More German stoke. Tobias talks to us about the weekend in Madrid that changed his life. His supercrew – OneGiantFamily, the German scene and Longboard Couch Surfing! Enjoy
Hey ToKi, great to finally talk to you!
Hallo Gbemi! Nice to talk to you.
Where are you from?
I am from Frankfurt (Main),Germany.
Is that where you started skating?
Ha! Thats a tough question. Skating on a Skateboard, yes. Longboarding, no. But to be exact I started skating in Bad Vilbel. Thats where I live. 9km from FFM City.
What’s the skating like in Bad Vilbel? Is it BAD?
Oh, it is BAD. No, serious. We have fought for a long time to get a skatepark and finally we got this tiny little junkyard ten years ago. But that´s not enough. There was another very good spot, but there are houses being built there now. But that was just a signal to get involved and we still fight for a park down here. We have founded a Verein. That’s what it is called in Germany. A Club? But that was some years ago. We had a lot of fun at our contests!
A club in Bad Vilbel or Frankfurt?
The club is called Grüngürtel. In Bad Vilbel. But as Skateboarding is my past, Grüngürtel is my past. Longboarding is my future. So we have founded a new club. It has been a very intense time for me the last four month and many things have happened since.
When did you start longboarding?
I planned a trip to Santiago de Compostela with my father in spring last year. We booked one-way tickets to Madrid. But as life goes, my father decided not to go on tour with me. It was a very sad year but anyway. Madrid was waiting. And man! You know what Madrid means. I started to fall in Love on the 28th of September 2011.
Moyano! La Noche En Negro! Was that your first skate event?
The biggest one so far, yes. Besides Münster Mastership and Contests.
What’s Munster Mastership?
It was part of the American Skateboard Tour, held in Münster and Dortmund. The Münster Monster Mastership.
One legendary appearance of Mike Vallely throwing his deck about 60ft high and 60ftlong. He was pure aggression. The 90s…
You skated with Mike V?
Haha…no. But me and some friends took a trip to Münster. And we saw the wood crushing.
What’s the longboard scene like in Frankfurt?
There is a very large and mixed group of people doing their things on the Board. There are no regular meetings, that has to be changed. But I had the honor to meet and shred with some of them at the Gnarlloween Event. It was fun! But its not only Frankfurt. Wiesbaden, Mainz, Darmstadt. There is a big circle of riders in the area.
How does the skating there work?
Hmmm. Does it work? As there is no regular meeting… there are only a few spots here, most of them far away. But its like: Hey tomorrow I’d like to go to XY. Facebook groups inclusive. Darmstadt for example has a weekly ride on Sunday. That’s a point.
So there are a lot of smaller crews riding around? Is there a central point for the longboard scene in Frankfurt?
Exactly. Smaller groups. Its like Felix explained the German scene very well. It is topographically determined. We have people from the Taunus/steep Hills and people from Mainz. But there is actually no centre. But there is a centre of attraction every year. Not in Frankfurt but in Gedern. I think there you can gather all the crews from other cities. And a lot of people throughout Germany.
What happens there?
I don’t want to say too much. I don’t want to destroy the work of somebody. But it originally is a bike trail. Not steep but keeps you rolling constantly. 14 km.There are lakes and camping grounds. So imagine that type of fun.
14km of DOWNHILL? Can we come?
That would be nice, but it´s definitely NOT Downhill. You will enjoy it anyway. Let´s see what we can do in 2012.
Is this a yearly event?
Yes it is. But the Track is open every year. And the buses were busy last year.
Who organises it?
There is no real event organisation, but a guy who loves Longboarding has initiated a meeting there. So far it worked without sponsoring etc.
Is it just a weekend of camping or is there any racing?
No racing. Its sad. Nowhere in Germany. Not even a freeride.
Not this year. Heng Loose in Henglarn. The only event I know.
But that is a signal to get active! Locally there are ways to get some Contests and Parties started. So we try a new way here.
Lets talk about family. I am totally amazed by the European Longboard scene. I have met so many friendly, openhearted, helpful, funny people. And when I say meet I mean sometimes we didn´t know each other before and still haven´t really met. There is such a power in this world. My sister Nihan and my brother Kerem in Istanbul. Pepito from Valencia. The experience throughout Longboarding is amazing.
It’s special! What do you expect this year?
I start this year with a trip to Valencia. There are many plans I have made personally. I expect that there will be more events like La Noche en Negro. This year The Family will continuously grow. So I guess its about travelling around. To name: The Gathering 2012 in Stockholm, The Descent in Lausanne, Istanbul, Madrid, Barcelona.
That’s a lot of travelling, how do you find the skaters in these cities/how do you hear about these events?
It was all your fault! It was quite a bit of a work to get the information of the events that early, but most of them are well organised and you can find Homepages. But the most of the contacts I got through AllAroundSkate, Longboard Europe, Longboard Couch Surfing. Including the invitation to a tea in a skatehall in Istanbul, a couch in Valencia and a nice ride in Stockholm in May. And don’t forget my brothers in London.
What is couchsurfing?
It is something you never get too old to do. Basically it is about letting a stranger/a beautiful strange Lady sleep in your Home. I offer my Home anytime! (puto!) I heard about it before but for events and Longboarding in other cities, it´s the best way to get in touch right away.
How does it work for longboarding?
For example: The Carnival Cruising Valencia was announced via facebook. There are existing groups and fantastic people. I just asked if someone had a place to sleep. So flights are booked now.
It’s all through Facebook?
Apparently yes. There are other couchsurfer Sites but for that special purpose…
What if a skater doesn’t use the blue social networking site, and he wants to know if any boarders have a couch for him in Rome?
So there should be a couch offer section at AAS!
Or on the Longboard Europe website?
Would be nice. For Germany I would offer the ONE GIANT FAMILY Homepage.
What is the One Giant Family?
Its a Fusion of Crews. Not only Crews, the beginning was a Fusion of Freeskiing, Snowboarding, Longboarding and Parcours. Its a bunch of young enthusiastic people doing their sport. It just started last October and has resolved in the foundation of a club last weekend. We are very proud that Longboarding is represented in this group.
Wow. How did that come about?
That’s a good question. Occasion, fate. Some members of the group Longboarder Frankfurt and the Boarding Freaks,which were doing winterstuff joined together. Now there is a huge Bike Section and other sports like Paragliding joined the catalogue. It literally is a family. No competition just fun.
What’s your role in the family?
I play with the money. What is it called? Treasurer. But it is a Non profit organisation, so we have to spend it all.
How does it work?
To do some good work in an organisation you have to have willing and engaged members. Nothing gets done by itself, you have to cooperate very quickly.
Longboarders in Frankfurt are automatically enrolled into the family?
If they want! The club is situated in Frankfurt,everyone can be a member. The concept is to stay free of payments. To participate in the club you become a general member.
What does the club offer?
We want to start with equipment like helmets(!),we like to encourage the city in the building of a bike and skatepark, we like to give lessons in XY? at schools, winter trips, parties and some more action.
This is wonderful. How did you get to become the coin man?
I was the oldest!
Haha. How did it get started?
Like I said before, the last four months were intense. Longboarding Stoke intense. I never used the word stoke until then. (same here!) The beginning was in September but I have watched Carving the mountains and Moyano Outlaw Fest before. It blew my mind away staying in the Park, or at Moyano. The same Spots! It was very impressive to see hundreds of other boarders. And hundreds of different boards. Because as a skateboarder there is not such a difference between boards. So I started to slide down some hills in madrid with my skateboard with Longboard trucks. And it fixed me up. I remember the last day in Madrid I was cruising in the sunrise and then cruised back home at sunset. From then I was lost to the other world. The rest of September, October and November I spent on the tracks around the area. I met very cool people in Hofheim and Darmstadt, initiated the Gnarlloween Event in Frankfurt and luckily my best friend was opening a Skate and Bike shop. Without his help I couldn´t have bought so much stuff, I can´t remember ever spending so much on skateboarding. But it is worth every penny. Danke Johannes!
Support your local dealer. So in the end all of our friends and neighbours were customers and we got to know each other. Some of them became riders in his team and we all became friends.
The best thing is: Most of the Freeskiier and Biker live right next to the shop. In the end we had all the different sports in one Crew. It was amazing how fast the group was growing. Luckily there were other personal connections between the different people,so its not just corperate, its friendship first. But amazing, it´s as if you know someone before you meet them.
I know the feeling, riders bond.
Did you hate your old job or was longboarding a better prospect?
To be honest, quitting your well payed job in these times is a sin, but if it wasn’t for longboarding, I wouldn’t have withstood the turbulence for much longer. I was feeling unhappy in my job. It was the perfect thing for me when I left the job.
How do you feed your cats now?
In Germany we say: Glück im Spiel,Pech in der Liebe. So I am lucky to have some events where I can work as a freelancer. Catering.
No,everything except cooking – Service, Logistic, Fairs…
Who organises Longboard Frankfurt?
Evil blue… https://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=hp#!/groups/169724626402973/
What does the future hold for Longboard Frankfurt?
Regular Cruisings, Outdoor River Parties, Camping Trips.
Will we see other OGF’s popping up around Germany?
I guess that could happen. We will see what we can manage for the group here first.
What do you ride?
I ride a Vügenhausen. Just arrived a week ago. I am into Arbor so my second is a Bug GT. And a Pintail. (lol and 3rd)
Nice. It’s been a pleasure talking to you! One last thing – choose 3 numbers between 1-20
It has been the extra chocolate on my icecream talking to you.
6 – Do you like lemons ?
9 – Favourite song to listen to when you skate
Reggae. f.e. Max Romeo- One Step forward
3 – What impact has longboarding had on your life
Out of space impact. Meteorsize.
Awesome stuff! It’s been great to talk to you about the scene in Frankfurt, some great things happening there! Skate with you soon!
Definitely we will. I know. Thank you,thank all of you for your work. Skate or die.