The Friday Interview! Catching up with Kerry Gatt!
Photos: Sean Parker & Effraim
As I sit here a few weeks after the Red Bull Circle of Balance. My perspective as an older rider maybe very different than he younger generation. The Circle of Balance is a celebration of flatland, up until this year I didn’t think that included if you were 35 + years old. Now with the inclusion of Kerry to the contest, my mind thinks different, this was motivating as an older rider. As I sat on the bleachers hosting the livefeed show to everyone worldwide I wondered what was going through Kerry’s mind as he rode out to battle one of the favourites for the contest Moto Sasaki. I wanted to catch up with Kerry, and get his thoughts on being invited to what was the best contest I have ever been to.
Where you from Kerry, how old are you? How long riding? Where you at these days in 2012
I am from Auckland, New Zealand. I am 39 years old and have been riding for 25 years. I now live in Walnut Creek, CA with my wife and three girls.
Let’s get this out the way first, you must have been surprised as anyone to get the call to be invited into the COB? What did that feel like after so long away from the contest scene?
Yes, I was probably the most surprised out of anyone to receive the invite. At first I was hesitant to accept the invite because of major time away from the BMX scene, family life, etc. I had talked to my now good friend, Hiroshi, and he assured me I would be taken care of and he would be stoked to have me be a part of COB, so I decide to take the leap and go.
Did you have any doubts about competing?
Honestly, I never considered myself “competition” or a “real” threat towards the other riders at COB. My main concern was staying healthy to compete. I have problems with my lower left leg due to over-exertion over the years and the leg gets aggravated very easily. I had to pace myself and not injure myself, regardless of the outcome I wanted to be involved as much as I could. I think it is a good step forward for COB to include some surprises in their rider line-up.
For the record, when was the last time you competed before the COB?
November, 2000 AFL in SF. I had just come off of a string of shows and was kind of hurting from them. I decided to enter the comp and ignore my pain, but I really injured myself that day and was off my bike for 8 months and thought my body was done riding bikes.
You came into the contest with an injury, why don’t you tell us about that?
Yeah, same injury that I have been nursing since that time in 2000.
If I ride for long periods of time my calf muscle will almost lock up in a debilitating sort of way.
For the older flatlanders out there, how do you stay motivated and fit to ride? Are you stretching and stuff?
Good question. I get regular acupuncture and take Chinese herbs to keep my body in tune, that with regular stretching lots of water are key in keeping me healthy to ride. Motivation comes and goes but that is exciting to me. I have to say I haven’t felt this motivated in riding for some time which is awesome!
How did you find the experience of competing at the COB? Battling against Moto, what were your thoughts on that
The whole experience surpassed any thoughts I had about it, it was an unbelievable time and I felt very fortunate to be a part of it. Battling against Moto was never going to be easy, he is incredible, definitely one of my favorite riders to watch. I was happy just to be there to watch him and the other riders bust out.
How did you feel about the whole contest in general?
COB is so much more than just a contest, it is a celebration of Flatland! Hanging out with all these amazing riders for 4 days can only excite you, and although my performance at the comp was not my best effort I came away feeling pretty happy to have been a part of it– which is rare for me.
How hard is it juggling family life with three kids and riding life?
It’s a challenge, but I seem to do ok. I am not doing 8 hour flat sessions these days, which is fine. I just ride when I get a window and make the most of my time.
You stayed around after the contest, to hit up various spots in japan? What did you get up to & where did you go?
I was fortunate to visit a few different cities. After the COB, the Autumn Crew and myself went to the city of Osaka for a jam– it was awesome. A total of 60 riders came out to ride, not sure if this was a casual sesh for the locals or if more had been in town for the contest.
The riding from the locals was incredible. The surface wasn’t the best, but it did not slow the locals down. The last time I can remember witnessing this much talent in one place would have been HB in ’97, and that is saying something! After Osaka, I went to stay with Pro rider Russia (Shinichi Kiba) and his wife Chika in Kobe. I had the best time in Kobe, they treated me so well. I got to visit temples, awesome bike shops, great restaurants and bars and local riding spots.
I’m jealous Kerry, wish I could have stayed longer. Has the COB put a spring in your step would you say?
Yes, for sure– it was great to see flatland thriving in Japan. I felt like I was witnessing history in the making– so may riders with such talent and no egos!
Do you think you will compete again?
I wouldn’t rule it out completely. I would like to go to Voodoo one year, maybe next. If the vibe is right, contests can be fun.
Any final shoutouts Kerry?
Yes, shouts go out to Chad D @ Deco, Hiroshi @ 430, Chika and Russia for their awesome hospitality, all the riders I met in Japan, COB crew and riders, Red Bull, Effraim @ Flatmatters, Magic Fruits, Space Ark, Guell Bike Shop, Circle Geek, sake, rice ball, boss coffee, cold noodle, Watson, Shokupanman, Sayou, my girls, memories.
Thanks for your time Kerry! Much respect due! If your unfamilar with Kerry’s riding, hit the link below: