Bren was one of the first people I originally wanted to interview for this humble, now stagnant, blog. I don't even quite recall how to format everything the way the other interviews were. However, earlier this year, I happened to get an email from Bren that answered all of my questions. I was so fucking stoked but I kept putting this off because of life's dumb happenings. However, I'm finally glad to bring to all three readers the Bren Sungahid interview. Thanks a lot, Bren.
When and how did you end up getting a board?
My first board was a borrowed Variflex from a kid that lived around the block from me. I’m pretty sure I was around 10 when I started skating. I borrowed that board for like 6 months then my mom eventually got me my own.
Where did you originally start skating?
Who were the people you first started skating with? Do any of them still skate?
Brian Martin, Bryan Harris, Jerry Bowling, Steve Rogers, Travis Reed, Charles Hudson, Jason Mass, Robbie Mansel. Some of them definitely still skate and some stopped to pursue other avenues in life, but for the ones who have stopped, or their skateboarding has become less of a priority to them, still have it in their blood. Even though they don’t skate anymore or don’t do it as much, I know they still think about it all the time and still carry that vision that only you can obtain as a skateboarder.
How did you get into it?
The kid I borrowed that board from for like half a year. There isn’t a deep intriguing story on how I started skating. Am I “cool guying” this interview right now? (Editors note: I don't know what I was thinking with this second follow up question... haha)
Was there like a defining moment when you decided “I want to do this”?
No. There wasn’t a defining moment because the very first time I stepped on that skateboard I already knew. It made sense to me right away and my mind was set.
How often did you skate at that point in your life vs. now, and has the feeling you have for it changed in any way?
Back then I didn’t have any major obligations so I had every opportunity to invest all of my time into skateboarding. This point in my life I have responsibilities in the form of fatherhood. I also suffered some knee injuries that I couldn’t fully bounce back from. So obviously I am not skating as much as I once could due to those factors. I do make it a point though to skate a couple times a week, if the weather permits or if I can have time away from Dad life then I’m usually on my board. No feelings have changed, I think about skating about 90 percent of the day, most of my days especially when I’m at work: I’m playing a skate video through my head or thinking of tricks. I still feel extremely passionate about skateboarding.
Frontside Flip. Photo by Kyle Thompson.
Can you explain your outlook on skating and what influenced/influences you?
I think skateboarding is in a good place right now. It’s extremely diverse and cultured and it makes being a part of it so sick! I have too many influences to name, but as of late the simple things are really influential. Today I am influenced by what I can relate to, and simplicity is that. As far individuals who influence and inspire me, I’d have to say it’s my friends and people who are trying to create something out of nothing.
How has becoming a father changed your skateboarding outlook, if it has?
Becoming a father hasn’t really changed my outlook on skateboarding. My kids know I skateboard and they have been around skating since they both were born. Brianna, my 8 year old, will come with me to the skate park here and there to roll around with her old man. Emma my three year old knows what a skateboard is and will stand on mine inside the house. My kids being aware of skateboarding and what it means to me is pretty influential…damn I should have included that above. But having kids was a humbling experience for me and it really didn’t change my perspective of skateboarding. If anything I just enjoy skateboarding more because I have my kids to enjoy it with. Know what I’m saying?!
I know you had an injury, or surgery, or something like that... Could you tell all four readers of the blog about that? What did you do with your time off?
Yeah man, I have this condition called chondromalacia in both my knees. It’s a condition where the cartilage in my knees are deteriorating and softening which causes pain and discomfort. It started with my right knee then progressively moved to my left. I did the surgery, therapy, cortisone shots, and all the other bullshit the doctors told me to do. The condition is still in full effect despite my attempts to get better. At first this injury shattered me….I was in such denial for the longest time. I went mental for a while there because it literally happened out of nowhere. It was like one day I was skating normal then boom I couldn’t even Ollie the next. My initial response to the injury was to drink a lot of alcohol and hope that I would wake up one day and my knee was back to normal. But what I didn’t know was that me piling out prior to my injury was a big part of the injury itself.. I’ll be first to admit man that I didn’t really take care of myself. I ate like shit, drank way too much, and pursued a really unhealthy lifestyle. Then I would skate all day and expect my body to hold up. Then repeat that unhealthy process again and again day after day. But during my time off I really tried to buckle down on my extracurricular activities and started pursuing a healthier and better life. I got into stretching and foam rolling and that has really helped my knees a lot.
Could you tell us your experiences with Simplicity, Chiipss, Adio and Blueprint, like how these opportunities came to be, etcetera?
Well Simplicity was my first shop sponsor and the people behind it are the coolest dudes ever. That shit is like a dynasty and I’m super psyched that I can say I was a part of that. When Simplicity decided to close its doors Pat Miller started Chiipss. I was one of the fortunate few asked by Pat to ride for his shop. Pat has a good eye for anything that has to do with skateboarding, so it was a no-brainer to be down with CHIIPSS. The thing with Adio was really random. Pat one day just asked if I wanted to get shoes I told him yes and that was that. Shit is real simple with Miller, basically shits either going to happen or it’s not. For the record, Brian Kulak was the Adio rep at that time and he was beyond generous to me so, thanks Brian!! The Blueprint thing was also random. Pat already knew that I was a big fan of Blueprint. So when he decided to open an account with them and found out that they were willing to give one of his shop riders some boards he asked me if I was down. Dude I’ll never forget that call…I was at a Wendys drive through with my girlfriend and Pat calls me and says “Wanna get Blueprint boards?” I was like "uhhh……yes", and again that was that. Real fucking sweet and simple! I know Pat had to send Blueprint my little video and I was so scared. I was thinking the whole time that those dudes were going be bummed on my footage or some shit. I guess it went well because Blueprint was kind enough to give me boards for like 2 years.
Photo by Evan Hutchings.
Out of all of the time you've been skating, what was your favorite 'era' so to speak?
The era where skateboarders focused more on skateboarding. But if I had to pick a time it would probably be around 95-2000. Based on what I’ve seen in the videos that looked like the best era. Everybody seemed to be just skating and there wasn’t too much HYPE yet, you know? Shit was much rawer back then, it was just pure skateboarding.
Your original Datsnare part is one of my favorite local video parts, sorry to fan out... Could you talk a little about how that video came out? Who's idea was the intro? It was pure genius.
Hahah thanks man! I’m glad someone liked it. Well, the early Datsnare crew consisted of Evan Hutchings, Matt Radosevich, Goose, Matt Hartzel, Justin Broadway, Christian Gietzen, Anthony Roscini, Nick Marchione, sometimes Brian Martin, and myself. We all skated a bunch together and a series of videos sort of just happened... Dude, it was such a good system that we had. We would just skate and basically fuck around. If someone was coming close to whatever they were trying Rado would ask if they wanted to film it and next thing you know there’s a video. Rado filmed most of the time but sometimes Justin would film if he wasn’t skating or shooting photos. We never had an itinerary for filming, which was so awesome because that didn’t apply any pressure, you know? I’d like to think of the Datsnare videos as us having a good time and it just so happened to have been documented. I can’t recall who’s idea the intro was for “Chronicles of an Internet Superstar” but that shit was pretty accurate hahahah. The full house theme and Hartzel lighting a cigarette with a blow torch is fucking gold!
I think that might be it bud.
As a special little treat (I'm hoping it is looked upon that way), I was able to gather some of Bren's footage he's thrown up on Instagram over the past few months and organized it into a little part, with Bren's blessings of course. So here it is... I'd like to thank Bren for taking the time to answer all of my nerdy little questions and to anyone reading this blog. Also, thanks to anyone who pointed a camera at Bren and anyone reading this. - Allen