Stocklahoma, stand up! Your boy, KR, is Keeping it Real and representing. He tells us about his obsession with ”grip jobs”, bambi at BBDH and exciting developments at BC longboards.
Hey Kyle, how are you doing?
Very well thanks, still waking up from last night. Had a few too many red-pepper infused drinks with my wife. We have a favorite restaurant that has a huge bowl of hot tomale candies at the door. Everything at this place is about spicy, it’s pretty awesome.
Does she skate?
She does to an extent. She loves to go cruising with me on campus and hit some trails. We’ve been together for about 7 years, I started getting her to come out with me a few years ago. She really gets into it. I brought her along to Buffalo Bill this year to see what the race scene is about.
Who did you fall for first – skating or the lady?
Definitely her, I met her a year or so before I started skating.
How was Buffalo bill?
It was so rad. The run was awesome, we got to hit it about 20 times on Saturday. BC Longboards made it possible for me to take my wife with me on top of getting to skate with the rest of the BC crew: Jason Machado, Josh Hughes and Dave Gnomesteeze. All these guys rip and it was sick to take runs with them like we do out in Gnarkansas. The people there know exactly how to throw a sick event. It ran extremely smooth and the Pagan lifestyle is something that you have to get out to Colorado to experience. Colorado is a beautiful state, I can’t wait to go back.
Photographer: Cameron Bowser
Did you get manhandled by any animals?
Haha, no, but it is pretty unsettling seeing them in the woods as you fly down the run, deers are way sketchy. I think “the incident” probably wouldn’t have happened if the first guy hadn’t slammed right in front of it. Definitely just added to a hella-fun, sketchy freeride day at BBDH.
How close were you when Bambi attacked?
The guys that were in the pack when that happened had gone down before us. Then all of a sudden, they wouldn’t let any more riders down. Word made it back up of what had happened. So I was not very close at all.
20 runs at an IGSA race?
Well it’s actually not an IGSA race, one of the reason’s everyone loves it. It’s Pagan style. Anything goes type of atmosphere. But you would probably never get that at an IGSA race. It was super rad, all the brackets were put together randomly, so no qualifying, just run after run.
Pagan style? You lot sacrifice kooks to Steezus?
Hahaha we should have man, freeride day was way hectic. Groms and kooks footbraking all over the place, just laying in the middle of the exit of the gooch causing slams all day.
Photographer: Cameron Bowser
What is the track like?
So rad. This was my first time to hit it, so I don’t have anything to compare the old run to, but the new pavement was delicious. The top section was all grip, able to tuck through it all. Then the gooch. The first time coming into it you don’t know what to expect, it’s quite the hairpin. It has a bit of a second apex which, if you don’t hit it right, will kick you further out than you anticipate. The bottom section has some really techy lines as well. Again, we have nothing really like that in Oklahoma, but definitely compares to some of the runs we hit in Arkansas.
How was the party?
The party the night before was sick. We went to the Venom warehouse to watch guys rip the pipe and drink cold beverages. Billy Bones was dj’ing the tunes, keeping everyone hyped. We decided not to go to the COOP party after the race on Sunday. We were beat, and had a 12 hr drive the next morning that we were not looking forward to. Colorado = RAD AS.
How did you do in the race?
Definitely not as well as I had hoped, my goal was to make it out of my first heat. Since the bracket is all random, I got put with a couple of pros that showed me how I should be pushing from the start line. I just couldn’t keep up after that. I did pass one guy to get third, but really I just enjoyed the skating, racing is always second in line.
What was the most important thing you learnt there?
I’d say my push and lines. Seeing guys like Kelly and K-Rimes not just skating the run, but going all out and picking the absolute best line for most exit speed. With very few mistakes.
What was the highlight for you?
Getting to skate the run with my home boys. We went out there with BC Longboards, the team I ride for, and the three other guys. These are also the guys I go on trips with and skate with on a daily basis.Hanging out at the Venom warehouse was way rad. We didn’t expect to be going there and got an invite from the Bombsquad dudes. We had a blast there, too much fun to write here.
Too much fun for groms to read about?
Ya dude, Colorado guys know how to party. Really hard.
Have you been to any IGSA races?
Only one, went to NorAm Championships at Bonelli last year in California. We got probably 7 runs on practice day. Lame as. I had more fun being up in San Francisco the week before. Being from Oklahoma, the hills there are basically the complete opposite. Steep doesn’t even do them justice.
When did you start skating down hills?
Probably about two years ago. I started skating with some guys that liked to go fast and push their limits. I live in one of the worst states for doing that, so we travel, a lot. Usually out east to Arkansas. But in the meantime, we make due with what we have, which is four really rad spots.
How did you get into skating?
Well when I was younger I skated at bit, wakeboarded and snowboarded so I’ve always felt comfortable on some sort of board. Not until college did I ever start longboarding. That was about five years ago when everyone I skated with was riding something flexy. It was fun and a great way to get to class. Walking is lame. Especially when you’re always late to class.
Walking is for suckas!
Who is ‘’we’’?
“We” is the group of guys I ride with. There is about 9 or 10 of us that take trips out east, we have been dubbed as Boarder Crossings. We have made three trips out there, and have another one in the works. Here is a link to all the vids from those trips, they are always epic: https://vimeo.com/album/1882790
Why do ‘’campus cruisers’’ get so much stick?
I guess it’s because when you see a bunch of people all doing the same thing, it looks like they are doing it to fit in. However, those quickly loose interest when they realize you have to put work in to get good. They don’t want to get their polo shirt and khakis dirty.
Why were you called ‘’Boarder Crossings’’?
Man, just one of those names. On the first trip I was trying to think of a name for the edit. They usually just come to me. This one seemed to stick and we used it for every trip since. It plays off the idea that we were crossing the border into another state to skate and we were boarders, gotta love those play on words.
Who are the 10 in your cult?
Jason Machado, Josh Hughes, Macgregor Merritt, Cole Cochran, Austin Meyer, Sam Smalls, Dave Gnomesteeze, GHoove, Andrew Pletan, Gabe Shipley, David Pierce and a few I’m sure. The blog KR Longboarding, uses my name, but definitely represents the Oklahoma City longboard scene as a whole. There are a lot more than 10, but that’s about how many go with us on the more serious trips. You have to drive at least 45 min to go over 40mph, Oklahoma is super flat. So if you wanna go fast, you have to put some driving in.
What is the longboard scene like in Oklahoma?
The scene is pretty new. In the last five years, like the rest of the world, it has blown up. We have local races on a pretty regular basis. The guys that I ride with have been around to see it all grow, there are a few of us above 25yrs old. We try to spread our knowledge to the younger guys about how to stay safe and be courteous so we can be doing this for a long time. We’re slowly taking them on trips with us and exposing them to the riding done outside of Oklahoma. When we go to Arkansas, we see hills everywhere, but only 5 local dudes ripping. It’s cool though, all untouched roads that no one is skating. They’re all out in the middle of nowhere with no traffic and perfect pavement.
Who are the godfathers/mothers of skating there?
Oh man, the younger guys call us the OG’s, but we hate it. We know we’re older and that comes with a bit of responsibility. But I’d have to say guys like Jason Machado & Josh Hughes are a few of them as well. Josh has long hair and a great figure so he’d be the godmother for sure! Some of the other older guys don’t really skate any longer.
When did you see the biggest growth in the scene?
Probably about two years ago, Jason Machado started a small race series that got everyone pumped. As well as guys in a city close by called Stillwater, they host a lot of slide jams and races. We keep in close contact with those guys, they are younger kids at a university out there that all rip super hard
Who is Jason Machado?
Fast. Dude is always fast, I love skating with that guy. Always pushing me to extend my limits. Just a solid rider with a bit of Cali style. He also has the zoot car that everyone wants to ride in on trips. Only five seats, so they go fast every time. It’s like getting a rad seat close to the band at a show.
Can you tell an Oklahoma skater by the angle of their wrist when they skate?
Oh ya, most definitely. The best wrist in our crew is Cole Cochran. He’s got the raptor wrists.
What is Arkansas like for skating?
Arkansas is beautiful and super creepy at the same time. One time we were skating a highway run in the middle of nowhere and at the top a guy drags a couch onto the road. No houses around or anything, up a super steep hill. He was super sketchy, like he was cooking moonshine or something, that kind of guy. Got to watch out for the creepers.
Are the skaters also weird?
You would expect that when you see a man with a full size couch haha. The five skaters I’ve met out there are really cool. Especially Matt Ewalt and Phil Clamon, those dudes are super rad. There is a big university out there, but not where we go to skate. The more middle of nowhere the better. I am not an endorser for riding in the other lane, but every spot should be taken differently. Out there, there is literally NO traffic. We will skate for hours and never see one car. It’s awesome.
What shops support your community?
The shop I had supported for five years that closed was FLIPD Boardshop. He closed due to kids not shopping locally and buying everything online. As well as some big name stores that rolled in, he just couldn’t compete. Very important to support your local shops. The surviving shop, Core Extreme Sports, is great. Jake, the owner, is a cool guy and really supports the scene. He always has tons of grip tape, I’m a grip fiend and love going in for a new grip job.
Are you on a super high fibre diet or is this some sort of perversion?
Haha naw man. Ever since this extra coarse grip has come out, I’ve loved playing with different ways to stack it. The possibilities are endless, creating exactly what you want as far as pockets and what not.
How creative do you get with your grip?
Pretty out there, more so recently. I took a vid P-Swiss did on custom gripping a board and put it to practice. To get a gradual feel I use three pieces, each bigger than the previous and stack the smallest on the bottom and largest on top. On my Torpedo, I added some radial drop in the front, W down the center and then some extra over the flares. When I get to the shop they just hand me the huge roll of Jessup XtraCourse and let me have at it.
Was there nothing that you as a pioneer could do to shreducate the groms about supporting local shops?
Man we tried. I think they wanted instant gratification. So when they go to the shop and you don’t have what they need, they’ll go elsewhere. If that happens too many times they just stop coming. That’s what I think anyways.
What’s the problem with not supporting your local shop?
Any time you need something, you have to order it. I love going up there even when I don’t need anything, just to chat to the owner about new products and what’s coming and going in popularity. I would hate to order things like bushings and hardware, those everyday needs is what a local shop is all about. It also encourages other small businesses in town to open up. It’s good for everybody.
What role do core shops play in a skate community?
They serve as a place to meet people that enjoy the same thing you do. They also serve as a place to share ideas and bring awareness to new products. I just got picked up by REY trucks a while back and I was able to get them into our local shop. Now a couple of groms are riding on them. Everyone feeds off that mentality of spreading the word of good product. Without them, we’d be worse off for sure. That’s one of those things that a lot of kids probably take for granted and then when it’s not there any longer then you miss it.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
When I’m not skating I work as a graphic designer. The blog started as a medium for me to express my riding in a stylistic way. I had never blogged before, but I realized I could do it a bit differently than other longboard blogs on Tumblr. Most are just reblogs of other people’s content. I wanted to make mine all original content. At first, I think it might have put people off that I didn’t want to repost their video, but eventually I think it was respected more. I now have about 2,200 followers and have posted way too many pictures and videos to count. I really enjoy sharing the Oklahoma scene with other people around the world.
I looked at WordPress, which has it’s advantages, but for what I wanted out of it, Tumblr was the best application. It seemed that most other longboarding blogs were on Tumblr, this made it easy to start a follower base being able to share followers and seeing what they were posting on a regular basis.
What makes your content different?
It’s all original, in the fact that I either took the photos, recorded the video and/or edited them as well. Nothing is a reblog from somewhere else.
You’re a bit handy with the camera!
Thanks! I use a Canon T2i, I love it. About time for a lens upgrade though.
What else do you have in your arsenal?
That’s it man, one DLSR and a GoPro. No special lights or anything, just a cool figrig for follow runs using the DLSR. I made one that actually protects the camera if and when it gets dropped. I’ve only had to depend on it once, and it worked great.
I like that video you made with the fullface. Why though?
Basically our local shop, Core Extreme Sports, got a great deal on them. So almost everyone in our crew was getting one. Since T8’s only come in two colours, I decided I wanted to make mine different and stand out in vids. So I stripped it down and repainted it flat black. I love it.
Has anyone asked you to do one for them?
I have, they were out of state so it was too hard to figure out with shipping back and forth. It takes A LOT of time to do it right, carefully taping it off and sanding just takes forever. I’d have to charge someone too much to do it just black. They could pay someone to do a real custom paint job at that point. It was more to encourage others to do the same as I did, just figure out what color you want and go for it.
Is there a rider community on tumblr?
Most definitely, a lot of longboarders seem to use it in the same fashion. Seems every day new ones are popping up. And often with some good content, other times, it’s pics of someone standing on a board, not the most informative content.
Do you have any favourite longboarders on tumblr?
Ya, Mischo just got on Tumblr recently. Always stoked to see what he is posting.
And of course londonlongboards
What do you ride?
BC Longboards – Torpedo and the EEL (both just recently released to the public).
REY – Lite REY Trucks.
I had been riding prototypes for some time now. We wanted to make sure we got these right. We probably went through at least 5 versions before we were happy.
BC Longboards brought us on a few months ago to help them with some new downhill decks. They had previously only made flexy freeride decks, so this was a whole new game for them. It’s been a great process.
What are BC longboards?
BC Longboards is a collaboration between Brandon Bryant & Marshall Cooper. They were founded in 2008. They are a local Oklahoma City company that uses only bamboo to produce their boards. Up until now they had all been hand cut, but they just invested in a CNC machine and now have the ability to cut it all out more precisely. We’ve been working with them on a new downhill lineup that has just now started arriving to the consumer. We still have one more board to work on that is almost complete, the Thresher. It’s a drop deck that really locks your feet in for freeriding, much like something you might see on a Nemesis. They are a great couple of guys that really support the local scene.
Who are Brandon and Marshall?
A couple of super rad dudes! They have a real desire to push themselves and their company. They also ride, so their boards are and have always been rider influenced. You can feel their passion when you come to the shop. It’s right outside downtown OKC, so I visit it pretty regularly to see what new goodies they have come up with.
How are their boards different from all the other ones you’ve ever ridden?
I’ve ridden quite a few boards over the years, and never before have I been so comfortable on my setup. We’ve worked hard on the Torpedo and EEL to really make sure someone can get on one and feel like they have been riding it for months. The new Torpedo topmount incorporates flares for wheel wells that really lock you in, which isn’t always the case on a topmount.
What is special about Rey trucks?
They kick ass! And they are super affordable. Not every kid looking for some good lean out of their truck can afford to pay 400-600 bucks on trucks. They start in the low 100’s, and that allows kids the ability to feel how much better they are than cast trucks. They have great response to them, I’ve really enjoyed riding them over the past few months.
What’s your favourite setup?
BC Torpedo, smallest wheelbase, 27.5
Lite REY Trucks, 45º, 170mm
Venom Bushings – 90a boardside, 88a roadside
Wheels – Cannibals, 78a for rip and grip, O’tang Baluts for freehide, 78a or 80a
What are your plans for the rest of the season?
More road trips for sure. Planning another trip to Arkansas for next month. Also some local races to keep everyone stoked before winter. Just getting as much skating in as we can before it get cold and icy. We don’t get a whole lot of snow in Oklahoma so we can still skate for a while.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I have a degree in Graphic Design, so I work as a designer at an advertising firm called STAPLEGUN. It is such a cool place to work. One of the owners still skates (he’s in his late 40’s) and the other owner used to skate, he switched to two wheels and rides bikes now. They’re really supportive of the skating and love to hear stories and watch skate videos. So at any point there are 5-7 boards just ready to ride at the office.
I also have a wife named Kristen. She is really supportive of my skating and has caught the skate bug. She wanted me to teach her how to tuck the other day. She’s basically the best wife ever.
Where would you like to be in 3 years?
At Kozakov. That track looks like such rad place to skate, super technical and really fast. If not there, then just somewhere in Europe. The wife and I have a habit of mixing skate trips with honeymoons. We got engaged in Cali on a trip with friends. Went back to Cali for Bonelli for our honeymoon. And this year we went to Colorado for BBDH which also happened to be an anniversary present to ourselves. I think it’s a pretty good habit to stick with. We both love to travel, anywhere besides Oklahoma is awesome for us.
You have friends in Europe, come ride with us!
Hell ya man, I appreciate it. The Europeans seem like rad people to say the least. Same here, if you ever find the reason to come over to good ol’ USofA.
Pick 3 numbers between 1-39.
2,4 & 15,
2 – Would you rather have a hook for a hand or a wheel for a foot?
Wheel for sure, both feet as wheels would be way rad. You seen those guys that bomb hills on those little feet platforms and one wheel on them? Those dudes are the ones that are nuts.
4 – Who is the best person you’ve seen skating?
Man, I didn’t get any footy of it and haven’t seen any, I’m sure Skatehouse got some. But Kelly was ripping 180’s through the gooch, bombing the straight away switch and then throwing another 180 before the weird lefty. Fast freeriding is where it’s at.
15 – What was the last book you read?
Not much of a reader per say, but I do enjoy reading online magazines, or books that have to do with art and design. More pictures the better! Words are for suckas, just like walking.
It’s been super awesome getting to know the mysterious face behind one of my favourite blogs. Stay rad Kyle, see you in the Kozakov tent next summer!
Thanks man we really appreciate the positive support out here in Oklahoma. Stoked to be a part of Thane Magazine, you guys have great content and always bring something new to the discussion. It’s been a great first interview! Thanks for taking it slow and easing into the big stuff. Haha, but seriously. This all happened because of the blog and the love of skating. I never anticipated that anyone would care about the skate scene in Oklahoma, and it turns out to be the complete opposite. Once again, it’s just about doing the most with what you have. We don’t have gnarly one-way roads with hairpin sweepers right outside our doorsteps, so we go to it’s doorstep. Part of the fun is the search for the hill, and getting there is always a blast. Skate safe and always skate hard.
Any thank yous?
Defintely to BC Longboards, REY Trucks and Core Extreme Sports. Without those guys supporting our local scene we’d be a lot worse off. Continue to be on the lookout for great new products. BC has a whole new lineup of decks coming out, and I know REY is about to release their new Revolver baseplate that functions with multiple brands of hangers.