By Brendan Lutes
In the sport of Freestyle Motocross, Nate Adams needs no introduction. He is one of the original riders who paved the way for what FMX has grown into today; he was one of the first to master the backflip; and he is still one of the top riders every time he swings a leg over a bike for competition. Most recently, though, Nate has been sidelined with another shoulder injury, forcing him to take some time away from his motorcycle and focus on his company Deft Family, which as of right now is growing faster than ever.
As they have since the company’s inception, Deft will continue to produce and grow its glove line, but will be adding a new clothing line to the mix as well. Launching in early 2013, you will be able to find Deft/DC collab t-shirts and shoes at retail store around the country. With so much going on, we decided to find out straight from “Patchy” himself.
What exactly happened when you hurt your shoulder?
I dislocated my shoulder at the TransWorld Industry Cup race. Deft has had some bad luck at that race for the past couple of years. It was the second moto of the day—my first moto—and I had the furthest outside gate, but I got a good start. My teammate Andy Bakken was in first, then Randy Valade was in second. I hit a little muddy spot in a corner and went down. I got up and was mid-pack. Then in the next corner, I came together with someone when our ruts kind of became one rut. He was in front of me and my front tire hit his rear tire. It high-sided me and I dislocated my shoulder. It was really low speed and not a big crash, but I must have hit just right. I had surgery and actually just got my shoulder out of my sling yesterday. I’m even holding my phone with my right hand now—making progress!
With that being said, what’s next for you as an athlete?
Physical therapy (laughs). I feel like I’ve been in a cast or sling for the last three years, and I’m just sick of it. So yeah, I’m going to do some physical therapy and hopefully get back on the bike in January/February, but mostly likely it will be in March. I’ll be doing some of the World X Games rounds, as well as the Summer X Games in LA and then the Nitro Circus Tour and some Dew Tour stops.
What’s new with Deft Family? You guys have a clothing line coming out soon, right?
DC Shoes partnered with us a few years ago when we first started making gloves. They weren’t selling gear yet, but just making it for their riders. I was stoked on the fact that DC wanted to collab and be associated with Deft Family. I think that DC is a great company with how they function and treat their riders. It’s just a great partnership. When we started the DC collab, it immediately put guys like Pastrana and McGrath into our gloves; they loved them and just started spreading the word. We moved on from the gloves and now we have a clothing line with DC coming out in early 2013—hats, t-shirts, and even shoes. Things are just rolling along. We’ve been selling gloves, t-shirts, and sweatshirts for a few years now, but now is the time to really start pushing the clothing line. That’s where our focus is at right now. I don’t want to say, though, that it’s taking anything away from the gloves, but it’s just time for us as a company to branch out into other things. Logan just has designs exerting from his pores, so we’re going to branch our creativity off into a clothing line. I know he’s really excited about it, and I can’t wait to be head-to-toe in my own Deft Family stuff.
What has the journey of building Deft up been like for you guys?
The gloves are our functional product, but Deft Family has a lot of things that a lot of companies don’t. First of all, it’s for riders by riders—or by riders for riders; I can’t even remember anymore because so many people have copied that from us (laughs). I seriously have to think about it a little bit, because I can’t remember which one is ours. But every single one of us, Nate Hawley, Bubbs [Brian Foster], and Logan [Darien], we all brought a little piece to the company that other companies don’t have. Other companies have an investor, make a budget plan, and go. Deft company started out of my house and we’re still running it out of my house. When we started it, even my management was like, “You’re going to start a company? You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.” I was younger at the time and just thought we had everything in order. Four years later, I can see why they didn’t want me to start a company, especially with friends and everything else that goes into it. The journey has been great, though. It has had its ups and downs and we’ve worked through it to become better men and better businessmen. Right now, I can’t believe that we started this glove thing, and if you look at the motocross industry now when compared to five years ago, we’ve made an impact. Since Deft has come in, so many things have changed. Every big gear company is now putting major focus on gloves, and they are even running glove-only ads. You would have never seen that before Deft. Me, Logan, Nate Hawley, Bubbs, we all have so much pride in what we’ve accomplished and we just want to accomplish more. It’s awesome to know that we started this little company that has pretty much changed the industry. Every company now is putting family after their name—Metal Mulisha Family, One Industries Family… Everyone is putting family behind their name now and concentrating on their gloves. That’s the exciting stuff to me, just watching these multi-million dollar companies change their whole ad campaigns and change everything. That’s a little personal accomplishment for me inside the whole journey. There are just so many things that I’m so pumped of and want to cover in this little interview, but I just can’t. I’m so stoked that we started this thing four years ago, and we have this huge core following that gets it. We’re original and innovators with style—just everything that goes into it: music and culture. Other people don’t get it, and that’s cool, we still love them. But people who get it are with us for life, and our fans are sweet.
You’ve been a professional Freestyle rider for quite a while now. How much longer do you see yourself competing before you hang it up and concentrate solely on Deft?
I started doing the IFMA contests when I was 13, so I’ve been doing it for 13 years. I don’t want to be too busy with my freestyle, though, to the point where I can’t be there for Deft. It’s like my baby, and I don’t want to leave home for months at a time, come back, and it’s all grown up and walking around. I kind of want to be there enough to help facilitate with Deft and watch it grow. I see a healthy three to five years for competing, but I want to ride for the rest of my life like [Jeremy] McGrath still is. He’s still in the sport and killing it, but he doesn’t compete. I want to get to that point in five years. Kind of like what [Jeremy Stenberg] Twitch is doing with competing once or twice a year. So that’s my plan—slowly work my way out and hopefully leave the sport with some more gold medals and on top. I want to be repping Deft full-time, hanging out with the DC Shoe guys, and doing filming trips for photos and content. That’s my plan, hopefully just stay on my dirt bike for the next 20-30 years.