Beaver Fleming | 2016 was a banger

American skate icon Beaver Fleming has had one crazy-ass 2016. As well as dropping jaws during both the Nitro World Games and Nitro Circus Live tours, the 22-year-old from Knoxville, TN has travelled the world, filmed insane edits and kept his trademark smile and style intact throughout...although he has lost his infamous fro!

As 2016 draws to a close we decided to hit him up for his take on what’s been an epic 12 months.

Highlight of the year

There have been a bunch: Skatercross was amazing, but I think going for the Double Flip for the first time at Nitro Games has to be the number one for me and it meant a lot to me personally. I’m glad I went for something new and tried to push the sport. I was pretty bummed afterward that I didn’t land it, but my brother told me that no-one will remember the 7s that were landed, but will remember the guy who kept trying to send it for the double. It’s still never been done, but I’m working on it!

Lowlight of the year

I can’t remember a time I was bummed too much on things for long. My favourite quote is “Never have a bad day”. Different things happen and can take us down certain paths, but we can create what we want out of any situation. We can change our mindset and turn anything into a good thing.

Craziest travel-related story

In May I went to FISE in France with a bunch of guys like Larry Edgar and my buddy Robert, and in France they don’t even try and learn English. So we just tore through the crowded streets on bikes yelling the two French words we knew – “Pardon!” and “Bonsoir!” It was so funny. That night there was a bonfire in the middle of the town square with about 300 people around, and the guys rode up and just started bunnyhopping it without any ramps. The people were losing it!

Biggest surprise of the year

I knew it was coming, but moving to Encinitas, San Diego for me was crazy. As a kid growing up in Tennessee, all the videos of the pros were in Encinitas and I had this dream of driving the road to my favourite pro, Bucky’s, house to skate. It’s just insane that that’s exactly what’s happening now. I still have to pinch myself that my childhood dreams are coming true.

Best action sports moment of 2016

There were a lot, but for me personally, seeing guys like Travis Pastrana and Tony Hawk still pushing the sport is about as inspirational as it gets. Travis was doing Double Flip Supermans onto the airbag during the Nitro Live Tour and Tony landed the 900 this year. I mean, he’s 48 and wouldn’t need to touch a board again in his life, but he’s still doing one of the hardest tricks in skate. That sort of thing is so motivating for me as a rider – the best of the best are still helping shape action sports for nothing more than their love of the sport and it’s unreal for me to watch that.

Best place you visited

Probably Estonia. The architecture was so different from anything I’ve seen before. I was there for a week and I had a blast there. France was cool except for the language barrier, and Australia was amazing as always.

Worst place you visited

We did a road-trip from California to the East Coast and on one of the first nights we were driving from Vegas to Colorado and came to a place called Thompson Springs with a population of 58 people. There was no cell service and it was really windy, so we found a tree and parked under it, hung hammocks from the tyre of the jeep to the tree and slept there, while another mate slept on a yoga mat on the gravel under the car. It was one of the worst but coolest experiences ever.

Favourite fan moment

The multiple instances of people thanking me for trying the Double Flip inspires me to want to do it even more. Also, Colton Satterfield’s show, Ramp Riot, in Idaho was cool as every person in the crowd got to meet the athletes. We signed autographs for three hours and it was amazing to see so many passionate people. I know how much it meant to me as a kid when pros took the time to talk to me, so I try and do the same now.

Closest call

I had quite a few, but the biggest was at a photo shoot for O’Gio. I had to handplant a bag on top of the halfpipe, but it tipped over as I did it, and I folded like a briefcase on the coping, then scorpioned on my head down the ramp. There were quite a few kids there as we were going to hand out some free stuff and as I was sliding I thought “the kids are going to think I’m dead” so I jumped straight to me feet and yelled “we’re good!” That fall could’ve been brutal and I definitely got lucky on that one. (Check out 4:13 in the clip below)

Best plans for 2017

I just want to try and take it day by day and push myself constantly. 2017 is wide open. I have some ideas for stuff I want to do and some results I want to see come my way, and I’m sure we’ll see them happen in the future if I just keep pushing myself.