BRAD PARKER; OLLIE BROOOOO. GIF: Sethmarcus Bandybrown.
Most skaters have never heard of Brad Parker. That’s super Lame! We want to change that shit because Brad is most definitely one of the gnarliest and rawest all-around skaters that we have ever met. His creativity and mash-it-all approach is an inspiration, a breath of freshness, and a complete stoke provoker. Brad is not a longboarder, he is not a street skater, he’s not a bowl rider. Brad is all of the above, and then some. Please enjoy the following conversation and the photographicals we’ve collected while shredding with our friend, Gnarlivin’.
Yo brotha let’s pop this off with the standard jammies: name, age, origins, home, and years skating?
My name is Brad Parker I was born ‘n raised in Long Beach, California—twenty nine years ago. I have been on a skateboard for about 24 of them years!!!
Who and or what are the GnaRatz?
The GnaRatz are a bunch of the raddest dudes I know. It all kinda started when I moved into this apartment complex in Ocean Beach, San Diego. This place was full of GNAR!!! Ha ha ha! Every day and night there was something ridiculous going on. From drugged-out weirdos watering rocks in their garden at all hours of the night, to Brazilian exchange kids livin’ 6 to 8 deep in a one bedroom apartment, or a bunch of surf n’ skate punks partying 24/7. I was honestly a little nervous for the first month having a 4 year old son with me every other week. One day I was takin’ out the trash and this dude (Colin Gayle, GnaRat) that lived their saw my truck next to the dumpster covered in skate stickers and full of pool cleaning equipment and says to me “hey man, you skate pools?” I answer back “FUCK YA BROTHER!!!” (insert biker voice). Ha ha ha! And from that moment on we did nothing but push each other—not just in skating, but anything and everything we did. Everything became a game of GNAR!!! Ha ha ha! Like how gnar can ya get doing the dumbest shit, so when we moved into our new house back in Long Beach we built a studio/clubhouse, more janky ramps than you can think of, and we called it Gnar Park, and that got all my old skate rat friends from growing up to start shredding again and that kinda turned us into the GnaRatz!!! Now we are actually growing and turning into a real club//company-kinda-thing. We do just about anything and everything for hire from art, construction, concrete work, ramp building, bowl digging, design work, t-shirt printing. We got mechanics, soap makers, and all kinds of weird creators!!!
Tell us about Gnar Park?
Gnar Park is home!!! Ha ha ha! We moved into this place in about 2009, and we went nuts, finally having space to build/create and paint anything we could think of! We built new ramps every few days and skated from sun up to sun down back there. Once we got sick of upkeep on all our ramps we said fuck it and started digging a bowl!!! Now the bowl is almost done and I am super stoked and can’t wait to shred that fucker!!!
Why are you down with Wheelbase Magazine?
I back Wheelbase cuz they back skateboarding!!! Not just street skating or downhill or all that bullshit! I know you guys simply enjoy the ride!!!
Why is DIY so important to you?
I love DIY type skateboarding the best cuz every skateboarder looks at skating so different that they make such unique shit compared to some kook with a bunch of blueprints from an engineer that’s never even owned a skateboard! I’ve been to so many parks that suck so bad, and to some DIY spots that I would skate one object for days on end!!! Ever since I was a kid I have been making really weird things to skate cuz I hated skating ledges and all that tech type shit in the 90s. Plus I’m just an A.D.D. wack job that has to make weird shit all the time, so why not make shit to skate? Ha ha ha!
What’s up with the whole “van lurk” dealio?
Vans fucking rule!!! Ha ha ha! If you think about it, they just make since. As a skateboarder, I am always on the hunt for the next rad spot or adventure and having a van makes that way easier. You got plenty of room for your boards, beers, bongs, and most important: a place to sleep!!! Plus on skate trips you save money not goin’ to hotels, which means more gas money, which means more lurkin’!!! Ha ha ha!
A lot of people talk about “skating everything”, but you actually practice it. What is it that motivates you to skate all sorts of boards, set ups, and terrain?
Honestly, I just get bored. Being a bi-polar weirdo, I’m always changing my mind and that’s the best part about skateboarding for me—is I don’t have to make up my mind, I can just do whatever I feel at the moment!!! The best part of skateboarding is just rolling, so riding one kind of board makes no sense to me when I can try out all kinds of funky, fun shit. I spent probably a year skating barefoot on this little plywood board I cut out and slapped some surf traction on, and it was the best shit ever!!! Ha ha ha! As for terrain, up until a few weeks ago vert ramps where the only thing I wouldn’t skate, I really just like learning to skate new fun shit, so I will try just about anything!
What’s the best part of downhill skateboarding and what direction would you like to push it in for future skaters?
I really like skating downhill cuz it scares the shit out of me!!! I would really like to see better/more boardercross type shit!!! I really like skating ramps and skating down hills, so combining both is the raddest and gnarliest shit I can think of, so let’s work on more of that shit around here!!! I dig slide jams a lot too. That shit is a good time, so more of that would be perfect thanks! Ha ha ha!
Dude, you took some serious meat-grinding slams during the making of this Wheelbase interview. What motivates you to charge it so hard?
Not being a pussy!!! Ha ha ha! Inside I am a pissed off motherfucker and if it wasn’t for skating and hurting myself all the time that asshole would make it out more often, so I let him out via falling repetitively!!! Plus, once I start trying something and don’t land it I get really pissed, so I won’t stop till I land it or can’t move!!!
You have some major tattoo-action going on, what’s the reason for the season on that?
Tattoos make you look tough right? Ha ha ha! I don’t know why I love tattoos/tattooing so much, cuz to be honest I fucking hate getting tattoo’d. Lately, I have been really into letting friends that don’t know how or have never tattoo’d tattoo me just cuz I think it’s pretty rad to have those memories!!! My favorite tattoo is a shitty “SKATE DITCHES” tattoo I got from James West on a road trip thru New Mexico and Colorado with the Paris and Divine team!!!
You ride Riviera Skateboards—how and when did you get involved with those cats?
I got involved with Riviera a couple years ago from a mutual friend-type-thing and they helped me with a board for this fun little race at the Surf Expo in Florida one year and I have considered them family ever since!!!
Word on the street has it that you’ve got a signature board in the works over at Riviera. What is the 411 on that project?
Yeah—I’m super stoked!!! I had a lot of fun coming up with this shape and am really happy with how it feels on just about any terrain!!! It’s a 33″L x 9.8″W with optional wheelbases for a more squirrelly bowl riding feel or a stiffer ditch/slide jam ripper!!! Talk about a dream come true!!! Ha ha ha!
Is it true that the team manager of Riviera could very well be the most talented skater on the entire squad?
That would be an understatement!!! That dude fucking rips so hard!!! I get so stoked every time I see a board under his feet!!! Funny thing is is that I have always really looked up to Justin. He is from the same area I grew up in and I always saw him ripping at random spots. One day me and my homie Chase where skating at Rossmoor Elementary school and he showed up with some other rippers and saw my duct-taped ass shoes and gave me a new pair of from his car. Being a 14 year old skate rat that was the coolest thing anyone had ever done for me. So it still trips me out to be able to call him family now!
Is it also true that Amanda Powell is actually a brunette, was married to Nyjah Huston for six months back in 2009, and that she was born on a small fishing vessel near the island of Jamaica?
Yeah—when I met her she was for sure brunette and I heard that Dane Webber guy kicked Nyjah’s ass and whisked her away . . .
Sorry for that last question. Are you gay?
I ask myself that every time I see a mirror!
Moving on—what’s the raddest and lamest thing about the skateboarding community right now?
Raddest: other skateboarders and brands are getting into board shapes again and not only focused on some crappy run-of-the-mill twin tipper!!! And that everyone is getting stoked on DIY.
Lamest: Every company and there mother putting out some garbage ass plastic 70s ripoff!!! And, that everyone is getting into DIY!!! Ha ha ha!
Who’s Jim Rippy, and does he roll with Johnny Shredlock?
Jim Rippy is a spirit guide that helps you through the hard times on your skateboard. And yeah, him and Johnny Shredlock get so ripped before every session—always a good time!!!
Who are your favorite skateboarders of all time? OG, downhill, street—whatever?
Hmm?. . .never really been able to answer this question cuz I look up to so many skaters, but my favorite skaters are my friends and the people that are always stoking on a session.
What’s it like skating with Mike Vallely?
Really fun! That dude knows and loves skateboarding so much that he gets you so psyched and even helps you figure out how to pull shit you never thought you could land. I remember the first time I skated with him I was so nervous—and being the skate nerd I am—I wanted to do something cool in front of him, so I dropped into the gnarliest thing I could find at Slab City, and got destroyed!!! Ha ha! Best day ever!!!
Should we say no to drugs?
Just smoke weed. Everything else sucks and will ruin your life! Ha ha! Ask Jim Rippy!
Why do you think so many skaters are getting into downhill and all sorts of other “non traditional” forms of skateboarding these days, rather than tradition forms?
FUCK YOU—that’s traditional skateboarding!!! Ha ha!
What’s the gnarliest thing you’ve ever done on a skateboard?
Skated Tony Hawk’s million-dollar vert ramp!
What’s the gnarliest thing you’ve done off a skateboard?
Being a father! By far the gnarliest shit in the world is being a parent, but it is by far the raddest thing in life as well!
Are you bummed that Liam Morgan skated Signal Hill and didn’t call the locals? Are you going to kick his ass?
Not bummed, just pissed!!! Yeah—I’ll probably rip one of those lame Hawaiian shirts off of his back and steal his sweet shades!!! Ha ha!
Thanks for killing it and doing this interview with us, Brad. You def submersed the Stoke Submarine with all this sick shredding and quality conversation. Please take us out of here with some closing comments, a song, a poem, some thank you’s—whatever’s cleaver.
Huge THANKS to my family for always backing my crazy ass, letting me be me, and everybody at Resource Distribution for helping me not grow up! Ha ha ha! Other than that, I DO IT FOR MYSELF!!!