For the most part, interviewing young skaters is usually pretty boring. They’re not the most talkative and just don’t have the history or the stories the older pro skaters have amassed throughout their careers. There’s nothing worse then doing an interview and getting a bunch of responses like, “The trip was sooo sick, kinda gnarly but I was too stoked!”
Brad Cromer is not one of those dudes. His answers were thoughtful, honest and he held his opinions but wasn’t disrespectful or kooky about it, which is refreshing in the safe, censored, skateboard world. With him recently going pro for Krooked and filming for the Transworld video, I asked Deluxe to help me get in touch with him for an interview now that he’s joined the big leagues.
You just turned pro and picked up a new clothing sponsor, Brixton. Would you ever draw the line with sponsorships? Like would you ever take on an energy drink sponsor?
I was actually just talking about this the other day with my friend. We were talking about an energy drink that’s in skateboarding right now and he was telling me about what the riders have to do. How you have to wear certain stuff in photos or how you gotta go like reshoot photos if you don’t have a certain hat on. Crazy stuff that I didn’t know went down. By the rules he was telling me and what they have their riders do, that’s almost like, you might as well be in a cage. Someone is just ruling you. I could never do that, it doesn’t seem right. It’s almost like you might as well wear a hat that says “I’m in it for the money”. Do these guys just go home and chug these energy drinks and just love’em? Is that what they’re about?
I think you would die if you were constantly chugging energy drinks while skateboarding.
That’s what I’m saying, it just seems crazy to me, of course people would like some extra money, but I think it’s degrading to yourself, personally. I feel like I would be cheating myself almost. I like to ride for companies that I really believe in and back, and like the people that run it and ride for it. That’s what skateboarding is about, doing what’s in your heart and when you ride for a company it should be something that you believe in and fully back. I wouldn’t like having that guilt of riding for something where you’re just in it for the money.
“You might as well wear a hat that says ‘I’m in it for the money’.”
You don’t have to do stuff like that for other brands?
I mean you wear their stuff but you want to wear it. You skate their boards, use their wheels, ride their trucks, wear their clothes, shoes, but all the companies that I ride for, I want to ride their stuff. They are companies that I believe in and love.
Besides skating, you created your own independent skate video, Lofi. How many copies did you sell of that video?
I ordered 500, ended up getting maybe like 525, and I have probably less than 25 left. So I probably sold close to 500. I sold to a few different skateshops and personally mailed out some from a website I set up for it, like a Paypal kinda thing. Got them to local shops and there were like 2 distributions that ordered a bulk amount too.
Damn, so even in the digital age, you can still move physical DVD’s if the product is quality it seems?
Yeah, I totally didn’t know how it was gonna go, physically making a skate video these days is rare. Sure I could have put it straight to the internet, but that’s another reason I made this video. We filmed for about a year and I wanted to capture it. I wanted to have physical copies so it’s always there and I can always look back at it, instead of it getting lost on the internet like a lot of things these days. I can physically hold it, and put it into a DVD player and pass it to a friend. Sure you can send a link to someone but nowadays it seems like things pop up on the internet so quickly, all these crazy parts. People work so hard towards these things, and I don’t know if I’m just speaking for myself but I feel like things get lost. You almost forget because there’s millions of things on there.
Back in an interview in 2011 you said, “Fuck that high def shit. It’s ruining skateboarding. Looks like shit. Just because Ty [Evans] did it doesn’t mean we have to forget about the VX.” Do you feel the same way now in 2013?
I mean I don’t take back what I said – I still stay true VX. I really do think that VX is obviously one of the greatest ways to capture skateboarding and watch it. With the colors, the audio, the way it looks through the lens. I wouldn’t say like, fuck HD, people are progressing so much with HD and how you use it these days, with the cameras. But in the beginning I felt like one person did it and then everyone thought they had to stay up with the times and it seemed kinda messy in the beginning. It didn’t have the same feel, everything was just almost too crispy looking, it reminded me of like, a soap opera.
You recently rolled your ankle, how is that healing up? What do you usually do?
I do Epsom salt for like the swelling and ice it in the beginning. I use Arnica gel. I’ll go to the beach too, the salt water is good and you get all sorts of movement walking in the sand. I got surgery on my ankle years back and I remember the doctor telling me that walking on the beach is the best thing you can do to strengthen your ankle. You can get every angle of movement with it, strengthen it, but you can’t roll it.
What does Epsom salt do? I’ve never tried it.
It takes away the swelling and soothes pain. I would do it every day, for like a week, like 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off at a time. It does other stuff like takes bruises out too. You can use it for anything, like if your legs are sore. You can even mix it with stuff and drink it as a laxative and for stomach pains and stuff. It’s pretty magical kinda like tiger balm.
What happens if you just put your dick in it?
Uh.. I wouldn’t do that. Because it’s not for like, internal.
But you just said you could drink it though.
Yeah, but I doubt you’re supposed to put your dick in it.
If all of your sponsors dropped you tomorrow, what’s your backup plan?
Probably something to do with art, I always thought it would be cool to illustrate a children’s book, I like drawing. Honestly I try not to think too far ahead. It could be bad, but the way I do it now is I try to stay in the day, in the moment for almost anything.
Yeah I feel like I should try that, but I’m always worrying or thinking about what’s coming up.
Time goes by so fast, you might as well have fun doing what you are doing at the moment because if you are always thinking ahead you are gonna miss the present. I don’t like planning ahead because if it doesn’t go how you envisioned it, then you’re bummed. It could be a bad way to think, but it works because you are actually paying attention to what you are doing at the time and you are actually enjoying it.
I feel like phones do that too, like you look at your phone and zonk out of the present into this phone reality.
I just read a bunch about that the other day, I actually Googled “why is everyone staring at their phone”. When I was just in NY, on the train, you get on and everyone sits down and stares at their phone. They don’t even have service. What are they playing some game just so they can avoid awkward situations or eye contact with other people? Turn on their phone and look through bullshit just so they don’t have to make eye contact with someone they don’t know? Even in elevators, if someone gets in an elevator they will pop their phone out between floors. I catch myself doing it, everyone does it… it would be awesome to just literally shut off for a week and just use what’s around you instead of this little world inside your phone.
Seems like you were Am for a while yeah?
I mean, it was probably like 7 or 8 years.
Did you ever feel like Krooked was milking you and you would be an Am forever and never go pro?
Of course not, I mean I love those dudes to death, I love everyone at Deluxe, it never crossed my mind. I don’t even know what they would milk me for. I never thought that and I would never would want to think that. I just figured when it’s my time to be a professional skateboarder, they will decide that it’s time.
How did you find out you were pro?
I went to New York to start filming for the new Transworld video. I was told by the Krooked team manager that they would be in NYC at the same time, just by chance. They just hit me up in the morning and told me to meet them at Tompkins at 1:30, I figured we’d just go skate. I skated over and no one was there, and I was just kinda waiting. I look over and Mark Gonzales is skating up, on a circle board and all the Krooked dudes are behind him. He comes up and in my head I’m thinking, I’ve never seen that graphic before. I look closer and it’s my name on the board, and they all started laughing and congratulating me. It was trippy. I didn’t notice it at first but they made it resemble my first skateboard. The first board I ever had was a plastic yellow skateboard and there was a dinosaur on it with a leather jacket and a Mohawk and the board they made looked just like it. All together it was almost too much to take in. It’s two days later now, I’m still tripping on everything and I appreciate everything.
“It would be awesome to just literally shut off for a week and just use what’s around you instead of this little world inside your phone.”
What’s it like talking to Mark Gonzales on the phone?
The last couple of times I’ve been in NY, he actually hasn’t had a phone. He’ll usually text me from his girlfriend’s phone, it’s usually pretty straight forward what he wants to do or what he has in mind. Honestly the way things work with him seem kinda magical to me. Somehow not having a phone in this big city, he still manages to meet up wherever he needs to and gets around without a phone and without any contact to anyone and it seems to work out somehow.
Tell me a story about skating with him.
Every time is fun and crazy and you don’t know what to expect. I was in NY a couple years back and he said he wanted to get his girlfriend something for her birthday. So we skated uptown to where all these nice stores are. Mark is wearing some crazy gear, and we’re carrying our skateboards, sweating as we walk into this nice jewelry store. It’s a real high end place, security guard at the door, we probably looked insane. We walk in, Mark literally sees something, points it out cause he was psyched on it and boom, buys it immediately. Then we go back to his place to drop it off, and he stands outside of his place for about 5 minutes. We are waiting for him to say something, and he just stands there, looking around. 5 minutes later he goes, “Hey do you guys wanna go to Houdini’s grave?” So we hopped in a taxi, and drove all the way to Queens. We sat on the grave, he took a photo of us with his flip phone, and we immediately got back in the taxi to go home. With traffic it was probably like 45 minutes each way, and we were there for probably like 4 or 5 minutes at the most. When we got back, we went to LES park to skate and he ripped his pants and was all bummed and left. I mentioned it to him years later, he didn’t remember but he just goes, “You know what sucks? I always rip my pants when I’m having a good time!”