100 Heelflips in the DC Manual Hi
August 26, 2021 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuM9TUMelzQ Get ready for liftoff as DC Shoes launches the new Manual Hi shoe with an inaugural colorway by pro...
Living the dream is a very subjective term that people like to use to describe all types of lifestyles. Some of these may be more accurate than others. Living the dream for a skateboarder usually means that you’re getting paid to play with your toy and you’re getting to travel the world on someone else’s dime. The real dream is probably being able to do whatever you want, and go wherever you want, at any given moment - skateboard or no skateboard. Luckily for Kevin Braun, all he wants to do is ride his skateboard and travel with his friends. His dream is quickly being realized with his recent addition to the team at Santa Cruz and the increasing popularity of his crew of AZ boys at Pyramid Country. Kevin came out blazing with amazing footage in his Santa Cruz welcome clip and in the new Pyramid Country video “Distant Mind Terrain”. With his shine just starting, we caught up with Kevin to ask him some questions and show you guys why he’s going to be someone you want to keep up with in the future.
Kevin Braun! Where did you come from and where are you now? I grew up in Naperville, Illinois and I currently live in Tempe, Arizona.
It seems like most people would make the journey from the Midwest to Cali to live the skate dream. Why did you get stuck in Arizona? While I was living in Illinois, my friends and I watched a lot of Arizona skate videos. To me, it seemed like a more interesting place to live and skateboard than California.
Did you land in AZ right as the whole Pyramid Country thing started up? How did you get involved with all those dudes?I came to Arizona while Pyramid Country was already started. I remember right when I started living in Arizona their Couchlock Odyssey video premiered. I ended up going skating with Bobby Green and Jackson Casey one night while they were filming for the Phoenix Lights video. It was one of the most fun times I had skating since I had been living in Arizona. In the next couple weeks, we got some more footage for the Phoenix Lights video and I ended up bro'ing down with everyone involved. Jackson asked me if I wanted to skate for Pyramid Country and I was down.
Why do you think smaller brands like Pyramid Country are having such an impact on skateboarding right now?I think the smaller brands like Pyramid Country take a different approach to their content than the bigger name brands in skateboarding. I think a lot of smaller brands are more appealing to people because they do something different to stick out and have an impact on skateboarders.
You just got announced as an am for Santa Cruz skateboards. For those who don’t know how a guy from Illinois ends up on an iconic board brand from Northern California, can you explain the process of getting on the team? I owe it all to Andrew Cannon. Cairo Foster was sending me Enjoi boards for a while, but I knew I wasn’t going to get fully involved with the company. Andrew Cannon became the brand manager for Santa Cruz and told me he wanted to give me boards. I thought about it for a long time. I really wanted to stay loyal to Enjoi because Cairo is the man, but I knew that Santa Cruz would probably have me be more involved in their company. Also, Andrew Cannon is one of the nicest dudes I've met through skateboarding and I knew he would be a great guy to work with. Cannon started flowing me boards for a little while and then I ended up going on a trip to Detroit with some of the Santa Cruz team. It was basically my trial trip to see if I got along with dudes on the team. We ended up all getting along well and then I officially got on the team a few months later.
Has SC had you on the road a lot since you got on? Yeah! I've been traveling more consistently than any other point in my life. It's been too fun.
What’s it like to start going on pro skate trips? I imagine it can be intimidating.For me it's definitely intimidating at times, but that's my own fault. I've been trying to hold a higher standard for myself on the tricks I get on trips. I want to try and push myself and keep progressing at skating as much as possible. I want every trick I film to be something I'm genuinely hyped on.
Who sweats the most on the Santa Cruz team? Blake Johnson, for sure.
What’s your favorite out of all the OG Santa Cruz graphics? I really like all of the screaming hand graphics. They're sick.
Were you scared to meet Jason Jesse? I know I was. I'm not going to lie, I was definitely a little intimidated to meet him the first time, haha. I thought he was going to be a hardass but he was mellow. He cracks me up.
What’s it like to balance filming on HD for Santa Cruz and filming on VX for Pyramid Country? Is it a headache sometimes to decide what tricks will go towards what?It's not too bad. I've been going on enough Santa Cruz trips to be getting a decent amount of HD footage. It's much easier for me to get footage on trips because I'm more juiced to skate spots that I don't normally get to skate. The VX footage is mostly stuff I get in Arizona while filming with Jackson and Bobby, or on a pyramid country trip. Sometimes it's hard to decide what to film VX or HD but I've only had that dilemma while skating in Arizona.
Getting paid any amount to play with a toy is pretty amazing. How did it feel when you got your first check for riding a skateboard? It felt pretty insane. I felt, and still feel, very fortunate to make any money from skateboarding. Not everybody has the privilege to make money doing what they love to do.
What’s the deal with your hair? How is it so stiff? My hair sucks, haha. I'm hyped it's long enough to tie in a bun. It's way easier to deal with in the heat when you have it tied up than wearing a hat. Wearing a beanie or hat while skating in Arizona can make you really sweaty.
You rocked a pretty thick dad goatee for a while as well. Do you think that shaving it off has helped your skateboard career?I never shaved it off, I just grew a regular beard, haha. I think that growing the beard made me look like less of a weirdo, haha.
Let’s get away from these hairy questions because I need to know something very serious. Who is your favorite dude in the Pyramid Country squad to roast? Also who is most likely to roast you?My favorite person to roast is probably Aric Blattner because he's usually trying to roast me. For the most part, I probably get roasted the most out of the whole squad though, haha. Kevin Skutnik also roasts me pretty hard. He's always calling me fat because I never stop eating, haha. It's all in good fun.
In your new part (from Pyramid Country’s "Distant Mind Terrain”) you seemed to be skating a little more technical with lots of ledges and manuals. Where as your last part had a little more jumping. Are you just trying to mix it up for yourself or is that the type of stuff you prefer to be skating?I've been enjoying skating ledges forever, but last couple months I've been hyped on skating over stuff too. I got real hyped on those supreme videos. The pop that those guys have is really impressive to me. As for the jumping, I had a real scary knee blow out about a year ago jumping down a big set. It made me more picky and cautious about the stuff I want to jump down. I'm still really hyped on skating rails, though. Ideally, I want to be able to skate everything.
What’s next for you Kev? Any new projects in the works for Santa Cruz or Pyramid Country?Not sure if I'm supposed to say this, but I'm working on my part for the Santa Cruz full length video that should be out in a couple months. I'm not too sure what we’re doing next for the next Pyramid Country project. We usually just start filming for a couple months before we get a solid idea in our head for what the next video project will be.
If you want to thank anyone, now’s the time.I'd like to thank my parents first. Nothing I have accomplished would have been possible without their endless support. Jackson Casey, Bobby Green, and Jj Horner at Pyramid Country. Andrew Cannon and Nick Matlin at Santa Cruz. Ron Whaley and Cairo Foster at Krux trucks. Jaws at FP insoles. Griffin Collins at Vans. OJ wheels. Gavin Denike at Bronson bearings and Mob grip tape. FA skate shop. JD Palmer, Big Jimmys Pizza, Coors light, Antonio Milan, Pete Grannis, my foam roller, You (Matt Price), and anyone/ anything else I'm spacing on.