January 2012 review : Part 1

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2012 will be the first full calendar year our little gang will be in operation. We are stoked to high heavens about the responses we are getting back from the community about the work we’re doing, this is a reflection the European longboard scene  so thank you all for being AWESOME!

The next few paragraphs will be a recap of the first 5 interviews I did and some of the pictures and videos we didn’t get to put in the original posts. There will be another one for February, after which you can receive future ones in your email inbox as part of our brand spanking new Newsletter! (details coming soon).

The year started with a really funny interview. Any conversation which starts with the line ”my beer smells like bacon” is a winner! Louis and Bruno are the top ranked slalom skaters in the UK and they share a very friendly rivalry.

Here is some of the Banter from that interview:
Where are you guys from?
BRUNO: Born in Santo Andre – Brazil, I think I was conceived  in Europe though… my parents were traveling.
LOUIS: Bruno was conceived by the minds of the skate gods purely as a theory, but it turned out that it is possible to be that good.
BRUNO: LOL

What’s the scene in London/the UK like?
BRUNO: COLD and WET.
LOUIS: just like your… never mind.

How many boards do you own?
BRUNO: Hanging in my room in London 20, not for use.
LOUIS: I have 21 in my London house.
BRUNO: I won. 22 in my Brazil house.
LOUIS: I’ve got 4 million in my holiday home, that’s not including the ones the house is built from.
BRUNO: I’ve got a city built with skate decks and beer cans.

What would you be if you couldn’t skate?
BRUNO: Dead.
LOUIS: Married with a wife and 2 kids
BRUNO: You’d have a husband more likely…
LOUIS: are you proposing to me?
BRUNO: No, I’m straight. Jorge is gay though.

Silly boys! This was the first slalom article we had featured. A good break from all the downhill features we’d had since November, we try to represent all disciplines (or lack thereof) and crews equally, so expect more European slalomers in the coming months.

The second article was uber talented stand up and lie-down skater Yvon Labarthe (not to mention super film-maker). It just happened to be his birthday when we posted it. This is of course a lie, there are no coincidences. Ever. It was good fortune. We were supposed to do an interview with him for our Greener Pastures feature then it didn’t happen soon enough so we just did a feature on him and his funky style. Below are some excerpts from said interview.
 When did you start skating ?  
It was in 1999… but before that I was a rollerblader…(boo!)
I started rollerblading (downhill, street and halfpipe) in 1989, then one day at a downhill contest a guy was showing off on his longboard. He was sliding with one hand on the ground, it was so beautiful! So I decided to start longboarding. I made my first longboard by cutting up an old snowboard and putting three trucks on it… I had a really fun time making it. I quickly realised that three trucks were not enough and the snowboard was too flexy. So I made a four truck board in metal (17 kg). I won my second race with this board and after that all the riders said ”you can’t ride this board anymore, it’s not fair” I set up the board I had won with 2 normal trucks and I finished second in the next race.. My longboarder career had started!

Do you ever go off race mode ?
Now it’s really different. When I ride my longboard, I just wanna have fun, make some good passes and have fair runs. If I can beat the others guy, it’s cool, if not, I’m ok –  if it’s fair. Same for luge and buttboarding. This is why I don’t change my inefficient tuck position! I just want to be comfortable on my board and have fun.

How will you race next season ?
I will have 6 weeks of vacation, so I will choose the good races where I want to go. I’m sure of one thing, I dont want to miss Kozakov and Peyragudes… and I will trust in my fate for the rest of my choices. Racing is not really important next year, I’m world cup series champion again for street luge, European champ of skateboarding this year… I will be more focused on videos next year, videos with story.

A few interesting things there – first of all check out our amazing in depth interview with the organiser of Peyragudes Never Dies. Longboard videos with a story! Amen to that. I am a massive fans of short-films with narrative. It’s great to have skate videos with trick after trick 9,001 ft slides. Longboarding is a big part of our lives, and a longboard film with a narrative is an easy way that outsiders will truly understand why we love what we do.  This explains the popularity of Endless Roads and Greener Pastures, both have really captured the imagination of the skating and none skating public – with a combined estimated view count of 1,000,000. Not too shabby eh? Oh and this brings us nicely to the last quote from Yvon’s interview:

What are your plans for next year ?
Next year, I don’t know which race I can to go because of my new job, I will have less vacation… So I will be more focus on movies, I would like to make a road trip with a real story with a girl crew… I’ve been thinking about it scince GP, but somebody did it before me (endless roads).
The problem is vacation time, I can’t take more than 5 weeks this year and next year….
and not in July and August. But I would be more than happy to film a girls crew around Europe. Actually, we have a big van ready in Switzerland, the GP van is still up and ready to ride.

I’m probably not the only one excited by the thought of Greener Roads – or Endless Pastures. Watch this space!

This flows beautifully into our next article. It’s an interview with a girl. Ever since the emergence of the LGC, the image and profile of the female longboarders. There are many girls who do a lot for longboarding, but there is only one Liz Kinnish. She is an IGSA official from East Sussex in England. If you’ve been to an IGSA sanctioned event anywhere in the world the chances are you’ve seen her (not drinking) working hard to ensure it goes well. Not enough good can be said about event organisers, without them skating would be a hell of a lot less fun. Let’s get into it!

Hello Liz, where are you from ?
Hey there! I am from the sunshine coast of England, Eastbourne.
It is where I first got involved with the downhill scene, an IGSA world cup race was held here, Go Fast Speed Days, which my Father, Norman Kinnish, organised, I helped out during the event. That’s where it all began for me.
After the first year I knew I wanted to do all I could to help this sport grow.

Where did the race move to in 2010 ?
Unfortunately it had to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. But all is not lost. I managed to find another local hill, her name is Bo Peep, her first IGSA event happened in 2011 ( Bo Peep Crash n’ Burn).
The 2011 event was a big success, everyone had a great time, a lot of crashing was involved. Bo peep has a quick acceleration, it’s a steep bumpy ride into a tight hairpin, breaking is a must! This is where the crashes happen,(costing us a fortune in bales!) Riders then need to maintain their speed through to the next corner and try not to crash on the way to the finish line. Its pretty gnarly.
I enjoyed the whole aspect of organising the event, so much so I plan to study Internation event management at University.

Aside from planning this event, how was this season for you ?
My role changed this year, I first started out just lending a hand if any IGSA officials needed me. But this year Marcus Rietema (IGSA President) asked more of me, I attended three events in Europe, where I learnt how to manage the race software and how to run the timing system. I then went over to Canada with Marcus as a race official for the Prince Edward County event.
Marcus has now had a baby(aww) so he has taken a step down from attending the IGSA races and plans to work more behind the scenes. He offered my Father the job of race director for some of the events, and for me to work alongside him as a race official.
Our first event together was the world championships in Teutonia, Brazil.

When you’re not busy organising events what do you do ?
Well, I own a horse, so I exercise him pretty much everyday, hes pretty awesome. It’s good because when I get sick of the horse I can go have a little skate. I also like to do the odd bit for charity.
For 2011, I created and produced a charity calendar entitled the Ladies of Longboarding calendar, featuring some on the world best Female riders, In aid of breast cancer research. It sold out! Did you not buy one? Shame on you.
I plan to create another for 2013.

Any advice for people who want to organise a freeride/race ?
Yeah, Go and watch a couple of events, lend a hand, get an idea of whats involved then do it! It might seem like a daunting process, but at the end of the day, its an awesome experience,  and so worth it to see the sport grow!

So there you have it. Boys and girls be inspired to organise your own events. So like Liz said – Bo Peep crash and burn is the first event on the IGSA Calendar this year. I will be there, definitely NOT crashing. The 4th is the Queen’s silver jubilee (this probably means nothing to you if you don’t live in England) but we have a public holiday! What better way to spend it than skating with top riders from around the world?

We also spoke to Mr Marvin Thine from Paris in the same week about an event he had organised – the longskate video party. Again great to see promotion of longboard videos, the weekend was awesome! Here’s some word’s from our dreadlocked friend. This was our first conversation which concerned the future of longboarding on our continent.

Thanks for taking some time out to talk to us. Where are you from ?
I find my origins in West Indies but I’m living in Paris where I have been developing longboard promotion since 2010. I’m also the creator of UDmag Longboard Magazine – http://www.udmag.net. I try to do things to the best of my ability. Therefore giving something quality and fun to the community. I’m a member of Riderz –http://riderz.net – this longboard association organises events and promotes longboarding in the city of Paris.
I think that Paris can be one of the greatest cities in Europe to Longboard. Concerning Europe, one city doesn’t count – I think we have to create emulation of our work to give a real value/attractiveness toward the whole European scene. I really want to do that… I will.

When did you start longboarding ?   
Because of my twin Brother – Keevin (love you bro) – he started longboarding before me, in 2007. I was jealous, then one day my friend had stolen a longboard which he decided to offer me for my 22th birthday. I was so happy that I started to ride without shoes while drunk. I paid the consequences but I had great sensations. Since this great & stupid day, I can’t stop riding longboards. And now, it’s like a drug or a virus. My apartment looks like a skateshop, my girl rides with me… What else can I ask for?

Tell us more about the LVP. 
This event is an initiative of Pappy Boyington. He has suggested that I should organise the event this year.The Longskate Video Party was born in 2006. The aim of the event is to hold a contest where longboarders can expose their video work, their talents, everything around beers, meeting, media & stoke.

Next up is by far the longest and most personal interview I had done. Up till that point all the interviews have been an hour or two talking to the rider. But I must have spoken to Ishti for at least 4 hours, maybe more – time flies when you’re enjoying yourself. It is physically impossible for me to compress over 5,000 words into a few short paragraphs. But I hope the little you read here prompts you to read the whole thing again. She really has LIVED. This is when I learnt one of my new favourite phrases ”riders to riders”.

Where did you start skating?  
In Stockholm. Around 3 years ago after dreaming of it for 5 years.
I played under water rugby for 5 year or so before that.. that was my life, playing every single day, joining the national team… but then I saw this movie – Lords of Dogtown.
It was epic and so inspirational , not because these dudes are crazy good at skating, but because of the friendship – the brotherhood  between these guys. It touched my heart and I wanted the same thing. And of course I wanted to be a rad girl skater!
After I saw the movie and moved to Stockholm, and I had a lot of time on my hands, I used to pass by the Kahalani Board Shop everyday, then one night I got an excuse to go in. My board was fucked and I couldn’t skate. I spoke to Mikael Åhlström, he told me my bearings were fucked, but he knew I was young and that I didn’t have much money so he’d help me clean them and so we did for like 2 hours. He told me about Downhill skateboarding – something I’d never heard about before then invited me to an event that was gonna be held the next day at the local hill.
When I saw all the skaters, the vibes of the community, I fell in love and I was hooked!
After that I would come in to the shop everyday and get new friends, I started to feel alive again!
Ishtar Backlund at Maryhill

How/When did you find yourself outside Europe?
I graduated in May 2010, And the day after I was out of my house!
I had a ticket to Seattle,  a paid fee for the Maryhill race and a ticket out of the states two months later out of NYC. But I didn’t know a single soul. I had some goals, The race, I wanted to visit Cali and somehow get to NY. I had no idea how I was gonna do this though.
I told my story about just being on the road, not knowing where to go and I got invited down to stay at the SkateHouse in LA. It was EPIC  getting to LA and skating the Dogtown streets.
I later headed to San Fransico and stayed with a rad guy, Georges Siddiqi. Got to skate my favorite hill of all time “Bofax” and I met more rad wonderful friends. I had the time of my life! James Kelly helped me get in touch with Mike Dallas in NYC. I flew over there and  met up with my new family, the Bustin crew. Man! I love these guys so much, there are not enough words to describe the feelings of sincere gratitude and appreciation I have. It was one of the best 2 months of my life, and it hurt to leave Brooklyn that last summer day. That summer had just been a little taste of what was waiting around the corner. If I worked hard I could get it all again!

Isthar Backlund Limited Bustin Eddition

I flew home, stayed there for 3 days and then repacked my bags then headed towards Norway where I knew I would be able to make money. Ready to do it all again.
After my first week I’d gotten 7 jobs. I was working 14- 18 hours a day. No social life, but earning a lot! 8 months passed, I’d saved up enough money to last for a good while. and I started living my dream! I bought a one way ticket to Barcelona, and the same day I arrived I met a girl – Coni Stutz on the street with a longboard. I’d never been in this country before and I didn’t know anybody or where I’d go. So I asked her if she wanted to skate with me, and she did! We ended up living together for a month. After I left, my Barcelonian family has kept on following my travels, they are a huge support and I can’t wait to go back and see them again!
This was the start of my now new life. I lived in Hawaii, Honolulu for a month, with one of my favorite persons ever, Eathan Lau. This guy is unbelievable, His soul is so pure and everyday would be an adventure.

The community has been so extremely supportive, I’ve gotten to design board graphics for both Motion and Bustin boards.
Wherever I’ve been it’s just been filled with love and support and I cant stop this life. I love it.

Do you have a crew in Stockholm?  
My family is my crew, I love Kahalani, and I owe them so much. I dedicate a lot of what I do to them. One of the most important things they gave me was their saying, Riders to Riders. And it’s all about that!

Any plans to skate in Europe this season? where would you like to skate?
Plans no, Dream Yes! I’ll see what happens. Anythings possible and I’m really hoping for it!

Who do you ride for?
Well it seems like I’ll be riding for Daddies and Kahalani ALWAYS has my back! They are family. But no matter if I’m sponsored or not, I’ll still have fun!

ishtar-backlund-quilmana-peru There you have it. Amazing or what? (and in regards to ”Lords of Dogtown” – that’s what I mean about films with narrative having a greater impact! We need MORE of these). This is a good place to end the first half of our January review. Be sure to Czech out the second part featuring some bros from the East of Europe stoked on KOZAKOV and Greener pastures, Doc Caribbean our legend of the month, featured crew: Longboard Vitoria Gasteiz and our first German feature with the superfunky layedback Felix Drushel.
I’ll leave you with a video of a longboarder ”dancing” in full leathers. The irrepressible Ishtar Backlund. Such a lovely human being.

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