It’s been awhile since we’ve done one of these introductions… we’re proud to welcome the Gnarmads into the NYSB family! Gnarmads will have their own exclusive column on NY Skateboarding.com covering anything and everything they feel is interesting. On and off the board, these guys rip and experience life with no boundaries! We sat with founding Gnarmads Bogdan Dzyurak and Matt Kruszelnicki to share some stories and learn how they got started.
Q. For everyone out there who hasn’t heard of the Gnarmads, tell us a little about who’s involved and what the Gnarmads are all about.
BOGDAN: Gnarmads started off as a joke between Matt and I back in 2012. Since then through that name, we were able to cycle up and down the East Coast as well as across the United States to San Francisco. We’ve also been able to set up tons of different events, from skate contests to art shows all around NYC, trying to get as many locals involved as possible. We don’t just work with certain people, we make sure to include and collaborate with anyone that’s pushing the scene forward and wants to get involved.
MATT: Gnarmads are a community of skaters, travelers, cyclists, artists, explorers, snowboarders, musicians… overall life enthusiasts. Anyone and everyone who has that internal drive to get out there and experience life openly and with optimism; to create something that’s your own, to connect with others and give back, and to follow your passion while sharing it with the world.
Q. Growing up in BK, how did you guys get introduced to skateboarding and who were some of your main influences?
BOGDAN: I picked up a skateboard when I was about 11 from my cousin. Ever since then I have not been able to put that piece of wood down. For the first few years, I would just skate in front of my house and the local school yard, which is where I met Matt. Coincidentally, across the street from me lived Peter Pabón, who after a few months of watching my progression began giving me all his hand-me-downs. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have been able to continue skating if it wasn’t for him. After a year of getting to know each other, he moved away, and I didn’t see him until 7 years later when we were starting Tre Truck.
MATT: I was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents and introduced to skateboarding by a neighbor’s son. He would skate downstairs and always let me try it, soon he started leaving the board outside his door for me. He was getting into rollerblading, which made him skate less and allowed me to skate more. Finally he just gifted it to me (as much as we all talk shit on fruitbooters, if it weren’t for his rollerblading I probably wouldn’t be skateboarding). Soon after, I met Bogdan on my block at the Pershing Schoolyard. We were playing basketball, and noticed we both had skate shoes on. I think mine were actually Andy Mac’s pro model from Payless, haha!
Q. What were some of your first skate vids that made an impression on you and why?
BOGDAN: Growing up I was a huge fan of Alphabet City, the ABC skate shop video. It was awesome watching dudes crushing NYC in ways I couldn’t comprehend yet. I was also watching Vicious Cycle religiously! Zered’s part… that’s all I have to say. Lurkers 2 was another awesome video. Ted’s switch bs flip up the Union Square 4 was a mind bender to me… Lurker Lou crushed it as well!
MATT: I remember growing up with the worst dial-up, and trying to watch skate clips or get videos. All of the videos I saw growing up were awesome! It’s one thing to look at magazines or videos, but physically seeing skating in person is always more impressionable. Like when we met Henry WuWong around 2004. The two of us were skating over a sideways cone when a little boy asked us if his ‘friend’ could try our board. Turns out it wasn’t his friend, Henry didn’t speak English and needed a translator. We handed him a board and he stands the cone straight up, pushes down the block and pops right over it. I’ve never seen a leveled ollie at that height before in real life!
Q. You guys have biked across the United States for almost a year, organized events and facilitated DIY builds. You also just came back from skating Cuba… tell us about some of those experiences.
BOGDAN: Wow… there are so many amazing stories. The best way to hear them all is to stay tuned, as we’ll continue putting out little recaps of all relevant stories. But here’s a little sample… One day while biking down a lonesome road through the middle of nowhere in Texas, Bogdan spotted what looked like two full water bottles on the side of the road. When he stopped to pick them up, not only did he realize the bottles were full, but they both had a message: “Welcome to Texas GNARMADS” and “hope you enjoy your trip GNARMADS”. Where did they come from? We may never know.
Riding down the never ending road, l looked down to notice what looked like 2 brand new water bottles on the side of the road with some writing on them. When I stopped and examined, the bottles read, "welcome to Texas gnarmads" and " have a safe trip gnarmads" god bless the #southernhospitality in #Texas #gnarmAds #nyctosf #awesomeunknown
MATT: All of those experiences seem like their own individual lifetime. It all started with an overzealous bike ride to Philadelphia for Bum Rush the Spot. We threw a couple parties and left New York at 4am, made it there after riding almost 20 hours. We slept in the Tre Truck that met us there, and the following morning we pulled up to FDR for the first time and witnessed something awesome. There were so many people skating, cleaning, working together and building out another extension to the already unreal park. You could feel and see the power of the skateboard community. That universal brotherhood took our lives on the road for almost three years now, across the entire country and overseas.
Q. What would be some spots to recommend and what advice could you offer anyone thinking about biking across the country?
BOGDAN: Spots to check out all depend on who you are and what you want to get out of the experience. Every single place we visited had something awesome and unique to offer. From awesome skate spots and parks to the chillest bars around, it will all be right in front of you as long as you make the first move and GO!
MATT: If anyone is going on a road trip or wanting to do something, definitely let us know! We have many spots, recommendations, people to connect or stay with, plus we now have overall road life advice. But mainly just put yourself out there with respect, positivity and an open mind to new experiences & situations.
Slab City Skatepark #gnarmads #saltonsea This DIY spot is nestled in the middle of the desert, surrounded by an abandoned city now inhabited by vagrants & vagabonds, a truly off-grid hippy community. #Bark has been living in & maintaining this park for almost ten years now, bring him some beer if you venture out there. Hit us up for directions or find it on @werideskatespots app #barkbarkskatepark #slabcityskatepark #california #liveheavytravellight #thankyouskateboarding
Q. We’re looking forward to having the Gnarmads column on NYSkateboarding. What can people expect to read from you guys?
BOGDAN: A closer look at what’s happening on the streets of New York through the “dwellers’’’ eyes. Tons more contests, art shows and trips to come!
MATT: Stoked to be a part of the NYSB family! Apart from recapping trips and local events, we are going to be like a community board, mostly sharing and shedding light on people or companies who are positively impacting their communities through skateboarding, art, music, etc. We want to further connect peers with one other, encouraging everyone to reach out and share ideas or collaborate on projects and events.
Q. Besides the NYSB stuff, what else does Gnarmads have in plan for the rest of 2015?
BOGDAN: Every day is a new adventure filled with tons of new opportunities. We might have a few things brewing, but you’ll just have to wait and see. 😉
MATT: We’re always brainstorming, but definitely continuing our random assortment of events, contests, art shows, and skate trips.
Q. Any shout outs to your supporters?
GNARMADS: We’ve gotten a lot of support from brands and people throughout our trips and projects. We work with anyone willing to push forward, but always get love from SHUT Skateboards, Mighty Healthy, HUF, Chrome Industries, El Senor, Rockstar Bearings, Volume 4, Metroflect, Canal Wheels, Fortune, Underground Wheels, Amigo Skate, Askate, HHF, Stoked, Pow!! Skateboards, New Breed, SHIT ride, Chari & Co., Tre Truck, KCDC, Homage, Skate Brooklyn and of course NY SKATEBOARDING…If there is anyone left out, sorry – we love you!!