Ray Barbee Talks Krooked in New Transworld Interview

One bright spot in this godforsaken year was last month’s announcement that Ray Barbee rides for Krooked. It was one of those unexpected and perfect team changes that makes following the nuances of the skate industry worth it. Jamie Owens gets the backstory in a new interview published by Transworld this afternoon.

How did it all come about? Did Gonz call you and ask out of the blue?

No, no. I went begging to those dudes [laughs]! Element got bought out with new investors and they came in and changed up everything. The skate program cost a lot of their budget so they needed to do budget cuts and it didn’t make sense to be over there anymore. So, when I left Element, I just started thinking of what program would it be fun to be part of. Having a long relationship with Tommy, Mark, and Thiebaud, I just thought it would be rad if those dudes thought it made sense for me to be over there at Krooked. And I’m so grateful that they did!

I remember, I called Tommy and told him that I had left Element and said, “It would be so fun to do stuff with you guys. I just want to do stuff with friends.” And Tommy said, “That’d be rad but it’s not up to me. But let me reach out to Mark.” Then a couple of hours later, he texted me back and said Mark was into it! And that was still just part of the process because they still needed to talk to Bram (Krooked TM) and the team. And right away I was thinking I dig this because you guys are a family and it’s about everybody having a say. It’s not being dictated by some dude in charge. It’s about what the team cares about. Much respect for that and I’m so stoked that they were down for the old man to be a part of it.

You mentioned something about this to me almost a year ago when we filmed your Skater’s Favorite Skater. What took so long to officially announce it?

It’s been a slow process because, yeah, I actually got on this time last year. A lot of it was me being tied to the idea that I didn’t just want to make an announcement. I wanted to show that I’m still having fun skateboarding. I wanted to have a video announcement. Then Covid happened and then Thiebaud was just like, “That’s on you man. That’s your hang up.” [laughs] And then I had to acknowledge, like, “Yep, that’s me. All pride, man. All pride [laughs].” And so Covid helped me change the mindset from having a big idea for an announcement with a capsule collection with the boards, a music component, all with a video to being open to the idea that it didn’t need to roll out that way. It could just come out in small little chunks. Another thing that made it take some time was getting the board shape right, working on graphics with Mark, and then just all the board shortages and delays in the board manufacturing world. All of those factors just pushed all those plans so far out. Then Bram just hit me up saying, “Hey, we’re just going to put out your first ad.” So, the ad became the announcement, basically.

Read the rest here.

Image Via Vans