The Isaac Barnes Interview

From Megatour to 1664 and S&M, and from small town BC to Edmonton, AB, Isaac Barnes’ life has seen drastic changes. The people surrounding him and the places he surrounds may change, but his mind has always remained on riding. We spoke to Isaac about harsh winters, can can landers, California, and he responded with some in-depth and personal answers. Click below to read the Isaac Barnes interview.

What’s up dude?

Yo man… Chillin got my self a Jack n Coke, watching Dexter, ready to answer some questions ha.

How’s your winter in Edmonton going?

Anyone who has lived in Edmonton through a winter knows they aren’t that fun. This year has been strange though. We barely had any snow, and it was warm enough to get out at least once a week up until about a month ago. So I can’t complain really, I chose to live here haha. And last year I swear it was -20 for like 4 months straight so I’ll take this haha.

Have you been able to ride outdoors much this winter?

Here and there, up until about a month ago like I said, it’s been a decent winter. I hope spring comes early I’m getting restless, I haven’t had a decent sesh for a month or so.

What do you usually do during winter in Edmonton?

Work and chill out haha. My boss is sick and has hooked it up with some Oilers games so thats pretty cool to hit up and take my mind off things.

Do you have plans to head to Cali anytime soon?

Yeah, I’m planing on getting down there in a month or so. I need some time to relax and just ride. It will be good to see the S&M homies, and hopefully kick it with some of the ODI crew too.

How’s everything with S&M and 1664/ working in the industry?

Pretty good man. Since I have been working at 1664 Distribution I have learned a lot about how different parts of the industry work, and appreciate a lot of different people and their rolls in keeping the industry I love going. There are times when I just need to not think about bikes cause I’m pretty much around it 24/7. But for the most part I really enjoy what I do. I went to trade school for welding before all this and lived that life for a while, including numerous other jobs. Which I learned a lot from, but really weren’t my cup of tea. I really don’t care to do things I’m not passionate about, so I found a job that I have an invested interest in and here I am. So in short things are good haha.

How dope is it knowing the guy who started and runs the company you ride for (Chris Moeller) is nearly 50 and still rides?

It’s fuckin sick dude. People have their opinions on Chris, and like to pretend they know who he is. No matter what the guy does, or what companies he owns, the bottom line is the dude still shreds and thats what BMX is about! Keep on doing the shit that made you so happy when you were a kid. Plus the guy supports a ton of riders all over the world through different brands, and if offering quality products, and supporting riders in every department of BMX isn’t giving back I’m not sure what is.

Being a sponsored Canadian rider, do you think there’s advantages or disadvantages to living up here?

Hmm… There are numerous ways to answer that question. I would say winter is the main disadvantage if anything. But anything is what you make of it no matter where you live in my opinion. There have been a hand full of big name/influential pros come out of Canada in the past, including one of my favourite riders Jason Enns who is still killin it today. That being said Drew Bezanson is one of the biggest names in BMX right now. There are also dudes like Lee Dennis, and Sam Lowe who are on the pro teams of some pretty big name companies in BMX, I’m pretty sure Sam has signature parts with Primo and Wethepeople too, which is pretty rad. I like to see fellow Canadians doin it up. Like I said anything is what you make of it, no matter what you’er doing.

You grew up in the small city of Powell River, on Vancouver Island, do you think that helped you as a rider or slowed you down a bit?

I always considered PR a town, maybe it is considered a city now if the population has gotten big enough. I have never really looked at riding like that, especially back then. Looking at it now I would say it was an advantage. It kept me secluded longer from dumb drama, or people thinking they deserve something from bikes… Things were simple then. The scene was small, everyone was chill, and we just kicked it and road bikes. There really shouldn’t be much more to it than that in my opinion. Its seems people have a lot of expectations for things which is strange to me.

How dope is it seeing your Powell River homie Taylor Elvy getting on some trips/ getting some shine time?

I couldn’t be more stoked for him! Taylor is my homie and it’s sick to see him getting some coverage, he kills it and has the sickest steezz. One of my favourite dudes to watch ride. It sucks we don’t live in the same city anymore so I don’t get to ride/chill with him too much these days. But when ever we meet up we’ll get some screech and start where we left off haha.

Growing up on the island, were you always a Canucks fan? What’s it like living in Oil Country (Edmonton Oilers) now? You a converted fan yet?

I was never actually a Vancouver fan growing up. I was a Nordiques/Colorado fan, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Roy… but after those days ended I kinda stopped paying attention to hockey all together for a while. But since I have moved to Edmonton I have embraced having an NHL team in the city and have taken a liking to the Oil. So yes I am a converted Oilers fan.

Do you figure you’ll ever move back to the island?

Oh yeah of course. Its where I’m from, and where my family is. I’m not sure when I will feel the need to go back, I lived 22 years of my life there so far, and I’m happy how things are going right now, and I want to experience as much as I can, so time will tell I guess…

You had some clips in FU5, how did that come about?

Yeah I was pretty stoked to have some stuff in there. With having Andrew White, and Jordan Dwan reppin 64 Distro I got to know the boys, and with just how BMX is meeting one person leads to meeting more people. Some of the dudes rolled through Edmonton last year while filming for Fu5, and I helped clock some clips for the dudes. Andrew told me to send some stuff through, I got talking to Charlie and he told me to send some stuff through as well. So I sent some clips through with the other guys’ stuff.

You recently told me that you’ve come to hold up on putting things out there a bit, almost a quality over quantity sort of deal. What’s up with that?

Yeah I dunno, I don’t really feel the need to pump something out just for the sake of having something new out there you know? Whatever I produce reflects on myself, and of course the companies I ride for. I would much rather just take my time with a project and put out something I’m stoked on, and if that’s the case I’m sure my sponsors would also be happy with that. If I had someone representing me and was putting out half ass shit for one reason or another I wouldn’t be that stoked, so thats just the way I see it. I don’t understand why so many people feel the need to film every single thing they do and get an edit out the next day. I enjoy filming and woking on projects, but I don’t feel the need to film every session. I guess maybe if you were getting paid to do that shit would be different. But in my case I don’t make money off riding, I work full time. So for me anything I put out I would rather just take my time with it and be happy with what I do. Even if I was getting paid to do shit I wouldn’t want to hammer shit out just cause. I’m sure I have put out some things I wasn’t 100% happy with but it is what it is. For me now on out I just look at it as anything I do represents me, and even if with things being forgotten in a week on the internet these days that shit will see be out there, and people will still see that as you.

Gotta ask it, DVDs or Web vids?

DVDs. I love having a hard copy of something you put in work on. It just means more to me than having something that is lost in the intertron machine in a week. It’s something you can watch while chillin with your homies, and something you can just hang on to and look back on. I also still like web edits, and I also understand the importance of them with the current state of the BMX industry. The industry is internet driven promotion wise for companies, and it’s essential for companies to have web content pretty much daily, but thats a whole other topic haha. I like doing web edits, but any chance I would get to film for a DVD project I’m stoked on I would be more stoked on the outcome. I really haven’t produced a video part I am that happy with yet so far. So I hope I get the opportunity to get a couple more in before I start to slow down bonesawing myself.

What get’s you the most motivated to shred?

Riding with friends. There is no better feeling to me than just chillin’ with homies, joking around, and riding bikes. When you’re comfortable and having fun thats when shit happens I find. Other thing would be finding new spots/set ups. I find the most motivation to try new things, or get shit done when I find a new spot, or ride something new. It gives me the same feeling I got from riding when I was a 15 year old kid experiencing bmx for the first time. I probably spend the same amount of time looking for spots as I do actually riding my bike.

What’s the Edmonton scene like these days/ this past summer?

Ahhh summer… Canada in general is pretty awesome in the summer. I think not being able to ride all year round gives dudes that push to make the most of things. Edmonton kinda has a spread out scene I would say. It seems dudes kinda stick to their areas. Each skatepark has its own crew of dudes haha. Whenever I go to each park I always see the same dudes there. I kinda just roll with a couple homies, and of course any friends that roll through town. It seems dudes are always rolling through Edmonton in the good months. But I always see lots of younger kids out and about which is awesome, it’s good to know there are new generations coming up. I guess all in all the scene is pretty good, there are always dudes out riding so thats good right?! People don’t seem as friendly like when I was first starting out, but I guess you just gotta make the first contact these days.

ABDs (already been done) seem to be a topic of discussion lately, whats your thoughts, big deal or not?

Of course everyone is allowed to have their own opinions on riding, I believe BMX is something different to everyone. My opinion on ABDs is if it has been done already it’s out of the question. If someone wants to do it just for the fun of it that’s cool, have fun riding your bike. But if someone already did something on a spot that you are aware of in a section, or you know that someone did it and is saving the footage for something, I think it is a dick move to film it for something else. You just gotta come up with something else, or find a different spot for your move. Of course there is no way someone has seen every single video, and knows what has gone down at every spot especially if you are in a city you have never been to so sometimes shit happens, but if you know and do something someone has done anyway, and put it in a shit edit or something I think that’s lame. I think if you are riding on any kind of a professional level, or trying to, ABDs should be left alone. To me riding is a form of expression, and doing something your own way. If you just copy things other people do, or try to be someone else I don’t see the fun in that. You’re just living in someones shadow, and following the crowd. This is of course my own opinion like I already said, so if that’s what you’re into that’s cool too. But if someone ripped me off from something knowingly I wouldn’t be too stoked, and I think that kinda applies to all different types of things in life, not just moves on a bike.

Do you ride parks at all or always street? Just wondered if you ever warm up at parks or anything. I’ve never seen any footage or pics of you at any skateparks.

Yeah I ride parks, I just don’t have as much fun at them as I do street riding. I get bored sitting at a skatepark, riding the same thing, and getting snaked by scooters and all that fun stuff. I like to warm up at parks sometimes, and if I ride them I like to go in the morning, or in the evening. I really just like to be out wandering for new spots, away from the crowd most of the time. I have always liked to have my own space, and do my own thing. So I think thats why I took a liking to street riding. I think being a trail dude would be similar, just being off working on your trails with some homies in a secluded area, just nice and relaxing. But I also like the randomness that comes with street riding, running into strange people, seeing weird things, never really know what will happen. I simply just like to ride things that I enjoy, I’m not trying to do shit that I think will impress anyone, or do things I think people wanna see. I ride how I want to, and have always liked street riding so that’s where you can usually find me.

How was the Rad 25th year jam this summer?

It was pretty cool to be there and experience something like that. Big events in the BMX community don’t happen in Canada too often, especially right close to where I live. It was great hanging out, meeting new people, and seeing friends I don’t see all the time. Plus its great to see people killing it and having a great time. That was the end to our 1664 summer trip. And I was beat up pretty bad from some slams I had on the trip, so I didn’t get in much riding at the Jam but I still had a great time, and it was cool to party with the 64 crew, and a bunch of other homies after the jam haha.

When’s the summer 64 trip footy dropping?

Hahaha. Damn it has been a bit since the trip happened. Not to get into all the details but long story short there was some mix ups/set backs on who was originally going to do the edit which set things back. One thing lead to another, and we ended up sitting on the footage for a while. Shits rolling now, just gotta dial some stuff in and hopefully we’ll see some stuff real soon. In reference to the other question of me riding parks, there is skatepark footy of me in that trip footage haha.

I heard that was a dope trip?

Yeah it was so good. It was the first 1664 team trip I had been on, as well as the first time I had met Jetty, and Dwan in person. Everyone got along great and everyone killed it. I’m stoked for this year. Were hoping to get the ball rolling with more 1664 goodness this year. It sucked Smiley didn’t make the trip, but I guess he had a good excuse getting married and all… Haha! I took one of the roughest slams I have taken in years the first day of the trip at Bonesaw Jam/Shake the lake. I jacked my elbow up pretty bad and couldn’t ride for like a day or 2 after that so it was a bad start to the trip for me. I rocked an elbow tensor for the rest of the trip and ate a bunch of pain killers to keep me going but I was probably about 50% the whole trip which sucked, but I managed to get some stuff done and still had a great time with the 64 crew. I was in rough shape after the trip, and had to take a week or so off the bike. Even with getting my ass kicked, it was one of my favourite trips I have gone on. Just being with homies, and shredding bikes makes for good times.

When the hell did you learn can can landers out of rails? How do you even go about trying to learn those? It seems like a do or die sort of thing.

Hahaha, I dunno man I have honestly been doing that for years and years. When I was younger I watched dudes in videos do it out of things but just roll way or pull their leg back over. I did it playing around on stuff but felt like it was kinda dumb just riding away so I just ended up learning how to 180 out of it cause I thought it looked cooler haha. I have been doing that for so long its kind of a joke/playing around thing for me now. Its funny you mention that though, I have had a couple people mention how they were stoked on seeing me do that the last while. Last time I was in Cali I did one out of a gap to grind and some dudes got mad stoked just cause they never see it before haha. I guess I just took any old move and added something to it, like a lot of things you see today, moves get recycled/go full circle and become cool again. Doing it out of grinds was just natural because all we did was grind shit, and ride flat banks in PR. I honestly thought people thought it was dumb but I didn’t really care cause it was fun.

Stay Mad or Stay Glad?

Life is easier when you’re glad. I still get mad though haha.


My Family for always being there for me, and helping me be who I am. All my friends everywhere you guys know who you are… Bernie, Moeller, Larry for giving me what I have with riding. Everyone at 1664, S&M, ODI for keeping this shit rolling… Matt Coplon for hooking my hubs up, and everyone who has supported me in one way or another in the past/present. Thanks to everyone who has helped film/take pics with riding, I appreciate peoples time and effort. And thanks to you and the Embassy for wanting to do this interview with me. Swag.

Big thanks to Eric Marshall for hooking up these photos