The most important thing to know about Broderick Gumpright’s skateboarding is that it does not reflect his personality whatsoever. In everyday ordinary life, he is much like Dr. Henry Jekyll from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He’s a quiet, modest person who has great intentions. Once a skateboard is under his feet, however, he’s a madman, much like Mr. Edward Hyde, Dr. Jekyll’s alter ego from Stevenson’s novel. On top of his skateboarding bringing out a different side of him, it also reveals some truly admirable character traits. Bro skates with an unmatched determination and he is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of accomplishing something. Having known him for a few years now, I’m not sure which side him I like better, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. Both are pretty equally impressive.
Interview by Kevin R. Susienka
Kevin: Where are you from originally?
Bro: Brewster, Massachusetts
Kevin: Cape Cod. What was it like growing up there?
Bro: Sheltered and isolated. It was kind of awesome that it was like that because we got to come up with our own ideas about skateboarding. I pushed mongo for eight years without knowing! Nobody ever said anything! I think we really appreciated what we had. We had a small group of skaters and I remember being so bummed when a friend would quit. We’d go to skate supermarkets and be hated on by everyone. It was not cool in any era of my schooling to skate, but we knew different! We had a pool that we drained after school, some curbs, loading docks, etc. As far as we were concerned, the Cape was awesome.
Kevin: When did you start skating?
Bro: 1988, officially. Probably first tried it in 1984.
Kevin: What was your first “real” board?
Bro: Vision Shredder 2,Ventures, Pink wheels and yellow rails.
Kevin: Where do you live now?
Bro: Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Kevin: When did you move to Boston and why?
Bro: Fall 2000. I had graduated college and had no plan whatsoever. It was time to try the big city. All I wanted to do was skate… I had no career interests.
Kevin: How did you get into skating?
Bro: My stepbrothers built a quarter pipe in the driveway and my dad got me a Bradlee’s board at the flea market. My buddy showed me an ollie and the obsession began.
Kevin: How about a brief history of Orchard?
Bro: Orchard was originally Devoe and I when we opened in February of 2006. Matt Bagley joined us in 2008 and Devoe left to raise a family while Armin Bachman, in turn, joined, so there are three of us.
Kevin: What is it like balancing filming a full part and running a skateboard shop?
Bro: Add a second job and an anxiety problem and it’s pretty difficult to make things happen. Sometimes it feels like a three ring circus. Time becomes a commodity.
Kevin: Where do you draw inspiration from outside of skateboarding?
Bro: I’ve drawn lots of inspiration through rock n roll in particular hardcore and punk
Kevin: Any bands in particular?
Bro: Youth of Today, Minor Threat, Annihilation Time, Fugazi, Slapshot, Suicidal Tendancies and The Beach Boys.
Kevin: People have noticed over the years that your personality is mellow and your skating is the exact opposite. Do you think there is a reason for this?
Kevin: How come?
Bro: You can go many ways in skateboarding and I think my path is a result of a small bag of tricks but with a strong will power: You can go faster farther. I’ve always been very stubborn and I think that is represented in my skating. I think that I’m not a totally happy person. I have an inner rage / frustration, coupled with some self esteem problems. I don’t really express those feelings too much and I think that my skateboarding might reflect that at times.
Kevin: What do you mean by faster farther?
Bro: I mean that I know what I am capable of with my skateboard. In themselves basic tricks are not that impressive, but if you take them and do them on challenging things and try really hard the end result can be awesome even though you have broken yourself for the day.
Kevin: Who are your favorite skaters and why?
Bro: Jamie Thomas: Always loved seeing the big gaps. Ed Templeton: A unique skater who always did his own thing. Dennis Busenitz: Speed! Ricky Oyola: Under Achievers Charlie Wilkins: all around great. Geoff Rowley: Destroyer. Bobby Puleo: Zen like simplicity. No overkill. Doug Moore: Transition maniac. He’s pro in my mind! Lance Mountain: Still killing it.Too Many To Name: You skate and love it? It’s cool when you meet someone who’s skating you admire and they are rad as people, not just an image on a screen. I generally have a lot of respect for people who’ve been around awhile.Their skating grows on you and even though you might not be tight with them or even know them, you both skate so it’s cool.
Kevin: Where can people see footage / photos of you?
Bro: I had a couple photos in Low Card and Orchard has an article in Focus that came out a little bit ago. My friend Matt Gannon has made a few videos for fun, and our shop video just released in November 2009.
Kevin: People have been talking a lot about what you did in the Orchard video. How do you feel about your part?
Bro: Just knowing that there are people who liked it is a good feeling. You are usually your own worst critic. I thought that Armin did a really great job with it, and the only thing I’d change is that there was a few more tricks I wanted to get, but didn’t have time to film them.
Kevin: What is a typical day of skating like for you?
Bro: Go out fall and get worked within the first half hour, skip lunch and skate as many hours as possible. Sometimes I skate one spot, sometimes I skate all over the city and then end at the C-pool or a backyard ramp. It’s almost impossible for me to skate without falling. I rarely leave the city. Personally, if I’m not hurt at the end of the day, I didn’t try hard enough! So lame.
Kevin: Who do you skate with most often?
Bro: I skate with different people all the time, guys on the team sometimes it’s an old guy tranny session or Eggs with younger guys who like to ollie -from Kevin Day and Fritz Mead to Lee Berman and Kevin Coakley. DFL,Dusty.
Kevin: Would you say you prefer the old guy transition session or a session at Eggs?
Bro: I’ll go with both because it helps you to be well rounded. There are still things to learn from everyone you skate with no matter how old. If you are having fun the object you skate doesn’t matter too much.
Kevin: In general, what have you enjoyed the most about skateboarding over the past 21 years?
Bro: Just being a part of skateboarding. In retrospect, there has been so much change. I remember going to Woodward with Bones Bombers (60mm) and being stoked to leave with some hand-me- down wheels that were almost square and probably 38mm. There has been a rise and fall of so many fashions, board shapes, attitudes, trends, companies and spots. We are like skateboard aficionados, but not armchair types. We live it, too…
Kevin: What’s next after Out of Body Experience?
Bro: Switchflash ollies
Kevin: Anyone you would like to thank?
Bro: All of our friends / the team, Armin, Bagley, Devoe, Gannon, Jad and Xeno. The Positive Kit, Kevin Susienka for taking time to make this interview happen! Thanks to all the people who support Orchard and people who keep the skateboard culture thriving.
*Pilfered from 48 Blocks site