Interview by Farran Golding / Photo by Norma Ibarra
Between taking the curtains of Credits and the inescapable accolade of being the first woman to ride for Girl Skateboards, Breana Geering’s place in the grand scheme of skateboarding is already built way past the foundations at just 21 years old. Although, I’m certain Breana would have hated it if I’d have brought that up in as many words. The laugh-a-minute Canadian has a self-deprecating streak – a hallmark of a good interviewee if ever there was one – alongside a penchant for nose wheelie/nosegrind variations. She also loves Amy Winehouse. Enjoy more on all of the above in the last of our Credits interview.
I heard you got into skating after finding your sister’s old board. What’s it like growing up as the youngest of five siblings?
I’m actually the youngest of six [laughs]. I guess you’re always trying to act more mature and be on the same level as them all the time so maybe it helps you grow up a little faster.
How’s the skate scene back in Kelowna?
It was alright. I’m actually from over the bridge, West Kelowna, which is a lot smaller. Basically, the skatepark near my house was a BMX park they built in the ‘90s and it was super shit so we would skate a lot of parking lots. That’s probably why I just skate flatland and do manuals. I guess there wasn’t a whole lot going on there so as soon as I finished school I moved down to Vancouver. There’s like a million people who skate here. There’s a lot more openess in the big city rather than in little towns where everyone knows each other. It’s pretty welcoming and it was nice to have a new start with new people.
How’d you get to know Michelle Pezel at Antisocial Skate Shop?
My first time meeting Michelle was at Wheels of Fortune when I was 17. She was super cool. Then I moved here and… I don’t remember too much of the first year I lived here. I partied super hard [laughs].
Did being friends with Michelle motivate you to make the move?
Yeah, kind of. I knew this girl named Rose Archie better than anyone, she’s an OG skater from around here. She picked me up from the bus station when I got here and took me straight to the plaza. I knew there was a lot of girls here who were down to skate, so it was chill, and she introduced me to all of them.
I’m lazy in every regard except for going skating, because that’s all I do, but I look up to her a lot and I want to have that motivation she does. Her whole day
is spent helping other people.
Michelle’s got a pretty die hard work ethic. Has it rubbed off on you?
Oh my god, she’s so crazy. But no, I’m such a lazy piece of shit [laughs]. I aspire to be like her. I live with her and she literally sleeps for five hours, works all day then comes home and passes out. It’s just that over and over again. I’m so hyped to be around that. Basically, I’m lazy in every regard except for going skating, because that’s all I do, but I look up to her a lot and want to have that motivation she does. Her whole day
is spent helping other people.
Am I right in thinking she organises exhibitions and arts events at the shop? What effect do you think that’s had on the skaters who grown up around it?
Oh yeah, she does art shows all the time and she always has bands come and play. We just shove everything in a corner and have the room packed out. It creates a really good mix of people and it’s such a staple in the community. It’s like a meeting point first of all but then it also brings together a lot of people who normally wouldn’t come together.
Do you think Michelle’s role with Antisocial has paved the way for a stronger women’s scene in Vancouver?
Yeah, she’s very supportive of the women. She has every female skater’s pro board in the shop and I’m sure that stokes up little girls, you know? She does skate lessons for kids and I’m sure it’s inspiring for young girls to see a woman doing that.
Nosegrind pop-out for Breezy’s introduction to the Crailtap camp. ph: Mike Blabac
So, do you reckon Rick Howard took it upon himself to induct a fellow Canadian when it came to putting you on Girl?
[Laughs]. I think Michelle and [Rick] McCrank really gassed me up to them. I went on a day trip with them in Squamish and we went up to Whistler, it was super fun and I think they were just testing me out.
The next day I got a text: “Do you wanna ride our boards?”
“Bitch! Fuck yeah I do.”
Howard or McCrank: who’s your favourite Canadian Rick and what’s your favourite part from either of them?
Oh my god, that’s not fair. I like them both equally. I don’t know, man. I like watching them both skate in real life. I’ve watched Rick [McCrank] skate Hastings and it’s really sick.
Got a good story about either?
I just did this Bunt interview and I talked about my funny story with Rick Howard but I can rehash it. I went and stayed at his house and me, him and Meg [Baltimore] sat in their living room and awkwardly watched a documentary about sex dolls. None of us turned it off, we were all interested but so weirded out.
I saw that Crailtap clip with Mike Blabac shooting photos in the style of OG Girl ads. Did you know that was going to be for your debut ad or were you under the impression you were just shooting for fun? Were you a little starstruck at all because, well, it’s Blabac?
Nah, I kind of knew that’s what was up. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really know who he was but I was definitely shitting my pants. I was shook, freaking out, like [puts on a melodramatic tone], “I can’t even land a nosegrind. I can’t do this.” [Laughs].
Pop up, nollie flip to manual off in the midst of Credits. ph: Ibarra
You can want something so bad but at the same time you aren’t thinking about making it happen. You’re just obsessed and it works out because, subconsciously, you’re thinking: “This is all I have.
You don’t strike me as someone who ever set out to get sponsored. But was there a point, when you started getting more coverage, where you realised things were going in a certain direction and did that make you more mindful of it?
Yeah. I didn’t think about it as: “This is what I have to do and this is how I’m going to do it.” It was in the back of mind so I was just going through the motions.
You can want something so bad but at the same time you aren’t thinking about making it happen. You’re just obsessed and it works out because, subconsciously, you’re thinking: “This is all I have. This is all I want to do. I don’t give a shit about anything else.”
What’s a standard day in the life for Breana Geering?
I wake up, have a coffee, I sit around for like ten minutes then I get anxious so I get up and go skate until I’m too tired. Then I go to the bar, drink and play pool and go to bed. And repeat. [Laughs]. It’s a good routine. Who doesn’t do that?
Sounds familiar. Course, lately it’s been minus the pool and throw in a bit more weekday drinking.
I’ve been such a pile, it’s so gnarly [laughs]. Me and Fabi [Delfino] were looking at getting pool table to stick in the house. Hopefully, Michelle is down. Fabi doesn’t fully live here but she’s going to move in. She’s still technically an American.
How did you all come to live in the same area?
We all met at the same time at Wheels of Fortune in 2016. Una, Fabi and I were on a team, they do a ‘Queen of the Road’ sort of thing. We just clicked super well and found ways to link up over the years and do our thing. We all ended up skating for Vans and it was perfect because they’re the two people I want to skate with. Then Shari [White] is the shit so it was sick having her make that video. She’s so lovely to be around and easy to film with. It was just a perfect mesh of people. Even if we hadn’t had the backing of Vans I feel like we’d have done a project together.
Alley-oop wallie to wheelie from Wisteria (2018)
You’re a well documented Amy Winehouse fan. Is she responsible for you getting into making music and have you been playing guitar much lately?
She’s not responsible but I’m so obsessed with her. It’s so dumb. I’ve been playing a little bit but I’m kind of shit so I want to get better. I haven’t been able to sit down and focus on trying to do anything because I’m tweaking all the time. I can’t sit still for too long. I just… Can’t. [Laughs].
Has she always been your biggest influence outside of skating?
Nah, probably when I was like 17 I started getting super obsessed. I’d sit in my room, and drink, and watch Amy Winehouse’s live performances [laughs].
How much of the music you’re into has been shaped by skate videos?
A lot of it. I feel like before I was listening to music in skate videos I’d listen to random, terrible music. Looking back, I’m like, “That’s so shit, I’d never listen to that now.
Do any bands stand out where you heard one song in a video and then went down the rabbit hole?
From Hokus Pokus or the Polar video?
No, the H-Street video. Then I got really into them.
Crook in Brooklyn for Credits and the cover of The Skate Witches #13. ph: Shari White
While we’re talking influences, you’ve said Marisa Dal Santo was your favourite skater growing up. What was your introduction there? Zero’s Strange World?
For sure. When I was younger YouTube wasn’t super old yet but I’d look up girl skaters and watch whoever popped up. It was always Elissa [Steamer], Marisa and some other chicks who had posted videos filmed off of their mom’s cameras.
I love that Strange World part. It’s short but so much stands out. Mach-ten front boards down handrails, there’s a sick smith tail grab she does too, tuck kneeing that grass gap, the varial heelflip down the stairs wearing a leather jacket. Logging a trick in a leather jacket is a hammer in itself.
I know, it’s so steeze. 100% it’s a hammer. She sells vintage clothing and she was debating selling this sweater she’d filmed this phat backside flip in and I hit her up.
“Can I buy that sweater, please?”
“I wasn’t gong to sell it. But I’ll sell it to you.”
Now I feel like I have to go get a fucking good clip in this sweater as an ode to Marissa.
It was definitely more about the way she skated but it gets me stoked to see her hucking. I want to get more into hucking but I’m such a pussy.
I have to go get a fucking good clip in this sweater as an ode to Marisa.
How did working on Credits compare to parts you’ve filmed for in the past like Wisteria? Which type of part do you prefer?
Well, Wisteria I filmed with my roommate at the time so I would go out after work and just skate spots in Vancouver. I didn’t do a trip or anything. Then Vans was like ten trips, baller hotels and getting per diem every day to go out and skate which paid for our food. I like doing both. I like waking up, leaving my house, biking to a spot, doing a trick and after you’re done you have a beer with your friends and just go home, which is nice. There are lots of hidden gem spots around, and you just have to find them, but travelling and filming that way is sick because there are whole new cities you’ve never been to. Every time you’re like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe this is a fucking spot!” and you’re with a bunch of friends who maybe don’t live near you.
As Credits became a bigger project did you start planning out your part out or do prefer to go about it spontaneously?
It was more spontaneous, because I didn’t know what we were going to find wherever, we went but I thought we would find cool stuff I want to skate.
One of your first lines in Credits is at the Williamsburg Monument and you had the impossible into the China Banks in S.F. too. Are you into getting tricks at iconic spots?
I don’t think it’s for other people. It’s more because I’ve seen a spot in a million other videos and thinking, “I want to do a trick here because it’s so staple.” It’s just for me, I guess.
Bucket list spots.
Yeah, I like that.
How has your life outside of skateboarding changed as things have taken off?
I don’t work now which is super weird. Every day is just whatever I want to do and sometimes I think I have too much free time and need to invest in another hobby [laughs].
It’s strange to be in the position of the people you looked up to, and aspired to be, and then to get where you want to be … I don’t think I’m that much of a dickhead so if I be myself I think it’ll be okay.
Does knowing you’ve got an audience play on your mind at all?
Yeah. If anyone knows who I am from skating it feels really fucking weird. It’s strange to be in the position of the people you looked up to, and aspired to be, and then to get where you want to be. I don’t think I have to act a certain way. I don’t think I’m that much of a dickhead so, if I be myself, I think it’ll be okay.
Fabiana said she hopes Credits gets women excited to skate street, film and work on videos. Everyone I’ve spoken to about Credits, guy or girl, has been really stoked on it. Are you happy if bridged a sort of gap and opened minds in that way?
Yeah, I mean that’s everything I’d ever want; girls being down to go film and stop doing all the fucking contests. There’s too much of that. There are so many guys who get to film videos and it would be cool to see just as many women doing that and not taking the other route. Videos are going to last forever and be so much more meaningful so it would be sick to see more of that.
Some quick ones to wrap this up. Favourite part of all time and favourite video of all time?
All time top five?
Rowan Zorilla, Dylan Rieder, Andrew Reynolds… Do I even need to say Marissa again? [Laughs]. I always blank out when people ask me this question. Oh, Ed Templeton!
Favourite Amy Winehouse song?
My favourite, recently, has been her live performance of ‘I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know’. It’s just the one song but it’s worth a watch.
Honestly, anybody that does a really nice wrapped impossible over a rail into a bank is sick. I feel like Elijah [Berle] had a really good one in Pretty Sweet. I like seeing them boosted up over shit.
I know the one. The Suicidal Tendencies incarnation of Elijah.
[Laughs]. His phases are funny. Is there anyone else so known for that?
True… Oh my god! Jim Greco’s one of my favourites too. I always forget him.
Have you seen the flow chart of Greco’s outfits over the years?
Let’s end it on that.
I’m going to look that up [laughs].
More articles by Farran Golding: Andrew James Peters Interview: Mentors Heroes & Monster Children / Lightbox: Gino Iannucci by Ben Colen / Andrew Allen Interview: “I’ve always tried to be thankful for the opportunity.” / Bobshirt Interview: “For every era, that’s the golden era.” / Mark Suciu Interview: “I think it’s very natural to film for a standalone part.”