Monster and Empire are proud to be joining forces to present a long overdue interview with Canadian legend, Monster rider and Am Getting Paid 2010-2011 winner Matt Berger.
The first time we saw Vancouver’s Matt Berger skate was at Am Getting Paid 2010 and already, the guy was tall, powerful and extremely good on a skateboard. That year, Matt won the contest, the best trick and proceeded to come back a year after to win the 2011 edition as well. All that, with what looked like incredible ease. It only makes sense that almost 15 years later, Matt is now a permanent California resident and rides for some of the greatest companies out there.
We’re happy we got to chat with him to learn more about is upbringing, skating in BC, getting a spot on the Flip, Etnies and Monster teams and more. Keep scrolling to read our interview with Canadian powerhouse Matt Berger!
Let’s get the basics out of the way. How old are you and where are you from? I'm 28 years old and from Kamloops, BC, Canada. How did you first get into skating? My grandmother bought me a skateboard for Christmas when I was 4 years old. I saw some local kids skateboarding down the street and thought it was cool. This is right when Tony Hawk's meteoric rise was happening and I naturally gravitated toward it. As soon as I started rolling around I was hooked and have been skating since. Was there a skatepark in your hometown? When I first started skateboarding there was a terrible skatepark. The locals and I skated there until a proper park was built in about 05-06. So many great skaters came out of Vancouver. Who were your favorite Vancouver Pros back when you first started? All of the best skaters I grew up looking up to were Vancouver locals. The most influential Pro's were Rick Mccrank, Chris Haslam, Wade Desarmo, Paul Machnau. Who are your favorite Van skaters now? Mikey Ray has been steadily holding down the Vancouver scene.
How did you come up in skating? The path was very different because social media didn't exists then. I came up through skating local contests and filming sponsor me tapes that I would mail out to companies every year. It really was a steady rinse and repeat of filming and skating contest aiming to elevate things and skate better and better every year. You got sponsored at a very young age. What were your first sponsors? My very first sponsor was the local shop at the time B&B boardshop. They held down the scene in Kamloops and all of the best locals rode for them. I was honored to be sponsored by them. That happened in about 4th grade which still blows my mind. You won the Am Getting Paid contest back in 2010 and 2011, was AGP 2010 the first major contest you won? Yeah, It was always a great time flying into Montreal for "Am Getting Paid". Everyone from the skate scene across Canada would be there. It was the first bigger event I had won. In hindsight it's wild how much it marked a turning point for the better in terms of my future as a skateboarder. How did the Monster sponsorship come about? If I can remember, after skating well in it in 2010 I wanted to come back out and skate AGP and film in the streets of Montreal. I ended up doing well in the contest in 2011 and after that event Monster approached me to ride for them. You’ve been on the Flip roster for years, how did you end up unlocking a spot on that elite team? I was in Washington DC skating the Am event in "Maloof Money Cup". There was a hotel shuttle for all of the skaters leaving the event and Geoff Rowley had hopped in the van and that's when we first met. We ended up kicking it throughout the weekend and it had super cool vibes just talking about skating and hearing the stories from his journey from Britain to America chasing skateboarding. I remember telling him I was flying to California in a few months and would love to come out and skate with him if he was down. We exchanged numbers and then 2 weeks later he called me and offered me a spot on the team. The call actually happened mid way through a session at Plaza in Vancouver. It was a good session to say the least. I owe a lot to Geoff. Great skater, greater human. What made you decide to move to the States? I love Canada and all of the friends and family there. As a pro skateboarder coming from BC it's very hard to maintain your career as a skateboarder. There's no indoor facilities and the weather makes it nearly impossible to skate 6 months of the year. I was spending so much time in California, making new friends and really living the dream I had in my mind of good skate spots and sunshine so I applied to stay full time. It really is a decision every Pro skater is faced with coming from Canada. It wasn't easy but it was a necessary decision for the vision I wanted for my skateboarding. Luckily the flight is only 3 hours so I'm grateful to still be able to fly back and visit a lot. You were part of the Canadian Olympic team in Tokyo, how was your experience and what do you think about the addition of skateboarding in the Olympics? It really was a sense of adventuring into uncharted territory as a skateboarder. Doing what I love to do representing where I'm from was an honor and great source of motivation for me. The Olympics itself I've been told was nothing similar to the ones previously because of the covid restrictions. It was a wild ride to say the least.
Where do you live now and who do you skate with on a regular basis? I live in Huntington Beach, California. I'm still out in the Flip van on the regular filming with the squad. Lately i've been skating with Lucas Rabelo and Art Cordova. Two killers to say the least. What’s next for you? Are you working on a part these days? Yeah I've been stacking up clips for an upcoming part. It's been a good year so far, looking forward to more battles in the streets. We live and breath for it. That's right! Thanks Matt!