Dropping onto the scene as an East Coast nobody towering at 6’4,” Brian Anderson—affectionately known as B.A. by his wood-pushing cohorts–has built a legendary career dropping memorable skate video parts for the likes of Toy Machine and Girl Skateboards. BA’s career has spanned an impactful 17 years of relevancy within the game that has treated formers unkindly. Earning the coveted Thrasher Magazine “Skater of The Year,” Anderson has received the respect and following few have built upon while always embodying a wholesomely quirky identity. As he continues to focus on his vision in New York City beyond kickflips and handrails, we had the opportunity to discuss new ventures in footwear design and the release of his first pro shoe for Nike Skateboarding, dubbed the Project B.A.
You’ve been living in New York for a good bit. How has the transition been from San Francisco? A city you’re so closely associated with?
The main thing is it’s been really great to be around my family, which is why I moved there. I wanted to see my mother more often cause she’s 83 now. I grew up three hours from there so it’s very familiar to be back.
Even though I loved being in San Francisco, being in New York, it’s nice to go out skating with my filmer friend Bill. We’d skate around New York City all day long and go to a dozen spots in one day, instead of getting in a van and sitting in traffic and driving somewhere. It’s just a little more fun.
In terms of SF vs New York, who holds the crown for the best skate spots?
This is the honest truth, it’s a tie. But, all the old spots in San Francisco are gone and, so I think New York is a little more fun right now because it’s fresh and you can just push around. A lot of the skate spots in San Francisco have been skate proofed or bull dozed, just completely taken out. It was a full tie back in the day.
From what we’ve read, you made the move to focus on your post-pro career, can you delve into that a bit more?
I’m not somebody that tries not to say my age and for being 37, I feel really good and I still want to skateboard and be professional for a long time. I think I say five more years every couple of years, but I guess that’s because I’m still feeling really good.
That’s another reason I wanted to start this skateboard company, 3D, to set something up and help younger kids grow with something brand new. And learning what I learned with Nike in the design aspect, it’s great to entertain for the future. I just want to leave every door open in that respect.
Describe how it feels to have an individual like Sandy Bodecker back you with a shoe design on Nike, a brand who’s been with you for a good portion of your career?
It feels incredible and I know he is so driven and really interested in furthering sport. A lot of people don’t like to call skateboarding a sport, but I think there is a real sincere passion with him and therefore I feel really fortunate to have him be behind me, trust me and be interested. He collects art and is interested in people putting their unique twist on things. Me and him have just gotten along really well.
This isn’t your first creative endeavor. What did you take from your experience with Savier, and how did you apply it when you began sketching for the swoosh?
I put everything I had into Savier, blood, sweat and tears. That got exhausted so I just focused on skateboarding and furthering my career and always being relevant.
It was cool because it was familiar. It was really exciting to be back doing it again. I was thinking, this is great, this is what I should be doing.
Break down your shoe for us. How can a wood pusher benefit from Nike tooling?
Because I used to normally ride a lot of vulc shoes, really thin shoes and Being that I am tall, a lot of the vulc shoes that I would wear would only last me a very short period of time. So it was fun to create this shoe with Fabrisio like I said to have something that has great density and impact, yet your heel sits low and you can still feel your board in the forefoot and everything. It just lasts a lot longer than the other shoes I’ve worn. Like, I can still jump down stairs and smash the shoe and the next day it still feels really comfortable and supportive.
Did you get to put on your chef hat in the Innovative Kitchen during the process?
The fact that [Nike SB Footwear Designer] Fabricio [Costa] grew up skating, it was just nice for me to be able to talk to him and for us to compare stories to say “this is not going to work.” He is a very detailed worker in a great way, we did 14 days here. Working with him and his attention to detail and materials was so crucial. We would bring materials back to his apartment, sit on his porch with our dogs and order takeout food. We really put a lot of time into working on this sneaker and it’s rewarding knowing that I don’t feel at any moment that we could’ve tried harder.
Why did you choose Lunar over Zoom Air?
I really like the feel of it, the density, the squish and feel of Lunar. It holds its form the next day after skating.
Are there any particular influences that are translated from experiences you’ve witnessed in your career within the shoe?
The runner toe is a cool sensation and compared to the angle of the vulc toe, it’s a little more curved and it’s just something different. Right now being that the market is so full of vulc, thinner shoes, I wanted to do something different and it goes back to even Sandy, believing in me and letting me go for it with this collaboration. I think he saw something in me and we’ve tried a lot in the past to do something different and we really, really did something completely different with this shoe and it’s so functional.
Photography: Luis Ruano/Highsnobiety.com