Billy of Bones fame brings a lot of race, organising and industry experience to the table in this frank interview about the need to #ChooseWisely in this election.
Hola Billy, Happy new year! How was your 2016?
2016 was swell. Moved up to Vancouver and began working full time for Landyachtz.
Why’d you leave Portland?
I left Portland because Landyachtz got me a work visa.
What’s your role in Landy, now?
I’m the team manager for Landyachtz and the Brand Manager for Bear Trucks and Hawgs Wheels.
How is that different from what you’ve done before?
It’s not too different than what I’ve done in the past but, now that I live in Vancouver, and I’m in the office, I can get more work done.
What new things does 2017 have in store for you?
Skate, travel, and have fun.
Why did you decide to run for the IDF board?
I’ve been involved in the downhill race scene for a while now, as a racer and event organizer. Since I’m not super focused on winning events and don’t have a race of my own that I’m currently organizing, I felt that I should offer my services to the IDF.
How would this fit into your plan of skate, travel & fun?
Skating has given me a lot of fun over the last decade and and it makes me happy to see other people enjoy it as well. This is what led me to organizing events. I feel that I should give something back to skating.
What’s your role in event organisation been?
I was the organizer of the Cathlamet Downhill Corral for the first two years then, I became the organizer of the Mount Tabor Downhill Challenge and ran that race for 5 years.
How do those 2 events stand you in good light for this role?
It’s relatively easy to go to an event and compete (assuming you’ve got the money and gear). But, to organize a successful event is a challenge. After doing it for seven years, I’ve gained a better understanding how events run and the amount of work it takes. This insight will be useful when working with race organizers around the world.
What do you have to offer the federation?
I’ve been a downhill racer for 10+ years, event organizer for 7 years, done some work as a skateboard advocate and now I work in the longboard industry. My broad range of experience is what I bring to the table.
What’s your vision for skateboard racing?
Keep it challenging and fun.
Challenging as in more Angies curves?
There’s different levels of challenging. Angie’s Curves was a very fast technical road but we need other types of race courses to complement that.
How can we grow the sport?
Offer more events so that people don’t have to travel far away to participate.
What experiences in your 10 years would you like to replicate, if you get elected?
The community and the abundance of events.
Is there anything from your decade of skating you’d like to take off the table?
What’s your take on no past board members running in this election?
It’s good to bring in new people to the IDF board but it’d be a shame to not allow people back in who have contributed good things to the IDF.
Is there any conflict of interest between your current role and the IDF role?
I don’t think so. If anything, it is helpful for the IDF. By working in the skate industry, I have a good pulse for what is going on and how that will affect the international race circuit.
There are potentially 3 Hawgs riders on the board of 7, does this give the Landyachtz group undue influence in the community?
Nope. There isn’t going to be room for IDF board members to promote their own sponsors when there are bigger tasks to handle.
Marketing and race attendance have been earmarked as 2 of the biggest challenges facing the IDF. How do you propose to tackle them?
Marketing is something that will have to be taken care of with a multi-faceted approach. Putting some money behind that will probably be necessary. Creating quality/consistent media that is promoted accordingly will help a lot with marketing. Getting some bigger sponsors will also aid in this.
Increasing race attendance will need to be resolved by creating smaller and more easily accessible races all over the world. It’s not cheap to travel the world to attend races and it’s also a big bummer if you go a long way for an event and, do poorly. By having smaller races that are easier for people to get to, they can participate in those events and develop the skills they’ll need to compete on the international level.
Why should undecided voters for tonight’s election pick Billy?
They should vote for me if they think I’ll be a good candidate to be on the IDF board.
If you get elected, who would you choose as president?
Hard to say. I’d prefer to talk to some of the candidates about their thoughts on being president before I’d pick somebody. Koma did a great job and it’ll be tough to find a replacement for him.
What’s your election slogan?
Same as Maga!
Mr Bones. Pleasure to talk to you again. All the best in this weekend’s elections and, maybe see you on your travels!
Thanks Gbemi. See you on the hill.
Any last words?
Skate hard and have fun.
Check out all the candidates for the coming IDF election. Here: IDF Election Candidates