Introducing The Viking: Brage Vestavik
Stance is proud to introduce Norweigan powerhouse Brage Vestavik to its roster of European Rider's. (@bragevestavik) Brage has been dominating the Downhill scene for a few years now, pushing things to their very limit, and doing so with a no-fear approach, in typical Brage fashion. When he's not ripping monster launches or flying down berms, he's out with pick-axe and shovel in hand, building one of his next full-send projects. We caught up with Brage recently to check in on what turns his gears, and what he has in the pipeline for his career.
What would you say was the best way to describe yourself
I’d say I’m creative and usually full of energy, but I like to think I can be pretty chill and calm too. It’s a balance for me, and it’s the same way I am when I’m digging and riding my bike. My riding can get pretty aggressive and almost angry, but I also keep it flowy and chill, it’s a mix. For me, digging is where I can be most creative, and I love it as much as I love riding - I don’t see it as a separate thing, building and riding are one to me. I’m just always looking to have a good time, keep creating, and when I’m riding my bike that’s where I feel most confident and sure about myself in life. I definitely feel more comfortable riding a bike, than not being on a bike…
How did you first get into riding MTB?
My dad was riding mountain bikes before I was born, so he really got me into it. We were also doing motocross when I was a kid, super young. I wanted to ride moto all the time, but you can’t really ride legally just anywhere around Norway, so we would have to drive like an hour to the track. I just started to find it more fun to grab my bike and be able to go right outside and ride, so that was a big part of it for me too.
Who were your childhood heroes in the sport?
Definitely the guys from NWD films (New World Disorder) like Robbie Bourdon, Cam Zink… I got my first DVD, NWD 7, and just watched that every day and just wanted to go out and build all the time. Pretty crazy actually, our family house burnt down when I was like 2, and we stayed at some other house for a while... Then when we moved back, with our new home built, I was probably like 4 or 5 years olds, and since it was all construction, I was able to have a track that I built in the back where the yard and garden used to be. I’d watch the NWD DVD, then go back out, make stuff out of wood, some crazy builds… and just do that over and over. I had that all growing up until I was probably 13. My Mom never really had a proper yard because of that!
What’s been the craziest thing you’ve done to date
Completing the X Games Real Mountain Bike video part, for sure. Just surviving X Games! The whole experience was the craziest thing ever. From the beginning to the end it really feels like a long crazy dream, being out in the dark woods, digging all night, it was just a crazy experience. Deep in a sesh.
We know you were out of action recently, how has the recovery process gone?
Everything has been moving really fast for me the last few years, and to be honest the injury really gave me some time to slow down. I find that I always learn something from being injured, whether it’s time to just think or read, focus on my rehab… I personally have come out on the other side better from my injuries, super fortunate. With my foot this time, I got into Wim Hoff methods and was doing ice baths every day and working on my breathing. I don’t know if I would have ever found that without being injured, and taking the time to just focus, be more sure about myself and what I’m doing.
By the time this interview comes out, you will have competed in Red Bull Hardline, but what are you most looking forward to?
Hardline has been one of my favorite events since the first time I was there. I really love riding my big bike and riding big features… so it’s like a perfect event for me. It’s really cool that everyone who is there works together and helps each other. We will talk about the track and how to hit some of the features, and just ride together and have a really good time - sometimes you can forget it’s a race! Yeah, I just love the vibe of the whole event.
What aren’t you looking forward to about Redbull Hardline?
I look forward to everything about Hardline, to be honest. But this year, travel is going to be pretty crazy for me - I’m not looking forward to that, it’s been hard to plan. I think if this event was something different, and not Hardline, I would have stayed home for now.
What’s your next build project in the pipeline?
I don't want to give too much away… but I’m working on a new video project with the same crew that I did X Games with, BLUR Media, and we’re building a lot of crazy features for it. Where I live is flat, so we’re just building sick features where the terrain allows, working with my two good friends Sondre and Elias… you will have to wait and see.
What upcoming competitions are you looking to get involved with?
Freeride contests are new for me, and I’m starting to focus on that more than racing. I have been to a lot of events, like the Fest series, and local Norway events, but X Games was really the first competition that gave me that type of opportunity. I’m just going to follow the road, see what happens… but Rampage and events like that would be a dream in the future.
Any tips for anyone wanting to get into the sport?
Just go out and ride. Don’t watch all the vlogs about the special bike parts and get hung up on all that stuff… There’s a lot of learning as you get more into riding, so just get the bike you want or can have for now... and just go ride. All the expensive stuff doesn’t really matter.
Does fear ever interfere when you’re approaching something new?
To be honest, it helps me in a lot of ways. I definitely get worried about some features, really scared sometimes, but I use that as fuel and drive to help me focus. It’s a crazy feeling when I’m so deep into it, I don’t know if I can do a feature… and my crew that I trust will just start yelling when they can see me having trouble, and it helps to hype me up, and pushes me to do it. The fear really just turns into focus in those moments, and it makes me respect what I’m doing. You have to have that respect.
What are your go-to pair of Stance for riding in and why
The Stance Classic Icons are my favorite, I just love the feel and look of them.
When you’re not riding, what do you get up to?
Honestly I’m so deep into riding right now, that when I’m talking about other things or doing something that isn’t about riding, I feel like I’m wasting my time. I’m almost always building, but if I am just chilling with friends I’m still writing down ideas or drawing features in my book. It’s probably getting a little crazy, but I just feel like I want to do my thing right now with biking and keep pushing myself.
We know you love your music, what’s the track that best describes your riding style?
I listen to a lot of different music… hip-hop, rock, and mostly from Norwegian artists... but around Christmas time I found a documentary about black metal music, which is from Norway, and I really thought that the way they looked at their work was kind of how I looked at my work. That music took a lot of inspiration from the dark Norwegian woods and how it can be super gnarly, but also mystic. It was pretty wild after X Games, to read the comments from people actually comparing my X Games part to black metal…
Music is really just a huge part of my life. I ride to music, I dig to music, if I’m at the bike park I usually have one headphone in… it’s super important to me.
If you could do anything else as a career, what would it be and why?
Maybe building bike parks or something like that, but really I couldn’t think of anything...
One bit of wisdom that you’d give to someone pursuing their dreams?
Be yourself, be true to yourself. It’s important to do what you’re passionate about, and work hard for it. Knowing I get to wake up every morning and get to do what I love is what keeps me going. I don’t ever want to lose that, so if it’s putting in longer hours, going all out… it’s worth it.