Matt Berger: right now I got no tricks
Hey, Matt, first off where are you from and who helps you out?
I'm from Kamloops, BC, Canada and Flip, Bones, Monster, Etnies, Mob and Thunder all help me out.
It's four hours inland from Vancouver on the west coast of Canada.
What's a regular day in Kamloops like?
Fuckin' tumbleweeds rolling through the city. It's a small town. Ninety-thousand people live there. The nearest town is 100 miles of pine forest away. That should give you a good feel--a small city in Canada.
And where are you currently living?
I live in Oceanside, CA. Livin' the dream.
Who are your roomates?
You, Jared Lucas, his girlfriend Kerri and Jaws has been here a couple weeks on the couch. Taylor Bingaman was here before Jaws.
How did you go from staying on our couch and barely scraping by to buying a brand new car--straight cash--in a matter of a few months?
I'm definitely really hyped. I guess Street League really helped things get to where they are today.
How did you get into Street League as an amateur?
I skated the Phoenix Am and I guess I ended up placing alright in that.
Well, you won it, correct?
Yeah. I guess they liked the way I skated. Jordan, the Monster TM, showed them my footage. Next thing I know I'm in the SLS qualifier to try and win a spot in Street League. So yeah, I was skating that contest.
How did you do?
I won the pro open and then got eighth overall. The top eight make it to the finals. It was super sick. I got into the finals and completely choked.
What's the key to not being labeled as a contest skater?
I don't know, man. I think it's a matter of staying true to what skateboarding really is. I've always skated contests and I've always gone out and filmed in the streets. At least for myself, sticking to what I do and even-ing it out, I guess.
So then the big question is, does that make you an am or a pro?
Right now, I'm an am. But I guess by the time you read this my pro part will be coming out.
You've got a video part coming out?
Yeah, it's my going-pro part for Flip. I've been an am on Flip for four years now. I got the call late last year and they told me to start filming for my pro part. That was around August of 2014.
Who did you ride for before Flip?
I rode for Almost. I got on Almost when I was ten or 11. They flowed me boards for years. But this one weekend at a contest in Washington, I was kicking it with Geoff. We hung out for a bit and when I came to California we linked up and skated. He called me two weeks after that and asked me to be on the team. I've been riding for Flip ever since.
You seem to have a mix of tech and gnar. What's too big? Where do you draw the line?
It just all depends on the spot, for me. I can't go to a 20 stair where it's commit or die. I can't skate that shit. But it really just depends on the spot and if I'm feeling it that day.
Where do you draw the line on getting tech? Flip in, flip out, flip in then flip out?
I don't know, man. I feel there's no real line to be drawn. With any tech skating, it's just a matter of how well it's done. Look at Felipe Gustavo. Anything he does, no matter how flip in or flip out it is, no matter how weird, I'm probably gonna like it. But someone else could do the same trick and it would look fuckin' terrible. You know what I mean? At the end of the day, it just depends on how it's done.
What moves are currently in heavy rotation?
Right now I got no tricks. I'm sittin' on the couch and going to physio. My new tricks are learning new stretches my physical therapist has been giving me best skateboard.
Why are you in physical therapy?
This super-cool slam I recently took. I hit a crack rolling up to an eight stair. I gapped the first seven stairs and landed on my back at the bottom. It threw off my back and I've been battling that for about six months. Now it's at a point where I can't do anything.
You have any tricks that you used to do but lost?
Yeah, definitely. I think that goes for everyone. I used to do a lot of front board kickflips and front board big flips and stuff, but I grew up and those look super lame to me now.
What did you do for your 21st birthday?
I caught a train from here in Oceanside to Louie Lopez' house near LAX so we could fly to Finland.
What were you doing in Finland?
Arto was doing a project with Finnair. We had all-access permission to skate the entire Helsinki airport. Anything we skated and damaged would be repaired by the airport. It was like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure. The only thing we couldn't skate were the airplanes.
Who's your favorite Canadian skater?
I don't have one specific favorite. I think I have a few influences. I think every Canadian has some McCrank influence. Wade DesArmo is a good homie and also amazing on the board. Paul Machnau is a complete rail chomper. Completely amazing since day one. I watched his United by Fate part the other day.
How many girls have you gone on dates with in the past month?
Damn, trying to get all personal.
Take advantage of these questions while you don't have a girlfriend and can answer them.
I don't know, man. I've just been hurt, hanging at home and trying to do cool shit since I can't skate.
So how many girls have there been this month?
Come on now. Do we have to get specific?
Do you have to add them up?
There's no adding up. There's been a few different chicks.
Where do you find them all? Tinder? Paul Hart says Instagram is where it's at.
It all depends, man. I think every skater knows that sometimes it's Instagram, but if you're on a trip it could be Tinder. But I don't really fuck with that anymore. Most of it's just being out and about.
Does it ever get sketchy trying to keep all of their names straight?
No. I'm not playing it that hard.
What do you do that keeps 'em coming back?
They keep flocking back because Aaron Homoki is staying here.
How was King of the Road?
KOTR is the best/worst road trip of your fuckin' life.
Do you think Ben Nordberg really deserved LVP? I mean, he's got some tranny skills.
With the book, it's all predetermined tricks. You're trying to learn tricks on the trip. There were so many tricks I'd never tried in my life. Ben has a bag of tricks and sometimes it works out better for others. He had a bit of a tough time. It's all good, though. Nordie came through on some challenges.
Would you go again?
Yeah, absolutely. There's no way I wouldn't do that shit again. There's no other road trip like it. There's nothing else you'll do in life that's even close to the craziness of KOTR. Hands down!
Given the game you got going with the ladies, why were you not the make-out champion?
There's a lot of challenges to be worrying about. I guess I don't have that strong of game. Nordberg is the male model that girls are trying to get with, so I don't know why he wasn't the champ.
What's your favorite place you have traveled to?
I don't have a favorite, to be honest. Every place I've been has had a super awesome reason I want to go back. Everywhere I go makes me want to keep traveling all the time. I recently got back from Ethiopia. It was an amazing trip. Nyjah has a clean-water charity and they were installing wells in a village out there, so a bunch of us went and experienced the capital city of Addis Ababa. Seeing different cultures and ways of life is, to me, what skateboarding and traveling is all about.
Anywhere you haven't been to but really want to go?
Yeah, I've never been to Barcelona and I'm actually going in May, so I'm pretty hyped for that. I've seriously never heard anything bad about Barcelona. Nothing but good things so I'm hyped.
What are you looking for there?
Nothing specific. It's more of the whole Barcelona experience. I just read a recent interview with Josh Kalis and he was talking about it. Between the whole scene and lifestyle it sounds like a skate paradise. A place any skater can go visit, pretty much.
So 2014 started off on a good note and just kept getting better. How has 2015 been so far?
It's been alright aside from a head injury from riding a stupid snowboard and now this weird back injury, but it's been pretty cool. I try to keep it positive. Seems like everyone is getting taken out on a snowboard this year. I'm over that shit.
What are your plans for the rest of 2015?
Basically going to be working on filming a lot more and going on trips. Might have some full-length video parts in the works, but I don't want to claim anything specific yet. Pretty much going with the flow and gonna have a good time.