Catching Up: Interview With Bad Dad Nate Blackburn
Nate Blackburn has been a staple of the Seattle community for nearly a decade. While we all most recently know Nate as the brand-man behind Omen Boards and Free Wheel Co., Nate might be most known for his time with Motion Boardshop doing product reviews and goofing around with his Oh Ef Tv video productions. After some great years with Motion, then Omen and Free, Nate is now heading back behind the counter of a re-opened Motion Boardshop to lead a renewed Seattle community shop. We wanted to catch up with the Bad Dad and find out about his new baby and what he has planned for his new journey in life.
Long time no chat! Where you at right now?
Long time no chat indeed, I have been a busy bee. Right now I am in Seattle for the longest stretch I have ever done.
Last time we talked you lived in a warehouse and kind of in the van, what’s good now?
Well, first off, living in the Van was good, and some of the greatest most funnest adventures came from dirtbaggin it. But now, I am living in a house, and working on re-opening Motion Boardshop.
How did you acquire Motion Boardshop?!
Oddly, it was quite a 3-ring shit show to acquire. I found out that Motion was closing through Instagram, and was like, “ahhh hell no” and went in and talked with the old owner about why he was closing the doors, and he was like “PIZZA.” So I cashed in the equity of all my Instagram followers, and gave the former owner a large collection of money, and he gave me the assets that I needed to reopen Motion Boardshop.
With taking on Motion, what will happen with your role at Omen / Free?
I am going to be taking a massive step back from the day to day activities that go on with both those companies, but am still great friends with all the team over there. It is kind of bitter sweet as I have been watching both OMEN and FREE Wheel grow for the past three years, and now that they are really starting to hit their respective strides, I am stepping away to do Motion. I am actively looking for someone to fill my shoes, so if you know anyone who likes working long hours, earning low wages, and playing Pseudo-Dad to a bunch of people send them over my way for an interview. Under 21 need not apply.
When Does Motion officially reopen? Will there be a physical location or just more a webstore?
Motion Boardshop does have a storefront. It is located in the University District of Seattle, along the Burke Gilman trail, like the original shop. I am aiming to re-open the store front on June 21st, or GO SKATEBOARDING DAY, as some people like to call it. I have some remodeling to do in order to get the retail space to feel like a skateshop, but I am optimistic that this will be the best skateshop that has ever been at this address.
The address for the new shop is:
2929 NE Blakely St.
Seattle, WA, 98105
Website remains the same:
Did you start out in the longboard scene at Motion? What’s the history there? How did this come full circle from employee to industry guy to owner?
It came full circle in a weird way. The History is that I worked for Motion Boardshop starting in 2008 right at the beginning when Seattle Kiteboarding Center was renamed Motion Boardshop, and I was helping on the longboard retail side of things, but quickly learned a ton about kitesurfing as well. I would typically work hard all summer and then the owner would regularly fire me in October as sales would slow, and to date, I have been fired from Motion Boardshop 3 times in October, and once in September… In 2012, I got a camera and started filming lots of review videos for Motion Boardshop and some other companies as well like Loaded, Bustin, One Off, and Sugar Urethane, and was paying my bills making tons of media. I even annoyed you Les, while you were working at Rayne when I filmed the RVOD Standup Slide video, I must have called you like 30 times a day till you let me put the Rayne Logo in that video, hahaha. One of my big breaks came in 2014 when Omen Longboards hired me on to work in house as the Team and Brand Manager for Omen Longboards. I would have never gotten my job at OMEN without the all of the underpaid experience that I had gained working Retail, doing product testing and development free of charge, and helping to hold events in my zone. Three years into OMEN later I had managed to get enough ducks in a row to finance the purchase of Motion Boardshop, and I am now the boss, and now I can now fire everyone in October!
I’m a real dad, you’re a bad dad, apparently. You dropped the first bad dad just over a year ago. Now part two. What’s the deal with being a bad dad?
Well Bad Dad is a Spin off of “thane dad” a nickname given to me by Seattle Dad (brad dad) Bradley Cameron. In my experience it is a term of endearment for people to reach Dad status. When you hold enough events, manage a team of riders, or are simply older than everyone else, you will get called a dad in the scene, and I have accepted it. There are a number of dads out there – Mike Girard, Greg Noble, you Les Robertson, and many more, and I feel better not being the only one. The “Bad Dad” came about after a team rider left OMEN in a very public way and called me out for my after-hours ‘bad’ behavior. Instead of publically apologizing to that chud, I made an entire video illustrating that I dont give a darn heck what people think, and I will chug beers and blind fire shotguns to get my point across while semi recklessly riding bent cast trucks at speed on super slippery wheels… The funniest part of these ‘Bad Dad’ videos for me is that I rarely drink alcohol any more, and most of the behavior is out of the norm for me. I really made the videos as a joke, as I am pretty much always looking to make people laugh. Also, Bad Dad videos dont rely on follow cars which makes them a million times more fun to film.
Never half ass 2 things, whole ass 1 thing! – Nate
Owning a small business, especially a skate shop, is kind of like having a baby… How do you see the bad dad role continuing with your new Motion boardshop fatherhood?
I thought people had children as an alternative to saving for retirement and expecting their kids to pay for their later years of life? Is that a fair answer? hahaha. The Dad part will continue as I help get new skaters stoked on the scene, the gear, and just the wind in the face feeling that goes along with riding a board. I am still going to be available for all my previous children but now it will be more like a daycare as opposed to a blood related family. Motion Boardshop is not loyal to any brands, and I am looking forward to being able to openly welcome any skaters in the scene as opposed to being partial to my family of skaters.
You’ve been on the road with Omen a lot the past couple years, are you looking forward to keeping it more local for a bit?
Yes and hell no… I love traveling to skate and I am still shocked that Omen gave me a van and a credit card to go #mobileruckus it up across the country. But driving around the country showed me how truly deprived Seattle was in terms of skate events. Nobody in Seattle had been supported in their events because the old owner of the shop was not a skater, so often growing the scene and providing awesome events was not a huge priority. Now I have a chance to grow that local scene again, plan lots of events, and even manage to teach some people how to stop and enjoy skating as much as I do. Truthfully the goal is to have so many cool events in Seattle that people will travel to our hood to come skate as opposed to the other way around.
What are your goals for your local community now that you’re a local shop owner and not a global brand manager?
Well, a well stocked shop of awesome gear is always a good start, and being the tech nerd that I am, expect to see the full gambit of products, so whether you want to downhill, freeride, slash bowls, slalom cones, or pump across the state the new MOTION Boardshop is going to have products to get it done. The second focus of mine is to hold events that cater to a broader spectrum of riders. Learn to Slide events, slide jams, community push events, weekly rides and garage sessions or parkades as you Canucks call them. Also, new Motion is going to have a chill zone so that you can come in and hang out without feeling in the way. All good skate shops that I have been to make you want to hang out all day.
Does this mean you will have to be more of a good dad?
Truthfully, Bad Dad is a rare sighting any more as I have grown older. The peak of Bad Dad was the Fall Maryhill Freeride 5 years ago when it rained all weekend. Les you were there, and you remember the badness… P-swiss has the photo… Now days it is pretty much good dad the majority of the time in order to get so much work accomplished with managing a company that I am responsible for crashing into the ground, it is a lot of work as you know.
Now that you’re going to be back at the helm of Motion and not married to one brand, does that mean we can look forward to a wide spectrum of product reviews from you once again?
Boy Howdy! Yes, I am super excited to be able to be the open gear nerd that I was, and I am frothing at the opportunity to get back into comparative product reviews and honest information. Sometimes when you work for a brand you have to market everything like it is sliced bread, and being back at Motion gives me the chance to be honest and open with people about what is best for their riding, not just best for the brand at the moment.
Caster is Faster. – Nate
Gear desires are as follows –
Aera k5s – 174mm x 46º
Cloudride Storm Chasers
Longboard Larry Crocodile
Sugar Urethane Powdered Sugars
Sector 9 Topshelfs
Venom Bushings – I am looking at you Rolo, the address is above… 90a and 93a barrels, not talls.
Can you make another Nate’s Lame Tricks?
For you Les, I will make another Lame Tricks Video. I have some super stunners in the sub-par maneuvers market that have yet to burn the eyes.
Not everyone realizes, but you are also the chief kook at OHEF TV right? Any plans for that channel coming up or just time to focus on Motion?
OHEF TV is still alive and I am indeed Chief Kook. I will be using this channel to put out the less than savory videos that are not appropriate for the mass numbers, and will be using this outlet to promote the true essence of downhill skating… Ya know, the Raw Run videos, gnarly rider edits, and general debauchery…. Think of it as the timeout chair where all the inappropriate footage goes.
Top five things to eat on the cheap when you just bought a skate shop and will never make money again?
- Top Ramen
- Peanut Butter and Jelly on a Bagel
- Canned Soups over Rice
- Eggs and Toast
- Dollar Menu Items at fast food, No combos, I aint made of money.
Do you know how to syphon gas?
Yes I do, I also know how to steal cable, send meals back at restaurants, and fill water cups up with soda… maybe I am a bad dad.
Can I get a discount?
Of course you can have a discount, it should fit in well with a free T-shirt, a free Skate Tool, Free Shipping, and a Price Match Guarantee. www.motionboardshop.com
Shout outs, famous last words, hi moms?
Shout Outs are as follows:
Dustin Ascheman – Nwest Media
Wes Eldridge – Aero Media
Joe B and squad from Burning Spider Stoke Company
Mayor Hoffman from Boardroom Guys
Mischa, Les, and Flatspot Longboard Shop
Omen Longboards Direct Deposit
Famous Last Words:
Never half ass 2 things, whole ass 1 thing
Caster is Faster
Love you Mom, suck it Dad.
Here is the first video I Ever did. (I got the duro wrong on big zigs)
Thanks Nate! Looking forward to more of your ridiculousness and you doing you for you, finally.