This week we catch up with our friend Mihael from Slovenia, of KnK fame and find about more about the longboard scene in Slovenia and he gets us stoked on some plans for events next year.
Hey Mihael, thanks for taking the time out to talk
No problem, it’s my pleasure.
Great. Where do you ride ?
My obsession with longboarding started 5 years ago and we are riding daily since then, but I would consider myself as riding for 2 years now, since we were riding like pussies earlier All Around! In Slovenia mostly, on our local hills around Ljubljana and actually all around Slovenia since it is a very small country and you can get from one side to the other in about 2 hours with a car.
That sounds awesome. What’s the scene in Slovenia like ?
The scene here in Slovenia is not so big but it is growing from season to season. Last year, there were not so many riders around here but this year longboarding became very popular. Usually you can see around 10 people together on the hill, but that is it. People stay mostly in their cities and ride local hills. We often organise sessions and people from other parts of Slovenia join us in Ljubljana to skate and hangout, but that is mostly during spring when the temperatures are not killing us. Girls also started shreding hard and now there are few that will probably be hitting big hills with guys next season.
What’s your crew called ?
We are longboarders with no name. Actually we kind of work under the name Longboard Magazin Slovenia, which is an online publication at http://www.longboard.si covering the longboarding scene in Slovenia since 2007. We are more like a non-profit non-formal organisation – people who help to spread the stoke. We accept everyone who wants to join us on our sessions. Through the years we kind of became a family, best friends and what connects us is the passion for longboarding. We also have friends in Croatia, our “sister organsation” Longboard Magazin Hrvatska (http://www.longboard.com.hr) and occasionally we meet up to shred together – we were at their Gnarlloween event this year.
Sounds like a really exciting time in Slovenia. We are seeing similar growth in many cities all over Europe. What do you think is behind the sudden popularity of our dear sport ?
I think that it is not so sudden, longboarding in Europe seems to be here for some time now, but somehow people started talking about it this year much more online – something like that. I think It is a positive thing and longboarding should be put out there among other sports. It is not something that should be overlooked by the general public. In some parts of Europe longboarding is a quite new thing and people are often amazed by it, especially car drivers who do not expect you to move so fast and almost run you over.
You’ve nearly been run over ?
Haha. You’re nuts.
No I am not. Car drivers are!
It’s coming to the end of the season for the colder parts of Europe. What was the highlight of last season for you ?
I will definitely remember this year for one reason, the people I skate with started to make some notable progress and started to shred hard. Now it is fun as we finally started to ride. Also, the highlight of the year for me is the first official race we organised. It was the Kurešček Cup 2011, in April. At first I was thinking that only few people from Slovenia will come to compete, but then as it was the first race of the season (and free) 77 people from all over the Europe showed up there! We where very amazed by that and that was the a big motivation to make KnK Longboard Camp as big as it was.
Which did you enjoy more – the Kurešček Cup or KnK Camp ?
I hated both the same! Hahaha! I am joking! I loved them both, it is always a pleasure to do something for the community. I would say that I loved KnK more because I had more time to spend with my friends and I could party for one evening! Also, KnK was a much bigger challenge. We had 2 tracks and over 200 riders there for 7 days, so you can imagine the fun we had. People that were there were awesome and I hope to see them again next year.
What did you find hardest about planning a big longboard event ?
Actually, planing is easy. Unplanned things are those that hit you hard. The hardest thing was to wake up at 6 am and get ready for daily activities, after I came back from the hospital at 4 am.
The most challenging thing was to maintain the fluency of activities we had planned like getting all the people to the top, getting the shuttles ready and so on. We kind of messed it up on the first day of the event because we had a problem with one bus and had to shuttle people with only one bus and one mini van, but by the evening I managed to replace the broken bus with another one and things finally started to work as intended . Some people where very understanding about it but some where a pain in our *****. Actually, that is the hardest thing – people not understanding.
With all that in mind would you do it again next year ?
This was the third KnK Camp, so yes, KnK must go on and next year we will do it again. We will do it on the same tracks but we will probably reduce the number of registrations. It will be nice to see some very good friends again. I love how most of the people relaxed there and after a while they realized that they have a lot of time to ride. I hope to see KnK stay what it was in the beginning – a week full of fun and riding with friends from all over the Europe (and wider).
We look forward to updating our calendar with your event !
The pleasure is again all mine. I hope to see you guys there, but don’t forget to get some extra wheels with you because the Bear is hungry!!!
3 quick questions
What’s your favourite Sandwich filling ?
Prosciutto… and cucumbers. And mayonnaise!
Would you rather have a wheel for a foot, or a hook for a hand ?
Wheel sounds more natural to me.
No surprise there. Really fun talking to you Mihael.
Thanks for having me over!