"Nothing beats kicking the back end out." Catching up with Matt Cordova
That Award Winning Style...
Interview and Photos by Andrew White
Far from shooting fish in a barrel, working on a project with riders in SoCal is more involved than one might assume. Although there’s plenty of riders with lackadaisical daily routines consisting of finding caffeine and a skate plaza while vlogging such captivating experiences, most established riders are tied up with traveling, injuries, or other projects. All this to say, while trying to make plans with riders and having each one come back unavailable, the vast majority pointed me to the same guy: Matt Cordova.
I’d really only known of Matt through his name up until that point. I’ve come across some of his videos for sure, but it was evident that he had an esteemed status amongst SoCal riders. He was undoubtedly the dude that I needed to seek out. I took the advice. After I made the connection with Matt, scheduled a day to shoot on his home turf, I set out to venture deep into avocado country and see first hand what the fuss was all about.
I rolled up to a motocross compound, with a side of BMX trails in the front. Matt was with his brother Joey watering the jumps. Pleasantries exchanged, but mostly I was pacing the jumps offering to help groom as if I had anything to off, and anxiously waiting for the riding to begin. One of my favorite all time BMX experiences is watching world class trails riders doing their thing. It’s so captivating, and deceptively alluring. He made it look so easy, I bet I could do that! Usually not the case. Matt’s riding will put you in a trance. Remember maybe a decade or so ago, when the trails conversation was an either/or regarding tricks and style? Matt’s riding shatters this dated concept. I couldn’t believe how well he could both flow the jumps and trick anything he wanted.
Shooting with him was a delight. I’d find a jump where the light was good, and tell him I want to shoot from a certain angle, what did you suggest. He’d rattle off five options, all of which would be amazing. Then he’d do it as many times as it took to get the right shot. Trails riding is super collaborative.
Matching his riding, Matt is equally awesome off the bike. He’s got a solid attitude, and hustles in and outside BMX. With his recent win at the Van Doren Invitational timed perfectly with this article’s release, I don’t think he’ll be under the radar any more.
Where did you grow up and where are you currently? How old are you?
I was born and raised in Longmont, Colorado and currently living in Wildomar, California. 25.
Why’d you make the move out west?
I moved out here to actually go to college and work with my uncle. Right before I moved I got picked up by Supercross Bmx and was offered a warehouse job there. So instead of school, I took that gig and moved in with one of my best friends Kris Fox and my brother. Been living the dream since.
How’d you get into riding?
My dad raced motocross, which turned into my brother racing moto. Then when I came along we raced for a bit. But it got too pricey, so next best thing was BMX. Started with BMX racing when I was 6 and did for about 7 years. I got over the competitiveness of it and started doing freestyle.
What do you ride? Why?
I try to ride everything. I’m not a dirt rider, or bowl rider. I ride BMX.
Who were your heroes growing up? Today?
Growing up I would have to say Brian Foster, Joe Rich, and Aitken. Those are still are some of the guys I look up to now.
What do you do day-to-day?
I try to ride as much as possible. Digging is a must having your own trail spot. But I also part own a motocross gear company with my roommate Michael Leib, called Canvas MX. So just business stuff throughout the day with that. And photography is a huge part of my life, so I’m always out shooting photos of something.
Have you ever brought a girl to the trails to show off?
Haha, no I have not.
"I am pretty content with my capabilities..."
- Matt Cordova
Are you a healthy person? Drugs, diet, lifestyle etc.
I’m definitely not out there chowin' at a fast food joint, but also not a health freak. I try to keep things in moderation.
What’s the best trip you’ve been on?
For sure the Demolition Colorado camping trip has been my best trip. The crew we had, being in my hometown/riding my local spots, and just watching everyone shred was such a treat.
Best feeling on a bike?
Nothing beats kicking the back end out.
What's your nemesis trick?
If you could steal an aspect of someone else's riding capability, what would it be?
I am pretty content with my capabilities.
Who's the coolest person in BMX right now?
That is a hard one. I’m not really too sure. I think anyone that's doing their thing and stoked on it is cool.
What's the uncoolest thing in BMX right now?
If the apocalypse came and wiped out all BMXers from the planet but the trails and parks survived, would you still ride by yourself? For how long?
I think I would try to ride. But probably after a month be done. I enjoy riding with my friends too much.
DIG TRAILS - SoCal Weekends with Matt Cordova & Nathan Sykes
That effortless flow... - More Info
"I’m definitely not out there chowin' at a fast food joint, but also not a health freak. I try to keep things in moderation."
- Matt Cordova
Have you peaked yet?
I don’t think so.
What’s the coolest/best thing you’ve done on a bike.
I’d have to say riding Dreamline. Those jumps were so gnarly. The amount of time you spent in the air was uncomparable.
Contest thoughts? Which ones have you done and how did you do? This doesn’t necessarily have to be podium standings.
Contests are kinda whatever to me. I think they aren’t for everyone which is fine. I’ve done a few different contests throughout the years, the most recent ones would be: Dreamline - 11th Texas Toast -10th Vans Us Open - 10th [Ed. Note: Van Doren Bowl Invitational 1st Place]
Sponsors? How’d they come about?
My sponsors came from just meeting people and making the right connections with the right people I believe.
What motivates you?
Motivation for me, is being able to better myself.
Tell me the most interesting idea you’ve heard about recently (not limited to BMX).
I honestly haven’t heard of anything that interesting lately.
How would you describe your friend Nathan Sykes* to someone who's never met him?
Dang that’s kinda hard. Well Nathan is a very outgoing person. He could talk to anyone about just about anything. I guess the best way to describe him is, he’s the guy you sit next to on an airplane that you’ll end up telling your whole life story to, haha. He’s the man though!
*Editors Note: Nathan Sykes Interview from this shoot coming soon.
"I try to ride everything. I’m not a dirt rider, or bowl rider. I ride BMX."
- Matt Cordova
"Motivation for me, is being able to better myself."
- Matt Cordova
"Stay honest, humble and passionate to progress."
West Coast vagabond BMXer