Catching Up With Kevin Braun 

Photo via CCS
Riding for arguably the most legendary board brand can’t be easy. But as one of the key pieces of a new look Santa Cruz team, Kevin Braun has accepted the passing of the torch with style. 

The 22 year old Illinois native was kind enough to answer a few questions for us regarding his part in the new Santa Cruz video “Right To Exist” and his recent Berrics segments. Enjoy!

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So within the last month or so you’ve had a ton of content drop online. First there was a “How I Got Sponsored” segment on The Berrics which touched a little bit on your past, along with a “Bangin'”, followed by your board sponsor Santa Cruz releasing your “Right To Exist” part on YouTube. Holy shit man! You’re killin’ it!

Thank you! Much appreciated! This past year has been amazing

Your “Bangin'” just dropped last week. Super heavy stuff! What’s it like filming with Chase? I’ve been told he’s a warrior, and I know you both have the Illinois connection. Did you two know each other prior to you moving out west?

Filming with chase is sick! He’s extremely patient. I never saw him ever look discouraged or annoyed while we were working on the banging. He also helped me move around a bunch of obstacles in the park. It’s funny though because We had never met until I went to the berrics for the first time (probably a year ago). It’s cool talking to him about growing up in Illinois because we actually grew up not too far from each other.

Going back to your “How I Got Sponsored” segment, it seemed really short haha Did you want to keep it simple and get to the point? I was told you used to get boards from Enjoi and shoes from Emerica and Vans.

Yeah, I think that’s usually a pretty short segment. They wanted to hear about my first sponsors and the sponsors that led to where I am today. Santa Cruz came about because my friend Andrew Cannon became the brand manager. After he got that position he hit me up about starting to skate Santa Cruz boards.

What was it about Santa Cruz and Cons that made you want to ride for them?

It was a tough decision for me at first because Cairo Foster had been taking good care of me at enjoi, but I knew I would have more opportunity to be involved with a brand over at Santa Cruz. Much respect to Cairo for helping me out though! Converse came about through Tom Remillard getting on Santa Cruz. He and Cannon got my footage over to Rob Collins over at converse and they started sending me shoes. I’ve always been a huge fan of converses team and overall outlook, so I was excited to get involved with them.

I know you also touched a bit on meeting Andrew Cannon out in Arizona and it leading to you getting you fully hooked up by Santa Cruz. How did that relationship develop?

 Yeah! I met Cannon after I moved to Arizona. We ended up skating more together when Cannon was filming for the same Pyramid Country projects as I was at the time. We were both going out skating with my friends Bobby Green and Jackson Casey who run Pyramid Country.

Aside from Berrics stuff, your “Right To Exist” part was just recently posted on YouTube as well. Congrats on getting the first part! I know a lot of people from the Chicagoland area were super stoked to see you setting the tone for the rest of the video. Can you talk about the filming process a little? Were there any tricks in particular that stood out to you?

 Thanks! I was stoked on how everything turned out. Most of the clips in my part were from trips I was on with Santa Cruz. We did a lot of team trips the past year and a half that were focused on filming our video parts for right to exist. I think my favorite and most memorable tricks were the ones that I got in New York. I ended up going there twice last year and had a great time skating around that city and meeting new people out there. We filmed the Nollie varial flip over the three block and the nollie backside flip on the bump over red wall there. I love how all the footage we got in New York looked and turned out. Also there was a lot of Memorable tricks that were in San Francisco. I ended up going out to SF a lot to film for the video because Santa Cruz’s team manager (Nick Matlin) and staff photographer (Eric Palozollo) both live there. We filmed a lot of the lines that I have in my part in SF.

I know one trick that had me hyped was the nollie varial flip. So fuckin good man! If you listen closely you can hear someone in the background saying, “this is the one”. Who was that?

That was Joe Perrin. He’s the mastermind behind the whole video. He filmed the majority of it and edited it. Mad love for Joe. If you look closely at the long lens angle of that trick you can see Joe filming it fish-eye with an eye patch on because he ended up scratching his cornea while we were out there. He was a trooper and ended up taping his eye shut, getting the eye patch, and still went skating with us!

Another voice we hear in your part is Eric Dressen who says he’s stoked to be on a team with you and refers to you as a “sweetheart”. Santa Cruz also has the legendary Jason Jessie and Steve Alba on their roster. What is your relationship like with those guys?

Dressen is the man. I ended up getting along with him right away when we first met. He’s a legend. I’ve definitely spent way more time with Dressen than Jason or Salba but those guys are great.

While Santa Cruz definitely does have those legends on their team, it’s pretty clear that they’ve tried to rebrand themselves a bit by building a strong team of young skateboarders like Tom Asta, Tom Remillard, Blake Johnson and yourself just to name a few. What is it like being a part of the “new generation” of Santa Cruz?

It’s tight! I feel honored to be apart of such a legendary skateboarding brand. It’s very exciting to be apart of a new chapter of the brand as well. I like how everyone on the team brings something different to the table.

This past summer Santa Cruz went on a summer tour and made a stop at Grant park in Chicago. Was it cool to be able to come back home? Can you describe the tour at all? Any favorite memories?

It was very cool being back home at that time. The weather was great and I got to see a bunch of friends I hadn’t seen in a while. I love the new grant park skatepark. The park is built so well and it’s something the skateboarding community in Illinois has been needing for a long time. That tour was a blast. It was so fun to travel all over the Midwest and skate awesome parks and make new friends. We were doing demos and filming tricks at the demos for a Berrics video segment that just came out. The edit turned out great. Tim Cisilino nailed it. We also skated spots when we weren’t too burnt out from the demos. I really enjoyed the demo at the Louisville skatepark. That skatepark is amazing and we had a great session there. Watching the homies skate that gigantic bowl there was insane.

Thanks a lot Kev! Appreciate you answering some questions for us. So, what’s next for you? Any plans for 2017??

Definitely! Filming for the next pyramid country project, and hopefully going on some more Santa Cruz trips.

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