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Simon O'Brien Interview

Sep 23 2003 / Tuesday

Where are you originally from?

Down under--near Sydney, Australia.

How old are you?
Twenty-three.

How and when did you start riding?
About nine-and-a-half years ago, just from friends. I liked seeing kids on bikes, liked seeing tricks--it was good.

Did you ever ride bowls and street, or just flatland?
I used to jump a bit and rode some street, but I mainly ride flatland these days, because it helps me get around the world [traveling to contests] and it's fun--I like it.

Is this your first time in the U.S.?
It's my second time in the U.S.

Where are your favorite places you've traveled to so far?
Australia, Germany, Scotland and Paris is pretty good.

What about America?
Greenville, North Carolina is not too bad, and Canada's good.

What's been the greatest accomplishment so far in your career?
X Games.

Let's talk about your recent win at the X Games and what you had to do to get there.
I just ride a lot, practice and try to become a good rider. You've got to totally focus mentally and know that you want it.

You won the superbowl of freestyle. How do you feel about Americans sitting on their couch with a bowl of potato chips and a beer watching you on TV?
It's great--that's funny, that's really good.

What are your strengths and weaknesses in riding?
My weaknesses would be consistency, and I don't get to progress as much due to traveling. My strengths would be that when I'm at home, I progress.

Flatland looks like it's gone into another direction completely compared to street, ramps and vert. What do you think about that? What do you personally do to push the sport of flatland?
I try to progress as much as possible. I think there is definitely so many possibilities in flatground with rolling, flipping and flowing, for sure. I think riding and sometimes stumbling across new tricks and sometimes thinking about new tricks is all good. I just ride and try to progress.

Just take flatland in your own direction?
Exactly.

What does it take for the average person to understand what is going on when you ride, when even most of the other professional flatlanders can't understand what you're doing? How can you make people comprehend what you're doing on your bike?
If someone is riding down the street and feeling good on a bike, just pedaling and rolling. It's the same kind of feeling for me--but in a creative, artistic kind of way.

What do you think it'll take to get flatground BMX in the public eye more?
If TV shows would cover it more. I heard 54321 are doing more on it, which is good. Just more coverage, I think. Recently, Alex Joumilen came out with a flatland DVD. I think he displays the sport with a really good image, which definitely helps.

What other sports do you engage in?
I go bodyboarding a lot. Sometimes I like it so much more than riding--it's really fun just to go bodyboarding with my brother. I also listen to music.

What are your planning on doing in the near future?
I'm going to the Metro Jam in Canada, then on a road trip with Nathan Penonzak, then I'll go home and just ride flat and surf. 

Are you going to go to Disneyland first?
No, I dont think so.

I hear it's the happiest place on Earth.
(Laughs)

What about this next Winter, which is Summer for you? What are your plans?
To just go home. I've got to work, and hopefully travel Australia at the start of next year. I'll think about traveling the world again for some contests, then I have to come back to America again for the next X Games, so I'll spend some time here for that.


4 Comments Simon O'Brien Interview

  1. "What do you think it'll take to get flatground BMX in the public eye more?"

    Am I the only person who gets nervous when this question is asked? Time and time again, the general public has done nothing but destroyed the essence, and integrity of nearly every alternative form of creativity.

    Justin
    Posted: 5 years ago,
  2. The most precious thing that flatland riding still has, is its detachment from the world. Similar to Buddhist philosophy, flatland riding provides a sense of meditation and focus. The idea is not to be a circus act, but the pursuit of progression.

    Justin
    Posted: 5 years ago,
  3. Flatland is un-thoughtfully being pushed into the public domain. It's really sad when riders like Terry Adams are shown cutting his lawn while scuffing his front wheel, it's all becoming a circus show, and riders are all becoming clowns.

    Justin
    Posted: 5 years ago,
  4. I can imagine it's difficult being an amazing rider receiving so much attention. But please think less about yourself and more about your integrity and the essence of riding.

    Justin
    Posted: 5 years ago,

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