01 Aug The Will Fisher Interview / Lost Footage.
Canada has churned out years and years worth of amazing riders from all corners of our country, and it was a great pleasure to get to pick away at the brain of one of South Ontario’s beacons of all-around bike-wizardry. Will Fisher has been flying under radars and over gaps for as long as I can remember, and has paid his dues both on and off the bike for just as long.
Brad Hill was drafted to edit footage from a 1664 trip, and after Will’s separation from the brand (briefly discussed below) his section got put into internet-limbo and we couldn’t let it go unseen. We’re proud to present some
old new-to-you Will Fisher footage.
Keep reading for some words with Will about how he got started, TV appearances, sponsor changes, and more.
REPSET: Fuck it, let’s get it started now. I’ve been meaning to get something going on REPSET with you for ages. What have you been up to the last little while? There have been some obvious big changes, but we’ll get to those in a second. Where are you right now?
WILL: I am at home checking a few BMX videos and BMW forums and preparing for my work day tomorrow. The usual 1AM weeknight routine.
REPSET: Tell me about it. Winnipeg is a perma-party. Except none of us really have to get up for work. Are you riding lots? Tell me about all that TV shit you guys were just up to.
WILL: I have been riding quite a bit recently. Mostly the local park but we got the green light to redo some public dirt jumps here in Burlington that were a former race track so I’ve been out there a ton helping turn them into trails. As for the TV stuff, I was on Canada’s Got Talent with the Craz-E-Crew. It is a show company out of Ottawa that Ben Kaufmann and John Heaton are part owners of. It was a ton of fun to get to do the TV gig for riding our bikes
REPSET: Heaton is the man, and so is Ben. What’s it like travelling with those dudes? You guys have been all-over in the past couple years haven’t you?
WILL: Yeah, we have travelled quite a bit. John and his wife recently had a baby and he got a pretty good job so naturally he hasn’t been as available for shows. Travelling with everyone for shows is the best. It’s like a road trip that you are getting paid for. You have to do a few shows a day but the rest of the time is just riding local spots and hanging out. It’s been an amazing opportunity.
WILL: We’ve done the cross-Canada thing a few times and I’ve been lucky enough to go to Saudi Arabia and Oman. John and Ben have done China and Africa as well.
REPSET: I’ve heard you described as one of Canada’s best ramp riders pretty often. Do you think you owe that to shows or to Shell?
WILL: Haha, well that could be a stretch but I’d say Shell is where that mostly started. I can remember riding there on my race bike when it was first built in ’97. I have spent a lot of time at Shell, X-up (through its various name changes) and Inflow. The indoor parks definitely contributed to learning new stuff back in the early 2000’s. Shell is definitely my home though! I’ve been pretty lucky to live close to a hub of parks.
REPSET: Shell has churned out an absolute shit-ton of awesome riders over the years. Almost a perfect split between dudes who have been killing video sections, web edits, street spots, and local contests. You always stood out at contests though. When did you start placing at local jams?
WILL: We really have had a lot of good riders come from Shell. I have never really considered myself to be a contest rider, I don’t like feeling in competition with other people or that I have to prove myself. I do like contests after they are over though because most of the time it makes me man up so I don’t look like a pussy, haha. I think the first one I ever won was at X-wheelz in Buffalo in 2006. I would always see lines or tricks that I wanted to do and when it came contest time it just gave me that extra push to do it. I figured if it was a contest I might as well put it all out there for myself and not look like a pussy. After that I did well at a few other ones in Canada. Most of the time I would put together runs in my head that I thought were cool and had things in them that i was pretty confident I could do but hadn’t done yet and a lot of the time it worked out. I do the same thing every year at the Toronto BMX Jam.
REPSET: When was that X-Wheelz contest? 2006? Was that right around when you got picked up by 1664?
WILL: Yeah it was back in ’06 or very early ’07. I got hooked up with 1664 back in April of ’07. I think Mike Wilkinson put in the good word for me and at that time there wasn’t a lot of web stuff going on so it was just word of mouth, photos and the odd contest video.
REPSET: Mike is one of the best dudes ever. Was that around the time you had that photo in RIDE U.S. from Shell as well? I scanned and posted that on here a while ago. Did Bernie just call you up out of the blue?
WILL: I think that photo was in the April ’07 issue with Edwin doing the hop truck on the moon on the cover. Bernie called me up while i was at work one day, totally out of the blue, and asked if I wanted to be on the team. I was pretty pumped! We sent a few emails back and forth after that and he hooked me up with a ton of parts so I was repping the brands he was carrying.
REPSET: So that brings us to your recent big news, doesn’t it? How long were you on 1664 before they unceremoniously gave you the boot?
WILL: Well, I guess it was about April ’07 – April ’12 so 5 years. Kind of came as a surprise.
REPSET: Do you mind going on-the-record about how it went down? I don’t expect you to throw anyone under the bus here, but it’s been pretty unanimous across Canada that the split came as a massive surprise. When we thought about 64 as a brand, we thought about Will Fisher, you know?
WILL: Haha, well we went on a 1664 team road-trip last summer that was super fun. Everyone killed it and had a great time. The point was to film a team web-edit with everyone having sections. I saw a rough draft a few months ago that turned out awesome. Out of nowhere a few weeks ago I was told that there was a request to pull my section. I hit up Bernie asking him to shed some light on it for me and he called me the next night and basically said they were going in a different direction and that I would no longer be on the team. He apologized that I had to find out the way I did which was fair. I guess it was in the works for a while since the new catalog didn’t have any photos of me either, or so I’ve been told.
REPSET: That’s obviously a little unorthodox. Did you ever get a hint at what that direction might be, considering that YOU were what Canada perceived as 64’s ‘direction’ for the last five years?
WILL: Well I know that I am not what’s currently popular in BMX. I ride a gyro, haha. I don’t really know what direction they are taking, I would imagine one that’s a little more street oriented since that’s what is popular these days. I don’t think I am thought of as a street rider although I do enjoy good setups. I haven’t shot many street clips mostly because I don’t have close friends that ride much street or film.
REPSET: I don’t know man. That sounds ridiculous to me. The general consensus of everyone I know is that ramp riding is great to watch. Actually, fuck what I think, run the numbers. Pretty much every gigantic web-video in the last twelve months have been ramp riders. Go look at the views. That shit sells bikes, you know? No one wants to see you riding what you don’t enjoy. We want to see people riding what they ride best, not what people are tricked into thinking is ‘cool’ at the time.
WILL: Oh yeah, I will always ride what I enjoy the most and the bike set up that makes the most sense to me. I wasn’t basing it off the number of hits for each video, I was looking at the content of the videos on TCU and what I see myself out riding. Let me put it this way… The days of kids striving for the biggest fufanu or jumping a crazy transfer are over… until Drew Bezanson succeeds in bringing them back, haha.
REPSET: That’s exactly what I mean too. Drew Bezanson, Kriss Kyle, riders like that. They’re all bringing it back in a massive way. It’s the most popular type of riding when you look at consumption, and it’s only gaining steam. Street riding is and always will remain a niche (as it should!). It just struck me as really bad timing to drop you now given the direction BMX seems to be going.
WILL: Well I hope it comes back because I love watching people do big shit and it gets me pumped to ride. The most important thing to me about “what’s in” is for the kids starting out. I want kids to start out learning to jump, go fast and develop bike control because they will be able to ride anything and be better riders in the long run. Colin Varanyak, Garret Reynolds’ buddy who has had a few real street oriented edits, is a kid that grew up racing at the same time as me and he was fucking good! I wish the young kids knew how Corey Martinez and Nathan Williams rode years ago and tried to learn that stuff before trying to learn nose wheelies and all their tech grinds because then all that stuff would come easier anyway, haha. As for the timing I can’t really say whether it was good or bad because I can’t say for certain which way BMX will go. I was with them for 5 years so I will embrace a change and look forward to observe what direction they are going in as a brand.
REPSET: Do you see anything changing for you in the next little while? I saw you were down in Austin a ton last winter, any trips planned? Any remaining ramps or sets of trails on your bucket list?
WILL: I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and trying to travel more. I’ve been going to Austin for the past few winters with Drew. He’s great to travel/ride with so I want to do more of that when I can get the time off work. There are so many amazing sets of trails and spots that I’d love to see but a lot are by invite only so I don’t expect to go there. I’d like to spend more time in Vancouver though since the parks are unreal.
REPSET: West is best, man. Any last words for the kids before we wrap this one up? Any one you want to shout out?
WILL: Heck ya, keep shredding and doing what you love. Get as much travel time in before you’re stuck with a real job because those memories will get you through the day! Thanks to all my friends that I ride with on the regular and not so regular. The dudes at 1664 over the years who helped me out. Justen Soule for all the edits back in the day and also the Craz-E-Crew for the amazing travel opportunities and some of the best memories to date. Thanks to Inflow and Joyride as well for being amazing to me and helping everyone out. Thanks to YOU if I forgot to mention your name.