Pro Q&A with Stephen Murray

I was in Riverside this summer and it was 104 degrees at Real Ride. I know you’re from England and it’s pretty cold there most of the time; how long did it take you to adapt to the SoCal climate? Where do you ride when it gets really hot in Riverside?--Adam Schneider

Hey Adam, it took me about five minutes to get used to the sunshine; I’m into it. In the summer, we still ride in Riverside, but it’s either a really early session before it heats up or we ride from late afternoon into the evening. I know they say mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, but Moeller’s always at work and even I’m not that dumb.--Stephen

How do you feel about backies?--Mike and Matt, Queensland, Australia

If you mean backflips, I like them. When you do a good one and you land smooth and keep going, it always feels good. Now that I’ve done a lot of them, I like them in the same way I like 360s. If you mean giving someone a backie and letting them stand on your rear pegs while you ride them somewhere, that’s pretty good too, but only if it’s you standing on the pegs.--Stephen

I heard that you are going to be a counselor/trainer for a summer camp at some skatepark in Southern California; is that true? How do I find more information about it? Thanks.--Mike

Good question, Mike. The skatepark you’re talking about is Real Ride in Lake Perris, which is my local park. Mark at Real Ride wants to have some kind of summer camp where the kids can come and ride for a week and get help and advice from pros and very experienced riders. I will be around quite a lot while those camps are going on, but I may not be able to go all the time because of contests and other commitments. It won’t matter though, because there are so many good riders in this area that whoever is chosen to be a trainer/counselor will be someone who knows what they are talking about. For more information, go to www.realridesk8park.com or call them; they’ll be sure to give you any info you need. Maybe I’ll even see you there. Thanks for writing.--Stephen

Turndown transfer. credit: Keith Mulligan

Will you be riding at the UGP Roots Jam this year?--Kristen

I’m not sure if I’ll enter this year, but last year I had a blast. I’m not really sure how many street/park contests I’m going to enter this year but if I do, I’m sure Roots will be one of them. Thanks for the question, Kristen; hopefully I’ll see you there.--Stephen

Why did you take your pegs off? Do you do any pegless technical stuff (pedal tricks etc)? What do you think of pegless riding becoming more of a trend than a function?--Harry Sachz, Queensland

I’m not sure if you’re talking about the two times I rode pegs at Birmingham Skatepark in the mid ’90s or if you’re mixing me up with someone else. The only other time I’ve had a peg on my bike was a clothes peg on my chainstay that held a playing card in place so my bike sounded like it had a motor on it. Seriously though, I have done some pedal grinds and stalls when I’ve been riding skateparks, but not a whole bunch. As for it being a trend or a function, I just think that as long as people are riding what they really want to ride instead of what they think they should ride, then it doesn’t matter what set-up you’ve got. If you want to ride four pegs, two brakes, and four-piece bars, then it doesn’t matter what anyone says. The same goes for riding no brakes or using a chest protector. It’s up to you, just do what you want and don’t listen to what anybody says if they’re telling you to change. Thanks for writing, Harry; you do what you want.--Stephen

I was wondering where your favourite places to ride in England are? Do you like the Worcester ramps that are desned, built, and run by riders for riders and skaters alike?--Andy, Worcester

When I’m in England, I mostly ride Jay Alliano’s trails and yes, Worcester Skatepark. Jay’s yard was my local spot before I came to America. My brother, Scott Edgworth, Jay, and I built the trails, so they were pretty much what we wanted. Also, your local spot is always the best because you know the place so well and you get to ride and hang out with your friends. Worcester park is good because it’s super close to my brother’s house and, like you say, it’s built and run by riders, so you’re giving your money to them and they put it back into the park. That’s better than giving your money to a faceless park owner who’s just in it for the money.--Stephen

Are you still living with Nasty? When are you and Nasty coming to Sweden and riding some dirt? Are you scared when you jump a new jump? Do you have any tattoos?-- No name given

I’ve got my own house now and Nasty sold his, but we’re still cool. Cory’s one of my best freinds. As for us coming to Sweden, I don’t know. With the calender being so busy, it’s tough to go somewhere just to ride, but if there’s a big comp in Sweden and we’re invited then I’m sure we’ll be there. As for tattoos, I haven’t got any--Nasty’s got enough for both of us. With new jumps, it depends on how gnarly they are. First time through a section, I like to follow someone who’s local because they know exactly how fast to hit it.--Stephen

A tale of two tables. This one’s on the Snap Magazine road trip in 2000... credit: Keith Mulligan

So what bike are you riding at the moment? When are you coming back to England?--Rob, London

After I split with Nirve, I got a Fit Brian Foster, but it felt a little long because I’ve always had quite a small set-up. So I got the original Fit Series 1 and I liked it a lot. Now I’m just waiting for my GT, which they are making for me; I’m really looking forward to getting it. As for coming back to England, I’m actually flying back at the end of February to see my family and friends, but I probably won’t ride that much because there are so many people I want to catch up with. I always like to make it back for the Urban Games and I’d like to hit the Backyard Jam and the bike shows. With the Worlds being in Cologne, I’d like to go back again because last time was so much fun. Every time I come back to contests in Europe, I always have a good time. Maybe I’ll see you at the Urban Games; thanks for the questions, Rob.--Stephen

Could you give me a few pointers on how to do 360 turndowns? Every time I try, it messes up my rotation. Thanks man, you’re the best.--Jonathon Zizzo

Thanks, Jon. I think that for 360 turndowns, you want to be really comfortable with both tricks before you put them together. You want to imagine that at the 180 point, you want to be fully clicked and facing the takeoff in the same way you’d face the landing if you were just doing a straight one. Try to snap into the turndown on the first 180 and out on the second. The best thing you could do is look for a photo or some video footage of Doyle doing one, because that’s exactly how they should be done.--Stephen

What’s going through your head when you are in the middle of a double flip? How do you get mentally prepared to do one?--Zach Parker

There’s not a whole lot of thought going on when I’m doing a double flip. I’m just trying to concentrate on staying in a tight ball instead of looking for the landing and getting into a scorpion flip. It’s weird, because your brain is telling you to do something that you musn’t do. Also, I guess I’m just hoping that I don’t see the landing too early or too late, because over-rotating is just as dangerous as under-rotating. The mental preparation starts way before the contest. The more I do into foam and the more comfortable I feel with them gets me mentally prepared to fire one out on dirt. When it actually comes to doing one, I just try to focus on exactly what I’m doing. My dad taught me really early on that focus, commitment, and perseverance could make almost anything possible. Thanks for writing in, Zach.--Stephen

You’re an awesome rider. How did you learn tricks like 360 flips and turndown flips? Have you broken anything trying them?--James Hunt

Thanks for the compliment, James. I already had regular flips dialed, then I tried turndown flips into foam. As soon as I tried them I knew I’d be able to do them on dirt. The 360 flip took a while to figure out; I probably did between 50 and 100 into foam before I tried my first one on dirt. As for getting hurt, in 2000 I broke seven bones in five crashes. Luckily, I haven’t broken anything since then.--Stephen

Did you ever get that laser eye surgery mess sorted out?--No name given

I had a few problems after the initial surgery, but everything’s good now. It was pretty scary for a while because my eyeball swelled up on one side and the doctors didn’t seem to know why. They eventually made a diagnosis and I took medicine to fix it. Luckily, it sorted itself out and I didn’t need another surgery. It was all worth it, because I was as blind as a bat before I had it fixed.--Stephen

...and this one is in Nasty’s old back yard in 2002. credit: Keith Mulligan

What is/was the hardest dirt course you ever competed on? What was the hardest contest you were ever in? How long have you been riding? What are some of your other hobbies? What encouraged you to get started? Sorry for all the questions.--Psycho

You don’t have to apologize for all the questions, especially if you really are psycho, Psycho. Regarding the hardest dirt course question, I’m not exactly sure what you mean. If you mean most difficult, there were some contests I did back in England and Europe where the jumps were hard to get through, just because the jumps weren’t working or they were wet or just weren’t good. If you mean the most technical, then the Gravity Games courses--especially the one in Rhode Island in 2001--are good. That course had transfers and hips as well as some of the biggest sets I’ve ever ridden at a comp. As for the hardest contest, I think that if you look at the finals of X Games, Gravity Games, and Vans Triple Crowns, all those riders are just unbelievably good. I think at the X Games and the Gravity Games, if you had a final with the ten riders that didn’t qualify, you’d still have some of the best dirt jumpers in the world riding. I’ve been riding since I was two, so somewhere around 21-22 years. Hobbies...I like to snowboard in the winter whenever I get the chance. My encouragement when I started came from my family, especially my mum and dad and my brother, and the fact that all I wanted to do was ride and race my bike. When I got into dirt jumping it was the same, along with just riding with my friends who were also into it. I just always knew that I wanted to ride BMX.--Stephen

How important is originality to you?--Roger Lowe, San Diego

I think that for contests, it’s good to do something that’s brand new or something that nobody else does, but with the level of dirt-jump contest riders now, those tricks are going to have to be so hard that you’re not going to want to fire them out every session. My favourite tricks are the ones that people have always done like tables, turndowns, and x-ups; when I ride trails, I like to do those tricks that feel really good when you do them well. Whust as dangerous as under-rotating. The mental preparation starts way before the contest. The more I do into foam and the more comfortable I feel with them gets me mentally prepared to fire one out on dirt. When it actually comes to doing one, I just try to focus on exactly what I’m doing. My dad taught me really early on that focus, commitment, and perseverance could make almost anything possible. Thanks for writing in, Zach.--Stephen

You’re an awesome rider. How did you learn tricks like 360 flips and turndown flips? Have you broken anything trying them?--James Hunt

Thanks for the compliment, James. I already had regular flips dialed, then I tried turndown flips into foam. As soon as I tried them I knew I’d be able to do them on dirt. The 360 flip took a while to figure out; I probably did between 50 and 100 into foam before I tried my first one on dirt. As for getting hurt, in 2000 I broke seven bones in five crashes. Luckily, I haven’t broken anything since then.--Stephen

Did you ever get that laser eye surgery mess sorted out?--No name given

I had a few problems after the initial surgery, but everything’s good now. It was pretty scary for a while because my eyeball swelled up on one side and the doctors didn’t seem to know why. They eventually made a diagnosis and I took medicine to fix it. Luckily, it sorted itself out and I didn’t need another surgery. It was all worth it, because I was as blind as a bat before I had it fixed.--Stephen

What is/was the hardest dirt course you ever competed on? What was the hardest contest you were ever in? How long have you been riding? What are some of your other hobbies? What encouraged you to get started? Sorry for all the questions.--Psycho

You don’t have to apologize for all the questions, especially if you really are psycho, Psycho. Regarding the hardest dirt course question, I’m not exactly sure what you mean. If you mean most difficult, there were some contests I did back in England and Europe where the jumps were hard to get through, just because the jumps weren’t working or they were wet or just weren’t good. If you mean the most technical, then the Gravity Games courses--especially the one in Rhode Island in 2001--are good. That course had transfers and hips as well as some of the biggest sets I’ve ever ridden at a comp. As for the hardest contest, I think that if you look at the finals of X Games, Gravity Games, and Vans Triple Crowns, all those riders are just unbelievably good. I think at the X Games and the Gravity Games, if you had a final with the ten riders that didn’t qualify, you’d still have some of the best dirt jumpers in the world riding. I’ve been riding since I was two, so somewhere around 21-22 years. Hobbies...I like to snowboard in the winter whenever I get the chance. My encouragement when I started came from my family, especially my mum and dad and my brother, and the fact that all I wanted to do was ride and race my bike. When I got into dirt jumping it was the same, along with just riding with my friends who were also into it. I just always knew that I wanted to ride BMX.--Stephen

How important is originality to you?--Roger Lowe, San Diego

I think that for contests, it’s good to do something that’s brand new or something that nobody else does, but with the level of dirt-jump contest riders now, those tricks are going to have to be so hard that you’re not going to want to fire them out every session. My favourite tricks are the ones that people have always done like tables, turndowns, and x-ups; when I ride trails, I like to do those tricks that feel really good when you do them well. When I do a 360 variation or a flip variation, it’s going to be a variation that I like the style of when I do it straight. I’m not going to learn something in a flip or a 360 if it’s ugly, even if it was supposed to be the latest and greatest style or because it would be the first one ever. The only exception would be nac-nac 360s, because Troy McMurray does them and they look good. Nac-nacs are cool again, and they look good, don’t they?--Stephen

You’re the best dirt jumper; your tricks are unbelievable. I was wondering why I don’t see you doing tailwhips? Thanks--Trevor Dunn, River Falls, Wisconsin

I have done a few tailwhips at contests, but they took me a long time to learn and I’ve only recently gotten consistent at them. Last year was the first time I tailwhipped mid-section and carried on; I’d like to do that at contests but until now, I would have only done them as my last trick in the section or as my last jump. I felt I had better variations that I was more consistent at landing, so I did those. Riding at home during the week, I like to do at least one every time I go riding, but only my friends really see them. There are some really good tailwhip variations that are possible that I’d like to learn, so hopefully you’ll get to see some this year, Trevor. Thanks for the letter.--Stephen

Why don’t you ride pegs? I know you’re a dirt jumper and everything but I’ve seen what you’re able to do on street. Why don’t you ride both?--Ilija, Trafford Pennsylvania

I like to ride everything, but I love riding dirt. There are already a thousand things that I want to learn without pegs on my bike, so it’s not as if I need to put pegs on to give me more stuff to do. I guess having no pegs on my bike is just my style.--Stephen. When I do a 360 variation or a flip variation, it’s going to be a variation that I like the style of when I do it straight. I’m not going to learn something in a flip or a 360 if it’s ugly, even if it was supposed to be the latest and greatest style or because it would be the first one ever. The only exception would be nac-nac 360s, because Troy McMurray does them and they look good. Nac-nacs are cool again, and they look good, don’t they?--Stephen

You’re the best dirt jumper; your tricks are unbelievable. I was wondering why I don’t see you doing tailwhips? Thanks--Trevor Dunn, River Falls, Wisconsin

I have done a few tailwhips at contests, but they took me a long time to learn and I’ve only recently gotten consistent at them. Last year was the first time I tailwhipped mid-section and carried on; I’d like to do that at contests but until now, I would have only done them as my last trick in the section or as my last jump. I felt I had better variations that I was more consistent at landing, so I did those. Riding at home during the week, I like to do at least one every time I go riding, but only my friends really see them. There are some really good tailwhip variations that are possible that I’d like to learn, so hopefully you’ll get to see some this year, Trevor. Thanks for the letter.--Stephen

Why don’t you ride pegs? I know you’re a dirt jumper and everything but I’ve seen what you’re able to do on street. Why don’t you ride both?--Ilija, Trafford Pennsylvania

I like to ride everything, but I love riding dirt. There are already a thousand things that I want to learn without pegs on my bike, so it’s not as if I need to put pegs on to give me more stuff to do. I guess having no pegs on my bike is just my style.--Stephen