SMLtalk With: Kyle Berard

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Kyle Berard is the master of the frontside pivot pop to fakie, cab back disasters, and Tampa contests, having won Tampa Am in ‘00 at age 15, and Pro in ‘01 at 16. Kyle is one of the most true to skateboarding dudes out there today, and is also a nominee for the Most Likely to Be Seen With Pat Duffy award for 2014.

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Ok, so maybe you can help us out with something. We’ve been trying to figure out why Pat Duffy always skates with tons of stuff in his pocketsPerhaps you can provide some insight?

Haha. I’ve never really thought about it but now that you mention it that guys has a bunch of shit with him at all times. I always laugh at him when he pulls his completely flat pack of American spirits. They always look like they had just been run over. Pat can look that way too. He skates more than any grown up I know. He’s the best.

"...I saw some little red-haired kid shit kicking across the course. I was thinking to myself, 'Who the fuck is this asshole.' It ended up being Shaun White."

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Tim [Jarman] told me that I should ask you about being in Europe with the old Chapman dudes in the 90s, when you were like 14. Any good stories?

My first trip to Europe was in 2000 without the Chapman guys.  It was with Mike Peterson. Mike showed up with a per diem check that he couldn’t cash and 7 USD. He was 24 and I was 15. We started partying the second he dropped his bag off at the hotel.  I remember yelling at Dave Duncan and immediately flipping over the handlebars of this bike I borrowed. The night went on and on.  In the morning we walked into the venue and I saw some little red haired kid shit kicking across the course. I was thinking to myself, “ Who the fuck is this asshole.” It ended up being Shaun White. I would say the jokes on us but not really. Anyway, they called Mike’s name and he was still pretty ripped from the night before and he killed it. Then I went and stayed on as well.  I placed 2nd and Mike placed 3rd. I think Carlos De Andrade won. We were then brought back to a room with security guards with AK47’s and a cardboard box with 100,000 bucks in US currency.  They paid us out and we were on our way. Being 15 in Prague and not knowing anything about anything I bought a 24 carat gold necklace and matching bracelet. Mike didn’t make as much money so he bought silver. At the next stop in Switzerland during his run Mike slammed and there was silver everywhere. It was so funny. Those summers were wild man. I could go on and on.

What are 5 things that have changed in skating since you won Tampa Am/Pro back to back?

1) I remember bailing tricks and there being rolls of film everywhere. That was only like the first few years.

2) There are no more Big Brother trips.

3) Internet stuff.

4) Kids with headphones on at parks.

5)  Concrete parks every few miles.

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Would you rather skate like Jason Lee or Jason Jessee?

Both combined as one! Jason Lee Jesse.

Daryl Angel or Darrell Stanton?

They both rip hard as shit. Ahh. I don’t know.

Josh Kalis or Josh Kasper?

Kalis all day long. BUT…. Have you seen the clip of Josh kasper trying to ollie the doubleset at Woodward? It may be the best cell phone footage ever. Its worth a Google.

HA! Yes, wow, thank you for mentioning that clip, literally the best Kasper footage out there. The kid's quote is perfect. 

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"There is always that one person in the van that can make the trip suck and if you can’t figure out who it is… its you."

You had a World Industries pro model that said, “Better to be pissed off, than pissed on”. How much consideration did you put into that, and are you sure that it is true?

I had no idea that was even coming out.  I don’t even know what it means. World Industries days were awesome. Everyone on the team were good friends already so the trips were awesome. Sometimes you ride for a company where people clearly don’t get along and it feels like work. Or at least I thought it felt like “work” until I actually got a job. Haha.  There is always that one person in the van that can make the trip suck and if you can’t figure out who it is… its you.

Who has done more career full cabs, you or Steve Caballero?

Cab’s been skating for a billion years. Its gotta be him. Its pretty much the funnest trick in the world. Thank you Steve.

cab flip

"All of the drinking and pills are fine within skateboarding, but when it comes to the working world that stuff doesn’t fly."

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeKR6ym6wPI]

Let’s talk about your part in “Goin’ Bananas”.

There were a lot of whiskey and a lot of pills going on that year.  I was having a lot of trouble with anxiety that year so that’s when I started to lose the handle on things.  Rolling around that morning and filming the music video part was pretty awesome though.  I remember telling the goalie guy to get ready because I was sure I was going to make it. It never crossed my mind that I could miss that close to a goal that big.

The Consolidated years were so good in some aspects and so hard in others.  Consolidated was and is like family, which is the most important part.  On the other hand I was making less and less money and had to get a job.  I started getting paychecks in the mail for skateboarding around the time I turned 15. So as soon as it was time to figure out what work was I already had a “job.” And I used to think that job was a hard one until about the time I actually had to get one.  I had a lot of anxiety issues from about 20-26 and some still linger today.  I’ve been working full-time since I was 25.  I’ve learned a whole lot about life, myself, and what most grown up skateboarders have to do in order to buy a set up and get out there and ride around.   Consolidated IS skateboarding. The only problem was that my skateboard money was slipping away and Consolidated couldn’t support me either… The ride was over. All of the drinking and pills are fine within skateboarding, but when it comes to the working world that stuff doesn’t fly.  And I was turning into a shitty person. I wasn’t taking care of myself and so I wasn’t taking care of the people around me. I was in the hospital once a month for alcohol poisoning but I was getting it more like twice a week.  I had no money for weeks at a time and when I did get it I would buy noodles, cigarettes, and beer.  My truck would be parked for days with no gas in it. I would smoke cigarette butts off the street when I had no money.  I was living in my foreclosed house waiting for the knock on the door from the bank. It was a horrible time for me personally. When I got on Consolidated I had just bought a house and I was making 100 grand. By the end I was smoking cigarette butts off the street in front of my foreclosed condo. Going Bananas was somewhere in the middle. In the middle of getting money for free and not knowing how to support myself. Extreme highs and extreme lows.  None of which I would ever blame on Consolidated or anyone else for that matter. It was all just timing. I was drinking more and making less.  I found rock bottom by digging to it on my own.

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You had an interview in Penthouse Magazine in 2009. Please explain.

I signed a 3-year deal with them and only got paid the first 2 months.  It was through another company that licensed the name to do an energy drink and they were totally illegal. The interview was the only cool thing that came out of it.  I went to a beer pong tournament with some of the penthouse girls… it was lame. So yeah, the interview was the best part. Haha.

"The easy part is the skating. The hard part is figuring out how to get paid for something you would gladly do for free."

How do you feel about skateboarding today, its rise in popularity coupled with social media?

I am happy for the guys that are making really good money because of the popularity. I think its rad that skateboarding can support people like that. Social media is insane. Skateboarding for a living is a rollercoaster for everyone and you just have to know when it's going good.  The easy part is the skating. The hard part is figuring out how to get paid for something you would gladly do for free.  But hell yeah to everyone who is figuring it out and doing well. I made a lot of good money from skating and the life experiences were amazing. The traveling, the friendships, and the lessons learned far outlast the money and the pseudo fame that goes with it.

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What is, in your opinion, the golden era of skateboarding?

I am sure everyone has a different opinion on this one. My pick for the golden era was the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Skateboarding was big enough to send skaters around the world, but it was small enough to fit everyone in the same train station somewhere in Europe. I remember the Europe contest trips and everyone you could think of was over there. I bet some of the older pros felt like they were finally feeling the rewards of ripping through the early 90’s when there wasn’t as much money to support anyone. And for a kid like me, it was a dream come true. I was riding on the train with all of my heroes. I was constantly getting schooled on things. Like someone would point to someone a few rows down and they would ask me “ Do you know who that is?” And it would be Ray Barbee or some other amazing pro before my time. Then they would explain why those people were so important to skateboarding.  Everyone was such a fan of each other back then.  And just being on that train from Prague to Dortmund with a couple hundred bucks from the weekend before gave everyone a feeling of “we made it.”  It wasn’t so much like “I made it” like it seems now.

Skateboarding may take another dive, but I really think its gonna stick around in the mainstream now.  Some skateboarders may make enough money to retire (maybe), but in order for that to happen most of their fans won’t actually be skaters. It will have to be spectator driven revenue… TV money, commercial money, corporate money, spectator money. Which is nothing that I am against. If you want to make a living skateboarding you have to accept money.  Where it is coming from will always change and “selling out” is an outdated topic.  The golden era for me was before all of that, when an eastern exposure video was way more important than the x games.  But again, that’s just me.  It’s happened like that every decade since the 70’s right? Who knows…the act of riding a skateboard is timeless.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G75Y8viZPoA]

Were you hesitant to skate for a company that Mike V was starting? You know he beat up like 6 dudes at once right?

Haha. They probably deserved it. I’ve known Mike since I was about 15. We met at a make a wish event in Texas. He’s always had my back. If some shit goes down, I’m on Mike’s team.

 "I work, skate, and hang the fuck out. It’s the best my life as been thus far. If it doesn’t get any better than this, I’m completely Ok with that."

So where you living / what are you up to these days?

I moved out west for the second time and this round it’s undoubtedly the best decision yet. I skate and get my jabs in when I can, but I’m also busy working as well.  I was hired as brand manager/TM at OC Ramps about six months ago. That’s my job title, but I also spend a lot of hours either funneling my concrete side projects through them or bidding new concrete projects for them.  Artisan skateparks was where I was taught how to do concrete and I will never be able to thank those guys enough. They taught me how to work and how to live. Everyone was very grounded and hard workers.  Now I know I can always make a living. I will never be back in that situation between free money and no money. The act of skateboarding is an endlessly generous thing. Making money at skateboarding is a completely different ball game.

Duffy and I have a web series on Hellaclips right now about concrete and skating as well. It’s been a blast out here. My lady and I bought a house on an acre out in Vista and I haven’t been hung over in 3 and a half years.  I work, skate, and hang the fuck out. It’s the best my life as been thus far. If it doesn’t get any better than this, I’m completely Ok with that. I’m Satisfied and at peace.

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Shout outs/Call outs?

Coots, Alex, JDK, Steve P, Sasse


Check Kyle on the gram at @kyleberard

Words by: David Lewis