Hey Bekks. Where are you from?
Hey there. I am from the Alpes, Switzerland. I grew up in the Eastern part, at lake constance, and moved to Bern 7 years ago.
I assume Bern is where the helmets come from?
No. I think they are American.
Where is Bern?
It’s a one hour drive from Zurich. You probably know Zurich, don’t you?
It’s the land where Samy skates. And the home of chocolate!
Samy skates on chocolate, didn’t you know? He likes Toblerone the most, ‘cos it’s the steepest! What chocolate do you ride? Do you want me to send you some?
I like the brown kind, and the white kind!
I am not much into chocolate. I like cookies better!
Next time I go home I’ll get you some coconut biscuits. They’ll melt your soul.
Ooooh yes, I love coconut!
What food do you find helps you skate best?
I need proper nutrition and lots of veggies and fruit! And I don’t each much meat.
Not really. Well, I’d have some if it’s a good one and I’d feel like having bacon for a change.
When did you start skating?
I started at Thunhill, 2007, where they let me footbrake down the hill. I bought myself a skateboard after Coash 2006, where I participated on a dirtsurfer. However, I stood on the board twice, but didn’t feel comfortable on it, so I put it aside. Then I went to Almabtrieb 2007, on a dirtsurfer again, and watched the skateboard race. After that, I wanted to get back on a board really badly. So I brought my pintail to Thunhill and tried my best. Ever since I haven’t stepped off my board.
Your first experience of longboarding was on a hill?
Yes. I just wanted to learn how to footbrake and get down the hill in a controlled way, which I managed by using all my energy. Not long after started ride my board always and everywhere. Hooked up with Beni Weber by then, who said to me, if I started to skate he would also start to longboard again. He was into cruising, what helped me a lot to get the feeling of how to be comfortable on a board.
Who is Beni Weber?
An old street luge and butt board legend from Winterthur, Switzerland. I still like to skate with him when he shows up once in a blue moon.
What is Bern like for skating?
Bern city is a great to cruise around. There are also some slide spots. One short but hot one with a cable car that brings you back up to the top. Around Bern there are a whole lot of great roads to roll. The Alpes are close and other areas with lots of hills are also near.
Are there many legends rolling around Switzerland?
Yes, there are! My bros Stefan Rüfli and Christoph Batt, Kevin Bouaich and Nicolas Robert and the champion (Jean-Pierre Gigandet). And there is also Anni Lindenmaier, my beloved friend! Ramon Königshausen isn’t far away eithers. Also Martin Siegrist is around, but I rarely get to skate with him. And there is Raoul, the grom. There is my good friend Benjamin Malherbe and there is Christoph Haller, who is a great skater buddy and also makes the very nice Fibretec custom boards. Sometimes Aki shows up or Bettina Luginbühl. I guess the Alpes naturally produce great skateboarders!
That’s a lot of downhill pedigree. Is it the chocolate that makes you all so fast?
I guess it’s the raclette and the white wine. I told you I am not into chocolate.
You melt your slices of cheese on a stove around a table with other people doing the same. You can then eat the warm yummy cheese with a potato and lots of pickles, fruit or other goodies. It’s very Swiss!
Do you have a local crew?
I often skate in Biel, which is small city not too far from Bern. There we, Team Beaumont, all come together from “far” during the week to skate small sessions in town. The weekends we also skate together, sometimes we hook up with the riders from Zurich or other places. Team Beaumont and Co. is really a good bunch to skate with. I get inspired by a lot of great skaters.
Is downhill the only discipline you practice?
No, I freeride a lot. I even freeride more than I speed. We have more possibilities to spend a day freeriding than bombing hills. Often we try to speed in the morning and freeride the rest of the day, but often we just end up freeriding the whole day. Freeriding helps me a lot in with controlling my board in more situations. Oh yeah, I love freeriding!
When did you start racing?
My first race was Eastborne in 2007, right after Thunhill. I couln’t say I raced, but I managed to get down the hill.
You lost your race-ginity in England! Yay.
Haha, yes! I was free and wanted to skate. Beni took me to England.
How did you enjoy our country?
I didn’t see much of it then. I liked the restaurant right there by the spot. I enjoyed it much more when I travelled through on the way to Scotland another time. Ohh, and we were evacuated from the train in Strafford, when they couldn’t identify a bag in the toilet.
Have you done much racing since 2007?
I have done a couple of races in all the seasons but I was injured in 2010. I broke my wrist in 2009 at Newton’s and I broke it again at a freeride in France at the beginning of summer 2010.
2008 was your first full season?
As far as I remember, I did the French race in Darnétal, 3 IGSA races and one in Austria.
What is your racing philosophy?
Racing is a game. When I race, I take it serious and want to go fastest, but racing at it’s core should be fun. And it is only fun to race as long as everybody has a smile on their face.
What about racing makes you smile?
You should start by asking, what about skating makes me smile! Cos’ first of all I love the feeling of standing on my board, of going sideways, down a hill. I like balance to be the center of what I am doing and I like to push myself. I like speed and I like to battle. Guess all this together makes me race with a smile on my face!
How was your 2009 season?
I skated a lot and raced a lot and so gained a lot of experience. I didn’t race Teolo in 2009 as I couldn’t get time off work for all the races. I went to Peyragudes, Kozakov and the Graveyard Call. Thanks to Den Nomadisierenden Veranstaltern I was in the lucky position to fly to Australia and South Africa by the end of the year. In spite of a water proof aero race cast from down under I could only do a couple of runs at Hot Heels.
That’s pretty amazing, how did you end up in these exotic locations?
What is exotic about Australia or South Africa?
Anywhere with hot sun is exotic!
Ok. Basically I got a plane ticket and off I was! I wanted to go back to Burkina Faso first and then got the nice news of a plan ticket to the races. So I topped up my originally intended trip with the two “exotic” locations. Die Nomadisierenden Veranstalter, three artists, started supporting my passion and payed for the travel expenses.
How did they get interested in a skater from Bern?
There was an article in a newspaper about me skating. That was read by someone on a train to Basel and left behind. A man called Simon Baur picked it up and read the article. The last sentence said, that I would surely be really happy to go to the two races. Simon then tried to find my name in the phone book. After some staging points he finally called me and said that he was interested in sponsoring me. I could not believe it!
Together with two other members (now I think we are 6), Simon runs an organisation that is kind of constantly moving. They organize events in unique places. As my skateboarding life is also pretty, he thought I would match them well.
You’d been skating in Burkina Faso?
Not at all. There aren’t many possibilities, it’s very flat and most roads are sand roads. I was there before, doing practical training in tailoring, so in 09 I wanted to go back to visit my friends.
Are you arty yourself?
I’ve always liked to be creative, I wouldn’t say arty. I am more the craftsman type but I definitely also like things to look nice. I’ve always loved to do anything like drawing, painting, sewing, knitting, wood work and so on.
How soon after you started competing did you start getting sponsors?
My sponsor from the very first moment was the Number One Boards&Bikes shop in Lucerne where I bought my first board. He kind of felt my stoke and has supported me ever since. Then at Darnétal 2008 I met the Blackkross guys from France. Greg, (one of the two brothers), and I were telling each other our few downhill experiences. I opened my big mouth and said: “If I beat you, would you then make me a board?” He agreed, I won the run and got a first board sponsorship.
That’s pretty awesome! Haven’t heard of a longboarders with a watch sponsor. What do you have to do?
I’ll always wear a watch for sure, represent G-SHOCK on my leathers, helmet and board and generally skate lots!
When did you join the fibretec team?
2009 at the Gioasteka Freeride, Christoph Haller gave me two Fibretec Slalom Boards to test and he also offered to make me a downhill board. I decided right on the spot. I always liked the style of the Fibretec boards, I like the crew, Reinke is a cool guy, and I like the fact that they are in Zurich, so that I can fly by whenever, hang out in the workshop, get ideas and bring in my ideas. But I did did not find it easy to leave Blackkross, they had been so generous to me. However, Newton’s Playground 2009 was my first race on a Fibretec Board and I am still stoked riding for Fibretec.
What is your role there?
I am part of the family. We share the joy of longboarding.
How did you get to design your own board?
I had gone through riding a couple of different boards and started to get an idea of what I like. As I was skating a lot with Chris, we also had lots of occasions to talk about my inspirations.
Who is Chris?
Chris, Christoph Haller, is a great skate amigo with endless power when it comes to longboarding (other times he can be very lazy haha). Above all he is THE super pro custom board shaper at Fibretec. He brought the egg into existence. I brought my ideas about the shape, the concave, the wheelbase and so on and he handcrafted the entire board. He puts lots of effort on every custom board he builds, yes Chris, you do! Thank you!
What makes it special?
It is a top mount board with a deep concave, it is pretty wide and has a rather short wheelbase. Don’t ask me how wide or long, I can’t remember numbers! Yes, and because it is wide and short, some say it looks like an egg. That’s how someone came up with “Bekks’egg”. Was it Samy or Benjamin Malherbe? Hmmmm…
How was your first experience of skating outside Europe?
I really enjoyed the hospitality and spent a great time with good people. I didn’t ride as many hairpins as around here, but I wouldn’t say I missed them. Newton’s Playground with its fast sweepers was just something new to me, in South Africa there is a lot drafting cos’ of strong winds.
In 2011 you did the whole IGSA tour?
I did Maryhill (ohlala, I love Maryhill), Kozakov, Insul, Teolo, Verdicchio, Howteq and Hot Heels, quite a bunch (-; I am surprised myself.
How did you do?
Over all I came second and first in the Euro Champs. It was a good season with lots of great ladies to race with!
Is this your top rank?
Yes. I came second in the world cup before, in 2009, but 2011 was better racing!
There were more competitors and myself, I felt comfortable on my Bekks’egg.
What is your set up?
The Bekks’egg on RONIN trucks, Fat Ant bushings and Abec11 wheels.
What changes have you noticed in Women’s racing compared to 2007?
The level has risen a lot and there are more girls competing. Also, the women have started to travel further to race. They inspire and push each other. I am sure, this year there be many more girls on boards!
How are the feelings in the female side of the racing community?
We generally have fun skating together and spend good times. With some you keep contact during the year, update each other or even meet.
It must be awesome being a pro skater!
Am I a pro skater?
Aren’t you? You’re ranked second in the world. If you’re not pro, who is?
You don’t feel like a pro skater?
I have the fabulous idea of a pro skateboarder skating everyday from sunrise to sunset (-;
Skateboarding is my passion. I organize everything around it to get to ride as much as possible. and I work a lot to make this happen.
What future would you like for yourself?
I would love to push freeriding and do lots of independent skate trips and do a couple of film and photo projects. I like to work on projects and would like to join forces to touch the yet impossible.
You’re a film-maker?
No. I want to co-organize the projects and skate myself.
Do you have any passions outside skating?
I don’t put as much effort in any other activity as I put in skateboarding. But there are certainly things I love to do like snowboarding, cycling, hiking, slacklining and travelling, swimming in Bern’s river, going to flea markets, reading, sewing and lots more. In the future I wish to find more time for these activities. Having such a strong passion for skateboarding is the greatest thing that ever happened to me, but the more I only skate I also realize how much I start to miss other things I used to do often before.
Is there an LGC where you live/skate?
No. I skate with Anni and the guys.
Have you done any skating recently?
I skate regularly around here when it doesn’t rain (which it does a lot at the moment).. We went on a couple of small skate trips around the country, early spring I spontaneously decided to go to the Bear’s Guts freeride in Slovenia. Nice runs, sun, bears and Slivovic! I also went to the Wunderbarr (-; and the Marchaux Freeride in France. And I just came back from the Maryhill Festival of Speed! Yes, I’ve been skating quite a lot.
Choose 3 numbers between 1-26
Haha, I wonder what that is gonna be about. Ok. 8, 17 and 23.
8 – Best board you’ve ever ridden?
17- Do you prefer skating without socks or without underwear?
It’s been really great chatting with you Bekks! Wish you all the best in the coming season. Team Europe dot com!
Thank you. It’s been a pleasure doing this interview with you.
Any thank yous?
Big thanks to all my sponsors – you are rock’n’roll! I also want to thank my family and friends for their support. I love you all!!!