WELCOME TO THE TEAM CHRIS BRADSHAW @chrisbradshaw : @markass_mondays
words: Mary Walsh
Early on in winter, a rogue Instagram account emerged proffering collaged images and short clips, reminiscent of Max Headroom, zines, and a concerted, DIY ethos. @thisispublic was the, well, PUBLIC’s first look at Joe Sexton’s board brainchild, a small, rider-owned company that has been slowly and persuasively cementing its values within snowboarding’s general consciousness over the past few months. When it comes to PUBLIC, there are few more experienced and respected individuals who could be taking the impetus to create their own brand. Joe has spent the better part of his life dedicating his time to snowboarding, employing a methodical approach when filming parts and shooting photos that has carried over into the way he has rolled out PUBLIC’s presence this winter. “This is probably one of the first times I have ever been in complete control,” riffs Joe. “I don’t think I am even consciously trying to do something different, I just think I am doing things the way I want to do them. When you have so much freedom it is almost hard to settle on ideas. I am influenced by a lot of things and think that suspense and anticipation for something is always more exciting and meaningful. We wanted to have all our ducks in a row before we even wanted to announce what we were doing.”
Each decision that has been made, from their social media presence, to board models and design, to their release at SIA in January, has been thorough and thoughtful. Darrell Mathes was on board with Joe early, shaping not only a second board to add to the line but also expounding further on the nature of the company. Since then, there’s been plenty of curiosity about how and when their team would grow and with today’s announcement of PUBLIC’s third rider, the boys haven’t disappointed one bit. As winter winds down, the brand’s momentum continues to pick up: Chris Bradshaw is the newest member of the PUBLIC roster.
We are confident in saying that Bradshaw is unanimously thought of as one of the most respected and genuine snowboarders out there. Not only is he one of the realest of the real, but his talent is overflowing. For over a decade he has been on the short list of riders whose video parts are annually the most anticipated. But while Bradshaw generally lets his riding do the talking, when he does unstrap and share his opinion, the kids listen to that with equal admiration. Bradshaw’s addition to PUBLIC not only further emphasizes Joe and Darrell’s commitment to being a snowboarder’s snowboarding company, but also adds a complimentary diversity to their roster. Just days after Chris started officially riding PUBLIC boards, ripping around the tranny at Holy Bowly, we sat down with him for a hot minute to get his thoughts on his newest alliance. It was the end of a long week, six days of Bowly ripping, but Bradshaw was stoked to give us a few moments of his time and share his thoughts, because that’s who he is—Chris cares about snowboarding and cuts through the bullshit and tells it like it is.
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First off congratulations on joining the PUBLIC team! Could you tell us a little bit about how that went down?
My good buddy, Joe Sexton just gave me the call and it all made sense. We’ve been friends for so long that it was just like, “Let’s do this, man. Let’s make something happen.” I think it’s sick because the industry is kind of flooded right now and a lot of people are like, “It’s not the right time,” but we think it’s the best time, you know? PUBLIC is small and run by snowboarders, so I think that plays a big roll in how we move forward and make the best decisions. A lot of these companies can’t afford a plane ticket but they’ll spend five grand on a bar tab.
Touching on that too, you’re the first person they’ve brought into the fold after staring it. How involved will you be working with them on the brand itself?
I’m going to work with Joey one hundred percent. He’s going to give me a board that I can build from the ground up, and basically give me free reign to do what I want to do. He trusts me and put a lot of faith in me. I’m honored by that so I just want to try really hard to make this work and show people that there is cool shit happening in snowboarding. You just gotta keep it core. (laughs)
Throughout your career, you have not only been very loyal to the brands that you’ve ridden for but you’ve also been an archetypal face for them. I think when you put your name behind a brand that says a lot. It has to be something that it seems like you really believe in.
Yeah, it trips me out every day because I mean I have confidence and stuff, but I’m just out here for the feeling–the snowboarding. To have companies believe in me and believe in this is pretty sick. I have been lucky to wok with companies that believe in me so much, they let me pretty much do what I want. There’s not really too much pressure and it feels cool to be given that respect by the people I work with. For me, that’s a big part of snowboarding. I started in like ’86 and it was a real small community, everybody had each other’s backs and now joining up with Joe and Darrell [Mathes], it’s like being back to that. So, I just want to do my best, make it real with people. No fake shit now, you know? The loyalty is the main thing to me, because everybody can just get a box and a paycheck and whatever, but when somebody’s really hyped on you it motivates you to try harder.
And you’ve worked so long with Sexton.
Yeah, me and him, we’ve been buddies well over a decade. I’ve always been a huge fan of everything he does. He has so much of his own style and he and I are so different, but we’re such good friends. We can go ride together and feed off each other and I see that playing a key roll in working together on design and the othe aspects of PUBLIC. He believes in me and I believe in him and we got Darrell aboard. It’s going to be good. And we’re going to pick up some young kids, too. We’ve got some kids in mind, some fucking hardcores.
It must be exciting getting in right at the beginning and getting to help shape it and be a part of where it goes.
That’s key. Joe’s gonna do him and I’m gonna do me and you know however he’s gonna work it out with the money, that’s on him. (laughs) I’m just here to rep it and make sure shit’s real. I feel like I’m at an age where I want to make shit permanent. I never did like bouncing around; I’ve always just tried to stay there. With Technine, it was over fifteen years. 32’s almost a decade now. That means a lot to me.
For you, how important is it to be involved with such a rider-owned brand?
I think it’s sick because right now there’s a handful of core companies making shit happen. Snowboarding’s finally reached an age where twenty years later, dudes are still involved but now they have the power to make the calls. We don’t need fucking Paul Mitchell and Vidal Sassoon. It’s hard enough looking at a Monster logo. But right now things are sick because there are a handful of companies out there–Dinos, D-Day, US Shapes, PUBLIC’s going to be one–there’s sick shit happening. I respect all of them. The rider-driven is going to be the new shit. We’re going to figure out a way. I’m pretty mellow, I’m not cocky or nothing, but I see it going down. And that’s when snowboarding’s going to get good again. Not that it’s bad, but you know what I’m saying. We’re making the decisions that we want and that keep it real.
Can you tell us about the board you’re riding and how you’ve been enjoying it during Holy Bowly.
I’ve been riding the PUBLIC Opinion and I believe Darrell designed it. It’s got a lot of pop, lot of kick on the nose and tail. It’s a real good board; it fucking hauls ass and makes good turns. The tranny’s been sick on it.
The collaboration between Chris and PUBLIC is as organic as it is dynamic, fueled by a cohesive passion for not only snowboading itself, but industry and community support. “Bradshaw to me embodies what a pro snowboarder is,” says Joe. “He is someone that is so naturally talented but still possesses that thing you can’t quite put your finger that makes everything he does so damn cool. Not many people have held down so many years of being influential. He is so impressive because what you see is what you get with him. He cares about what he is doing and what he represents. Having him be a part of PUBLIC is honestly a dream come true.”
As the winter of 2016 winds down and minds start skipping over summer and drifting to next fall, the impact that PUBLIC is able to impart in snowboarding is by all accounts, steadily increasing. And that’s a great thing. PUBLIC is proof positive that our community is in good hands and we look forward to what Joe, Darrell, and Chris have in store down the road.
Stay tuned to @thisispublic on Instagram and publicimpessions.tumblr.com for what this crew is up to, because it’s bound to be worth watching out for.
Read the full PUBLIC Snowboards announces new team rider article on Snowboarder Magazine.