For our At Home series, we're visiting riders to see where they come from and how they live. In this third episode, following on from profiles on Bruno Hoffmann and Matthias Dandois, BMX filmmaker and photographer Hadrien Picard heads to California and Huntington Beach to meet Mike ‘Hucker’ Clark.
Watch what happened above when Hucker let us into his life on America's west coast, and scroll down for more on his story.
The beach boy
In some ways Mike Clark is the definitive ‘beach boy’. He's strong, he’s blonde, and he even likes Hawaiian shirts but ‘Hucker’ (as he’s also known) is way more than just ‘that fun guy’ we all now enjoy watching ride a bike. Mike is, in fact, truly passionate about everything he does, whether it's on his bike, in the ocean or with his friends and family.
Mike has always lived in the Huntington Beach area of Southern California and during his time at middle school a visit to the local trails, Sheep Hills, had him instantly hooked. He knew there and then that BMX was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. By Christmas that year he got his first bike, a GT Fueler, and a copy of Road Fools 4, his first BMX video.
Learning the hard way
During his early years of riding, Mike would regularly try to 360 over trail jumps he could barely clear… and this was before he had learned how to properly land a 360 on smaller jumps. It left him covered head to toe in dirt, almost every day. As he said himself, he had: “way too much guts, but not enough skill”.
That ‘Hucker’ nickname
This led to former pro BMX racer and fellow Sheep Hills local Robbie Miranda referring to Mike as ‘Hucker’ and the name stuck. Before he knew it everyone was calling him by his new nickname – and he hated it. “All the kids at home talked crap and said I had no style – which was true.”
Living between three sets of So Cal trails (Hidden Valley, Sheep Hills and Wetlands) influenced his riding greatly and dirt seemed like the most natural path to follow. “There are now at least 10 different trails I can think of within one or two hours from my house,” says Mike.
He likes riding bowls and skatepark too but it was his local spot, the legendary Sheep Hills, that made the most impact. The top pros used to ride there in large numbers and this is where he met his two idols, Shaun Butler and Cory Nastazio. “I grew up with my heroes and I'm fortunate enough to be friends with them now.”
All about having fun
In Southern California everything is accessible and you’re never far from all types of fun. If you want you can go surfing in the morning, ride your bike in the afternoon, and even go snowboarding at the end of the day. That's how Mike doesn't suffer from BMX burnout. He likes to do lots of others things, such as fishing with his family, surfing, skateboarding and even freediving, something that has actually affected his bike riding in a very positive way.
Freediving is really about controlling your emotions, your heart, staying calm in intense situations, and it has helped my riding a lot. I’m way more relaxed at trails now because of itMike ‘Hucker’ Clark
Everything and more in So Cal
Mike has occasionally ‘thought’ about moving elsewhere, but in reality he never really could see himself living anywhere but here. He’d miss the perfect weather, he’d miss the place that has made him the rider that he is today, but maybe more than anything, he’d miss the ocean and the peace it brings him.