Interview by: Matt Suchodolski
Brad Bowman

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.

cherryhillskatepark.com 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 ramp.

CHSP.COM
What part of California are you from.

BOWMAN
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.

CHSP.COM
What brought you to Cherry Hill skatepark:

BOWMAN
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.

CHSP.COM
How long was your visit:

BOWMAN
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!

CHSP.COM
How would you rate Cherry Hill’s terrain:

BOWMAN
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 Hill.

CHSP.COM
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:

BOWMAN
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.

CHSP.COM
Were you there with other Cali. Pros:

BOWMAN
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.

CHSP.COM
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?

BOWMAN
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.

CHSP.COM Did Jersey pose any culture shock:

BOWMAN
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?”

CHSP.COM
Your favorite old school skater(s):

BOWMAN
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

CHSP.COM Your favorite new school skater(s):

BOWMAN
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.

CHSP.COM
Any interest in grinding/sliding handrails:

BOWMAN
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!!

CHSP.COM
Where are your favorite surf spots:

BOWMAN
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.

CHSP.COM
Do you snowboard:

BOWMAN
I think I do. I just don't get to do it enough.

CHSP.COM Is skating a full time career for you today:

BOWMAN
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 great things.

CHSP.COM
Would you say that skating is a sport or art:

BOWMAN
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 at.


CHSP.COM
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:

BOWMAN
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.

Cheers, Brad.