What can you say about Ryan Williams? The multi-threat action sports athlete had a banner year in 2018, with a gold medal in X Games BMX Big Air, launching his own scooter line, and a repeat as the Nitro World Games Scooter Best Trick champion. And those are just a few of the many huge moments R-Willy created for himself this year. Jake Hershey recently caught up with him at his home in Australia, reflecting on what was an insane finish to the NItro World Games and the final Nitro Circus tour of the year.
Jake Hershey: Hey Ryan! Congrats again on taking the win in Scooter Best Trick, well deserved. That was a long tour. Are you glad to finally be home?
Ryan Williams: I’m so stoked to be home. I’m away so much that it sometimes feels like home is actually my holidays.
Jake: That is exactly why I moved to San Diego! What was your favorite part of this past tour?
Ryan: The absolute highlight would have to be everyone getting bowl cuts on tour — even Travis Pastrana ended up getting one. Kind of taught me to not care about the way I look so much.
Jake: If I had hair I’d have been right there with y’all. I grew up with the bowl cut. So, did you feel a lot of pressure leading up to the Nitro World Games having to also perform in shows practically simultaneously?
Ryan: I definitely felt pressure leading up to the World Games, but it wasn’t from the shows. It was mainly from the fact I was coming in from winning last year and everyone expects me to do really good. It’s definitely not easy landing some of your hardest tricks ever within the four runs you have!
Jake: Being the defending champ is never easy. The last two days of tour were back-to-back shows in Paris with Scooter Best Trick in between. Do you think it made the competition tougher?
Ryan: I think having it at the very end of a crazy tour was what had me most worried. Usually everyone’s pretty broke off, and I was just hoping to at least make it there. Luckily I survived the tour and I was 100 percent focused on Nitro World Games as soon as I got to Paris, eating right, sleeping right, just preparing my mind and body. I think having it between shows actually helped me prepare a little bit.
Jake: You seemed very well prepared for sure! How did you feel watching Roomet drop in for his last run, knowing he was the last person to be able to take you off the top spot?
Ryan: I was so excited for everyone. I want everyone to do their best, just like I did myself. But I was nervous because I knew if he landed his 1080 frontflip no-hander, then the pressure was going to be on to finally land a 1440 frontflip in competition!
Jake: How did it feel when you saw he missed his trick?
Ryan: Honestly, I felt relieved that the pressure was off. Although, I didn’t stop smiling through the competition, when it came to doing my runs, I was hyper-focused and really nervous to stuff up. So when Roomet missed that last jump and I knew the result wasn’t weighing on this last run, I could just have fun with it!
Jake: The classic glory run! You constantly talk about how this contest isn’t just a win for you but for all of scootering. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Ryan: I have felt that way about every Nitro World Games competition. I know we have made great progress in the mind of the average person about scooters, but I still feel like we have a little way to go yet ’til we earn the respect all of scootering deserves. Selfishly, I kind of like the fact that scootering is that way because I feel like it gives us the best sense of community within the sport. It’s like we all feel the battle so we work together rather than fighting within. We all put on a great performance and showed we deserve our spot in the spotlight!
Jake: Well said, Ryan, very well said. Do you think the progression will ever hit a peak when it comes to big trick riding, or will there always be room for improvement?
Ryan: Whenever you think the limit is reached, someone else comes along and breaks it. With bigger and safer ramps getting built all the time, I know this is only the beginning for Scooter Big Air Best Trick!
Jake: I’ve never thought of it like that, but so true! Have you started thinking about next year’s tricks yet?
Ryan: I never really think that far ahead, because if I can do next year’s winning trick tomorrow then I’ll just do it tomorrow, haha. I would obviously love to land that 1440 frontflip, but it’s so many spins that it makes it a really hard trick to land within a few attempts. The way everyone else is riding, though, I might have to 1800 frontflip!
Jake: Any last words for anybody reading?
Ryan: Thank you everyone that supports me. That support has helped me stay motivated over my 12 years of riding and motivates me to go ride and progress every single day. For those kids coming up, make sure you’re always having fun, because if you’re not riding with a smile on your face, then it’s going to be hard to get back up after you crash or have a bad day, and that’s when its most important to pick yourself up and try again! Keep shredding everyone!
About the writer:
My name is Jake Hershey, known in social media land as Nekbeard. I was born in ’91 and started scootering in ’02! I was born and raised in New Jersey, but made my way to the West Coast in 2014. I now live in sunny San Diego where you can catch me at Linda Vista skatepark almost daily. Scootering is a passion for me, so I hope that you like what I have to write!