On The Radar: Bryan Schaefer

Bryan Schaefer showed up on our radar coming out of Fort Walton Beach, Florida thanks to Sequel filmmaker Kevin Perez. Check the flowing smooth styles of Bryan and read a Q&A below to see what he’s all about.

What part of Florida are you from? 
I was born and raised in Fort Walton Beach. For those who don’t know the panhandle very well, it’s two hours west of Tallahassee. Its a very small beach town right on the Gulf of Mexico. Although the skate spots here are limited, living five minutes from the beach has always been a blessing and will always have a place in my heart. Plus Skateshop is another reason why this place will always be my home.

I know you’re friends with Bert Wootton, what advice has he given you about coming up and getting sponsored?
Oh man, so much to say about Bert in such a small space. I think it’s safe to say he’s one of my favorite skateboarders. Not only does he have a great head on his shoulders and has the ability to make anyone hysterical, but he’s an absolute joy to watch on a skateboard. If there’s any advice anyone should take from him, it’s the fact that skateboarding is about doing what you want to do and not taking anything too serious. Will you ever see Bert jump on a 20 stair rail? Probably not. Will you ever see Bert turn pushing down the street into 10 trick lines? Definitely! As much as everyone wants to be sponsored and “make it,” it’s never that simple. As Bert would say, its all up to me to not blow it!

How long did you film for this video part?
I’d say this video part took roughly a year and a half to make. When you think it’s done, you end up getting another trick that makes you want to keep going. I’ve always been the type that wants to replace old footage with newer. When the time comes of releasing something, you feel like the footage is so old and not up to par anymore. I’m really happy with how this one came out though.

Frontside boardslide. Photo / Phillip Boyce

Kevin Perez has an impressive work history with Florida skaters, what’s his secret?
Kevin is the man! There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s one of the most motivated people I have ever met. Never have I heard one negative thing come out of his mouth. I guess you could say he’s the real deal. He won’t sugar coat anything to you, he tells you straight forward and pushes you to stay motivated to keep filming. When someone stays positive and gives off good vibes, good things happen! I think Sequel is a prime example of that. Not to mention he has one of the steadiest hands and utmost superior taste in angles. I really hope to see big things for him in the future, he definitely deserves it.

Did you travel anywhere far or multiple times to get clips?
Most of the stuff in this part is Florida. A majority is Orlando, Tallahassee, and my hometown. I took a trip last year with TJ Gaskill and Blooze Skateboards. We drove from Florida to LA with a full car, one of the best experiences of my life. Knowing that you’re only going to get to skate that spot one time was a lot of pressure and stress but overall, I’m extremely grateful that I got the opportunity to travel for it. A good bit is Denver and a couple clips are from Albuquerque. A year and half later and we had the finished product.

Do you have any upcoming videos or projects you’re filming for now?
I’m currently working on something with Kevin. Any time I have the chance to be involved with him, I take advantage of it. It’s hard with him being down in Orlando and me up in the panhandle but when you’re working with Kevin, there’s no reason not to be hyped and motivated.

Shout outs? Who's been hooking you up?
First and foremost, Lee and Keith at Plus Skateshop for starting everything for me. I want to thank Scuba and Nike for always taking care of my feet! C.J. for keeping me rolling with Bones Wheels and Bearings. Much love to Keith at Blooze Skateboards. Finally, a big thank you to Blair at TransWorld for giving me this opportunity.

You plan on making the move to California?
I spent a couple months in San Diego. After I graduated high school, I postponed my original college education plans to try and pursue the West Coast. The transition from Fort Walton Beach to downtown San Diego was extremely overwhelming. After those couple months of couch surfing, I decided on moving back home to be with my family and to continue pursuing school. Sometimes you have to understand that maybe it wasn’t meant to be at the time. I definitely plan on returning but not until I have a solid plan and can sustain on my own. No matter where in the world you are, your skateboard will always be there for you and will always be fun.

Have you met the other Brian Schaefer from Florida (Skatepark of Tampa)? Did he have anything classic to say about your name?
I remember going to my first Tampa Am in 2010. When I first met him, he took a picture of my ID and then we took a picture together. It’s strange that our last names are spelled the same because there’re a dozen ways to spell Schaefer, but the difference being with Bryan/Brian. I thought for sure that Tim O’Connor was going to completely hound me over the mic when it was my turn to skate, but he ended up just referring to me as Schaefer’s long lost son and proceeded to dog everyone else in my jam. Thanks Tim.

Follow Bryan Schaefer: @bryanschaefer
Follow Kevin Perez: @kevperez
Photos / Phillip Boyce
Interview by Blair Alley