Brad Simms has been traversing around the world on a solo mission for the majority of this year. Aside from a few weeks on American soil, he's been skipping around Europe lately, which is where we caught up with him.
While most tourists have their photo taken in front of this temple with a silly smile on their face, Brad opts for a raditude fortified hang-5 instead. Photo: Toma
So where are you right now?
Poland. [I] was in Krakow, now I'm in Poznan.
What's it like?
It's awesome! Nice people, good food, cool spots to ride.
I figure it would be really cold. Have you been riding much?
I was until three days ago. It just got really cold here.
Have you finding stuff on your own, or do you have locals showing you around?
Locals show me around. In each country I go to I meet up with locals. Everyone is nice and they take me in like I am a family member.
How do you go about meeting the locals in the first place?
Some of them I meet on previous international contest trips, but a lot of them are from MySpace.
I’m assuming they speak English?
Yeah, some better then others.
Are you picking up any Polish?
Not really, I knew a few words before I got here.
You learned what to say to girls, right?
(Laughter) Of course.
Are there really as many hot girls out there as they say?
Holy sh-t! Yes. Belgrade, Serbia is ridiculous. Every country has beautiful women, but some just have more then others. Everywhere you turn your head in Serbia, there is your dream girl.
The commute into town from this mountain retreat has gotta be a drag. Photo: Brad Simms
Damn! So where else have you been on your European vacation?
Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, and Poland. [I've] got four more to go to before I fly back on the 5th [December].
Where else will you be going to?
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, and France.
Do you have connects in all of those countries?
Yeah, except Slovakia, but I am going to just go to Bratislava for a few hours and then head straight to another country.
Which has been your favorite country so far?
I don't have a favorite.
Brad blasts some big air somewhere in Greece. Photo: Mike Potter
Tell me about the spots.
Spots are everywhere. Sofia, Bulgaria has a ton in a 15-minute radius—you ride 20 completely different spots. Some places have spots, but they're spread out. Each country is really unique.
Spots are different, rails are different. The spots differ like the women—some fat some slim (laughter).
(Laughter) So a lot of rails, did you find a second Barcelona of Eastern Europe?
I don't know, I haven't been to Barcelona yet, but I hear the Ukraine is flooded with a lot of good sh-t, and Vinlus, Lithuania.
So tell me about the riders, what are they like?
Greece and Hungary have some insane park riders, but I don't really remember all of there names.
You told me once that a lot of the girls over there don't see black guys too often.
Being a black man in Eastern Europe is the craziest thing ever. Imagine walking down the street or in a club and gorgeous women starring at you like you’re a superstar.
Everyday for me, baby!
(Laughter) Trust me, Z, I know you're a handsome young man and all, but you have no idea what I'm talking about out here (laughter).
I know. I really have no idea about those ladies. Do people give you sh-t for being American, because of our terrible international relations?
I've only had one person act really weird to us and it was these two wanna-be Jamaican girls in England that tried to clown Nate and I for being American.
Yeah, it was weird.
How was it weird?
We were kind of dancing with them and they asked where we were from and we when we told them that we were American they rolled their eyes and said, "Oh please, America…"
That doesn't sound too weird to me.
It's hard to explain. You'd have to be there. Basically, they quit talking to us because we were American.
Brad flipped out once he reached Hungary. Photo: Danny Kralik
What are you going to do once you've run out of European countries to visit?
That's easy. In mid January I am going back to South America to visit three new countries on my list, Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay. And the famous Macchu Picchu in Peru. I definitely need to explore more of Africa and Asia, too.
Have you ever considered bringing a filmer with you and filming an entire section from your travels, with zero clips on American soil?
Yeah, I've thought about it a hundred times, but the thing with that is, who is going to pay for the filmer? Not too many companies like shelling out money for someone who is not apart of their team. Yeah, they're helping them out, but it's still a whole different ball game.
Damn economics… So in all of your travels, what do you think is the most valuable lesson you've learned?
America has it great! And even with all the sh-t wrong in the country, we are very fortunate. But at the same time, there is vast beauty that can be seen, that money can't buy—breathtaking landscapes that the poor and rich alike can enjoy. There are places people should go before they die because they are that amazing—and some of these places are not at all wealthy. There are great people throughout the world with great things to offer and teach us. As much as there are scumbags everywhere, good people do exist and there is nothing like the journey to find all of that out for yourself.
Turndown in Hungary. Photo: Danny Kralik