The much anticipated sequel to the epic ”January 2012 review”, this blockbuster features interviews and videos Longboard Vitoria-Gasteiz’ Inigo OtaloGNAR, our legend of the month – Doc Caribbean, our first German interviewee – Felix Drushel and don’t forget to Czech out the bits with Mr 3heads – Vit Hasek and stoked rider Milosav.
After interviewing Yvon, Ramon and a few other downhill enthusiasts it was clear that Kozakov has a special place in all their hearts and I decided to chase down some Czech people and get a better picture of the people skating in this country. The first person we featured was local board builder and online shop owner – Milan.
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 - Custom Boards, (my 4 year old child). Some friends and I 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 to us.
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. 4 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 the biggest growth is with girls exploring skateboarding. It’s really nice to ride together on cruising sessions, boys and girls together. That is probably one of the most important reasons why I like this sport, it is for everybody.
Are you involved with the organisation of the Kozakov Challenge?
Partly. The main organiser is Jan Profousek. 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 the planet and from that time, it’s the place to be for every CZ longboarder. Kozakov rocks. My shop was one of the main partners. Because I was working in an action sports magazine, 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. The 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.
Our next interview was our featured crew: Longboard Vitoria-Gasteiz with the super stoked Inigo.
Where are you from ?
I’m from Vitoria-Gasteiz, a little cold town in the north of Spain.
Great. What’s the skating like there?
Skating is very very fun now, we are a nice crew and enjoy a lot of things together. A year ago it was a bit boring, everybody was skating alone. Thanks to the facebook page the crew started to grow and it’s continuing to grow. At our last skate there were nearly 40 riders who came to cruise. Last February there were 6. Longboarding has exploded in Vitoria this past summer. Over the last few months we held a very successful event with more than 40 riders taking part, coming from Mallorca, Madrid, Zaragoza, Bilbao, San Sebastian. There were two big cruising skates including Gnarlloween, mild downhill and freeride sessions, and a trip to Zaragoza. It’s been an absolute longboarding mad autumn! And best of all, the stoke keeps growing, we are a family.
Tell us more about the trip to Zaragoza!
Haha WOW! It was an unforgettable weekend. I saw a video of an amazing spot near Zaragoza and got really stoked, so I sent a message to Paula and Nacho from the local crew and I proposed a meeting of both crews. They loved the idea and planned a fantastic weekend for us. It was called “Fusion of Crews” which was on the 26th and 27th of November. More than 50 riders, 19 from Vitoria. Unbelievable spots for downhill, cruising, freeride, slide, slalom, clubbing… so much fun. The Longboard Zaragoza crew is fantastic. Really good skaters and great people. It seemed like we had been skating together for life. The family is bigger now.
What do you have planned for the future?
In 2012 Vitoria-Gasteiz will be the European Green Capital and we want to create a big event about it. I think longboarding is perfect as it’s a green way of transport. Mixing both things in an event would be great for the city and for longboarding. We want to organise a whole weekend with various events. Slalom, freestyle, maybe a little downhill/freeride, including a tour of tapas bars in the city hahaha and maybe something else that can´t be revealed yet. We would like to finish with a big cruise through downtown. We are also trying to organise another trip with Longboard Zaragoza crew for the near future.
Interesting stuff here, especially in the last paragraph, next month there will be a lot of GREENSKATES happening all over the world and especially Europe, keep your eye on AllAround this Thursday for a special announcement. (no prizes for guessing what it is). Also Ini mentioned that they would organise another trip down to Zaragoza in the near future – it’s happened! The La Muela freeride in Zaragoza this past weekend (March 23-25). Keep an eye on our site for stoke reports and many pictures!
Hey Vit, where are you from?
Hi, I’m originally from the Czech Republic, but in recent years I have changed my location a few times, including Turkey and now Austria. I suddenly discovered longboarding through a friend of mine and it became my passion immediately. I went to one of the first downhill sessions in Czech without any board. Surprisingly it was not famous Kozakov but a hill called Seninka where the Czech longboard community roots sprang from about 5 years ago.
You can get the feeling how sessions are from this video by Crocan.
What is the Czech longboard community like?
I would say it’s like most other communities. Open to everybody who wants to share the passion for this uprising sport. But in the Czech community you have to be ready to drink heavily before, during and after sessions.
Big thanks go to Thomas Kahle who is the so called godfather of Czech longboarding and Jan Profous who is the main organizer of the Kozakov Challenge.
You’re the official photographer/film-maker for Czech events?
It’s never just a one man job, so I decided to involve a few of my friends and started 3heads production which produced first two Kozakov Challenge videos and also official video from Skate Slalom World Championship 2010 held in Hradec Králové, Czech.
3heads started during high school, we produced some short movies forour studies. Later it became an open production group with more people getting involved. We also started to produce weird home made equipment like crane car or octocopter cam which we use in our videos. More at www.3heads.info
How did you get involved with Greener Pastures?
I would say it all started at Kozakov 2010 where I met Patrick Switzer, Ramon, Yvon and others. They were willing to do runs behind our Crane car and it turned out to be amazing footage.
Patrick contacted me in January 2011 with his idea of a skate trip which later became Greener Pastures – he wanted 3heads capture it.
Fortunately we (3heads) had full trust in Patrick in terms of storyline and topics for each episode which was crucial because we wanted to show more than just a bunch of people skating down the road as you see in the most longboard videos. Our goal was to show what happens behind all this, personalities of riders and connect all episodes with a storyline.
We had to prepare for filming for 3 weeks in row. Usually we filmed 3-4 days in a row so this was a completely new experience.
And finally editing of all the footage which took about 5 months.
Apart from sleeping outside for 3 weeks, what was the biggest challenge on this project?
To not start using speed! We changed about 10 locations in 3 weeks (where Kozakov was 6 days of it, Swiss part took 14 days) so you can imagine we didn’t have much time to sleep and I haven’t even considered time to eat at all.
Second biggest challenge I would say was the size of the group. It was very hard to keep filming flow fluent with no long breaks when you have to direct a group of 9 riders so nobody gets bored and motivation stays high for the entire 3 weeks. Fortunately Partick and Ramon helped with this and also Yvon by setting up all timelapse and cablecam shots.
What was role of 3heads in Greener Pastures?
Everything you can imagine connected with film-making. Script planning, shooting, editing and on top of that coming with crazy ideas such as night filming with flares.
What is an octocopter? Sounds like robocop’s pet squid!
Actually it is a stalkers best “pet”. It’s a 8 propeller helicopter carrying camera which is controlled by 2 operators. Pilot and a camera guy who sees live video stream through goggles and can control pan and rotate of camera independently on position of octocopter.
Octocopter itself can be controlled manually or by GPS waypoints and its able to fly up to 200m above ground. Its possible to fly it also in the night thanks to positioning lights.
Usually it doesn’t crash but shit happened right during filming Greener Pastures. It was scary moment to see it going down behind 50m high road cliff on a mountain pass road in Swiss and falling into river stream but our pilot Dan did an incredible job, repaired it in 5 days so we could use it during Kozakov race too.
Recently many film-makers buy cheap 4 propeller versions of it carrying GoPros but our one is all modified and able to carry heavy DSLR cameras or even Red Scarlet camera. The Scarlet is high-end camera filming in RAW 4-K format. You can’t compare this with filming on DSLR.
Next up is Layback Freiburg’s Felix Drushel.
Where are you from ?
Originally from Frankfurt am Main, Germany – Now living in Freiburg i.Br. for a little more than two years. Longboarding a short time before coming to Freiburg, which actually was the reason as well to go there.
You moved house for hills ?
F**k yeah man! Why not? Hills make me happy so why not live where the hills are.
Tell us more about your crew, what are you guys called ?
Hm, we have no name – sad I know. I like lightning and skulls so I always imagined some sort of lightning skull gun thing sayingBLACKFORESTDOWNHILL MOTHERF**KERS. Ha.
But mostly we organize stuff under the Layback Skateshops Flag, so we have a base and a place for the people to go.
What’s the longboard scene in Germany like ?
Germany’s Longboard scene kicks ass. First of all there are several hotspots where shit is going down – from dancing stuff, some freeriding and some serious downhill. We got all the shit here and some pretty fast dudes are of German origin as well
Too much shit sayin in my shit – Funny.
Thinkin’ of fast downhill dudes you have to name Stuttgart, it’s serious over there. In Munich there is quite a bunch as well. Berlin, Hannover and so on got the dancing down and Freiburg has the freeriding spirit – always sideways and please no footbrakes. Oh and never forget to count the gnarlly people around cologne (the Eifel and the Rhön) and Mainz is fine as well – they have it all figured out there. Freiburg inhabits Dudes like Hack ofHackbrett, just for an example.
Oh yeah, and we have several boardbuilders as well, which are pretty famous, I’d say. With these cities come some fine Longboards – Freiburg, Hackbrett Longboards. Mainz: Olson & Hekmati. Cologne: WeFunk. Coburg (Hope that is right): 313…just to name a few – dude, I bet I forgot half the stuff – please don’t be mad guys.
Final feature for the month was with the LEGENDARY Doc Caribbean. Here a a few highlights from this piece of stoke. (many thanks to Nacho for helping with the translation)
What were your first three boards?
- Hobie Mike Weed with Hobie ACS 500 Trucks and Hobie Translucent Wheels
- Hobie Flex with Tracker Half Trucks and Roadrider wheels
- Gullwing H.P.G IV and Krypto wheels
I skated these boards over the 70’s and 80’s trying all the disciplines. I must say that my favourite ones and the ones I was better at were slalom and high jump. I used to jump 1.50 meters; I came in second in the First National Skateboard Competition. I also loved to do handstands on the board.
What disciplines do you do now?
Mainly slalom, I’ll keep competing as long as my body lets me. What I like most is just to go down hills feeling the fresh air with a surfing style. Not going too fast but marking every movement, touching the ground and feeling the vibes that a simple wooden board with two trucks and four wheels can transmit while riding the asphalt.
When did you start skating?
I first stared practicing roller skating in the 60’s when I was a kid. Then at school I entered the Skating Hockey Team and in 1969 I bought my first skateboard, it was a beech wooden Sanckeski with rubber wheels. In 1973 I went to Berckley, this was when skateboarding started to hit the United States in a big way due to the change of wheels from wood to urethane.
When I came back to Spain, I used to skate in El Parque del Retiro and many people used to stop me and ask me about the strange thing I had below my feet. It seemed like many people where interested so I thought about importing them. And this is how in 1975 the first Spanish skateboard shop was established.
To start with there weren’t too many skaters, but we did a lot to promote the sport. With the help of the Sancheski family, every weekend we would meet with all the skateboarders at Nuevos Ministerios and erected a ramp for everybody to use. You could say it was something similar to what is happening today with longboarding. It was a great community, allowing people to share a hobby, keep active, have fun and help the sport to grow and improve.
The big boom of skateboarding in Spain was from 1978 to 1981. There were many competitions, skatepark builds and important brands started supporting the sport. Plus in 1987 some of the Bones Brigade came to skate in El Parque Sindical.
Right now, with the big boom we are seeing in Longboarding, it is hard to see it dying down, what do you think the future holds for our dear sport?
It’s hard to predict. The community is planting a good seed and that will give healthy fruits. Obviously many people are starting to longboard just because it makes them look cool but in the end the people who really love longboarding and are involved in it for the right reasons will remain. I’ve been skateboarding since the 70’s and I try to transmit the the true feeling of this sport to the people near me. If they only feel half of what I do I can assure you, they’ll keep skating.
The longboard scene in Madrid is special, why is it so vibrant?
The longboard scene in Madrid is completely sick! It’s amazing how many things have occurred in the city. Since the beginning we’ve been very active. I must mention our favourite longboard activist;Rául Serrano (Ra) who’s always thinking how to get the community together. It’s all about the community!
When did the people in your city start longboarding?
Around 2004/2005 we started to see more people than normal. We’ve had Sector 9 longboards since 1993 but only few people asked for them.
That’s not very long, for the size of the scene there! Why has it grown so fast?
Spaniards are very passionate about everything they do.
Does your shop have a team?
We used to have an official team in the 70’s and we went to many competitions. I remember the trips in the van with all the kids. I had to ask for their fathers permission so they could come. Now we don’t have a common team. We have very close friends with whom we collaborate. For example Daniel Navarro who is number 9 in the Amateurs Slalom Ranking of the ISSA, Paula Carmona our favourite redhead and member of LGC and Borja_Caribbean and Nacho_Caribbean.
And there you have it, a summary of all the stoke we brought to you in two bitesize chunks. Thank you for your continued enjoyment of our site! We have some really fun stuff planned as freeride season is now upon us, we may have another competition or 2 for next month. Stay excited!