A couple of weeks ago, a SLAP thread popped up making fun of a young-ish skateboarder (19), Cambyran Sedlick, who’d just released a video. The thread joked extensively on his unusual name (“Coheed in Cambryan,” “Killa Cam,” etc.) and criticized his look and trick selection for being too similar to that of well-known skateboarders.
We’d never heard of Cambryan, and although his shaved head, high water pants, and noseslide pullovers seem to be new for him, he didn’t exactly come from nowhere. He grew up hucking down big shit and over the past few years he’d even held a couple sponsors (Spitfire, HUF, Becky Factory, and more).
Curious to know how he went from “little kid stair hucking” to “art school hesh,” we decided to talk with him and find out.
Cambryan was pretty thoughtful about some of the difficulties of forming a self-image in skateboarding at a young age, but his name is still a bit of a mystery. If you have an idea of what it means after reading this interview, share your theories in the comments.
After your most recent video, people accused you of biting other people’s style, specifically the way some of the FA/Hockey guys look and skate. How do you handle being heckled online?
There was so much funny shit on that SLAP thing, I love reading those. The name of the thread was like “imagine looking at a baby and naming it cambryan” [laughs]. There’s nothing you can do but laugh. It’s always some random ass goobers, I love it.
I feel like anybody going from a 15-year-old to however old, they’re going to be different. I don’t think people understand how young I was in those old videos, and even how young I still am. I was still trying to figure out who I was and what my style was. I had bleach blonde hair when I was out there [in San Diego], and that shit was fucked [laughs]. I didn’t shave my head to purposely be like someone. I shaved my head to restart on my hair because it was so dead from bleaching it so many times, and I ended up liking how it was when it was shaved.
I’m not trying to rip anybody off, I’m just trying to do my own thing and take little pieces of what I like from other skaters and apply them to myself. I think it’s funny that a lot of people who are big now can take influence from all these older guys and they can get away with it.
Are you talking about anybody in particular?
Not really referencing anybody in particular, just a generalization. So much from skating is being taken from the past and it’s always been that way, which I think is really sick, but it seems like anybody that’s influenced by modern-day skaters or clothing style just gets ridiculed.
I was watching Donny Barley’s Eastern Exposure part and other skaters who skate really fucking fast — I always skated kind of slow — and I feel like that had a big influence on me to add a couple more pushes in. It all evolved into how I’m skating now. But I feel like a large number of people are going to take something that someone does and try to figure out what’s wrong with it. Which sucks, but that’s how skating is.
Does the criticism ever get to you?
I try not to take any of it to heart. I don’t really care what people say. I just do what I like to do. I feel like that’s the biggest thing everybody is saying, that I’m trying to be someone else, but I’m trying to do what I want to do and what makes me happy. I just want to be able to skate the way I want to skate and feel true to myself.
I think skating is at a point where everybody wants something original, so as somebody does something a little similar to somebody else they start ripping on them. That’s super lame. It sucks not being able to watch someone who I like and then want to do a trick similar to them. I obviously take a lot of influence from guys on Hockey. Kevin Rodrigues is one of my favorite skaters so I’ve been a fan of the melon wallrides and Andrew Allen’s noseslide pullovers. I just think it’s wack that people think only they could do those tricks.
The Supreme guys are the most popular people in skateboarding but they get the most hate, and it’s super weird that if someone skates anywhere similar to them they just get shit on.
So what’s with your name, Cam…Bryan?
I used to go by Cam because I always hated my name growing up. When you’re a little kid you don’t want to be different and you want to be like everybody else. I’ve never met anyone with the same name as me. Then I just got sick of Cam and how boring it was, so I just tried going by Cambryan [“came – bri – anne”] to separate myself a little bit. I’ve only had a couple people in my life pronounce my name right. Everybody says Cam-Bryan.
Have you ever thought about changing your name?
I feel like as a kid I always wanted to change it to Brian, like elementary school time, because I’m pretty sure Paul Walker’s character in The Fast and the Furious was Brian, and I thought Paul Walker was so fucking sick. Every kid whose name was Brian I was super jealous of.
“There was definitely one night in my life where I considered the Flat Earth theory”
There’s a conspiracy that Paul Walker is still alive and his car never crashed.
Really? I have to look that up. Dude, there are so many crazy fucking conspiracy videos out there. There was definitely one night in my life where I considered the Flat Earth theory. My friend was watching a shit ton of documentaries and he had all this evidence, and actually, he had me convinced for a night. Then I realized how fucking stupid it was.
As a kid, there was this video about how Lil Wayne was an alien and I fully believed it. That was like seventh grade, I thought Lil Wayne was a fucking alien.
You went to Kids That Rip (KTR), the school/skatepark created by Jagger Eaton’s dad. What was that like?
I knew that was going to get brought up — the dark part of my life [laughs]. We basically did online homeschooling at the skatepark. They had a teacher there and we all had laptops and we would go to this little room and this teacher would look over us and help us. We would do school for like seven hours or something. After that they had skate coaches. We would go skate and if we were having problems with tricks the guys would give us some tips on what we needed to do differently. Shit like that.
I went in there not really knowing how to skate at all. I would do early grabs and fucking ollies off the biggest things. They actually helped me learn tricks and stuff like that. I made a lot of cool friends too.
Do you really see it as a dark part of your life?
It’s not really the dark part of my life, it’s just something I did as a kid that was lame. As a kid I was fucking stoked on it, I was so happy. I just feel like now, I can’t change the past and I’m not going to be embarrassed about what I was stoked on as a kid. There’s a lot of other ways I could’ve gone about skating that would’ve gotten me into the same situation I’m in now, but they helped me a lot and I’m super grateful for that.
I feel like it’s a thing now where everybody had to have been cool as a kid, or feel like they were cool. I know people who have covered up their past, but it’s kind of stupid. If you were hyped on it at one point in your life, then you were hyped on it, nothing you could do about that.
Do you feel like you got a real education at KTR, or was having a skatepark right there distracting?
It definitely was a decent education and I wasn’t thinking about skating too much while we were doing school stuff. I do feel like I’m not as educated as kids in public schools. I was able to just look stuff up and get away with shit, and as a kid, of course you’re going to do that if you have the ability to, but it is what it is.
Jagger Eaton, who you went to KTR with, is sponsored by Red Bull and is on the path to skate in the Olympics. Why do you think you guys took separate paths?
His dad is a very business minded guy, so he kind of led him in the direction of what’s going to get him the most money. I believe Jagger is one or two years younger than me and Jett [Eaton, Jagger’s brother] is older than me, so I’m right in between. They were probably my two closest friends. Growing up I think we were always pretty different, but if I stayed in Arizona I probably would’ve ended up similar to him. I love him, but I’m glad I didn’t take that path. He’s making a lot of money, so good for him. I don’t really have a relationship with Jagger anymore, which I regret now because I feel like I lost a lot of good friends.
Let’s say next week Red Bull offers you a deal. Would you take it?
I don’t think I’d be into it. It might have been my thing growing up, like if I was approached with something like that I would’ve taken it. I know they give a lot of money, but you have to wear the Red Bull hat and the beanie. Being told you have to post a certain amount on Instagram and just being in a situation where you have to do something you don’t want to do sounds super shitty. I’m sure my parents would be pretty broken if Red Bull came at me and I turned it down, but I just couldn’t do that to myself. I wouldn’t be happy. My mom would be so pissed at me [laughs].
How involved were your parents with your skateboarding?
My dad didn’t skate growing up, but he has a basic understanding of skateboarding. I think when they saw me sticking with it they just really wanted to make something out of it because they could tell that I had a passion for it. The big thing was they wanted me to do contests. They saw people like Nyjah making a shit ton of money at contests and they wanted me to make the most money out of it. But I’ve never been put in a forced situation by them, and I’m super lucky to have the support that I have from them.
How did your parents react when you started painting your nails?
I had my mom come in and be like, “You know, if there’s something you want to say to us you’re welcome to say it.” I think I’ve had my mom tell me that if I was gay to be open about it.
I started painting them black when I was a kid because of Dylan [Rieder]. Then I started doing them pink, and that’s when she was like, “If you need to talk about anything, we’re here.” But they weren’t bummed on it [laughs]. My uncle is gay so I think having heard his experiences with hiding that shit, my mom is super into gay activism and stuff.
You tried to backside 360 El Toro a couple years ago. Why did you go for that?
I think that was when I was 16 or 17. Ever since I was a kid I loved skating down big shit. I had back 360’d that 18 stair from Pretty Sweet, and everybody had been amping me up to try it down El Toro. I never really wanted to do it because that thing is kind of fucked up. So I went and looked at it a couple of times and I was like, I guess I could maybe do it.
It completely blew both of my heels out. I couldn’t skate for four or five months and I had to get the most expensive insoles just to be able to walk around my house. I still have heel problems because of it. I had people ask if I was every going to try it again, but I never planned to try it again. It was definitely the mentality of a little kid, like I just want to skate down the biggest fucking thing I could find and it fucked me up [laughs].
Right now you’re sponsored by a kinda obscure Russian board brand. How did you get hooked up with them?
I got hooked up with Rassvet when they came to LA to film something for Monster Children. The photographer who was shooting the photos for it is a close friend, Ryan Allan, so he brought me along with them. I met Tolia, the founder of Rassvet, and then I skated with all of them. He came to LA a few more times and I skated with him and hung out.
I ended up going out to Russia for a month, which was sick. I can’t remember what Rassvet means but it’s something like “the morning sunshine.”
So you’re like a Russian spy now?
Nah [laughs]. I didn’t meet anyone like that but the first day I was there, I don’t know what it was for because I’m not really educated on my Russian history, but they have a Victory Day Parade. Moscow is basically a huge circle, and the day I got there they shut down the whole circle and had tanks and missile launchers. They fucking have the ability to put shit in the air so it doesn’t rain. So it was raining the day I got there and the next day was the celebration and there was no rain. Then 45 minutes after the celebration it just started fucking pouring. It was fucking insane. I had no idea they could do that.
They were telling me it’s really expensive, so they only do it when they need to and I guess the Victory Day Parade is a super prideful thing. They were able to stop the rain for that situation. Just the fact that they’re able to do it is fucked up. I’m sure it’s so bad for the air and the next couple of days the shit you’re breathing in is probably fucked up. That’s some secret fucking Russian shit.
What’s your living situation in LA like? Are you in a skate house with friends or by yourself?
Nah, I’m in a studio by myself in Koreatown. It definitely has its upsides and downsides. I feel like it can get pretty lonely. It sucks not having anyone here. But I’ve heard so many bad situations of roommates, and I’m a very obsessive clean person, I like to clean my apartment every day, so I think living with someone would drive me fucking crazy if they weren’t as clean as I was. So that changes things. But if there was someone that I was really stoked on that I got along with really well I feel like I would be happy to have a roommate in a place that’s big enough.
Damn, a studio in Koreatown. How do you afford that?
I make some money from skating. I’ve been trying to get a job recently just to help out. My parents help me out with rent, right now. But I want to get to the point where I could do everything by myself. I don’t want to be 25 and I’m still in a situation where my parents pay my rent and shit.
How obsessed are you with cleaning?
I feel like I go through 2 a.m. cleaning spurts. I have a huge rug in my living room and I shake it out and get all the crumbs out, then sweep, mop, and dust everything. That’s like an every other night ordeal because it helps me go to sleep. So living with someone who couldn’t put up with that would drive me crazy. I feel like going on trips with a bunch of people, it gets in my head a lot. Like hotel rooms are all messy and shit, that gets in my head.
Does your OCD affect other parts of your life or skating?
It makes me overthink everything a lot. The last few parts I’ve filmed have only been in LA and I like to keep it that way because it feels a lot nicer to me to have everything look similar, rather than scattered footage from around the world. I don’t really go south of LA and I try not to go into the Valley too much. It feels nice to know that a lot of my spots, I could drive from one to another in like 30 minutes.
I also overthink my clothing a lot. I used to keep multiple lint rollers everywhere I was able to. Carry them in my bag, have a couple around my apartment, have a couple in my car. It just makes me feel at peace to know that I’m clean and my surroundings are clean — at least until I step outside the door. It’s also made it kinda hard to relax sometimes. I have a hard time laying in bed if I know that things are dirty in my apartment. I love it and I hate it.
“I used to keep multiple lint rollers everywhere I was able to”
Were you always obsessive about cleaning things?
I don’t know what it is, but I think I was just raised this way since I was a little kid. Anytime my grip tape would get dirty I would get a toothbrush and some soap and scrub my grip. Then I would get a grill cleaner and scrub all the old wax off my trucks and then rewax my trucks. I’ve always been a super fucking clean kid, and it’s only gotten worse and more obsessive as I’ve gotten older. I feel like my biggest thing is my living room because I spend the most time there watching Netflix. I don’t get how people live in messy places.
You’ve had some mixed comments about you online, so is there anything or anyone you want to call out?
I don’t have anyone or anything specifically to call out. They don’t know me, they don’t know what’s in my head, or the shit that I’m going through, they don’t know my dislikes and my likes. It’s kind of hard to judge someone when you don’t know anything about them. There’s plenty of skating out there right now, so if they don’t like me there’s probably 4,000 other skaters they’re going to like.
There are a lot of people who don’t appreciate the hard work and the effort that goes into people filming for parts. That goes underappreciated. People just take advantage of the fact that every day there’s a new part on Thrasher, so even if you don’t like something it’s not like you have to wait a month to see another part.
I think there are people who look for shit to hate on, and that’s cool, do what you want. But why are you a part of this culture if you just hate on everything from it?