If you think the guys behind Gnarmads are just another two Larry Clark-esque kids splitting their time between the half-pipe and house parties, you are in for a big surprise. Whilst these guys are about as laid back as they come, make no mistake about it, Bodgand and Matt Kruz are in it for more than just a few kickflips.
Kiev-born Bogdan and Brooklyn-born Kruz first bonded over their love of skating on a Sunset Park basketball court over a decade ago. Today, the 23-year-olds spend their time skating, biking and giving back to their community through various charity and mentoring projects. “Skateboarding has no boundaries. Race doesn’t matter, age doesn’t matter – if you share a love for skateboarding, that automatically connects you,” Kruz comments.
As Gnarmads (inspired by Bogdan’s ‘gnar’ knee tattoo and both of their nomadic lifestyles) the two have launched the world’s first mobile skate shop, Tre Truck, collaborated with the Create Skateboard Foundation on children’s skating programmes, and put on a skateboard contest in NYC’s Coleman Park Skatepark among other things.
This month sees Bogdan and Kruz set off on their biggest adventure yet: a cross-country bike journey from NYC to San Francisco, with all benefits proceeding the Stoke Organization’s youth mentoring programs. “Skateboarding teaches you how to keep going no matter how many times you fail. There are tricks that I’ve practised for months, walking back every single week with failure and wanting to break my skateboard and quit. But then the next day you wake up and that rush is still there. That’s why we are now riding our bicycles to San Francisco: we want to just keep pushing forward,” Bogdan says. In between the 4,000+ miles on their way to California, Gnarmads will make pit stops in 13 different cities to do skate clinics and organise jams to showcase local skate culture, documenting their journey through photos, videos and written content in the process.
As with all things the two have pursued thus far, there seems to be an accompanying sense of ease and positivity even to this very ambitious project. “We’re planning to be on the road for at least four months,” Bogdan explains. “We are not even trying to plan anything after that – anything could happen. This is probably going to be the biggest adventure of our life.” Support the projecthereand for regular updates follow Gnarmads’visual diaries.