I’m not really sure when the first time I saw a video featuring Kent Pearson. Needless to say that the guy has been killing it on a BMX bike long before I even started riding and continues to do so today like a champ. I’ve definitely been a fan of his riding for quite some time now thanks to his creative front brake riding that always leaves me stoked and wanting more, it’s easy to say he’s one guy I always look forward to seeing something new from.
Recently when his latest edit dropped, it got me thinking that it would be awesome to get ahold of this guy and find out just what he’s all about. One thing lead to another and we got in contact and I quickly learned he’s a whole lot more than just a guy who knows the ways of the front brake magic game. I shot him a bunch of questions to get to know him, and here we are today! If this doesn’t get you excited about front brakes or at the very least really stoked on Kent, something is wrong with you! Enjoy!
Name: Kent Pearson
Location: Athens GA
Years riding: 28
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
I was tired of the usual team sports and it was at a really crucial time for me when I was really feeling the need to find something that I could be challenged by but still enjoy getting to do something active / athletic while still being creative and artistic at the same time. It was and still is the perfect combination of art and athletics for me basically a lifetime later. Early memories that come to mind while I type this, were going and riding for hours and then coming home and not being able to stay in the house and going right back out in my driveway and tinkering on tricks even more. As soon as I’d go back in the house, it wouldn’t be long before I’d go back out there and tinker little bit more and on and on.
You have been getting the hook up from Kink for a while now. How did that opportunity all come about? Any talks of getting you more involved with the team at all?
Years ago I wrote a piece for Ride Magazine about testing a stem that Kink was doing at the time. My instructions were to test it for everything from ramps to street to flatland. I had ridden Kink parts for a while at the time and decided call and to let them know I respected what they were doing and that I had kept the stem permanently after testing it because I liked it so much. I also wanted to let ‘em know that the only down side I mentioned about the stem was based on the parameters of the test for the magazine, haha. Chris Riesenberger took my call and we met over time and became great friends and as I got to know everyone at Kink we had old stories and connections to each other and it has always been a truly friend based relationship and an admiration for what Zach and everyone there has done. I’m just lucky enough to have them as friends and they’ve always had my back for the support I try to give ‘em. Some of the guys call me the “Kink Lifer” but I’m just lucky to get to ride Kink stuff, be a “bro” and have the friendship with Chris, Zach, Jay, Matt, and everyone else that’s so committed at Kink. I’ve been super lucky to be on the videos and was real stoked to get to ride and help with some stuff and especially the Desist brakes. Matt Antes is awesome at what he does and I was so excited about the brakes while we were in Vegas at Interbike, that he had me put ‘em on and see how things were going to go. Stoked they put the video out there of the stuff I filmed while they were in the works.
Do you have any trips or videos you’re working on for them?
I went out to Texas Toast for all the events and NORA party and to spend time at Empire. So I stayed at Jay (Roe)’s and got to put in some riding and spend time with the crew and some of the guys that I hadn’t been around as much. Most of the guys (Darryl, Chris, Tony) have known me for years but I got to get to make new friends and loved the opportunity. (shout outs to all the guys and my new friends Albert, Dan, Jake, and Chad) Awesome trip, love the team guys, and had so much fun that I missed my first flight back. First time I’d missed a flight in all my life, Ha!
You’re also getting the hook up from Profile Racing, right? How are things going there? Does Matt Coplon have anything cooking for you that we can hear about?
Man, Profile and Matt Coplon take SUCH good care of me and I’m so lucky to have their support. Over the years Matt and I have grown to be such good friends and I can’t stress how open minded he must be to offer the support to a guy that rides the way I do and that has been around as long as me. Other than keeping my bike tight, he really encourages me and inspires me. He’s the true meaning of support. Profile really is able to do stuff that very few companies (BMX or not) are able to do because of doing the stuff in house and having the equipment and facility that they have. I’m going to get to go to the SPOT Roast down in Tampa in a few days and I really like that trip. After that I hope to get in on the Profile Freecoaster action soon too!
So you and I got talking the other day about front brakes. You being one of the guys who really stands out to me these days. When did you start running front brakes? Any sort of a story behind it or was it just something you decided to give a go?
Honored that you think of me standing out like that, thanks! I’ve been running front brakes for all these years I’ve been riding. I started out riding everything especially flatland. I did the pro flatland thing for a long time while still riding street and ramps and dirt etc etc. On one of my crashes, I broke a couple of things in my wrist and it changed up my flat game so much that I pretty much converted to life without flatland. I still love flat but my mindset really became focused on what I could do on the other disciplines. I almost feel like I have a second life in BMX because I was known for flatland for so long and now I feel like I’ve transitioned to the front brake ramp and street rider.
Obviously things worked out and your whole style has been based around front brake tricks. Could you ever see yourself going brakeless or anything like that?’
I don’t tell many people, but usually when I build up a new bike, I’ll try brakeless for like a day or something but it just doesn’t get my interest up and make me feel like I could create as much as a brakeless rider. I watch and respect the usual brakeless set up so so much, but feel like I would fall in to doing all the same stuff and style that everyone else has and I naturally shy away from feeling like I’m doing the same thing as everyone else. I still throw whips and barspins and such but I love the feeling of putting in the constant work that it takes to create and learn all the front wheel stuff.
The mentality I always quote is “if riding were music, would I rather play in a cover band or play my own songs…” Front brake and front wheel riding make me feel like I’m playing my own music. It feels like pure creation to me…
What’s one front brake trick that took the longest to learn? What’s one trick you cannot do for the life of you?
One trick I do that’s called a “Perfect Storm” (shouts to Kyle Kelsey for naming that one for me). It took forever to get and I put in SOO much work to get it. It’s a trick that is like half boomerang nose pick to half nose whip to hang five to fakie. It’s in some of my videos. Original version was the “Desert Storm” and it lead to the next name of Perfect Storm. Spent a long time working on that one. I can’t seem for the life of me to be able to get barspin into hang fives. I’ve tried different ramps. I’ve tried different techniques. I just kill myself every time I’ve ever tried working on them. Some day…
Who are some of your favorite front brake riders of all time?
Wow… in no order… Rob Ridge, Clint Miller, Dave Freimuth, Tobias Wicke, Chad Degroot, Kurt Schmidt… Bobby Altiser has really came on of course. It’s surprising how hard this question made me think. I’m sure I’m forgetting some obvious ones. Forgive me?
Why should kids give front brakes a go?
They probably shouldn’t… it’s too frustrating, haha. I’m just kidding. I really feel for the kids that think the only way to go is to set their bike up just like every other dude on the planet and to do all the same tricks as every other dude on the planet too. It (front brakes) opens up a million ideas and opportunities for things they could do on their bikes. I would have to say the main reason to give it a go is the millions of options it opens up and the ability to create so many more moves.
I know you just had that Desist edit drop a few weeks back, but I feel like I could use some more footage from you. Have you been filming much lately? Anything new you’re cooking on?
That’s so awesome to hear and yes a new one is in the works. The Desist footage was in waiting for a while and I was filming for the next one already. Next one is real special to me, it’s going to be a split edit with me and my son Mason! The last few months we’ve been on the road nonstop and whenever we felt it, we filmed clips as we rode together. Mase has always had cameos in my edits but this one will be a true split video. Also excited to hand the editing part to my friend Kyle Askew. Kyle had moved away when he was working for Tree and Mason always thought so much of him and we were excited he’s came back to GA and was willing to help us with it. He’s such a cool dude, and hopefully it will come out cool and I’m sure I’ll be real sentimental about it.
I can’t imagine the weather gets all too bad down in Georgia during the winter months. Where are you getting most of your riding time in these days?
Winters are pretty mild down here for the most part. What I hate is the time change. I don’t really enjoy the fall because I spend it dreading the time change and all the leaves and yard work and it being almost dark when I leave my office. Our skatepark isn’t lit, so we ride street 2 or 3 nights a week and then park and ramps on the weekends. Mase calls it “street season”, ha! We have a couple of real cool indoor parks within an hour or two drive as well.
Let’s say you get a fat budget to take 5 riders anywhere in the world for a week to film an edit. The only rule the riders all have to have front brakes and these riders can be past or present! Who do you bring, where do you go and why?
Rob Ridge because he’s the front brake master.
Clint Millar because he’s been doing it for so long and just keeps being so rad and so positive.
Chad Degroot is ahuge influence on me, and that flatland infused with ramps style.
Bobby Altiser because he’s obviously so committed to the front brakes in a world of non front brake riding and is so on top of it right now.
Brian Kachinsky if I could talk him into putting them back on for the trip – to mix that super burly street beast with his front brake skills. I hope he sees this.
As for where we’d go – I’ve always felt Europe was more open to the front brake game, but honestly I would stick to the US so that it might help the American minds open up to the front brake game.
What is it about BMX that has kept things going for all these years? Do you ever get burned out? What do you do to keep things fresh for yourself?
BMX has helped shape me into who I am in life. Some good, some bad, but all connected in some way to who I am and who I will be. I owe BMX, it doesn’t owe me. I’ve put in all my 28 years of riding without stopping or quitting or leaving and coming back or any of that. Only extended periods off my bike were from injuries / surgeries or whatever. I can honestly say I’ve never gotten truly burned out. I’ve always been hungry for more tricks, more moves and I love the feeling of progressing. Whether it’s by leaps and bounds or inch by inch. Things at work or in everyday life don’t seem quite as hard when you spent the night before repeatedly throwing yourself onto concrete.
What are you usually getting into when you aren’t riding these days? Are you working or anything?
You hear a lot of people that like to talk about how busy their schedules are and all that and some really are. But I truly try to pack my schedule to an unbelievable level. I hate the feeling that I wasted time. That being said, I work a full time job, a full time father, full time husband, taking care of our house and property while trying to learn everything I can as a DIY guy, taking care of and improving the cars, riding every possible second I can get in there, etc etc. Sometimes I take on too many projects, but I never have heard an old person say “ya know, I wish I had wasted more time when I had the chances”. I try to do a lot of photography and get some odd photo jobs in here and there. Mostly love shooting riding shots but I wish I had more time for art photography.
Are you really good at anything other than riding bikes?
I try to be good at being a dad. But I’m lucky that Mason is into riding so much. I’ll support whatever he has true inspiration to do, but BMX is probably one of the best tools I have to raise him with the qualities I hope he will possess someday.
What’s something about yourself that might surprise people?
I put a lot of effort into controlling my temper? I never throw my bike and always put out this philosophy of how riding should be an outlet for frustration and not a source of frustration, but I have to work really hard at controlling myself.
Let’s say it’s Friday night… What are you getting into? Do you like to party much these days?
More often than not, my Friday nights are time to decompress from the weekdays and to get ready for whatever trip or ride we have planned for Saturday or the rest of the weekend. The level of looseness depends on if Christy (my wife) is taking care of me or if she’s tagging the crew in to have to take care of me. Ha! I love surrounding myself with a big group of people that I really enjoy riding and spending time with when we go out. It’s like truth serum and you can really learn a lot about each other in those times.
You can have one super power for the rest of your life. What do you choose and why?
I’d love to say flight, because I often dream I’m flying but honestly… I’d have to say extreme healing ability.
What is one thing you could use more of and one thing you could use less of in your life?
I’d love to have more time in my life. It’s a constant battle to have enough / more time. I could use less worry in my life. I guess when you’re a father you kind of have this worry about never being prepared enough.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Hopefully doing the best tricks I’ve ever done and still riding with Mason.
When I was young they said I’d lose interest in riding when I started driving. Well driving just got me to more contests and places to ride. Then they told me it would be going to college and that didn’t slow me down. Then it was work. Then it was marriage. Then it was family. “They” were just too close minded to be able to understand outside of what they see as “normal” life. Right now I feel like I’m doing the best and most difficult tricks I’ve ever done. I hope to keep progressing as long as I can ride.
What’s the last song you heard, movie you watched and website you visited?
Last song: “Sleep” by The Roots.
Last Movie: Rocknrolla. I don’t sleep much and I was up late and clicking around. I’d seen it before but before I knew it, I’d watched it all over again
Last Site: Youtube since this interview reminded me of some edits that I needed to see again
How can people keep up with you these days? Are you on Twitter, Instagram or any of that social media stuff?
I’ll spare you the boring reasons about everyone spending way too much time on them, but I’ve tried to avoid the social media as much as I can. I’ve promised some people that I’d get my Instagram going so I could at least do it on a photo based condition. Soon, ha!
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Love, shout outs, and thanks to Mase and Christy and the rest of my family. Matt and everyone at Profile. Everyone at Kink. Tom and Tina and Empire. Everyone at Tifosi. Outlaw. All of the Ninja Crew. All of the Athens Family. Everyone else that takes the time to read this and send out the positive vibes in this bmx life. All of my bmx family out there, you know who you are. Thanks to The Union for this interview and caring enough to take the time with me.
Anything else you want to say?
There’s 2 quotes that are my “go to thoughts” when trying to work on a new trick;
I’d rather die on my feet than to live on my knees.
This place will never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.