Simple man, Guleed, the host from many of your favourite longboard events, shares the stoke in this epic interview about his days in Berlin, Amsterdam and Somalia. Good vibes!
Hey G, how are you doing?
I’m doing good homie, living a blessed life with beautiful people around me and a lot of STOKE! Maintaining some herbs, listening to some good tunes and watching some longboard videos in the background to get in the mood for the skate sesh after this interview.
Rad! You’re into agriculture?
Deff into the green earth, big hippie at heart. Love to take care of something green around me, most of the time my rooms looks like a jungle, some art on the wall and a lot of broken old boards.
Are you an artist?
I wish! People stop me on my board sometimes and tell me what I’m doing is art, mostly old people. Funny how they react to it; sometimes they can be really cool about it. Everyone around me is an artist, most of my close friends from A’dam are creative people, into music/graffiti/graphic design. We are homies so we help each other out. For instance, the beat in my simple longboards video is handmade by Jussi Sulkumaki aka J-bags, an awesome Finish DJ and good friend from A’dam. The video was shot by Dotsy http://dripsndots.tumblr.com and the artwork on my board was made by Delicious Brains http://deliciousbrainsart.tumblr.com, my brother from another mother another and also member of the Omatiks club, shout out! BRAP BRAP!
Where’ll you be skating after the interview?
I just moved back to A’dam from Berlin after 1.5 of the most stoked years in my life. So most of the time in A’dam I’ll hit up the bowl on Marnixstraat with my Simple Yusuf, or if I’ll go dancing/freestyling, I’ll go to my second home in A’dam which is the Vondelpark. You can always find me there when the concrete waving is breaking.
And of course the Hamburg Longboard Open 2015, organised by my AWHOU family with support of the Rollsportverein Hamburg and Live Long Boarders and a lot of other sponsors we are proud of to be a part of this, I’ll be your host with the most on the mic making sure everyone will be 100% hyped by all the madness that will happen over there!!
Where are you from?
Originally I’m from Somaliland, but raised in the Netherlands. Been living in A’dam for most of my twenties.
Who is Simple Yusuf?
Haha she is this petite beauty of a mini cruiser I designed with my sponsor and genius Luutse Brouwer from Simple Longboards. I ended up longboarding as a detour, didn’t start dancing till recently, was more the soul surfer type, just getting those carves, surfing that concrete wave with good tunes in my ears and being in that special place called “Flow”.
“Flow is the spirit, the heartbeat, the rhythm that allows you to forget everything around you, turns off your brain, puts you in the moment and then you just flow like water.”
What happens when you’re in Flow?
Flow is everything. Flow is the spirit, the heartbeat, the rhythm that allows you to forget everything around you, turns off your brain, puts you in the moment and then you just flow like water. That’s when I’m the best, that’s when I’m the happiest in life, that’s when I do tricks and moves I didn’t know I could, but they just happen, they just flow out of me. Haha If they could find the molecule that is responsible and formulated into a product, they would be rich!
This reminds me of this quote of Bruce lee by the way.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
― Bruce Lee
What kind of skater would Bruce be?
Haha man I can’t even imagine what someone with such body and mind control could do on a board. But I see this speed and agility in some Korean riders I know, they are really pushing it over there, would love to go!
Ever skated in Africa?
I haven’t! Been blessed to skate around Europe for the last couple years, meet amazing people and see beautiful places through the eyes of the locals. When we used to go on vacation with my family back to the motherland, I didn’t skate that dedicated yet, and seeing as my life is being controlled by longboarding lately, I haven’t had the chance to go back for a while. But it’s a dream. Been thinking about setting up some sort of skating organisation there to help war stricken kids learn skating, it did wonders for me and I think it can do them some good. Skating is such a rewarding individual growth, there are some real life lessons hidden in a skate sesh if you can see them, take falling for instance.
What lessons are there to be learnt from falling?
Oh man, that’s the biggest lesson in skateboarding/longboarding/it’s all the same. So you’re trying something, you fall, maybe it hurts, don’t wanna fall again, you reflect, improve it, and try again. That’s life in a nutshell man, if you get up again or your board, you can get back up again in life!
“…you fall, maybe it hurts & you don’t wanna fall again. You reflect, improve it, and try again. That’s life in a nutshell… if you get up again on your board, you can get back up again in life!”
What has skateboarding done for you?
Hmmm, that’s a good question, but it’s a damn long answer haha!
Haha okay, skating helped me shape my individual personality, my character. I’m from a family of six kids, so my mindset is more of group mentality, I was heavy into sport but they where all team sports. So, till my 20th, I had an amazing wonderful loving life, but no so much of a character, haha that sounds weird.
But then I got my own apartment in A’dam with my best homie who I grew up with, and I took my old board from when I was 11 with me because I didn’t have a bike. That’s when everything kinda started. I still had the small skateboard wheels on them but I would just cruise everywhere, as long as I had tunes in my ear I could go everywhere. Then I saw the big longboard wheels, threw those under my skateboard. That was a moment, the discovery of speed! Not long after I got some Paris trucks at the same skate shop, started to carve and at that moment I was hooked. It wasn’t about tricks, that didn’t come till much later. It was all about that carve, getting that speed from it, I was hooked! Wherever I was, there was my board haha. People started recognizing me because I was that guy who always had his board with him. So yeah it just helped me become an individual person, because of the alone time, the dedication, the stoke, the flow.
What equation defines the relationship between flow and stoke?
Stoke is the result of flow most of the time. It’s kinda like boiling water, when you start getting into the flow it’s like turning on the fire, the flow boils the stoke up to a boiling temprature and then you hav to release it, haha like I do when I’m in the flow and land a dope combo I’ll just scream, BRAP BRAP BOOM!
“when I’m in the flow and land a dope combo, I’ll just scream, BRAP BRAP BOOM!”
What character traits does a skateboard amplify?
Man, got to give it to you, great questions.
Determination, will power, motivation, insights, being in the moment but mostly, PASSION!
Do you like bacon?
Haha I do not. I’m Somalian and grew up in an Islamic household, so there are a couple things I still don’t do like drink and eat pork but I don’t eat meat in general, I’m a vegi! Got to take care of this big green earth.
Damn J.Elis got to you first!
Haha, I was vegetarian before that but I had the chance to try some of his and his lovely wife Anasthasia’s vegan cooking and it was amazing, those two are amazing!
What came next for the boy with the skateboard?
After the skateboard with longboard wheels/trucks, I kept getting wheel bite, so I got this cruiser shape with wheel-wells. That was amazing, really discovered speed and carving. Always had this obsession with the Dog-Town boys style, and their old school cruisers. So this all happend in A’dam a city with creative individuals, and we did some artsy skate videos for fun and this dude handed me a penny because I helped him out with some promo stuff, loved zig zagging through crowded places, riding the wave. Then one day I was carving so hard that I slid, no idea what sliding was but I loved it and got hooked. Then entered some competitions the summer I was done with my bachelors, met a lot of great people, found my sponsor Simple longboards. Made the Simple Yusuf, an improvement on mini-cruiser by making it into wood and have a nose and tail that allows you to ollie, and then I been touring/travelling around a bit in Europe skating, travelling, living, meeting wondrous people and seeing even prettier locations.
What do you like about sliding?
EVERYTHING! The sounds, the feeling, the arch of your body, they position of my feet, the style, the tan lines, but especially the sound! Been thinking for a long time know to make a beat out of skating sounds, I would bump to that! Ps that is copywritten, don’t steal my shit, y’all!
What’s your thing?
Must be longboarding now, haha still feels weird to say. But that’s kinda everything right now. I set up my own organisation a while ago called Live Long Boarders; we organise longboard contests/events/workshops. Most of the time I’m involved with the organisation of an event and I host most of the contests. But also love working with kids, starting my masters in child development this.
Will longboarding put salad on the table?
That’s the dream, it does a little here and there, organising events or maybe if you have your pro deck, but it’s still way to small for that, hopefully in the future, but I’m trying to find those ways.
What was the first contest you participated in?
That was a while ago! Think 3/4 years, it was in The Hague organised by Sickboards. Was also the first time I one won, and that also how I kinda got sponsored.
Do you compete because you want to prove something?
Hell no, I’m a really competitive guy, always played team sports. But longboarding is not per se a competitive sport. These events are just a lame excuse to get the longboarding family together, skate and get inspired by each other, motivate each other and feed on the STOKE!
How did you become a Simple man?
As I starting skating, I would always skate in the Vondelpark in A’dam, that was like my second home. And Luutse Brouwer, the dude behind Simple Longboards would also skate there. Together with Roderick from Soma and Bart we would always skate and stoke out, he liked my style, I won a competition and he asked me if I wanted to join the team. Been blessed ever since! Shout out to the Simple family, old and new! Femke, Marthe, Jon, Peter, Eliot, Melanie, Jeff, Jongbin Jo!
You’re an AWHOU?
YES! I say that with a lot of pride, one of the best families I know. Lived in Berlin for 1.5 years and got the chance to hang out with this amazing crew and be a part of them. They embody longboarding, so much STOKE! Special shout out to our member Mor Wax Wolf, our most stoked rider and loving person who just broke his leg and couldn’t be at the Hamburg Longboard open 2015 last weekend.
Did joining Simple impact your skating?
Hell yeah, well meeting Luutse impacted my skating. I didn’t do any dancing or tricks really, it was all about the flow for me, till I got blessed with a couple of Simple boards and this whole new world opened up. And skating with guys like Luutse, Roderick, Thomas, Bart, Will tends to help!
Tell us about riding with Luutse and developing the S.Yusuf!
Riding with Luutse is very motivating, intimidating and amazing. He really pushes you to try out new things, he looks at what you’re doing and tells you could easily do this or that trick, he sees where you’re going. And then the flow he has, pretty inspiring but most of all is his atitude, he skates because he loves it and that’s it. That’s how he builds too. Because I always drove mini cruisers and thought they could be better, as did Luutse, we started working on some designs. It wasn’t because I was such a good skater that I got my own board, but because Simple didn’t have something like that yet. It’s still a weird feeling to ride my own deck, but I feel blessed every time I get to ride it. I love the quick response, carving, pop, speed the Yusuf gives, I feel blessed!
What have been your favourite years of skating?
Hmm, all of them!? Haha maybe the beginning, I began not knowing what longboarding was, I just eased into it from skateboarding. That was pretty cool, the first time sliding and no idea what it was, that unknown was pretty amazing.
Why don’t you have a beard?
Hahaha I don’t know, I have the whole babyface thing going on. Maybe in the future. Also I don’t want to take Jezus (Jeff) his shine away!
Not sure why the dancers let you and beardless Arto into the club.
Haha I can dance, when I’m on my mini platypus and on the Yusuf.
I think the thing with longboarding is that it has such a wide range, that’s why we get along so good! Shout out to Arto, amazing skater and lovely child guy. Haha he was the one who gave me the prize when I won my first contest, a Bastl kizomba, lovely board!
What’s on your skateboarding bucket list?
Azie, I want to go to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan. They have so much stoke over there, would love to host an event! So if anyone over there is reading this, hook a brother up!!
Hamburg. How did the open go?
Brrrrrraap Braaaaap Braaaap BOEM! That’s how it went! Hahah it was an explosion of STOKE.
It was amazing to see the whole European longboard family coming together. People came from Argentina, Spain, Netherlands, France!
Even the legend Adam Colton came out to support and show some love, we had a blast with him at the at the after party, definitely a guy you want at your party!
And I was surprised by the level of the new talent, really watched some uncovered talent I did not know about and I know most of the longboarders in Europe. Big shoutout to the sponsors, Awhou, Rollsport Hamburg, Simon, Mantis longboard shop.
Who’s the best skater we’ve never heard of?
There are a lot of undiscovered talents, Mor is one of those, sadly he broke his leg just before the Hamburg contest. But at the Hamburg contest there where these twins who really surprised me with there apex 40 boards, doing all these bigspins and fullcabs. Also Sebastian Eberlein from Berlin.
Who are your future sponsors?
Well know I have Simple longboards. Then there is also Sunniez eyewear, I love their philosophy, they made their product out of their own necessity, to build sunglasses that are affordable, durable and trendy. Always down for some new wheel and truck sponsors, but Luutse got most of it covered, generous guy!
What are your plans for the rest of life?
Haha no idea, I’m more the day-to-day kind of guy. But I set up Live Long boarders which is an organisation that organises longboard events, workshops and contests. I want to keep working on organising the events and hosting, got a couple of events lined up where I’m going to help out. Look out for the osnabruck contest the 25th of September! I would love to build myself a career in longboarding, I know I have some marketing and PR skills, so doing that for a longboard related brand would be awesome!
What do you do when you’re not skating?
Haha that’s not a lot, but probably recovering from skating! Hanging out with friends/family, admiring my creative friends at work, working on Live Long Boarders, organising events and hosting events.
Who should we interview next?
Mor Wax Wolf from Timber, Sebastian Eberlein from Awhou, Anasthasia Kuzina, Thomas Tiel Groenesteeg the builder of Soma boards and of course Roderick!
Pick 3 numbers between 1-30.
9, 18, 27
9 – What song would you like played at your funeral?
Haha, damn, I’m more the take it day by day kind of guy. But maybe Bone thugs and Harmony – Crossroads.
18- What is the golden ratio?
27- What did you do last weekend?
I was in Leipzig with the Bastl Boards family, they organised a snakerun contest together with the Landesgartenschau called Rumble in the snake pit. It was an amazing weekend full of good vibes and stoke. The people of the Landesgartenschau were so amazing, taken care of us and hosting us like kings, and then the location was beautifal, the sun shined, felt kinda like Madrid. Special shout out to Hannes, Hannes and Paul for hosting me at their place and shout out to Bastl and Peter for inviting me out, blessed to know such people. Vera Fendt made some amazing pictures, really talented photographer, she made this amazing shot of Borg doing these crazy air out of the snake run.
From one G! to another, this has been LEGIT! Super fun finally interviewing the other other African in longboarding. Live long and prosper.
Haha Amen brother, Shred and Spread the STOKE.
Was really nice meeting you and a cool interview. Really made me think back to some stuff and reflect, thanks for that!
Any last words?
Skate because you love it, because you want it, need it and make sure to spread that stoke to others!
And if you need a host or someone helping out at organising events, contact me at Guleed@live.com
Also I’ll be at the famous So you think you can dance 2016 in Eindhoven in March by Spots and Locals.
Shout out to:
Goat longboards crew, aka the crazy Spanish crew
Live long boarders
Famara longboard crew
Spots and locals
Soma boards ( Thomas and Roderick, my travel and skate buddies)
Mantis skateshop ( for a crazy afterparty)
Maria Arndt photography
Vera Fendt Photography
Unia Bellamy Photography
Long Louie crew