Absolutely delighted that our first feature on the Dutch scene is with our good friend and All Around Legend – Flavio Badenes, he shares his skate history with us and his plans for 2012.
Hi Flavio! Thanks for taking time out for this.
It is a pleasure to talk to you guys!
How long have you been longboarding?
I started skating back in 1969 and I never stopped doing it. Longboarding was already happening back then but it was not as popular as today. We had riders like Tom Sims that used a 36 inch deck and Toger Johnson from the Logan Earth Ski team his model was a 32 inch. In those days those were longboards. I owned a Toger Johnson.
WOW! That is awesome. You have seen skateboarding evolve through the ages. What discipline of skating do you enjoy the most?
In the beginning we used to do a lot of Freestyle, not the freestyle that came later with Rodney Muller for example, but the freestyle that names like Bruce Logan and Ty Page made really popular. It was more like wheelies, handstands, all sort of ‘’going fast tricks’’.
Later we all immigrated to downhill and vert riding. The real goal on those days was to be a all around skater. You had to be good in all modalities of skateboarding. But my favorite has always been park/bowl riding.
What sort of skating do you do nowadays?
I am very much into slalom skateboarding, modern slalom skating has evolved over the ages and has become a really technical and demanding aspect of skateboarding. Besides that I still ride parks, the easy bowls, and I am going back to downhill in 2012. As a matter of fact I will be traveling to Rio de Janeiro this month to join the skaters over there and get back into downhill racing.
Is that where you started skateboarding?
YES! I was born and raised in Rio. Skateboarding was something that I decided to pick up to have something to do when the ocean was flat, otherwise I would go surfing. Rio together with São Paulo is the birth place of skateboarding in Brazil.
You mentioned that you’ll be getting back into downhill in 2012, will you enter competitions?
Certainly. I am not looking forward to going to every race or anything like that but I will certainly go to meetings and the more popular races.
Have you skated competitively before?
Yes I have. In fact I won the first ever skateboarding contest in Brazil back in 1976 (I still have the trophy) then in 1977 I became the Brazilian Freestyle Champion. After that I took part in a large number of contests. I was part of the first professional skateboarding team in Brazil (The Waimea Surf Shop Team) where we would travel through the country taking part in contests and also giving demos.
Have you competed internationally?
Yes I attended a couple of contest in California back in the beginning of the 80’s, I must confess I didn’t place really well. At that time the level of bowl riding started to get really high and the younger generation started to take over. These days I take part in many slalom racing events around Europe and also in Brasil.
Where do you skate these days?
I do a lot of longboarding in my neighbourhood besides that I skate the hills in the Sport Park New Sloten, in Amsterdam, where I run a slalom skateboarding school every Saturday morning. When I want to skate vert, then I will drive to Utrecht and hit the Griffith Skate Park.
Tell us a bit more about this slalom school.
The school is an idea I had about 5 years ago. I saw that Holland was behind the rest of Europe on the slalom scene. Then I decided to go to the city council and ask for a place where I could, in a safe way, start teaching kids how to slalom. The city helped me not only by providing a good location but also by resurfacing the street and giving us a perfect road to skate on. These days the best Dutch slalom racers train at the school and we are a group of skate brothers.
How is the Slalom scene in Amsterdam/Holland ?
We work close together with the International Slalom Skateboarding Association (I am on the board of directors) we then organise an international contest every year – The Amsterdam Slalom Series. International riders flock to Amsterdam to take part in it. Besides that we have small contests every once in a while to get the new riders involved as well. Together we travel to contests outside of Holland, like Hog-hill in England and The Trocadero in France.
Do any of the Dutch slalom skaters compete outside Europe?
Not yet. Except for myself, we have only been to contests in Europe. I have competed in Brazil a couple of times.
Looks like you’re heavily involved with the slalom scene there! Is there a local longboard crew in Amsterdam?
Holland is in my opinion a very big longboarding country. There are many riders indeed. Many of the slalom skaters are also longboarders. As a matter of fact this year we also had longboarding lessons and longboarding events. In Amsterdam there are many riders, they ride the bridges, Vondel Park and just about every bike lane. There is a group of skaters that go regulary to the Vondel Park in the center of the city. Myself I skate more with the Brunninkhuis (brothers), and the Haarlense riders, from the city of Haarlem. The biggest concentration of longboarders will be in the city of Den Haag. There are also weekly meeting of dancers in the city of Zwolle every Wednesday evening. Downhill will be done in an area called Posbank in the west of the country, near the city of Arnhen. Riders from the whole country converge to that area, since Holland is so flat, and there are not so many DH spots, that is where most of the DH action happens.
Sounds like a great place to ride! Any big events coming up in Holland next season?
Definitely YES. I am organizing the Rabbit Meeting on the first week of October. It will be a 3 day event with a marathon, and other distance races. It is also interesting to mention that we organized the first ever European skateboarding only marathon this year. Besides that I know the the Nederlandse Longboard Vereninging is planning a few other contests but I prefer to mention them once they are confirmed. Believe me there is a lot happening in Holland in 2012.
My Dutch is as good as my Greek, and I don’t know any Greek. What is the Nederlandse Longboard Verenininining you mentioned? (I know what Longboard means)
Good question! That is the national Dutch Longboard Association. I founded the association (together with Honza van Deventer and Lisa de Borst) in order to try to bring more possibilities to the sport of longboarding. See, in Holland you need to have some sort of organization if you want to get more help from the government to organize events and make the sport available to more kids.
The idea behind the association is to help prevent accidents as well. Let’s say we start to get a lot of accidents and injures happen, then maybe longboarding will be forbidden in the streets of the Dutch cities, that would be a disaster. So we aim at promoting safety, organizing contests, and making it possible for the advanced longboarder to travel internationally to meetings, to organize clinics and whatever we need to do to promote the sport.
Great stuff. How does this affect the existing local crews/riders? What can they expect? What is their involvement?
They can expect to get involved in regular meetings where the goals of the association will be decided. This is very important to me. I want to make this a riders thing. I am also organizing monthly dinners at my place where certain key riders will be invited in order to provide us with their ideas and concerns. It is a real pleasure to know that the riders in the cities of Haarlem, Den Haag and Amsterdam backed us up. We have the support of a very large number of longboarders.
Longboarders do love to eat! You’re also a chef?
I had a restaurant back in the beginning of the 90’s. These days I am a senior project manager, I manage IT projects for the Dutch Government. However I love cooking, I cook vegetarian meals combining healthy ingredients with taste. Last Friday a few skaters joined me for dinner and all the food I cooked was GONE! :-)
As expected! Aside from the Dutch government, who else sponsors Dutch events?
Normally Red Bull comes in with the infra structure necessary, Etnies is always a very welcomed partner. Hardcore Distribution joins us every year, the owner is an old school skater that really loves the scene, they are the biggest skateboarding distributors in Holland, they own about 5 skate shops, they don’t sell longboards but they want to stoke the scene. Then there is Sickboards, they were the first longboarding dealers in Holland Martijn Schrama started this company about 6 years ago as a webshop and these days they have a very complete skateshop in the city of Den Haag. They have sponsored our last two events and they are really investing back into the sport. I will not disclose how much they put in but they are making a lot of good things possible. Stromvormgeving is a graphic design company from Haarlem that provides all the art work for the contests, the owner Wouter van Hamburg is also an old school skater and an active slalom racer.
Great to see so much from support for the scene out there!
Just 3 quick questions left.
Goofy all the way!!
If you weren’t a skateboarder what would you be?
I don’t know. I am 54 years old, man I skated my whole life. I couldn’t be anything else. I really mean it. I can only be a skateboarder!
Where’s the best place you’ve ever skated?
No doubts about it. It was the decised Marinal del Rey Skatepark in California.
Thanks a lot Flavio, you are a LEGEND!
Thank YOU for the beautiful work you are doing for skateboarding. Keep on stoking!