Chad Bartie: business up front.
You were pretty much born into skateboarding, correct?
No. I was born into motocross and BMX, and then skateboarding came from that.
What are some of your earliest skateboarding memories?
My first memory is when my dad had a shop and he got some skateboards in the shop and I started pushing around on my knees. That's pretty much my first memory of actually getting a skateboard and rolling around on it. How old were you then?
I was eight years old then.
That's Gold Coast proper, fight? Yeah, Gold Coast.
Did you have ramps or a park by your house growing up? Was Pizzey there?
Pizzey didn't come until I was probably 10 or 11, maybe even 12. My dad built a huge backyard mini-ramp when I was about 11, and when the Bones Brigade used to come out on tour they skated my ramp. It was huge, like five-foot-five, and wide. It was perfect.
I remember in those old Powell videos, when they take the Bones Brigade to Pizzey, it was like pretty burly stuff.
Yeah, exactly. It was amazing. Huge crowds back then.
So you skated Pizzey with your friends when you were a kid? Who was your crew back then?
Back then I was always the grom. I was always four years younger than my friends, the local crew and all the guys that still hang out there to this day. And my brother. Just a bunch of friends.
Your older brother, he used to skate, correct?
Who was your first skate hero?
Oh, Tony Hawk. The Birdman. When I started it was all vert ramps and transition, you know, no street skating, and he was the man back then--and I guess ever since.
Did you have a squeeb?
A squeeb, a funny hairdo.
Oh shit, I don't remember. I know I had long blond hair. I know I had a pink helmet and tight pink pants 'til I was like 10 or 11.
What, the T-Bones, the 70mm Bones?
Oh yeah. I had those, for sure.
Trackers? The works, right?
Yep. Actually, McGill gave me some Tracker Magnesiums one time he was out here. That was a pretty big deal for me back then.
It still is, I'd say. If Mike McGill gives anything away I'd say it's pretty good. What were some of the first hard tricks you learned where you thought, "I can't believe I did that"?
Well, back then it was all mini-ramp tricks and I remember for the longest time pivots to fakie were really hard for me. I don't know why, it was just I couldn't get out to fakie. Going backwards was really scary for me when I was young so that was a big deal for me.
Do you see any of yourself in kids like Sheckler and Nyjah? Do you see that groin in you?
Not really, 'cause there's such a high level at a young age now. The group that I started with, we were all learning how to skateboard; it was all kind of new. But now there are so many different levels in an age group that, no, I think it's completely different than back when I started.
What were some of the tricks you could do when you were 12 that you can't do now?
Inverts on vert ramps and gay twists on vert ramps--all the vert ramp tricks are pretty much lost so I need to get back on the vert ramp.
Can you nollie heelflip indy?
No, never did one.
See, if you learn that you'd be happy to give up the gay twist.
That's true. Actually, I got my old pads out so I better get my vert board ready to go.
Where do you skate vert out there? You have a ramp?
In Australia? Nah, only Pizzey bowl by my house, man. That's not really avert ramp, but it's the closest thing to vert we got.
Some people would say that is hell, my friend.
That is hell. I'll have to tell Mumford that one.
Matt just got lit up, I saw. Ne got served up when he did a fastplant to fakie and took it to the skull, huh?
Yeah, he got served up pretty bad. Scared the shit out of me. I was the first one in the bowl and he was just out for a few seconds, but then he was alright. He got a huge gash on the back of his head.
I've seen in an old mag that Clint did a 360 Indy over the channel at Pizzey. That's fucking royal.
Yeah, totally. Clint's always good at that place. Clint and Seb and the main local guys from back then have always killed it; ever since it was built they've always been the ones who've been doing new shit all the time.
When you were a kid, did you ever get cocky about being top gun?
Not really, because me and my brother had a dad that owned a skateshop. We got a lot of shit for that, so the cockiness just got kind of down-played 'cause we kept getting vibed all the time. It was more sticking up for ourselves than anything.
I heard you had a bad temper when you were a kid. What's the worst you ever lost it?
I've got a bad temper?
So I hear, yeah. When you were a kid.
Oh, yeah. Right. When I was a kid I had a shocking temper, for sure. I used to just stand up to the dudes who were my brother's age back then. If I'd see them picking on someone or my brother, I'd just stand up for my brother at the same time. I never really fought anyone: I always just stood up.
When did you first meet Matt Mumford?
He moved down to the Gold Coast when I was like 14, 13.
He's from up north?
Rockhampton, that's right. Back then it was the beef capital of Australia.
Did you guys hit it off from the start?
When I really got to know him was when he started working in my dad's shop. I was a real little shit to him. But we always skated together and had fun so there was never really any competition skating-wise. We both came to America for the first time together when I was 15, and he was 18 maybe, and he just excelled. When I saw that, I was just like, "Fuck, I want to do that, too." He was a big inspiration for me.
You guys were both on Chapter Seven, is that correct?
Yeah, back then. The first time we came out we stayed with McGill. I was on Chapter Seven. He was on Shaft skateboards.
Tell the story about when you and Matt went to California to stay with Mike McGill.
I think I came out for two months and he was out for a month. McGill and Peter McBride drove us around and we just skated. Matt went home and came back straight away the next year, and just took off. He just started really getting into it and he became what he is now. I was just like luck, man, that's amazing. And for him to do that and come where he came from, I was like, "I want that, too."
It seems like that's the main drive of a lot of skaters from Australia, that they've got to make it out in California or make it in the US. Like, Matt came on the map and he went for it.
Yeah, especially coming from Rockhampton, too. If you ever go to Rockhampton, there's nothing there. It's hot as hell ... Flies.
It's just amazing that he actually came out of this little town. What'd you say? Flies?
Yeah, a lot of flies up there.
Oh, fuck yeah. They chill on your mouth and nose and shit.
Who was the first American pro you saw in California?
When we got off the plane, Don Brown picked us up and we drove through Huntington Beach, and Ed Templeton was skating a ledge on the side of the road and we both freaked out. It was pretty rad.
What was the hardest thing about moving to the States?
I'm really close to my brother and parents, and now my brother's had like three kids. Back then it was just hard being away from my family. I got homesick a lot, but every time I went home and realized that nothing had changed, it was time to come back out here. It was a really good learning experience. When I go back and see kids from school that are my age, they're still just doing the nine-to-five job, drinking everyday, and now I've done all this traveling of the world. It's all definitely been worth it.
What happened to that big hat you used to wear?
I used to wear that hat because I had a shaved head and if you know how strong the sun is, you know it can kill you--that's why I used to wear that. But I started growing my hair out and didn't need to wear a big hat anymore.
What are three advantages of your present hairstyle?
Same reason I wore the hat. I had a shaved head for years and I kept getting sunburnt; I decided to grow my hair out because I didn't want to get sun spots on my head. Then it was getting really long so my wife actually just trimmed my front so I could see--and it just evolved. I don't know. I never started, like, "Shit, I'm going to grow a mullet."
In Australia there's melanoma clinics on every corner.
It's terrible. Every time my friends from America hang out in the sun for one day they're just red, raw, and blistering. You can't skate when you're like that either; you just get too dehydrated.
Are there any trends in skateboarding that bug you?
Nothing ever really bothers me. I just laugh at things. Honestly, I like all kinds of skating, 'cause we've all been at the beginning level, we've all been--I look at skating as it's the board and me. I respect having a go and having fun and that's all I care about. I don't care about the way someone looks, if they're hip-hop or hesh or whatever, that doesn't bother me. If they're riding their board and they're having fun--that's all I care about.
The guy with the biggest smile usually is the best skater, right?
Yeah, exactly. Even if he's not doing the gnarliest tricks.
Name your five favorite hits.
I love all those Oregon parks. I don't have one particular, but up there's amazing. You could spend a whole week up there hitting all the parks and you won't get bored. Spain, I love Spain for the street skating and everything, but I guess Barcelona's been banned now so I don't know what's happening over there. In Oz, I just did Hoon Run with Andrew Curry--just going on the road hitting up all the skateparks down on the east coast, that's fully the funnest trip I've ever had--skating all day and setting up a campsite on the side of the road, having a barbeque, going to sleep, waking up ...
Do it all over again. That's the way to do it, right?
Yeah, definitely. The weather's so beautiful--not in the middle of summer, but in between winter and summer it's just so beautiful.
What month is that, for Americans who may not know?
Shit, I don't even know. I've spent too many months all over the world so I don't even know what the weather's doing where.
How would you design a contest?
I like the jam formats they've got going now, like the contest in Melbourne. They're actually pretty fun and it keeps the crowds really stoked. But to be honest, either way's fun for me--runs, jam sessions, whatever--it's just all an experience. The Marseille one was really fun. I've only done it once. That was amazing, just how they have a big jam session.
You've got some great pool photos in this interview. Why should kids give a shit about skating a backyard pool?
Just recently, like this last year, I've been skating a lot of pools and I never realized how hard pool skating is. To actually pop some airs or lip trick some pools is one of the hardest things in skating. Kids in Australia don't know 'cause they don't have pools out there like they do here--how tight they are, how quickly you can loop out and smash your head or lean too far forward and eat shit on the bottom. I've been skating with Salba, too; it's been amazing. I've learned so much from pool skating and I've given it so much more respect than I used to. It's hard to watch pool skating, too, 'cause you never know how gnarly a pool is until you go to one and see what people have done. You're like, "Holy shit, man!" Quite gnarlier than what it looks like on film. Walls could be only 10 feet apart; it's so quick from lip to lip. It's just amazing. I love it.
Does the new generation of Aussie skaters give you and Matt the respect you deserve?
I don't think like that. Kids come up to me all the time, "Oh, you're Chad..." blah, blah, and that's rad, but the young kids that are coming up in Australia fight now like Jake Duncombe and Shane Cross, I know them pretty well and we're really good friends, but all the other kids, I mean, no one's ever given me shit to my face, and even if they did I'd laugh at them back. If someone's giving me the shoulder, I don't want to know why or where ... just, alright, say what you've got to say and move on; I don't give a shit. I think a lot of kids respect me in Australia and I hope they continue to.
Would you rather 360 flip Wallenberg or 360 the Danny Way mega jump?
Ah, shit. It'd be a rad feeling doing that big 360 off the Danny Way jump, so probably that.
What do you think of pro skaters who take on a bunch of wacky sponsors like soda pop and hair gel?
Again, it's another form of the skate industry. Every skater chooses what they want to do or where they want to be. For the kids that are coming out and they get major deals right away and they make all this money, I mean, skateboarding's not going to last forever. But at the same time, much respect to the guys that stick to hardcore skating and skate for the love of it and skate forever. Both sides, to be honest, have good and bad to it. To me, I don't judge. I respect everyone. Whoever skates I appreciate and respect. That's it.
You surf quite a bit, too, is that correct?
Yeah, I like surfing.
What's the difference between skating and surfing?
Concrete teaches you how to skate.
Concrete teaches you how to stay on your board.
Are the local surfers higher than the skateboard locals?
Actually I was just out in Australia surfing some of the more popular spots, and some of the locals out there--I don't know if they're locals--but some of the old dudes get really mad and they threaten kids. In some cases, fair enough, they take it a bit overboard, but at the same time I've heard of some people going to Washington Street in San Diego and they get told to fuck off.
What's it like when you're in the green room, bro?
It's fucldn' epic, bro.
What's the best way to bail out of a tour? What's the most common reason for you to bail out of one?
If I get hurt and I can't skate anymore, there's no sense wasting more money on being there. It's worth it to go home and get looked after by my wife. I know some people can sit there and watch when they're injured, but I can't. I would rather go back and get healed up as quickly as possible and get back on my board.
What have been the biggest challenges in maintaining as a pro for this long?
Injuries, for me, definitely. In 2004 I had two knee surgeries and I did my ankle really bad, like ligaments and stuff. Just been trying to get over that and all last year was getting my mental confidence back after a big injury. That's so hard deal with, to come back from a gnarly injury and get back up to the level you were at.
You've got to pace yourself, kid.
Exactly. And once you come off of injury, make it as fun as you can for yourself. Just go skate mini-ramps and do slappies for awhile and skate flatground. Make it fun and your legs will get stronger before you even know it, and then you'll be right again.
When you're hurt and down during that time it makes you appreciate it that much more.
Yes, that's very true.
What are three tricks you want to do before you die?
Well, talking about vert again, I definitely want to do a 540 before I die. I've never made one of those. I used to spin them when I was young, but I never made one. To be honest, 'til I'm done, I just want to keep progressing, keep coming with tricks that people don't expect me to do. That's pretty much what I want. Not any three certain tricks--whatever I feel like learning one week will get learned.
Talk about the new Australian super team your family's company is putting together.
That's actually my brother; he's doing that. He's got a bunch of rad young kids from there who no one's heard of yet. It's called Kewday. That's the board company now, and he's just trying to get these kids together and get them to understand how you've got to be and get coverage and stuff. It's all good.
What trick will you definitely be able to do when you're 50?
Smith grind on a mini-ramp.
Frontside, of course.
Oh, and backside.
What do you have to say to the skateboarders all over the world? What do you have to say to Thrasher on the way out?
Skate for fun, man. That's all it's about. Go on camping trips where you skate and camp. That's the funnest thing you'll ever do in your life if you're a skateboarder. It's amazing. Skateboarding's kind of a fountain of youth.
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|Date:||May 1, 2006|
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