Welcome to another week of Comacan questions, thanks for choosing to check this out, whether you check them out all the time, occasionally or for the first time, we appreciate it and were so proud to share these stories. This week we spoke with a guest that has been on our list since its very creation, a guest we knew we wanted to ask about his experiences and how he sees skateboarding. This guest is another skateboarder we’ve had the pleasure of skateboarding with and enjoying conversation with for years. On behalf of Comacan and I’m sure every skateboarder that has met him out there, our guest this week is one of the most down to earth, multi-talented and friendly skateboarders out there. We are so very proud to share an interview this week with Ryan Brown, aka The Skateboard Philosopher.
How long have you been skateboarding?
35 years and counting!
How long did you ride professionally and for who?
I’ve always referred to myself as a blue-collar Pro. I didn’t have a pro shoe or skateboard that I earned royalties off of, rather I spent 20 years touring with a company out of Toronto called RDP design. They had a number of travel ramps including a vert ramp. We would spend eight months a year travelling through Canada and the United States performing shows and I was paid per day for my performances. If you were smart with your money, it would be enough to carry you through the rest of the year. During that time, I always had sponsors that were flowing me free product such as: Etnies shoes, Recs shoes, Downtown Skateboards, Axis Skateboards, Furious Styles clothing and a number of other small brands.
What is your favorite memory on a skateboard?
I would say most of my favourite memories come from my years of touring, meeting new people, and performing. Competing in Vancouver’s Slam City Jam back in 1999 against the top Pros in the world was certainly a highlight. Creating the Ontario skatepark tour YouTube series and travelling to new parks over the last three years has certainly been a highlight, but I would say I’m continuing to make favourite memories!
What is your favourite skateboard trick?
Although simple at its core the manual is one of the best skateboard tricks out there. You don’t even have to know how to ollie to begin learning manuals and there’s just something about balancing on two wheels that just feels great! Even throughout my time being injured with knee issues over the last couple of years I’ve always been able to enjoy a long, fast manual.
What is your favourite park?
I’ve been to so many skateparks since my wife and I bought our camper van and began travelling throughout the year. I would say overall Florida has some of the best skate parks and Team Pain skateparks make the best ones that I have ridden. I’ll have to list a few skate parks since I can’t pick just one. Here in Ontario: Waterdown for sure as it’s my home park, but there are so many great ones including: Bracebridge, Frankford, Stratford, Cannington, Ashbridges and Picton.
Where does the nickname Skateboard Philosopher come from?
I actually have a huge love of philosophy and studying it over the last decade has really changed my outlook on life in general. As skateboarders we tend to have a different mindset or philosophy from much of the general public. The skateboard philosopher originally started as a blog, and it was my take on life through the lens of skateboarding.
Any advice to skateboarders just starting out?
Yeah enjoy the process. I feel like with the culture we’re all living in today the journey is always about the end and many young skateboarders start out already dreaming about being pro. The reality is most skateboarders will never turn professional and the reason we all skate is because we love the sport and the camaraderie it brings. Don’t feel like you need to be at a certain proficiency or know a certain number of tricks to enjoy skateboarding. Skateboarding is fun and challenging at all levels. Skateboarding is also about individuality so developing your own style and trick library it’s better than trying to copy everyone else! Be unique and enjoy every minute you have on your skateboard.
Are you involved in any other projects?
Currently I’m going into season 4 of the Ontario Skate Park Tour series on my YouTube channel. From what I have planned this should be my last season as I will have documented nearly every skatepark in Ontario through my videos. Throughout the years I’ve assisted in skateboarding as much as I can from running my own free outdoor skatepark, producing True Motion Video Magazine to try and help young amateurs get noticed and generally helped to push the sport and other skateboarders in a positive direction. At this point I leave a lot of this to the younger generations. All my other projects now our musical. I’ve been a hobbyist musician for more than 25 years and as my body begins to wear down, I find myself gravitating more towards music projects.
What does skateboarding mean to you?
Skateboarding really means everything to me. It’s been the driving influence behind my life for more than 35 years. It’s shaped everything from my style to my personality. Nearly all my close friendships were developed through skateboarding. Even now in my late forties it’s still a huge source of fulfilment in my life. The last five years have been wonderful since purchasing my camper van as I’m at a time in my life where I have both the means and the time to travel and check-out new skateparks. Skateboarding is not only exercise but a form of meditation. When I’m skateboarding, I’m in the moment and nothing else can affect me. It’s my outlet for stress relief and something I look forward to that keeps me motivated to stay healthy. Skateboarding is life.
Anyone you’d like to thank?
My parents helped so much when I was younger by taking me to skate parks and even helping me build my own mini ramp in the backyard. They endured countless weekends with a backyard full of skateboarders and we’re always supportive. All my sponsors over the years, especially Joe Wing from Sud Skates. And of course, now my wife Christine for being so supportive and always willing to stop at a skatepark on one of our road trips.