I first saw Bryan skate at the Skatepark of Houston on the Kahuna and knew right away this kid was going places. He was amazing and part of the next gen of TX rippers after Phillips, Craig, Gibson, Wilkes etc. He went on to master cool lip trick combos, air to lip moves all stacked into one big helping as the 80's blurred into the 90's and still rips today!
When/how did you start skateboarding?
I got my first bigger board when I was about 11, but skated a plastic board pretty young. Skating just looked fun. I bought a broken Sim’s Screamer I nailed it back together with a 2x4 and rode it till I could get a better one. I started checking out skate zines, and then started building jump ramps with custom paint jobs(oh yeah!) I later went to visit some local ramps and was hooked. We started finding ramps all over and meeting all the skaters that made the small scene in Houston at the time. Everyone was going to the spoh thanks to Dennis Eppinette. There were also a number of descent pools around at the time. I remember sitting in school dreaming about where I would be later that day.
What skaters did you look up to?
Definitely Jeff Phillips and all the Texas pros. Todd, Ken, Johnny, Craig, Wilkes, Troy, Neil Blender, Chris Miller, Ben Schroeder, Mountain, Cab, Lester...
When did you realize skating was a potential lifelong pursuit or career for you?
It was far from a lifelong career for me, but it was fun while it lasted. The industry died when I was about 23. When I won some prize money for the first time I felt like I could live off skating. Skating paid my bills for a few years but the travel was what I remember. I aspired to be a good skater, but wasn’t sure what to expect from it otherwise. Skating taught me to get good at what you like to do. I later found a career in construction. At 25 I jacked my knee and was out for like three years. I’m grateful for every session these days.
How did you get sponsored?
I got my first sponsor from local shop, and then G&S. I think Ken Fillion helped me get on G&S. I rode for Zorlac for a bit. I was blown away to get to skate on the same team with Phillips. “Life’s a beach” It was amazing to travel with him. He was a huge influence on my skating. He is the icon of Texas skateboarding. I was fortunate to know him. I also rode for tracker and speed wheels for a number of years. Now I ride for Conspiracy Skateboards.
What were some of the hot tricks and which were your favorites?
I got into doing bonelesses, inverts, ollies, lip tricks…whatever felt fun at the time.
I remember the first time I saw you skating was on the Kahuna with Nielsen and thinking these guys are the next Texas legends. It was a few days before a big contest. What was it like skating in the presence of such talent like Jeff Phillips, Craig Johnson, John Gibson, Todd Prince etc.?
It felt sureal at the time and it somehow still amazes me that I got to skate with those guys. Their styles and skills are still unique to this day. That’s what’s so cool about skateboarding. We are all individual breeds influenced by each other. The thing about that generation is that they invented the core of what everyone still trys to recreate these days. They made their mark. Who still ever compares with what Chris Miller does in a pool, Phillip’s power, Craig’s thrill, or Johnny’s Style? True legends of skateboarding… I remember the certain magic that they all had. I was blown away every time I saw them skate. I looked up to and respect all those guys. The new vert skaters have continued to progress to a nearly flawless level that will continue to reinvent itself to another level each decade. I do miss watching the old contests though. I don’t remember a sketch deduction back then. That was all part of the package. Like Phillp’s said ”I llove watching Craig Johnson skate because he scares the shit out of me!” It’s hard to imagine what skating will look like in 10 years.
When did you get to start traveling and what are some of your best memories?
I guess when I was about 17. My best memory is going to Tahiti with Phillips, Monty, Mouse, and Reese Simpson. We were guests of the government and when we showed up the president (Rambo) had on flamed Life’s a beach pants. haha!. That was great! We went surfing and hiking to waterfalls. That trip was the best. Traveling through Europe with Life’s a Beach was great too.
What accomplishments in skating are you most proud of?
My first pro contest, I got second place. That felt really amazing. Just skating with all the pros was sick. Jeff asking me to be on his team was huge for me.
What's the hardest tricks you tried to learn?
I only made one or two 540’s, so I guess that was the hardest trick for me to learn. I love lip trick combos. Alley-oop cab to 5050 to board to grind was hard. I did channel indy-oop disasters at one point. I used to be able to do blindside handflips to fakie over the channel. There was plenty I tried but never made.
What are the best things or places you've ridden?
Oregon, Bucky’s bowl, the combi, Hailey Idaho, Colorado springs... There is so much good stuff out there now.
A lot of great parks are popping up now. If you could design one what would it be like?
I like big concrete walls. The concrete has to be done right though. Bucky’s bowl is awesome. There is so much potential when the walls are getting so perfect. Bucky should be designing parks. That thing is amazing. It’s ahead of it’s time. Smaller pools with tile and pool coping are fun also. I do prefer round walls to vert ramps. Dreamland is hands down my favorite park builder. They seem to be the most creative.
Who are some of your favorite people to skate with?
Gene Hare, Dan Jones, Jason Espeseth, Chris Nielsen, Brett Roper, Mike Martin, Frontside Jed, Peter Furne, Ken Fillion, Hubba, the gold brothers, Gentry, Lindsey Kuhn, Jeremy Smith … Schroeder… too many… My son Lucas and my daughter Ava.
What would be your dream session?
The spoh crew, Chris Miller, Bucky Lasek, Mountain, Fillion, Brett Roper, Jason Espeseth, Grosso, Peter Hewit…
What music/bands do you like to skate to?
Metal: Sabbath, Motorhead, Kyuss, old punk, Minor Threat, Monkey Wrench. Stuff like that. Nothing too mellow while skating.
What do you like to do when you're not skating?
Hanging with my family, camping, wakeskating, snowboarding, surfing, working on my house or in my metal/woodworking shop…
Who are some of your favorite skaters?
... Now it’s Bucky, Rune, Alex Pearlson. Brett Roper, Jeremy Smith, Kevin Kowalski. There’s so many rippers these days.
Bones Brigade, The old Gullwing video, the Planet Earth video, the DC video. The Northwest video.
I know you have to work and have a family - how do you manage to balance all that and still rip like at Rock the Cradle?
It’s more quality than quantity for me these days. I skate more in the warmer seasons. Salt Lake has a lot of snow in the bowls in the winter. We haven’t had a vert ramp in like 8 years, but we have tons of descent concrete parks. We go and skate mini ramps some times. I keep hoping for an indoor pool or vert ramp. There’s a lot of outdoor parks with pools here. Snowboarding is fun in the winter.
Are there any places you'd like to skate or people you'd like to ride with?
I’m actually trying to do that exactly whenever I get a chance. I want to skate it all. There are so many great parks to skate, and I have a list a mile long of people I want to skate with. I haven’t skated pierpont. That looks good. I need to start another annual Oregon trip. There are so many good parks out West. I dig skating with and reconnecting with old friends. The rumble in Ramona was fun. I saw a ton of people there. Hopefully soon I’ll get on the road. Colorado’s always fun. Idaho’s great. Montana looks good…I’d like to go to Florida.
Any young rippers you think we should be on the lookout for?
There are so many! Jeremy Smith, Ben Rayborn, Kevin Kowalski…
Any final comments?
Go skate!! Come check out Utah. Thanks to Lindsey Kuhn for supporting my skating the last several years and thanks Greg for the interview.