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JULY  AUG  2016


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European Skateboarder Of The Year

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See Saw 16 Beyond 30 Farid Ulrich 40 Trading Places 50 62 Getting loose in Belarus 74 Joe Gavin 82 The Bombaklats 94 Igor Fardin 112

Cover: Sebastiaan Vijverberg Kickflip out of the wave Agadir, Morocco Ph. Hendrik Herzmann Contents: Yann Horowitz Backside tailslide Cape Town, South Africa Ph. Sam Clark


‘That’s not made for that!’

Matlok Bennett-Jones Frontside heelflip Paris Ph. Maxime Verret freeskatemag.com @freeskatemag freeskatemag@gmail.com

‘If you want to use your skateboard, there is a perfectly good skatepark down there… Why do it here?’ Surely you’ve heard this before. Joe Public just can’t understand street skating. People like to compartmentalise; they like to put things in boxes. You have a tennis racket and a ball, go to the tennis court. Footballs are used on a football pitch; basketballs are to be dribbled on a basketball court. Jogging in public wasn‘t even a thing until the 1960s. I imagine if you tried to go jogging on the streets in the fifties you’d get this: ‘What are you doing? Why are you running here? There’s a track and field for that!’ There is something wonderful about doing a trick on something that isn’t made for skateboarding. When you can use your skateboarding skills to adapt to that piece of urban architecture or what have you, well, it’s really satisfying for lack of a better word. Also it just looks more interesting. When was the last

time you watched a full-length video of all skatepark footage? When a member of the public confronts me about why we are out filming ourselves skating the streets as opposed to at the skatepark, I like to use this analogy: Let’s say you are into rock climbing… And when you are not actually doing it, you like to watch videos of people rock climbing. Now would you prefer to watch a person scaling a man-made climbing wall inside a sports complex or rather watch someone scaling a dangerous rock face, outside in the wild, on a real mountain? Skateboarding is hard to categorise… Although it’s athletic, it’s not really a sport; there are no rules and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Some would say skateboarding’s inclusion into the 2020 Olympics validates skateboarding as a sport. Well, competitive skateboarding is only a small facet of skateboarding. Only a small percentage of skateboarders in the world have ever entered a contest. I don’t need

to tell you that skateboarding encompasses so much more than just entering competitions. But Joe Public will probably never understand that. And that’s what makes skateboarding great: so many people can’t understand it and are unable to categorise it. Skateboarding is whatever you make it. Let’s try and keep it that way. — Will Harmon

Editor in Chief Will Harmon Photo Editor Sam Ashley Online Editor Arthur Derrien Graphic Design Ben Weaver Seb Howell Visual Intervention James Jarvis Free is published six times a year by FSM Publishing Ltd Printed in UK


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Channel Hopping with New Balance

See Jordan Taylor Kickflip from the stairs into the bank Lyon


Words

Jacob Harris /Tom Knox

Saw Photography

Alex Pires (France) / Sam Ashley (England)


Jacob Harris: I met up with them in east London on a cold and grey east London day, I think it might have been a Tuesday or at least felt heavily that way. There are certain routes that have been carved out – I’m sure it’s the same in any city – like bar crawls or something where you go naturally from reliable spot to reliable spot. We basically followed a few of these in London, as you will with a group of out-oftowners. Much like trod paths the more they’re trod the deeper go the furrows. In this sufficient analogy the furrows are lists of tricks that have been done and wariness of the people who happen to work, play or live in these places –‘there’s actually a petition against you skateboarders, it’s a big deal’ said one shaggy and be-speckled, tall 30-something man in jeans and converse who resembled any one of us quite closely and worryingly. The boys handled it well though, doing good things at old spots.

Messina was filming the trip and due to the telephoto nature of his photography and strong work ethic he’d rarely be visible from the moment we arrived at a spot. The game was always ‘where’s James?’ in a ‘Where’s Wallie’ kind of way. The answer would always be high up somewhere 50 feet away getting set up. Day by day I have a difficulty remembering events in their chronology and standard details of time/ number/location evaporate too willingly. Maybe this as a result of a poorly structured life/mind – anyhow it would take a measure of effort more than I could be paid to write this for me to place everything into a narrative approximately faithful to real events. So I’ll just do some talking…

On one day Knox was involved in a death-chase with a man in a park in Battersea who’d taken some kind of, maybe solvent-derived drug, who for no reason For fans of lists here’s a list of men that were on the obvious to our version of reality locked onto him trip at different points: Tom Knox, Jordan Taylor, with the singularity of a dog for a stick. It was pretty Tom Karangelov, Antoine Asseline, Tyler Surrey, Flo scary but I’ve been told he’ll be talking about that Mirtain, Levi Brown and Dave Mackey. Young James though so I’ll move on. Tom Knox Backside smith grind pop over the stairs Lyon


Tom Knox Switch kickflip Paris

Tom Knox: I guess it’s always hard on trips in your hometown, as you want to show people the good side of it all but squeezing that into five days or so is always difficult. You want them to really feel it, but living somewhere and visiting as a tourist with other tourists makes that tough. On the last day in London before making the trip to France we went to a brick bank spot in Battersea. It’s a really cool spot next to a beautiful bridge and the Thames, which I thought was fitting for the last day. As we started skating I noticed this guy sitting on the bench looking at me and consistently moving his head left and right in some sort of trance. London, like any place is filled with people like this, so making sure we didn’t put any of our shit near him we kept on skating although his creepy glare and sideways bobble head kept on following me. A few minutes later he starts to walk toward all our stuff, so most of us went towards it to cover our back; those Red cameras aren’t cheap!

He was on some demon shit and I felt like he could of really fucked me up but at the same time there was no real reason for him to be chasing me and it became a strange game of cat and mouse.

He starts circling the statue where our stuff is, going from person to person looking them in the eyes with his vacant stare whilst still moving his head rhythmically left to right. Then all I remember is looking around and he’s running full sprint towards me. I ran as fast as I could, made a quick turn when I got to the outskirts of the spot to make sure I stayed with all the guys, then luckily he slipped a little so I got some distance. At this point I’m screaming at the top of my voice to everyone ‘help! Help take him fucking down!’ It’s always interesting in these kinds of situations because everyone in their own heads obviously wants to protect themselves and their belongings, and it’s hard to communicate as a unit.

Finally the boys surrounded him, I grabbed a random board and made a run for it across the bridge; everyone else followed after awhile and apparently the mad man ran with them for about half a mile until he couldn’t run anymore.

Tom K is built like G.I. Joe and I would not want to get in a fight with him. He manned up and got the guy to the ground; the guy was hyperventilating from the chase and very confused what was going on. A few of the boys pinned him down and he was shouting ‘Where am I? Call the police’. My heart settled a bit realising I didn’t have to run anymore. I don’t exactly remember what happened after that but I just saw him get up and look around, catch eyes with me and then he was off again. Clutching a lighter in his hand and apparently muttering that he was going to kill me – I was in full sprint again, some of the boys were telling me to chill, thinking that he was getting some weird thrill out of the single act of chasing me but I’m not taking that risk, I have a baby to think about! Haha.

We ended up at the Albert Hall drinking a beer to calm the nerves. When we were in France and suspect looking people would come near us I definitely felt like most people were seeing it through wounded eyes, thinking that at any moment they could kick off. I hope the team didn’t get put off London by that last day. If they come back we’ll go have a session at that spot for sure!


Tom Karangelov Ollie Leyton

Tyler Surrey Switch backside 180 Clapham

Jacob Harris: Let me take a minute to talk about skateboard teams, especially those that you might call ‘global’. Increasingly a board company is like your skateboard club (often based around some locale and able to survive on the revenues of a certain bubble without worrying too much), that you’re more likely to share with good friends and those you may be in some way ideologically aligned with. This is obviously why these companies tend to flourish creatively and take skateboarding’s cultural helm more. This is opposed to a large shoe brand concerned by design with covering a ton of markets across the globe. The outcomes of sustaining a scope of that size can be tough to control; the riders will be sourced from all over, the focus itinerant and a certain specific type of cohesion will be difficult to engineer. This team isn’t like that at all, genuinely warm and with a strong feeling that they want to hang out and skate with each other despite being a conglomerate from a disparate of countries and holes of skateboard culture.

of the Eurostar, and then carrying on from Paris to Lyon, we entered France. Alex Pires appeared on our train somewhere about half past France to cover photo duties. He hadn’t been to Lyon for he said, about 10 years, which I found quite surprising for a very active French photographer. In Lyon Tom Karangelov played Bowie a lot whilst we all slept and woke, ate and watched three Batman films (Burton and Nolan) in a family’s urban palace – a cavernous over-designed home seemingly carved into the city’s rocky hillside. If one of the appeals of Airbnb may be to allow enactments of aspirational domestic fantasy then I think we ‘came up’.

London was eventful and uneventful; essentially we skated and ate in pubs coincidentally close to Sam Ashley’s flat. Waving goodbye to that from coach 12

Possibly interesting aside – I met Tom Knox’s daughter (my god-daughter) for the first time the day Bowie died. Tom does have a daughter and this trip was his first real length of time away from her. She could recognise him through Facetime though which seems really useful and opens a bunch of questions about psychological development (she was less than four months old at the time) – did she know he wasn’t there? How complex were her ideas of there and not there? He was in Lyon though and he backsmithed a thing, a metal one, that went up and


Tyler Surrey Backside nosbluntslide London

meant he had to jump off to the side over stairs; it was cool and probably really difficult. Whilst this was happening Tyler Surrey would have been flipping a half full (empty) bottle of water skilfully onto its base over and again. He has an Instagram dedicated to this –> @bottleflipping – there’s a video of somebody flipping a Heineken glass bottle on there, which is pretty good I think we

can all agree. Tyler was hurt the whole time, his ankle or something, but it managed to only half stop him when he worked himself into the right state of mind. Tyler comes from San Diego and is part of that crew of very talented skateboarders – Wes Kremer, Marius Syvanen et al (all with an uncanny ability to make stuff happen in a loose, magic-carpet style that casually challenges preconceived notions of the


Tom Karangelov Ollie over to tailslide Clapham


Tom Knox Backside lipslide Somewhere in London

Levi Brown Ollie Lyon

constraints that physics apparently should place on the flippings and turnings of a skateboard with a person on top) that sits loosely under the banner of Sk8 Mafia. These people are some sort of evidence that talent or skill are perhaps not inherent but can to a large extent be socially constructed or nurtured.

Janoski switch flip to the more contentious switch ollie – Pappalardo? Jensen? Lyon was hot. France was all hot actually. Typically so much bread was eaten that if it were put all in a pile it might make the hardiest baker wretch and quit their vocation to become a social media consultant.

Levi Brown was with us for a day in London and a few in Lyon. We saw first hand his patented kickflip, which is actually really amazing to watch like seeing any skill specialised in a particular direction – a master sushi chef, a marksman, whatever. This inspired a conversation about people who really own tricks, from the obvious Reynolds frontside flip and

Something unusual for the New Balance team was to be using public transport to go between spots. The production values of the videos usually means heavy gear to transport but since this was a stripped down crew it was possible to have less equipment, and so trains and buses were taken instead of vans. It’s hard to tell whether this speeds up or slows down the


Tyler Surrey Ollie over to nose manual Paris

operation sometimes, but it’s obviously more fun and, for want of a better word, organic in its effect on the sessions. Tiring though. The Parisian metro with what is certainly not calculated obnoxiousness gives you no time to get on and off the carriage and the Bottleshop/Chez Justine give you no chance of waking from a sleep free from beer addle and weakened limbs. Large cobble banks, Karangelov blood, a hippie jump and Knox with rumbly switch speed – Tom had a hard time committing to the switch flip pictured in this magazine and so employed a special Geoff Rowley mind technique. We watched the raw footage of his varial heelflip down

the Santa Monica triple set a couple of nights before. In this video Rowley says he needs anything to change in order to snap his brain into the focus needed to just commit, the photographer takes his shirt off, puts it on his head and Rowley does it next try. Knox re-enacted this with Tyler providing the shirt-off and magically it worked. In other French Fred related cute anecdotes the other Tom K (incidentally a team with two Tom Ks and two Jordan Ts) accompanied by James took a wet evening pilgrimage to the recently re-visited Boulala stairs to have their own look. It should be noted that neither wore body armour despite the threatening size of the stairs.


Beyond is a skate shop in the middle of Finland. Now you might be wondering: ‘Why is Free dedicating an article to a skate shop?’ Well because Beyond has gone the extra mile. In the words of our unofficial Finnish Editor Samu Karvonen: ‘Beyond is a shop in Jyväskylä, mid-Finland, owned and ran by one of the best dudes: Juho Haapala. They got style and grace. I’m backing them 200%!’ In addition to the fact that Beyond has kept the skate scene alive in the middle of Finland, Beyond has done so much more... Starting in 2012 Beyond came out with Yours Truly Beyond, a video and photo book documenting their teams’ travels and stunts on the skateboard. Why make a photo book? It costs a lot of money! Well there’s something about having that tangible thing in your hand that makes it mean more. Plus when you’re older you’ll appreciate having that book to look back upon as a reminder of those days of your youth. And in 2014 Beyond did a similar project: they produced T h e B eyo n d S u n , a newspaper and video project. And now, in 2016, Beyond has created

Olli Ilmonen Photo Samuli Harkonen

another project. This one is kinda different, but let’s let Juho Haapala of Beyond tell you what it’s about. — Will Harmon —

The idea behind the Beyond Journal 2016 video started pretty much right after The Beyond Sun (2014) came out. Once again we wanted to show our team riders’ journeys through a visual project. This time we decided not to use print media, but try something different. The new thing turned out to be an original soundtrack album for the video. Our friend and local multi-instrumentalist and all around musical mastermind Jonni Wanha took this project on. The riders got a chance to have whatever music they wanted and Jonni composed, played, sang, rap, recorded, mixed and mastered the whole thing. Just a one-man band for the whole album! It’s going to come out on vinyl too! Everyone has been simply amazed by how the album turned out, which has caused a totally different approach to editing too. Most of the time the editor has many options to choose songs, but now it was just this one song for each part. We knew it was going to be hard but Pekka Harjula created visuals for the video by listening to the songs and not looking at the skating. Our editor Ville Leppanen then sewed everything


together: skating, music and visuals. After we started the project we new it was going to be the last part of this visual project trilogy of ours. Yours Truly Beyond came out in 2012, The Beyond Sun in 2014 and now in 2016 Beyond Journal. Somehow we had to reach an end to such huge projects. But we’re sure going to go for more, but next time it must be something totally different... But then again, still the same as always: skateboarding.

Juho

Haapala

BVC & visual

projects: Beyond Visual Craftsmanship (also known as BVC) is a group of people who have been doing Beyond’s visual projects since 2010. The BVC members are filmer/editor Pekka Harjula, photographer Samuli Harkonen, graphic

Olli Ilmonen Switch backside flip Berlin Photo Samuli Harkonen

designer Janne-Juhani Hyvarinen and Beyond’s CEO Juho Haapala. The group has been responsible for all ideas starting from scratch all the way to final completed visual product. Everyone has been playing important roles in each outcome throughout the years. We wanted to create something that lives. A good example is the microfilm that we did of The Beyond Sun magazine. That microfilm stays in good condition for even 1000 years... Yes a thousand years!

Juho

Haapala

Almost two years ago one of my longterm dreams came true as I got call from Juho and he asked me to ride for Beyond. Me? A 40-year-old? It was really easy decision to make. My answer was a big yes! Juho explained to me about the upcoming B e y o n d J o u r n a l project and from the get-go I wanted to put all my effort into it. The older you get the more personal the whole scope of skateboarding becomes; it gets between your ears more than ever. The filming turned out to be extremely difficult and stressful - mostly because of my wrecked knee. One hour of filming means at least two days of rest. This was hard to handle in my head especially during team trips where the guys shred 24/7. I have certain demons in me that guide my behaviour, I admit that, and by admitting it, it’s easier to live. Those demons used to make me drink myself almost


WELCOME TO THE TEAM JA AKKO OJANEN BACKSIDE NOSE GRIND INDY PHOTO BY : SAM ASHLEY @ELEMENTBRAND


Marko

‘Hakki’

Harmaala

The whole Beyond crew was riding bikes somewhere in Berlin one night. Suddenly Hakki simply said to me that being part of Beyond and being able to travel and skate with the crew is the third best thing ever happened to him... Right after his family (wife and kids) and getting sober. At that very moment I had a hard time trying to hide a tear or two. I will never forget such words

4 especially when they come from the guy who you had been looking up to since being a teenager. Great to have you with us Hakki!

Juho

Haapala

I work at school as a classroom assistant and our principal was really supportive towards my days off for skate trips. Without Juho and Beyond’s help and support I wouldn’t be able to travel and film such a self-satisfying part. During this filming period for Beyond Journal I moved to Helsinki and that sure gave me the extra boost to stack clips. But in the end the best thing has been travelling with the Beyond crew: the raddest pack of dudes on the planet! KYPÄRÄMÄKI 4 LIFE.

Onni

Saltevo

— —

Thank you Juho and the whole gang for taking me in, I’m stoked to get to be a part of a new skate family on my senior days! Some of you I’ve known for years and

Okko Sirvio Switch wallie switch backside tailslide Helsinki Photo Samuli Harkonen

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to death for 15 years. Now I have been sober for nine years, but the same anxiety follows me. This time I am happy that my behaviour is towards skateboarding and nothing worse. I just try to keep those demons away but at the same time I have learned to live with them. Many times out filming I’d think of my years of heavy drinking. It made me think about putting my passion into things... When I film and want something done I am ready to put 110% into it. I am never trying anything I know I cannot accomplish. The only thing that came between my tricks, and me was my knee. That knee just doesn’t work anymore like it used to. My mind knows I can do tricks, my body knows it can do tricks, I still got skills to do tricks, but that knee kept failing on me. This has caused many disappointments during the last year. There is pretty much nothing left it my knee, just bone against another bone. The doctors said they couldn’t even fix it anymore. The next step is knee prosthesis. Skateboarding is what I love and I always wanna go for one more round!


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some for decades, but it’s been great to get the chance to know all of you better. Getting clips sure doesn’t come for free these days and it’s not always easy keeping up with this squad of legends and young rippers, but it’s been a hell of a journey on the Journal!

Aleksi

Fräki

Skateboarding has never really been about what you do, but how you do it. Trick-wise this rule applies as well, but it has been my motto in everything Beyond does as a skate shop. Of course we have super talented skaters on our team but still at the end, only the style of doing things counts. I always wanted to do stuff that we all can be proud of even after 20 years. Our team riders, BVC and employees and our customers... They mean everything to me, as together we have made this all happen. Thank you everyone!

Ville Keituri Switch backside smith grind Valencia Photo Niki Rutanen

Juho

Haapala


Interview by Julian Dykmans

F a r i d So in skating, when you’ve been around for decades, you could say you pretty much think you know it all. And so like most, you judge people and sometimes you keep that judgment, that feeling, for a long time although the truth is that you don’t know that person and that perhaps your judgment is just plain wrong. I am not sure why my instinct was wrong back then when I bumped into Farid who was perhaps a typical cocky 16-yearold skateboarder who ripped, but I am super happy to meet him again now, seven years later. I can see that Farid has various interests in life, the sparkle in his eyes and yes admittedly the same annoying ease on a skateboard. Do yourself a favour and take some time to requestion yourself. I did, and accepted an invitation to interview someone I barely knew, not to mention I have little experience in interviewing people and last but not least I am typically too busy. But I was down for the adventure and Farid did not disappoint. Let’s go skate that mini Farid!

180 no-comply Berlin

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Photography by Florian ‘Burny’ Hopfensperger

U l r i c h


Hi Farid can you introduce yourself?

when she was going on a family vacation to Hungary.

I suppose your deadline time to get your own place.

Farid Ulrich: Hi, my name is Farid and I am 23-years-old. I’ve skated for 12 years now so it’s more than half of my life. I can remember more of my life being a skateboarder than not. I like to keep that in mind, it’s a nice point of view. I am from Berlin, born and raised. I think the rest we are going to figure out….

So it was a planned family vacation escape?

For me it’s okay as I am young and when I get kicked out, I’ll start something else. But for the people who have lived here for 25 years and all our friends, it’s tough. It’s a real community here; everyone knows each other and hangs together. Now they will have to find a new place and probably it’ll be outside of Berlin as they won’t be able to afford to live around here.

Yes we will. Are you related to Lars Ulrich? Lars Ulrich?

The drummer of Metallica. Haha, no I’m not related.

You should check it out. Maybe he is close family. Is it the same spelling?

Yes it is. Go find out about your roots Mr. Ulrich! Tell me more about being born and raised in Berlin... My father was born in Lebanon; he was a refugee from Palestine. He came to Berlin to the western part when he was six-years-old. My mother is from the eastern part of Berlin. She fled East Berlin six months before the wall came down

Yes, except that once the wall came down, my mom went back to Berlin since her mom was there and she could be in the West and the East. She came to this house where we are now (in Mitte, which is central East Berlin) and squatted here. This whole area was completely empty, almost no people. With some others they moved in to this house and had to fight eviction from the police numerous times – there are crazy stories. For instance, there were a lot of Nazis back then in the area so my parents had to group up with the neighbours to be safe. That was the vibe.

So do you own the house? No, but for a long time the owners let us have a low rent because they are down for us, we bring culture to the neighbourhood. Right now they are selling our house and a big movie company is going to buy it. What will happen is these new people will raise our rent and that means we won’t be able to afford our place anymore.

How did you learn your English? Yours is pretty good... My first language in school was Latin. And of course I cannot speak it, but I suppose I got the grammar right early on.

So you watch your movies in the original version then? No not really but I had this Biggie movie for two months when I was in Thailand without WIFI so I watched that over and over again. I adapted the vocabulary of this film to my own.

Haha, so you got the slang, huh? So for instance, if you are going to watch a movie, let’s say the new Star Wars, you are going to watch it dubbed in German? Yeah. I think if you watch the movies dubbed in German, they are really well done.

But don’t you think if you have an Oscar performance actor in English it kinda sucks for him to be dubbed into another language? Don’t you think his performance will be different since it’s a guy in studio pretending to speak the same? Yeah I see what you mean, it’s not the real acting

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Switch kickflip shifty Bangkok


anymore. It’s more like acting for the Germans then. Interesting point.

If it were up to me I would force all TVs and cinemas to have everything in their original version. It would just help the world communicate better. That’s the difference, like Scandinavia, they speak so good English.

Small countries don’t have the budgets to dub; it’s too expensive. What a blessing it is for them, they learn English instead. I always tell kids to

Driveway ollie Bangkok

watch movies in their original version, also to read Thrasher and TWS. Did you read those mags? Not too much, when I was young we did not have much money. I had different plans; I wanted to buy a board, no money for a Thrasher subscription really. If I had the chance to get my hands on a Place mag, I would read that.

Who are your sponsors?

Nike SB, team Titus and Lousy Livin’.

Can we talk about your Dad? For instance I heard he is the owner of Chalet (famous club in Berlin)? You would think that because he has the key and he’s the guy to talk to if you have an idea to do something there but he is not the owner. He takes care of everything there. When there is a fight, etc.… He just takes care

44


of the situations.

So he is a gangster right? No not really… haha. He just handles everything. But he’ll bring the humour: he’ll bring the hose and water down the troublemakers in the garden – things like that.

Skaters are always gossiping... What’s your opinion about that? For instance skaters saying your dad owns the club.

love and want to move Skateboarders? Why are there not many on European and Global in with your girl? Wolfstone is not going teams? What’s your opinion? anywhere; it’s there to stay. So I can move in, move out, it will always be there. It’s called Wolfstein actually because there is a stone stating 781, the last time a Wolf was shot there. The coolest thing is that now the wolves are back.

The first thing is, people in Germany skate a little too strict, copying who they like and maybe not finding their own self. I don’t know though…

Do you think it could be a language barrier as well? Not enough movies in their original version! For instance, crews of Germans go to Barcelona all Really? That’s great! together and stay in groups, So on to a different which makes it tough to subject: What’s up integrate with locals or new with German groups of people.

I just keep out of it; I don’t really care. I don’t follow all that stuff. Also I have my friends that don’t skate. I am just not into it. I am more interested in my own project, for instance Wolfstone.

What is Wolfstone? I skate now and maybe I got three more years, maybe six; who knows. Wolfstone is a family house that we’ve owned for the past 20 years. It’s south of Berlin, an hour away and it’s where I want to put some of my energy – it’s a process that never ends. I kind of realised that it’s the place where I want to be. It’s in the middle of the forest and the next house is like 2 km away. There is no water so we built a pond. So in the morning, you can grab your bucket and wash up, etc…

What’s your idea there? Do a hostel? Not really, I think since we are going to move, this is going to be my next house. It’s a perfect home base plus I’m always on trips so I would be really keen to keep living with my mom, as I am so down with her. Basically we’d live in a communal house. I have a friend with his camper there already. The idea would be to have more people there. There is a skatepark there too.

That sounds pretty amazing. What will you do if you fall in

Switch heelflip up a natural Wembley gap Bangkok


Maybe the German skater gets too cosy too quick. Thing is you can have a German career here and pretty much never leave, guys can get content easily. I don’t know, some want sponsors so much that it ruins it for them. All my friends wanted and got sponsored before me and I just skated and never asked. In the end they all quit and I am here still skating. I was just having fun, spending time on transition, etc.… And that’s

what helped me. Transition even helped me for rail skating!

Most are happy where they are; I guess we have everything we need.

Really?

If they’d get on better teams (Europe or Global) they would learn better English. I noticed some skaters barely speak English and after a year or two, it’s on.

Yes, you know how you do 50-50s on the coping on a ramp? Well on a rail it’s the same thing; it’s the same position!

Except there ain’t so much commitment but hey... Back to that topic, why aren’t some Germans on the ‘cool’ brands?

Frontside bluntslide Bangkok

Yeah, look at Willow! At the beginning his English was all funny and now he’s really good at it.

But do you think it’s kind of uncool to be a skater from Germany? Maybe a bit, it’s not my favourite either.

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Somehow there is too much copying. There are so many skaters in Germany, but not so many are coming out. Maybe it’s the bad skateparks that we have…

That’s just excuses. Everyone have some... Maybe people are too safe here. You do your studies, you start working, you have your habits and you don’t want to change your nice little routine. I hear from my friends it’s hard to be a skater, it’s hard to make it. They don’t want to take the risk.

I think it’s not for everyone. If you want to skate, you will.

If you want to travel, you will by all means whatever the cost. There is just a huge difference of motivation in different people. It’s really up to you I think; anything’s possible. My parents forced me to do my studies, to finish school. But at the same time I skated. It was cool they pushed me like this.

What about the codes of skateboarding? What’s your take? For instance the 360 flip with the yo flip? Or the 360 shove with the yo... When I was young I could not do a 360 flip without the yo.

OK I am just going to lay it on you... Yes that’s the German 360 flip! So did you try to change it? No, it kinda changed naturally last year. It just started coming together with a catch with both feet.

And now a Vince question: What do you think of the no-comply trend? I don’t mind as long as the skater does not become lazy. It must look good. I am down with them – been doing them forever.

about if you like it there. Maybe you like some of the Germans you mentioned and you like it in Germany. I am open for everything. I would not move to the US and force myself in. If I got a good offer I’d consider moving there.

Brands won’t offer you if you are not going there or doing something about it. Are you happy like this? That’s a hard question, especially for an interview. But yes I would like to go for it all the way.

But how are you going to make this happen? For instance, I don’t see many German skaters moving to let’s say Barcelona and skate there for six months. Within that time, you don’t know whom you are going to become friends with but it might be that you become friends with this team that is visiting for a month, etc.... And this might change your life! You can do that with any city: Paris, London...

Pro in the US means pretty much skating eight hours a day. I mean it’s pretty much like this no?

That’s what I tell my friends: Stop complaining and living at your parents! Go to a main city and skate. I went for two months to Thailand last year and one month and half in Barcelona. It was a great time; some of my footage comes from those trips. In Barca, we were ten skaters in a small house with all types of nationalities; it was super fun!

No. You could film a trick a week and if it was good you’d be fine. But it’s more

Sounds like you got the right idea. I think that about does it. Thanks Farid.

Yeah you can even do them down big double sets. How far do you want to go in skating? Head to the US, get big, etc.?


FARID ULRICH, FS FLIP • FOTO: DENNIS SCHOLZ

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POP in Amsterdam

Trading Places Intro Benjamin Deberdt


Photography DVL

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Bastiaan van Zadelhoff Nosewheelie I offered Bastiaan my board to let him do this trick; hopefully the photo came out good.

Captions Peter Kolks


‘Hugo is my favourite skater...’ This one came out of nowhere, or more accurately from watching Hugo Snelooper battle a line in the midday sun on the hottest day Berlin had seen in a few years. His baggy clothes were drenched in sweat and he was not giving up. As we were watching, from the shade and the side-lines, the phrase above came out of the lips of the youngest in attendance: Noah, then still 17, was just acknowledging who I believe is the oldest member of the crew. Just because... We were not even discussing that subject, at all. The genuine observation,

Hugo Snelooper Backside Heelflip

Willem van Dijk Nollie Heelflip Medical professional and Pop TM Willem van Dijk balancing out a nollie heelflip at this bank spot. Imagine knocking yourself out on that ceiling... Willem would need to be there to patch you up.

Hugo is just a straight up legend, he’s responsible for 95% of the Pop photography you see out there and an OG on the board. Here is his signature move at Amsterdam’s Library steps.


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Bastiaan van Zadelhoff Bluntslide

on the very first day I spent with that group of Dutch, made me think a few generations – in skate time – actually separated those two. Still, they were feeding off each other, on and off board, basking in a cruel foreign sun and making the most of all being together. Just because... Because, at the end of the day, this is the best part about skateboarding: the crew, the homies, the dudes, the boys... The friendships. And not the ones celebrated in advertising. No, the ones we all develop with people we should have never met in the first place, and that somehow we might end up still being BFFs in twenty

Bastiaan bluntsliding on the other side of the river.

Marc Haan 50-50 up, blindside kickflip to fakie 50-50 down This is a weird one right? Marc has a tendency of doing weird stuff, like grinding up these bicycle rails, kick flipping over to the other and grinding down. We still love you though Marc!


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years or so, even after our toys are collecting dust in the garage. And right there, I could see these two, meeting in a couple of decades, and sharing laughs and stories. Because, these guys are not a team, they are a crew. They are Pop. They don’t ride for Pop. And why? Because they can survive a twelve-hour train ride with multiple connections all crammed together, and not hate each other on their arrival. Because Hugo and Noah, and Bob and Willem well... None of them skate alike, but they still make a cohesive group. And if you still wonder what exactly Pop Trading Co. might be, well,

Othmar van Rijswijk 50-5O This guy builds DAF Trucks and loves doing 50-50s down steep handrails that are attached to walls. Proper blue collar gnar.


5 Noah Bunink Nosebluntslide When he is not modelling he also skates a bit. Here’s Noah with a very heavy ollie up to nosebluntslide on the banks at the University of Amsterdam.

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it sure is a bit more than ‘just a crew’ nowadays, but it seems like the whole thing was founded as an excuse to hang and have a good time together, usually on the curb of one of those streets made of interlocking blocks that have never made their native grounds a hub for jetsetting skateboarders... Maybe they will take over the world, maybe not, but rest assured that you will remember them as who they truly are: Pop.

Noah Bunink Ollie Quick ollies and smoking weed apparently go hand in hand. At a nice setting at Damrak, Noah ollies up and over from the slim bench.


Ali Belhadj Switch Crooks This is at a spot called de Nederlandsche Bank. It’s basically the Dutch Federal Bank; we skate it a lot and somehow no one seems to give a shit. Ali is doing a big man switch crooked grind 180 out down the drop.

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And I guarantee you will catch them in years still sharing a laugh. Hopefully, by then, they will have upgraded to sitting outside in the cold Dutch night to at least a faux vintage wooden bench in their local grown-up bar.

Othmar van Rijswijk Frontside boardslide Othmar went in on this one. That knob on top is no joke. Frontside boardslide hopping over and out.


Free Mag Issue 7 Ad Quasi.indd 1

6/2/16 11:38 AM


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Fran Javaloyes Overcrooks Barcelona Ph. Gerard Riera

Modo Matinda 50-50 grind Saarbru ¨cken, Germany Ph. Hendrik Herzmann


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Teemu Pirinen Kickflip Harjavalta, Finland Ph. Fabien Ponsero

Simon Isaksson Backside lipslide Barcelona Ph. Nikwen


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Danny Brady Gap to nosebluntslide London Ph. Sam Ashley

Oskar Rosenberg-Hallberg and Nick Boserio Double grinds Paris Ph. Alex Pires


(previous spread) Daniel Trautwein Frontside smith grind Stuttgart Ph.Daniel Wagner

Julian Kimura 5-0 grind Barcelona Ph. Nikwen

Fran Molina Kickflip Madrid Ph. Marcel Veldman


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Vaughan Jones Gap to frontside tailslide London Ph. Reece Leung


Words & photography Alexey Lapin

loos e Dima Shatalov Ollie Minsk

Getti ng


Bel arus

Alex Krasniy Bank ride across the gap Vitebsk

in 75


Belarus is a small agrarian country in between Poland and Russia. The president of the country for the past two decades, Alexander Lukashenko, has been in office since 1994. The Western press has frequently called him ‘the last dictator of Europe’, a person who has unlimited power and lives above the law. Repeatedly accused of the violent termination of opposition leaders and civil rights violations in Belarus, he and his closest fellows have subjected the country to the various economic sanctions from

Dima Shatalov Backside 180 kickflip Gomel

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Europe and the United States. At the same time, Lukashenko has been considered one of the main geopolitical allies of Russia for many years and has received economic privileges and significant financial loans in return for his loyalty. Thanks to such generous funding from their ‘Big brother’, Belarus has managed to maintain economic and political independence from transnational corporations, which is considered Lukashenko’s major achievement by his supporters and worshippers. Anyways, whenever you speak about

Belarus, there will always be many furious critics and haters of its political system. It’s hard to judge the real way things are in that country, but one thing is pretty clear: Belarus is without a doubt the last unexplored spot on the skateboarding map of Europe. Dura Skateboards is a young Russian brand from Moscow, brought to life by skaters for skaters. They used to be called ‘Nasvay Skateboards’ before and you even might have seen their promo on YouTube. The frontman of the brand, Yura Renov, is one of the best Russian skaters, but unfortunately Yura couldn’t manage to go on this trip due to having his final Uni exams. Yep, you saw that right; some skaters do study


Stas Provotorov Drop-in Minsk for degrees. But luckily the rest of the Dura team could make the journey. So get ready for a huge number of new and unusual names for European ears ending on ‘ov’ (Shatalov, Andronov, Provotorov and etc.) in this article. Welcome to Belarus! Belarus declared independence from Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. There was a lot of back and forth between Russia, Poland and Belarus on determining its borders until after WWII. Belarus became fully independent in the early nineties after the USSR breakup. The first presidential elections in the country were held in

1994. Back then an active young politician Alexander Lukashenko whom many people held high hopes for won the first election. A quarter of a century has past and the charismatic moustached leader of Belarus still stands strong and keeps the steering wheel of the country is in his hands. But as soon as Alexander Lukashenko became the president of Belarus he changed the constitution of the country to his favour, adding himself a bunch of extra legal powers and in 2004 he made a

new law that let him be re-elected an unlimited amount of times. Very soon afterwards the European Union accused him of using undemocratic methods in political battles including physical termination of his opponents, falsification of election results and a systematic violation of human rights. However, recently world leaders have become slightly more tolerant towards the president of Belarus, softening or even cancelling some of the economic sanctions in return


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national emblem of USSR in a practically unchanged form. The streets of the city have saved their Soviet naming: Lenin street, the street of Karl Marx and Red Army street just to name few. The names of administrative authorities have also stayed the same: the KGB

Alex Krasniy 50-50 grind Mogilev

for the release of his main political opponents from prison. Every classic dictator has to have his own weird and freaky behaviour patterns and Alexander Lukashenko is no exception. He has a beloved illegitimate son Kolya, who recently turned 12, and it is rumoured that he was conceived with his personal doctor and then taken away from her. The president loves him so much that he takes him along everywhere he goes. This includes official meetings with leaders of other countries, the Pope, and other well-known persons. At military parades Lukashenko also appears with his son and they both are often dressed in military uniforms. Our most vivid impression of Belarus, which is common for most tourists to the country, is that so many symbols of the Soviet era have been preserved there. Everywhere you go you see hammers and sickles, red stars, flags, sculptures and mosaics showing the working class in the style of classicism. Belarus is one of two former Soviet Republics that still uses the

(the main security agency for the Soviet Union), ‘Ispolkom’ (a committee with executive powers), and ‘Kolkhoz’ (a form of collective farm). Even the economy still runs on a planned basis, partially inherited from the Soviet times, where the state owns the biggest enterprises and decides which, how and how many goods have to be produced.


Most of the Belarusian cities suffered a lot during the Second World War. The three major cities of this country: Minsk, Gomel and Vitebsk were 80–90 per cent destroyed – because of that, the central districts of these cities are filled with architecture from the Stalin era with its grandiosity and luxuriousness. Every major city there will

definitely have a central park, which is taken good care of, it’s well planned for walks and the leisure of its citizens. The streets are always clean and neat and most faces of the buildings are carefully painted. Every spring, around the May holidays, neighbourhood

clean-ups are held and old garden squares and monuments get new layers of paint. It may be so clean there because the cities of Belarus are tiny and low populated. There’s only one city with over one million people, and all the others are significantly smaller in size.


Mitya Neplohov Ollie Gomel The daily living of Belarusians is calm, quiet and relaxed. The average salary is around 400 euros a month so many Belarusians leave the country to work in Russia, and the youth tend to go to study in Poland or Lithuania. It seems uncommon there to be loud and cheerful outside of your own apartment. The reason for that may be an enormous number of police patrols out on the streets that keep an eye on the citizens and their modest behaviour. Closer to the evening they start checking out the backyards of the houses even more intensely and rigorously, looking for open beers and their owners. The thing is that it is forbidden to drink alcohol out on the streets and that is perhaps the most common ‘crime’ in this quiet country. Despite that, all the parks and

yards bustle with empty vodka bottles. We couldn’t put up with such limitations (what good skateboard tour could happen without sipping some canned beer from time to time?) so we invented a special anti-police drinking method – a cold alcoholic beverage could simply be fitted into the sleeve of a sweatshirt and drunk straight from there never taking it out. The strictness of the police is proven by the fact that getting some weed if you’re a foreigner becomes a practically impossible mission. Once on a loud party night the guys tried to find out about weed, but the people they

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asked tried to jump away from them. Later on we were warned that it’s better to not even ask as all the recreational events by the youth are thoroughly kept an eye on by the local KGB, which sends in their agents in civilian clothing. Skateboarding here is developed much more than in many other ex-Soviet republics, but less than in Russia. The more or less remarkable skate crew exists only in Minsk. There are skate shops there and even distributors, but other cities are only skated by groups of either dedicated fanatics or very young children. We had some real difficulties searching for the spots because of that. Truthfully speaking, there were not as many of them as we’d hoped for and, moreover, local skaters could barely navigate us to spots as they skated the same old squares year after year. But you can find spots in any place; I really believe that! We simply couldn’t find them all on our first trip, so a couple more trips are needed to do some more exploring.


over the recent years, which has sucked all the juices from economy, but has inevitably made this country one of the cheapest in Europe. Finally, I can’t say that I was that fascinated by Belarus. I’d describe my feelings the following way: you enter an ideally cleaned public toilet and find out there’s no toilet paper in it. By the way, that’s an absolutely real detail of daily Belorussian life. It seems that everything is great, but something always turns out to be wrong. However, I might be mistaken in my conclusions so I recommend you go there yourself to develop your own idea of the place. Keep in mind getting there can turn into

Dima Shatalov Frontside kickflip shifty Minsk

We can’t say that Belarusian people were happy with how we spent our time. I’d say they’d prefer to stay calm and quiet rather than listen to the loud board snaps and have the surfaces of their monuments grinded on. ‘We don’t need that heroism, you’d better take a gun in your hands and leave to be a hero with it!’ a man said once passing by. The only one who found our skating appealing was a random stranger, who I met in Mogilev during a night session. As he told me later in a chat, he also used to use nunchucks in his youth, and because of this he thought we had lots in common. The main plus of Belarus, in my point of view, is the extremely low prices of everything. Everything there is totally cheap: food, transportation, bars, hotels and various amusements. There has been a banking and financial crisis

quite an ordeal for a foreigner: you need a visa and an invitation from an affiliated hotel, one that has a legal right to host foreign tourists. But once you’re there you’ll be able to fully feel the atmosphere of semi-rustic pastoral life in a country hidden from the outer world by the Iron Curtain. Perhaps, that’s the way the USSR would have looked today if that giant monster hadn’t fallen apart a quarter of a century ago. It’s pretty clear that there isn’t any extra wild exotic stuff in Belarus, but curious and watchful eyes will definitely find many interesting and unique things in these lands. Expand your horizons!


When we started Free a year ago Joe Gavin’s name was at the top of the list of skaters we wanted to feature. In fact, we’ve been yearning to interview Joe for ages even when we worked for that other mag (I won’t mention the name, but they don’t print mags anymore). If there’s any skater from the UK that deserves some shine then it has to be Joe Gavin. Everyone in the UK knows who Joe is, he’s been ripping for ages, he’s constantly putting out footage (a few years ago I think he had like four parts come out in a year!), he

also films and edits, paints and Joe truly represents Manchester to the fullest. But due to scheduling difficulties, Joe’s injury, rainy weather, starting a new magazine and so on it wasn’t possible to do this interview until now. So I was pretty excited to say the least when I met up with Joe to do this interview on a hungover morning after the London Away Days premiere. Over coffees and a greasy fry-up somehow the stars finally aligned and I got to interview my mate from up north.

Joe

Gavin

Yeah well Sam (Ashley) was meant to come up (to Manchester), but the day he was meant to come up, he couldn’t make it and I fucking stuck on a nosegrind at Urbis and broke my arm and my wrist pretty bad. And I was meant to be going to Thailand on the Monday with my girlfriend, but I couldn’t go because I needed an operation. Since then it’s kind of knocked my confidence a bit.

Is this the first major injury you’ve had?

Well I did my knee in about ten years ago, but since then I’ve

been so lucky. It’s my left arm as well so it’s the arm I always fall on you know what I mean? And I couldn’t straighten it and it was pretty fucked to be honest. So since then I’ve just been trying to get strong and get back on it.

And hasn’t Woody (Gary Woodward) given you physio tips?

Yeah Woody was amazing. I just worked when I couldn’t skate so Woody would just drop by the shop (Note) and we’d do physio for 20 minutes. He’d pull my arm into crazy positions and he’d give me weights and he kind of saw it as a little project in a way. He’s helping out all the skaters in Manchester.

Yeah I heard that.

You can’t really ask for a better person you know?

Portrait by Sam Ashley Interview by Will Harmon

Switch crooked grind, Manchester, Ph. Sam Ashley

Yeah well he knows skateboarding… And he knows injuries too!

So how about Nev (Mathew Nevitt) showing up Noel Gallagher a couple weeks ago… Were you at Note that day? No I wasn’t, but that was fucking cool wasn’t it?

Yeah! Had you guys seen him about before?

Nah, I’ve never seen him. But that was my mate Kev (Eley) who works with Nev, and he was just like: ‘ah you gotta do it!’ So they saw him go into the shop across the road and they knew he talked all this shit on skaters and Nev’s got 360 flips on lock so it was just like: ‘go for it!’ It could have gone just as bad I reckon… He could have primo-ed or something.

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Joe we wanted to interview you a year ago when we first started Free, but we had to push it back until now. Can you tell the readers out there why?


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Kev would have posted it either way actually. That was cool man. Nev still gets people coming in everyday asking about it.

OK here’s a topic: Sean Lomax and his hard drives… Expand on this:

Ah quite often you’ll film a trick and sometimes… Ah I shouldn’t even say this man! Well he’s lost a few tricks for sure. He’s so on it, don’t get me wrong, but I dunno he just has bad luck. His shit will get stolen or his super-tech hard drive that he’s bought with a million terabytes or whatever will just die.

I remember when his laptop got stolen in Sarajevo he said the reason he didn’t back up the footage is because you had his extra hard drive at

the time. That sounds about right. You know what the worst thing is, it’s only happened two or three times, but people always try and be really thoughtful and ask him about his computer and stuff but really they are just thinking about that backtail they filmed! (Laughs) Like ‘really, really sorry to heard about your hard drive… What happened to that backtail we filmed?’ But yeah some of the photos we shot for this, he thought he’d lost them.

Nollie shifty, Barnsley, Ph. Reece Leung

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But then the clip probably would have never gotten out there and gone viral…

But he recovered them?

Yeah, I think he had backed them up this time.

So not just footage…

Yeah photos get lost as well! I don’t want to make this into a big topic… This doesn’t happen all the time.

Switch nosegrind revert, Salford, Ph. Sean Lomax


You’ve recently taken the reins at Landscape Skateboards doing the social media, marketing, etc. How did this come about?

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Fos just asked me to be team manager and help out a bit more. It’s been cool, I think Snowy (Daniel Kinloch) got a bit busy and they needed someone that was a bit more keen for it. Yeah I enjoy it man.

videos, you work at Note, plus the Landscape marketing… How do you fit it all in? I don’t! I guess I’m pretty lucky in regards to that I get a bit of money from skating so I don’t have to work as much as other people. I can work at the shop just two days and it’s OK, but also I can’t skate hard and film all week. I can skate for like three days, film some shit, then I’m sore, but I’ll still go out skating and bring my camera to film others. I just enjoy it. I love it, but there’s just not enough time in the day man!

I’ve said it before, and I’m not the only one, but many consider you to be the hardest working man in UK skateboarding. You are constantly out getting footage and when you are not skating In addition to Landscape, I you are filming others, plus remember you doing a lot you do skate edits, music with The Harmony doing

edits, promoting, organising trips, etc… Have you ever thought of just starting your own brand instead of doing all this work for companies that aren’t yours? I have thought about it, but I actually think the market is flooded and no new companies need to start. We already have a lot of skate companies. What I really do believe is that people need to look after the companies we’ve already got… Companies that have put a lot into UK skateboarding; companies that have built up skaters and put out videos, make people pro and pay people… They’re the people that need support, not


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Switch ollie, Manchester, Ph. Reece Leung

Nollie backside tail, London, Ph. Sam Ashley

necessarily this new cool company that’s about for a couple weeks… It just makes it harder for the other companies that are really trying to do something proper and have been for years. It’s like right now I would rather put all my effort into Landscape and try to help it. If maybe that doesn’t work then I could maybe think about that. But it’s the same with The Harmony, I feel the same: why start a new company? The Harmony is rad! Let’s just try and make it the best it can be. And I’m not saying as well… People sort of expect so much now from companies because of things like Palace or whatever…


her rap tog Tri

ck,

loc

ati

pho on,

Yeah, it’s crazy. I just want it to be a skate company that does stuff proper. But you know before all that (Palace) skate companies put out your boards or whatever, maybe they have a couple or three pros that get paid and it’s all proper. Now there’s just too many (companies).

Yeah it’s a lot harder for people to sell boards when there are so many options.

Yeah and I’m not gonna lie my company would just be another one of them. You know what I mean?

Yeah. So what keeps you in Manchester? Have you ever had the urge to move to London like so many of this island’s other skateboarders?

It was on the cards a few years ago, I was gonna, but it never really happened. I’ve never really been too keen to be honest. I actually really enjoy just coming to London to chill for the weekend and that seems more manageable for

me. I think it would get to me if I lived here. London’s totally different than Manchester. I’m just a Manchester lad: I got my friends and stuff there… I just like it. Born in the North - die in the North! (Laughs)

Switch backside tailslide, Manchester, Ph. Reece Leung

Can you tell us a little bit about Urbis? How important do you think it is for a scene to have a free skate-able space like Urbis that isn’t a skatepark?

I think it’s massively important. For my generation, I grew up skating a street spot. I could do switch heels before I could drop in. It’s really important for that type of skating… If you just got a ledge and a manual pad in front of you, you are going to grow up skating manny pads and ledges. It’s always going to progress that side of skating. If you grow up skating transition, but you live in the city, it doesn’t really make sense in a way. You only have that one skatepark to go to. Just learn how to skate everything in your city. I guess Urbis or places like it gives kids a place to chill and

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Palace is a bit of an anomaly though…

Switch wallie, Salford, Ph. Sam Ashley


hangout.

Yeah I’ve always preferred hanging out at a spot rather than a skatepark. There’s more interaction at a street spot and I think that’s healthy in growing up.

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Yeah definitely. It teaches kids so much more than a skatepark could ever do - just about being streetwise and looking after yourself and your friends as well.

Do you ever find yourself at Urbis or somewhere similar kind of telling kids to be careful and not hit people’s ankles with their boards?

No-comply flip, Manchester, Ph. Reece Leung

Yeah I’ve definitely given the helping hand. When you’re a little kid you don’t know… You are just charging or whatever so

you need the older skaters to guide you or chaperone in a way.

Dom Henry said to ask you about what is the ethos of the Vibeseekers gang?

Nice, yeah Dom! The ethos is seeking the vibe – just seek it out! If it’s raining, it’s the worst day ever, but you have one dude that’s keen to skate, just get on the bikes and make it happen. Whatever happens you know what I mean? Mainly Vibeseekers is about finding really bad skateparks all around the little towns in Manchester and skating them all. There are loads of shit little council parks and we just ride our bikes to them like we are in The Goonies or something. I’m making a


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Wallie crooks, Manchester, Ph. Sean Lomax


little video soon. It’ll be our third video.

What are your other interests outside of skateboarding? Aren’t you into Graffiti?

Yeah yeah… Well no, not at all! I do a lot of painting, but mainly when I’m hurt. My friends that paint always say ‘Joe only paints when he’s rolled his ankle!’ (Laughs)

You’ve bridged the gap between many different generations of Manchester skateboarding scenes. How have you seen the Manchester scene change and grow over the years?

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Ah man it’s just so positive now. It was a different place when I was younger; it was way more gnarly. But right now it is so rad… Honestly I can’t say enough. All like Keanu (Robson), Leo (McDonald), Jacob (Johnson), Jay (Stone) and Sam (Bottenberg) and stuff are just the raddest dudes. They got their own zines, they are making videos, they are going all around the country, and they’re welcoming people…

And do you think you have inspired some of the younger guys?

Maybe, I dunno. I guess. It’s not just me; it’s other people. It’s a pretty productive place Manchester.

Yeah why do you think that is? There is so much coming out of there (Manchester)?

I reckon because it’s smaller so we are all kind of together. There’s no beef; everyone is all good man. People are constantly working on something. It’s funny because it’s the rainiest town in England, it’s constantly wet, but recently I’ve just given up on giving up. I just go skating. ‘Rain or shine I’ll see you at the spot.’ And we get there and it’s wet as fuck, but we go and find some shit. That’s what I’m saying, Vibeseekers man! Nine times out of ten it’ll dry up and you could have just been sat at home staring out the window.

Switch backside 180 5-0, London, Ph. Sam Ashley That’s a good attitude to

have. Yeah you have to just go for it. But sometimes people are like: ‘Are you fucking mad?’

So what’s next for Joe Gavin?

Working on the Landscape video, just trying to do some stuff with that…

And have you helped film that?


Sean (Lomax) has been helping us, some guys in London… Henry (Edwards-Wood) has been helping. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but yeah, it’s the only logistical way of doing it. We are like a working lads club. Everyone has to work so it’s a group effort really to make it happen. I’ve kind of taken a

step back from filming myself. I just want to really make the most of skating. Since breaking my arm and shit it’s made me realise that I just love it so much. And when it’s taken away you really just want to do it. I just need to make the most of it.

Anyone you want to thank?

Thanks to Carhartt WIP, Nike SB,

Landscape Skateboards, Hélas, Spitfire and Thunder, Laura my girlfriend, Splodge, and Fos. Also thanks to Reece, Sam and Sean for shooting photos and all the crew! Vibeseekers!


The Finally, a light at the end of tunnel! We still have lots to do in finishing our new video: The Bombaklats. Exhausting is the right word, but at the same time it gets us pumped that it’s almost done. The funny thing about making a skate video is how real it gets towards the end. Of course we’re always skating and filming, but when that deadline is finally coming up, everyone steps it up a little! The crew only gets gnarlier and gnarlier, last minute missions will take place, and we’ll be editing until the sun comes up to get it all done. But in the end it is all more than worth it, and then we’ve got something to look back on that has become bigger than what we could have ever expected when we started. Looking at all the little lists and notes that lay all over the messy edit cabin, we’re still afraid that we’ll forget some tiny but important details. We keep wondering how people will react to the video, which we’ve worked on for so long. We’re stoked about the parts we’ve made; all the guys did really good in our opinion. Our crew is always hyped to get some! More hungry than lazy, is how we’d describe the gang. It almost feels like a mafia-style organisation, without the crimes of course, oh and the structure! Call it an ‘un-organisation’ with the heart in the right place - a heart made for the love of skateboarding from skaters for skaters caused by a lot of fun, pain, conflicts, laughs, trips and friendships. The best thing about our crew is that everyone is just being themselves. You see a lot of trends going on nowadays, and a lot of people catching on to those trends to look more relevant. Our crew doesn’t need all that; they kill it in their own way! We’ll show you just an honest representation of the skater himself. That’s what you’re going to see in the Bombaklats! Sami El Hassani & Jan Maarten Sneep

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klats

Nassim Guammaz Frontside 50-50 grind Rotterdam Ph. Thomas Wieringa

Bomba


Shajen Willems I like to skate and chill with him. He’s still so underrated though... In my opinion he deserves way more; people don’t know yet what he’s capable of. Soon they’ll know. - Nassim Guammaz

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Shajen Willems Spanish grind Rotterdam Ph. Thomas Wieringa

Shajen is one of the realest, coolest guys. I used to look up to him when I was a young‘un hanging out in the city of Rotterdam. We used to ride for the same skate shop back in the day. He’s always been the chill, laid-back dude that he is today, only better. Like fine wine Shajen is only getting better with age. He’s always down to go skate, he knows what’s good, and he never stays down, he’s always getting back up, that’s something I really appreciate about him. Shajen is always in a positive mind state. That’s why


Tim Zom Kickflip near Groningen, Holland Ph. DVL

Tim Zom Ah Zombie, I got so many stories about this ripper! We actually should be glad he’s still alive! Since the start of 2016 Tim had some bad luck with the worst injuries. He even has a metal plate in his head now! Luckily he is able to skate again and he hasn’t slowed down one bit. I mean can Tim be slowed down!? His new bomba part is one of my favourites of the vid, the hype and energy shows and that’s why I love skating with him: endless hype, creativity and no fear. Another funny thing about Tim is when he sometimes hears us talk skate nerd shit and would hear a name of your average favourite pro he always butts in with a story about how he’d actually smoked a lot of Johnnys and skated with them. He would also tell something

interesting about them. He actually only knows how they skate in real life and not because he has seen their part. Tim actually barely watches skate clips but he will always tell you about the craziest documentaries you have to see. - Alexander Belhadj (Ali)


The first time I met Reyndert I was in an indoor DIY skatepark in Utrecht called The Yard, around 12 years ago. He was skating super well already and on a board that didn’t have much of a nose or tail left. Before I met him, I had already heard of him, because he is from Woerden, a village right next to Oudewater, where I was skating a lot at the time. The locals there told me he was a really good rail skater, and that he could flip into every single grind. Now he has been living in Rotterdam for a while, and he’s teaching at an art school. While skating here, his skating really

stood out, and Sneep picked him up to film for the video. I’m super hyped that 12 years later we end up in the same video together, and now everyone can see how amazing he is! - Robbin de Wit

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Reyndert Guiljam Kickflip 50-50 Rotterdam Ph. Thomas Wieringa

Reyndert Guiljam


Sebastiaan Vijverberg

Sebastiaan Vijverberg Polejam Tangier, Morocco Ph. Hendrik Herzmann

This early riser needs to get coffee right from the moment he opens his eyes. He puts on his morning slippers and sets out on the street without a clue where to go. But Sieb (Sebastiaan) has a sixth sense for finding coffee, I think. He finds coffee without opening his eyes. As soon as his tongue tastes the black magical liquid his eyes pop out and boom: there he is at 6:30am on the market square in the centre of Fez Morocco. On the Morocco tour Sieb was definitely being a tourist all

day. When we were at the spot, Sieb was shopping. Several times we didn’t even know he was gone, but at a certain moment you’d realise he’s wearing a different cap than before. One time Ali (Tamara) even drove us all to the shopping area for Sieb to get a new souvenir. We were all waiting in the van and finally Sieb came back; He’d bought gloves. - Remco Stolze


102 Rob Maatman Backside ollie Groningen Ph. DVL

(previous spread) Rob Maatman Gap to 50-50 grind Casablanca, Morocco Ph. Hendrik Herzmann


Shajen Willems Frontside 180 kickflip Tangier, Morocco Ph. Hendrik Herzmann

Rob Maatman I’ve known Rob since the beginning. We come from a small town in the east of Holland, called Deventer. When I had only been skating for one and a half years, I met his little brother Jelle at Burnside skatepark. He didn’t have a skateboard, so he wanted to try my board. I taught him to drop in. Miraculously he did it on the first attempt. A week later I was at the park again and Jelle came up to me and asked if Rob could skate my board, Rob himself was too shy to ask. I let Rob ride my skateboard a couple times. I went to Morocco for four weeks and when I got back I saw that he could do boardslides

down rails in only four weeks of skating; then I knew how much talent he had. Since then we’ve been skating together all the time. I had to keep up! It didn’t work out though; he was learning five tricks a day. This guy is made for skating. No one has seen him do the tricks I’ve seen him do. For me he was already a pro skater six years ago; I hope his sponsors will see this one day. He can do everything! - Rachid Addou


Alexander Belhadji Backside smith grind Amsterdam Ph. Marcel Veldman

Alexander Belhadj (Ali) little curbs made him a skateboard technician of the highest ranking. He and his Vespa have been cruising the smooth streets of Rotterdam for some time now. But even though now the spots are better, he’s never lost his patience for trying a crazy trick for hours and hours. - Reyndert Guiljam

Rachid Adou Frontside nollie 180 Safi, Morocco Ph. Hendrik Herzmann

When you think of Ali, you think about two things: skateboarding and motor scooters. About ten years ago, he was already driving a Vespa to his local park in Oudewater. This skatepark, in the Dutch countryside, had two curbs, a mini-ramp and concrete that felt like you were riding on gravel. Hours of training on those same

Rachid Addou The first time I remember meeting Rachid when we were about 13, 14 years old. It was at a skatepark called Burnside, not the one in America, but in Deventer (The Netherlands)! There was a contest and everybody was happy and super hyped to skate! He is still that guy with the same hype as when we were 13, 14! Always with a

big smile, and always ready to skate! And when I see him he makes me smile too! His favourite song is for sure: Ninja mi ninja by Ninja Man. Rachid works at a bar, sometimes we go partying and he kills the bar! But in a good way! Rachid is a really good guy to be around! Cheers! -Tim Zom


Remco Stolze Heelflip El Jadida, Morocco Ph. Hendrik Herzmann

Remco Stolze ‘The Beast’ I have known Remco for ten years now. Imagine a skater with the motivation to try the biggest and definitely most dangerous tricks. But then consider the lack of control one has at the beginning - it can be a scary thing to watch. But somehow Remco always managed to absorb a slam as nobody else can. He kept this ‘Beast’ appearance, but now he is also fucking technical and is totally in control of the board. Name a flat trick or a slappy and he will do it. Throw

105

him on a mini-ramp and he will kill it. Give him a curb and he will end the sesh with a new trick. I think this combination is what’s making Remco the incredible beast he is today. - Faries Prins


Tim Zom Polejam 50-50 Rotterdam Ph. DVL


107

Jeremy Van Der Eijk 50-50 grind Morocco Ph. Hendrik Herzmann


Robbin De Wit times with Robbin; he loves to joke around with everyone and he’s always hyped and down to skate and very inspirational. Keep it up D. WHITE!! - Shajen Willems

Robbin De Wit Crooked grind pop over Rotterdam Ph. Thomas Wieringa

Robbin is the best dude! Since I started skating I’ve always been at my local skatepark in Dordrecht skating all day. We had three perfect ledges to do lines and people from all over Holland came to skate them. I remember Robbin coming there a lot training all day on those blocks. This is probably like ten years ago. We didn’t really know each other at the time and after a while I didn’t see him for some time. When I saw him again a few years later he was killing it! After awhile we became homies and even teammates. It’s always good


Rob Maatman Frontside nosebluntslide Agadir. Morocco Ph. Hendrik Herzmann

Faries Prins Faries is one of my good old friends. We grew up together rolling around town feeding off each other’s energy to learn new tricks. The thing I respect the most is seeing him skate while it’s a hot summer day, with no water or food, because it’s Ramadan. The way he approaches a trick is fascinating: when he starts to battle a trick, he won’t stop trying until he has it. This

ability of concentration is what helps him out a lot in life. He’s a graduated University student, with a full time job nowadays. He has Moroccan roots, with their interpretation of time, it’s always 15 minutes, when he says it’s 10. Besides that you need to wake him up personally, because picking up his phone is not his favourite kind of move. - Sebastiaan Vijverberg


The first time I met Nassim he was probably around 11/12 years old - it was at The Yard in Utrecht. I think there was a little ‘best trick’ in the skatepark below the famous DIY spot with the water gaps and ledges. The ‘best trick’ was down a stair and handrail and before the best trick Rudy Broer came up to me and told me this little kid (Nassim) was going to be the next big thing. I wasn’t sure because you hear people say that a lot, but sure enough he was killing it, doing all the ‘basic’ tricks within a couple tries down the rail and stairs! He was a super hyper kid that was a bit too much for me, haha. When the ‘best trick’ was over everybody went up to the

water gaps and stuff and he was kickflipping the small water gap after a couple tries, if I remember right. After that I was pretty impressed because back then (or still) you don’t see younger kids skating street almost as good as they skate the parks! - Rob Maatman

110

Remco Stolze Smith grind Tangier Ph. Hendrik Herzmann

Nassim Guammaz


Nassim Guammaz Kickflip Eindhoven Ph. Marcel Veldman


Fardin weeks ago which really touched me. We were on the road somewhere near Lugano, in a conversation… We talked about goals in life and why they are important. He had a bit of a down day, and it was the first time I ever heard him say that it was sad that skateboarding had no importance to him at the moment. But then he was like: ‘but you know, you’re like an older brother to me, and whenever I don’t know what to do I just think to myself “what would Alan do?”’ It was

1 1 2

Igor Interview by Alan Maag

What to write about Igor that I haven’t mentioned before? We’ve been shooting together for six or seven years now and have produced several interviews and checkouts as well as going on tour together. So, at first I was a bit reluctant to write something at all and asked people around if they had a specific question they would ask Igor. The moment I had read Igor’s answers to those various questions it became quite clear that he had grown a bit more and I remembered a moment we had a few

such a compliment that I didn’t know what to say and I just kept talking about goals in general. Nobody had ever said such a thing to me and in hindsight I should have at least said thanks. Now that I’m reading the answers he’s giving I realise that to me it’s actually the other way around. Despite his young age, Igor is a role model to me. His persistency and discipline are something I can only look up to and I wish I had a bit more of that. I admire his modesty and thoughtfulness and it should be me who should ask myself what Igor would do when I have a down day. So Igor, here we go, my turn to show you some respect and let you know that you are a great guy. Let’s have the wisdom to let go and the patience to wait for what we deserve. I asked around a bit if anyone had a specific question to ask you. I guess it must have been your appreciation of fine tea, which made me ask Stu Smith if he’d want to know something…

Igor Fardin: Yeah, we share that tea love. It was actually him and the Lovenskate guys who got me into the routine when we had that trip on the Isle of Man some years back. Starting your day with a cup of tea is a ritual and makes it easy. What did he want to know?

He’s wondering about since you’ve been focusing the last few years on your studies,

but with a serious amount of skateboarding under you belt, which do you consider more important in life: an education at college or an education by skateboarding?

I guess a college education helped me understand a little better how this world works and why certain things work in a certain way; plus it’s kind of more appreciated in the job market, right? On the other hand skateboarding has been very important in many ways for me. First of all I guess it is the main reason why I can answer this interview in English, plus it taught me how to travel, it showed me parts of cities and their life that I would have never gotten to know otherwise and it gave me the chance to experience stuff in my own skin. I’ve been to Mongolia… How crazy is that? Add to that all the people I’ve met through skateboarding; people that can share

Backside tailslide over the deathbox – Amsterdam – Ph. Guillaume Périmony


School has been a major part of your recent years and as Stu pointed out you managed to get both, all this travelling and studies under one hat – so no wonder you’ve always been carrying

Layback 180 nosegrind to fakie – Zurich – Ph. Alan Maag

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an experience with you, or teach you something, even if you just stay in your own town. It is easy to understand how much skateboarding can teach you if you are willing to learn. So in the end I don’t know which is more important, sometimes I chose to prioritise school over skateboarding, sometimes the other way around. In the end I am just very grateful I had the chance to receive this dual education.

around books…. Our friend Andres asks: Everybody who knows you a bit has seen you reading a book... You now have a bachelor’s degree in history (magna cum laude) and you are going for your masters in Paris. Assuming the fact that not all skaters read, do you think there exists a relationship between reading and skating? And how do you live those long days before your exams when you are locked up in your house on the mountain with no skating?

I don’t really think there is a connection between books and skateboarding, but that is what I really like about it. I don’t think you can live well while only doing one thing all your

life. Although I am still a little excitable kid when it comes to skating, I feel that now that I am more of a grown man skateboarding doesn’t answer all my needs. Sometimes a good day of skating is all I need to feel great,

No-comply – Zurich – Ph. Alan Maag


man who skates and lives in Switzerland and live in another person’s life and time. If you are reading a history book or a novel or even a good comic book, you get the chance to confront your ideas with much greater minds. There is an Italian writer called Umberto Eco who said something like if you are 70 and

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other times I need other experiences. And reading is good for that because it allows you to just be somewhere else for a while, and experience ideas, places and times much different from your own. It might be a cheesy thought, but I really believe that when you open a book you get the chance to go out of that little young

you haven’t read you just lived your own life, if you are 70 and you have read you can have lived a thousand different lives. I believe that’s true. And regarding the days before the exams at home they are crazy, stressful and being alone and not being able to skate is not really a good combination of things. After awhile

you get some kind of ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ feeling, but I guess that is something every student can relate to. So you’ll live in Paris soon. How come?

Loads of reasons, first I’m having some issues with my personal life so I kind of want something that feels like a fresh start.


Backside 180 kickflip off the bump onto the bench – Zurich – Ph. Alan Maag

Then I have this chance to live in Paris without having to pay real rent… Paris offers an interesting Masters in history, so I am applying for one of them, even though maybe I should train up my French first… I hope I can get a job there so I can stay either way. And of course skating in Paris is pretty good and I’ve had the fortune to meet many nice people from there.

Yeah, you seem to have a French connection… You’ve been filming with Guillaume Perimony and shooting with Vins Coupeau. Where do you know them from?

Frontside nosepick – Zurich – Ph. Alan Maag

They were on this trip through Switzerland with the Niaks Crew and passed by Lugano. I showed them around and we stayed in contact. I guess that’s how I kind of slipped on Savate too – some months later there were some socks in


Wallride shuv-it – Altstetten – Ph. Alan Maag

Vins wants to ask if you wouldn’t have discovered the world of skateboarding, what do you think you would be doing nowadays?

That’s a really hard question. The more time passes, the harder it is to answer this question, but I guess I’d just be doing more or less the same thing as I am doing now and probably have a huge amount of time that I wouldn’t know what to do with. I certainly

would have travelled way less ‘cause skateboarding in the end is a really good excuse to spend a weekend somewhere completely random, meet new people and learn things and all

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my mailbox.

lucky guys who have been involved in projects Carhartt is supporting. How was Mongolia?

that. There are some things I certainly would have never experienced without skateboarding. You’re one of the few

Spending a few days with a nomad family and watch them kill a sheep and divide the different parts of meat is for sure something I won’t see again any time soon. Spending a night on the sand near the Gobi desert was also pretty unique. But maybe what will stick in my mind for the longest are the stops


something strong within your personality that keeps us doing those moves over and over again before we succeed. If this thing doesn’t get out on a skateboard, then it will show in some other field. In my case maybe music, but I really don’t know… I know you’re learning to play an accordion so that makes sense, but recently I also noticed your wallet. It has a real vintage look to it; you made it yourself, right?

Leather is cool and I am pretty proud of the fact that I made it myself. My dad used to work with leather, making wallets, belts, bags and all kind of stuff. So since I had the chance and it’s such a charming experience I just had to do something myself.

we would make on the long and bumpy bus rides from one city to the other. You would go out of the bus look around and you just see hills and some horses and almost no trace of any human activity – that was amazing. But to answer Vins’ question, maybe I would have focused more on other things, like playing

an instrument better or something. I guess that the obsession that drives you as a skater, to be so passionate about what you do and to try so hard to get things and fail so many times must come from within. We have to face it: skateboarding is not easy or at least it’s not to us untalented fellows. It’s

Making things that last and that have a certain sustainability fits your character. The place you live at, the basement of your parents’ house, which is basically its own flat, is located on the side of a hill and once you see the carefully cut garden that your parents have all built themselves it becomes clear why you have a passion for doing stuff with your hands too.

Handplant wallride melon – Osaka – Ph. Alan Maag

Well of course I would like to know how to do everything myself but unfortunately I am not a super handy guy. But since I’ve been living in a pretty rural area I have been doing some work with trees and stuff like that


and that feels great too. It’s so nice to look at something you’ve done with your own hands whether it’s leather, wood, or just a freshly mowed garden. It’s a sensation more and more people never get to experience these days.

Pivot to fakie – Paris – Ph. Thibault Le Nours

To work for the result, not for profit – that kind of fits to the question Fede gave me to ask you: Where do you think the role of non-profit projects fits within the international skate scene?

Well I would say they have the important role or reminding us that not everything you do in

skateboarding necessarily needs to be linked to a brand or a certain product. I think their role now is to remember people on the idealistic side of skateboarding. These projects show that you can do something within skateboarding without having to make money on it. Plus they have an important role for sure on spreading skateboarding everywhere. Idealism might be the foundation skateboarding is built on. So who do you skate for?

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My sponsors are Carhartt, Vans,

Muckefuck Wheels, Warriors Skateboards, Savate Socks and Bones Bearings and Indy through the Swiss illumate distribution. I think that’s it. And why shouldn’t I cook Pasta in Bouillon?

Well because it has a horrible taste and it looks horrible too! If you want to eat a soup you use bouillon; if you want to eat pasta, you use water and salt. It’s that simple! I don’t come to your house and fuck around with Rösti, do I? So just leave pasta the way it should be: al dente and with water. Basta.


Josh Borden

Photo: Ortiz

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