The Follow Up: Julian Lewis Interviews Ryan Hamburg

RyanHamburg SwBs180 Baltimore Karpinski 2000 TS TitleBustin' in Baltimore, Ryan hops the bar with a switch back 180     Photo: Karpinski

Before his smash-hit part in Foundation's Splendor, Ryan almost left the game entirely. Fellow Foskco bro Julian Lewis gets the scoop on how he went from a couch-crashing Instagram addict to hoppin' in the van with a flip phone. Read up!

Ryan and Julian hit back-to-back to close out their killer new full-length. Watch it again—and then a few more times for good measure

How are you doing, Ryan? Give us a little introduction—like your name, your age, where you're from and your favorite thing about me.
It's easy, actually—Ryan Hamburg, I'm 24 years old, I'm from Poughkeepsie, New York and my favorite thing about you is for sure your ass.

Thank you for that. Were you ever getting into trouble as a little kid, or do you have any Poughkeepsie hijinks stories?
Yeah, I was getting into a lot of trouble when I was little. Before smoking weed, that's all you do is just try to be funny and cause trouble and shit. But in eighth grade, I was literally playing with fire—just lighting a stick on fire over and over. Then I went into the living room, started watching TV and I look out the window and there’s a whole fire. It was a bunch of dead grass. It wasn’t a huge forest fire—it was a slow-burning fire, but it just spread. So when the fire department came it looked like it was this 300-foot-wide fire. That’s not totally hijinks.

So you were about to go to school last fall, but you ended up making a quick decision to do the skate thing. Can you tell us what happened?
Yeah, that's an easy one, too. I got on Foundation, or Don offered to get me on Foundation. We started filming around last Christmas. Then we went through a dead spot when he was editing Star and Moon or working on Toy Machine stuff. I wanted filming to be an everyday thing and it kinda wasn’t at that time. I was going through a breakup. That was a bummer. Then I hurt my knee. There was a month where I was over it. So I thought I’d go to school to be like, This shit is done. I went back to Poughkeepsie for the summer and then I enrolled at Long Beach City College. Two weeks before classes started, Sinclair called me and asked, “What are your plans from September to November?” I was like, Fuck, goddamnit. But I talked to my friends and surprisingly my parents also said, “For sure, you have to do that.” So I ended up skating in Baltimore for two months.

RyanHamburg Kickflip Baltimore Karpinski 2000 TSKickflip over the rail with Sheffey's whip parked out back     Photo: Karpinski

Didn’t a lot of this start with you and Myles having a talk?
Yeah, I’d known Myles since I was like eight. But trying to do the sponsored thing in Long Beach, it was a little awkward for me, almost like dating friends at work. It was like, These guys are my homies. I didn’t wanna just say, “What’s up with boards?” 

Like you’re grabbing the crumbs off the table or something.
It felt like I should be doing my own thing, and we’re just friends. I was getting Wish boards and that ended. Then later me and Myles were on 'shrooms, talkin’ on the porch, getting on a deep tip. I was like, Fuck these power lines. I don’t really know why I’m here. I was in my head. I was kind of sticking it out, trying to do skate stuff and feeling weird talking about it. And Myles just said, “Do you ever think about Yeto?” Because things were going well for him there. That was on a Saturday and that Monday we skated Dog Beach curbs with Don. I ate shit doing a slappy and that was the first time I met him. I was like, That’s it; I blew it. Then we went skating a few more times and it worked out. And that was a big thing for me where I just felt like Myles was there for me, down to help. I don’t know about y’all, but I think it’s going pretty well.

I mean, you just had a part in the Foundation video, so I’d say it's going pretty well. You said before you were getting boards from Foundation, that you might not be a good fit for the company. Now that you’ve been in the van, how do you feel?
I never felt like socially that it would be weird. I knew you and some others. But I thought everyone on were just rail chompers, even Glick then. When Don asked, I was like, I don’t know if you know how I skate. I’m down to get boards, but I’m maybe not what you’re looking for. But Don made me feel good about it, like, We have those dudes already and it’s good you do different shit. I guess it's kind of an uphill battle, trying to believe in that. It's hard to go to gnarly spots and not want to skate them or go to things that I want to skate and feel like, Fuck, I'm wasting everyone's time. But I feel like I'm still too in the middle of it to really know how I feel. I feel like it'll take ten-or-15 years for me to be like, This is how that was, or how that felt. What do you think? Do you think my skating holds up to the Foundation name?

Ryan Hamburg Pressure FLip 5 0 GIFA rail chomper in his own right, pressure flip 5-0

I mean, Foundation to me has never had a set image, which is kind of nice. We get to mold it into whatever we want. So what it is right now I think is really cool. Having you on, too, makes it even cooler. You bring something different to the table and it’s rubbing off on other people, too.
Thanks, dude. That’s the best feeling, honestly. Doing something and having someone else be like, Oh, that looked fun. I feel like that's the whole thing that we're selling as skaters. You want people to watch it and be like, I want to do that.

RyanHamburg Pullquote 1 You're kind of blowing it if you're not having fun
Well, that's the one thing I noticed about you—you skate for feeling and not to check off the to-do tricklist every day. Is that something you’ve always paid attention to or is just how you flow with skating?
I feel like part of it was—I hate to say giving up—going back to school thinking I was over it. You know, I did the Variety thing with Tyler and that was gnarly. All the time skating with him was like, Is this worth it? You know, Is this cool? Is this hard enough to be worth filming? That experience rubbed me the wrong way street skating. But then skating with you guys, I feel like Don really had my back saying, “Do what you want." Then I had me in my head talking to myself like, Okay, why would you want to skate for a living? To have fun? So you're kind of blowing it if you're not having fun. Which is super confusing day to day. That’s a newer feeling.

It always seems like wires get crossed when you're trying to do something to give to the consumer. But then when you're looking at things that you want, it's like, I'm not trying to watch someone jump off 30 stairs; I'm trying to watch somebody have fun on their board.
I think it depends how it comes through. Like if I was to try and do the tricks that you do, it would be horrifying to me. But when I see you do them, it's not like, Oh, Julian's faking it or trying to do something he doesn't want to do. It looks like fucking fun. It looks cool. So I guess I'm just trying to find a version of that for myself.

Everyone's definitely their own worst critic. So you're living in Long Beach right now. What's your living situation?
I live with Brett Heffner, Adrian Sisk and Clint Beswick, currently.

RyanHamburg GrindBs180SwGrind DC Karpinski 2000 TSConnecting the blocks, backside 50-50 180 to switch grind in DC    Photo: Karpinski

And it used to be a skate house?
Yeah, it's inherited though. James Britton was the dude who got me in and it's a three-bedroom. When I moved in, I think there were eight permanents, three girlfriends and then homies on the weekend. So I’d just be waiting in line for 14 people to take a shower. You know; you were there.

I was there when it was getting somewhat mellow.
You were on the downside. Maybe it's just exaggerated in my head, but I feel like at the peak of it, it was fucking a hostel. In your recollection was it six or seven people living there?

It wasn’t more than seven, which is still absurd.
In a three-bedroom. And then you slept in my bed for a month because you're like, No one's there.

Ryan Hamburg Ollie Wallride 750No fakin' the funk, Ryan makes wallriding over a bump to bar look fun as hell

I pulled the skate roommate move, for sure.
You were babysitting Throckmorton.

Yeah, I was babysitting Bobby Bils’ hamster. Was it a hamster?
It might’ve been a gerbil. But that was two years ago at this point. Now I have my own room for the first time in five years. I'm actually really stoked on the setup right now. For the first time since I've lived there, I feel like I might be there for a second, which is a cool feeling.

RyanHamburg Pullquote 2 I just installed the coffee table on the roof, so we're just f@cked.
Let's talk about the roof setup that you have at your house.
We have four chairs up there right now—four chairs with the rollers unscrewed. You take an office chair, get rid of the wheels and the post, and then it sits back on the A-frame of the roof bucket-seat style, so it's a full lounge chair. And then I just installed the coffee table on the roof, so we're just fucked.

A lot of the time when we're not skating, we're kicking on your roof, just getting fried from the sun, drinking or doing other fucked shit.
Yeah, honestly should have said the roof first out of anything.

Ryan Hamburg DropIn Baltimore Karpinski 2000 TSFinding a drop in at the rail spot, certified fucked shit       Photo: Karpinski

Yeah, you don't feel like moving anytime soon?
No, but whenever I come home, I miss this climate and nature.

The local Poughkeepsie creek spot.
Yeah, but I’ve got a couple more years in Long Beach at least.

What do you do in your free time?
Recently it’s been heavy guitar and bass. Myles put me onto collaging. I guess just that.

Ryan Hamburg Backside 180 Manny 750Quick ups on a back 180 nosemanny

You got your own little recording studio going on, too?
Yeah, just like a laptop. I kind of started dabbling with that, but pretty quickly felt like I'm not there yet as a musician to where I want to create stuff, really. I feel like that’ll be a thing in the future. I have 50 years to progress at it. I’m in no rush. I’m okay with bite-sized pieces of progression. It’s nice to play guitar, and it doesn’t hurt you. Well, it kinda hurts your fingers, I guess.

There's just a lot of downtime to being a skateboarder, specifically in Long Beach.
I kind of go in and out of drawing. But I feel like when I saw Myles collaging, I was just like, This is so sick because I don't have to look at a blank piece of paper and start drawing. It's just, Oh, this photo is funny. Boom, let’s start with that.

RyanHamburg Pullquote 3 I took my phone face down and broke it on the kitchen counter.
Talkin’ about boom, you broke your iPhone recently and got a flip phone. Do you care to explain it?
I was just going through this—is the word "crisis" dramatic? Have you ever heard the term "doom scrolling"? You already know what it means. When you’re on Instagram all day, it’s mindless but also kinda like, I hate this. I hate myself for this and I'm just fucking scrolling through shit. I kind of hate everything I am seeing on it. I felt that mixed with other factors, and it was you, me and Brett kicking in the kitchen. I remember tossing my phone kinda hard and you and Brett laughed. And I was like, Oh, you think that's funny? So I took my phone face down and broke it on the kitchen counter. So I did that and then looked at it. It was just all black. I was like, Oh, damn. Whatever. Then the following week I was thinking about getting a new phone. But then I was like, Yeah, fuck this thing. It sucks and I'm over it. Even though I was drinking when I broke it, I still felt like that the next day. I went from December to March without a phone. Then it became an inconvenience enough to the people around me that I got a new one.

You didn’t have one for so long.
Yeah, I was phoneless for three months. But I had this one that would kinda work on WiFi. But it was great—I would leave the house and nobody could bother me. I couldn’t link at spots or send pins, but it was worth it for a bit. I had an iPhone for ten years and it just felt like a part of me, like an arm. Then I bought a flip phone.

With the flip phone, do you get a sense of relief of not being glued to your phone 24/7, seeing all the drippy Instagram edits?
It’s kind of worse. Well, I don’t know. I feel like everything kind of sucks, whatever you do. You’re just like, This sucks, that doesn’t suck, but now this also sucks. I like to think I could go back to getting an iPhone without being attached to Instagram. Especially being on this trip, all the spot photos I had in Poughkeepsie and pins. Getting in touch with people has been a fucking nightmare. My flip phone fucking sucks. It’s good to be off Instagram, but I’ve just been complaining to you guys since I’ve had it. If someone hits me up, I have to answer really short, like, “Thanks, hope to see you soon.”

Ryan Hamburg SEIDLER DSC 0590 2000 TSIPhone-free frontside air in the Stone Age      Photo: Seidler

‘Cause you have the phone that’s just numbers with the letters on top.
They call it T9. I have to type out so much for so little. Being in Long Beach with my usual routine was not too bad. But being on the trip, I’m like, I got this thing to make it more simple, and chill and be off my phone. And I've literally been on my phone more, calling and texting trying to coordinate shit.

Do you know when you’re gonna get an iPhone again?
As soon as I can. I’m fucking over it. It has been a great talking point, though. Other people love it. It's a crowd pleaser.

Ryan Hamburg No Comply 750No-comply up and over, the guy's got a few crowd pleasers

Do you have anything else you think you want to talk about?
Just that I’m stoked to be doing whatever this thing is. The meaning of this is to be able to skate full time with Myles and Julian—my fuckin’ boys.

Just me and Myles?
Exclusively. I’ll throw Don in there, too. I’m just leaving out so many people. Everyone else is sick, too.

There we go. Everyone else is sick. That’s a good way to end it. Who do you wanna thank?
Just Jesus Christ. Nah, I obviously gotta thank my parents. I don’t even know if I ever officially thanked you, Myles. I kind of hold you responsible for this. Thanks, Poughkeepsie, Paul, F Block and Sinclair.

RyanHamburg FSSmithWallrideFakie Aguilar DZ copyLike Sinatra, Ryan does it his way—front Smith to wall bash. When you see him in the streets of LBC, give our guy props on the part and his official spot with the F      Photo: Aguilar
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