April 21, 2022

Last updated on May 18, 2022

Chad Kerley Revs It Up | That's 5

Chad Kerley talks about his personal style, plans for a major shoe drop, and competing in the upcoming X Games in Japan.

Chad Kerley talks about his personal style, plans for a major shoe drop, and competing in the upcoming X Games in Japan.

This article is part 80 of 82 in the series: That's 5

BMX pro Chad Kerley has earned a reputation as one of the most prolific, well-respected bikers in the sport’s history. And deservedly so: Kerley, or “CK”, as most of his friends and fans call him, is just one of three riders who have taken gold in the BMX Street competition at the X Games. CK’s highly technical maneuvers, combined with his riding tricks during incredibly difficult runs, have solidified him as a BMX legend. Next up: he takes front and center at the X Games on April 22, at Zozo Marine Stadium in Japan.

BMX is part of current culture more now than ever before. Can you share your perspective on what has made it so prominent?

Social media has helped out so much. Before social media, we were just able to film video parts. Social media also added a new space and opportunity to play with being comfortable in what we wear. BMX and street culture had always been one and the same, because we were always in the street. We had always been there. But now with social media, we can show off [our style] more now in cool posts, rather than just doing tricks in video clips. 

How do you see what you do fitting into the world of StockX?

I’m super into fashion more than I’ve ever been. It’s all over my social media feed, and it’s all I watch [laughs]. And now, on StockX, I’m going on it more than ever. It’s now a part of my lifestyle. It’s made me feel like I’m a part of the community, especially watching shoes and how they’re doing. And now that I’m working on my own collection of sneakers, I want to see how much my stuff is worth. When I got off my Nike sponsorship in 2018, I was able to begin to play with different brands. Now that I am able to throw this stuff on, it connects with what I do. 

What’s the inspiration behind your brand Ceeklife?

It was a way for me to have a platform to release stuff on my own terms. With my sponsors, I had to release stuff. For me, I can do my own thing. My brand has a lifestyle aspect; it’s all about seeking your fun. Ceeklife is a play on my initials, CK, and I just ran with it. Now, if I feel like I want to put my own brand on something, I have my own logo for it.

Tell us about some of your upcoming projects.

We’re doing a bunch of exciting collabs with different brands. Haro Bikes is one of my sponsors, and they are helping me do a partnership with Curren$y. He is a huge inspiration, so to be able to work with him has been amazing. We’re working on a big bike coming out soon, and it will be a 24 or 26-inch style bike. Bike life is super in right now; you’ve got all the wheelie kids in New York City, so we’re hoping it appeals to that crowd. The bike looks super sick and there’s a jersey that goes with it that also looks sick. 

I also have a shoe coming out, which is a signature shoe of my own. It’s inspired by my city, San Diego, and boasts the colorway of the San Diego Padres. I’m partnering with a company called Kool Kiy. It was such a cool opportunity, because it was such a rebel style, where we could really just get creative with it and make something original. I have a take on how I see the shoe, and it’s cool they see that vision.

You’re one of three riders who have taken XG BMX Street gold. What do you attribute to your success? 

Growing up, I watched Garrett Reynolds. And fast forward to 2011, when I first got to participate – not as a competitor, but as an alternate. Then, in the following year, I was in the contest, and I got silver to Reynolds, but that felt like winning because he’s the best. I went from watching him ride and him being a part of Nike, to then me being a part of Nike and riding with him, and it was so surreal. I just looked at it as a cool experience and ended up riding well. And the next year, I ended up beating him. You just have a really cool day sometimes and you just go with the energy and vibe. After I won that year, I didn’t get back on the podium for a few years. There was so much pressure. And I think, when I finally did get back up there, it was just me feeling more comfortable with myself. I didn’t have any high expectations of myself. And it clicked and I won again. Now, I’m trying to just balance not putting too much pressure on myself and enjoying the moment. It’s all about the moment and just living in it. 

What excites you most about the upcoming X Games?

I’m super excited about the X Games; it’s the holy grail of what we do, so I’m just stoked. Just to be a part of the Games is unreal. I’m just having fun with it, because you get to go somewhere new. These guys I’m competing with are my friends from all over the world. You get to go somewhere new and ride with them – it’s so cool.

@chadkerley