If you were
an avid reader of Skateboarder magazine during the late
70s; there is no doubt that the images of Brad Bowman are
etched into your mind. If you were truly a Cherry Hill skatepark
local, you had the opportunity to witness brad Bowman's
clean and precise skating style first hand.
wishes to thank Brad Bowman for his contribution, forfeiting
one or two shredding runs on Bob Burnquist's backyard mega
ramp to make time for this interview. In the near future
we hope to find Brad completing a loop on the Burnquist
What part of California are you from.
I’m a gypsy from all over the L.A. County area. I've
lived in the south bay, Santa Monica, Hollywood, the valley,
Santa Ana, pacific beach (San Diego). If you mean where
I currently lay my boards-that would be Ventura County.
What brought you to Cherry Hill skatepark:
A 747 jumbo jet!! It was a free plane ticket from my sponsor
and the owners of the park to do demo's for the locals and
promote our company and my designs at the time, which were
the bb Sims model. I was with Doug De Montmorency, Steve
Olson, Craig Fineman, Duke Rennie and a few others I cannot
recall. We had shits and giggles all the way there and back.
I have fond memories of that trip.
How long was your visit:
I believe it was a week but it could have been three weeks
or three days. I was pretty much in a cloud lining on my
first trip, which is probably the reason for such big airs
and extended plants, etc. My second trip was even better
because I stayed a bit longer that the previous and the
owner's daughter really took care of me and saw to it that
I had a memorable visit!
How would you rate Cherry Hill’s terrain:
It was my favorite at the time along with upland pipeline.
The terrain was world class and today that testament still
stands. There has been no park with as perfect and smooth
surfaces, tranny's and walls as Cherry Hill was born with.
The builders were on their mark when they put up Cherry
I do remember some of your sessions there since it was in
December and at that time I was about 12 or 13 yrs. old
and your visit was during Christmas vacation (read ---days
off -lots of skating). I recall your smooth and precise
style and specifically your aerial channel crossings in
the keyhole bowl. Do you recollect as well:
Oh ,hell yes!! I also recollect 6-8 block board slides,
fully extended handplants and also putting in a lot of distance
on my frontslide Bowman grinds, which later were dubbed
“smith grinds” By Denise Barter. That happened
because she was pissed that I wouldn't pop her anymore,
so she started this campaign to rip off my un-official title
which mattered nothing to me. I found that amusing because
I have never needed a title to feel accomplished.
Were you there with other Cali. Pros:
Yes, Doug De Montmorency was my traveling partner from Sims.
We blew minds with unrehearsed doubles sessions and just
all out gnarly skating. Steve Olson was also in the mix,
blending casual smoothness with full tilt boogie. He was
redlining often and it didn't even appear to be, due to
his surf style keeping all the moves fluid and clean. There
were others but I cannot recall them at this time.
You rode for Sims at the time and I have to mention that
Tom Sims is originally from Haddonfield, NJ (one town over
from Cherry Hill). Was Sims skateboards a good sponsor?
Did Mr. Sims make it to Cherry Hill too?
I did not know he is from NJ. Sims were good sponsors. I
think they sincerely tried to progress the sport, their
riders and their standing within the industry . The problem
was that at one point they had every top rider and could
not fill the quota for all the attention, financing, cash
outlay, etc... Many riders passed through their revolving
doors-some quicker than others! I had a nice reign there
for three or four years due to the fact that my designs
sold in skating's top three consistently. I had a bit more
cushion than the other Sims riders. I think Lonnie Toft
was mistakenly cast aside. He is truly one of the most important
innovators of his generation in skateboarding and had numerous
impacts on the sport, riders and public. he did demo's religiously,
often staying longer than his contract called for talking
to fans and educating parents, etc... He defined the term
“ambassador of sport.”
His generous personality and unique surf-skate style had
tremendous impact on me as a skater. I was lucky to session
with him often at skatercross and many backyard pools in
the 70's prior to my having any sponsorship. It was Lonnie
who gave me my first Sims wheels, which is huge when you
are un-sponsored. That is the one thing that we at DeathBox
understand thoroughly- to get out and get product to the
up and coming skaters in the parks. I cannot recall if Tom
Sims ever made it to Cherry Hill Park.
Did Jersey pose any culture shock:
It was weird for me at first because six hours prior to
stepping off the plane I was in seventy degree sunny L.A.
skating in only shorts and shoes under the palm trees. Then,
here I am in the snow, five feet deep with no leaves on
the trees and steam coming out of my mouth!! It was a tiny
bit different, but I had an idea of what to expect, being
born in Indiana. I just had forgotten how different it really
was. I remember thinking how am I going to skate if I’m
never warm? It didn't take long to acclimate especially
once I saw the halfpipe and egg bowl. I can still hear the
spoken dialect of the time- “um frum joisey”,
“oh yea, wut exit?”
Your favorite old school skater(s):
Names you probably have not heard like: Shane Reed, Shreddi
Repas, Arthur Viecco, Kent Senatore and of course ones you
have- Lonnie Toft, Wally Inouye, pineapple, Dennis Martinez,
Hackett, Adams, Folmer, everyone on DeathBox
Your favorite new school skater(s):
Bob Burnquist, he's just gnarly. Anyone who can air like
he does backward and forward as high as he does is da' man.
Plus he let me ride his ramp, which I still want to loop!!
All the new school DeathBox team.
Any interest in grinding/sliding handrails:
Not really, I don't have the time and besides I own a car
so when I do skate I go to any skatepark I’m near
and ride terrain. I think rails, walls and streets are cool
but I prefer ten foot walls in and out of the water!!
Where are your favorite surf spots:
In front of my house is and has been for years before I
lived here. Also any spot on Bali will set me straight any
day of the year.
Do you snowboard:
I think I do. I just don't get to do it enough.
Is skating a full time career for you today:
Skating is a lifetime thing for me. I'll be skating until
I can't stand up anymore, but no-it's not a full time career
for me these days. My life has branched into other aspects
and I am nurturing those aspects watching them grow into
Would you say that skating is a sport or art:
Interesting question! I feel it is both.
One you have a credible entity that can be organized, displayed,
broadcasted, judged, sold, programmed, -that is a sport.
But-you get five friends, grab their boards and head up
to the hills to a three mile long downhill. You'll find
guys doing things that are utterly art. I'm talking streetstyle,
slalom, bombing downhill or the same five riding a 12 foot
pipe under a freeway-that is art. And art is where it’s
Your DeathBox brand signature model is way hot, in fact
the webmaster for the CHSP site currently rides one and
I have seen some heavy duty shredders on the BB DeathBox
at FDR in Philly. Can you elaborate on its design:
I’m stoked that you've seen them around, really! I
wanted to do something that would challenge the skater's
imagination as well as coming up with a totally functional
design. Looks were a non sequitur in the beginning. A John
Lennon like seed needed to be planted. So I went deep into
what really makes these things called skateboards work.
I came up with a few prototype designs that were made for
me and proceeded to figure out what was wrong with each
of them. After riding the second proto I was perplexed.
I could only find two-minute things that needed changing.
So the factory made some minor adjustments and we were on!
Hence the “Eskimo Pie” or BB Snub as we later
termed it, was born. It is a Toft inspired shape of things
to come. DeathBox and I agreed to limit the quantity of
production-to give the forward thinkers a nice gift of something
really unique and special that they would not see often.
Now they are all gone and the mold has been broken so they
will r.i.p.- never to be made again as of December 2002.
Note to current owners: do not get rid of your rare BB Snub!!
(Think eBay, 2025 a.d.-$$$$$$$)
My new 2003 “BB / winged one”
Is a salute to the original 1978 Sims 10.0 Bowman pig board
that started it all for me. I am really chuffed on this
board and I know all the heads that got the snub will get
this model, as well as the ones whom got the original pig.
It rides quite like the snub but has the surfboard nose
on it, the tail is nearly identical. It's the next phase
of our “limited edition”
Models to be available at DeathBox. Check out deathbox.com
for a viewing of all the newest skins. Never stop skating!!
Thanks for asking me to relive my memories, this was fun.