Riding photos by Richard Desaulniers Jr (flickr account here)
Matt Macduff is currently one of the most widely recognised MTB street riders on the planet, yet before his Ten Commandments edit dropped in 2009 hardly anyone had heard of him. Since the infamous bar spin video each new edit has shown a rapid rate of progression, the odd new sponsor’s name, and has drawn in a huge audience. His ’Doing it for the Kids’ web edit alone has already wrapped up over 80,000 views.
I’ve wanted to interview Macduff for quite some time as he fits into the getabmx realm perfectly. After several social media communication attempts I succeeded in grabbing his attention through the ever so faithful Facebook.
Here Matt talks about his love of the streets, his cooking career, road trip antics, his second family (The Rise), slopestyle contests and the adventures and experiences he acquired along the way.
Years riding: 6 or 7
Sponsors: The Rise, Fox suspension, Dobermann bikes, Dynamic Style.
Bike set-up: Wide high rise bars, low seat, and a dirty long top tube.
Music: Everything under the sun.
Riding style: I don’t really know, haha.
Local riding spot: Joy ride 150, or my house!
2011 highlight: Making it to 2012, I couldn't tell you the whole year was a blast!
Motto/phrase/piece of advice: It’s no big deal, roll with those punches.
“When I saw riders like Garret Reynolds I thought it would be so cool to try and ride like that on my MTB”
Welcome to getabmx Matt! Hows it going?
Pretty good, this morning was a rough get up but I had a mean breakfast so it’s all good!
What have you been up to lately? I heard you’ve got some wrist problems, what did you do to it?
Not too much. I broke my wrist down in California about seven weeks ago so my trip got cut short and I was forced to fly home and rest... Huge bummer, but it was no big deal cause after about a week of being home I took a bus to Montreal to go stay at The Rise HQ for a bit and I had a blast! Nothing helps you heal like a month with your homies.
It looks like you took quite a beating during filming for The Rise movie in 2010. Have you had many serious riding injuries, and what has been the most painful?
To tell you the truth I haven't had many serious riding injuries (knock on wood). Last year I had a rough year with three broken collar bones in a row, and a couple of other things; that was a bummer. I usually get injured twice a year, but to tell you truth it’s not the injury that hurts the most, it’s knowing that you won't be on your bike for another two months or so; that’s what really hurts.
What do you get up to when you can’t ride?
When I can't ride I don't get up to much. If I'm injured I usually lock my self in the house for at least two weeks and I don't see anyone! I'll do a lot of reading, research, and even do some meditation. If I'm not hurt I like to get down, call up some friends and get crazy! Or cook some mean food, or just stay in with a beautiful women. Anything really, it depends on where I am and who I'm with.
"I remember getting a lot of flack from other riders about riding brakeless. People told me I was stupid and that I was going to die and stuff, but I just paid them no mind and did my own thing."
So what got you into riding in the first place?
I used to skate when I was kid, but I had an uncle who was hugely into MTB and I really looked up to him. He lived out west and one year I was lucky enough to spend two weeks with him out on Vancover Island. One day I decided to try out his MTB and I just fell in love... As soon as I got home I worked all summer, saved my money through the fall and winter, and when spring came round I had enough money to buy my first bike. It was a Kona Stuff! I’ve been shredding ever since!
Didn’t you start out riding dirt? How did the whole street thing come about?
Yeah I wanted to be Just like Darren Berrecloth so the first thing I did was go straight into the woods and get busy! I'm not really sure how I started to ride so much street, it just happened. I think it’s because every day after riding the jumps we would all go to the skate park for a couple of hours, and my home park was sooooo street. I slowly started riding it more and before I knew it I was a 'street rider'... It just felt so right.
What got you into riding street on a MTB as apposed to on a BMX?
I've just always rode MTB, so when I saw riders like Garret Reynolds I thought it would be so cool to try and ride like that on my MTB, I didn't think anything of it really.
Do you ever get hassle off people for riding a MTB in skateparks? How do you respond to ’getabmx’ comments?
I used to when I was a kid. People would tell me to go back to the mountains and stuff, but we live in a different time now. We have bikes that suit a skatepark much better and the sport is more established. I like to think that it doesn't happen anymore. When people tell me to get BMX or ask me why I don't have one I just tell them it’s not my thing, and I prefer the feel of my MTB. Sometimes I even let them try my bike, and about 50% of the BMX’ers that do, tell me they want one after haha. There's NO denying MTB’s are sweet, especially the ones we got these days!
Do you feel closer to the MTB scene or the BMX scene? What do you follow most?
Man this is a tough question. I don't really know to tell you the truth. I follow each scene equally (which is not a lot) and I don't feel closer to one or another. I just love bikes... MTB, BMX or even trials, I think its rad.
Why do you think the overall level in MTB is lower than in BMX?
I think it’s because our sport is much younger and it’s still trying to find its individuality. Think about it. Has MTB had a Matt Hoffman? Not really, he’s still somewhere waiting to be found. I'd wait and see where MTB is in a couple of years. We have a lot of young talent in this industry just waiting to explode. Look at Sam (Pilgrim), look at Martin (Soderstrom), look at Brandon (Semenuk), they are all still pretty young and we haven't seen the best of them yet. I'd say people should stop comparing and just come together. There is so much division in MTB, and until we fix that we’re never going to catch up with BMX.
“I can't tell you what's next, you’re just going to have to wait and see but trust me, I’ve got something up my sleeve to get you stoked!”
You’re well known as a street and park rider, but I’m seeing more dirt footage of you lately. Are you going back to your roots and getting into dirt more these days?
Haha. Yeah man i guess I kinda am... I like to ride everything and I’d really like to be known as a rider who can ride anything from a skate plaza, to a quarter pipe, to a dirt jump, to a 30ft drop! You name it. That being said I will never stop riding street. There is just something so special about being in the streets, I don’t know what it is but I know one thing for sure, I’ll never stop doing it.
It looks like you’ve got all the big comp tricks on lock. Why don’t you compete in dirt and slopestyle contests or even the FMB tour? Are you planning to?
Yeah I don’t really know why. I guess it’s because in the past I haven't really had the support to make it out to the contests. I'm going to try out the Vienna Air King this year though and see how I like it. If I enjoy it then you can count on me for being at more contests for sure! I would really like to try some more slopestyle out, but there will be a time for that. No stress, I'm just rolling with the punches.
I can see how this (video link here) put you off though. What was it like riding at Claymore Challenge? It didn’t look like it went particularly well, and that commentator didn’t exactly take a shine to you (or your lack of brakes)...
It was tough for sure. My plan was to go down a week before and practice cause I hadn't touched dirt that whole year, but my truck broke down on the way down so I got there the day before qualifying. I was completely unprepared for that course so it was nuts! I remember not even wanting to go down when my run came up cause it was so crazy! But I did anyway and almost died the first time. The second time was much better and I did a couple jumping jacks before I went to do the hill hahaha. But I enjoyed it for sure. Everyone was treating me like I had just stepped off a space ship, and I got to have some beers with The Claw!
When and why did you decide to ride brakeless?
It all started about five years ago when I broke my brakes. I've never had much money so I couldn't get them fixed, so I just learned how to ride without them and never really thought much about it. I remember getting a lot of flack from other riders about riding brakeless. People told me I was stupid and that I was going to die and stuff, but I just paid them no mind and did my own thing.
To tell you the truth I've been riding brakeless so long I can't even ride a bike with a brake anymore!
I saw last year that you went from 24 to 26”. Why the change in wheel size, doesn’t it make street and park riding more difficult?
I made the switch two years ago. I did it because I felt like I was a bit too big for my bike. I only had 24s in the first place cause I was younger and much smaller then I am now and it was impossible to move that huge bike around in the skate park, so i got 24s to solve my problem and I loved it! When I was ready I made the switch to 26.
You’ve been hooked up with Dobermann bikes for quite some time now. How did that come about?
Ahhh when I was younger I used to look up to a lot of the guys on the team, I even started to ride with them a bit. When I was ready I met the owner and I became a part of the team. It happened so naturally and I haven't looked back since.
"I get a lot of inspiration from animals like the Wolf and Raven. Both help and inspire me to not only ride but to live."
Who inspired you when you first got into riding, and who inspires you now?
Oh man this is a good one! For me it was all about Darren Berrecloth and Aaron Chase. They where the shit! They still are in my opinion! But now it’s people like Garret Reynolds, Denis Enarson, Drew Bazanson, Shawn White, Matt Hoffman and Evil Kenevil.
What motivates you to ride and try new tricks and lines?
Believe it or not I get a lot of inspiration from animals like the Wolf and Raven. Both help and inspire me to not only ride but to live. I guess they help me push my boundaries. I’m also inspired by music, old MTB films, characters like James Bond, and of course the kids.
What tricks do you want to learn next, quad trucks?
Haha. I’ve got a lot of stuff on the go right now especially since I’m coming back from injury. My head is exploding with ideas, but I can't tell you what's next, you’er just going to have to wait and see but trust me, I’ve got something up my sleeve to get you stoked!
When do you think a 1080 will be landed on MTB? Are you up for joining Mike Montgomery on this challenge?
No are you crazy! I like my teeth in my month! But in all seriousness I thought he already did it? But if he hasn't I hope he does soon. I think I’ll leave that to him for sure!
What do you have to say to people who criticise you for doing too many bar spins?
What bar spins?
I see you like to ride in slippers... Have you got any edits or video parts in the pipeline?
Yeah that was a lot of fun! But mmmm, the pipelines are dry right now, but as soon as I get back from Europe in the spring I will be working on some stuff for sure. You'll probably see a couple of short videos released throughout the summer and something really special coming out in the fall.
"we stopped to talk to these crazy homeless people and this old lady licked me from my belt right up to my neck! I was frozen."
You’re quite into your tattoos. What do you like so much about them? Any new tats coming soon?
I like so much about them. To me my tattoos are a constant reminder, and they give me the strength to do all sorts of things, whether it’s in riding or in life. I’ve got a couple of ideas for sure, but I’ve got all year to think about it and when the timing is right, I’ll get it done.
How did The Rise come about, and where did the name come from?
I guess it kind of started in Montréal, as the guys there were just good friends who rode together and filmed stuff, then I met them on a trip to Las Vegas and we just had the same vision of our sport. We just connected and as soon as we got back we got a little website going and it just grew from there.
What’s your involvement at The Rise?
My involvement is pretty simple. The Rise really feels like a family to me. I can go out and ride with the guys, film, chill, party, travel or whatever and we always have a blast. They ask me about everything to know how I feel about things. They are really open minded and I love that.
How’s your cooking career going, got a slot on TV yet?
Haha, yeah I'm always working on recipes at The Rise HQ. Ahhh we’ve got nothing yet, but we will see, maybe with the next episode haha.
Seriously though what’s with KD? For people outside of Canada/North America, what is KD? It looks horrible haha.
Ha yeah I never thought about that! That’s so crazy! KD is what I was brought up on along with a lot of other North American kids. Maybe that’s why we are all so fat over here haha. It was the first thing I learned how to cook. It’s basically just noodles with cheese, butter and a little milk. It’s so easy to make, so cheap, and so delicious!
Moving on, what’s the best place you’ve ever ridden?
I don't know man that’s a really really tough one... I liked Barcelona though: A lot of good riding, good parties, and hot chicks! But to tell you the truth I think the best place is still yet to be ridden.
Best and worst road trip experiences?
There are just way too many man, I couldn't tell you the best thats rated R, but I’ve got one that’s up there though for sure. I was lucky enough to ride Whistler from the SUMMIT for 0$ !!! That was pretty sweet. But I think the worst road trip experience I had was when I drove out west with two of my homies and we stopped in Calgary to shred and get down. We went out to some bars on a Tuesday, and on the way we stopped to talk to these crazy homeless people and this old lady licked me from my belt right up to my neck! I was frozen... She put a spell on me or something! My buddies where just laughing at me! Anyway it was no big deal cause after that the night took a 180 and ended up being one of the most epic tuesday nights to date.
I was in Banff and me and my friends where walking back to the truck late at night. My friend saw this couple having a very 'serious talk', so what dose he do? He starts yelling at them like a crazy animal and at the same time this cop car passes by and the boyfriend stops the cop, tells him something and points at us, and the cop car takes off! So we ran towards the truck. The cop car had to kind of circle around this parking lot though, so he lost sight for a second. For some reason we all just changed direction and started walking normally. The cop drove up to us and asked if we'd seen any punk kids. I said "yeah they just took off that way' and he speeded ’after them’ haha. I can't believe he bought it, sucker.
Do you have any plans to ride in the UK?
I hope so one day! I have loads of family over there. I'm just waiting for the right opportunity, and I’ve got a feeling it’s just around the corner, so hopefully I’ll be over there before you know it.
What are your riding plans/goals/trips/comps for 2012?
This year is going to be crazy! I started the year off in California, and in a couple of weeks I'm off to Vienna for the Air King. After that I plan to hang around Europe and visit some friends for a bit, then when I get back to Canada I'd like to get something on the web. I might do another contest we’ll see, then The Rise is buying a big bus and we’re going to tour across the country! So look out for that for sure! Then I’ll take it from there, but there’s no doubt in my mind that 2012 is going to be one tasty year!
What will Matt Macduff be doing in ten years?
Who knows. We’ll see where the wind takes him... But right now it looks like I’m going to be chilling somewhere warm on a beach with all my home boys and some hot babes, and we’re going to be building one mean sand castle, and hopefully there’s some crazy cliffs so that we can do some rock climbing and base jumping! Anyway, there’s no doubt that my future has never looked brighter my friend! I’m stoked to find out where I’ll be in ten years, but to tell you the truth as long as I’ve got some good friends and a hot babe, I’ll be happy.
"I just hope that I can continue to inspire the next generation and not let anybody down."
HTstreet: (Pinkbike username) What’s the secret to triple trucks?
Pretending it’s a double, and eating my vegetables.
How do you feel when you look back at that sponsor me edit from 2006?
I love that video! It brings me back to the golden days. Everybody's got to start somewhere. That was me and Justin's first video. I love watching it every now and then, I really get a kick out of it. It’s so crazy how the sport has changed.
Olly Geary: What type of illicit herb were you smoking in the last kd’ edit?
Haha, man you’re going to be bummed out, as I wasn't smoking anything.
When did you learn barspins and how long did it take you?
I can't really remember when I learned bars, but I remember it took me FOREVER! I had these crazy X-up bars(spins) for the longest time, and then one day it just clicked and they've been right ever since.
What has been your favourite bike set up?
For sure the one I’m running now. The Fox forks on the front are just so solid, and with the District 4 inch rise bar I’ve got so much control over the back end, not to mention my nice long top tube to tie it all together. I'm in love! In the past iIve always had really sketchy set ups so it really feels nice to be on something so solid.
Harry-h: No BS, do you use the normal Dob geo, or is your frame a custom jobbie?
I'll give it to you straight. I’ve got a normal stock Molosse with no brake mounts. I've always been a fan of the Dob’s geometry and I wouldn't change a thing.
Mayho: Can you make an even better kraft dinner recipe?
My friend myself and the great people at The Rise HQ feel that that there is always room for improvement! Trust me we’ve got something in the works :)
Jacob Wymer: Why don’t you run pegs?
I don't think it’s really my thing. I don't really grind too much and when I do it’s not that bad without them. I don’t have a problem with people that do run pegs on MTB though. I've seen some videos of some kids doing some crazy things, it’s just not my style and I enjoy the extra challenge.
How do you feel about being one of the most inspirational street/park MTB’ers out there?
That’s quite the question my friend, I don't know how I feel about it. I just hope that I can continue to inspire the next generation and never let anybody down.
What’s you favourite trick? (to do and/or see)
I just love to watch anybody with a lot of bike control and style, but my favourite trick would have to be ether a barspin, 360, or a superman seat grab.
Robbie Broome: (Also asked by Jacob Wymer): What part(s) do you break most often?
Wheels and bars. I don't know if it’s because I'm fat or what but I’ll turn any set of wheels into eggs in three months.
Alain Lavoie: Matt, where is your Davy Crockett hat?
I’ve still got it my friend. It’s got a special place in my room, for very special occasions.
Jonas Barstad: Who is your favourite rider?
I don't get asked this too often. Matt Hoffman from back in the day, But nowadays I like to watch Sam Pilgrim, Pavel Vishneviy, and Brandon Semenuk. In BMX it’s all about Garret, Denis and Drew.
Gabriel Lang: Do you still play the piano-flute? And if so, have you thought about doing it professionally?
Unfortunately I had to gave it up. I just had no where to practice, and you see the piano flute is very loud and for some reason a lot of people don't appreciate the beautiful sounds it makes, so after taking a couple of beatings from close friends I was forced to give it up.
Eric Wilson: What would you do for a Klondike bar?
Paris Hilton... :)
26streetswaagg: (Pinkbike username) Do you have a c, e or f license?
If you mean A for awesomeness, C for Captain, E for excellence, and F for From the Future then yes I am fully licensed in each! Haha :p
"Everybody needs a form of expression. Riding MTB just happens to be mine."
Final words, shout outs etc?
I want to give a shout out to my partner in crime Justin Browne AKA the black Jesus, all my boys at The Rise, my parents, little sis, sponsors, to my people all across the world, to anyone who’s helped me along the way, and getabmx for this Interview. Cheers.
Finally, and most importantly, why do you ride?
I ride for myself, I ride for my people, and I ride for the kids. Everybody needs a form of expression, riding MTB just happens to be mine.
Thanks for the great interview Matt. Happy bar spins!