and the skateboard street course. A box jump ¼ pipe and driveway set up for some Vans shows in Guam.
Back yard ramp Nike 6.0 Banksgiving jam at Garrett Reynolds house, Crazy step up step down at the Flow skatepark for Nike 6.0 contest., Back yard ramp Nike 6.0 Banksgiving jam at Ben Snowden’s house., New skate plaza in the Hanger at Woodward West, Vert ramp and BMX/ Skateboard street course for X games Mexico, Designing an indoor training facility for snowboarding and skiing at Copper Mountain in Colorado, A wood bowl in the Woodward @ Copper retail store, BMX/ Skateboard street course for X games Dubai, A bunch of other design work for other projects that may or may not happen. And of course all of these things were built with the help of friends and people that are on my crew.
Who do you like to build ramps with and is it easy to pick a group of guys to go along with you on a job?
Nate: Ryan Corrigan, Ron Kimler, Aaron Bostrom, Axel Jurgens, John Saxton, Mike Falcone, Fids, Steve Luckett, Lane Sneed, Chad Degroot, Nathan Prohaska Steve (chicken hawk), Wes Howells, Chuck Scrhoth, Drake Miller, and there are many others new and old. Sometimes it is very easy to pick who needs to go on the job. Other times the job does not have the budget that you want or you are doing a job for a friend and there is not much money involved with the project. It's tough because some of the budgets that I work with don’t allow enough money to fly someone out and ship their tools out. Of course the people that I am working for always say that they have this great carpenter guy that can help or have some local labor. But it almost never works out and just makes the job way harder on me. Even when you have a big budget to get what and who you need to do the job sometimes it still costs a grand to get one of your best guys there. My dream scenario would be to always have all of my best guys on the job and to always be able to pay them what they are worth and not have to cut any corners because of a budget. In a perfect world every job would be like this but that would be too easy. I guess every job is a learning experience for me.
I learned more this year than I ever have and need to make some major changes. I never really took my ramp building company seriously till a couple of years ago. I always told myself that I would concentrate on it more after riding slowed down. Well riding never slowed down for me. I had to step up to the plate when ESPN asked me to start building ramps for X Games. A lot of things changed for me and I actually had to make my company legit. It has been a lot of work and I have a ways to go to be where I want to. It is funny because I don’t even have a website or a way for anyone to contact me. It’s all word of mouth and it eventually gets to me. I can't imagine having a website, I work too much as it is but I am planning on getting one up in the near future.
What attracts you in the building job?
Nate: I have always loved working with my hands. I guess it is just fun thinking of something in your head that would be cool to ride or skate, and then making it happen. Then finally getting to shred it and watch other people do stuff on it that you never even dreamed of. My favorite thing to do is to try and design new and different things. I think I would be bored with my job if I constantly had to build the same exact ramp for every job. I really am grateful and enjoy the fact that people have given me the freedom to create and design a lot of my own stuff. It also pushes me to make the next thing that I design or build better and keep moving on to the next level.
Do you travel with your own equipment or do you have to deal with what you get once you arrive on the spot?
Nate: Most of the time I am using my own tools. But of course you cannot fly with everything. The best case scenario is pulling up with my trailer and getting to use all of my own stuff. There have been other jobs that I have shown up on a job after I had given them a full list of things that I would need, (nail guns, circular saws, sawzaw, etc..) What I got was a dewalt cordless tool kit no nail guns or any power tools to be found. I started laughing after I was not even able to cut though one transition with the battery powered saw. The biggest problem with that job was that we only had 3 days to build a pretty good sized show set up. It should have only taken about 1 day with the right tools (mostly nail guns). We had to screw everything together with 3 inch screws. I ruined a $300 impact drill that was mine and it took us 2-1/2 days to finish the ramps. It sucked but sometimes you have to deal with the situation at hand and just take it as it comes.
Who had great equipment and whose equipment sucked?
Nate: The job that I was just talking about happened in Guam. It sucked. Whenever I work at Woodward West I really don’t have to bring that much stuff because they have everything there. Ron Kimler is in charge of building everything out there and he makes sure that all of the tools are in order and proper. I have been on other jobs where we have rented nail guns and as soon as I plugged the thing in it fired a nail (sketchy). The worst thing about every job is usually the power situation. Popping fuses and breakers every ten minutes or when I was just in Dubai and every time I picked up my saw and cut 3 inch’s the power would pop. You had to walk back over to the breaker and flip it just to walk back and cut a couple more inches. After 100 times of this it would make anyone snap especially after you have asked 20 different times to get it fixed or get a different power source.
You seem to have endless designs in your head. How hard is it to adjust to the situation (location) sometimes?
Nate: It's pretty easy most of the time to adjust and make things work for the space that is given. The hardest thing has been X games. I have to design the courses so far in advance and I am not allowed to change anything when it gets to a certain point. We have all of these production meetings how everything is sitting around the course, camera positions, judges, viewing and spectators, etc.. Most of it comes down to production and the cameras. If I change something last second it dramatically effects the rest of the production. So I have had to learn how to design something months in advance that works well that cannot be changed. It’s a guessing game. I think it would have been a lot easier to do ten years ago when the street course was a box jump spine, sub box, wall ride. Now I am trying to make not only one line work but hundreds of different interlaced crazy lines everywhere. Most of the course is now bowled in and blended together. Other projects that I have built in the past have been straight off the top of my head and as soon as I was done building I wanted to tear it down and start over because I came up with a better idea.
Most of the really crazy ideas that I have in my head have never been built, mostly because no one has ever had the space or the money for me to build any of these monstrosities. I have some really crazy stuff in my head that I would love to build but it truly would take a lot of work and probably would cost twice what a normal park would cost. So you tell me is it worth it? I guess that would depend who is footing the bill and if it were a normal skate park, camp, or even better some private facility. I wish I had the money to do something like that but it’s a pipe dream. I do just fine supporting my family. I do not make the extra cash for ramps in my back yard. Besides I live 18 miles from Woodward what would I actually need, maybe a bowl kinda like the Little Devil bowl would be nice.
Do you see ramp building/designing as an art form?
Nate: For me I do, just because I do not have a mathematical or engineering background. I graduated college with an art degree and it's just what I know. I do not use math on the job, it is way more visual to me and I just dream stuff up and get ideas from everything. Put all of that together and I come up with some pretty weird stuff sometimes. But weird stuff is not always the best, you have to compromise with yourself and sometimes the simplest thing works the best as long as it's arranged uniquely.
What is the 2008 X-Games street course going to look like? More street than tranny?
Nate: As for now there are a lot of concepts flying around in my head. I am working on a couple of new conceptual designs for some new events for X games but as of now they are top secret. No reason to get anybody’s hopes up if they are or are not happening. We are pushing to get BMX street in the 2008 X games. We already have BMX park but only skateboard street. The Mexico and Dubai events were testers to see how well the BMX street event would work. To me it is a no brainer, more tricks are pulled and there are crazier crashes. When you ride a bike you either commit or go down with the ship, there is no kicking your bike away and running out of it. Plus the BMXers can ride more of the course. They can grind up anything and everything that they are coming down. Which means more stuff is going down, or up - nevermind.
Do you get to ride much these days or is that riding that you do at freshly built parks these days?
Nate: I definitely do not get to ride as much as I want to but I will never stop riding. I take my bike everywhere that I go and get to ride everything that I build. It usually is not that much. It's hard to ride after a 10 or 12 hour day doing hard labor. The bike doesn’t pay the bills either so building is what always comes first for me. I have a nine month old baby girl and a gorgeous wife to take care of. So it does not help blowing out my knee like I just did on Dec. 31 2007. I don’t know for sure but I am actually getting an MRI this week to find out how bad it is. It is the same knee that I blew out before.
How is the family?
Nate: Ashlee (wife), Addison (daughter), Lilly (80 lb Boxer) they are amazing. They are number one in my life, it is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me. A lot of things happened over the last year to me and it happened all at once. I got married, bought a house had a baby, all while I had my busiest ramp building year yet. I just want to be home with my family a bit more this year. It is just going to take a bit of planning and Ashlee and Addison coming to see me at a few places. I could not ask for a more supportive wife and life partner. She puts up a lot with my schedule and not being at home to help out all of the time. She is the best mom, teacher, advice giver, lover, cooker, wife, ever. etc.. Ashlee is the most positive person I have ever met and does not have a negative bone in her body, my daughter and I are so lucky. I love you babe.
As a part owner of Team Blowin' It can you tell a little about the company and why you started it?
Nate: Well Tom Stober and I were sitting in our house (I used to live with Tom at Woodward) and we started complaining about knee pads. It’s not that we hated any of the pads out there but there were things that were good about this one, but terrible in a different way. Every pad that we talked about seemed to be like that. So we decided to do our own thing. We took some ideas from each pad but the most important parts were new ideas that Tom and I came up with. Put all of those ideas together and that is where we started. We said who cares if the company even does good or not, at least we will have pads that we will be stoked on. So we seriously started cutting pads apart and gluing stuff together and making our own prototypes. It took a long time to get a prototype that we were stoked on. Finally after an eternity we got our final product and Tom and I were still not stoked so we immediately made revisions and sent them off to get prototyped again. This new prototype is the current pad I have been running for 7 or 8 months. We finally just received an order of the revised pads about a week ago and they are sick. Tom and I are stoked and we want to keep going. We have a glove in the works right now and some other soft goods. We also have some real specialty things in the works but we are such a small company that we really don’t even have the money or capabilities to even give pads away for contests or advertise, etc. Hopefully one day we will get to that point, but for now we are just stoked on our design and how our pads feel. When you put them on and bend your knees, its like they are not even there. They feel awesome. Our pads are not for everyone but we did not design them for all of the complainers out there. We don’t know what we’re doing anyway. It took like 3 years to even get something we were stoked on, talk about BLOWIN IT. So check our web site out www.TEAMBLOWINIT.com
Who are on the team roster?
Nate: This is pretty much the list. We just got our new pads in and only Spinner so far has been rocking some prototypes for about 7 or 8 months, and he loves them. We wish we could do more for these guys but we are just stoked that they like them. It’s a pretty cool feeling when any one of these guys could ride any pad in the world, and get them for free or get paid by a company to rock their stuff. But all of them rather Blow it and shred in our pads. Thanks guys you kill it.
With all these things going on you have several hobbies left like surfing, motocross, wakeboarding, snowboarding and monster trucking. How do you fit those hobbies in?
Nate: Well it's tough but any time that I cannot possibly be with my family I will be doing one of those hobbies. I also don’t sleep that much. During the X Games my wife thought I was crazy, I would go to bed at 1 or 2 and get up at 5am to get 2 hours of surfing in before I went to work. In the future we have talked about moving closer to a beach where there are waves. It doesn’t matter though my family makes me happy I am totally satisfied. The hobbies I do are just a sugar coating on the top.
Jobs lined up for 2008?
Nate: LA. X games, possible events are X Dubai, X Mexico, X Brazil, X England, Some backyard Nike events, two different Red Bull events are in the works one for BMX one for mountain bikes, Indoor training facility for snowboarding and skiing for Woodward @ Copper, some projects at Woodward East and West. But you never know a lot of things don’t happen but new things come along all of the time. Designing a bunch of new Failure stuff (Jeremiah Smith frame, stem, cranks, grips, bottle openers, plus a ton of other stuff) and hopefully getting a bunch more Team BLOWIN IT! Products out without it taking more than 3 years. Been Blowin it for 31 years why stop now.