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An Interview with Brandon Westgate at The Berrics

As previewed last month, Brandon Westgate and Emerica are gearing up to present the skater’s second signature model. To celebrate the forthcoming launch of the shoe (which was designed by August Benzien), as well as Westgate’s jaw-dropping last part in MADE: Chapter One, Emerica hosted a wear test at The Berrics. Skate media outlets and friends were invited to test the shoe out and skate with the team, allowing for a first peek at the anticipated runner-influenced silhouette. HYPEBEAST was graciously invited to cover the event, catching a brief interview with the man of the hour to speak about filming for MADE, what he wanted out of his new design, and things that have changed in skateboarding over the past few years. Enjoy the below, and look for the Emerica Brandon Westgate on November 12 at finer skate shops and online.

Can you talk about what you wanted aspects of the shoe?
Basically, my idea for the shoe was to come up with something that was really different in the skateboard world. Also, I just wanted it to function really good, and have it have a different look – pretty much.

Your first shoe with Emerica was kind of a retro, classic-inspired shoe. Why did you and Emerica choose to switch up the pro shoe so much from the last shape?
Basically, I just wanted to make…not really like a running shoe, but [wanted] to base it off of that style. I always like that style of shoe and I’m always wearing them around. [I thought]: man, it’d be sick to make something that was like that, but also skateable. So I took that vibe into this shoe, [especially when] compared to my last shoe.

Were you thinking about your skate style at all when going into the shoe?
Yeah, definitely. It’s got the G6 sole in it, so its got a lot of cushion in the back, which helps with heel bruises. Also, I really like the flex grooves [at the forefoot], just because they help break the shoes in and give you a good, solid push. It just forms to your feet, so that always helps.

Can you talk about your hype for Thrasher’s Skater of the Year award? Your name is definitely in the running.
Yeah definitely, I mean, I’d obviously be really hyped to get Skater of the Year. It’s an honor just to be in the running. Yeah, that’d be sick [to win].

Who would you nominate?
I just seen Ishod [Wair]’s part, and he had a really sick one. I like his style and all his lines – it has that East Coast vibe. Dude’s just sick! So, probably him.

Can you talk about filming MADE Chapter 1? Did you have any favorite experiences or trips?
Yeah, filming for MADE [took] a couple of years: a lot of trips and a lot of hard work. I went back to a bunch of spots a lot of times, trying to get some tricks. I’d say for about half of my tricks, I went back a bunch of times trying to get them between getting kicked out or getting worn out [and] beat up.

Do you have any favorite tricks from your part?
Yeah, my favorite trick was probably…well, not my favorite, but the trick I was super stoked to land was the tailslide kickflip on the bump-to-bar in New York. I went back to that a bunch of times and the ground was super rough. The bump [throws] you differently every time, so it felt really good to land that and ride away.

Have you started on the next video part already?
The video project that I’ve been working on is for Zoo York. I’ve just been filming a couple of clips to see what I can get. All my footage went towards MADE. It’s coming out soon, the deadline is pretty tight, [so] I’m just seeing what I can get. It’s gonna be all New York footage.

You’ve pretty much grown up in the skateboarding industry. What would you say has changed since you started?
I think from when I first started, the online aspect wasn’t as big. I think filming parts to put online – now that’s such a huge thing, and back then it wasn’t that big. I think that’s the biggest change, how online just kind of took over.

It’s starting to get pretty cold on the East Coast, how are you dealing?
It’s definitely getting cold on the East Coast. The deadline for the Zoo video is in December, so I’m just trying to go to New York until it’s freezing cold. Still, once in a while in [the winter] you’ll get some warm days. If I could hit those, that’d be tight. Otherwise, I just come out West: go to S.F. to stay at [Jon] Miner’s house and cruise around.

What has kept you with the same sponsors for all these years?
Well, I love the Emerica crew. Riding for Emerica is like being part of a family. It’s all my brothers. It’s just a good vibe and feels like home, so I think that’s why I’ve stayed [with them]. Riding for Emerica, they really take what you want into consideration. It’s a team-oriented thing. We have team meetings, and talk about what [we] want, and they really try to bring that to the table. It’s just good.

Any idea what’s going on with the second chapter of MADE?
I’m pretty sure Emerica started on the second chapter of MADE. It’s gonna be Jerry [Hsu], [Bryan] Herman, Andrew Reynolds and [Justin] Figueroa. It’s gonna be gnarly, those dudes are going to kill it, for sure.

Any closing remarks?
I’d just like to say thanks to HYPEBEAST for coming out and checking out the shoe. I appreciate it!

PhotographerRicky Tompkins/Hypebeast

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