Chad Bartie Interview

Chad talks about “The Drizza” and skating all sorts of terrain.

This tale takes place many years after Captain James Cook stumbled (I won’t say “discovered” for the mere fact that aborigines had been living there for 100,000 years before Cook’s arrival) upon the continent of Australia. Well, that happened back in the 1700s when immigrants from all over Europe and parts beyond began to arrive and settle the wild Australian subcontinent. One of the ships hailing from South Africa sailed into Hobart Harbor in Tasmania (a small island at the southernmost tip of the continent) and the first of the Scottish Bartie clan walked down the gangplank and into their new life in an ancient world.

Time marched on, and the Barties marched north via Victoria, years later ending up in the beautiful subtropical region called the Gold Coast. It was there, south of Brisbane on Australia’s eastern shore (which consisted mostly of small beach communities with names like Surfers Paradise and Burleigh Head), a descendent of those original Scottish boat people named Dave Bartie decided to settle down in Mermaid Beach.

The Bartie story is a typical one and common to many of your own families’ (especially if your family has immigrated to a new place, parents in search of a better life). Dave, a giant of a man, met a quiet local girl named Joan and somehow charmed his way into her life. They were married, and she bore two more Barties, sons Jamie and Chad. The two boys grew up in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, where outdoor activities were a must. Their dad took them surfing, mountain biking, motorcycling, BMXing, and yes, skateboarding. Jamie and Chad immediately immersed themselves in skateboarding, and Mom and Dad found themselves shuttling the boys from skatepark to skatepark. Dad saw a need and opportunity for a skate shop and opened Bartie Skates’ Deckhead, which later became Bartie’s House of Accessories.

Through their years of involvement, the Bartie family has become a mainstay in Australian skateboarding. Jamie went into the family business by starting Kewday Distribution, and Chad began to travel to America with his close friend Matt Mumford. There, Chad’s skateboarding skills began to strengthen. Chad would return home to Australia for six months, and when he’d go back to the States, his skating looked much more evolved (must have something to do with the gamma-ray exposure during those long trans-Pacific flights). Chad started showing up in magazines and videos, both in Australia and abroad, and before long the youngest Bartie began to make a name for himself.

Now this soft-spoken, long-in-frame Gold Coaster has proven himself in the international skate arena and even won a spot on the New Deal pro team. Back home Chad’s opened a shop called Chad Bartie’s Skateboards Only (life after skating?) and is engaged to Hannah, a local girl who may just carry on the Bartie lineage. This guy has plans in life and is determined to achieve everything he sets his mind to, not unlike his ancestors, who came to the wilds of Australia “back in the day.”-J. Grant Brittain

What’s with the Drizza?

Drizza’s just my hat. I’m paranoid about the sun, so I need a big hat.

Isn’t it a stockman’s hat?

Yeah, it’s what the horsemen in Australia wear. It’s their style.

How did you end up getting into skating?

I used to race BMX with my brother when I was really young, then we got tired of BMX, and we got into skateboarding. We got on a skateboard and pushed around on our knees. That was it.

Were you really young when you first got sponsored?

My first sponsor was a shop sponsor when I was twelve.

Did you do a lot of traveling when you were young?

Not distances, but to competitions and stuff. There was a team of three of us, and we went around and did all the comps. I was too young to travel with all the older guys; I was always the youngest out of everyone.

Where did you live when you were growing up?

In a town called Gold Coaast-Gold Coast, Queensland. It’s a surfy town with a lot of good local surf spots.

When was the first time you came to the United States?

The first trip was just with my family when I was eleven or twelve. The first time for skateboarding was with you, Matthew Mumford, when I was fifteen or sixteen.

Your first trip was with me, and how do you reckon that trip went?

It was pretty shocking, actually.

Who do you reckon was more annoyed at the other one, you or me?

Well, you pissed me off, so I knocked the shit out of you, so that’s pretty much the way it worked.

I reckon that was the worst trip to date. And when was the second time you came out after our first trip?

I think it was about two years later.

And how long did you stay?

For five months, I think.

And who were you riding for then?

I don’t know.

You rode for Chapter 7. And who’d you ride for after that?

I went home and there was a little board company out there; I had a model through them, and that was for like a year and a half, two years.

And what made you decide to come back to America and give it another go?

My dream was to travel the world through skateboarding, and the only way to do that was by turning pro, and so I wanted to come back and try to do it. And if I didn’t do it, that’s cool. I just gave my hardest effort and it paid off.

I’ve known you a while, and your family has always been in the skateboard industry-what’s up with that?

My mom and dad have always been good with my brother and me. Like when we rode BMX, dad had a bike shop and would support us that way. As we started skateboarding, he slowly converted the bike shop into a skate shop just for our sake. And ever since then, it’s been skateboarding 100 percent.

So anything you got into, your parents were super supportive of?

Yeah, my brother kind of gave up skating and got into the business side of it, and he owns a major distribution company in Australia. He imports U.S. skate products into Australia.

What’s the difference with the terrain out here verses the terrain in Australia?

In the beginning, when you and I first came out, it was just street skating-you drove to a spot, got out, and skated it. But now, with parks going up here and there, it’s getting better. But compared to Australia, it’s way more street-oriented than anything.

Do you think growing up in Australia has helped your skateboarding abilities in the sense of being well-rounded?

Yeah, definitely. In Australia skateparks have just always been there, and just recently, they’ve started to build heaps more of them. Every time I return from America, there’s like ten new ones I haven’t seen.

Do you think it’s important to be well-rounded?

Yeah, definitely. If you skate everything, I think you get a lot more enjoyment out of skateboarding. You see guys walk up to a mini ramp and they can’t skate it, but they kick ass on ledges and stuff. And you’re like, “Ah man, if you could skate this, you’d love it!” It’s a lot more fun if you can skate all sorts of terrain.