick that you haven’t been able to figure out that always kicks your ass?
Without a doubt it would be have to be switch whips. I’ve landed switch whips multiple times, I’ve even done switch downside whip to fakie, but that trick always kicks my ass! They’re so hard to get consistent and clean.
It seems like you can always spot a rider that came out of the East Coast. Do you feel like growing up in New Jersey had a lot of influence on your style of riding?
Yeah, it definitely has had a big influence from growing up riding with all the LFS dudes and watching them do gnarly ass rails to some tech cuddy storm door shit. It just gave me a different appreciation for the East Coast style of riding where it’s not all about the tricks you do, but more about the spot. Like say if you did a wallride on a fence, to somebody else it would just be another wallride. East Coast guys also look at the spot itself and be like “oh, he had to come do the wallride and pull out over the ledge and back into the bank” or “if he pulls out too much he’s crushing his ribs on a rail.” So, yeah it definitely influenced my style of riding a lot and the way I look at spots.
Who are some of the riders that you were really into when you first got started riding BMX?
Garrett Reynolds, Tony Hamlin and Chris Doyle were my favorite riders when I was coming up. It’s pretty funny because the first bmx video I ever watched that got me stoked on bmx and made me go out and ride was the Kink “Squash It” video, and now I’m riding for them.
What about these days? Who are the guys that really motivate you to push yourself?
Right now I’m really hyped on Simone Barraco, he just has the sickest style and everything is so unique in his riding. It’s really dope. I’ve also been really hyped on Dakota Roche. I’ve been watching his Talk Is Cheap section like every day now because it’s just so damn good!
Are you much of a contest guy? I feel like you would have crushed the Simple Session course this year. Any chance we’ll see you making the trip next year?
Nah, I’m not a contest guy at all. I just like riding my bike. I feel there’s no need to compete against someone when I’m just trying to have fun, but I would love to go to Simple Session just for the experience! It seems like one hell of a time. As of right now I don’t see any chance of me going to Simple Session next year, but it would be fun.
Actually, speaking of traveling. Where are a few places you really want to get to at some point to ride that you haven’t had the chance to go to yet?
I 100% without a doubt want to go to Barcelona one day. That place seems like a paradise with spots every where. I also want to go to California really bad. That would be sick.
Let’s say you got a fat budget to take any 5 riders to any place in the world to film an edit. Who do you bring, where do you go and why?
I’d would bring Dennis Enarson, Garrett Reynolds, Dylan Stark, Tony Hamlin and Simone Barraco to China. For one, China is absolutely insane with all the crazy architecture. I can’t even imagine what the spots would be like. Also, I would bring these five dude because they’re my favorite riders and who wouldn’t want to see their favorite riders do some fucked up shit?
What are you usually getting into when you aren’t riding? Any hobbies, jobs, school or anything like that keeping you busy?
No actually I’m a very boring person all I do is ride and when I’m not riding I am either sleep hanging out with my girlfriend or at work, haha.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Anything in particular you hope to accomplish?
I hopefully look to be living in my own place just chilling and riding my bike. That’s literally it.
How can people keep up with you these days?
Yeah, my Instagram is @caseycased my Facebook account is Casey Starling.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Yeah, shout to my mom and my girlfriend, Rachael, for supporting me through everything. I also want to give a shout out and huge thanks to Shannon Sheri, Jay Graz, Witty and Kyle. These guys are my family and they have helped and supported me through so much, so thank you guys!
Anything else you want to say?
Yeah, just for the record my real name is Kayin I got the nickname Casey in like 5th grade and ever since then it just stuck. Also, to any kid just getting into BMX, don’t worry about going pro or getting sponsored, just ride your bike and have fun with your friends because at the end of the day that’s what BMX is really about!
… Oh, and to anyone wondering… Yes, I used to be goofy footed I used to ride left foot forward. I switched my feet and that’s why I do my flairs switch footed. I learned them that way first!
It’s been a while, so we figured it was time to catch up with Wethepeople and Madera’s newest Pro team addition, Dan Kruk!
One of the raddest parts about running BMX Union is the opportunity to watch riders progress and make their way from completely unheard of to a Professional. That’s exactly how things have progressed over the years watching Dan Kruk go from some random kid at the 4Seasons Skatepark in Milwaukee to a complete savage on the streets. Over the past couple months, things have definitely kicked up into high gear for Dan with the bump up to the Madera pro team, then the Wethepeople pro team, having a full section in the new Wethepeople “Foundation” video, getting added to the Dan’s Comp team and more, so we figured it was probably more than a good time to catch up with Dan and talk about what’s new! If you aren’t keeping up with Dan yet, you’ll definitely want to start… Let’s do this.
Current Location: Long Beach, California
Hey Dan! Long time no talk. I take it you just got back from your trip over to Estonia for Simple Session. How was it for you?
Yes, I just got back to California the other day. Simple Session has always been a huge dream of mine to attend and this year, Madera and Wethepeople made that a reality for me. I couldn’t be happier about how the trip went. It was one of the funnest weeks of my life!
The end of 2016 and the start of 2017 have been huge for you with some sponsor changes. It was just officially announced that you were given the bump up to the Wethepeople Pro team after spending a little bit of time on the AM team. How did they tell you that you were getting moved up?
Yeah, I was just bumped up to the WTP pro team and they made it official during Simple Session week. We were having a big team dinner at Vapianos when they made the announcement. Still can’t believe it! It made the trip out there even more memorable!
It was announced back at Interbike that you would be getting your own signature colorway on the Wethepeople Battleship frame. Can you tell us a little bit about what the process was like working on that, and when people will be able to pick it up?
First of all I’d like to thank WTP for the opportunity. There is a lot more work that goes into a colorway than I had originally thought.
Picking the colors for the graphics and frame are harder than you might think, but thankfully everything turned out super awesome and I am hyped on the finished product. The Battleship frame with my Konfetti colorway should be available any day now!!
Wethepeople have just released their new “Foundation” DVD this past week. Do you have a full section in the video? How do you feel your part came out, and whose section was your favorite?
Foundation is my first DVD section as a pro rider and I’m stoked on how it came together so quickly! I ended up getting a lot of stuff I was super hyped on with the help of my homie Grant Castelluzzo behind the lens. My favorite section had to be Mike Curley. He is a tech wizard.
Do you have any trips or projects in the works for Wethepeople that you can tell us about? We would imagine there will be a welcome to the pro team video coming sooner than later, right?
Nothing super official for them right now. Just working on a few side projects for them here and there but you can definitely expect some new footage soon!
You were also bumped up to the Madera Pro team toward the end of last year, and you were also given your own signature Party Paint colorway. Was there any tie between the color you picked for your Battleship frame and the Madera parts, or are you just really into colors?
Madera and WTP actually approached me around the same time to do a colorway and I thought it would be a cool idea to have them both match in some way. I was really going for a 90’s style theme for both with the splatter for Madera and the wild graphics for wethepeople. Eben Fischer did a great job on the graphics as well as everyone at Madera on the Party Paint wrap.
How did Mike Hinkens and Matt Coplon let you know you were finally getting the bump up to the Madera pro team after riding for the flow team for a couple years?
I don’t remember exactly how it went but I’m sure it was along the lines of “Hey would you want to be on the pro team”. Matt and Mike are really good friends of mine so when the opportunity came about I was more than stoked. I’ve been apart of Madera in some way since my early teenage years, started out on grassroots, then flow, and now pro. Can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me.
Any trips or projects coming up with Madera you’re looking forward to?
We will be doing a Madera shop stop at Stacked BMX in Riverside, CA at the beginning of March, then hopefully after that we are trying to head down to Ecuador!
If that wasn’t enough good news, you were also added to the Dan’s Comp team recently. What are you most stoked about with the opportunity to ride for them? Do they have anything going on that you can tell us about like a new full-length or anything? We heard Grant Castelluzzo will be handling some filming projects…
Riding for Dans Comp is a dream come true. My friends and I have been getting their catalogs sent to our house for as long as I can remember. Never did I think I’d be actually riding for them! Kinda funny to wear shirts and stickers on my bike with my first name on them. Grant and I are working on a welcome to Dan’s Comp edit for Vital BMX that I believe should be out by the beginning of March!
Alright, any other sponsor news you can tell us about?
Hmm you’ll have to wait and see!
A little while ago you decided to make the move out to California after growing up in Milwaukee. What are some of the best parts about living out there versus the midwest?
I made the official move out here right before thanksgiving, but I had spent the whole last winter here. The best parts about living in California have to be the weather and spots. Even though I think the Midwest still has the best spots for sure!
What do you miss about Milwaukee the most? Do you think you will ever call Milwaukee home again?
I miss my friends and family the most, life was pretty dialed out there. It was easy to do the things I wanted, and not paying rent was a huge bonus. The winters really sucked but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I learned everything I know from countless indoor 4Seasons skatepark sessions and I don’t know where I’d be without that. Someday, when this BMX life is over, I may call it home again, but for now I’m just living life whereever it takes me.
Now that you have some heavy sponsor support, are you working at all, or is it just full-time riding and traveling for you?
I actually just got a job delivering for a restaurant here in Long Beach. It would be pretty tough for me to survive with out a job out here honestly.
Speaking of traveling. Where are a few of the places you’re really hoping to get to in 2017?
I’d love to get out to Germany this summer. Getting to visit the Wethepeople headquarters in Cologne is high on my list. I’d also like to get down to Ecuador and visit some friends/ride down there as well,
Who are some of the guys that have been really motivating you to push your riding lately? Any reasons why in particular? I’d imagine having so many riders around for Simple Session was kind of a big motivator this past week.
A few riders who have been motivating me recently have been Garrett Reynolds, Alex Donnachie, Felix Prangenberg and Courage Adams. Why? Well because they are all really cool dudes who do amazing things on a bike.
What have you been getting into when you aren’t riding these days? Any new hobbies or anything that have been filling your time?
Right now I haven’t had much time for anything besides riding and working. Once things get more routine out here I’d love to check out more of the natural beauty that California has to offer.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
First of all Shout out to Kurt for this interview, all my friends from around the world, my sponsors, my family, my girlfriend and to anyone taking time out of their day to read what I’m up to!
Anything else you want to say?
Dream your life then live your dreams.
It has been a while since we last caught up with Matt Ray. Since we did that interview, things for Matt have changed up pretty heavily. As most of you know by now, Matt was recently given the well deserved bump on up to The Shadow Conspiracy and Subrosa Pro teams after crushing it for years. Add in that he has been working on some cool projects with Clif Bar, putting in work at college and more, we figured that was more than enough reasons to hit him up to see what’s new! It’s safe to say Matt has been on fire lately. Let’s see what he had to say.
Matt! Long time no talk. How’s it going? It seems like you have been plenty busy lately!
Yeah man, it’s been a while! I’m doing good just getting ready to deal with a New England winter at the moment, haha.
I feel you on that one. Minnesota winters suck, too. Last week your Welcome to The Shadow Conspiracy Pro Team video dropped and it’s safe to say it blew people away. How long did you work on that project for?
Oh man, I’m so psyched that dropped! The past year we have been traveling all over filming for that. I think we filmed in 4 different countries for it, which was crazy to me because I have never really worked on that big of a project before. I’m really happy with what Chadwick did with the footage, and how it turned out.
Did you go into the video with anything on your mind you wanted to make happen specifically for this video?
I definitely had some tricks in mind that I was hoping to get done. Luckily we went to spots that made them possible and they worked out. I like just riding new spots and thinking of something I think is cool to film. It gives me an excuse to work on tricks that otherwise seem impossible, too.
Out of that whole video, do you have any favorite clips? Any good stories from filming for the video that we wouldn’t know just watching the video?
There was one trick I tried for the first time in Arizona and couldn’t get it. I came back to Boston, and got it the next day, so I booked a plane ticket right back. I took only a small bottle of water into the Arizona summer thinking it’d be a one and done. Eight hours of filming later, I ended up in the hospital suffering from dehydration and exhaustion to the point my kidneys were on the verge of shutting down. I left against the doctor’s will to catch a midnight flight back to Boston. After only two months of specialists and doctors, I was back to normal, haha.
That’s insane. I had no idea that happened. Now that you’re back to health and wrapped up filming for that project, do you have any trips or other projects lined up with The Shadow Conspiracy crew?
Nothing yet. I just got home from a trip down to Florida with the crew. We all kicked it and filmed an edit on Trey’s insane backyard set-up which will drop soon. I also just did New England’s Sparky’s jam with Mark Burnett, so that was dope. We talk about travel for 2017, but nothing official yet– just everyone throwing out ideas for where they’d like to go.
Do you have any trips or other projects lined up with the Subrosa crew you’re looking forward to?
Since you asked, haha, I’ll say it here first, I’m extremely thankful to be in the beginning design phase of some signature products (a seat and bars) which will drop in 2017 if everything goes as planned. We are also going to start filming soon to work on new projects for products and what not.
That’s rad. We saw a prototype at Interbike, but that got shut down with a cease and desist real quick. Speaking of trips, Word on the street is that you will be at Simple Session this winter. What are you most looking forward to for you trip to Estonia?
I’m so psyched to make it back out there! I just can’t wait to kick it with everyone out there, it’s always such a good time to see everyone. Riding the amazing course out there will be so sick, too, and the locals are amongst the most stoked in BMX and very hospitable to us.
How do you feel about contests? Is it something you’re into and “train” for, or do you more go for the fun of it?
I definitely enjoy riding contests.. I ride my local park Rye Airfield before I dip out to contests and just get comfortable riding big ramps again. I always tighten up on my diet and nutrition, too (one thing I took away from the whole hospital scare). I never watch what other people are doing and think like, “Oh shit. I gotta put together a good run to beat this dude.” I usually just try to do the best run that will make me psyched on my own progress. Overall I just think contests are a good time.
Other than Estonia, is there anywhere you want to get to over the winter as far as travel goes?
I definitely want to travel a bit this winter. Hopefully go kick it on the West Coast for a few weeks. I want to try to plan something over seas too– just not sure where yet.
You have been working with CLIF Bar on some events lately, right? Can you tell us about how that all came about and what the overall goal of the events are?
A marketing manager in the Northeast used to ride and asked Beau of Rye Airfield if there was a rider who could show him the ropes of today’s BMX. Beau referred him to my mentor in business, Patti Burris, to see if I’d be interested in collaborating on an event. CLIF contacted us and we met up and brainstormed some ideas and after I told him I have always wanted to give back and asked him for the opportunity to do that, he gave me creative freedom and tons of support to realize my vision of an BMX series that would make a direct positive impact on the sport by getting kids on bikes.
The clinics were so successful (350 kids on bikes), we’re working on a bigger 2.0 version for the Spring. I’ll let you know when I have more to share.
That’s rad. Looking forward to seeing what comes from that. You just wrapped up your first semester of college, right? How did that go for you? What are you planning on majoring in?
I love college. I never really planned on going to college but my liberal riding schedule made it possible to have the time, and with the business matters which come up when you become a pro rider, I wanted to understand the behind-the-scenes machine for myself. One of the things I’m most proud of this year is to have taken what I’ve learned in business from college and have been able to apply it to what I’m doing in BMX.
Currently, my major is undeclared. I’m interested in marketing, entrepreneurship, and business, so I’m taking basics until I decide which path is the best for me.
Not a bad route to go with school. Going back to the thing about your kidneys and everything, the level of riding and tricks you’re doing has to be pretty hard on your body. What are some of the things you do off your bike to help keep you rolling?
I eat healthy, drink protein shakes and go to the gym daily. I am hyper-conscious about stretching and warming up before I send myself to try some trick.
Other than school and hitting the gym, what have you been getting into off your bike?
I don’t have a lot of time outside of riding and school, lol, but I enjoy going on adventures with my girlfriend and friends. A group of us just hiked Mount Monadnock, and in the summer I spend most of my free time at the beach.
How can people keep up with you these days?
Instagram (@matt1ray) is the best platform for riding news and actual interaction. My Snapchat is mostly for my friends and family. I don’t do Twitter, and I have a Facebook but don’t interact on there a whole lot.
I’m in the final stages of dropping my website, too, and I plan to dedicate time to that daily, so that will be a great place to stay in the know about anything i have going on.
That about wraps it up! Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
The usual suspects plus a few. My sponsors: Shadow, Subrosa, and Rye Airfield. Ronnie Bonner and my TMs Ryan Chadwick, Ryan Sher, and Beau Lambert. A couple of friends in the industry who keep me looking part, haha, Mark Losey and Ethika. My family, my mentor Patti, my girlfriend, Deb. My new good friend, Nick, at CLIF Bar. And lastly, I’d like to give a shoutout to my local Hadley Park crew who have been so supportive: Maicol, Aaron, Trevor, Eddie, Pablo, Zach, Brian, Lil Ben, and Blue.
All photos by Fred Murray
When it comes to the day to day in BMX, you generally only hear about the pro riders that are producing the content or the brands producing the products as a whole. What most don’t realize is how many people are behind the scenes making sure things keep happening. Over the course of the past few years, we’ve seen Monster Energy throw some amazing events like BMX Day and produce the incredible “Above Below” video that ended up taking the NORA Cup award for best video last year. What do those two things have in common beside the Monster Energy title? They both had Monster’s European Team Manager, Tom Creasy helping to ensure everything goes smooth for the riders, filmers and everyone involved. We’ve been real stoked on all the work Tom has been doing in BMX and figured it would be a good time to get to know him a little better, so we hit him with a bunch of questions! Ready? Let’s check out what he had to say…
Name: Tom Creasy