I’ll always remember the day I first saw Scotty. It was on a bike, somewhere in California, and I found it hard to believe that the dude was a pro surfer. To tell the truth, I didn’t really give a fuck whether the guy was a surfer or a skater, because whatever the guy did, he seemed to be living the dream. Nothing or no one to stop him from doing what he wanted, that’s what I thought anyway, whilst writing his life story, clicking away at my mouse.
A year later, whilst having had a sneak preview at his life, I learnt that he was in town to rip up a few waves and chill for a while. I ummed and ahh-ed for quite some time about meeting up with him, not wanting to wake up from yet another pre-made Matrix dream. It was downtown, almost by chance (well ok; after a few e-mails, anyways) that our paths finally crossed. He was so sick and tired of eating salads and other French specialties that he begged me to take him to the nearest MacDonalds.
Pretty clichéd, don’t you think; a Californian who eats at MacDonald’s. Are you proud to be American?
Hell yeah, things are constantly changing in the world, but me, I guess I’ve stayed pretty old school; almost a true patriot: I just love having a gun license, riding my bike and being totally free.
You’ve got a gun?
Yeah, the second Amendement tolerates it. For me, it’s not the guns that kill people, its just people who kill other people. The gun is simply the tool.
You must have quite a lot of faith in humanity with that kinda philosophy.
Yes and no. A gun can protect your whole family against the crazy people too, so…
Whatever you say, to me, you’ll never be a true American ‘cos you don’t drink! (Laughs).
Ha, yeah, I guess I’d have to throw back a few beers to be a true American. I don’t drink or smoke because the people who raised me were straight edge, some were into some pretty hardcore shit, so today, I’m just happy to be able to choose what I do in life. I don’t need alcohol or drugs to have a good time. And I’ve seen the damage it can cause…
Do you think that the fact that you were bought up in the subculture of hardcore punk actually incited you to behave?
I don’t know, I’m a pretty impulsive person. For example; I love motorbikes, so I’ve got more than ten of ‘em. Imagine if I started drinking, I couldn’t stop at just one drink, no way.
Bikes are dangerous too, you know…
Don’t tell me about it. I’ve had three serious accidents. What’s weird is that every time you get up from a crash, you know a bit more about yourself and your bike. There’s always something positive to be got out of the negative. For example, my last crash was the worst I’d ever had; I broke basically every bone in my body, but I got rewarded with a whole lotta cash.
How come, from your insurance?
Yeah, it happened at a really good time, I’d just got married and had a huge mortgage on our new house.
Thanks to the accident, I paid almost all of it off, etc, fucking excellent. But I’ll never forget the whole ordeal.
And what does your wife think about you living close to the edge all the time?
She hated it at first. She wanted me to give it all up. But she knows that motorbikes to me are like skateboards or surfing. Falling off and hurting yourself is just a part of it, it can’t be helped, as they say; boys will be boys…that’s how we learn and get better at what we do. And I’m a biker at heart, it runs in my blood.
Didn’t you start up your own small business?
Not really, I like buying old parts, building bikes from them, etc. It’s really cool to find an old motorbike in a garage and do it up, or find, like I did once at a girlfriend’s parent’s house, heaps of old knives in their cellar. I always feel as if I’ve just discovered a treasure chest full of gold.
Motorbikes have almost become part of the whole surf culture nowadays in California.
Yeah, and I’m glad that brands such as Hurley, Captain Fin or Stance Socks allow me to live the lifestyle I lead. I don’t think I could’ve found a better job.
That’s what I should’ve said to my guidance counsellor at school (laughs)
You know, I never went very far at school, and my mates were always going on at me that I’d regret it later.
I used to tell them that school was lame, that all I wanted to do was to skate and surf, which can seem pretty immature to some. But I remember that my father was always on my side, he used to say that if I set my mind to doing something, anything, even the craziest of shit… and if I threw myself into it 200%, then it’d work.
It’s bullshit to do something you don’t like badly. So when you find the thing that makes you feel alive « Just go »
It’s funny you should say that, because the first time I saw you – on the internet – that’s exactly how I saw you. What, the kind of dude who was eternally living his childhood dream? (Laughs).
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. And I hope my life never changes.
Isn’t it a bit limited to not want more from life?
There’ll always be new challenges, new goals, and like I said before, I’m a pretty impulsive guy, compulsive, whatever. That’s how me and a few other guys came around to creating Cycle Zombie.
Yeah, I saw that on your website, it’s a sort of motorbike club.
Not really, a club is more serious than what we do. When we started it up 5 years ago in Turkey with my bro, who’s a pro skateboarder, we just wanted to be able to all get together and have a good time doing what we love.
There were no other skaters or surfers that were really as passionate as us about bikes.
Cycle Zombie is more a lifestyle than a bike club. Doing up the bikes, going surfing, then skating a bit, making music, that’s what it’s all about. We’ve got a blog that documents our lifestyle. There’s 4 or 5 of us who write it, and it’s pretty impressive to see all the people who follow us daily. People from all around the world. Crazy shit! It’s really cool.
Yep, motorbikes and surfing, they go pretty well together
Here in California, it’s getting bigger and bigger now; I guess thanks a little bit to us, our influence, and also thanks to all the other pro snowboarders, skaters or surfers who see motorbikes as a way to travel freely.
Anyways, whatever the board or the machine, the important thing is to feel free. When I hit the throttle, it feels like when you catch a good wave, and nothing else could make me feel more alive.