Kozakov. Everybody loves this race. We speak to one of the local riders and board builders who sponsors it to find out more about the country that hosts this awesome race/party. Milan also shares his downhill adventures in SoCal and long treks all over the world. Support your local shop/builders!
Hey Milan, where are you from?
I’m from Czech Republic, country in the middle of Europe.
Where do skate?
Well, it depends on what type of skateboard. On a regular one, we do concrete bowls and KD Dukla, a self made wood skatepark in an old communist building (now unused). If we go longboarding, we use to like to search for new spots using googlemaps and our explorative powers. We have a great crew that shares the same passion for making that first longboard run on a new/secret hill.
What is your local crew called?
Our crew doesn’t have a “nickname”. It’s a group of friends, who connect to our longboard brand as time flew.
Custom Boards, 4 year old child. Myself and some friends started longboarding due to a very luck connection to a South Californian local board shaper called Mike Allen, who opened the world of this sport for us.
Where do you and your friends make your boards?
We made boards in Huntington Beach, CA. Our downhill series for last year was all from Switzerland.
What is the skating like in your city compared to Carlifornia?
They are both good in different ways, but not so different that we like what we do here in CZ. I think it’s a big skateboard family All Around the world. We don’t need to know each other face to face, but we know, that we will be friends, because we do same thing on the hill, route whenever we can – have fun!
Where did you start longboarding?
I started 4 years ago, when I organized a summer snowboard competition and friend put a longboard under my feet to go for some beers. It only took a few seconds for me to realize that I wanted one. Because we don’t have any boards for selling in shops here, I ordered a board on eBay and very luckily made my California friend through it.
The board came all the way from America? What board was it?
It was a custom shaped board from my friend Mike, hand painted by water colors, you can see some on www.abksk8.com. It was a classic cruising shape. Mike knows a lot about materials, so he helped me from the beginning to have the best quality for a good price. All my friends who saw it wanted one too. It’s funny how fast the thing goes.
What do you ride now?
My DH board is top mounted Custom Board, Paris Trucks 195mm, soft bushings, 69mm Custom Wheels. http://www.custom-boards.cz/en/longboard-shop/decks/broken-bone-26/
Are there many people riding now compared to 4 years ago when you started?
It has changed a lot! It’s easy to see if you look on our popular hill Seninka. 3 years ago, on the first official session we had around 5 people, year after 20, next 35 and this year? Around 140. And that’s probably just the guys, who are not scared about downhill riding. I think, most progression about popularity is by the girls. Girls explore skateboarding. It’s really nice to ride together on cruising sessions, boys, girls just everybody together. That is probably one of the most important reasons why I like this sport, it is for everybody.
Where is Seninka?
It’s a nice smooth hill with lot of turns near our Czech/Poland borders. Pretty quiet place, where you can easily stop the traffic, give some money to a local guy, who takes his tractor with spurs and takes us to the top. We have a couple of sessions there every year. But the main session of the year is definitely Kozakov Challenge, World Cup series.
Are you involved with the organisation of the Kozakov Challenge?
Partly, the main organiser is Jan Profousek and rest of the crew, who developed this contest. It was really nice to see how the longboard scene supports each other. First year, something about 80 riders came for the contest from really different places on planet and from that time, it’s the place to be for every CZ longboarder every year. Kozakov rocks. My shop was one of the main partners. Because I was working in an action sports magazine before, I was getting guys here to see how this sport (compared to) skate & snow grows fast. I think we are now in a position, where skateboarding was couple of years ago. Only thing about Kozakov, that I don’t like, is the dangerous part of it. Riders goes down superfast and if any small mistake should happen they could be seriously injured. But it’s a part of this sport, “get some”. That’s why it’s important to use all your safety equipment.
In the 3 years you’ve supported this event, what’s the worst crash you’ve seen?
Probably the one when guy on the street luge broke both legs.
How was Kozakov this year for you?
Pretty great. We finally had our company tent here and many people stopped for a talk. My favourite DJ played the parties and so many good riders did their best. It was pretty unusual for a lot of longboarders because they made their qualification on a wet surface, but it shows who can control the board on slippery tracks. Everybody was wet, because of the rain, but happy, expecting a huge party after. Probably that was the best moment for me.
We watched Greener Pastures, and Yvon’s video last week and it showed a really great atmosphere at the event. What can we look forward to for next year?
Well, it’s a combination of nice steep hill, pretty good atmosphere in parties, world’s best riders and cheap beer. Throw it all together and you have a Kozakov:-)
Sounds like a winning combination! How was the season last year for you?
It started in February, when I was in SoCal for a couple days to do some business and riding with friends, then at the end of the March, we finally switch our idea to reality, made our first long trek skateboard trip. It was around 100km, but it gave us a full glass of motivation. We had some small sessions, exploring new hills, shooting them on cameras. Then the summer started and we were showing our longboards to wide variety of people, so we travel every week to different music festivals, sport events etc. Before that, we did another long trek trip, about 80km. We decided the point to start, then we started every other trip on the place where we finished last one. The longest way we did last year was a Brno – Wien at September, about 170km. It showed us longboarding in very different way, when you use it for transporting. the main thing of last season was our November trip to California. We took friends, riders, our artists, rented a motorhome and travelled around 2500km for 18 days. We met so many great people there, like the guys from Resource Dist (Paris, Divine, Riviera), ABEC11, Sector9 and Sunset Sliders from San Francisco. Everybody was super friendly, showing their local hills and introducing us to the local skate culture. For most of us, it was like a dream come true. Then I disassembled my boards, because it’s the only way how to get a little winter break. You can see our movies on our Vimeo site of course.
When did you come back to Europe?
At the end of the November, 5 California Burritos landed back.
Great adventures you had! What was your favourite memory?
When I flew around 6 meters through air, landed hard on route and very lucky missed a concrete block. Then we smiled a lot and told the story of this crash with everybody.
What do you have planned for next season?
It’s really hard to plan it now, but we want to develop our long trek story to Hungary and then next to Yugoslavia, exploring places where people don’t know what this long wood with wheels is used for.
Also hope to go back to Cali, because a lot of work is unfinished. Finally (and most importantly) supporting my local scene as much as I can, on the both, professional and public/beginners side.
Will we see you at any long distance events in Europe this summer?
I don’t know, that something like this exists? Is it like Adrenalina games?
Yeah there are a few actually. There is a 24h ultraskate in Paris, organised by our friends at SkateFurther.com also Flavio organised the first skateboard only marathon in Amsterdam last summer and the event will hold again this year.
Seems like fun, after we hit some East Europe tracks, it would be really great to skate with locals like this in Netherlands and France. I will put it on our “To Skate – 2012” list, haha
What do you do when you’re not skating?
Well, work, to get money for riding. Making internet advertisements and our developing our board company. It’s a little bit harder, because the US have different time zones, so you do a Skype call around the night time. I want to say that I go out with my dog, she loves to ride the board with me.
Choose 3 numbers between 1-20
2, 6, 12
2 – Would you rather have a hook for a hand or a wheel for a foot ?
6 – Do you like lemons ?
Sure, with ice, tonic and gin.
12 – What’s your favourite band
It’s hard to get you one, but Jimi Hendrix!
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
All people, who help our small longboard brand to grow up, without them, it would be nothing. Thanks a lot for your great support.
It has been awesome speaking to you and learning about happenings in CZ.
You too, see you in Kozakov this year.
The AllAround boys will be there!