The Kyle Berard InterviewNovember 19th, 2012 at 8:48
Kyle is the man. He’s an amazing skater and I’m proud to call him one of my good friends. Lately he’s been all over the country and the world skating and working with Artisan Skateparks and his crew The Commoners. I thought I’d give everyone a glimpse into what he’s been doing lately as well as some good stories.
First of all, what happened between you and Consolidated?
I parted ways with Consolidated because I felt like the direction they wanna go and where I am at are a bit different. Between Surf events and fighting other companies instead of marketing their own, I felt like there was no room for me. I want to keep people having fun in skateboarding and that is why I was drawn to Consolidated in the first place. That and Alan Petersen, Karma, and shit, really all of the riders over the time. It wasn’t just about DON’T DO IT for me, actually I was keeping my shop alive with Nike. So I felt like a hypocrite the whole time. I guess what it really comes down to is just wanting to stay out of the politics. Oh, and I didn’t get paid for three years. There was a month or two there when I lived in Raleigh that I was chasing kids on longboards at NC state trying to sell them OJ cruisers because I had no money. Embarrassing and scary to say the least. If you have a pro board out you shouldn’t be at NC State chasing kids on longboards for money.
Do you think the DDI campaign holds any relevance today, or is every company
essentially a slave to a larger power.
Consolidated can do what they want to do and its fine if they want to fight. I’d rather skate. I know that Birdo and Leticia will stand by their word till the ship sinks, but they have already gouged the life rafts for the team riders by not paying them and not marketing them separately from DDI. The fight is relevant, but not so cut and dry. Consolidated is a business. Any business is in business in order to make money, otherwise it would be called something different. So right out of the gate the argument is full of grey matter.
How is SD? What’s your daily schedule.
SD is pretty rad, plenty of stuff to skate, it hardly rains, and everyone is out here. I just finished Jordan Hoffarts bowl, well not just me. Rob Bradford, Danny Dicola, Pat Duffy, Rob Welsh, Jordan himself, Josh Hawkins, Chad Bartie, and the list goes on for the people who had a hand in it. Which is important, you really find out the type of people you surround yourself with. I have good friends out here I can rely on….and then there are the people that just show up the day it is done.
How was working with Artisan Skateparksin Sweden?
Working in Sweden with Artisan was good. Those guys taught me everything I know. They do amazing work. It has helped me tremendously for the projects I have been doing out here. On Artisan I was a finisher and not much else. Assembly line type stuff, but doing my own shit out here I had to learn how to fill in the blanks.
Who is Old Country Buffet?
What was king of the couch?
King of the couch is an annual contest filled with social features as well as skateboarding challenges while Old Country stays on my couch. We made a list and everything. He still needs to carve the love seat at Washington Street, shake Sheffy’s hands (Both, he did one.) And get laid. The get laid part has no time limit other than the big time limit, the one when his life expires.
Do you think skaters differ in Europe than they do, lets say in San Diego?
Skateboarders aren’t different from each other anywhere. We all started because we were drawn to it. What changes skateboarding is the industry. San Diego is where everything is, so people that want to do it for a living have a better chance out here. But other than that, we are all the same.
How was your recent trip to Woodward?
I like going to Woodward. I was a camper in 97 and 98. Now I try and go every summer for at least a week to skate and meet the campers who remind me a lot of myself when I was their age. It’s funny when you meet jaded 12 year olds though. Most of the kids are genuinely hyped, but there are those few who already feel above it. We didn’t have as much to skate back then so Woodward was like a fucking dream in the catalogue. Now there are amazing skateparks everywhere so the allure has maybe subsided for those few.
Who are you skating with every day?
I skate with Duffy a lot. He is in China right now, but when he gets back we will get back at it. Welsh, Hoffart, Hewitt, Rhino, Drehobl from time to time. Lately with Jon Holland. Whoever is around really.
How often do you talk to Mike Peterson?
Not enough. I miss that dude. We talk every few weeks but we are both busy doing different things. But Jesus, the dude still rips. I’d argue that he is better now than ever. We partied for almost ten years together on the road but now that life is a little more grounded for the both of us, it seems like the skating is better.
How do you think today’s ams differ from ams of yesteryear, when you were coming up.
I don’t even know the difference between ams and pros really. Back then Ams didn’t get paid. That was the point. Not that they don’t deserve it, that’s not what I am getting at. Skateboarding was different then, it wasn’t as big. It was winding up again when I was coming up and the travel and trips were new to everyone involved at that time. You would go to Europe in the summer and everyone you could think of was there. Drinking and partying hadn’t turned into just an advertisement yet, people were really celebrating the road and skateboarding. Now it looks like kids smoke cigs cause it’s an image, or drink because they can do smith grinds on tranny. Or whatever. Its weird now.
What are your thoughts on Street League and large scale contests? You entered the Xgames this year, how was that.
If you feel comfortable at the x games have at it. It’s a nightmare for me these days. But of course I’ll still go if it means I get last place and make 500 bucks. That’s almost a week in concrete money. Street League looks boring as shit. But if you are making that amount of money I guess it wouldn’t be. Rob Dyrdek is doing something, I don’t really know what it is, but he is doing it. He is getting skateboarders a paycheck, which is great. How he is portraying skateboarding is debatable.
The Mountain Goats opening up for Neil Young. With guests Patsy Cline, Lee Hazelwood, and Waylon Jennings.
Scariest moment of your life.
I’ve had a few. A bad flight from Vegas where people were calling home to tell their families they loved them. Having a gun put to my head in France. Being held up in Oakland. Going through withdrawals from booze and pills is one of the scariest things in the world. I had about 4 ER visits due to that before I quit. Waking up under the dash of my car and being stuck there for 45 minutes with firefighters stepping on your face while trying to pull your best friend out of the passengers seat because he is dying is pretty tough, but what takes the cake is after you get pulled out of the car naked and with a broken femur and a bunch of other shit fucked up you finally get into the hospital and you know you have a chance. Then the doctor is an asshole and thinks you are a drug dealer because you are 16 and driving a BMW and you wrecked on a known drug trafficking road. So he is a complete asshole to you. I felt helpless. And when it was time to drill through my leg to put me in traction I told him that I can feel my leg and I needed some drugs or local anesthetic to numb my leg. When he denies it and you ask, “ Well is it gonna hurt”, he responds, “ You’re god damn right its gonna hurt.” Then he drills a hole through your leg. I think what may be the scariest day is if I ever see that doctor again.
What should people know about North Carolina’s skateboarding scene?
NC’s skateboard scene is fun as shit, there is an amazing group of talented skateboarders who are like family. I love it. There is always a little drama within any family, but everything smoothes out pretty quickly. One of my favorite places to be on Earth.
You have a knack for building, what are you working on concrete wise now?
I am about to work at Ryan Clements house for a week or so pouring a 50-yard driveway with a few quarter pipes and bowl pockets. A few spots here and there, and maybe a patio side job here and there.
What can we expect from you over the next year?
For the next year I wanna continue to skate as always and keep the concrete coming. The Commoners and I will be keeping the spots and residential skate stuff rolling. We have built a few spots out here that have been published in all the mags and it’s really rad to see our spots being skated. Check it out @thecommonersdiy on instagram. We are a crew that skates and works. We’ve been having fun.
Thanks to all of my friends that stayed my friends after I got sober. Thanks to the friends that helped me get there. It’s a year and 8 months today.