How 2020 Race For The Rail Champion Brenden “Floaty McFly” Schurmeier beat the odds, and competition, to become the fastest Onewheeler on earth.
There are those for whom Onewheel is more than a fun mode of transportation—it’s a way of life. For 28-year-old Los Angeles resident Brenden Schurmeier, better known among Onewheelers as Floaty McFly, that way of life is winning. Last August Floaty was officially crowned the world’s fastest Onewheeler at the 2020 Race For The Rail.
But going into the race against veteran speed freaks like Dave Stewart, Jeff Mckosker and Dom Williams, few bets were in Floaty’s favor other than the dark horse’s own. Now with the RFTR title, Floaty is arguably the best all-around competitive Onewheeler in the world. We caught up with the loveable, long-haired underdog to find out what pushes him and where he’s going from here.
How did you discover Onewheel?
I blame music festivals…and a break-up. It was 2017, I had just ended a 5-year relationship, and I needed something new to focus on. About that time, I went to the Oregon Eclipse Symbiosis Festival. My friend there introduced me to the original Onewheel and it came super naturally to me. Later that year, I rode it again at another festival in SoCal. That’s when I decided, ‘Onewheel is the thing I care about now.’ In a way it kinda became my new girlfriend (laughs).
You weren’t always the world’s fastest Onewheeler. What was your experience like starting out?
I ordered my first Onewheel and started following progressive Onewheel accounts on social media. I was riding solo a lot, but eventually I joined the Los Angeles Onewheel Facebook group and we all met up for my first group ride. Already I was doing tricks that no one else was trying, and people in the group swore I was one of the best riders in LA. That’s when I realized, ‘I guess I’m pretty good at this.’
Thanks to the LA community and all their support, I got voted in. I felt like Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with a golden ticket.
What made you decide to go for the RFTR title?
I love going fast, so I felt like I was destined for it. I wanted to see how I’d do against the fastest people on earth. In the 2019 Race For The Rail, there were at least 200 people in the time-trials, from beginners to the fastest guys on earth. I finished 8th overall, which was encouraging, but I wanted the gold.
You were a wildcard going into the 2020 race. How did it feel to know the odds were against you?
Onewheel invited the top six finishers from the year prior to race in 2020, so I barely missed the invite. For the rest of the spots, they held a video contest on Instagram and let the public vote. Thanks to the LA community and all their support, I got voted in. I felt like Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with a golden ticket.
I’d done well competing up to that point, but I hadn’t won first, so I had something to prove. I was hungry, both literally and figuratively. The day of the race, everyone else was eating pizza, and I ate salad (laughs). When the race finally happened, I felt perfectly in tune. Butterflies were landing on me and shit, it was one of those days.
How did you train for RFTR?
I spent four months leading up to the race riding as fast as I could down the steepest, gnarliest terrain I could find. I’d ride from 100% to 0% charge without getting off the board.
Did you feel you had a competitive edge going into the race? If so, what was it?
Growing up, I lost both my parents by the time I was 18. In a sense, the worst things that could happen to me have already happened, so I don’t really worry about much. Fear doesn’t hold me back, plus all the practice riding fast downhill made me comfortable doing turns at high-speed. I was fearless going into the race, and I think between that and the hunger I felt, I had an advantage.
Describe the feeling you had crossing the finish line.
From the moment I won the first race to the moment I finished the second race, it was pure ecstacy. You can’t match the feeling of accomplishing your performance goals. That rush of endorphins is the best high there is!
Flow State is the name of our blog page, but it’s also a mindstate—that zone where you’re entirely tuned in to the present, and life seems to naturally unfold in your favor. What is your relationship with the flow state, and how does it play into your riding?
For me the flow state is something that comes natural with Onewheel; I immediately get locked into that meditative feeling, and it allows me to think only about right now. That said, Onewheel is also about the future, because the way you make a turn right now affects the way you’ll make one three turns from now, so flow state with the Onewheel also involves looking down the line, setting up your future.
I’m always thinking three carves ahead. It’s an addictive feeling; you become a better rider just because you want to be in that meditative moment. Where do you see yourself going from here with Onewheel? My goal is to make a bigger contribution to the Onewheel community than just racing.
"I'm always thinking three carves ahead."
I’m really into making meaningful content, so I'm starting a magazine about Onewheeling that I’m calling ‘Sickness and Health.’ That was my mantra at Race For The Rail, and I think it’s a fitting title. On one hand it’s almost like a marriage vow, saying, ‘this is going to be part of my life forever.’ On another, it promotes Onewheeling as something that’s both “cool” and “healthy.” If you really want to do sick shit, you gotta stay healthy. So the idea is to do both, pulling a little from the Thrasher aspect of skateboarding but also incorporating the “hippy” trend of taking care of yourself (hippy is the new gangster!). I guess I just want to help shape the Onewheel culture into something that’s good for people for their whole lives. In Sickness and Health!
Story by Mike Misselwitz