Brad McClain on Thai affairs, foreclosures, pools and mega-ramps in this week’s interview.
Advice from the dude who knows: skate things that are difficult to skate and, that way, things that are made for skateboarding ride that much easier.
Brad McClain credits the pools of Fresno for much of his deep, round-wall, pool-coping destruction skills, which may be coming soon to a skatepark near you.
A part of the always ripping Powell/Peralta team, Brad is a Livermore, California native who transplanted south to Ventura County.
This year he plans to put some time into filming a full part, to keep traveling the world over on the contest path, and to keep skateboarding as his one and only job. It should be a good year.
You still working a job or is skating paying the bills nowadays?
Skating’s actually paying the bills. It is for now, anyway.
Does it feel like it’s your job?
No, it definitely doesn’t feel like a job. Sometimes you’ll have somewhere you need to be, but you’re going there to skate, and that’s not very often. Other than that, I just wake up every day and go skate wherever I want.
Was making a living off skating ever a goal for you, or just a nice way it turned out?
It’s just a nice way that it turned out. I feel like a lot of people never really know what they want to do, and I was just working random jobs to pay the bills and it sort of happened.
Were you just out in Thailand?
Yeah, I was just out there for vacation, I was there for two weeks.
Bring the board, or leave it at home?
I brought it because I was supposed to go to Bangkok for a couple days, but Bangkok is in the middle of some huge political uproar right now. There’s riots and a couple bombings that went off right next to the hotel I was supposed to stay at, so I decided not to go.
I was in Khao Lak and I just sat on the beach and cooked in the sun and got a ton of Thai massages everyday, pretty much just meditating.
So how’d you get so good at skating bowls?
(Laughs) That’s all [your] opinion… Skating pools; I think that helped a lot.
I’ve got a buddy who lives out in Fresno, Josh Henderson – everybody calls him Peacock. Fresno had, at a time, the biggest foreclosure rate in California, and all those houses were built in the ’50s, so it’s got really good pools on all the houses.
I started going down there and skating pools with him, and pools are way harder to skate than skatepark bowls, so I think it almost, like, conditioned me. You go and skate a park afterwards and it’s way easier.
Do you ever pad up and skate vert?
Yeah, I skated [Tony] Hawk’s ramp a couple weeks ago. I’m not very good at it; I try. It seems like every time I go skate a vert ramp with dudes that actually skate vert, I’m totally out of my element.
Have you ever skated the mega-ramp?
I went down the roll-in, I barged it at X-Games in Munich… Not the roll-in, the landing ramp. Which is still like a small hill in San Francisco. That was like the fastest I’d ever gone, I was getting speed wobbles and couldn’t make it to the top of the quarterpipe.
And that’s about as much mega-ramp as you needed at that time?
Yeah, that’s my mega-ramp experience. I went down the landing ramp a few times.