The Friday Interview: Gary Young

Age: 28
Location: San Diego, California
Sponsors: Vans, Arma Energy, Odyssey, Sunday, Spy, Protec, Forgiven

It’s no secret that Gary Young has his act together. He has an incessant smile on his face, is a blast to be around, leads a clean and healthy lifestyle, and oh yeah, absolutely kills it on a bike. With Gary being a father to be, picking up new sponsors and maintaining relationships with the sponsors he’s had for years, I set on down the I5 to San Diego for a couple of days of shooting with not only a SD legend, but a legend to BMX in general. The two days we spent together may have been more brief than previous projects we’ve worked on together, but were no less productive by any means. 

One of the key traits I have always observed and admired in Gary is his ability to exist comfortably and contently in the swirl of life around him. Whether it’s major lifestyle changes, the zoo that a Dew Tour course can often be, or existing in an industry where partying almost seems to be part of the job description for many, Gary has consistently stuck to his guns and done his own thing-keeping a smile on his face the entire time.

Gary blasts an opposite one footed table in Stockholm, Sweden just days after exploring the city of Tallinn. (Photo: Brady)

It’s well known you’re about to be a father-are you excited?
We’re six months along right now. It’s going to be our first. Sarah and I are super pumped. We’ve been working on it for a while now, practicing, you know? [Laughter]. Yeah, baby girl on the way. Super excited. Found a new place to live and I dunno...times are a changin’. The horizon looks good.

I also hear you just bought a house.
I’m in the process of buying a house. Lived in a condo for the last...God, since the Hanford House. So I’m just tired of sharing walls, I need a know, guy stuff...[Laughter]...things men do.

I hear it’s got a bit of a backyard. Are you going to go the adult route with it, or let the kid in you fly and build a ramp?
There’s not a whole lot of room for a ramp. It’s pretty nice backyard. It’s not very big, but there’s a jacuzzi and it’s a covered patio that goes pretty much to the fence, so there’s not a whole ton of room. But, it’s near a school that I grew up riding so I’ll probably just ride there, just because it’s where I learned to ride.

Gary did five laps around this setup and laid down five perfect moves in a row. The nosewheelie was the final trick of the session and day. (Photo: Brady)

Will you be at the Simple Session next weekend?
Yes, Simple my ticket, thanks to Vans. Dude, it’s going to be crazy. I’m pretty excited the contest is happening later and I went with Jim (Cielencki) in the summertime and Estonia is such an awesome place to explore when the weather’s nice, So I wanna do a little more of that.

Have you seen the course? What do you think about it?
Yeah, course looks good, a good combo of park and bowls and street and that’s what I like. I don’t like riding just one thing, I’m more into keeping it fresh and doing different stuff in different places.

So in that regard, how do you still keep it fresh? What gives you that drive to keep coming back for more after doing it for so long?
Man, what gives me that hype? [Pauses, thinks] Hmm...landing smooth. Landing smooth gets me pumped!  Like, whenever you can find the super pump and pull back and go high and that doesn’t get old ever. Beyond that, just progressing, just learning new stuff for’s always just like...a mission. It’s an experience that I don’t ever want to let go of.

And progression’s not like “oh, I put another tailwhip in a spin...” I like being progressive in all aspects of riding your bike...I love when you get on your bike and it’s can just feel everything and it becomes an extension of yourself. It’s always what I’ve tried to progress towards.

You don’t blast this high mid line without buttery smooth riding. Gary, Memorial Park table. (Photo: Brady)

What have you been learning lately on your bike?
I’ve been messing with oppo bar stuff a bit uprail to oppo bar, oppo trucks...I started messing around with an Adam Baker maneuver, the oppo truck to lookback...that one’s pretty sweet. Right now my brakes aren’t on. Normally I’m running a straight cable so I’m learning barspins both ways and it’s been a challenge. Like, I learned them when I was fourteen and i’ve been redoing them and relearning it. It’s crazy when you have to relearn a trick, it’s like, “Ugh!  This used to be easy, and I should know how to do this! There’s a bit of an ego to it cause in your head, you’re like, “oh, I got this” and then when it’s hard, it’s like, “oh come on man, really?! I’ve done this before!” It’s humbling.

Double peg to hopover. (Photo: Fudger)

Are you riding Dew Tour this year?
Yeah. Actually Dennis, Chad, myself and a bunch of dudes went to a Dew Tour meeting. they’re basically having one event for each dirt, one park, adding street in this year, and they’re talking about some slopestyle kind of course, something along the lines of Empire of Dirt but without the dirt? Maybe like the MTV thing back in the day where they went downhill? That could be super sweet. I think there’s only two seems like they want to do them better. It’s not gonna be Texas Toast but it’ll be fun. It’s a big contest and those are unique in their own way of, “you have to figure out how to have fun doing this.”

So how do you keep it fun?
When I look at a course, I look for speed. Like, there’s speed in this area, there’s speed over’s like a maze for me. That’s always been one of my favorite parts of riding-finding lines is a motivating factor for me. I don’t know why, but it’s super fun to me. Just finding different ways of riding one obstacle is way more exciting to me.

You were recently on the Odyssey Palm Springs trip (which you can read about in our latest issue). Everyone that I’ve talked to has ranted and raved about it-do you want to briefly touch on that?
Dude...Odyssey has a pretty huge team and everyone shreds. It was an absolute pleasure to go and spend a week out there with some of the raddest dudes. We got to have the raddest nights...we were all cooking really did bring the team together on another level. It was sweet. Just getting to know people you’ve met and seen in a magazines that you’ve seen but don’t necessarily just brought the team together. It’s awesome that Odyssey put something like that together.

Gary blasts a monster walltap out of a quarter on the Odyssey Palm Springs trip. (Photo: Mulligan)

As far as Odyssey goes, you’ve been running their stuff for what feels like forever. At least since I got into riding and started seeing you in magazines. How long has it exactly been and would you like to comment on your history with Odyssey?, when I was in high school, probably like 11 years ago, I was riding for Dirt Bros...and Vic was on Odyssey and Vans and just put it in their ear, like, “you gotta hook up this kid Gary,” and I was just really fortunate and have had a lasting relationship with them throughout the years. As far as on the pro team...I would say this is probably gonna be coming up on my 10th year on Odyssey and about the same for Vans.

You also have Sunday as a frame sponsor and even have a line of complete bikes, which is something that you and teammate Aaron Ross only have. What does that feel like?
It’s a trip. it’s rad because Sunday...Sunday’s so cool about just letting you run with ideas that you have. And it kinda works for everyone on the team. Everyone makes it their own deal. We’ve got the Trail Squad dudes that kill it, and Aaron’s just Aaron. Everyone just makes it its own thing and it’s super motivating and awesome to be a part of.

As far as I go, as far as designing stickers and all of that, that sometimes gets a bit challenging...I’m very thankful that I have Jim Bauer to fall back on and be like, “hey man, what do you think of this?” And sometimes he’ll be like “oh, that’s sweet” and other times he’s like, “oh, well that’s cool, but why don’t you look at this over there.” We’re super good about bouncing ideas off of each other and it’s a really positive relationship.

You just picked up Spy as an eyewear sponsor. What is that deal all about?
Spy has been in BMX for a while now and then they were they’re starting their team back up. It’s me and Eric L (Lichtenberger)...we’re like super teammates [laughter]...Vans, Sunday, Odyssey, Spy...we’ve travelled a bunch together, he’s super chill. Who else...Bohan’s on...Brandon Dosch...just kind of a crew of dudes that have their own style going on and do their own deals and it’s pretty fun. I think good stuff will be happening with Spy in the future.

Anything else exciting coming up ahead?
The times, they are a changin’. Between baby...filming trips...I’m working on a Sunday part, we’re doing a web series that we plan on releasing as a free DVD at the end of the year with a couple extra bangers thrown in there. It’s gonna be a good year-finishing up some projects and starting new ones.

Two classics: Gary Young steezing out a toothpick stall at the famous Home Ave ditch. (Photo: Brady)

Any last words, shootouts, thanks…
Big thanks to sponsors for letting me be able to live out my dream...Vans, Arma, Odyssey, Sunday, Spy, Protec, Forgiven...that’s a sweet list. I’m real psyched that I can look at my list of sponsors and be like, “damn, I’m pumped to represent these dudes.” So thanks dudes, I appreciate it! Thanks to my loving wife, for putting up with me and letting me travel the world and come back.  And thanks to Ride for just being you guys are sweet!