SEPT OCTâ€‰ 2016
VA N S . C O M/ P RO C LAS S I C S
Cons One Star Pro Mid
Made for skateboarding
FLOW DANE VAUGHN
FELIPE GUSTAVO COLOR-WAY
T H E N E W JAC K
FELIPE GUSTAVO \ SWITCH FLIP \ BLABAC PHOTO
Contents: Estilo Ph. Roger Ferrero
18 28 38 52 62 74 82 94 106
J.P. Villa Inside Man Seoul Past & Neo Kai Hillebrand Rule No.1: Have Fun Rémy Taveira CPH Open Some Euro guys we love
Cover: Rémy Taveira 50-50 at the Pompidou Centre in Paris Ph. Maxime Verret
freeskatemag.com @freeskatemag firstname.lastname@example.org Printed in the UK Free is published six times a year by FSM Publishing Ltd
Editor in Chief: Will Harmon Photo Editor: Sam Ashley Lunch Prince: Arthur Derrien Design: Ben Weaver & Seb Howell Out to Lunch: James Jarvis
Charlie Birch Wallie off the lamp post St. Paul’s, London Ph. Sam Ashley
Nothing is sacred – well, it seems that skate spots aren’t. Love Park in Philadelphia, one of the most famous skate spots ever, was torn down this year much to skateboarders’ discontent. And now probably the second most famous spot in London (Southbank being the most famous), the St. Paul’s ledges off stairs (AKA Chalky), has met a similar fate. Both of these spots had been around for decades – since the invention of street skating even. And although most of us thought that since these spots had been around so long, well, they were never going anywhere… Well it turns out we were wrong. While some cities are constantly building spots and welcoming skateboarders (see Malmö
and Copenhagen), others are skate-stopping, knobbing and destroying their local skate spots. It seems that city councils from country to country have extremely different views in regards to how to treat skateboarders. It remains to be seen if skateboarding’s inclusion into the Olympics will make things better or worse for street skaters. But the lesson to be learned here is don’t take your local spot for granted. Get your tricks in, because tomorrow the knobs, blind bumps or bulldozers might arrive. Hit the spot... Before it gets got! – Will Harmon
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J. P. 18
Here we go for the corny intro: JP has been one of my favourite French skaters and best friends for almost ten years now and ever since we started the mag I’ve been pushing for him to get an interview. Eight issues later and countless arguments about us not wanting to run too many sequences, it’s finally happening. Only try condensing everything one of your mates has to say into seven pages? I had to take an executive decision and centre the conversation on his relationship with Brazil. I promise you there’s a lot more to the man than that but given the choice I’d rather hear about him being bullied into playing skate with Tiago Lemos than melting at Hotel De Ville. Hope you’ll forgive me.
Vill a Interview by Arthur Derrien
How’s it going JP? Finished your Blaze video part? (Blaze Supply is the Franco/Brazilian board company he’s pro for. He’ll be releasing a part for them on our website around the time you read this.) Pretty much yeah. I’ve just been asked to get some incidental footage for the intro and stuff.
That must be quite a weird thing to go out and get? Well I’ve been doing it with my girlfriend so not really. Seems a bit more natural than doing it with the skate filmer. She’s got one of those cameras that films and she skates so we just wander around and she films me if she thinks something could look cool.
This isn’t the first time she’s done stuff like this right? No not at all, she’s been doing it loads since we’ve started going out. She’s probably filmed most of my Instagram videos.
That’s not common… Well she started skating before I met her and I’m completely comfortable with her being with me at sessions and stuff so it’s fine. I met her through JB (Gillet) and when I moved to Barca MACBA was her go to spot before it was mine so it would be ridiculous if I were weird about it. Granted it’s not conventional but at MACBA where loads of girls skate alongside the boys it doesn’t stand out as much as say in a place like Lyon. I’m stoked that she can follow me on her board and is happy to film me.
Why do you think skateboarders are so closeminded about that stuff? I guess because for a lot of skaters the session is the only time when they can really be themselves and clear their heads of everything else they’ve got going on in their lives. Also often people aren’t exactly the same around their girlfriends as they are around their mates. Everyone knows that for relationships to work you have to do a lot of compromising.
She’s Brazilian right? Can you give us a little bit of background info about your relationship with that country? Wow okay where shall I start? Maybe I’ll start off with Blaze Supply. Just over six years ago a guy named Sandro (Bertolucci) moved to Lyon from Brazil for university. I was the first guy to go talk to him at Hotel De Ville and we quickly became friends. A year later he told me he was going to start a Franco-Brazilian board company with two other guys from Lyon (Marley and Stéphane Giret) and asked me if I wanted to ride for the company. At first I was in two minds about it as there were some little things about the brand I wasn’t too stoked on but…
Spanish grind in Paris. Ph. Nikwen
Like what? The name? Or the fact that the branding is based around smoking weed? Yeah that sort of stuff. At the same time for me it was a great opportunity: one of my mates was offering me a board sponsor and I really respected (even looked up to) the people involved. On top of this I was quite fascinated by Brazil. It seemed like in terms of skating the country was past that whole comp dudes phase and was producing loads of rad proper street skaters like Luan (Oliveira). So I accepted.
How was your experience of skateboarding over there? Pretty crazy actually. Skateboarding is massive over there, kind of how I imagine it being in the States. Tons of skateparks, tons of big plazas filled with skaters, the streets sometimes feel quite sketchy, but that doesn’t stop skaters from flooding them. Because of their surf culture skateboarding is a huge part of a lot of people’s lives; they absolute love it over there. It’s also taken very seriously. You know how we say we’re going for a
Gap to backside tailsldie in Shanghai. Ph. Florian Lanni
I think it was in 2014 and I’ve been going back every year since then. I stayed with Sandro’s lovely family, saw the Brazilian side of the business and skated pretty much every day. That’s when we decided to start working on a full-length video. I didn’t speak Portuguese at all at that point and the filmer I was out with every day didn’t speak a word of English, Spanish or French so I was forced to learn the language. I bought and English/Portuguese book, installed whatsapp in Portuguese on my phone and before I knew it I’d unconsciously swapped my Spanish (that I could speak pretty much fluently) for Portuguese.
Kickflip from the bank to backside nosebluntslide pop-out in Lyon. Ph. Aristide Bruchon
When did you actually go out there for the first time?
skate? They’ll say they are going to ‘work’ (trabalhar). There’s no messing about. And all the filmers are insanely good at skating – they’re all dudes that could have been pro, used to be pro or still are. Like Rodrigo Petersen, did you know that guy was a filmer as well? Basically everything there makes you feel like you have to step your game up.
Does that mean there’s a lot of competition between skaters? Not at all! That’s the thing, you know how if you’re skating with Lucas (Puig) he’ll be super stoked and give you mad props for a flip 5-0 or something average compared to the shit he does? Well in Brazil they’re all like that. Which is great because it gives your confidence the boost it needs to actually get stuff done. And believe me you need that boost, the second you get there you know that there are a million skaters that are as good as you out there. Obviously comparing people’s abilities on skateboards is pointless but you know what I mean right?
Yeah. Sounds really intimidating. It is. Or at least it was at first. In fact I’ve got a good story to illustrate what I mean. The first day I show up at that Roosevelt plaza, this guy called Manilho, an older local
legend dude who’s pretty loose (dude has clearly smoked and drank quite A LOT in his life) calls me over. He’s not homeless or anything like that, but he definitely looks pretty ghetto. Anyway he shouts ‘hey you!’ at me from the other side of the plaza, ‘cause he’s kind of aggressive you know. As a skater you have to prove that you’re a man over there if you want to be respected. They even have this gnarly handshake where your fingers get intertwined with theirs and you basically have to do it otherwise you’re not a ‘real’ skater. I’m getting side tracked here… Anyway so he calls me over: ‘come here, we’re gonna play S.K.A.T.E.’, then he signals this big skater behind him, telling him to come over and when he moves out of the way I see that it’s fucking Tiago Lemos. It was terrifying; it felt like I had to prove myself in front of the locals or something. It was such a strange situation; especially given I have a board that’s sold in shops in Brazil, haha. In the
end it was fine, that Tiago guy is an absolute sweetheart but I remember shitting myself at the time. That being said what’s funny is that once you get past that initial level of intimidation you realise that they are all super welcoming. When you show up at the spot you shake about a hundred hands, haha.
Obviously you often hear about how sketchy it can be, did you get that impression at all? Yeah I mean I’ve seen some pretty fucked up shit out there, like a naked women tearing off a bit of a bin bag to
make herself some knickers or a bunch of kids sleeping flat on the floor but all tangled up to keep warm. It looked like a human rug. Actually no, like a human puzzle. At the same time like anywhere, if you don’t act like an idiot nothing bad is going to happen to you. Nothing bad has ever happened to me and I’ve been there loads of times. Plus when you are a skater the guys from the favelas tend to respect you; you’re sort of put in the same category as them. You of course bump into some people you know not to look in the eyes, but they’re not the ones you really need to worry about.
Who’s that then? The police, they are the worst. The country’s main problem is corruption and everyone is afraid of them.
Backside nosegrind in Criciúma, Brazil. Ph. Thiago Da Luz
You had any bad experiences? Yeah this one time we showed up at a spot, not in São Paulo, in another city where Johny Melhado (a Brazilian Blaze pro) lives and skaters were sitting there not skating because the police had just kicked them out. We were rolling around not doing any tricks or anything, just looking at the spot when the cops showed up again and went mental. They were screaming at us, speaking really badly to us in Brazilian and slightly embarrassed because I was there, Johny calmly asked them to speak to us more respectfully. That’s when one cop walked right up to him and punched him in the face as hard as he could, breaking his front tooth. Right after that they looked around and realised there was a camera on the plaza that had probably filmed the whole thing and they started stressing. Not knowing what to do because they’d potentially been caught on tape they handcuffed us, chucked us in the back of the police car and started going around in circles in the city while they discussed their options. It went on for ages, until it got dark and we could hear them talking to other cops asking what they should do about being caught on camera. All the locals looked fucking scared, which in turn made me fucking scared. We really thought they were going to find somewhere quiet and beat the shit out us of to make sure we’d shut up.
How did it end? They took us to the police station and told Johny he better not mention anything to anyone because they knew where his mum and all his family lived and that it would end very badly if anything ever came out. And that was the end of it. When we got back to his mum’s house where we were staying she was in tears because she’d
Half cab nose manual nollie 360 out in Lyon. Ph. Aristide Bruchon
heard from people that we’d been taken by the police and had instantly assumed something a lot worse was going to happen to us… That’s how terrified they are of the police there.
Fucking hell. We’re already running out of space, can we end it on a positive note? Maybe your fondest memory of the place? Wow there’s so many it’s tough. Probably the time I gave a board to a kid at Vale Anhangabau (the famous São Paulo plaza Rodrigo (TX) skates at the beginning of his first The Firm part). These three young kids were lurking there, smoking weed barefoot… Proper street kids. Anyway I gave one of them my complete because I was going to set a new one up. Then went on with my life, completely forgot about it and came back to the spot two weeks later and he was on his own skating it. I was so fucking stoked. He could have so easily sold it to buy whatever but he kept it and was loving it. Seeing that was so rewarding…
Backside Ollie, Ph. Chami
Inside man Photography Leo Sharp
Ever wondered why Malmö, a city of just over 150 km2 has more good skateparks than say a city like London that’s almost ten times its size? Why it’s the only city in the world to have a school that’s run by skateboarders, in a skatepark? Why this tiny Swedish city was picked by Vans to host the finals of the world championships of bowl skating? Well it’s because of the very special relationship the local skateboarders have managed to establish with their council. How did they build such a strong rapport of trust with the council? And how on earth did they then convince them to use taxpayer’s money to turn their city into a skateboarding mecca? We recently sat down with Gustav Eden, official Skateboarding Coordinator for The City of Malmö (and all around legend) who provided use with some very insightful answers. Interview by Arthur Derrien Can you start by defining your role and explaining to us what you are responsible for?
Gustav Eden: OK but I’ll start with some background and I’ll try not to be too long winded. The city has been engaging with the skaters of Malmö for the past 20 years or more and the skaters learned early on to get organised. They started different clubs that eventually ended up being Bryggeriet (the main skate organisation that runs the indoor park) and from that organisation they also ended up pitching to the city to build a big concrete park and that was Stapelbäddsparken. At that point the city had some rather inspired leadership that saw an opportunity here and approved the project. Stapelbäddsparken was built and at that time was one of the main new big concrete parks in Europe, so the Quiksilver Bowl Riders comp ended up moving to Malmö. The city chose to put a bit of funding into the event and that funding ended up repeating itself. If you manage to get money from them once, it’s easier to get it again. Especially if they see that it’s actually being used properly. The following year when Quiksilver pulled out, the funding had already been approved, so my predecessor (Erik Löfvander) said: ‘hey well we’ve learnt now how to do this on our own.’ And the skaters were like: ‘yeah we can do it,’ so the city forged a formal partnership with the skaters
to do Ultra Bowl. It was a success so they kept it growing and eight years later the city’s funding and the partnership had grown to the point where the skating didn’t just involve the big event, it also involved several smaller events. The relationship with the city had grown stronger and we were influencing how the city was being formed in a new way. Then I stepped in two years ago, right as the Streets and Parks Department was being reorganised and during that reorganisation they assigned me the role of official Skateboarding Coordinator.
So now my job is to use the Malmö taxpayer’s money to help grow skateboarding and promote Malmö as a city.
Did your role at the skate school have any influence in you getting that job?
Wait actually before you launch into that can you explain how the skate park’s association evolved into a school?
Absolutely. So one main step in the growth of the skatepark – and this shows the drive and the vision of the skaters – was that they were given this massive space in an old factory with all these offices upstairs that the council was starting to use for different courses (university courses and stuff). At that point the skaters already knew that it was possible to force schools to have skateboarding on the curriculum as a line of sports education. So they thought: ‘hey let’s do it the other way around’. Rather than a school starting a skate class let the skate organisation start the school, because there’s a system in Sweden where you can have what’s known as a ‘free school’ where you can start a school and then get the government funding if people apply for it. The skate organisation is a not for profit, so all the money that goes into the school goes back to the school or the skatepark so they help sustain each other. The idea was to have a school where your passion for skateboarding can help drive your pursuit of knowledge. If you’re a skateboarder and you have an interest in say, photography, film, fashion or business then you can tap into that knowledge and what you know about these things within skateboarding can then translate outside of it. Easy
example: you can learn film by filming skateboarding but then use that skill for other stuff. The idea is essentially to let a passion drive knowledge, or the pursuit of an education. Which is easier said than done because in the end school is school…
Does it seem to be working though?
Yeah that’s amazing.
Yes I’d say it is. The surveys that check which schools are most popular from the student’s perspective showed Bryggeriet at the top in Malmö for a few years in a row. It’s also cool ‘cause we now have had students coming from all over Scandinavia – especially Norway and Denmark. Which means that every year the graduates have friends in Denmark and Norway, who they can then visit and travel with. The school then becomes this network that solidifies the whole next generation of Scandinavian skateboarding.
Have you guys tried expanding this to other countries?
Well the partnership between Bryggeriet and the city of Malmö is a testament to two things. One is that the city is willing to say ‘yes’. But crucially – and this one’s the one that the skaters need to hear – is that the skaters have been a good partner to the city. They’ve been organised. Every time they’ve had a chance, they’ve delivered on it, and delivered more than they’ve been expected to and then they’ve come with the next suggestions saying: ‘hey what about if we do this?’ They’ve proven to the city that they’re a reliable group to put money towards. They can handle the money and they can make sure the events are good for the general public, because you have to remember that the Gustav switch 360 flips on a metal sculpture imported from Berlin by the City of Malmö
main audience is the general public – not just the skaters. We want to make the events good for skaters to show the real face of skateboarding, but the main audience is still the general public. If we don’t do good events that everyone likes, while still showing that skateboarding is something positive, then why should the government fund us? That’s something skaters should keep in mind. It’s easy to complain about how the councils don’t listen and so on – and sometimes it’s true but it’s also crucial to remember that if that is the case then you’ve got to make their job as easy as possible… Once you’ve proven that you’re trustworthy then they’re more likely to give you a bit more freedom. I don’t mean to put it all at the skaters’ feet, but I think it’s important to remember the city’s perspective.
Yeah, yeah. It’s good to put it into context because skaters tend to think it’s unattainable, like: ‘these people, they will never listen to us…’
Generally as soon as you start thinking of the council as an opponent, then that’s what’s going to happen.
Deep down they are kind of after the same thing as you, which is getting people outdoors enjoying themselves. Yeah. It’s important to realise that you pay tax and there’s a department at the council that uses that money for the benefit of the citizens. If you can prove to them that it’s gonna benefit everybody, not just a small group of people, they’ll be likely to help you. If you go about it in a ‘hey we deserve this’ way you’re going to be creating an uphill struggle for yourself.
Can you tell us a little bit about this event (The Vans Park Series finals)? It’s essentially the world championships of bowl skating. Having that in Malmö is incredible. Yeah it’s a massive deal. At the same time when it comes to doing these kinds of contests in Europe, Malmö has a good track record – especially in bowl/park skating. John Magnusson and Bryggeriet guys have a really good relationship with all the riders and the council supports the events massively. What sort of led to it is that we contacted Vans last year to sort of pitch like: ‘hey we’re doing this and you guys are in the same kind of field, you’ve supported Vert Attack, you know we’re down to do something if you are,’ and I think Neal Hendrix spoke to the guys a little bit at Vans and I think they were planning the Van Doren Invitational and were looking to expand it to Europe. So we were already on the list, quite high on the list because we had proven that we were reliable partners.
So it actually started out as an extension of Van Doren Invitational? Yeah then Vans and the Park Series guys had a vision to do this global competition series with a world championship and they got back to us about being one of the qualifying comps. We were down with that and discussed hiring an arena and building a temporary park, selling tickets and all that sort of stuff. But for us that’s not really our style.
You guys want permanent skateparks.
Exactly. We work to further skateboarding in Malmö permanently. Plus since we work for the Streets and Parks Department it’s easier for us to move quickly on this stuff.
Kalle Berglind, backside air at the new Vans Kroksbäck Skatepark in Malmö
Yeah. My colleagues at the Streets and Parks Department are like the landscape architects, road builders, the tree planters… So it’s quite easy just by being in the same building to have informal dialogue about what can be done. Like ‘hey if you have a space where you think you want activity or you think people might want to skate, let’s look at it, so that we can promote skating in the spaces where it’s good and avoid negative design in the others,’ like skatestoppers and so on – because that’s just sending the wrong message. We want to send the message that Malmö is for skating – by skaters in collaboration with the city. And there’s also another strategy where we look at spaces that could potentially be skate spots but they lack some functionality, and then we add that. So we’ve added granite blocks and granite benches to squares that could use the life that skateboarding brings. By doing that we create these sort of meet-up hubs and social spots that really help unite neighbourhoods and give kids somewhere to go. That’s a massive resource. There’s no youth clubs like that; there’s no central skateparks that are like that. You need a free space where you can do stuff – like a functional free space.
A space where you can actually encounter people getting on with their lives rather than being isolated in a ‘skatepark’, where you don’t see the public. Exactly. I guess I really believe in skateboarding. Wow, can you have violins in print? (Laughs)
Care to share your views on skateboarding being in the Olympics?
So we managed to find this space in Hyllie that’s going to be redeveloped next year. All the legal work had already been done for it and it actually said that it was an ‘activity space’, so we could pitch back and say: ‘hey, I know you guys want to build a park but we actually have the option to make it permanent, how does that sit with you?’ Vans were obviously, like: ‘wow isn’t that going to be really expensive?’ and we went through the numbers and got the Bryggeriet crew who design and build skate parks do it for as cheap as possible. So when we got back to them with the numbers Vans were taken aback! Being in Europe also worked to our advantage as (Vans) want to show that they’re all over the world, and not just in the US.
And also the fact that we wanted a women’s comp – we insisted on a women’s comp essentially – because all the events we do we want women to be exposed as much as they possibly can because it doesn’t make sense that there’s not as many girls as guys skating. It’s just because people haven’t been willing to invest in it. And we can, so we do. Also originally the final had been planned for Chicago!
Did the city of Malmö actually put money into it as well? Yeah so we (Malmö) put the budget that would normally be allocated to Ultra Bowl into this. In fact it was actually even an extended budget because it’s the ‘World Championships’. So, that’s how we got to this event.
Then there’s also the whole story of all the street spots you’ve helped develop.
There’s danger in it for sure. If that very formatted approach to skating is what everyone sees then you’re at risk of it becoming that. We don’t want that to become the language of skateboarding. The challenge for everyone, especially those who talk about selling out and so on, is to show to the rest of the world that skateboarding is other things as well.
Like CPH Open.
So everyone has a little bit of responsibility?
Yeah like everything. Like if you’re an independent board company talking shit about people selling out and Nike funding the Olympics, then make a video that’s good enough for everyone to want to see and make sure that it portrays skateboarding how you want. And then if people see that then they will have a different image of it and unless the rest of skating does that… Yeah everyone is responsible for how we communicate skateboarding. Just because other people are more moneyed doesn’t alleviate you from the responsibility. If you want change, you have to be part of doing it. You can’t just say: ‘oh they won now, because they got the Olympics and all the money went that way.’ You have to be like: ‘OK so we’re gonna have to fight for a voice.’ We’re gonna have to show that there’s other things to say. And I think in the end, the reason the Olympics needs skateboarding is that… It’s becoming very attractive and the traditional sports are… Well the people who are sort of stooped in that formula are growing older. I think with what skateboarding has, that it’s more than a traditional sport. However, any shape that you put on skateboarding; any contest, any format, any art show, anything is going to shift the focus to that format and reduce skateboarding.
But skateboarding is something that shouldn’t be reduced…
skiing federation and got raped. (Laughs). Skaters have actually managed to get their own federation – the ISF Yeah, but it will be if that format wins. So you have – and say what you want about the ISF but I think they’re to be careful to show that skateboarding is more than the backed by a lot of people in skating who really know what format. Otherwise skateboarding itself gets reduced and I skating is about and know what they’re talking about. think it’s the challenge for the whole skateboarding world to You’re worrying about the Olympics? Get involved in the look after the values of skating. I’m not even necessarily ISF! If you have something to say, be involved in your or against the Olympics… Imagine how much the Olympics national skate organisation. Make sure it’s not shit. are going to do for skateboarding in Asia and Africa. The Basically if you’re complaining about the greater parts of the world’s population who don’t know Olympics contact the people from Dime Glory about skateboarding and the Olympics are going to show it Challenge or the CPH Open, and get them involved in to them. the ISF. I know what you mean, it’s a bit selfish not to Haha, yeah exactly. Or just do your own Dime want everyone to enjoy skateboarding as much as we Challenge, or Copenhagen Open – same as we do our do. events here. Like the Skate Malmö Street and all this stuff, Yeah. Consider the Olympics like a gateway drug. we were trying to move away from a rigid comp format and (Laughs). The reason why people like skateboarding is be more about the formats reflecting the experience of a because it’s not like the Olympics, so I don’t think we’re in skate session as much as possible, because no one cares as much danger as we think. And I think perhaps the about who wins contests anyways. Plus just because Olympics can become more interesting because of there’s a format doesn’t mean that’s the law. I thought skateboarding… I mean you never know! skaters were supposed to break the law you know? Go The main danger with the Olympics is that it’s a right ahead. centralisation of power – so you’re gonna have a federation Any parting words? that, you know, makes calls about how skateboarding gets If you’re a company working in an industry then portrayed, and who’s in and who’s out and so on. But we are you need to put your money where your market is, and the the first sport, as far as I know, that have been allowed to skate market has been dominated by young teenage, and create their own federation, because the skaters, the whole recently rich, boys. But that’s only a fraction of all the skate world, insisted that we’re not gonna be part of this people that could be involved in skating. … That’s all good the same way snowboarding was, which was put under the and that’s been the foundation of skateboarding culture. I don’t mean to slag that model off but from my experience Vanessa Torres, 5-0 it’s been really interesting to work with money that can be grind on one directed completely differently. of the My budget (Malmö’s) is supposed to create mixed-use granite benefits for the citizens of Malmö and also to market benches at Svampen. Malmö as a destination. That means that I can invest in Ph. Olivera female skating without needing to make money back from it, which has helped grow female skateboarding in Malmö. We can put skate spots in areas that need it rather than in areas where they can make the most money. We can have a whole social approach to how we work with skating and to me working in that way really reflects some of the core values of skateboarding. I think as the skate shops are dying because they have too high overheads and online shopping is taking over, I think we’re going to see the skateboarding organisations, like Bryggeriet or the different skate organisations around the world become more important. They’re going to sort of be the culture bearers. They’ll be the ones who’ll be going to get funding to do fun stuff and help skating grow, and I don’t mean to say its going to replace the skate shop, but I’m saying it’s something that’s good to get involved in. So if you’re in a town where you have all these different factions of people and shops, if you can get a strong skate organisation together that’s democratic, where people come from all the different camps and talk together, and if you can be a good partner to the city, the money you’re going to get back you’re going to be able to spend in ways that have really interesting opportunities. So at the risk of finishing on a sort of political note, I would say you know, get involved in that stuff. It sounds boring and bureaucratic, but if you don’t get involved you leave the power to the people that do. So get involved.
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Words Joseph Biais Photography Pep Kim
Seoul The idea of doing this trip to Seoul more or less built itself around Pep Kim, who originally comes from Seoul but now lives in New York and regularly shoots with Aaron (Herrington). Given the ridiculous amount of photos he’s shot with Aaron over the last three or four years he saw it fit to work on a retrospective photo show around the man’s skating, from his beginnings in Portland and to his time in NYC. Anyways all that was to say that the first stop of this series of shows was in Seoul and then since a bunch of Americans recently started skating for Carhartt WIP, we thought it was a good enough excuse to send the jolly bunch to the other side of the world. On top of this, completely by chance (or not really…) The Quiet Leaf happened to be launching their UK special issue in Seoul that very week, which featured a sort of weird giant Day In The Life of Jerome Campbell (a good 40 pages long). In fact Jerome Campbell fans, if you manage to get your hands on a copy you’ll be delighted to see that it features photos of Jerome in his cute little shorts during football practice. So we added Jerome to the mix and to make sure it wouldn’t be too easy to handle we also added Deshi, from Japan, who managed to turn pro for an American brand whilst speaking a total of seven words in English: ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘Japan’, ‘good’, ‘beer’, ‘food’ and ‘spicy’. I’ll let you imagine the brainstorming sessions he must have had with his sponsor to pick his new board
Andrew Wilson Lipslide Seoul
Past & Neo
Chris Milic Wallie boardslide Seoul
graphics… That being said for years this finely selected vocabulary seems to have been enough for him to get by in virtually any situation and in virtually any country. After recently watching a documentary about ‘smart cities’ and the new ways of building them I remembered that they mentioned a city in South Korea called Songdo. Songdo is located close to Seoul’s airport in Incheon area. It was built from scratch in 2003 and entirely financed by private investors (40 billion dollars). It was designed to be the most connected, optimised and eco-friendly city in the world. All the energy
Andrew Wilson Ollie into the fountain kickflip out Songdo consumption is closely monitored to make sure energy is used in the most efficient way and hundreds of cameras follow people’s every move to keep an eye on suspect behaviour and parking violations. Basically there’s no chance of chucking your used batteries in the street or doing burnouts without getting caught. This ultra-secure city is built to limit its impact on the environment; its creators describe it as a smart city and plan on developing similar ones around the world. Anyway we thought it would be worth seeing what tomorrow’s cities will look like and more importantly, if skateboarding will find its place amongst them. The edit that will come out to accompany this article will underline the differences between both cities, with a skate section in Seoul, a ‘normal’ city then it will be compared to a skate section in Sondgo, a hyper-technological and futuristic city. What’s funny is that I thought Seoul and South Korea were in general already extremely ‘connected’, modern and advanced places. Here are a few things that will prove to you that Koreans are already living in the future.
Jerome Campbell Backside smith Bundang
The gourmet food courts The first place where we went to eat was in the basement of a shopping centre, only instead of
Aaron Herrington Frontside 180 Seoul
there being the classic assortment of stinking fast-food chains we were in a place that looked like the finals of a cooking program with loads of fancy food stalls from all over the world and premium food table service. To give you a better idea of what I mean instead of getting a super dry hamburger weâ€™d get lobster. The waiters working there were dressed like chefs and had some crazy riot police style plexiglass masks around their necks. At first I thought it was some weird helmet they were supposed to wear but couldnâ€™t be bothered to, but then I realised they were anti-splatter masks.
Aaron Herrington Ollie into the bank Bundang
The express skate-stoppers A lot of the metro stations in Seoul have these banks that are more or less skate-able depending on how they are laid out in a given station. The ones at the stop by our hotel were set up as a pretty cool bank to (glass) wall. Chris (Milic) tried a trick on it for a bit until the police kicked us out and they were rather annoyed that we’d left dirty wheel marks on the glass. We didn’t try to negotiate with them thinking ‘the spot is seconds away from the building so it’ll be easy to come back tomorrow’. Only literally the next day when we showed up they’d
skate-stopped the spot by putting bike racks in front of the bank. I’d never seen such a quick skate-stop intervention! Korean police must have some app that locates skaters and spots to skate-stop them in a record time. Luckily this diabolical program still has its flaws! The skate-stoppers weren’t properly fixed to the ground and could be taken off by hand. So either bike thieves don’t exist in Seoul and the fact that you can just pick up a bike rack isn’t a problem or this skate-stop app isn’t quite up to scratch yet!
Chris Milic 5-0 nose grab Songdo
Chris Milic Boneless Bundang
Joseph Biais Backside nosebluntslide Bundang
The Kissing Booth This one’s not particularly futuristic, mainly just awesome. At the back of a bar, in a cosy little cabin with a neon light that spells out ‘Kissing Booth’ you’ll find a place to isolate yourself from everyone else at the bar. You’ll have understood its function; it’s simple and efficient. But seriously, something like this would be so good for a Tinder date. If you’re too shy, not drunk enough, too drunk enough, lacking the courage
to make the move, all you need to suggest is a little trip to the kissing booth! You can probably even just point at it, the message is very clear and you’ll straight away know if it’s on the cards or not! No more moments of doubt, no more tensely waiting for the right time, no more not knowing where to begin, the kissing booth is a massive time saver! All we need now is for Tinder to set them up in every bar in Europe.
Joseph Biais Wallride to the street Seoul
And... There are a few more things I wanted to mention but they aren’t particularly futuristic, so not really knowing how to present them I’ve decided to simply list them. Hope you’ll forgive me.
whilst looking for these stupid bins that don’t actually exist. You’ll have to spend the day feeling guilty for having left your rubbish at the spot, but it’s not really as if you had another option…
The first thing I saw when I went out for dinner on the first night was a guy smoking a cigarette with chopsticks. That’s right, with the same chopsticks that you’d eat with, as if it was perfectly normal. For ten minutes I thought to myself ‘it must be what people do here’ before realising it probably wasn’t…
Deshi turns scarlet and starts sweating as soon as he eats the spicy dishes he orders (remember it’s one of his seven English words), to the point where he cries. Oh yeah and we also went to the bar with the Kissing Booth in two different Porsches, but that, I can’t really explain…
Every sentence or important piece of information had to be translated by Google robot on our smart-phones who in turn would repeat the words as if he’d heard them for the first time. Chris Milic helped himself to some pyjamas at the Carhartt WIP store and skated in them literally every single day. There are literally no bins in Seoul. This means that people leave all of their rubbish in little piles everywhere. I say this so that you don’t spend hours carrying loads of empty bottles around
Aaron Herrington Feeble grind tailgrab Bundang
DANE BRADY - BOARDSLIDE â€¢ PHOTO: ALEXANDRE PIRES
Interview by Will Harmon
Photography by Hendrik Herzmann
Kai Hillebrand 52
Bump to bump kickflip in Berlin
It’s not unheard of that some skateboarders have dabbled with a little modelling. Dylan Rieder, Ben Nordberg and Lucien Clarke are just a few that come to mind. Also there have been some skaters that are actors: Jason Lee, Steve Berra and Fabian Alomar. But has there ever been a skater that has done both? Has there been a skateboarder/model/ actor? With three movies under his belt and moving into his second 3-year modelling contract Kai Hillebrand could be the one. After speaking with Kai, it’s pretty incredible he is where he is today considering how he grew up. As he sat in his Berlin flat I spoke to Kai via FaceTime about his humble beginnings, why he models, getting ripped off for his role in This Ain’t California and more. Kai, where did you grow up?
Kai Hillebrand: I grew up in Ratingen. It’s a close town, like a small town, next to Düsseldorf. And then how did you get into skateboarding?
I grew up in this neighbourhood, this like ‘social neighbourhood’ kind of style, so everybody was kinda poor. And my friends from downstairs, the Polish guys, they had a skateboard from their father and it was an old Powell Peralta board and they put it out one day and were like ‘lets go to the hill’. So we started bombing hills sitting down on the skateboard and then after awhile Tony Hawk’s (Pro Skater) was coming out and I had a Playstation and I was playing it on there and I wanted to have a skateboard so bad at this time. But my father didn’t have a job and my mum didn’t either so I was not able to get one. So finally I got a discounted skateboard with super shitty grip tape and the colour way of the graphic from the bottom on the top too. The grip was like just rocks glued on the top.
So how old were you then?
So I had this for a while and then my dad got a new job and then after a while he took my brother and I for Christmas to Titus. So then I got my first proper skateboard and then I kinda went all in from there. That was when I was 13.
Not many skateboarders are like you as you’re into modelling and acting as well. When did those things come into the picture? Was skateboarding first?
I mean skateboarding was first for sure. I kind of developed myself to get into the role of where I am right now, out of skateboarding… ‘Cause I was chilling with all these guys from my hometown and like just doing bullshit, like fighting a lot with people, like with all the Russian guys. I don’t know I had a lot of fights when I was growing up from skateboarding and I also got to know all my friends from nowadays as well. They are like my closest friends who I started skating with and they kind of showed me that there’s a different kind of way of treating human beings. ‘Cause I was literally going up to people and like punching them in the face because they looked at me and I was like: ‘why the fuck are you looking at me?’
I would just punch them because… Me and my brother were like the only German guys in this kind of neighbourhood. OK…
I moved there when I was like four years-old, and I kind of grew up with this attitude. There were fights every day. After every football match we had fucking fights. So some of my skate homies were from better neighbourhoods, and I saw how they were being really relaxed with other people. I saw how it could be to not be the fucking asshole from school. Because they were older, these guys were teaching me how to live my life by not being aggressive and punching everybody. They kind of moved me into this calmer place in my life and then after awhile I started skating for a skate shop. So then I started getting involved in skateboarding more and more and this was kind of the start of it. I’m sure you were easier to hang out with then. So did these friends introduce you to new
Yeah these guys I was hanging out with did different kinds of stuff. For example like me, I was smoking weed from when I was 13. I’d be high all day and was always trying to get some new weed and like stealing stuff in shops and just doing bullshit and then those guys were like: ‘ah we are going to a festival. We’ll go there then we’re gonna do a little trip after’. And then you discover new places and you go see different kinds of people and you go and see how they work together pretty well… And then when I went to this festival I got scouted to be a model. I got hooked up with an agency and I was working with them and they started sending me to Paris and Milan, and to fucking everywhere… The first job was like a Top Man shop campaign in London. I went to London the first time for like three days, I was already 18 at this time, but it was kinda like the start of it. And then I was just like running with it, and I went to castings and I got my first movie… So it’s all moved pretty fast then. What was your first movie?
It was called Swans. It was like a seedy movie; I don’t even want to talk about it.
(Laughs) No, but it was a good start for me because the guy playing my father was this really famous German actor and I had looked up to him for a long time.
What was his name?
Ah I haven’t see that film, but I have seen This Ain’t California.
Yeah that was my second movie. Martin Persiel, the director, got me on that.
movie; I wasn’t even named in the movie. Like I was named in the end of the movie but like further, further down in the movie… It’s like people who worked on the movie and then it was kinda hidden. I wasn’t named as an actor. Yeah and what do you think about that? Do you think that was kind of cheeky for the director to do that?
Obviously they were coming from a commercial TV, movie kind of situation… So they wanted to make it more blown up, even at the point when it I think it just surprised my was coming out that there friends. In the beginning it were like actors in the movie, was kind of a secret that we the controversy was like really were acting in the movie, good publicity for the movie as because they (the filmmakers) well. I didn’t even get paid went to the Biennale, the film well. And people thought I got festival where everything is paid good money for it, but I original from ‘back in the day’. got fucking 1600 Euros for Yeah, yeah that was weird. the movie. (Laughs) So that was kind of how they Wow that’s not that much won the documentary award yeah… thing… So it was like a hype project Yeah and what did you… for me… Well not like a hype, So they didn’t even write me but like from my heart. I like down as an actor for the skateboarding and I like the Do you know if a lot of people have seen it? Do you think it made you a bit more famous or no?
director, and I was really into the movie and I looked at the screenplay and I was like ‘fuck I really want to do this; I just don’t give a fuck. I’m just going to do it even for 1600 Euros…’ Like why not?’
Yeah I see.
But then I signed the worst contract, because like if the movie was going to play pretty well in the theatres… In the end I didn’t sign the right contract to get good money, like buy outs for the next year so I didn’t get anything (else)… Just 1600. Did you not have an agent? Or someone? Or was it just a modelling company agent that didn’t really do anything?
Yeah I had like a model agent, but I did this job, like by myself. So I managed myself as a kid – as a stupid kid.
You know better now at least
Yeah I know better now for sure. In the end I’m like pissed off a little bit, but on the other hand I’m pretty fine with it, ‘cause I watched the movie the first time in the theatre, and I was literally crying in the end.
Yeah it’s put together well. OK so you’ve got quite a lot of things going on. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of modelling
Backside 180 in Berlin
Boardslide in Berlin. Ph. Henrik Biemer
work and you’re waiting for a visa now to go back to New York. I know that modelling is very demanding and so is skateboarding so how do you… Well, what route do you want to go down?
I mean, in the end there’s a good way to do both because you have castings and then you can go skate. That’s what I do always when I’m in New York. It’s kind of awkward if you see the guys in New York and they see you and then one day you’re in a kind of ‘skatey’ outfit and the next day you’re a bit more dressy because you have to go to a Ralph Lauren casting so it’s kind of like… In the beginning I had problems with it because I worried that people were going to hate on me because they didn’t even know me but in the end everything went pretty well. Do you mean the modelling people or the skaters in NYC?
Really the skater guys? You were worried about them?
Yeah, yeah, but in the end, I saw Quim Cardona on a shoot. Sick.
And he was just like: ‘dude, do whatever you need man. Everyone needs cash. That’s what I’m going to do here, production for the set.’ Ah OK, yeah set design. So you just approached him and you say ‘oh hi, I skate’?
I saw him, then I saw his hat, he had this little Rastafarian hat, and I was like ‘damn I know him’ and there was this other guy, like a tattooed guy from New York, he was on the set too and was helping him out, he’s was a skater as well, and I asked him: ‘dude, like I know this guy but I don’t know where from, blah blah, blah…’ So that guy told me ‘it’s Quim Cardona’ and I was just like ‘damn son!’
let me know’. And he was just like: ‘do your thing and get that money, and do your skating’ and like… Anyway you need to have money to go skating. That’s also kind of the situation. So who are your sponsors now? Do any of them pay you money?
I skate for adidas and I get money for adidas, like a little money, every month. Also I get a little travel budget. And who were you getting boards from? Um right now I’m getting my boards from Quasi.
I got my boards from Beast Distribution for like half a year and recently the Quasi That’s sick. guys wanted to have an update And then I just went straight from me every three months or up to him and was like: ‘you’re something like what I’m doing a fucking legend. It’s an and blah blah blah… So they honour for me to work next to lurked out on my Instagram in you and if you need any help the beginning and were like
Pupecki grind in Paris
Frontside boardslide pop-out in Berlin
‘ah maybe he doesn’t shoot that much’ but then in the end it’s like whatever… It’s just my job and I signed a fucking contract to push my Instagram so I have to do this as well… Ah yes your Instagram! That was another question I had because if you look at your Instagram it’s like a load of modelling shots and it’s really cool black and white stuff…
(Kai laughs) I have a secret Instagram nobody knows!
Ah OK, ha! Well the one I saw was ‘the banana cake’ one (@kaiobananacake), and I wondered, like if some people might look at it and say ‘aw yeah he’s not really for us, he’s kinda cool’. A couple of people when I said I was going to interview you, I won’t say their names, but they were like ‘ah we met him, we thought he was going
to be this kind of cool guy, kind of a dick you know, but we met him and he’s like the nicest guy ever’.
So this means like… It’s a good way for me I guess?
It’s a good way definitely. It’s just that the way your Instagram is could be construed differently from maybe how you really are… You know?
I mean, fucking that’s social media. In this fucking… I’m getting paid if I post something.
Sometimes. And I’m moving into this, not fashion blogging thing, but if there’s an option and I signed a contract with a
freelance girl who I know, who is like my booker and she’s really into the social media thing. So she’s pushing me in my social media and she’s getting me jobs right now. For example, next week on Monday and Tuesday I’m going to post pictures in fucking colour because they give me money for it. Yeah yeah. But is it always pictures of you always yeah?
Yeah that’s the worst thing (laughs)
Ha! More selfies.
I hate this, haha
But when you post skate stuff it’s just you, and that’s just like your normal Instagram? You’ll just do that ‘cause you like it right?
There’s not much of it though, haha.
You mean not much skateboarding? Yeah I mean, anyways I’m not that much into like pushing myself that much into this direction. It’s not that I want to be like the ‘Instagram skater’ and getting like a million followers because of my skateboarding… Can I say that? Maybe I don’t know. Maybe I got the Instagram followers because of skateboarding but then in the end most people they unfollow me because the next day I’m going to post a picture of myself… Yeah, but maybe they don’t understand that you’re getting paid for that?
Yeah and I don’t care. Like I don’t care about those guys if they feel like ‘oh I don’t like this guy and I don’t like him being a model’ or something and ‘I don’t like how he looks, and he looks like kind of a nause-up guy.’ I mean, in the end fuck... I just think everybody should build their own reality in their reality and not on fucking Instagram. 50-50 grind in Krefeld
Yeah, I know what you mean.
If they’re hanging out on Instagram every fucking day then that’s their own mistake you know?!
Wes Kremer, ollie, Malmรถ
Rule No.1: Have Fun 62
Photography Sam Ashley
DC Special Delivery Tour 2: Scandinavia Words Madars Apse
Antony Lopez, backside kickflip, Haderslev, Denmark
Madars Apse, backside nosegrind revert in flip-flops, Copenhagen
Chapter 1: Arrival Wes arrives first, two hours ahead of everyone else. He passes out around the corner of the airport exit. The crew arrives and can’t find him anywhere. He doesn’t have a phone. We can’t call him so everyone goes to the hotel. Wes – gone. Everybody else is in the back of the van, where it’s dark, can’t see nothing in this place. Darkness. Can’t see no streets, no trees, the music is blasting, chatter in the background. The only thing noticeable is the hype level rising. We are heading to check into the first hotel of our trip.
Gothenburg, which is also Josef’s hometown and he can Why is everything dark? show us around. Everybody is Second day of the trip and still ripping, especially the Finnish can’t see nothing, the windows master Jaakko Ojanen, busting are pitch black. The tour out first try NBD hammers manager – Arthur (pronounced wherever we go. I wish I could in French) has put stickers all have been ripping also, but my over the windows of the van, legs were too sore from a that’s why! It took him and previous skate trip, so it David (DC Sweden) about two seemed all I could do was use hours to put these stickers on, my arms. Inspired by Evan and it was about ten seconds Smith’s performance at the that it took for us to get them Munich Street League, not off. Not all at once, of course, sure how, but somehow I but steadily one per day had to learnt how to do handstands. come off so we could see So the first few days of the trip beautiful Sweden and for me were just handDenmark. The dark days were standing at every spot, until over. my hands were so weak I Tour starts with a bit couldn’t even lift a spoon of skateboarding in anymore.
Madars Apse, pole-jam nollie to fakie, Stavanger, Norway
Jaakko Ojanen, backside ollie, Copenhagen
Chapter 2: Sticker Job – Gone
Chapter 3: Friendly Match It is day four or five, by this point we have already gotten used to the 3.5% and 2.8% beers one can buy in almost every shop in Sweden. Readers take note, the next time you’re in Sweden if you wish to buy some regular beer you have to search for that one liquor shop in town. For us it just meant more to drink, more to piss, less to blackout. There is no point, or is there? After three days on a skate trip it usually starts to wear everyone down, which was not the case for us.
Somehow we were all so excited to have more fun that we split the tour into two teams – five against five, and we played football like it was all or nothing. Heads were running like it was the Olympics, with only one goal in their minds – victory! The MVP of this game was definitely the Free Skate Mag photographer Samuel Ashley; luckily he was on my team too. Throughout the game we were losing for the most part, like four points down against the opposing team, but then someone got tired and shouted: ‘Last one wins the match!’ Next thing you know, we are by the goal of the
opposing team. The ball flies to me, I get confused in the moment, first instinct tells me to kick, but something stops me. Smashley is running full speed towards the ball and he gives a full blast kick toward the goalkeeper. Poor Marco (the filmer) is by now scared shitless. It must have been at least a 50km/h kick; Smashley won the game for us! Of course, I must also mention the performance of all the other players too. Wes, for example, used to play on a football team when he was younger and got a few good points for the team, so did Antony and speed-demon Josef.
Chapter 4: 10 am The French connection – Antony, Arthur and Kevin (not pronounced in French) are already downstairs at the lobby, so is Smashley. ‘Now where are those ladies again?’ asks Kevin. Sam just raises his shoulders signalling he does not know, although he does know that probably the guys don’t even have a clue we should be meeting at 10 am. Can this be true? In the meantime, at room 420 Josef is still
sleeping like a baby, Wes is showering and I am rolling up a banger and listening to some good morning tunes. Jaakko and Marco are also still in their room, they have a slight feeling it’s time to go skate soon. Sure enough, one hour later, everyone is back in the bright van searching for some nice Swedish and Danish spots. Of course, when in Copenhagen, the boys definitely want to go to Christiania. And not just on the first day – every single day. Bevar Christiania!
Josef Scott Jatta, backside tailslide, Stavanger
Jaakko Ojanen, backside smith grind, Gothenburg
Wes Kremer, switch frontside kickflip, Malmö
Chapter 5: Morning After So, instead of driving from CPH to Haderslev (passing through Middelfart) and coming back on the same evening, the French Connection decided we should rent some cabins in Haderslev and stay the night there in order to not drive too much. This came a bit as a hit to the Christiania crew, which meant one day less in Wonderland; I
mean we were ready to walk back to CPH – almost happened. Next morning, the situation was the opposite; Christiania crew was ready to get back to the promised land ASAP. It’s 10 am and they’re in the van wondering ‘where is the French Connection now? Do they not know we are supposed to leave back to Copenhagen?’ And so it was every morning, waiting for each
other, taking our time. You know it’s not a skate tour if you’re not chilling in the parking lot for the most part.
Chapter 6: The Final Game With every day, the tour just keeps getting better and better. We have made it to Karlshamn, Sweden – a little town where Jean-Marc Soulet was born. If you don’t know this name, look it up, he had a great part in the first Element Europe video Rise Up. Everyone is in the van, two-hour drive to get there, some are hungover, some are not. We were definitely not expecting 300 people at the skatepark where we were supposed to do a little demo. Turns out there was a skate camp there. Well, I guess we have to skate, kids are here, they want to see it, we have to give it. Can you, kind of, picture how we feel like? Wes goes to the park and the first roll around the park he does, of course, slams straight to the dome piece. That’s a way to start the
demo. Anyways, we eat, skate for an hour, do some signing, selfies, etc. and then we sit on the grass by the skatepark, and people are exhausted. ‘Do you see the football field right there?’ points out Antony. ‘No way? There is a football field? Rematch? Should we?’ says Arthur (pronounced in French) ‘Should we?’ says someone else. ‘I’m too done to play now…’ comes out of my mouth. ‘OK, let’s play’ is the word going around the most and so we get another game going. So just like the last time, five against five, except the teams are a bit different as we have Julian from Colombia (homie sent by God) and Plankton (Alex) to play with us. The game is tiring; I am running until my shoes fall apart, it is game point, 45 minutes deep. Wes had so much fun playing football he had to take a little break to
Madars Apse, kickflip backside tailslide, Gothenburg
empty his guts. Poor fellow got a little overheated. Wonder why I call the French connection the French connection? Well, because they were no joke, Antony and Arthur’s teamwork were invincible, plus the neverending excitement that came from Kevin (not pronounced in French) was a very hard combo to beat. But with the help of Julian and Plankton, with his final goal, we were able to finish the game. Who won? Friendship of course.
Antony Lopez, switch backside nosegrind revert, Gothenburg
Chapter 7: Farewell The DC Special Delivery tour ended in Stavanger, Norway, where we were greeted with beers, herbs and the biggest smile I had ever seen; it was from the DC distributor Bjorn and his mates – their laughs seemed endless. You know when one laughs so hard, that you can’t just stare and not join in, even though you didn’t get the joke.
I had to leave the tour a few days early to go back to my hometown and skate the Ghetto Games contest (mandatory visit next year for everyone), so I did not enjoy the whole experience like the other boys did. Apparently the last party of the tour was so fun that Wes had to fall asleep in the club and the bouncers tried to kick him out. Luckily it did not work out, since Bjorn told the bouncer that Wes had just arrived from the States and was jet-lagged and tired. Of course, he was not jet-lagged; it was just like another scene from the movie Weekend at Bernie’s. Thank You goes out to everyone who made this trip happen, we had a blast and I hope you did too. Until next time Scandinavia!
Madars Apse, Gothenburg
Ryan Thompson, Backside smith grind, Stratford, London, Ph. Joe Buddle
Filip Dziewięcki, Frontside hurricane, Warsaw. Ph. Kuba Bączkowski
Jonas HeĂ&#x;, Boardslide, Tempelhofer Damm, Berlin. Ph. Henrik Biemer
Alex Amor, Backside 180 kickflip, Granada, Spain. Ph. Gerard Riera
Phil Zwijsen, Hippie jump, San Francisco. Ph. Guillaume Périmony
Nisse Ingemarsson, Kickflip 50-50, Berlin. Ph. Alexander Olivera
Ron Modig, Ollie to fakie, Helsinki. Ph. Sam Ashley
Backside ollie in Paris. Ph. Maxime Verret
Interview by Arthur Derrien Portrait by DVL
I don’t really know a lot about skateboarding. So when I met Rémy he just told me he stopped studying a few months ago and is now just hanging around travelling and stuff. So the first few months I had no idea about his skating, I was just wondering what he was doing all the time and why he always stopped in the middle of the street to look at some steps and walls and why he was so obsessed with the weather report. I think it took a few months until I knew that he was kind of skateboarding as a job. That really shows how he doesn’t really like talking about himself – or I think he is just a very humble person. At some point he was always doing this one trick where he was really twisting his body and you could always see his booty in the pictures; that one I liked. So I asked his friends ‘what’s this
trick Rémy always does?’ and they immediately said ‘backsmith’. They thought it was so funny that I loved this trick. I think he learned a lot of new ones now ‘cause I haven’t seen him doing this one in a long time, so that’s all I know as far as Rémy and skating. I know that he is obsessed with travelling, seeing new things and skating new places. He loves being in Paris ‘cause that’s his home, but I think after a few weeks he needs to see new things. He has always been very dedicated to skateboarding, never really says no and lives quite in the moment. Once I asked him what he thinks of before he goes to sleep and he said he’s thinking of what trick he wants to do tomorrow. So that’s about how far he plans into the future.
– Pauline Jorry
From what I’ve heard you’ve had quite a busy summer. Can you run us through what you’ve been up to? Maybe you can start off with the Hellfest… Rémy Taveira: Yeah sure. So every year with Antiz we go to this metal festival called Hellfest. It’s massive; maybe the biggest metal festival in Europe. They’ve always got bands like Slayer, Black Sabbath and stuff. They’ve also got shitloads of budget, so much that it sometimes feels a little bit like Disney Land – it’s seriously massive… I don’t exactly listen to metal every day or anything but it’s always a great experience. Anyway every year (they’ve been doing the festival for like 10 years now) they build a skatepark (recently it’s been inside a cross shaped cage) and they get us to skate in it. We basically do demos for drunk dudes going to metal concerts in exchange for free VIP passes to the festival, food, etc. Do you ever let people into the cage? Yeah. We usually pick the ones with crazy makeup/ costumes or the really wasted ones and invite them inside, make them skate, and make them embarrass themselves by taking some slams, haha. We’re drunk the whole time ourselves so it’s super fun. That sounds insane. Yeah sometimes it gets a little out of hand. Especially during the ten to midnight ‘session’. Last year it looked more like a circus than a skate demo: we let loads of people in and we were using them for ‘stunts’. We even befriended a dwarf who kept coming back into the cage for every session. He kind of became our mascot and by the end of the festival he was getting frontside flipped over, haha. It was ridiculous.
I’d love to see the slams that go down in that cage. Yeah it gets messy. Although the main issue is that the Hellfest is always at the beginning of our Antiz marketing tours. What are they? They’re like skate trips where we go to all the tiny countryside skate shops that stock Antiz to show how appreciative we are of their support and stuff. We skate with all the locals, check out some of their spots, etc. Only thing is good luck trying to get any kind of skateboarding done straight off the back of a metal festival. Wasn’t Dustin Dollin with you
guys this year? Yeah he was. Well sort of… He’d usually wander off and we’d lose him for ages. Everyone’s so cool at the festival that it’s really easy to spend most of it with people you’d never met before. Especially if you’re Dustin, he’s like a child, haha. Did he come on the Antiz marketing tour as well then? Yeah. That must have been interesting. Yeah! I reckon what must be tough for him is that he always has to live up to that whole piss drunk thing every time someone recognises him. I can’t
imagine being the guy everyone is desperate to offer a shot of Jack Daniels to five seconds after meeting them. Especially when you are trying to recover from something like the Hellfest… That would be horrible. Yeah. Then again I guess he’s like the last of the Mohicans, but of the Piss Drunks. I kind of respect that. All the others became vegan, straight edge and are living the super healthy Californian lifestyle… He’s the only one to have stayed exactly the same. And he still skates! Can handling someone with this lifestyle be quite difficult on tour?
Pauline’s favourite, back smith, Montreuil. Ph. Alex Pires
Not at all! He’s always on tour so he knows what’s up. He never complains about anything. Unless maybe if we can’t get cold beers or rosé but he certainly never complains about sleeping conditions or food or anything like that. In fact, he doesn’t really eat. What do you mean he doesn’t eat? I guess I didn’t really see him eat that much on that trip, it’s not something he’s interested in at all. We’d try to get him to do it but it wouldn’t really work. He just wants to drink. Where did you guys go on this trip? We drove down the west coast of France, from La Rochelle to Biarritz. As I mentioned earlier it was tough because it came right after the festival but some of the spots we did manage to skate were unbelievable. Like at one point we skated this mould that was used to build ship hulls! It was mental. And later on we skated this cognac tank (in city of Cognac) that was basically a massive full pipe. Both of those spots were insane! But we’ll never get to see the footage of those sessions because Ludo (Ludovic Azemar, the Antiz filmer) got all of his camera gear and laptop stolen right after the trip right? Well there was a second filmer so there might actually be some footage of those spots, but yeah, the best stuff is lost forever. Did you set up that crowdfunding thing to pay for him to get a new camera? No actually one of his childhood friends did it and the idea was originally that the crowd-funding would be a secret, so that once they’d raised enough funds they could surprise him with the
new gear. Only when I got the link to it I sent it out to loads of skaters who then straight away sent it to more skaters and in no time it was no longer a secret. I had no idea it was supposed to be a surprise! We even shared it on the Free Insta hoping it would help him out. Yeah it doesn’t matter though, at the end of the day he got enough contributions to pay for the new camera almost straight away and that’s what matters. Yeah surely spreading the word is far more important than it being a surprise. What did you do after that then? Berlin for the trade shows and stuff? Yeah, but I don’t have anything interesting to say about that – plus it’s already all over social media. Okay and after that New York? Yeah I went to New York with Jake Harris, Mike Arnold, Casper Brooker, Chris Jones and Alex Pires to film for Jake’s new project. He’s working on a series of edits for Thrasher. One of them was supposed to be an NYC one, only since it was like 35 degrees every day I don’t think we got enough. So I’m not too sure what’s going to come of that… And you just came back from that? No I came back a couple of weeks ago. Since then I went to Evian where I spent some time with Hugo Liard. When Hugo left Antiz it was because he wanted to start living a completely different life, so he built himself a house out of wood, right by Lake Geneva and decided to live off the fruit and vegetables he’d grow in his garden. Antiz was sick for him because he started it, it was his brand, but the reality of running it involved
Frontside wall bash in Paris. Ph. Thibault Le Nours
Backside 360 ollie in Paris. Ph. Alex Pires
him spending his life behind a computer and that’s no longer what he wanted. Okay and you’re back in Paris now? Yeah, I’m back at home trying to get the last few bits for the new Öctagon video that should be dropping with their next line. It’s not easy though because unlike with most other projects, all the clips have to be filmed by the Öctagon filmer (Joaquim Bayle). I can’t just go out and film clips with another guy and submit the footage, he has a very distinctive style… Plus they are super-selective when it comes to what spots we skate, it has to be a specific type of architecture: extremely modern. That’s why we pick cities like Dubai or Frankfurt for Öctagon trips. Is it easy to find that type of architecture in Paris? What areas are good for it? La Défense? La Défense could work but it’s such a horrible place to be; it’s got the worst vibe… You’d think Paris isn’t a good city for it but areas are constantly being regenerated with the kind of ultra-modern architecture we are after. New buildings are always popping up with new spots… Which is good for us because it’s an excuse to go to areas we wouldn’t normally go to. So how do you do it, do you have an Öctagon whatsapp group where you send each other photos of the spots you think could work for the clips? Yeah exactly. Are you still sharing that 7th floor ‘chambre de bonne’ (a tiny room where traditionally the servants of a French bourgeois family would live) with your girlfriend? No we moved out; we were losing our minds in there! We aren’t as central anymore, we’re in Montreuil but at least it’s a bit more spacious. Plus, I quite enjoy the atmosphere; it feels more like being in a village than
Kickflip at La DÃ©fense. Ph. Thibault Le Nours
stoked on. You can think of spots that suit your tricks. On trips it’s the other way around. Do you know what I mean? Of course, that’s why guys like (Tom) Knox or (Nick) Jensen always film most of their parts at home. Yeah exactly. Obviously you sometimes end up feeling like you’ve seen everything your city has to offer, but new spots always pop up. Is all this footage you are stacking going towards something in particular? Not really, it’s just that every time you are asked to film a part you are never given enough time to do something you are happy with. It takes like 2-3 years for me to film a part I’m actually going to be proud of, so instead of chilling and filming an Insta clip, every time I get the chance I try to go on a mission to film a proper trick. Paris has been through quite a lot of traumatising events this
year. Do you feel like the atmosphere of the city has been scarred by what happened? No not really. Obviously at first we were all a bit like ‘fuck!’, we’re their number one target and stuff but you soon realise that it’s much bigger than that: everyone’s a target. You can’t let that stuff affect you. I feel as safe as in Paris as I do in any other city. You can’t start thinking ‘fuck I’m going to a concert tonight, what if something happens…’ Nothings going to stop people from assembling in big groups and that’s a good thing. Definitely. Actually while we’re on the topic of large groups of people assembling the other day I got my first proper taste of the Pokémon Go phenomenon. We were skating around La Villette in an area that is apparently full of ‘rare’ Pokémon. I used to think it was just something that kids or proper geeks were into
Boardslide through the stoppers in Frankfurt. Ph. Maxime Verret
the centre of Paris. And I’m still just 15 minutes away from République… The people we feature in the mag usually tend to get most of their photos on trips but most of your photos for this interview were shot in Paris. Was it a conscious decision? If so can you explain it? I guess I just got a bit frustrated by constantly having to film video parts when I’m on trips, so I’ve been trying to get stuff here as much as I can. I’ve been going on a lot of missions with Guillaume Périmony… On a trip you have a very short amount of time to think of a trick that could work at a given spot. You usually pick something you are certain you can do, as you probably won’t get a chance to come back to that spot. At home you know the spots well so you can put a lot more thought into what you want to do. It’s easier to produce stuff you are really
Ollie in Paris. Ph. Alex Pires
but I saw all sorts of people running around with their eyes glued to their phones, desperately looking for Pokémon. Seriously it was everyone from families with their kids in pushchairs to people who clearly just got off work to proper rude boys. Me and Joseph (Biais) were trying to skate these stairs and we could only try our tricks once every twenty minutes because of the constant stream of people rushing down them to catch creatures that don’t even exist. It was unbelievable. Why would you want to do the exact same thing as a million other people like that? I felt like I was surrounded by sheep. It is a bit scary…. Very! Especially because they’ve put Pokémon in every corner of the planet! I went to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere in Italy and every single kid from that village was on that thing. They’ve even got Pokémon you only catch by boat… It’s crazy! What have you got lined up for the next few months? Early September I’m going on a RVCA trip with a bunch of artists and photographers. There’s going to be a show in Bordeaux with Ed Templeton, Ben Horton and a few other big names. Are you going to be showing some of your photos there? No I’m just going to be skating… I was actually supposed to have a little show in Paris that exact same week but obviously it’s not happening since I’m on that trip. Have you ever had a photography exhibition? No. It’s something I’d like to do, but wouldn’t really push for unless someone asked me.
That’s a shame; you’ve been shooting on all these incredible trips for so long now… The world needs to see this stuff! I know… Especially since I shoot film, it’s a bit frustrating to just look my photos on a computer screen. I’d love to see some of them printed and hung up on a wall. I got my first film camera when I was fifteen so I’ve accumulated quite a lot over the last ten years… Especially on some of the trips I went on with Oscar (Candon), the twins and the Antiz guys.
Out of all these trips which ones have been the most memorable? It’s hard to say… The Antiz ones where we camp and chill around fires in the evenings tend to be my favourite ones. Then there’s always the big Costa Rica/Nicaragua trip I went on recently, that was pretty incredible. The wild one you went on with Francisco Saco (South American filmer that lives in Berlin)? Yeah, haha. I basically went out there on holiday with
I was actually just talking to Val Bauer about that yesterday. I reckon it would maybe be good for me to get a part-time job. If you skate every day you just aren’t as hyped to skate as you should be. Plus more time in between sessions means more time to properly think about what you’d like to try, where you’d like to go… Surely you don’t have to skate everyday though. As mentioned earlier you have other interests, couldn’t you focus on those instead of skating for a few days a week? In theory yes, but that’s not how it works, skateboarding always wins. It’s impossible to resist. If you have a job at least you don’t have a choice, you’re forced to chill on the days you don’t work… Would you do a job that would be linked to something you could then pursue after your skate ‘career’? Do you think about life after ‘pro skating’ much? I don’t know… Not really. I mean I know this isn’t going to last forever… Unless maybe if I get into the Olympics, haha. If you got offered to be in the Olympics would you do it? Probably not, unless the format was something fun like a death race or some kind of
hill bomb challenge, but it’s probably going to be a Street League type thing right? I think we don’t know what it’s going to be like yet… Either way I don’t like the fact that it’s going to be exposed to such a wide audience. I’d like to see what we do kept at least a little bit underground. Although if it was just mega-ramp skating in the Olympics I wouldn’t actually care. I wouldn’t feel concerned by it. Isn’t trying to keep it ‘underground’ a bit of a selfish thing to want? Don’t you want other kids to discover skateboarding and enjoy everything it has to offer just like you did? Yeah but there’s already a million kids that skate, I don’t want it to become the number one sport like it might be in America or something. I just don’t. Plus I don’t like the idea of the general public watching it and not understanding what it’s actually about, what it is for you and me. Just the fact that it’s a competition means it’s not an accurate representation of skateboarding. I don’t think it’s going to change skateboarding or affect me that much really but that’s how I feel about it.
Ph. Maxime Verret
Pauline (my girlfriend) to surf, enjoy the wildlife/nature and stayed a bit longer after she left so I could skate with Francisco Saco who was filming a video with all the San Jose locals. Then from there I flew to Nicaragua to meet Jake Harris, Henry Kingsford, Mike Arnold and Sylvain Tognelli for a Converse/Grey mission. How was that part of the trip? Pretty interesting in the sense that we kind of freestyled it. I found out a week before meeting them that I was actually going on the trip and hopped on a 45 minute flight to meet them. It was one of those tiny planes with like ten seats in them. When I got there we didn’t have a van so we’d go around from city to city looking for spots in cabs (four in the back, one in the front). Sometimes we’d meet locals that would help us out; sometimes we’d just wander around hoping to come across something skate-able. Managua (the capital) had quite a lot of spots and a proper scene but some of the cities we hit literally had nothing. What we enjoyed the most was of course skating spots we knew hadn’t been touched before though. We found quite a few… Were you stoked on the result? Yeah Jacob’s video was amazing, especially for us, given it was full of incidental stuff that brought back loads of great non-skate related memories from the trip. You’ve either been on a trip or skating your ass off in Paris for a while now. For how long exactly have you been just skating? Five years now, basically since I quit university. Do you not find it hard to stay motivated? Do you not get skateboarding overdose?
Backside lipslide in Frankfurt. Ph. Maxime Verret
Photography Sam Ashley
It’s becoming a bit of a cliché to say that the Copenhagen Open comp is like no other… And we don’t feel the need to keep bangin’ on about it ourselves, so instead, we asked some of the CPH Open attendees to wax poetically about this unique event.
Pedro Barros, backside air in the deep at Fælledparken
Madars Apse pushing towards a 37km/h kickflip outside City Hall
Fred Gall, 37, from Seawaren, New Jersey, USA What brought you out to the CPH Open? These assholes from The Boardr actually bought me a ticket because they needed me to be out here. So thanks to them, hurray for me and fuck you. How many times have you been to Copenhagen before? This is my first time. Organising an outdoor event of this scale inevitably comes at a price. Noise, loitering this definitely outweigh the and possible damage are just some of the things that could be negative? If so, why? I think the positive way criticised. To you does the positive impact of something like outweighs the negative. I mean look at what goes on: we drink, we piss in public, whatever… We’re all good and happy, and this place is just happy as fuck anyway. What sets Copenhagen apart from other cities? Everything. You can buy drugs… You can just skate and be free and buy whatever you want on the streets with no problems at all! I haven’t even seen a cop since I’ve been here! I don’t even think they exist.
Do you think a comp like this could happen in the US? No. The USA sucks and it’s better over here. What’s been your favourite event so far? The Champagne drunken one inside. Yeah the Champagne party was my favourite man. I had two bottles; I was good. What’s your fondest memory of CPH… Well it’s your first time here you might not have a lot... Ah I can’t even remember last night! I mean I have pictures though.
money in the city, but in a general way it shows what the city has to offer, the freedom What brought you to today’s you have here. Every spot you CPH Pro event? turn up to is a complete I’ve been hearing about surprise, ‘how are we at a CPH Pro for a long time and contest at an abandoned house when I came last year it was or supermarket (or whatever such an unforgettable this is) right now?’ That’s why I experience that I knew I had to came back and probably why I’ll come back this year. keep coming back; this has Organising an event on this nothing to do with your typical scale can be seen as detrimental skate contest. for a city in many ways: noise, If you had to compare it to loitering, damage, accidents, an event outside of etc. Do you think the positive skateboarding what would you impact of this outweighs the compare it to? negative? If so why? To me because of the fact Well what they are doing that you’re constantly moving here is extraordinary. Berlin from spot to spot it can’t really where I’m from is also quite a be compared to anything. liberal city, but I honestly can’t There’s just nothing like it. Of imagine them letting something course you have small music like this take place there for festivals in Germany where they some of the reasons you just take over abandoned factories mentioned. A huge group of or coal mines and these things skaters flooding the city to go sometimes have a similar vibe from one spot to another will but people still stay in the same inevitably leave a mess there’s spot for three days so it’s no denying it, but the city also completely different. That’s why benefits from it. Not just CPH Open attracts people like because all these people will be me who normally wouldn’t go to booking hotels and spending skate contests anymore.
Daro Mattarollo, gap to backside tailslide, Christiania
Alex Foley, 42, from Berlin, Germany
Coming back to what you said earlier, do you think Copenhagen is the only city where something like this could be possible then? In theory there’s no reason why doing it in another city wouldn’t be possible but it would definitely have to be a very liberal one… I can’t imagine anything like this taking place in a city like London or Paris. Especially given how much stricter security measures have become due to everything that’s been going on recently all over the world. Maybe it could work in Berlin, but I’d be surprised… What’s your fondest CPH Open memory? Hard to say it’s all been pretty incredible… Actually no, I know: last year it was my birthday on the weekend of the closing event/party at that Levi’s triangle thing and Jugga (Danijel Stankovic) and loads of my friends organised a little surprise for me, sang me a little happy birthday song and everything, haha. It was an extra special evening.
Evan Smith, 540 at the Levi’s block party
Julie & Mie, both 18, from Copenhagen
we don’t know very much about it so it’s amazing to be able to discover the ‘skating How did you hear about CPH environment’ like this. Open? Is it your first time at one What’s your ‘thing’? of these events? Mie: I don’t know… We just Julie: I just heard about it graduated so right now all we on Instagram and yeah it’s the want to do is get drunk and first time we’ve attended one of have a good time, haha. the CPH Open events. In fact it’s Sounds like a plan! Why do you the first time we’ve attend think Copenhagen is so down for anything like this. skateboarders to organise And you guys just got here? something on this scale? It Both: yep. definitely causes a bit of a mess, First impressions? can be noisy, etc. Mie: It’s crazy that so Mie: I don’t know… To many people from so many attract people to the city different places come to maybe? Copenhagen for something; it’s Julie: Yeah and it definitely such a small place… It’s great! seems to be working. Julie: Yeah and from every age group too. You don’t see that too often… Some of these kids are tiny; it’s cool to see them having fun with all the adults. They look like they are enjoying it so much… What about you guys? What have you enjoyed about it so far? Julie: Just how different it is from what we are used to. Skating’s not exactly our ‘thing’,
TJ Rogers knows how to get into Free... Face-slap to switch frontside 360
criticised. To you does the positive impact of something like this definitely outweigh the negative? If so, why? Is this your first time in It definitely does outweigh Copenhagen? the negative. Skateboarders Yes – first time in Europe. aren’t really given the chance to So what brought you to have freedom in a place and Copenhagen? with that being given to us here We are on a HUF trip and in Copenhagen it’s being used coincidentally ended up in and it’s being used right. Copenhagen the same time as Nothing bad is happening and the contest. And then a lot of us everything is positive, people (the HUF team) ended up are having fun… People get to skating in the contest. see skateboarding in a different What’s been your favourite way than they might on TV and event? it’s good. The flat bar launch ramp Do you think this kind of one. That one was sick! contest could happen in the US Organising an outdoor or is CPH the only place? event of this scale inevitably This could definitely not comes at a price. Noise, loitering happen in the US. If we had an and possible damage are just equivalent… Like this place is some of the things that could be the City Hall… There’s no fucking way there could be a contest inside a City Hall anywhere in the United States. If you could compare this event to another non-skating event what would it be? You can’t compare it to an event, but I don’t know… You could compare it to a block party? What’s your fondest memory of the CPH Open so far? Just meeting a lot people that I always wanted to meet and becoming friends with them.
Josef Scott Jatta twists a Pupecki grind back to forwards, Jarmers Plads
Jake Anderson, 20, from Ventura, California USA
What brought you to Copenhagen today? Because of the CPH Open! How many times have you attended the CPH Open? Probably five times I think. Organising an outdoor event of this scale inevitably comes at a price. Noise, loitering and possible damage are just some of the things that could be criticised. To you does the positive impact of something like this definitely outweigh the negative? If so, why? I mean loitering and all that, you can call it that, but really it’s just people attending a contest and I think having a really good time. It’s actually just seeing skateboarding in its very natural form. The problems people might have would be not appreciating what’s actually happening. We are actually getting to do it in our own natural way without the restrictions. And with the restrictions it can be not as fun in a way. I think we can clean up the bottles and whatnot and just because it’s a little loud a couple times a year it definitely outweighs. ‘Cause you know everyone has a really great time. Definitely the positives outweigh the negatives.
What event has been your favourite? This one was pretty fun: we got to skate in the City Hall! But I really enjoy just watching all these guys skating. My wife likes it too! What’s your fondest memory of CPH Open over all the years? I just think it’s fun when everyone’s on bikes riding around, seeing everyone you know from all over the world and just getting together and having a good time.
Magnus Krieberg, 25, from Copenhagen How long have you lived in Copenhagen? I grew up outside the city. When I was 15 or 16 I started couch-surfing at friends’. And then when I was 18 I got my own apartment. So I’ve been here ten years. When did you first hear about the CPH Open? Like right before the first one… When the first one was in the making. How many times have you attended the CPH Open? Have you gone to all of them?
Luan Oliveira, nollie frontside heelflip inside Copenhagen City Hall
Stefan Janoski, 37, from Vacaville, California USA
Yeah, every one of them. And how long does it take for you to recuperate after the CPH Open? A week. Ha! It’s a hectic week with noise, rambunctiousness and mayhem – local citizens might get even annoyed. Does the positive impacts of the CPH Open definitely outweigh the negative? I would say so. It’s just fun to be outside and be reckless at places you are not normally allowed to be reckless at. Do you know if the organisers catch a lot of flak for this? I think they catch some flak, but I think they got it all covered permission-wise. And just the fact that the city is so stoked on skateboarding and the whole world turns their eyes to Copenhagen for a little while it all works out.
Have you ever spoken to the public about this event and what they think? Like non-skaters? Yeah I always tell my friends that don’t skate about it. And it’s been here for years now so most of the city knows about it, have heard about it, or have been to some of the events. It’s well known I would say in all of Copenhagen. And this year there were so many people. Do you think there were more people this year than any other CPH Open? Yeah I think this was the biggest year ever. I’ve never seen that many people at the indoor skatepark and also at the afterparty at the skatepark. It was so crowded; it was huge. What sets apart Copenhagen from other cities? I would just say the freedom of the city. You can almost do whatever you want. And I mean it’s probably one of
the smallest cities in the world… I mean it’s our capital, but it’s so small you can bike from one end to the other in 30 minutes. Everything that happens in Denmark is centred in such a small area. And there are so many spots you can bike to in just two minutes in between. Why do you think Copenhagen is the ideal place for this? Could this happen in other cities? Obviously it’s because of Simon (Weyhe), Keld (Aabjørn), William (Frederiksen) and Camilla (Jane Lea) who have all been doing it for all these years. And they have the energy and want to do something like that. And then I would say Denmark and Copenhagen our culture and our freedom… I mean you can walk on the street and drink and basically do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt
other people. I couldn’t see it happening anywhere else in the world. What’s it like having this event in the city you live in? Does everyone take the week off of work/school? Yeah everyone takes the week off from work or school. So in that perspective it feels like being on holiday in your own city, which is pretty sick. What’s some of your fondest memories of CPH Open? It’s just sick to watch all your favourite skaters annihilate your city and annihilate spots all over the place. Plus partying with all your friends and all the events the whole crew does are insane. It even amazes me every year what they’ve come up with. And I mean I lost my virginity at the first Copenhagen Open… I’m gonna remember that one forever! (Laughs)
How did you end up here today?
I’ve been to every single fucking one of these. I’m telling you, he’s crazy for them – I don’t even have a choice. I don’t mind though. At other skate events people are usually a bit sceptical when they see me rock up. Like: ‘does he actually skate or is he just going to try to nick my board and dribble all over it?’ Here there’s none of that prejudice, everyone’s welcome. And even if I do dribble over someone’s grip (what can I say, it happens…) they usually don’t care, most boards are covered in booze half the time anyway. Kevin Baekkel, melon out of the office to bank
Viggo, 3, from Copenhagen
My master dragged me here because he wanted to watch Fred Gall get drunk, Bobby Worrest skate some ledges and get a kiss on the lips at the afterparty. Wow, I wasn’t expecting you to know so much about skating?! Yeah well he won’t shut up about it. This is like the most important week of the year for him even though I can tell by the time it’s over he can barely remember any of it. I just hope there’s a fire hydrant obstacle at the indoor skatepark this year. How many of these events have you attended then?
Phil Zwijsen, ollie to backside powerslide
to shit all over the place and even if sometimes I do slightly blow it, most of the time it’s okay. My master picks up my shit for me. To you, what sets Copenhagen apart from other cities? I haven’t travelled to that many places, it’s not like I can just book an Easyjet flight and go hang out on the beach in Barcelona, but my master did take me to London once and I’ll tell you one thing: it was terrifying. Humans seem so stressed out over there! It’s like they are constantly in a rush or something! Plus they don’t have nice lakes for me jump in, it always rains, it’s noisy, and the air is disgusting… Not to mention the time spent on the underground or on the bus... Those places make me feel so anxious. I’m so glad Copenhagen is small enough for me to barely ever be dragged onto public transport. If you had to compare it to another event completely unrelated to skateboarding which one would it be? I haven’t really had the opportunity to go to that many
Marius and Freddie ‘death racing’
Organising something like this inevitably comes at a price. It’s noisy, it’s messy… Some people must get pissed off. What do you think about this? Is it worth it? Are you fucking kidding me? Skateboarding gets kids outdoors, away from their computer screens and that’s what every city/government in the world wants right now. So much money gets put into that! Come on I’m a dog and even I know that! Didn’t a recent survey show that three fourths of the UK’s children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates? Something like CPH Open brings skateboarding to the attention of the greater public, that in turn gets more kids on skateboards and it’s also a massive asset for the city to promote tourism. Nowhere in the world offers this amount of freedom and an event like this is the perfect way to promote. Plus generally mess isn’t that bad, skaters aren’t any worse than any other breed of human. They’re all the same to me and generally they clean up their mess behind them. I mean it’s natural right? Even I know not
to be honest, as I said, all my master cares about is skateboarding these days but the closest thing to it that I’ve been to is probably that Distortion music festival. It’s basically a week of orchestrated chaos that takes place in the streets of Copenhagen. Kind of like CPH Open but minus the kickflips and the copious amounts of free Champagne I see being given out without being offered any. I don’t get why I can’t just have one sip…
Some Euro guys we love
Rob by Thibault Le Nours
Rob Maatman & Eniz Fazliov might not be household names in the States, but they are sharing a part in the next Emerica Made video â€“ and we think thatâ€™s a pretty big deal. Of course, here in Europe most of us are aware of the ripping these guys have done over the past decade. In this special double interview, we talked to these two Frank Skateboards teammates about their experiences in the US, filming for Made Chapter 2 and much more. Interviews by Will Harmon
Eniz by Andrea DoSouto
Eniz Fazliov What’s up buddy? Where are you at? Eniz Fazliov: I’m in the middle of Finland on this SLP (Smells Like Pussy) tour. We are on this huge bus with beds; we have a shower and stuff, it’s pretty sick.
How did the SLP crew form? Are these the main guys you skate with in Helsinki? We’ve all known each other since we were kids. I don’t even know how it all started, but it started really small and now all together we are like 25 strong. Not everyone skates though… It’s just the crew – nothing too serious.
And these are the main guys you skate with in Helsinki? Yeah it’s my crew. Of course I pretty much know every skater in Helsinki, but that’s the main crew I skate with.
You guys working on another SLP video? Yeah for the trip we are doing now. We are lucky we got this huge bus and we’ve just been going all around Finland. It’s been a couple days of rain, but it’s all good. We are currently at this skate ranch. It’s the first skate ranch in Finland ever. There are a couple mini-ramps inside barns and then a crazy course outside in the middle of nowhere.
In the middle of the summer, when it doesn’t even really get dark in Finland, do you guys go skating after
the bar lets out as it’s still light out? I mean we do drunk skating after the bar, but not with a camera or anything.
Ah okay, we thought we heard the gap to 50-50 on the kinked rail in your SLP part was after last call at the bar. No, but that trick was on Midsummer day (the longest day of the year in Finland, and also a national holiday). That’s the only time you can skate that spot because it’s in the middle of the city centre. The Midsummer people leave the city that day and go to the cottages. Also the tall front board from that same part was on that same day. It’s the only day of the year you can skate there.
Okay let’s talk about Made Chapter 2. How did you and Rob learn you were going to be in the next Emerica video? Man, I can’t even really remember how. A couple years ago we did this trip to Italy and they were talking about us having stuff in the next video… It started slowly, we did one trip and then another trip and then I guess we got some good stuff that they liked. Then they invited us a couple times over there (to the US) and we went and then slowly they realised we had a lot of footage and they convinced us to try a little harder and that maybe we could get a part. And then it worked out pretty well, but in the end I felt like I didn’t have enough time with it. Our whole part is basically four trips.
Eniz backside flips the channel in Savona, Italy. Ph. Thibault Le Nours
Are you psyched on the footage you got, but you just wanted more?
I like it, but when I go there it’s always like more of a mission. So in my mind when I go over there it’s like I would say I wish I could have had a little more time ‘OK I’m here to skate!’ It’s fun and all that, but in Europe and it could be different. But in this short time it was I have my own bike and I take it in the morning to the pretty good actually; I’m stoked. Rob has some really good skatepark, then I might go back home for lunch. Then footage too. when we go on missions everyone’s on bicycles. And Who was the usual crew on the filming missions in sometimes that mission might be skating a curb for four the States? hours. In the US you know where you are going and you Like all the guys from there on the team, except know what you are going to try when you’re there. So Brandon (Westgate), because he lives on the East Coast. back home in Finland there’s no stress to get footage We did two trips out there and skated loads of spots. We really. It’s just different. were with Jerry (Hsu) and Spanky (Kevin Long) most of I know you like to get the beers in on a skate the time. We did a couple trips up to Northern California session… Any problem with that in the States as it’s with (Andrew) Reynolds, Jeremy (Leabres), (Bryan) illegal to drink in public? Herman and two filmers. It was a pretty solid crew. Not really. In the US we usually drank more at night Sick. and not really at the spots. The sessions here and there Yeah it was pretty crazy to be with these guys in the are just different. I like it both ways though; it’s good to van you know. have a little change sometimes.
Well I think you deserve to be there! Yeah, but I was tripping out man! I’m in the van with Andrew Reynolds and I used to play his character on video games. I was kind of too stressed to get good footage with these guys around.
So it made you a bit nervous? Well kind of, but not really. After awhile we were skating with Spanky and Jerry every day pretty much so in the end it wasn’t a stressful situation.
How do you like skating in America?
OK now I have some questions from your friends… Lucas Fiederling wants to know: did you finish school and did you learn anything afterwards? I did finish school, but after that I managed to never go back. I got my papers to become a painter from that school. So after that they asked me to go and work at this construction site, but I was like: ‘fuck it, no! I’m not going!’ At that time I was getting like €200 a month from skating and they offered me the job, but I was living with my
Rob switch frontside bluntslides in Malaga. Ph. Fabien Ponsero
mum. I had food for free and she was paying the rent so I didn’t really need any money at that moment.
Yeah and you didn’t want to work five days a week
Tom Karangelov and you and him are the only known skaters with a Macedonian background. Yeah Lucas told me this in Berlin! I’ve never met this guy…
I just didn’t know how I could handle it with skating. I Well I think he wants to meet you. Have you ever was already making a little from skating so I thought if I met any skaters from Macedonia and have you ever tried harder I could make it more. skated there? Lucas also said to ask about the first time you I’ve been there without my skateboard like five broke something skateboarding? years ago. I was with my mum on holiday and we just Yeah it was just last year at Bright in Berlin. It was walked around the city. We were just walking around and I some contest that was too early and I was trying to skate saw some sick spots and a few marks on the wall. So I with a hangover and I broke this little bone in my arm. know there are some skaters there, but I’ve never really But I was kind of happy when it happened. I was clearly met proper skaters from there. skating too much, it was the middle of the summer, and I We’ll have to plan a trip there! was pushing too hard. So I was kinda stoked about it. The Yeah that would be sick! I don’t speak the language same kind of thing happened a month ago. I hurt my knee though. It’s a country with two different languages. I can a month ago on this trip with Happy Hour Skateboards. speak Albanian. There is a river in Skopje, the capital city, They’re from Finland and I used to ride for them for ages one side is the poor side and the other side is the rich so they just invited me as a guest on the trip. So I got side. The rich side is the Macedonians and the poor side is hurt right away on that trip. It was exactly the same the Albanians, Muslims and other people like that. I’m feeling as a year ago in Berlin, so again I was happy, as from the poor side for sure. (Laughs) But yeah I would like my body needed the rest. to do a trip there for sure.
Happy to be hurt! That’s a new one! Well last year I skated with the cast on my arm and this year I just rested for a few weeks and now I’m good to go again.
OK so another question from Lucas… He met
OK I have some questions from Samu Karvonen as well…’What’s the next best thing to do after skateboarding?’ Hanging out with his friends or drinking beer is not allowed answers. Building skateparks probably.
Rob backside 50-50 transfers in Haifa, Israel. Ph. DVL
Eniz backside smiths in Berlin. Ph. Andrea DoSouto
Ah good answer! Samu also asks: Do you think skating for free is easier than being a normal person working an average office job? I don’t know if it’s better, but it’s what I like to do. I love this thing so that’s why I keep doing it even though sometimes I get hurt. It has uphills and downhills you know, but I just keep doing what I like to do. I never wake up and think that I don’t want to go skating. It never crosses my mind. I mean sometimes I’m hurt or tired, but I still always want to go skate and hang with my friends.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? I hope on a skateboard still. I don’t really know though, I’m just living day by day really. I’m not thinking that far ahead. I’m just trying to get the most out of it right now; I’m not really thinking about what I’m gonna do in two weeks or ten years.
Rob Maatman Where did you grow up? Rob Maatman: In Deventer where I still live with my dad. I started skating skateparks in the beginning, then a little street.
What kind of spots are in your home town? I just skate curbs and small stuff.
How do you feel about getting referred to as ‘some Euro guys’ by Jerry Hsu in the trailer? It’s a typical American thing I think to refer to us like that. They didn’t even mention our names, it’s always ‘the Euro guys’ even when we were there: ‘we are going out skating with the Euro guys.’ We’ll always be referred to as that.
Rob switch flips in Perpignan. Ph. Thibault Le Nours
Eniz ollies the gap to backlip at Uni in Barcelona. Ph. Jelle Keppens
Rob 360 flips in Roquetes, Spain. Ph. Fabien Ponsero
And how do you feel about that? It’s funny. I don’t know, I think it’s cool that they even mention us and let us be a part of it. It’s still weird that they didn’t even mention our names in the advertisements as well. I guess it’s like being a part of it, but not really being a part of it somehow.
So what was it like skating with the US Emerica guys? It was really, really cool actually, especially with Jon Minor and Bucky – the filmer guys were super-stoked we were there. They were super-friendly and they’d try and think of tricks and they were really interested in us. And the pros were really nice as well, but we met them before so we knew each other already.
Did they ask you a lot of questions about skating in Europe and stuff? Yeah for sure. They are really interested, but sometimes it’s different for everybody, but most people were interested. Some people at first are not really talking to you and not paying attention, but then they notice you are coming on more trips so maybe ‘hey I can start getting into him’ you know? Especially when I was riding for Zero as well, those guys go on trips with so many random people. I wouldn’t do it like that; I would just be interested in everybody that goes on the trip.
Yeah. And what was it like riding for Zero?
I don’t know; it was super-weird. I would always go there and stay at Black Box…
Uh huh… Yeah well in Europe everybody is really involved and everyone is really trying to talk to each other and blah blah blah… And there I was just sitting there and they expected me to know everybody and know where I wanted to skate. But I didn’t know really any spots there. It was a weird vibe. But at the end, the last couple times I was there it was nice because there was a filmer that was younger and he was really nice. But it was super-crazy going on filming missions with them. I went a couple times with Tommy Sandoval and we’d just like go to this massive gap. And I was like: ‘I have to warm up somewhere first!’ And Tommy would just be straight jumping the gap like ‘holy shit!’ It’s another level of skating.
Sebastiaan Vijverberg wanted me to ask you if riding for Zero was really like being in an army? No, it’s not an army, but it is weird. For instance, I didn’t really go on trips with them, but then I went on this East Coast demo tour so I had to skate demos with them. So when I’ve skated demos with the European team or in Holland or something, it’s just like having the park for yourself with all your friends and everyone gets hyped when someone does a sick trick. But there on the US tour
Eniz frontside shuvs to 50-50 in the Golden State. Ph. Atiba Jefferson
Rob kickflips in Arnhem. Ph. Hendrik Herzmann
Rob boardslides in Savona, Italy. Ph. Thibault Le Nours
it was like if someone did a sick trick the other guy wanted to beat him and be better. It’s like more of a competition. So that was super-weird. It wasn’t really my team to be a part of.
So The Chief (Jamie Thomas) never ordered you to do tricks or anything like that? No. But he really… OK I went on a Volcom Europe trip first with Eniz and Nassim (Guammaz) in Arizona where it was super-hot. Then I flew from there to Boston where it was snowing for the Zero tour. The temperature difference was so drastic I got a bit sick. Then I had to skate a demo for thousands of people, and it was a Halloween tour so we had to dress up in costumes. So I was skating so shit because I was nervous and still sick and then one demo Jamie was like: ‘Rob you really have to skate better otherwise it’s going to be shit blah blah blah…’ and I was like: ‘whoa! What the fuck!’ And then things got better, not because he said it, but because I
wasn’t sick anymore and he was like: ‘yeah this is how you should do it! Keep it going!’ Again I was like: ‘what the fuck!’ (Laughs)
I heard you were bummed when you filmed a lot for Zero and they used hardly any of your footage. Yeah I had one and a half or two minutes of footage and there was some really good stuff in there as well and then they only used like one trick. That was in Cold War. But I guess I didn’t have a good enough amount of tricks to have a full part, but still I was like ‘at least put in some more’ you know? And then I tried to get the footage for some other projects and they were like ‘yeah we are going to send it to you tomorrow’ and then the next day I didn’t have any emails or anything. And then I tried to contact them again and it took over a year and then I still don’t have the footage. I just gave up.
So are you worried Emerica will not use a lot of your footage as well?
Back home in Helsinki, Eniz frontside wallrides. Ph. Deeli
Rob backside smiths in Rotterdam. Ph. Marcel Veldman
I actually said that to them. Because I was working on the Bombaklats part as well, and they wanted some good tricks from there to use in the Emerica video. So I was like ‘yeah but um, I had some bad experiences with giving footage and it doesn’t get used…’ and I wanted to have good footage in the Bombaklats part as well.
So I bet you said ‘if you take this footage from them, you better use it!’ Yeah pretty much. But they were like ‘yeah we are going to use it for sure and otherwise it’s going to be in the B-sides’. Because Emerica always does the B-sides and that’s pretty much as good as having it in the part.
Yeah I noticed that gap to backside 50 from the Bombaklats article wasn’t in your part. Yeah Emerica got that and they wanted the noseblunt on the hubba in Morocco too… But Sami and Sneep said one or the other!
How do you like skating in America? I really didn’t like it at first when I would go out for Zero because we’d pretty much just go to gnarly spots, but the last couple times I went out were pretty good actually. They showed us photos of spots and we were like ‘let’s go there and let’s go there…’ The Emerica guys were really psyched to go street skating again ‘cause they’ve been skating a lot of school-yards for this video. So the guys were really stoked to show us street spots. I don’t know it’s hard there during the week; there’s almost nowhere to skate.
Yeah it’s a lot of TF and skatepark skating during the week. So I’m sure when you go over to the US you see how a lot of the guys live there – brand new cars, nice houses, TFs, etc… Is it frustrating that very few
skaters in Europe ever see that kind of money from skating? Yeah. A lot of the Europeans now are trying to break through. I think the States has recognised the talent here and that there’s a big market here. I have more favourite skaters from Europe than the States because here it’s more unique styles and everybody really skates the way they want to skate instead of trying to be like the guy with good style and trying to imitate that.
Have you ever thought about moving to the US? Nah, it’s not for me. I couldn’t deal with it. Maybe if you could find a good area to live in and you know a bunch of people that really are your friends… I feel like in the States sometimes it’s really hard to tell if someone is really your friend or just faking it.
What’s your favourite place you’ve ever been to skate? I think Israel was pretty interesting. The whole trip there was surprising for me because I was expecting it to be so much different. The people were super-mellow and everyone could speak English pretty good. There were good spots and it was actually kind of expensive; I thought it would be super-cheap. I don’t know, it was way better than I expected.
I saw that your brother (Jelle Maatman) beat you in this jump ramp contest a couple weeks back. Is there friendly competition between you two? (Rob Laughs) Not like really that we try to be better than each other, it’s more like we just skate with each other.
How much older are you than him? Three years.
Eniz heelflips in Helsinki. Ph. Deeli
Who usually wins in a game of S.K.A.T.E. between super-grumpy and my girlfriend and other people you two? couldn’t deal with me anymore. Me. He’s not that good at flip tricks. He was freaking ‘Bring the old Rob back!’ out about it today actually.
How come Jelle is not part of the Bombaklats crew like you? Because I was going more to Rotterdam to film and he had to stay in the area we live to go to school. I just got involved with the Bomba guys because I was going there a lot. Our friend Rachid (Addou) used to live here and then he moved there so I would go see him a lot.
So I hear Eniz made you quit smoking? Is this Yeah, but I actually started again last week.
Well Eniz doesn’t know this… Yeah I quit for three months, but then I got
Yeah I’d wake up and immediately think about smoking. I thought that feeling would go away way quicker, but I just kept on having the need to smoke everyday.
Well maybe you’ll quit again. Maybe on your next trip with Eniz. Yeah it wasn’t my time yet.
So what are your plans after Made 2 comes out? Eniz and I are doing another little project. I’m not sure how much I can tell about it, but we are getting more involved with the Emerica thing. So I’ll probably work on that and then I don’t know… Maybe work on something new with the Bombaklats.
Sick. Looking forward to it. Thanks Rob.
Eniz frontside lipslides in Nimes. Ph. Thibault Le Nours
Eniz frontside 5-0 grinds in Imperia, Italy. Ph. Thibault Le Nours
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