Ryan Farmer Interview: Farming Hills The Right Way
Ryan Farmer is kinda on fire. He just got a full page photo in the latest Skate Slate Magazine thanks to Photographer Jeff Suchy’s Shutter Speed feature. Check out Jeff on Instagram here. He recently had an inspiring (and visually stunning) new video project drop with Jeremy Hesslup and Praemio. And GSI had previously recognized Ryan as a local champion. He is too humble to really take the title, but that just ads to the compliment. Champion isn’t always about winning, to many of us, it’s about how you live and your personality and Ryan exemplifies what champion means through his actions both on and off a race track. He never does it for accolade. Actions like his dedication to downhill in a genuinely positive way, his recent film project and his regular volunteerism like his local mountain waste clean ups make Ryan remarkable, even admirable, and to me that makes him a champion. I wish there were more like him. Please get to know Ryan Farmer!
Hey Ryan! I know it was a minute ago, but congrats on the GSI Local Champion! Will you kick it off with a little bio? Name, age, hometown?
Local champion sounds intense. I’m just your average skate rat ha ha.My name is Ryan Farmer and I’m 22 years old. Huntington Beach CA has been home since I was little, besides a few years traveling the states.
I know you’re not wild about the title, but before we jump into being a local champion, tell us about being a local ripper. You downhill skate and luge right?
Yeah I really enjoy anything powered by gravity. People tend to think I’m always on luge because not many guys my age do it. In reality I’m on my skateboard most often.
How did you get on a skateboard and a luge? Which came first?
Skateboards have always been my preferred mode of transportation but when I found out about sliding things changed completely. One day going to 7/11 for safety supplies the clerk showed me his Landy Evo. I wasn’t sure which way was forward but after a quick trip to the local spot I was hooked immediately.
What do you like better?
This question is impossible to answer. They are so different and each has pros and cons. It’s like comparing rally cars (skateboards) to F1 cars (luge). Do I feel like doing 70 mph or do I want to throw it sideways arm distance away from the XBS familia? BOTH!
You’re always out for a rip it seems. Do you work?
With the right mentality life’s a rip, no matter what you’re up to. I am fortunate enough to have a job in the scene at Sk8trip Distribution. The majority of my work days are spent running the CNC machines making rad shiny things, occasionally helping with orders and walk ins. With any full time job making every session is impossible, but I take advantage of my weekends and rarely stay in town.
And you compete at events too right? What events did you make it to last year?
I love to race, freeriding really isn’t my thing. Rumble at the Ranch, Bakersfield, Catalina, and Maryhill were my favorites last year. I kept it on this coast because the struggle is real.
Which is easier to travel with? ha ha… Have you taken the luge on a plane?
Well the real dilemma is racing both classes. My current Rogers Bros luge is barely larger then a longboard and breaks down into a carry on bag which makes airplanes (and every shuttle up the hill) way easier then the bigger model. Two classes means two boards, two pairs of shoes, and way more wheels. Usually allows twice as many runs during an event as well which makes it well worth the weight.
How did you get connected with Global Speed Index?
To be honest I dont remember the exact link that introduced me to the app but I was already using a popular bicycling app to track runs and race against the bikers time. Never underestimate a bicyclist they can be crazy fast. GSI was focused on not only downhill longboarding but also street luge so it motivated me to give it a try. I was seeing a lot of the racers in other countries like Australia using it and figured it wouldn’t hurt to run both apps.
Do you get stoked seeing your lap? Do you try and beat personal times? Or are you seeing local places to hit and beat other rider times?
Seeing improvement is so radical I love it. I like to find a new spot and see just how much faster each run can get, until you reach this point they are all within a few seconds. When the big dogs use it down the local hill, and they will, it’ll be interesting to see how my laps stand up.
How has GSI been useful for testing your gear? Or dialling in your lines?
Seeing your speed throughout the run helps a lot testing gear because you can see how fast you accelerate and at what rolling resistance will a wheel top out at. I have used it to test straight line with different wheels and also down the most technical of runs comparing different lips, contact patch, cores, and thanes. If you take similar lines and charge every time you get a rough concept of what exactly is best for each road.
I am also pretty sensitive to showing runs, exposing spots. I like that GSI allows you to hide your laps. Do you show all your runs or have you do you keep things to yourself?
I wouldn’t use it if it blew my spots, that’s an important option. I like that the stats are still shown just not the location. In reality most of my skating is in public places that I dont mind sharing. Huntington Beach is flat, every one knows GMR, and its cool to show off a run at a race like Maryhill, Bonelli, or whatever outlaw I am at. The gems stay hidden though. I didn’t find them first and I dont want to be that guy ya know?
So Global Speed Index is recognizing you as a local champion, not just cause you’re using the app and killing runs, but because you do a lot for your community. Can you tell me more about the GMR clean up?
Local champion still sounds gnarly for someone who doesn’t win much ha ha, but I appreciate the acknowledgment for what I have been doing this whole time regardless. The GMR clean ups were talked about a lot before I stepped up and organized the first. It’s not just me though, many people have been lending me a hand since the beginning and it wouldn’t have happened without all the support. We were sick of all the litter on the hill and just lack of respect for the area. I organized it just like an outlaw race, I made a flyer, got skateboard companies to throw in some gear, and promised free food. The amount of volunteers and trash we removed was amazing. Local magazines came to cover it and got us a full page in print that sat at the city hall among other local businesses.
Seeing how well it went motivated me to keep the ball rolling. Litter and graffiti are a constant battle and a few months back new trash was back so I held another, with some pressure I pulled permits this time for the event. I have partnered up with several great skate companies,REI, and the USFS and really am happy with where this is going. My current problem is we are picking up too much trash! The road department has been hauling out the garbage from the bottom and now needs me to separate the garbage, recycling, tires, ect. and some funding if its going to continue so regularly (three times a year). Recentl,y I was accepted into the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Coalition Acedemy and my final project will be legitimizing my events to happen regularly and making them tie into more of the community outside of skateboarders. Cleaning the mountain while informing the average voter that we are a positive part of this community that isn’t going away. The 5th clean up just happened. I hope these help bring more volunteers and motivate more people to host them in their own area.
So, GMR is not a “secret” then. It seems to be a destination in some cases. What can you tell me about GMR and the community there? Is it legal to skate? Safe to skate?
I don’t know what you’re talking about, never heard of the place. But for real GMR is dreamy. Its our history and we get to live it. The locals are always the best,any body who passes through Xtreme Board Shop Glendora can back me up when I say VIVA LA FAMILIA! No roads are safe to skate but every road can be skated safely. This is the part where I’m obliged to say know your limits yada yada yada. If you’re not sure you can skate it then don’t,simple as that. It’s not a playground or a school, if you don’t regulate yourself a local will be quick to put you on blast for blowing lane or riding unsafe. The legalities are disputable but I suggest avoiding the fuzz. If they do stop you just be respectful as with anywhere. If anybody is reading this and thinking of going to GMR for the first time, call up XBS Glendora 24/7 and they will hook you up with people to skate with. Skate with locals, have more fun, stay safe and don’t blow it for everyone.
How can skaters help regulate and keep each other safe?
Its important for us to regulate ourselves because of they grey area with the laws. Its not like you need to get a downhill skating permit and prove you can ride safely. I see it all the time, the grom (mentality not always age) that wants to fit in,blows lane,and at the bottom gets blasted in front of everyone for being a kook. More often then not they go to a neighborhood and practice until they can come back. Instead of just calling someone out actually invite them to go skate, teach them the ropes, and show them that the community supports each other.(whats up @Lastmanlongboarding haha)
Seem you had a rad 2015, what are your plans for 2016? Events? Personal bests? Any gear your hyped to play with coming up?
2015 was definitely a good time, mad progression, lots of firsts, and I’ve met people this year I hope to know forever. In 2016 I want to beat my personal record speeds on luge (76mph) and stand up (64mph), Im going to shoot realistically at 80 and 65 during my next ColoRADo trip with the pap dog Mike Paproski. I’ll leave the 90 mph mark to him. I’ve been torn on what races I want to focus on but Europe seems like its going to happen. Living the dream. GEAR ermahgerd so stoked! Abec 11 HD wheels are so fast and slide so smooth its really perfect. I’ve been working on a new Rogers Bros deck with multiple composites that will be sure to turn some heads when its finally ready. John and Dave Rogers also designed a third luge that will bridge the gap between the 2 current models,big enough to win road courses like Maryhill but also comes apart into a carry on bag. Those guys really blow my mind with the experience and design they bring to the field. Plus they’re still faster then I am.
I also have been working on a film project with the guys at Praemio. I am pretty stoked with the results. Can’t say thank you enough to Jeremy Heslup and Valkyr Films, I met him on Instagram and working together has been an absolute thrill.
Ryan, it’s always a pleasure to chat. Any words of wisdom to leave us with? Sponsor shout outs?
Thanks Les, [SKS] is always my favorite read and its pretty unreal to have this opportunity to chat about what I’m passionate about. I could ramble for days. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because people who mind don’t matter and people who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Suess. Huge shout out to my brother Jeff Suchy, @godofbiscuits1 on IG, thanks for being awesome and taking so many killer photos! Love you. Everyone should follow @praemio on Instagram. The Rogers Bros, John Dave and Steve, are life long friends and mentors thanks for everything. Sk8trip lets me live the dream and keeps rolling in more ways then one, cant say thank you enough! XBS Glendora and the familia has completely changed my life,so much love and support. I’m not sponsored by Predator but I really love my lid, they rock. If you don’t use Ojoom pucks you’re blowing it hard. Big props to event organizers big or small, skating or whatever it is, gathering people is difficult but so rewarding.