We met Brenton many years ago as a young gun scooter rider, new to Melbourne. We put him on our Scooter Team as a sponsored Shop Rider, and also later had him as a staff member here in store and at the warehouse for a few years. Even after moving on from his shop sponsorship to work with other companies, he's always been part of the Bayside Fam. It's been awesome to witness his progression within the scooter industry and now to see him pass on his wisdom and good vibes to the next generation of riders.
We wanted to share with you all, the awesomeness that is Mr BT...
Where did you grow up, how did you know about scooters, and how did you end up getting into riding so much in the beginning?
Born and raised in Mackay, QLD. I used to look for something fun to do when I wasn’t playing tennis, being an absolute gaming nut as a kid I used to play a game on N64 called Tony Haw pro skater. This quickly sparked my love for skateboarding and I learnt to do tricks by doing them on the game and then running outside to try and replicate the trick in real life. Soon after my friend introduced me to tricking on a scooter and showed me a double tail-whip. I freaked out and instantly wanted to try it! I landed my first tail-whip that day and the next day I owned my very first Razor A1 scooter (2005) Shout out to Mumma Jennaz.
When did you move to Melbourne and did that affect your riding in any way? Did you already know other riders from down here?
I moved to Melbourne in 2008 against my will but with no real hesitation. My dad had passed away the same year I started riding and our house flooded the following year. Things didn’t seem to be going our way in Mackay so a change of scenery didn’t seem like a bad idea.
Luckily enough my friend Luke McLaen who I’d grown up with had moved down at the same time so I had at least one mate. Luke also rode scooters and somehow knew a couple of riders down here who he’d introduced to me.
In regard to affecting my riding, it opened my eyes to a whole new level which I didn’t think possible back in Mackay.
How did you get involved with Bayside in the beginning?
The riders I was first riding with in Melbourne (Jaxon Andrawartha, Max Peters, Mick Nuangput, Brendon Smith) all had mentioned Bayside was a dope shop to get parts so I instantly became a customer.
That same year Max & Mick got sponsored by Bayside and I just remember it being this monumental moment for all of us. The idea of being able to ride and not worry about breaking your parts was like this massive weight lifted off of your shoulders. Of course, I wanted in! So, I worked my butt off and stacked more and more footage (literally) and sent in my sponno tape. I got on! (Thanks Max & Mick) (2010)
In Scooter years, you are pretty much one of the Old Guys right?
It’s funny that you mention that because that’s how I feel. My poor body has definitely paid the price for sticking around this long.
How have you stayed in the industry for so long and what keeps you motivated?
I get this question a lot actually, I also find myself asking the same thing and every time it’s the same answer. For the love of it!
I have tried to quit this sport several times due to various reasons and I actually can’t keep away. I will forever be a scooter kid; well, for as long as my body will allow anyway.
What advice would you give to young riders?
The best advice I can give to the younger riders out there is to understand why you’re riding and stick true to it. Do that and you’ll be successful. For most, it’s riding with friends or having fun, I’ve seen over 20 riders fall out of the sport because they didn’t stick true to this and made it all about sponsorship or winning competitions.
Because scooter riding is such a young sport (15 - 20 years) the whole ‘being sponsored’ thing was such a massive part of the sport for all kids getting into it for a long time. We used to get ‘sponsor me’ vids and emails every day at the shop here, and it’s died down over the past few years. What advice would you give kids who dream of being a Sponsored Rider? It seems that most people don’t actually have a clue what it means to be ‘sponsored’ and what it involves.
I remember… because I was one of them haha. I think the idea of being sponsored as a kid is one of the greatest things ever. I mean, you don’t have to pay for parts… That’s the best thing ever! That’s about as far as your understanding of being sponsored goes when you’re a kid but, there is so much more.
To be sponsored means to be a representative, whether at the skate park or not. Every company or shop will have a different contract suited to them but what they will all have in common are the following:
- To be respectful and well mannered.
- To encourage and support all riders (especially younger riders) in the sport.
- Always strive to improve.
- To always push themselves to be better than they were yesterday.
- To promote the sponsor at every corner in a positive and respectful way.
In summary, to be a role model, someone the kids can look up to so that they’ll be inclined to ride that product or wear that shirt or shop at that shop, you get the message. That’s how it works. Want to be sponsored? Be that guy or girl.
Ps. Learn how to spell. Even if you don’t know how we live in a magical age of spell check. You will never be taken seriously by a company if you send an email subject title “sponcer me” (Read below)
Have you got any funny stories about ‘sponno requests’
I’ve run 5 different companies social media pages over the past 5 years and boy oh boy, have I seen some interesting sponsor ‘spono rekeust’ messages and emails.
Here are some of my favourites and how NOT to get sponsored.
- “Sponsa me you need me on your team”
- “Hi, i can bri flip and backflip, can i be sponsad”
- “I’ve been rideing for 2 years and can do a flair, let me be on your team”
- “Sponsorship request: I’ll just take a setup, I can’t do many tricks yet tho”
- “I’d make a great addition to your team, trust me all the kids at the skate park say so”
- “I’m the best in my town, ive beaten everyone at a game of SCOOT, sponca me”
The list is endless.
You have been in quite a unique position since you have been riding since the beginning of the scooter boom, where so many tricks didn’t even use to exist, and have been literally made up and named by people all riding and progressing around the same time as you. A lot of young kids that you teach now wouldn’t have been born yet when the Bri-Flip was invented and named, but you were riding right around that time. Can you talk a bit about that?
Call me an old timer but they were the golden years. Imagination was key to your riding. It wasn’t about copying anyone’s style or dressing a certain way, you would just do you.
In every scenario, I guess there are ups and downs. I love being considered an OG and inventing tricks ‘back in the day’ but at the same time, I watch the kids of today jump on a scooter, ride for 6 months and be at an intermediate level because of the easy access to social media. Call me envious, old, sore, jealous, but most of all proud. Proud that the sport has developed to where it has today and it’s still on the rise.
What are some of your favourite memories from your scooter riding, or a time in the industry/sport that was super exciting for you?
I honestly couldn’t pinpoint a favourite memory from my riding because every trip I’ve ever been on has been life changing, however, I’ll never forget the feeling of landing my first inward cup air (tail whip, inward bri, to tail whip) back in 2009. It took about two hours back to back non-stop trying but worth the reward, first one to land it in Aus.
How have you seen the sport progress and change over the years?
The sport has changed dramatically since I started riding. I probably can’t put into words how much to be completely honest. Just like any sport these days, it seems kids are learning things earlier and earlier and this in turn, going by usual progression makes the tricks more difficult.
So what used to be difficult let’s say a flair (backflip 180) has now turned into the 540 flair (540 backflip) being the norm.
I can see there’s quite a separated style and industry and products now for ‘Street’ and ‘Park’ whereas back in the day it was all combined and only really skate park.
This is correct, and unfortunate in a way as it creates an internal divide. I think it’s great that there people breaking the barrier of the norm and diversifying scooter riding by taking to the streets. What I don’t like is when I get to a skatepark and the first thing a kid will ask other than ‘can you backflip’ is, are you street or park? My answer, I’m a scooter rider. I ride anything and everything, you should too. Don’t put yourself in a category, it’ll limit your riding.
As the boom of scooters was during a massive age of social media how has that played a part in both your riding, the industry in general and other riders? Are there pros and cons?
The answer to all those questions is pretty much the same. It just became easier. Whether you’re a rider who can learn to do just about any trick within minutes of studying someone else or post an awesome new clip you just got that can make you famous in minutes, or a company, who now has a new idea based off what they saw from another company’s page.
The pro is that, well, everything became a lot more accessible pushing the sport into an ever-growing rate of ridiculous progression. The con of that though is that riders aren’t learning the fundamentals and going through that gruelling process of learning which is, inevitably, failing. This, in turn, is resulting in a short ‘career’ for most.
Tell us about where you are currently at, and how you would describe your riding style.
Ever heard of saying ‘go big or go home’? Of course, you have and that’s how I ride. I really enjoy staying in the air for as long as possible. I would much rather do a simpler trick going much higher than adding an extra bar spin or tail whip to that trick (like a lot of new age riders).
I’ve always loved the idea of learning and progressing with anything affiliated with the human body. At a very young age, I was an elite tennis player, at the gym most days at 5am before school and constantly thinking about how to improve and be better. I slowly fell out of tennis and everything I do now still follows the same analytical principles I once applied. Enter, scootering.
I’ve been riding for well over a decade now and can’t help but analyse every trick I’ve ever done and seen. I love the idea of piecing together a few simple movements to create one of the coolest looking tricks you’ve ever seen. I love to coach.
How did your BTeaching business come about? What draws you to coaching?
BTeaching came about when I first discovered my love for coaching others through my first coaching lessons at Bayside Blades back in 2011. Since then I simply can't help giving advice to all that accept it. There is truly no better feeling in the world than teaching someone skill sets they previously had no idea about and the look of achievement you get to see on their face when they first land that trick.
What can someone expect from a BT coaching session?
- Park Etiquette
- Dynamic breakdown of tricks
- Safety Tips
You have been involved with many events, talk about the ASA and what it’s like MC-ing an event. Is it hard to keep on top of all the trick names?
Correct, I’ve been involved with many events over my time in the industry. The Australian Scooter Association (ASA) has been one of them and what a rollercoaster that has been. I’ve been with the ASA (International Scooters Australia ‘twas once called) since the beginning. Doing just about every job there is to do in the organisation, from organising comps, boring admin roles, social media, judging, I’ve finally found the most fun job of all, MC’ing. It’s a little tricky to keep on top of all the tricks, especially these days so I always catch myself asking riders in practice what trick's what.
Do you like to ride in comps yourself?
I LOVE COMPETITON! … Just not in a freestyle sport. It doesn’t matter how many categories you cover for judging, there’s still not enough. My favourite rider in the world doesn’t do that many tricks, he just flows and goes big, if you do that in a competition you’d never win. Competitions in freestyle sports make riders ride a certain way and I feel it’s a little robotic at times, the point of a freestyle is to be yourself.
Lewis Williams, Nick Tedrick & Benj Friant.
Who are your favourite riders to watch and why?
Lewis Williams – Flow, height, style,
Nick Tedrick – Steeze, control, difficulty.
Benjamin Friant – Style, flow, innovation.
Who are your favourite people to ride with?
My favourite people to ride with are well, my friends, but people who push and motivate me to go bigger. I love riding with those kinds of people, they’re my favourite!
If you would like to find out more information about BTeaching and book in for a lesson or a Skate/Scooter Party get in contact via Brenton's Website www.bteaching.com.au or contact him via email on [email protected]
About the Author - Jenny has been with Bayside since 2005 as part of the staff team, and met BT when he joined the shop scooter team as a sponsored rider many years ago. Having kept in touch over the years, and also having ridden together on numerous occasions at Bunker Skatepark, we thought she was the perfect candidate to write this interview.