I’m from Switzerland, I live close to Zurich, where I’m studying film at the moment.
In Switzerland the distances are pretty small so it is easy to get from one spot to another. Most roads are steep and windy and they require a lot of sliding. It’s different from the winding and flowing Californian runs. Most of the time we would go on day trips with the Swiss skate-van that fits 14 people.
Actually no, we’re more focused on freeriding. If we’re not using the skate-van, we go to places that let us take a gondola to the top. Those roads are mostly one lane and low on traffic, therefore legal in Switzerland.
Sounds like a great place to skate ! Who do you ride with ?
I ride a lot with my friends Christoph Batt, Stefan Rüfli, Pascal Weber, Rebekka Gemperle, Christoph Haller, Tamara Prader and Samy Cantieni. We kind of have a core group of people, many of them are located in Zürich, but then most of the time we post up the session in our Swiss Skate-van facebook group and people are free to join. I also enjoy showing foreigners around especially during the Euro-tour.
The IGSA tour ?
Yeah the IGSA tour is the scaffolding for our trips. What I enjoy most is the time between races where you can hit epic mountain roads and crazy runs along the route you’re travelling. Especially since Switzerland is in the middle of major spots on the tour, you have to pass through it when you’re going from Germany to Italy.
What is your favourite stop on the tour ?
As far as the events go, it’s hard to say. Every event kind of has it’s own special features: Kozakov for the Partying, Insul for the techy track, Verdicchio for the organization and the 6-man heats. As for the travelling in between I’d say we did the best skating up in the Dolomites at Passo di “must not be named”.
Haha. One of those places. What was the highlight of last season for you ?
Personal highlight was Maryhill. First of all it’s a 5-day event; you get to freeride for two full days. Second, I was mega happy with my performance after coming from a 4-month break due to my leg injury in February. We had a really mild winter last year in Switzerland so we went out to check out a new hill with a gondola. On the way there we skated another road, narrow and covered in salt. I felt like I was “too cool to predrift“ into one of the left hand corners and found myself hitting the guardrail. Since I wasn’t in much pain I instantly asked for my camera and started to document the arrival of the ambulance.
On the other hand, I should mention the Greener Pastures tour we did with Patrick Switzer in between Maryhill and the Euro-tour.
We’ve watched all the episodes so far ! It looks awesome. How did you get involved with that project ?
I would say it all started in 2010 when Patrick was staying a little bit longer after the Eurotour. We still had the rental car and tripped around Switzerland skating one amazing spot after another. I think it was then, when Patrick realized the potential of the Swiss territory. We did most of the planning during the winter as I can remember writing down ideas on my hospital bed with my broken leg. I mostly helped choosing the locations and laying out the venues.
That’s a lot of planning ! How long did the skating/filming take ?
It’s a lot of planning but it can never be enough for a van full of longboarders. At some point we found ourselves unable to get the shots we wanted to get due to the weather but it was really important to get the shots at this very specific spot. So we had to make a sacrifice with another spot. Communication was really important too. Especially since we were speaking three or four different languages, you always have to make sure everybody knows what’s up and inform them if anything changes. You have to make a lot more arrangements if you’re filming than if you’re just going out on a regular skating trip.
So you must have got ‘’blue wheels’’ a lot ! Aside from that, what was the highlight of the trip for you ?
I think it’s a pretty random highlight but on our trip to Kozakov it was only John, George, James, Matt, Kyle and I traveling in the GP van. Kyle was driving and we had no navigation. After driving north on the German autobahn for a while we realized that we were actually lost. We tried to pick up a hitchhiker couple but I think they were scared to join us on the van. At some point one of us puked out the window but missed it half way, so we stopped at a rest area where we randomly met up with Yvon again, so we had someone to follow.
Gnarly. Would you do it again ?
Yes, I’m pretty keen on doing another trip like GP. Especially with all the experiences we’ve had, we know a lot more about what is important to make it a success. Also there are still plenty of roads in Switzerland that need to be captured like we did. Furthermore, I think there are a lot more stories that need to be put out there.
You mentioned that you’re a film student. Did you contribute in that aspect of GP ?
Like John was talking about “blue wheels” I think I got “blue reels” at some point. For a change, Patrick wanted Yvon and I in front of the camera, riding. But at some point we both found ourselves assisting the 3heads crew with a few shots. Yvon was mostly focusing on the zip-line shots, whereas I tried to capture the lifestyle happenings such as the waking up in the morning, or when there was something spontaneous happening during the absence of the film crew. Apart from actually filming I also tried to help as a set assistant between Patrick as the producer, the 3heads as the film crew and Samy, who was responsible for the logistics.
How did 3heads get involved with the project ?
This was also settled last year. At Kozakov 2010 Patrick, John, Yvon and I were getting some shots with the 3heads crew that was working on the official Kozakov video. Since the race was prematurely canceled and it dried up after the prize ceremony we had the opportunity to do a few exclusive runs with the Moovie Car. It was clear this wouldn’t be the last time that we would be shot by the Moovie Car. The 3heads are three (sometimes four) film makers from the Czech Republic. The four – Vít Hašek, Tomáš Kraus, Martin Kaňůrek and Tomáš Pořízek joined us on GP. Vit and Martin also longboard.
Have you made any longboard films yourself ?
During the 2010 IGSA tour I documented almost every race I attended and made a video. Lately I’ve been involved with making videos for my main sponsors such as Airflow Skateboards, Skate[Slate], or ABEC 11. Those are “videos”. I’m still waiting to do an actual film that is well planned and made with a good storyline.
That would be great to see, what do you think about the longboard film scene ?
There is still a lot of potential. DROP – My Life Downhill laid the milestone for longboard film making and storytelling. Actually, they combined awesome riding shots with a storyline. It’s crucial for a film to have a good story. I like when there is good content that makes a film worthwhile to watch also for someone not affiliated with our sport. This requires more than just going out and capturing your gnarly runs. At the same time I can see a big interest from within the community to see raw and plain skating. The pure magic of gnar I’d call it. (Gnargic?)
What board do you ride ?
My favorite board at the moment is the new Airflow topmount I’ve been using for racing during the past season. It will be coming out in 2012. It’s made from the same mold as the Fuse but topmounted and with a shorter wheelbase. I found that 160mm trucks give me a lot of control and traction, yet are stable enough at higher speed. Surprisingly the same setup has worked great for freeriding too. Yeah…tech talk…I kinda like it but I’ll spare you the details
What are your plans for next season ?
Next season it will be interesting for me to find a balance between longboarding and film school. My schedule says I have no class during summer but there is a slight chance I might be involved in some film projects. I would love to attend the Maryhill Festival of Speed and the World Championships in Calgary, as well as doing the entire Eurotour again. I’m not much of a planning nature so I will try to go with the flow and look forward to what’s coming up ahead.
Quick question. Choose 3 numbers between 1 and 10
7, 5, 3
7 – Best board you’ve ever ridden?
My current one, the Fuse topmount by Airflow Skateboards. The 3D concave allows you to put your feet anywhere and no matter how I stand on it, you always get that certain feeling of control. It’s pretty intuitive.
5 – Who is the best skater you’ve met ?
It’s hard to favor someone. Renata Salecl once said “Choice always involves loss”. But my buddy Dominik Kowalski from Germany ranks pretty high up!
3 – What impact has longboarding had on your life
A fairly big one. Through longboarding I’ve met people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I met some of my best friends thanks to the longboarding community and I’ve kind of discovered my fascination for film.
Thank you for taking your time to talk to us Ramon!
It was a pleasure, thank you for having me! At this point I would also like to thank my sponsors for their support over the past season: Airflow Skateboards, ABEC 11 Wheels, GOG Trucks, [Skate]Slate, Risch Aerohelmets, FAT ANT Bushings and Moon Pucks.