Stephan Salley - Get Wild Or Get Broke Trying
"BMX is an addiction. Its like a drug, I need to have it."
Intro and Photos by Chris Marshall
The one word that best describes Stephan Salley would be Buck; The dude is nuts. From Worldstar hip-hop videos to installing docks to help take care of his mom and siblings, Stephan keeps it 100 24/7. When not working or hanging with his girl a typical day chilling with him usually includes a couple pounds of healthy-esque food and half a million words in conversation. To say he likes to converse would be an understatement. Just like with his riding, the dude will never shy away from any type of conversation, whether it be controversial or not. Stephan's way of doing things is get wild or get broke trying.
Tell the people about yourself?
Whats up I’m Stephan Salley, I am 22 years young from Seaside Heights, NJ. Currently I live in a town farther north called Brick. Its just me and my mom in the spot. She’s disabled, so I help out with everything I can. I work for a marine company building docks and piers. As far the BMX stuff goes, I ride for Merritt BMX and Ian over at Unroyal Ink hooks me up with gear and ink. I have been on the Merritt team for about three or four years now. Mike Brennan and Sean (get well soon!) have been very supportive by providing me with parts, clothing and etc. When I am not riding I go to the gym to help stay in shape or I chill with my girlfriend, Taylar.
Growing up around Seaside must of been crazy with the board walk and all the “Jersey Shore” Character’s, Whats some crazy stuff people might expect to see there?
Living down the Jersey Shore can pretty get annoying at times, dealing with a constant flow of bennies (tourists) and drunk assholes that don’t respect the area. What I do like most about living there is being close to the beach. The sand, the ocean, its all right there. Its sick to me not have to travel far to see something like that. The club scene can get pretty wild at times. It’s a small town with a lot of bars, with lots of woman in them for single men to scheme on. Once in a while you have to deal with trying to fight someone cause they can’t handle their alcohol or their woman. I’ve been into a few fights due to this shit. You don’t even have to be on the boardwalk to get into a fight, I got sucker punched at gym one day lost two of my front teeth. Sucks to get your teeth knocked out not even riding your bike but thats how life goes.
Have you ever been hurt like that riding?
Yea, I broke my wrist at the Monster Street Series in New York. I tried to 540 down this 5 stair and things ended going the wrong way. Mike Brennen chilled with me the whole time while waiting for the ambulance. Good looks on that Mike. I was off my bike for 7 months, kinda sucked but it felt good being able to relax and hang at home with my girl. I honestly didn’t think I was gonna ride again after my injury. I started getting scared that I was going to lose a lot of tricks. My arm felt so weak during the whole healing process. It freaked me out at first, I lost a lot of confidence for tricks. I still knew how to do them, but I just didn’t have the mindset to really commit to shit like I used to.
What helped Motivate you to feel comfortable again?
I don't know, I guess just watching a shit ton of edits all the time. I was thinking a lot of these dudes are coming back from injuries and they kill it right away. Their motivation to get back on it made me motivated to get over my mental shit and focus. After I got over the mental part everything started to come back pretty quick. BMX is an addiction. Its like a drug, I need to have it. If I don’t ride I fiend the fuck out. I need it to stay calm. Makes me feel free.
When did your addiction with BMX start?
My addiction with BMX started I was 15 years old. I didn’t give a fuck if I got hurt, didn’t know much about the consequences or injury that came with it. I was ruthless. I was a pissed off lil kid. Riding the bike helped me deal with that anger in a semi positive way hahahaha. Growing up in Seaside really helped out with places to go to ride. There's so many different skateparks. When its not snowing out, every little town has some outdoor park. Theres a lot of street too, it’s just spread out. People think I’m nuts but my favorite spot to ride is the Boardwalk. Theres just something about it. Theres a lot of weird banks and ledges everywhere. Its a good place to cruise everyday and kind of just try stuff out of a planked embankment. The bennies and even some locals that come through act like they never seen anything like BMX before, it’s funny as hell to me.
"If I don’t ride I fiend the fuck out. I need it to stay calm. Makes me feel free."
- Stephan Salley
With taking care of the home life, and working full time how do you balance getting the fix and real life?
I try to fit riding in when I can. Its hard working a full-time job, shits mad stressful coming home tired as fuck. I just wanna go out on the bike even more. Get that adrenaline rush and just feel like no one can stop me. Just riding wherever I want with out a care. I feel so free when I actually get the time to ride. Maybe even more so now that life has gotten busier then when I was that angry kid.
When you do get out to ride, who’s usually in the crew?
If I’m not not cruising the board walk by myself I’m usually riding with my boy Nick Verdoni. Watching him ride motivates me, everything he does looks dialed. When we ride we def push each other too, sucks that we have different schedules. I go up north a bit to meet up with Scott M, Ricky, Oscar Ruiz and Casey Stirling. Riding up north motivates me too. Up there its more like riding real street. Down the shore we have grimy areas but nothing like Newark or parts of Passaic.I like riding in those areas, its something different. Riding with those dudes always brings good vibes. They all have different styles from growing up in different places so it’s really dope to see how they all use the same spot in very different ways. Helps me think of ways to ride the spot differently then I might have thought of. I definitely need to start coming up more and riding with those guys now that the edit is finished.
Do you have any plans project wise for the future?
Nothing planned yet. I was thinking about just cruising and doing my thing like I have been. Im definitely trying to get up north and just ride more in general. I got a couple spots lined up I want to hit but other then that I’m going to film and ride when I can. For right now I’m just trying to enjoy whats in front of me.
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