Stephen Savage had a full part in Up, Up & Away because he has a smooth, relaxed and fun style. He rides for us in South Africa and spent a good portion of the summer of 2008 in the USA which he filmed most of this section. Great song and great section!
Here’s the 2nd part of the Stephen Savage interview!
What’s your bike set up and why?
Um…I guess its short. Haha! And kinda high. I run a 20.5 and a slammed backend plus a shortish stem. I rode my friend Jordan’s bike about 2 years ago and his stem was upside down. I got on his bike and it just felt right, so I did it to my bike the next day and I’ve never looked back! It’s good for spinning in circles.
Wow, you are on a 20.5 and you’re tall aren’t you? How tall are you?
Haha, yeah I’m 6.1 so maybe my bike is a bit short, but i really like it that way. Good for spinning thats all I need.
How would you describe your style?
Any favorite tricks?
Not really. if I had to answer, I would probably say 360s, just cause they feel so good.
What’s the most important part of a trick for you?
It’s all about the mission! going on a crazy adventure to find a spot that you’ve heard of, or having something happen at a spot. Like a guy giving you a broom to clean the runway, or having street kids rock up on sketchy bikes and battling. Just the crazy things that happen when your hanging out with friends that ride. Then because of the day and the laughs, maybe an epic trick goes down or a badass photo is the result. Every time you look at that photo it reminds you of some funny happenings!
So you came over to the USA in 2007, what the heck was that like? What were you expecting? And was it correct? Didn’t you fly right into NYC?
Yeah I stayed in a hostel in NYC, fail. But then met a bunch of dudes and it was rad. Got to see Harlem, that place is fun! It was such a blessing being able to travel around and see the states and meet all these crazy riders. Like I got to stay at Gary Young’s house! That’s crazy to me! Just meeting all these pros, I was so starstruck. But it was so fun and I saw some wild stuff happen, and jimc got me punched in the face! Hahaha. It was a good memory! I watched him ride over a “gangstas” car, so funny! Thanks Jim:)
You were able to travel all over the USA in that time. How did that feel? What’s the most American thing you saw here?
It was such a privilege being able to travel like that. I owe so many people thanks for that trip! Especially Jim C and Chad. Thank you. The most American thing… probably all the giant american flags outside the houses!
So, what’s the story with your song from your part in Up, Up and Away? Most people wouldn’t ride to Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield?
I grew up listening to lots of classic music and this song is just has such a good feel to it. While Chad and I were driving to Buffalo(I think) it started playing and we both thought it would be an awesome song for a section. So, when Jim asked me for a song it was the first one that came to mind.
Were you surprised to get a part in the Sunday video?
Yes! I was shocked. I was hoping to get a few clips in the friends section or something and then he asked if I wanted a part! I know my footage wasn’t amazing, but I know I had a fun trip when I watch it.
To me it was an honor having your section in the video, you made quite a good impression on everyone that met you here. Did you have any clue people felt this way?
Thanks, that means a lot! I didn’t know if people would like my section or not, but if they did, then I’m psyched.
Since most of the US probably doesn’t know any of the riders in South Africa, name some friends who tear it up?
Well watch out for Greg Illingworth, he went on the most recent Mega Tour right now! Cape Town local Buddy Chellan, he’s on Fly and is in Spain killing it. There really is so many killer riders, I have love for all the SA guys. I’m just so amped to mission with the Cape Town crew.
If someone is going to South Africa, where the heck should they go to meet up with riders, find spots and have a good time?
Damn, the same way you would if you were traveling anywhere else. Give us a shout before you come, and we’ll show you around! There’s good stuff everywhere. and if you want to come to Cape Town, you can come crash at my place!
What’s a good time to go?
Get away from your winter, it’ll be summer here soon, and its going to be epic!
Any thanks to give?
So much thanks! Family, where would I be without you?! Jessica, I wouldn’t know where to start thanking you! All my friends, thanks for the missions and all the ones to come. Jon Sherwood, I wouldn’t be where I am today if you hadn’t have helped me out. Jim C for giving me all these opportunities. What a blessing. Eric Palmer for the best weekend of shooting photos! And everyone else who has helped me, or met me or fed me or whatever, thank you.
One of the best things about having a bike company is being able to help out riders that might never get the opportunity. South Africa’s, Stephen Savage is a perfect example of this. He’s an amazing rider with a style that isn’t learnable, it just is with him. Sunday has been lucky enough to be able to help him out over the past few years. He took this opportunity to do this 1 part interview with us about riding and South Africa. Photos by Eric Palmer. Check out his website/blog HERE!
What’s your full name?
Stephen Frederick Savage
Where are you from?
I was born in Cape Town, and grew up in George, South Africa
Where do you live now?
In Cape Town
How did you get started riding?
My first memory of bmx was chasing my brother and his friends up the road. they were big into bmx and i just wanted to hang with them because they were amazing to me and i obviously wanted to be just like them. i could never keep up though haha! And then when I was about 15 or 16, I got out my brothers old bike and started again and haven’t stopped.
What was your first bike?
A cromed out old Mongoose! I loved that thing. we couldnt really get parts or anything like that at the time, so I got my dad to make me pegs, and I bent the dropouts and had to replace the 10mm axles at least once a week. That frame is completely bent and cracked right through, but I still have it and will hang it on my wall one day!
BMX has basically been around since the late 1970s here in the US, is it the same way in South Africa? If not then when do you think BMX got popular there? Who were the old guys back in the day?
My boss is super old school and he says its started in 1980 about, obviously with racing. They killed it back then and had USA pros come out here and we beat them proper! He has photos with Charles Townsend.
What’s the best thing about South Africa?
There are so many good things. Probably the cultural diversity of South Africa, I mean, we have 11 national languages. So you are bound to meet interesting people and its beautiful here! Cape Town especially! A city around a mountain, its epic! Not to mention summer time here is perfect!
What’s bad about South Africa?
I guess the fact that its a 3rd world country…theres still alot of poverty. The government is struggling to deal with it and is still corrupt in many places. With poverty comes crime and people living on the street and all that. I know its worse in other parts of the world, but South Africa has such potential. It’s fighting so hard to get out of it, but gets dragged down by people making the wrong decisions.
What’s something people might not know about South Africa?
We have the highest bungi jump in the world! 216meters! (708feet!)
So the bungi jump is 708 feet? As in that’s how high it is? Have you ever done it?
That’s how long you freefall for! It’s nuts! It’s a crazy tourist attraction, so its really expensive. I haven’t done it. but i want to:)
How’s the riding scene?
Small, almost everyone knows everyone, but its getting to that point where there’s more riders. I start seeing a lot more new faces, and the kids are dialed!
Is it mostly street riders?
Definitely not. There is a good mix of every riding style in SA. There are a bunch of parks popping up all over and trails too. But I must say we have sick street, you just gotta be down for the mission!
Are there a lot of skateboarders there? What’s the vibe like?
Yeah there’s a good skate scene. There will always be 1 or 2 that cause hassles, but whatever. For the most part they are cool. The Cape Town skaters are down for anything, I like ’em.
Isn’t there one of those theme park wave pool things that you can surf in South Africa?
Yeah, the wave house in Durban. It’s at a big mall and has an awesome skatepark/snake run/spine-mini/kidney bowl.
What’s with that old skatepark snake run thing with the big quarterpipe at the end? Where is that?
Germiston bowl in Johannesburg. That place is iconic! Brad Simms went so f-ing high out of that thing. I would love to see someone beat his air!!!
Is it wild to think that a street rider like Brad Simms can air so high on ramps?
Brad Simms can do what every the hell he wants to! Hahaha! That guy is one of the craziest and funniest people I’ve ever met. Come back to SA Brad!
Are there any flatlanders there?
Yeah there’s a good crew of guys.
I’m going to make a generalization that might get me in trouble, but in the US the big trick right now is no handers down stairs. Last year it was Luc-e grinds. What are some of the big or trendy tricks going on in South Africa?
I wouldnt know… Hahaha. I think the footjam whip is still lingering! HAHA. No I feel like kids in SA just do their own thing for the most part. There will always be tricks that are more popular than others though, but i feel like kids here learn tricks with their friends, so different groups of friends are into different tricks…does that make sense?
You told me that you don’t get Ride BMX in South Africa? What magazines and media do you have there?
None…haha. The internet?? I guess. We don’t get magazines and if we do, they are probably 2 months old. Internet is taking over the planet.
What was it like being in Ride for the first time?
EPIC! I was so amped! getting to shoot with Jeff Z was a dream! I wish I could of hung with him for longer and shot more.
Look for the 2nd part of Stephen’s interview tomorrow!
Stephen Savage spent a month over here in the USA. We set him up with the blue Second Wave kit that he is riding in the photo. This replaces the original Second Wave prototype that he’s been riding since June of 2008. That might have been the most traveled Sunday frame out there. Either way Stephen’s back home in South Africa and he sent me this photo along with a description of the spot. Here is what he said,
“This spot is one of my favourite spots in Cape Town. You have to roll down this hill to a blind corner and as you carve to get to the back you have to hop a pavement. Its crazy and sketchy and if you fall on this back its like a cheese grater! But that’s what makes it so fun! There are always these little neighbourhood kids hanging around. Its chaos! I had to ask some lady to move her car so I could ride it and she was like “with pleasure”. Such a cool area, i love Cape Town!”
Stephen couldn’t have described it more perfect. The setup, the situation and everything else around it can make a spot and trick seem that much more amazing. This might be favorite update in awhile. Wayne Rieche shot this photo! Great photo!