Brian tells us all about how he got into skating, the Original Skateboards family, getting big air and his plans for the future.Hey Brian, how are you doing?
What’s going on Gbemi? I’m doing splendid.
What did you get up to over the weekend?
Had a chill Saturday with my lady, and got to skate a little bit on Sunday. I had just been down to Original HQ for a few days so it was good to get back to basics.
What is Original HQ?
Oh haha, Original Headquarters. That’s what I call Original Skateboards’ office/warehouse space in NJ.
What happens there?
Lots of good times, skating, shenanigans, and some business too. Love those guys.
How do you get ‘’back to basics’’?
Well usually after I travel I try to skate my local hills as much as I can and spend a lot of time with my fiancé Heather. Both of those things keep me grounded and humble.
What is Original Skateboards?
OS is a rad company based out of Newton, NJ that specialize in longboards, skateboards, or whatever you want to call them.
What’s your involvement with them?
My technical title is Pro Team rider, and part-time employee. They found me back in 2008 making videos with my friends on YouTube, and asked me to join their team. I was sponsored for a few years, went on a few trips with them, and in my sophomore year in college, they offered me a pro contract. Hard to say no to that! I took a couple years off to skate, travel, and do the pro thing. I’m still on contract/skating pro with them now, but I’m also back in school studying architecture.
How were you found?
Well it was pretty rad actually, I got a YouTube message from Scott (owner of Original) asking if I had a longboard sponsor. At the time I didn’t even know you could get sponsored for longboarding, I was just doing it because it was fun. I checked out Original’s stuff, and they sent me a Torpedo 40 for my first Original board. I think I still have it.
What were you riding at the time?
I had a few boards before I got sponsored, my first was called the Luke Nosewalker by Sector, and then I had a Bomb Hills by Sector9 as well. The Luke was a BEAST! Haha so rad though.
Do you add skate features to buildings you design?
Of course! It’s funny, my desk at school is littered half with building designs and half with skate features. My dream is to make everything I design have something that is skateable which the client can’t recognize as something that skaters will enjoy. Maybe one day homies will look for my buildings because they know there will be something to skate.
What would be the crown of your architectural empire?
Oh jeez, well I think I’d like to be known for blending the impulsive, exciting nature of skating with the existing natural elements in our world to create inhabitable spaces for people to live in. Something that even somebody who doesn’t skate can appreciate because it’s exciting and inspiring.
When did you start skating?
I started skating…hmm….gotta pause my music to think about this one…I think 11 years? GNice!
Have you had any breaks?
I don’t think I’ve ever not had a board under my feet at any point since I started. It’s just so darn addictive.
What’s most addictive about skateboarding?
I think the feeling you get when you land or ride away from something for the first time. That incredible buzz you feel after trying over and over and finally getting it has always kept me coming back for more.
What sort of stuff did you do in the beginning?
I actually started street skating, and skating vert. I built two little quarterpipes in my garage and used them as a halfpipe. It’s funny, they were about the same size as the ramps I’m using as launch ramps at events now haha
Who did you ride with back then?
Skate District! (Dane Webber and Sam Weaver mainly. A couple others who have stopped skating since then.
p.s. Dude my cat just sneezed like five times in a row, that was hilarious.
I wish. This cat couldn’t skate if I offered him thirty pounds of fancy feast. He weighs 19 pounds now I think.
Who are Dane and Sam?
They are my childhood and present-day-hood skate buddies. Dane moved to Cali to work for loaded, and Sam moved to Portland Oregon, but we’re planning a reunion tour sometime soon. They both are going to be groomsmen in my wedding too haha.
When did you start skating together?
Dane and I started skating together in like 8th grade, early 2000’s. But we mainly skated street decks. Weaves joined in when we started longboarding which was probably around 2004.
What sort of stuff did you get up to together?
Oh man, mainly skating together but we got ourselves into some trouble sometimes too. All in good fun though. We started pushing each other’s limits when it came to skating. Dane and I started to get noticed by companies, and Weaves got more into photo/video stuff on top of skating.
Growing up on the east coast, the terrain is mainly steep, straight roads. We have a few that hairpin around with some fun corners, but usually it’s about squeezing every ounce of potential out of the run because there’s not much to work with. I think that’s what sparked my interest in blending freestyle tricks and alternative styles into my skating, as opposed to the same old 180 slides and speed checks.
What is your style?
I try to stay well-rounded throughout all the disciplines of skating, and try to incorporate my favourite parts of each into my skating. I love going fast and throwing huge slides, but I also love slowing things down a bit and working on some technical freestyle tricks, and then blending the two together somehow. I also love being in the air, so throw a ramp into that mess as well haha.
Brian Beagle Bishop?
Sure! But aren’t beagles dogs?
Because alliteration and rhymes with Eagle!
Ahh, I see. Well I’m down for either. Or….up for either. Onwards and upwards!
What do you like about being in the air?
I just love the feeling dude. Being on the ground is so primitive. Plus it doesn’t matter if you land it or bail, people will love watching you do it, and people cheering always gets me stoked and makes me go bigger.
When did you become an air addict?
I did gymnastics as a kid for a few years before I started skating, and I think being able to control myself in the air is due to that. But I’ve always loved being in the air. My parents got me a trampoline when I was a kid which definitely didn’t hinder the cause haha.
How do you keep the air bender in you happy?
Haha, well the best way to cure a need is indulgence right? Skating ramps is fun, so I do it when I can. It’s addicting though, sometimes I’m falling asleep and I start thinking of new tricks and I have trouble sleeping. That’s when I know I need to get a session in.
I’ve built most of the ramps that I skate on regularly, but skating other people’s ramps or at contests is always so rad to try out. I love seeing other people’s creations and trying them out.
What’s the most air you’ve consumed?
I landed a 20 footer to flat at the Downhill Disco event in San Diego this year, hoping to break that one at an event soon. Like I said, crowds get me stoked and make me go bigger.
Any tips for would-be ramp artists?
START SMALL. Learn the basics first, and progress from there. Wood can be reused a couple times, if you’re short on money. I wouldn’t recommend it, so don’t tell your parents you heard it from me.
Ramp-gate, what was that about?
Haha I remember the venom video, but I’ve never heard the words ramp-gate be used to describe it. Did you just make that up? I’m confused!
My super power is making words up. Think Watergate.
Ahhh I see. Well those dudes and I have had a good laugh about the whole thing, and have moved on. I made my video, they made theirs. I think we both took our videos a bit over the top, but hey, onward and upward! I’m stoked on the video I made still, I think the tone of it was just misleading to some people. I actually had a session with Max Dubler a while ago up in Boston, we’ve made our peace so everybody else should follow suit.
Do you prefer skating alone?
Skating is groups is always a rad time. A session always ends up getting radder and radder the longer you skate with others. It’s like a little competition, somebody goes big, then somebody goes bigger, etc. As great as that is, sometimes I like skating alone. Actually more often than not, I skate by myself nowadays. It helps me stay away from negative influences and focus on the style of riding that I want to work on.
Negative influences like speed wobblers?
Haha, nah. Mainly people chatting about useless internet garbage talk. Some people just need to stop talking altogether and go outside once in a while.
Haha, nah. Mainly people chatting about useless internet garbage talk. Some people just need to stop talking altogether and go outside once in a while.
How is the stoke from solo sessions different?
Skating solo is a totally different vibe. It’s all about what YOU want to do, and not where the session is going with other people. Sometimes at sessions I get distracted with what other people are trying, and work on that for a while. But when Im skating alone, I ALWAYS end up skating exactly the way I feel like skating that day.
Why do you feel people talk so much crap about original?
I think it’s because of misinterpretation. Some people think that Original is a huge corporate business sucking money out of kids who don’t know any better. Which I think streams from the amount of views we’ve had on some of the videos. They think, “Hey, the more views, the bigger they must be!” When in reality, they are a small company in New Jersey that still makes most things that we can in-house. Then there are those who hate the style of riding, and that’s just being close-minded. I’ve been at races when people say things as I walk by, and then I end up racing them in the next heat and become good buddies after the heat. Most people just hear the talk, and join the hate-train. But until you actually talk to one of us in person, keep an open mind.
What’s the funniest thing that’s been said to you?
Haha well one time we were in the U-haul getting shuttled back to the top of a downhill race, and somebody in the back of the truck made some negative comment about the Apex 40 I was racing with, and then somebody else chimed in and humbly said “Well he beat me with it in the last heat so it can’t be that bad”, or something like that. I thought that was pretty funny, mainly because it was such a crowded truck that nobody could see who was actually talking.
What is the heart of Original?
Original was started by two brothers who liked to skate and wanted to make their own boards. They started in their garage, and their dad started helping out with accounting and such. They lived out of their cars for a year or so while traveling up and down the east coast trying to get their boards into shops. Things kept building, and they moved into the same place they are today. The heart of Original is family, friends, and the love of riding a board with four wheels attached to it.
What was your role when you first joined?
I was the 18 year old kid (which doesn’t seem young now with all the freakin’ groms coming up nowadays) that skated all the time no matter what. I was definitely more energetic then some of the dudes at Original, and I think I still am sometimes haha
Who else was involved then?
Scott and Brad (owners), their dad, Nick Patrick (film dept.), Derek Connor, and a bunch of others who worked in the office since the beginning. It was a little bit longer before we picked up a bunch of the other riders you know today.
What’s the criteria for joining the team?
I’ll be honest, it’s a lot harder today than it was back then. Mainly because there are a LOT more longboarders sending in sponsor tapes. Mainly if you shred, have a compatible skate style and personality with the rest of Original, and are involved with the community/events, you’re a good candidate.
What is your role in the family now?
I’m still involved as a team rider, filming, skating, and traveling for Original. I think it’s changed a bit since I was the young gun back in the day though.
What do you shoot with?
The Original cameras, whichever they might be at the time haha! Mainly holding them for chase camera footage.
What do you try to capture from behind the lens?
What it’s really like to be skating behind somebody. Sometimes I get too close and freak the person out though, filming is rad haha.
How has it changed?
I have a few more responsibilities now to the team, and to the company. But the overall goal is still the same, to skate as much as possible, and to film/compete.
When did you start competing?
My first event was a push race through Boston in the rain way back in the day. I was still learning my way around Boston, so I followed the guy in front of me until it was just me and him and when I could see the finish I put on the gas and passed him. Haha good times.
What is your favourite type of competition?
Definitely an event with different disciplines/contests. Something similar to Downhill Disco is always rad. A course full of obstacles/ramps, with a race to the bottom, followed by a longest slide, followed by a biggest air comp. Now throw in a grip DH race, and you’ve got yourself a money maker.
What do you enjoy about going fast?
Going fast is so enjoyable because it’s a constant race with yourself. When I’m set up for getting speed, say on a grip and rip run, it’s all about going faster than the run before. I’m getting more into downhill as time goes on, and gaining more appreciation for those who have dedicated so much time into it.
Do you organise any events?
Personally I’ve never hosted one, but I almost did. I organized, planned, gained sponsors, and a facebook event following, etc. And then I went before the town to submit it to get the road closed/event sanctioned, and they didn’t even consider it. So I called off the event because I didn’t want to host it and blow the road for the local kids. I know I would hate it if some dude held an event on my home hill and blew it up…even though that’s happened….but still.
Is it scary competing against todays groms?
Haha I think it’s kinda rad. Seeing little dudes shred is awesome. Unless they get cocky and arrogant, like some of them are. At that point I get annoyed a little, but try to stay positive around them because I remember how awkward being 14 was haha
Do you have a favourite?
Favorite grom? Oh man. Brett Ciabattini is a rad little homie, and Will Stephan always makes me chuckle. Anybody who is goofy and can shred is good in my book. There’s also a kid on my fiancé’s street named Tommy, who I always see out skating by himself working on tricks and slides. Keep rollin buddy!
What was your first race?
My first sponsored race was the Central MA in 2011. I ran over a strip of ductape in the finals and it melted my bearing out when I crossed the finish. Jeff Vyain and I decided to tie for third place.
What other races did you do that season?
My memory isn’t the greatest separating seasons now haha, but last year I did I Heart DH in NY, Maryhill, King of Clermont, Central MA, and a bunch of other local ones.
How did you keep up with the West Coasters?
I’ve done pretty well considering I haven’t been racing that long, but the guys out West have got an edge for sure. I haven’t won any races yet, but came close a couple times in the smaller ones. I have some work to do to start placing in major races like Maryhill.
What’s your favourite thing about racing?
I’ve always been pretty competitive, but also love having relaxed sessions. As long as everybody is having a good time, then I’m solid. Racing is awesome because it mixes both of those, the competitive drive blended with everybody having a good time after the heat is over. It’s all aggressive and stuff during the race, but when you are on the bus ride up to the top to take another heat, you’re best buds.
Have you raced outside America?
Not yet! Would love to though. I’m getting a new set of leathers in the next week or two so I want to get over to Europe to race and come grab some tea and cookies with you buddy!
And bacon and beer!
Mixed together! You know they have bacon flavored beer now? Seriously.
Dude! Bring some here please.
You got it. Also not sure why this (text) is so small.
That’s what she said?
Dude. Gnot cool. Just kidding perfect execution.
What’s your favourite sort of bacon?
Oh dude, there’s this place up by my cabin in the Adirondack mountains called Oscar’s. They make by FAR the best bacon on the planet.
What are you riding these days?
I’m actually on a new prototype from Original that I can’t talk about. Sorry haha! I am currently on some Brian Bishop prototype Surf Rodz RKPs though. Stoked for that!
What will this board do?
EVERYTHING, just like it’s supposed to be.
What’s special about the air bender protos?
Haha, nothing yet. They just have my name on them. But we are working on a new truck this year that will be sleeker, lighter, and radder. Can never have too much radness right Gbemi?
What do you do when you’re not skating?
Well, usually architecture related stuff. I’m also planning my wedding, and I dabble on acoustic guitar too.
Pick 3 numbers between 1-40.
8, 3, and 12.
8 – Best board you’ve ever ridden?
The one I’m riding now. Sorry again! Hahaha
3 – What impact has longboarding had on your life?
Well it’s allowed me to travel to places I’ve always wanted to go, meet and connect with some really rad people that I would probably just talk to over the internet, and most of all, helped me to get sponsored and continue doing what I love, which is skating.
12 – What’s your least favourite movie?
Crap I don’t know haha, probably Nickelback live in concert or something.
It has been a great pleasure speaking to you this afternoon, looking forward to bacon beer!
Any thank yous?
Absolutely! Much love to the people who support my lifestyle and supply me with rad goodies. Original, Bern Unlimited, Push Culture Apparel, Surf Rodz, and Brushwood Eyewear. Also to my family and future wife-to-be Heather.
Haters gunna hate, just go skate.
Big thanks to Sam Weaver aka the Skate District for the awesome photos.