Get to Know Casey Starling - Kink's Newest Pro

Casey Starling has been the talk of the BMX world since dropping his new Kink video and cementing his spot on the brand's prestigious pro team at the beginning of the month. I've been a fan of Casey's riding for a number of years, but honestly don't know a whole lot about the man behind the flair-to-backlash. Darryl Tocco was kind enough to link me up with Casey and I picked his brain about riding for Kink, his BMX roots in New Jersey, what he's into off-the-bike, and more. Check it - 


 



Congrats on getting the bump to Kink’s pro team. I know you’ve been a part of Kink for a little over four years now. How did you end up riding for them in the first place?

Well, Kink came as a huge surprise to me. I never would have thought I would be getting hit up by a them, but I was working at Extremez Bike Shop back home in New Jersey and, basically, I just got a phone call one day and it was Jay Roe on the line and he was asked if I wanted to ride for them.


Was the promotion to the pro squad something you knew was coming or was it out of nowhere?

The bump up to the pro team wasn’t something that I talked with Kink about a lot. There was definitely some hints here and there, haha! As the video was coming to an end with filming, I kinda felt it coming, but I was still shocked AF when I got the call from Jay.


What does it mean to you to be added to the pro team of such a prestigious brand?

It’s so crazy. Kink heavily influenced me into getting into riding as a kid. "Squash It" was the first BMX video that I ever watched. 

Going from idolizing all these icons and incorporating their styles of riding into my own - to now me being on the same team as literally all of my favorite riders - is a true honer.


I know you’re originally from New Jersey. How and why did you end up in Austin?

Moving down to Austin was kind of just a spontaneous decision, honestly. I was coming off of a Merritt trip from Rhode Island and was staying at the warehouse for a couple of days. I ended up meeting my roommate James there and we started hanging out for a couple months and he basically just asked if I ever wanted to move out of Jersey. I knew that the riding scene in Austin was way bigger than in New Jersey and the spots were going to be ten times better, so to keep myself motivated on riding and to stay mentally healthy, I knew I had to take the opportunity.


Did you grow up riding a lot of park? Your flair and frontlip moves make me assume there are pretty heavy park roots there…

Yeah. My hometown didn’t have a lot of street spots. It was as either you ride a curb or nut up and slay this twenty rail - haha! But there are three parks and two street plazas that are like 15-to-20 minute pedals from my house. It was super fun - I always had a different park to ride.


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Who do you normally ride with in Austin?

My normal crew would be my homie willwiththecamera, Logan Penberg, Reid Sullivan, and lot of local homies from up in North Austin. 


What do you do when you’re not riding?

I am a very boring person outside of riding - haha. I’m either just sitting at home watching TV or just ripping the 'dama and tryna learn a new trick or something.


 


Do you work a “real job” or are you able to just focus on riding?

I was working a full-time job in tech support - working remotely, so that was pretty cool - just answering phone calls and smoking weed all day, but I recently left that position and now, in 2021, I really want to just fully focus on riding.


Your new Kink video was epic. How much time went into that?

Thank you. Just about two years - maybe a little less. But yeah, a lot of those clips are from like beginning of 2019 and like the middle-to-end of 2020.


What’s your favorite clip from the video?

I can’t really choose just one between these two. The double whip on the wedge is definitely one of my favorite clips because I’ve been searching for a good spot to do that on for like four years. That was a trick I’ve been dreaming about doing for a really long time, so finally accomplishing that was really sick. Also, the ice down the kink ledge was probably one of the biggest grinds that I’ve done so far and I don’t really do a lot of really big grinds like that, so that was definitely one was super stoked on.


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Tell us a bit more about the flair to backlash… Is that something you’ve been wanting to get done for a while or did you just find the spot and make it work? How many tries did that take?

Well, I originally wanted to do the straight flip to the street. The flair to backlash wasn't something that I actually intended on doing at all. 

Me and my homie Will rolled up to the little curb cut and I kind of just called it out as a joke. I really didn’t think it would be possible to do on something that small, but the more I passed the spot, the the more I wanted to try it. 

That clip is definitely one of the longest battles that I’ve dealt with because it’s just one of those tricks where you have to get the right one - like one of those times it’s gonna work, but everything has to be perfect. I’ve been back to that spot like three-or-four times for at least three-or-four hours each; been through like two wheels and countless tubes. It’s funny, though. I just switched out to a shorter frame that day and I told Darryl I think this frame is going to let me land this one and, sure enough, I rolled away from it.


I think the coolest part about riding for Kink would have to be the amount of travel the team does. Obviously, travel is still pretty weird and restricted. Do you guys have any plans in the near future?

Yeah. I’m super stoked to start traveling again - especially once all the virus stuff dies down. But, as of right now, we do have a trip to Arizona coming up at the end of the month, so I’m looking forward to that - and hopefully I’ll also be out in LA pretty soon, as well.


 


Any signature parts in the works?

There hasn’t been any talk about signature parts with Kink, but I do have a seat that I’m working on with Merritt that should be out by the end of this year if everything goes to plan. We'll possibly be seeing some posts on instagram soon...


Congrats again on everything. What can we expect to see from you in the remainder of 2021?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this interview with you guys. This year, I definitely want to focus on putting out a couple more web videos. I’m also going to be helping willwithecamera with his mag coming out called Backhand Magazine - stay on the look out for that in 2021. It’ll have a lot of coverage of the Downtown Austin scene. You can also expect a podcast with me and my group of friends coming sometime this year as well.



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