Isaac Barnes is one of those damn Canadian’s who has been killing it the last few years. I’ve been a fan of his riding for a while now, and figure with everything he has going on with S&M, 1664 and now ODI that it was a good time to do some catching up and get to know him a little better. Isaac decided to go above and beyond and toss together a brand new edit for S&M to go with this interview that you can check out above. Check out what Isaac has to say, some photos and past edits, then let him know what you think in the comments!
Name: Isaac Barnes
Location: Currently living in Edmonton AB Canada.
Sponsors: S&M Bikes, 1664 BMX and ODI grips
Damn, I think, like, 10 years or something. I have always just rode a bike, it has been part of me forever.
You grew up in a pretty small town, which would make BMX seem even smaller. How did you even get involved with BMX? Anything come to mind from the start?
I grew up in Powell River BC, you have to catch a ferry to get outta town, pretty secluded haha. Like I said, I always rode bikes, I had a BMX for a while before I actually started doing stuff on it. When I was in grade six I saw a couple dudes getting wild on this super shitty grass hip at school, haha! I thought it was sweet so I talked to them and told them I had a bike too, turns out they lived like a 15 min bike ride away from me, and I just started riding with them. Tyler Pulkrabek is still one of my best homies even though we never get to chill anymore.. Dude still kills on a bike too! What up, Tyler! Taylor Elvy too, I grew up riding with him and he’s one of my best homies, and it’s sick that we still ride together.. What up big kid?
Photo: Mike Boag
How are things going with 1664 on the sponsor side of things? You have been working for them for a while now as well, right?
64 is tight.. When I was growing up, 1664 was a Canadian BMX company I was always stoked on and never ever thought that I would ride and work for them one day, haha. It’s pretty crazy to think about it now. But things are great I have just done my thing since I have been on and their support has been amazing, thanks Bernie and Craig for getting me on in the first place.. Were re-doing our site, and working all kinds of goodness product wise, and project wise, everything I have seen so far is looking sick.. I’m really excited to be a part of this new chapter in 64. It’s awesome to work at 1664, I hated all my other jobs because all I wanted to do was ride. Now I’m around it, doin it, and enjoy my environment. It’s the next best thing to being a paid Pro BMXer in my opinion. Obviously, being able to ride your bike everyday and do the Pro thing would be the best thing ever, but its a tough thing to do if you know anything about the industry. But I managed to work my way into this spot and I have no complaints.
How are things going with S&M? Do you have anything in the works with them?
Things are amazing with S&M. I still can’t believe I get to rep S&M. Same thing like I said with 64, I always thought S&M was badass growing up and never imagined I would ride for them. I have had some awesome travel opportunities, and have met some awesome friends. I can’t ask for much more than getting to ride the best bikes, being able to be apart of some rad projects, and just S&M in general.. Shout out to everyone at The Building! Thanks for everything guys. I don’t have anything on the go with S&M at this point in time. I just had section drop in QP#3 Summer of S&M, #4 is dropping soon, and then I’m not sure whats up next. Things are always popin’ off there. I’m sure I will get word on something rad after this is done haha.
Photo: Rory Ellis
What about ODI? Are you working on anything with them or have any trips in the works?
I pretty much just got put on ODI right before this interview came up, so were still working on everything. I got to know Larry from my travels down to Cali, and after we got to know each other better it kinda just fell into place. We distro ODI at 1664 and after my last trip down to Cali Larry hit me up about getting a Canada crew going through 64. As it stands myself and Jeff Evans are gunna be reppin. We have been talking about getting some of those guys out here, or me and Jetty out there to film for some projects. Things are just in the starting stages so nothing is written in stone. But I’m definitely excited on new riding opps/projects. Thanks, Larry!
As mentioned above, you have been working for 1664 for a while now. How did you end up with that job? What are your roles working there?
When I was living in Victoria BC I started to get more serious/trying to push myself with riding. I got hooked up with S&M and 1664 around that time. And decided to try to work at One Six a BMX/skate shop I rode for, and make things work. They could only afford to hook me up part time and I couldn’t afford anything. As things weren’t working I really didn’t know what I was going to do because I really didn’t want to go back to working a shit job I hated. 64/S&M got me out to Edmonton to tag along on a Fit trip and I got to meet everyone and get a taste of Edmonton that summer. I noticed 64 was looking for help so I talked to Bernie about stuff, and he said if I got out to Edmonton we could give it a go and see if it would work out. I didn’t have anything going for me in Vic so I said fuck it, my homie Taylor who was living in Edmonton came back to BC and moved me out, and gave me a couch at the Party Palace to get on my feet.. Thanks, bud, I appreciate it. I have been at 64 since. I take care of all the warehouse duties full time, shipping/receiving, and everything that comes with that. The last couple months I have been helping with our teams, making sure they are all good, and helping move forward with things.
What’s a typical day like for you working there? It sounds like you get into a whole bunch of different things these days?
Well, I know I will always be shipping stuff out, or getting new stuff in.. But usually I wake up do the email thing in the morning following up on team stuff, or whatever it maybe . I usually get in around 8ish finish any emails I need to, sometimes meet up with the boss man on team stuff, or get going on shipments that needed to be put away, or get going on orders going out. Were right in the middle of spring bookings, so the last while I have just been shipping mad bikes and P&A, come in and check out what’s on the list to go that day and get to it, before I know it, it’s 5:00.
Photo: Rory Ellis
You have been living the BMX life for a while traveling and living all over, making ends meet to keep things going until you got involved with 1664. Where are some of the places you have lived the last few years? Did any of the places have a good scene or is that why you are where you are today?
Haha, yeah, I jumped around quite a bit for a while there. When I left PR I moved to Victoria for a while until I went back to school in Nanaimo. When I finished up school I headed to Vancouver for a short stint after my place to stay didn’t work out and I had no job so it didn’t work. I got a welding gig in Victoria, so headed there for work, the job sucked and the pay was terrible so I was over it pretty fast. I had some homies in Nanaimo, and a couple of us wanted to get a place, I just wanted to party and ride my bike at the time and thats all you could really do there so it seemed like a good idea, haha. There was a real lack of jobs going on when I was there and eventually wasn’t working. And our Landlord sold the house we were living in on hella short notice so we were out of a crib.. Everyone went their separate ways, and me and my gf at the time headed to Calgary cause there was lots of work and I had a friend I grew up with there who had a spot for me. Turns out my friend was into some shady shit, which pretty much ruined our friendship, and he decided he was leaving one day putting me and my girl out of a place. I didn’t have the funds, or resources to get my own place, and my girl wanted to go traveling so we were done. It was a pretty shit time in my life. I didn’t really know anyone else there so things sucked, and I just got a ticket home to figure things out. I had some good friends in Victoria and the scene was tight there, it was the only other place that felt like home so I ended up heading back there, until I came here.
You spent some time living in a BMX house. Do you think every BMX rider should have that experience or would you suggest avoiding it?
Man, it’s something every BMXer needs to experience.. Parties, and bikes.. It pretty much always goes the same way though, it’s the best thing ever at first, then the house goes to shit, people get sick of each other, or the 24/7 party, or you get the boot haha! Party Palace was the best in its prime.. Mini in the back yard, right by Whyte Ave (party strip), big house for parties, by the college, always someone to ride with. The parties got too much for me as I was the only one working in the house eventually so I just needed to get my own place for some privacy, and cleanliness. But it’s always better going to the party house than living there haha. RIP PP.
Uprail to no foot can
Photo: Rory Ellis
I’d imagine you have been filming lately since you have this new S&M edit that dropped with this interview. Have you been working on any other video parts or edits that people should keep their eyes out for?
Winter really seems like it’s not going away this year.. I filmed for my edit when I was in Cali for 2 weeks in Jan, and on the few days the weather let me the last while here. But it seems like things are melting now so hopefully more spots will be ridable soon and I can get out of the underground parking lots, and train stations.. I’m always filming when I get the chance. I’m working on some projects for 64 Distro, and ODI at the moment, but once I get my new set up I will be on the grind working on all kinds of stuff.
Where have you been found riding lately? Any spots that you have been real psyched on?
There is still snow everywhere right now, haha. When it’s dry out for a couple days Downtown seems to be the only place where things are clear and things are ridable, other than that I try to ride underground train stations, or parking lots as long as I can before I get the boot. There are lots of spots I have been waiting to ride all winter and can’t wait till the snows gone..
Who have you been riding with? Any up and comers you think people should keep any eye out for?
I have just been riding with my homie Nick Lemont. He seems to be the only other person who will brave the Alberta winters to find shit to ride. He shreds, and is always stoked to just be out riding. I want to help him film for some projects when I get my set up, kids always progressing.
Do you have any trips in the works now that Canadia has begun thawing out?
I’m really hoping to get back to Vancouver to ride with some our team dudes and kick it, and get out to Montreal/Quebec to do the same. Nothing is written in stone but thats the plan. But once the weather is deece I’m gunna be on the move every weekend I can afford. I have been doing my research in my down time this winter and found out there is like 50 skateparks within a 10 hour radius of Edmonton so I really just want to explore Alberta’s little towns on ways to parks cause thats how you find the good street spots…
Where are some places you would like to get to that you haven’t had the chance to ride yet?
I will pretty much go anywhere I can. I love traveling, seeing new things, meeting people. I do really want to go to Montreal. I have heard a lot of good things about that place. But ever since I can remember I have always wanted to go to Spain, Germany, and Finland.
You went to college for welding. How come you never tried to get into welding frames and what not?
Yeah, I did. I don’t know. I always kind of thought about it. But I would only want to do BMX stuff and the only companies that came to mind were S&M, Solid, FBM that did their own stuff. At the time with little experience, and no knowledge of the BMX industry it would be a lot of work getting the experience and getting into the States to work.. It just seemed like something I didn’t really want to do, especially after working a few welding jobs I hated. It seemed like a bad idea to mix that up with something I really cared about; BMX.
What are some of your favorite parts about working for 1664? Are there any downsides?
Well, I get to work in the BMX world for one haha, the work environment is awesome people are always joking around. It’s really the only job I have had that I didn’t get bummed about going to in the morning. I get to keep in touch with my sponsors/friends on a regular which is great. Only downside I would say is being around BMX all day it makes me want to just go ride, but I have a job to do and can’t leave, haha.
Wall ride to table
Photo: Tyler Sterbentz
You grew up playing hockey and baseball and then gave it up for BMX. Have you ever thought about where you might be if that never happened? What do you think you might be doing?
To be honest, not really, no. I used to play rep hockey, and baseball. I got a taste of what that was like and once I started riding I just knew thats all I wanted to do and the other stuff wasn’t me. I couldn’t be more happy with what I have achieved in riding and all I want to do is keep moving forward.
What are you usually up to when you aren’t riding or working?
It really seems like I’m always doing something riding related, one of my favourite things to do is just explore different areas, find out stuff about my surroundings, find good spots.. Or chillin at a local establishment with some homies.. Or maybe a coffee joint. Get sweet.
I’m still curious about the welding thing. Care to talk about the jobs you had?
Yeah, I had a few welding gigs, welding is rad and I would love to do some stuff on my own again one day. But the jobs I had just weren’t fun at all, shit jobs doing all the dirty stuff no one else wanted to do. I was around grumpy old dudes who hated their lives, and I really didn’t want to end up like them. I’m not the kind of person who is just gunna settle, if I’m not happy I will figure things out until I am. Whats the point in hating what you do just for a pay cheque? All I wanted to do was something with riding so I started working my way towards that.
How are the ladies up in Edmonton? Approximately how many girls does it take to satisfy one Isaac Barnes?
I have no complaints on the ladies here haha. It seems like girls are more friendly here than anywhere else I have lived so thats good.. I haven’t found the right girl for me yet so there is no answer to that one.
What’s the last song you heard, movie you watched and website you visited?
Angels by Black Mountain, BMX movie – Anthem 2, movie movie – Baseketball, and theweathernetwork.com
Who or what are some of the biggest influences on your life?
My Parents for sure, they always made it happen, and always put myself, my brother, and sister first when we were growing up. I consider myself very lucky and proud to have the family I do. I couldn’t imagine supporting a family, I have a hard enough time supporting myself, haha! I appreciate/respect people who don’t run away from responsibilities. And just people I have met who take pride in them selfs and what ever it is they do. If someone is proud of their accomplishments and strides to be the best at what they do and keep moving forward in life, things like that influence me.
Photo: Tyler Sterbentz
What makes for a good night out for you? Any drinks or smokes of choice?
The best nights are always nights that aren’t planned at all.. Just wing it and see what happens, especially on road trips with your homies.. I like whiskey, Jameson and Jack Daniels. Those are definitely my preferences. I don’t drink hard all night that leads to a black out, haha.. Rickards is my beer of choice. I’m not into smoking anything, just not my thing. But if I wake up tasting cigs and smell like them I know I was wasted, haha!
Have you been in any sketchy situations lately? Care to share a story from something wild that happened to you?
The last thing that i got nervous about was in Vegas. When I was recently in Cali myself, Rory Ellis, and Sharkbait tripped up to Vegas cause none of us had been and it’s only like 3 hours away. It’s crazy there to say the least. I think it was the last night we were in town we stayed in a shitty Motel 6. We were all beat and tired from not sleeping, partying, and riding, so we were all a little out of it I would say. Anyway when we checked in a went to our room there was this hag hooker walking down the stairs as we were going up and this other gnar chick ran outta the room beside ours and was threatening to kill her and cut her up and all this shit.. We all just went to our room and didn’t want any of that. We could hear smashing and yelling coming from next door but didn’t care, a while later someone was calling our room but we didn’t answer.. Then someone started knocking on the door, we checked it out and it was this random guy no bigger than myself. Rory is a beast so we were like fuck it we can kill this dude if we need to, haha! Rory answered cause he loves talking to anyone and everyone about anything possible.. The guy was looking for some smoke, he was clearly FUCKED up on something tweaking out, next thing i knew he was in our room and he locked the door right away and peeked through the blinds, and he was carrying this black pouch thing close to his chest. At that point I was pretty nervous, I honestly thought he had a gun and was gunna pull some shit.. Like I said he was on some shit and tweaking out so I’m pretty sure he was just trying to smoke some weed and try to mellow him self out a bit, he ripped open his pouch and dumped all these cards to get into clubs for free and get free drinks on the bed, and said he had some kinda gig doing that sending people to these places. He tried to hang out with us cause he said his girl was freaking out or some shit, and try to get us to drink his bottle he had but I wasn’t into it.. After we took a bunch of the free passes we got him to leave, but he tried to leave his shit in our room and said he would come back and pick it up later that night because his girl had already left his room or some shit.. But we were like, nah, dude you gotta go..Like right after he left we heard people next door right away. I have no idea what the hell was going on… All I know was I was glad he didn’t have anything else in that bag.. Afterwards we all said we thought the same thing after he locked the door and pulled out that bag, haha!
Let’s say you won $1,000,000.00. What’s the first thing you would buy, and would you keep working at 1664?
Damn, that would be so sick.. haha. First thing I would buy would be some kinda SUV good for road trips/traveling so I could load up and hit the road with some homies and just start exploring and riding everywhere! That would be the best shit.. Yeah, I would like to still work at 1664 in some way or another. I know I wouldn’t be working in the warehouse full-time, I would try to work something out doing more team stuff, traveling with the crew, and working on projects/getting more content going with the team. That would be awesome.
If you could have any super power, what would you choose and why?
I think I would have to rubber man.. Anyone who knows me or rides with me knows I tend to eat shit riding often, hahaha. I think it would make bouncing off the ground easier, haha!
If for some reason Canada got sick of you and said that you could no longer live there, where could you see yourself living?
Haha, that would suck. But I would head to Cali for sure, I got some good friends there, sponsors, good spots, good mexican food, and the weather is the best.
What’s something about yourself that might surprise people?
I don’t know. I’m a pretty straight forward person, I’m not afraid of confrontation, or speaking my mind on things. Nothing really comes to mind. But Sean Mckinney is pretty surprised, and doesn’t believe me that I don’t eat jelly donuts and drink a case of beer for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or that I don’t have Bryan Adams playing in my iPod all day.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Thats a hard one, 5 years is a long time to me at the moment. I would like to think that I will still find happiness out of everything I do now and will have just kept pushing myself and moving forward with everything, work, riding, and life in general. It would be cool if I had a vehicle or own my own crib or something, haha.
What’s the fattest box you’ve received from a sponsor? – Moeller
Well, I get pretty fat boxes from my sponsors like everyday pretty much. The fattest box I ever got was when I got this sweet cheque… Nothing beats a fat box and a sweet cheque.
S&M pays well…
I’ve heard one of your main influences in BMX is the Biker in black, Rick Thorne. What makes Rick such a big influence on you? Is it his style, his riding, or his band? Is that you he’s pointing to at 2:11 Youtube? – Mike Fiz
Fiz.. Wow. This is a tough one.. There’s no denying that Rick Thorne is your dad, and that he resembles a California raisin. He clearly has good turndowns, and yes that was me he was pointing at.
How much Meth do you intake before you ride? (seeing as you crash into walls and take slams to the floor, without it even phasing you) – Steven Leonard
Well, generally, I have like 2-3 methcakes covered in HP sauce for breakfast, maybe a heroin sandwich for lunch so that usually keeps me goin when I get bonesawed.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks? My Family and all my friends everywhere! I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am with out the support from you guys. Obviously my sponsors 1664, S&M and ODI. I’m grateful to have what I have and appreciate all the support/opportunities I have gotten this far. Thank you Bernie, Moeller, everyone at 1664, and everyone at The Building for making it happen! Of course thank you to anyone else who has supported me in the past, or bought me a drink, or brought me out riding with them..
Anything else you want to say? Thanks Kurt and The Union for this interview. Bonesaw..
Go to BNQT.com for more videos.