For the next week, a good portion of the newly-formed Kink Am team will be trolling around Southern California in search of some good weather and spots. In that time we’ll be doing some photo galleries, interviews, bike checks, how-to’s, and an edit when it’s all said and done. But, before all that, I figured it’d be a good idea to introduce each of these guys with some words from the Kink TM, Jay Roe….

kink_am_001
Lil’ Jon, tabes for a lack of babes. Sun’s out, clothes off.

Lil' Jon
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Jon was a dude that everyone was psyched on before we even went on our first trip, which was Megatour 6. Micah Kranz vouched for him pretty hard and after Megatour, even though he was with another team, we spent some time with him, saw him ride, and we were all stoked on him. We just kind of went through the rounds with the team and decided it'd be cool to start giving him some stuff. We got him on a trip or two since then and he's been killing it ever since. He's like the punk of the Kink team, but we still put up with him. He's got his own way and his own attitude, but we're all into it. I think he brings an interesting attitude on trips...he's definitely someone everyone is stoked on and he's been doing good things for a while. He doesn't like being called shady [laughs], but we will continue to call him a shady dude. He's not really shady, just a little grimey [laughs]

albert_rough_bank01
Albert rolls in today. From the archives: t-bogs in Philly.

Albert Mercado
San Diego, California
Albert was a vouch from KC Badger and the San Diego dudes. I didn't know Albert until I met him one year at Interbike. We began flowing him some stuff with KC's words, and he's worked out ever since. We brought him to the Northeast--brought him out of San Diego for the first time [laughs]--and he killed it while filming for Safety First. He's just a street kid that does awesome stuff, pushes himself, and he's really easy to travel with--just an easy dude to be on the road with. I'm glad it worked out, because it's always scary when someone vouches for someone you've never met, but Albert just fit right in with the crew. It's been going good...it's hard to get him out of San Diego...he got a new job at Wal-Mart that he's pretty psyched on [laughs]. Albert kills it and I definitely think he's one of the more underrated riders out there right now, hopefully we can see some more of him this year.

kink_am_001
That SoCal glow. Hittle, inverts for miles.

kink_am_001
Berm shot before the cops gave us the boot.

Ben Hittle
Baltimore, Maryland
Hittle. [Laughs] Ben Hittle has been one of my favorite riders since I started riding. It seemed like he's gotten coverage and doing stuff since he was like 13.  Ben has always had a weird look about him, but I've always been stoked on him and it just took some time to give him some Kink stuff before he was done floating around some random companies. I'm glad he's been riding for Kink for a little while now and he's been killing it; getting to film and travel a bunch with Stew Johnson and on some trips with us. I think everyone knows how good Ben Hittle is, but no one has really seen what he can do yet...as much as they should be I think, at least. He's a little awkward to travel with [laughs], he gets on my nerves a lot for some reason, but I think we're all going to see big things out of Ben. It's about time and he's still only 19. He's a goofy motherfucker, though [laughs].

kink_am_007
Boosted d-whip.

kink_am_004
Who said SoCal spots are too clean? Dillon, footjam with onlookers.

Tom Dillon
Rochester, New York
Tom actually grew up a town over from me. He is...Kevin Porter described Tom Dillon as riding like a meat cleaver [laughs]. At the time, we didn't know how true that really was. But, Tom kills it. He's balls out all the time--first run, no matter where we are. He falls on his face every time we ride [laughs]. He's fast, he goes big, he goes high, and he just likes to have fun on his bike and in general, I guess. I basically grew up riding in Rochester watching Tom ride as well. We didn't really become too close until a couple years ago, but shortly after that we decided to start flowing him stuff. Ever since then, he's just been progressing faster and faster. He's been able to get out of Rochester more and more, got the travel bug, and gotten under Lil’ Jon's wing [laughs]. I'd say he's the most normal dude on Kink, if that means anything [laughs]. He's like the wholesome American boy, but he's the goofiest, loosest dude we know. Tom's a complex character at times...

kink_am_001
Lil Dan’s go-to trick, apparently.

kink_am_001
Over/downside-ish ice…

Lil Dan
Rochester, New York
I've known Dan since he was eight years old. He showed up to X Dreams for the first time on a Haro Backtrail...I was possibly on a Haro Shredder at the time [laughs]. I recently put Dan on the Kink Flow team this year, but I decided to throw him on this trip, because James Steele, who will be riding Kink Am this year, has a torn ACL. But, Dan could do lookbacks before he could do anything else, which was really strange to everyone. He's 15 now and he's got the bike control of someone who's been riding for ten years, which, I guess he basically has [laughs]. But, he started super young and I think he's one of those kids that realizes what BMX is all about: what it's like to have fun and just do it because you're into it, not because you want to gain anything out of it. That's super refreshing, and I just think he was brought up well in our scene...even though he was brought up by myself, Twins, and Tony Hamlin [laughs]. Dan is not one of those 15 year old kids that you see these days that can do bunnyhop trucks and double tailwhips out of the womb--he still works for stuff. He's got awesome style even though he's goofy footed [laughs], and he does good stuff. He's really refreshing to watch ride, especially these days when you see a lot of kids try to cram a lot of tricks into one thing. Dan kind of rides the way we all like to see riding be done; he just caters to our style.

Bonus Question: Were there any stipulations or rules to take a 15-year-old across the country?

He is definitely 15. He's missing a little bit of a high school; a semi important week of high school, actually. I tried to bring him on a Road Fools and Props shut it down because of the liability, which is understandable. This was my trip, so I made it happen. I had to talk to his dad a few times on the phone--his parents are super cool by the way, no matter what Dan tells you--but yeah, a few chats with the parents and they're definitely still skeptical. His dad probably wasn't expecting to see me and Tom come straggling into the airport when he knew his kid was going across the country with us. His parents are a little concerned, but I did my best to make them feel comfortable with what we're doing...and they're definitely a little confused on what we even do. But, I think they'll start to realize what kind of thing Dan has going for him, especially when he keeps getting free bike parts and offers to go on road trips...