As with all of HUF’s riders, Brad Cromer’s skating speaks for itself in volumes. With skateboarding moving as quickly as it does nowadays Brad has come up on a relatively slower rise to being where he is now. Not only does that show in his humble appreciation for getting his first, well deserved pro shoe; but in his well rounded opinions and outlook as well. As a great character with a lot to say, we’re just as stoked as him! This is the Brad Cromer interview.
First of all congratulations on the release of your first shoe.
Thanks so much!
Could you tell us a bit about how the process came about?
It takes so long to get a shoe going.. I think a over a year ago Keith [Hufnagel] mentioned that he’d like to do a shoe with me; so of course I was trippin’ already. I was like, “holy shit they want to make a shoe with me?! What am I gonna do?!”
I thought about it for a bit then ended up going to the house and sort of throwing ideas at Hayden who’s the main shoe designer there. We just bounced ideas back and forth until he got a feel of what I wanted in a shoe. He helped me get a feel of what works and what doesn’t and then you kind of just start building it from there.
I didn’t want anything super drastic like a crazy intricate shoe you know? So it wasn’t too tough. We just spit ideas back and forth and got samples sent back and from the factories a few times then tweaked things here and there; whether it was materials or widths of toe caps and little things like that. We kind of got the basic idea of it and went from there and built it until it became what it is.
Did you trash a lot of samples in the process?
I skated most of the samples. I mean from the beginning they were pretty much what they are now; it was very minor adjustments. There was a problem with the heel that was hurting my foot so we had to fix something back there. Most of the samples I skated for the video that just dropped.
So that painted pair was a sample too?
Yeah I got a bunch of white canvas samples. I just woke up one morning and decided to paint my shoes. I used watercolours on those and everyone thought they were like..
Yeah! Which is cool because maybe people would wear those you know? I literally just sat there and painted them.
How would you rank getting your first shoe with turning pro?
Woah. I mean turning pro and then getting a pro shoe are both equally as trippy to me. As a kid I never thought I’d be a pro skater. I never thought I’d have a pro shoe. I never thought I’d make money off skating and have it as a job. I don’t think ahead too much but I never pictured ever being where I’m at now and I’m super appreciative. I’m just along for the ride really!
I try not to let it trip me out too much and just go with it. It’s a dream and surreal; it’s cool.
You were saying you wanted to film the whole shoe video in Florida. Did it work out how you wanted in the end?
Yeah it was all Florida but not to the extent that I wanted. We went there once and it was the hottest ever. It was summer in Florida; like if you picture Miami Beach at that time of year? It was deadly..
We got what we could then came back here, set up another trip and went back when it was a little bit cooler. Then it rained almost everyday..
Yeah so I didn’t get what I wanted you know? I would’ve loved to get a lot more. The conditions weren’t great so I got what I could and we put it together. It’s not the gnarliest skating but I wanted to make something that’s easy to watch. It’s just like a cruising video that smoothly goes from beginning to end you know?
For sure it’s great aesthetically. Where was that red bridge that you smithed? Looked like a beautiful place..
It’s in a botanical garden in South Beach. It’s funny because it’s silent in there. There’re butterflies and people taking pictures of their wives you know? There was a wedding getting set up and they were doing mic checks on these huge speakers so it was really loud at the time. We just walked in with our boards and I felt super awkward but we just skated it and I got that smith. I thought that was all I could do because it was made out of wood and splintering you know? I thought I was really cool looking for a photo.
I was just trying to skate things that look good, flow well together and kind of resemble Florida in a way. I wanted to make a video that was pleasing to eye more than like, “WOAH he grinded that!?” You know?
There are a lot of shoes that are adopting the toecap at the moment. Was there a particular reason or a shoe that pushed you in that direction?
It’s funny because when I decided to do the toecap it was like year ago; so at the time there was pretty much converse and the HUF classic. It just so happens that now when my shoe comes out there’s all these toecap shoes that it’s competing with you know?
With my shoe I kind of wanted it to be slightly like the classic but I wanted the V laces. It’s a different shape too; it’s got the same shape as Dylan’s slip on. I just wanted a slender shoe with the toecap and a couple different things; so it’s kind of a morph between a bunch of different shoes.
I guess I wanted the classic toecap pretty much, but on a different fitting shoe with a slightly different design. The classic’s very rounded, mine’s more pointy and I just like the way that looks when I look down.
When’s the all white colourway coming out for the fan boys?
I wanted it to be the first one! It made more sense to do the black/white suede ones you know? They’re gonna last longer than white canvas. If it were a canvas one first people would just rip them. They did those first two styles and then the second drop will be the all white canvas and then the red suede with a white sole I think. The white ones are canvas so they’re gonna rip but I like that. I like doctoring up the shoes when they’re all fucked up. I don’t really like fresh brand new so I like canvas because they almost morph to your foot in a way.
You’ve shared a close relationship with the dudes at Deluxe for a long time now. Are you as tight with your teammates at HUF these days?
The cool thing about all the companies I ride for is that I’m close with all of them. I like that because I don’t wanna ride for a company where I can’t click with the dudes. I like to feel at home and believe in who I ride for; they help me out and I help them out you know?
I’m glad that I’m close with the people in the companies because I would never want to ride for something just for the money.
Who’s your go-to guy on a HUF trip?
Man they’re all pretty funny. Then when you put them all together it’s just a good time skating with those dudes.
Everyone’s their own dude. [Dan] Plunkett’s funny as shit and he can do every trick in the world. Marty’s the filmer, he’s funny as hell. Just watching Austyn [Gillette] just even skating is awesome. Watching Joey Pepper too; I used to watch him in old ass videos and seeing him right in front of me hanging out is cool. Everyone’s got their own things and together it’s just such a good crew. We all connect and click real well; the trips are always very memorable. There’s no specific dude everyone just together is a really good time.
Is there anyone in particular that influenced your skating the most when you were growing up?
Growing up I did the whole every part that came out I was obsessed with kind of thing.
Who I would say shaped who I am now the most from being a kid would be probably be PJ Ladd. The Wonderful Horrible Life part to this day has probably been the most influential on me. He just skates super fast, super powerful and tech and the same time. He’ll fuck up a ledge then ollie some crazy thing; he kind of had it all in one. I took that and was like “I wanna do that!” Now it’s just the dudes I skate with really.
Any of the new dudes coming up that you’re hyped on?
Right now I’m super psyched on the three new Ams for HUF. I don’t know when the video comes out but wait til’ you guys see Jake Anderson. I couldn’t even tell you how good that kid is… I’m so happy that he’s being recognized and he’s Mike Anderson’s brother so it’s cool that he has his own thing you know? But yeah the Am video’s gonna come out, all the dudes are crazy; but when people Jake’s shit they’re gonna trip. I’ve seen a lot of the stuff and I was like, “damn dude I suck!” [laughs]. It’s gonna blow people away for sure.
How old is the kid?
He’s young man he just turned 20 the other day. I mean I’m 28 so to me that’s young. He’s the dude that you can go to a spot with, name anything and he’ll just do it. It’s so easy for him it’s really cool to see. When the part comes out he’s gonna be getting offers and shit probably [laughs].
I read somewhere a while back that you hadn’t had a drink in 6 months. Did you decide to keep on that?
I didn’t for 14 months. At that time I was working on the Transworld video. I felt like I just skated as well as I should have. I felt good and that I could handle working on a transworld video easier than if I’d been drinking every night or something you know?
Would you recommend it?
If you can do it; I mean some people don’t drink. I just wanted to see what it was like to never be hungover you know? I was super clear minded. Every morning I felt fresh, hopped out of bed, ate breakfast and went skating. There was no shitty like, “aw I’m gonna just chill today.”
The day that I drove cross-country with my girlfriend and moved into an apartment I just thought fuck it and bought myself a six-pack. I felt like I deserved it after 14 months. I don’t drink like crazy but I drink here and there.
Where are you living right now?
Long Beach, California
Ever had any thoughts of moving back home to Florida?
All the time; I wish I still lived there. I physically can’t do what I’m supposed to do from there anymore.
It’s just too out there; skateboarding’s not as accepted there. There’s plenty of spots but they’re shitty. There’re not many filmers; there’s no photographers really. It’s not as poppin’ as it is here. I wouldn’t choose to live here but I feel like I should. I feel like it’s working and helping me grow as a skateboarder.
Are you working on any more independent projects at the moment?
I’ve been going skating in LA almost everyday with Tyler (Bledsoe), Jake (Anderson),Terps (Kevin Terpening) and whoever’s around slowly filming stuff. I’ve decided I want to do something kind of like Lo Fi I guess but more of a personal project. I feel like it’s been so constant and busy; I’m kind of sick of feeding it that quick. I feel like maybe people expect that much from me all the time. That’s fine, I mean I like to be productive and stuff but right now I’d like to film for maybe the year; take what I have and make something the way I want it to be made you know? The look, the music and how it comes out. I don’t want any trailer to it I just want it to come out. Guess I’m trying to do it how people used to do it; film for a while and put together their best shit. Now everything’s so instant. Everything just comes out and then it’s gone. I’ll slowly see what I can do and when I feel it’s time maybe put something out with the hope people like it. I’d rather do that just smash shit out like “Here’s this part, here’s that commercial!” I think it’ll be more fun for me.
Words: James P. Lees
Imagery Courtesy of HUF