With the nomadic lifestyle becoming more and more popular and because we, as skateboarders, are used to travelling the globe in search of different skate locations, I caught up with Emma Daigle to talk about her travelling experiences and to know more about how she sustains her active lifestyle.
Emma Daigle is a 20-something skateboarder, traveller, yoga instructor and artist. She’s known for her nomadic lifestyle, hitting the road every chance she gets in search of new experiences and enriching her life with travelling.
She just got back from a month long trip in California, skating the famous Tuna, a local go-to skate spot. But as soon as she got back, she already started planning her next trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
Last year I’ve met Emma briefly at KebbeK KnK Longboard Camp, her last stop on her mini euro tour. She travelled through Sweden and Austria beforehand, visiting freeride events and enjoying some random skate trips to the mountains.
I hit Lillehammer, Almabtrieb and KnK. I enjoyed going to less events and skateboarding more. It was the best of both worlds. Link up with people at events, catch up and then run off into the mountains and skate from dawn to dusk. Non-stop.
In between events she also went rogue with an improvised Kebbek Skateboards team trip in Austria, driving around and skating epic mountain passes.
Isac Printz, Jurgen Gritzner, Benjamin Sabol and herself included explored the nearby Alps and filmed some skate shots for their soon to be released Better Weather Tour video. Don’t worry, we’ll feature it as soon as it comes out to keep you in the loop.
A sustainable travelling lifestyle
When Emma is not skateboarding, she likes to switch it up with other outdoor activities like rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking.
And because of her active lifestyle and her yoga skills, she’s able to sustain her trips by teaching yoga and doing odd jobs along the way. This includes anything from cleaning houses and construction work to random art contracts.
In our conversation, Emma revealed, she doesn’t look up jobs online but rather follows the ‘word on the street’ and even get’s multiple job requests via social media.
So far she didn’t feel the need to find any season jobs in Europe because she lives simply and travels on a budget. But I got curious and looked up season jobs online.
I found that there are many jobs available if you’re planning a longer trip through Europe. You can do anything from babysitting to teaching English, to picking oranges in Spain…but that’s a totally different article.
Connecting with new people
Being an open-minded person means Emma is always open to work on different projects that make her see things from a different perspective. She met Oreon Strusinski, an ocean photographer and the author of the pictures you see in this article.
I wanted to shoot with him to see what type of angles and ideas he would come up with given that shooting skateboarding on ‘land’ is not his main focus. It’s always interesting to have someone from another discipline come in and bring a new outlook to the sport.
Emma did the shoot on her current setup which is her pro model from KebbeK Skateboards, Paris Trucks 165s and Blood Orange wheels. Here’s what she has to say about it:
The board might look small but it’s nimble and surprisingly stable at higher speeds. It’s got a subtle micro drops which suction cup your feet to the board.
Its smaller size makes it perfect for the avid traveller.
For now, Emma is travelling through the US and simultaneously planning her next trip to Japan and China. Her focusing is on possibly making Asia her Fall / Winter reality, partially skate related and partially out of curiosity.
Hopefully, we’ll also get to see her somewhere in Europe if the wind blows hard enough 🙂
I currently live in Austria but sometimes I like to take a break for a few days and visit my favourite place in Italy, Lake Garda. In the past, I’ve spent a lot of time in Garda, discovering and skating different spots with my buddy Patrick Lombardi.
I discovered this road a long time ago but never had the chance to skate it, until now. It’s quite challenging with a constant decline and one steep curve following the other. The road itself is narrow, but that’s what I like most about it.
If you loved Landyachtz‘s EH Team and Skate and Explore episodes, Get In The Van 2 will blow you away. That’s if you actually watch it since it’s 37 minutes long. But totally worth watching!
2017 marks the 20th year of Landyachtz. To celebrate we created a video that embraces all of the styles of skateboarding we love. ~ Landyachtz Skateboards
Riders featured in the video: Adam Yates, Alex Hannigan, Billy Bones, Bricin Lyons, Charlie Darragh, Dave Helmer, Dave Rudgers, Dexter Manning, Dillon Stephens, Ed Aviña, Keenan Macartney, Laine Jackart, Mackenzie Yoshida, Martin Gallegos, Nick Hurley, Nick “The Landyachtz Bad Boy” Breton, Riley Harris, Stephen Fitzmaurice, Stephen Vaughn, Steven Vera, Tim Mcclain, Troy Grenier and Zach Keller.
Film by Dave Leslie.
Patrick L. Lombardi gets the honour to be one of the first ones to send it down the No Man’s Land track in Slovenia. 8 kilometres, 80 sweepers and 5 hairpins are the reason we dubbed this event “endurance freeride”.
It took Patrick exactly 50 slides to reach the finish line where he did 3 more to slow down and finally stop. Pretty wicked if you ask me.
Filming the run on a road of this length was not easy, but we somehow managed to do it. Of course, we had the traffic supervised via the stations. The road was never closed for traffic, but in a case of a car coming up, Patrick was instructed to stop the run and continue once the road was clear again.
That is why at the end of the video you can see the shift in the footage, but I put it together so that it presents the whole track as it is.
Patrick is a team rider at Aera Trucks, Urethane Burners and Sk8bites. The dude shreds hard and with such passion…Not many riders out there can match his supreme freeride skills. Many thanks for joining the project, Patrick!
Michael Minks, a skateboarder and videographer, released his first longboard documentary titled PUSH “A Tirol Longboard Documentary” back in 2012.
Narrated by himself, the video featured Austrian longboarders traveling to longboard events, skate sessions and miscellaneous events that happened throughout the filming period.
Have a look at what longboarding was like in Austria 5 years ago for a feeling of how the scene evolved to what it is now.
The motion captured in PUSH showed a different angle of longboarding and a representation of the contrast of how it felt to go to a longboard event besides bombing an early bird run with your best friends.
Well, we all know how longboarding advanced in the last couple of years, bigger slides and faster speeds are all the rage now.
That is why Michael has been working on another documentary for the last two years called PUSH2 “Austrian Downhill Culture” that is set to be released this June.
Here is one of the trailers featuring the Easygoinc and Graveyard Longboards crew on their home territory.
PUSH2 is Michael’s second independent film made with the help of his close friends. This time, the stars of the show are Patrick Bartel (Graveyard Longboards), Julian Marksteiner (Easygoinc Longboards), Martin Schraeg (Lush Longboards), Quirin Ilmer (Moonshine Longboards),
the Full Grip Team and a few other featured riders.
Last week we had the pleasure to host two rad skaters from the Banana Longboarding crew; Jakob Grasmann (Moonshine MFG) and Philip Tankarian (Layback Freiburg Skateshop). Together with our local shredder Benjamin Sabol (KebbeK Skateboards) they spent three days banging some of our sweetest home spots.
Jakob’s and Philip’s original plan was to travel to Italy but for some reason that didn’t work out and they decided to visit us instead. We were stoked to hear that they would like to spend some time with us and discover what else Slovenia has to offer besides the Bear’s Guts.
Only a few days earlier we acquired a new Panasonic Lumix GH5 camera and this was a great opportunity to do a few test shots with some great young talent.
Watching Benjamin skate with Jakob and Philip was really something special and I know that he was extra excited too because usually he doesn’t get to skate with other people that often besides myself. Slovenia has a very small downhill skateboarding scene.
On the first day we hit one of the steepest hills in the area to warm up. Short run with seven corners, the smoothest pavement around and a 22% grade made a great first impression on the guys.
We played it safe and skated with the radio stations. That provided some extra comfort and a sense of security, so the runs were fully sent one after another. The guys totally ripped it.
After a bunch of drops we moved to another spot in the area where we stayed until the sunset. Compared to the first one, this spot has pretty much the same surface but it’s less intense. The guys liked the more relaxed runs as the first spot took its toll.
In the evening, we were pretty smashed; the guys from skating, me from filming and driving, Nadia from taking photos and our dog Era from the heat. It was a great day but we were even more excited about the next day…
The next morning we took off a bit earlier so that the guys could skate a nice mellow run for a couple of times and warm up before hitting the 8 kilometres long mountain road we had scheduled down on the coast.
It’s needless to point out that they enjoyed this spot the most, but I had to anyway. Narrow as f***, smooth surface and top speed close to 70kmh. This track is the No Man’s Land’s “smaller brother from another mother”.
As the traffic started picking up at around 15 p.m., we stopped to film on one section and once we were done we moved to a spot on the other side of the valley.
Steep repaved and banked hairpins with a smooth tarmac were just perfect for getting a couple of shots during the “magic hour”. You can see that in the video as well…
The forecast for the last day was not so great, but we decided to give it a try anyway. We felt lucky as only half of the country had rain, so we just decided to go to a spot which was in the other half, but as soon as we got there it started raining.
Jakob and Philip had to catch a bus in the afternoon and we only had 3 hours left to skate. I took a look at the “rain radar image” and was happy to see that it hasn’t been raining on a spot which was only half-hour drive away.
It was a spot that I had marked to checkout for a while now, but never made it there. Once we arrived, the excitement went off the charts. The road was dry and packed with steep drops into even steeper hairpins with some sweepers in between. A real gem.
The guys had some runs there and I got another chance to tryout some new shots and angles as seen in the video…We couldn’t get enough of it so we ended the session fairly late but we managed to get to the bus just minutes before it left.
So yeah…We had a great time together and it was really nice to hang out with Jakob and Philip…I hope that they will return sometimes soon. If not, we’ll meet at KnK again anyway 😉
Skating the Maryhill Loops has been a dream for me since the first day I started skating. It is just one of those classic roads you have to skate!
I was expecting a weekend full of American culture shock, meeting new people and fast grip runs, but men, I got treated just right by her.
The landscape around the track is beautiful, the event and organisation were great and the experience was totally worth it!
Skating Maryhill was a lot of fun, but skating it with some extra tailwind made it even better. I improved my skating and photography skills and met new lifelong friends. I really hope to go back there one day.
It has been 5 years since Szymon Smialek and Michał Milewicz built the first Alternative Longboards deck in Michał’s apartment in Warshaw back in 2012. Soon after Piotr Dąbrowski joined them.
Since then the Alternative family grew and the project evolved massively. Nowadays it has a very impressive production line in Nowy Sącz where they produce top-notch decks which resemble a very distinguished look and outstanding quality.
Alternative never cut back on the community support and the brand quickly became known to most of the riders across Europe as well as Asia where the scene recently literally exploded.
During the past few years I got to hang out with Szymon a lot as Alternative is one of the regular supporters of our freeride event, KnK Longboard Camp.
We had nothing but the best times together. After many invitations Nadia and I were extremely excited about the opportunity to finally visit the Alternative’s workshop and show it to the world via live stream on our Facebook page.
After 12 hours of traveling through snowy Austria which impressed us with the improvements on the highway rest stops, especially the free WiFi…and driving on what was probably Slovakia’s worst road, crossing a high mountain area, we finally arrived to Szymon’s place in the middle of the night.
After Szymon eased my mind by ensuring us that the Slovakians actually have some good roads as well and that they shred a lot, we didn’t go to sleep as one would expect.
Instead, we stayed up having an interesting conversation and discussing ideas till sunrise. As the day brightened up, we finally decided to catch few hours of rest as we had two busy days ahead…
The Polish welcome party
As you can imagine, we woke up a bit later that same day. The weather was kind of bad all around Europe and Poland was no exception. We didn’t have the time to skate anyway.
As soon as we had a delicious breakfast, we drove straight to the workshop to meet up with the rest of the crew and check out the production line for the first time.
The workshop is located in a somewhat older industrial complex, but once we took the first step inside we were positively surprised as everything looked really clean and neatly organised.
The plan for the day was to get the tour of the workshop and prepare for the live stream which was scheduled for the next day.
We started out by making a very special announcement video with the help of Ja Rom and Łukasz and Aśka Tomkiel featuring an improvised flame-thrower and the famous Polish vodka Žibrowka.
For us, this was out of the ordinary, but the Alternative crew is used to this kind of shenanigans. As Szymon explained in advanced, they are like one big family and try to have as much fun as possible to keep the morale high during long working days which often turn into night.
Later we continued with the factory tour in a more casual manner, still thinking on how we didn’t burn down the building.
New at Alternative: Double wooden cores and Sidewalls
While preparing a new layup and cutting fibreglass sheets, Szymon was excited to tell us about their new double wooden cores.
The combination of a soft wooden core surrounded by hard wood makes their decks even more durable and impact resistant. This in turn also increases the wheels wells at any given board by double the amount as in previous collections, with a 6 mm height to be exact.
A new and exciting thing we got to see on the Alternative decks for the first time were the polyurethane sidewalls. After a long 3-year development stage and a lot of hardship to get it perfect, the sidewalls are a big step forward for the brand.
The sidewalls are mainly included in the City Shredder collection for cruising, dancing and freestyle,ranging anywhere between 8 to 10 mm, depending on the model.
As Szymon later explained, freestyle boards tend to get more abused while riding compared to downhill boards.
Including the sidewalls into the Mountain Freak collection for downhill and freeride would affect the decks’ end price, but Alternative wants to keep them as affordable as possible.
Patience, innovation and hand built machinery
Because the brand is already past the development stage, Alternative now has a chance to play around and focus on the board construction and other techniques that make their boards stand out.
During the first season of board production, Alternative scrapped around 100 decks in order to learn and perfect the lamination and pressing process.
To produce the final versions for their 2017 lineup which consists of 11 decks, they had to first produce around 40 prototypes per deck model.
Every deck model requires 3 moulds; 2 for pressing the concave and 1 for the CNC cut process. Thanks to the in-house designed CNC machine they are able to cut the boards and produce the moulds themselves.
As explained in the video, during the 5-year period they spent around 1200 working hours to get the milling process developed to the point where it is now 5 times faster then it was when they started with the tests.
Each of the four main rooms at the Alternative factory has a humidity and temperature monitoring system installed to make sure that the boards are being laminated and pressed in the most suitable environment. The information is then available in a mobile app or computer at any moment. Pretty impressive detail if you ask me…
All boards are being pressed in 5 custom designed and built presses which impress the most with their compact size and great power. All of them are controlled by a single computer station which makes it much easier and faster to operate.
Alternative longboards also uses a barcode tracking system in order to supervise the production of every board they produce.
As the boards go through the production process, they are scanned in each step which enables the company to have an insight in the current production status. All of this information is also available through the mobile app or computer.
Szymon explained that they like to say in a joke that Alternative boards are made with thunder…
It took them 1 year to perfect the sublimation technology which is a process of transferring the graphics from a special paper to the foil.
Thanks to the machine which treats the foil with 10,000 Volts to make them more absorbent to the ink and the in-house designed sublimation press, they are able to produce colourful and scratch resistant graphics.
Nadia was impressed with “the thunder machine” the most as we could clearly hear and see the electricity (in a beautiful purple colour) as well feel a strange sensation in our bodies and heads due to the Ozone that got created around it, just like during a thunderstorm.
Coming towards the end of the production process, the boards are taken to the sanding room where they get as smooth as a baby’s bottom, currently thanks to Ja Rom.
The final stages of the Alternative board production include preparing the boards for their new lucky owners. This involves removing the unnecessary foil, placing a sticker on every board which includes information about when and who built it, plus wrapping it all with love in a protective plastic cover.
Factory tour wrap up and Live Giveaway
We finished our day in the workshop watching Szymon pack one of the boards to be shipped to the new lucky owner. This was my second tour around a longboard factory and I must say the Alternative crew really knows how to make you feel like a member of the family and are sure to leave a positive impression on anyone visiting their workshop.
The next day, we spent preparing for the Live Giveaway and Alternative factory tour we did via our Facebook page. If you missed it, check it below and stay tuned for the upcoming article about the new Alternative decks.
Easygoinc. Longboards proudly present their first downhill skateboarding movie “I Am Loser” filmed on the mountain Loser in the heart of the Austrian Alps.
Don’t let the title fool you, it’s actually a word game referring to becoming one with this magnificent mountain, its surroundings and experiencing all thing downhill skateboarding has to offer.
Located in Souther Austria, mount Loser’s windy alpine road has a total elevation drop of 405 meters and an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level. With a steepest grade of around 19% the crew not only enjoyed a scenic and breathtaking ride, but also fast downhill runs on one of Austria’s most notorious tracks.
Through this project easygoinc. riders Mirko Paoloni, Gregor Nußbaummüller, Laura Neubauer and Maximilian Gschaider shared their longboarding lifestyle and reaped its rewards with majestic nature, fun pack runs and getting together by a campfire after a great day of skating.
Mirko’s preferred variation is the Downhill BMS with a kicktail for freeride and freestyle tricks, Laura’s pick was the Downhilla Mini as it’s designed for petite skaters or those with smaller feet, while Maximilian and Gregor chose the Downhilla Classic for fast downhill descents.
Ever since her first Eurotour, Rachel Bruskoff on average spends a total of three months a year travelling through Europe skating and exploring new places. One of the things she likes most about Europe are the freeride events.
I really love the European scene because I get to explore so many new things at every event that I go to. Each event and country brings so many new things: food, culture, language, roads, etc. and I just love to learn about everywhere I go!
Until now she’s been skating for Landyachts and Hawgswheels for the past three years and a half, but met Gabriele Franzini and Guilia Uitko last year on her one month trip to Italy. Because of their hospitality and a great friendly connection, Rachel decided she wants to ride for a company where she feels like a part of the family.
This year has been difficult with many companies, and even though I had opportunities with other American companies I decided that I really wanted to help ride for a company where I feel like part of the family. Gabriele opened his arms to me when I visited and he is so welcoming with this partnership.
The Zero 31 Doge longboard deck
Her new deck of choice is the Zero 31 Doge longboard deck, which hasn’t hit the stores yet. From what we’ve seen the board features a nice wood – carbon finish, a non symmetrical shape, multiple wheelbase options and micro drops at both ends.
Rachel is currently on a two month trip with Grace Wong, rolling down a bunch of North American national parks and skate events including Central Coast Up’ n’ Down and the Maryhill Spring Freeride. For more about their trip, visit Grace’s blog called Adventures of Grey Swan.
When Rachel is not skating she is out exploring the world and showing off her artistic side expressed through painting, drawing and photography. If you’re keen on seeing more of Rachel’s skating explorations and art visit her new website.
Last weekend the King Lui team got a visit by the Dederer Family from Stuttgart and they had a few really nice days together. Jan was testing the second prototype of his new pro model stand up and hand down and was fooling around with the guys. Just a good time with the team in the praised King Lui Land!
Featured riders: Jan Dederer, Max Kilgus, Uwe Dederer and Cev Mueller.
The Cloud Ride Wheels team just got a new gun in its arsenal. Mariano Conti, a 17 year old Italian from Rome, recently joined their family of international shredders.
Mariano is currently in his 4th year of high school and lives with his family not far from the beach. Besides going fast and pushing his board sideways, he also spends quite a lot of time in the water catching the waves.
A few weeks ago Mariano Conti teamed up with his friends Mirko Paoloni, Edoardo Barbi, Andrea Pedrotti (the filmer) and Felix Pirker (the photographer). They got on a plane and headed to Tenerife for a week of pure longboarding.
According to Mariano they had 7 days of solid shredding on the black tarmac, leaving behind massive thane lines, cored wheels and coming back home with tons of amazing footage. You can find their trip under the hashtag #putoslocostrip both on Facebook and Instagram.
According to Mariano, the Slide wheels are really fun to slide. He described the slides as nice and powdery, meaning they leave lots of thane lines.
This was also the goal at Cloud Ride when they were developing their ‘’Cloud Thane’’ formula, to enable a buttery and smooth slide, leaving behind thane. I guess, they are a freeride wheel worthy of their name … ‘’Slide’’.
The Cloud Ride Slide wheels are available in 4 different durometers: 77a (Indigo), 80a (Green), 83a (Blue), 86a (Purple), all featuring a diameter of 70 mm. With a contact patch of 45 mm, these offset freeride wheels also give a dash of grip which you need when skating.
When new, the Slide wheels have a 45 degree edge which provides a super easy slide even with the first sideslip.
With a perfect union of grip and slip, the Slide wheels by Cloud Ride can handle any crack, debris or and everything else your slide trajectory takes you over, giving the feeling of a comfortable slide to the rider.
As they wear down, the contact patch increases and allows the rider to impart the same amount of force on the slide, as when they were new.
The Slide wheels are merely amazing! When you’re riding them you feel the comfort under your feet. Seriously, I have tried many freeride wheels and in my experience these perform very well considering factors like quality, performance and value. Every time you slide, you feel the wheels smearing thane around. And that’s awesome! They roll fast and give you some grip even at higher speeds. But if you want to have a solid downhill sesh, where you need more grip, you should go for the Cloud Ride Storm Chasers instead. They roll fast and give you some solid extra grip even at high speed. ~ Mariano Conti
We’re sure we’re going to see a lot more action from Mariano and we’ll keep you posted, but you’re also welcome to follow him on Facebook or Instagram.
Wherever you go, there´s always somebody with a dream. However, sometimes there are only a few chances to turn someone’s dream into reality. “Sharing is the best way to make the chance bigger” said some friend to me while we were chilling in a small bar.
This is his experience with his dream of supporting skateboarders building a bowl in his home country Indonesia while living in Germany.
He collected old stuff from his German friends and tried to sell it to make money for the bowl´s construction and send the rest that couldn’t be sold to Indonesia.
He tried, but failed. Bureaucracy and distance made it impossible. He tried again, but the results was still not satisfying.
He was sad, but with every trial and tribulation, he started to become aware that he is not alone out there, and that there would always be someone to help realise his dream. Someone he just had to find.
Eventually he met this person. Her name is Dina.
It all started with a jam session in a small park. Then they became friends, spending every session on the hill together, talking during the breaks in which he told her about his country, until he finally revealed his dream.
After he’d shared the project and she got involved in the workflow, everything went well.
She did anything possible to raise funds. She sold her BMX, skateboard, longboard stuff & spare car parts and collected donations from local longboard businesses, like quinboards and Concrete Wave Cologne skate shop.
She collected anything from friends and her family that she could sell and of course she was asking for donations in several events like ISPO, Insul Race, etc.
Even her grandmother chipped in with some cash. Grandmas are the best. We know, it is not easy, it takes time, effort, patience and loyalty, things that I experienced, though not comparable to what she did.
One time she complained to me, “This sucks! I’m trying to sell a set of used wheels for 5 Euros, but prospective buyers still try to bargain the price by asking me : Does the price include postage?” Though life.
But, she kept doing it!
So, finally, with the help from a local skateboard pioneer, Ozzie Anwar, who gave his land for the bowl location, the constructs started in the end of 2016.
Since then, he named the project “Project Love”. Just because she has done and still does everything based on love. This will be her third time to visit his country. Still with the same mission. To show her love for Indonesia and the local Skateboard scene. She´s on a special mission to finish this Project.
After hours of talks & glasses of beer, he ends our conversation with wonderful words, “Dreaming & sharing are two things with which everybody in this world can accomplish any task, no exceptions. So keep dreaming ‘n sharing it”.
So, I share this friends story to you all, to inspiring all of us. Share it, if you’re inspired 🙂
For traveller who’s gonna visit Indonesia, the bowl location is in Lombok, anyway, come over feel the warm people on the hot island!
Update: Dina’s last post before flying
“I’m packing my bags for the trip to Indonesia and taking 1630 EUR with me! Folks, you’re awesome! Thank you so much for any donation, each wheel, anything you bought from me! For one year I’ve been selling any kind of stuff and all together collected 2494 EUR and had the pleasure to deal with kind-hearted and some pretty dimwitted buyers as well. Now the bowl not only is getting done, some money will be left over and a roof or something else supportive can be built as well.
One question I don’t want to hear anytime soon Did you send the package already? I definitely need a break from selling. 16th March is starting time, pictures will follow. Last but not least, THANKS!”
Here we are, only few days until the last day of winter and the first day of spring. Six days later, on March 26th, something even better will happen…
We will switch to “standard time” and move our clocks one hour forward. Actually, our digital devices will most probably take care of it on its own, we’re covered 🙂 What matters the most is that we will get in that extra hour for skating in the afternoons, life will be good again.
Team Heckmeck dudes from Germany are ready to move on as well and wave the cold times goodby, at least for the next 6 months or so…
I caught up with Daniel Lenz via Skype the other day…Him and Moritz Dolainsky live near Munich, while the other two Heckmeck guys, Nils Bodenheimer and Jan Brebeck live near Mainz.
That’s like 400 km apart and 3 to 4 hours drive, but the guys get together to skate, film and have fun as often as possible, mostly on weekends.
Heckmeck’s latests videos, including “Winter Gathering”, prove it; As soon as there was a dry spot on their favorite runs, they went out and sent it…
As Daniel said; Italy is a big thing right now…Near the Adriatic sea, it offers nice winter downhill skateboarding conditions, especially down in Tuscany and around Genoa.
In case you get inspired to do a similar trip yourself, make sure to get in touch with the local crews and find out where it’s OK and safe to skate. Hopefully you can meet them and skate together, or even get a place to crash for a night or two…
Community spirit lives on…So good.
When I asked about Team Heckmeck’s plans for this season beside the usual shenanigans, Daniel explained that the crew wants to produce more videos that will show their skateboarding lifestyle as well as to expand the variety of action shot angles.
For the travelling part…Daniel and Moritz plan to hit the KnK Week #2 and then probably do “a small tour” through Italy, Switzerland and France, while Nils plans to skate at Alpenrauschen and race the Red Bull No Paws Down during the first week of KnK.
The crew got together with the local riders, Mirko’s dear friends, the “putos” Santi Domingorena, Angel Diaz Cano and Juan Campuzano. Everyone were hyped to skate, but the weather was not on their side.
Usually the month of April brings 3 days of rain in average on Tenerife and the bunch was unlucky enough to hit them during their 7-day trip.
And as if the bad weather was not enough, on the first day Simon crashed badly, earning himself a nasty road rash and later on Juan got smashed as well and has suffered an ankle fracture.
The rest of the crew managed to get in a solid portion of skating and even filmed some sick runs. One of them is the one we feature in this post with Mirko.
As Mirko described, on the third day, they went to check out a road the local crew nicknamed Tuna 2.0. He wanted to skate and film the spot, but the road was wet so he decided to skip it and wait for it to dry.
The gem he wanted to skate got dry by the last day and Mirko was stoked about the chance he got to drop and film a run…a single run.
The road almost looks and feels like a billiard table. Fresh pavement, no bumps or cracks. The asphalt is a perfect mix between smooth and rough, it makes the wheels thane a lot. Making the stand up and leaving the huge thane lines…it’s super cool and I enjoy it very much. ~ Mirko Paoloni
In early 2011 downhill skateboarding in Europe seemed to be more race oriented and people were skating the Bear’s Guts mostly hands down. Nowadays we see riders charging down at 80+ kph without a care in the world, doing fascinatingly long stand-up slides.
We also can not disregard the generation shift in the longboard community. With more and more grooms attending freeride events, the difference in skill levels between the younger and older generations is changing. Grooms are taking over with a fresh mentality as to what downhill skateboarding means to them and how they want to pursue it.
One of those youngsters is Calum Yardley, an 18 year old British, who was born and lives in Alicante in Spain. His 2016 season included visiting freerides in Spain and Slovenia, but also races in Czech and Germany.
As many of us, Calum loves traveling from event to event to challenge his skills and enjoy his time skating with a variety of people you meet at a longboarding event.
While we were talking, he remembered two little brothers at KnK whose parents are a great example of love and support for the passion their kids share.
At KnK, there were two little brothers, I think they were 9 and 11 years old, that really amazed me, even though in my group we have a kid that is only 12 years old and he started at 10. It is really amazing to see such variety of ages in the longboard community, and to know that it is growing, slowly but it is.
Calum also started skateboarding at a young age when he got excited about longboarding by watching videos online. When he was 13 he bought his first deck and was lucky enough to meet a skater, Derek Blanquer, who helped him step into the world of longboarding.
Since then, Calum says he’s coming up with crazy and fun ideas that make his skate sessions even more interesting and challenging. At KnK he grabbed the Alternative Hummingbird, a cruiser with 16.7 inch wheelbase, and sent it down the Bears’s Guts track.
Later Calum ended up skating the cruiser for a full day and a half and even one run of the three qualification runs for the Cult Single Set Survivors. Although Calum didn’t win the race, because he dislocated his shoulder, he had an amazing time and would do it all over again. Here is what he had to say about KnK Longboard Camp:
I loved so many things about the event, from the very good organisation to the amazing community there was. The party nights where crazy and lit but you could go to sleep without a single problem. And if you stayed up late enough chilling and look up to the sky you get such an amazing view as well.
We also talked with Calum about what it means to be a sponsored rider. He told us this:
Well, most people would say that getting free stuff is the best thing of being sponsored, but it isn’t. It’s the doors that open for you, new adventures, new friends that you wouldn’t have probably met and the ability to try many new things…depending on the sponsor.
For example, if it wouldn’t of been for NICE Trucks, I would have only went to Kozakov last year, as I had a team mate that could pick me up and take me there, and he was going to many more events, so I decided to go to more events too and meet many awesome people.
Because he had such and amazing season last year, his future plans include traveling to longboarding events with his FreeDivision skate crew and test his skills on different roads and environments. His plan for now is to visit Kozakov again and probably one week of KnK to try to win the Red Bull No Paws Down race and as he says in a joke, to beat Patrick Lombardi, last year’s winner.
Last summer Lillian Barou, Ben Pellet and Brian Scott Adkins travelled around Switzerland in search of new skate spots. They came across this epic run and couldn’t refrain themselves from filming it.
This is a 9 a.m. run, not long after we woke up. It was only my 2nd run on the spot, but as you can see it’s very long so I couldn’t really memorise the track. So I sent it as I can: shredding, chilling, tucking and having fun. Lillian Barou
Lillian skates the Wrobel deck that is part of the current Alternative Longboards lineup. It features a classic directional shape, radial concave and a stiff flex. The length of the board is 90 cm with a width of 24.5 cm. Its design also provides multiple wheelbase options raging from 66 to 72 cm.
Despite the simple design the Wrobel still performs great in different disciplines and riding styles. Its priced at 189 euro and available for purchase via Alternative Longboards website.
Stay tuned for the Alternative Longboards 2017 deck collection overview.
The story of the recent video I filmed with DJI called “One With Gravity” actually begins a while back, on a muddy, narrow bike path surrounded by dog shit…
A couple of years ago, when my hometown Mainz was still a hotspot for downhill skateboarding and we had some more active skaters here, a bunch of my friends discovered a new spot.
A fortunate coincidence
A really narrow and steep bike path with some hairpins and a bench on a side is really challenging to skate (impossible with my regular dh-setup) but also a big fun. In case you got curious; My buddies Leon and Max made a little edit from that spot.
One day a dude came out of a house on top of the hill. He said he also owns a longboard but he never thought that it’s possible to go down that path with it.
He was all stoked and asked if he might take some footage with his new drone.
Of course he could, residents stoked about people skating right in front of their houses is probably one of the best things that can happen to someone like us.
What we didn’t know at that point was that the “guy with the drone” was actually Ferdinand Wolf, one of the best drone pilots in Germany, who just became the manager of the DJI Studio Europe.
He is a rad guy with a preference for everything that goes fast, from rally cars to jet skis and drones. We went skating and filming together a couple of times and when he realised how much cinematic potential our sport has, the idea for a real professional video project “One With Gravity” was born.
When Ferdinand finally got to me and said that he has organised a budget form DJI to make it happen, I was more than happy.
I have been involved in filming downhill projects before but it was never more professional than duct-taping a DSLR camera onto a hood and go – but this project was some levels above that and needed a lot of planning and organising to make it work out.
Finding the right spot for filming
The first thing to do was to find a proper spot. I know tons of awesome spots around Europe which are gnarly and have beautiful sceneries, but finding a spot which is also remote enough so that we could block the road for a couple days of filming and getting a permission to fly a drone, turned out to be way harder than I first thought.
I came up with a couple of really good ideas, but we always failed at the point where we had to get the permission for the drone.
After some fails, I’ve been told to try finding something in Portugal, because it’s one of the few countries in Europe with almost no limitations on flying a drone.
Portugal they said? No problem for my network of awesomeness; some emails with my bro and Cult Wheels team mate Jorge Pernes later and the spot was set.
A mega gnarly spot somewhere up in the high mountains of eastern Portugal, surrounded by breathtaking views and basically in the middle of nowhere.
Together with Pernes and the homie Pedro Roque, we had a great local team to take care of everything at the spot.
The first meeting with the film crew was a test shoot at one of our local spots.
It was necessary because the filmmakers never worked with downhill skateboarders before and we had to try the equipment and think about possible shots.
The team was pretty big and all of them were professionals which have been involved in cinema movies and stuff. They even got a permission to shut down the traffic for our runs. A high level of professionalism!
It was a fun day working with the guys and because it was only a few days before the euro tour would start, Pablo, Jasper and Robbie were around as well to shred some gnar.
After two more days of filming interviews and the process of building a board in Olson & Hekmati workshop, the day of a flight to Portugal was getting closer.
Because I had the best time travelling with my brother Maxwell Kaye during euro tour and the DJI crew asked for some additional background-skaters, I got Max on board to be a part of the team.
The adventure begins
In October, we finally got on the plane to Porto. After a quick but delicious francesinha and a Super Bock with my mate Joao from Cactus Dist we drove out into the mountains. Thank you again bro <3
I have been to Portugal before, but never really travelled around the beautiful hills of the east, where Spain isn’t far. It was definitely something I had missed so far; I didn’t expect to see such a beautiful landscape.
Far away from any big town and really high up I felt like being on another planet. It really smelt like mega gnarly spots all over the place, it almost made me sad to stay at the same place for the whole time…
The actual process of filming the video was very different than what I am normally used to.
Instead of just taking steezy runs with my homies over and over again while being filmed, it turned out to be real work (oh wonder =D).
Especially the “stunt” was really hard to perform – crashing on purpose over and over almost drove me crazy but I tried to give my best and in the end everyone (except my bearings. I never saw the bearings being that much f***** up…) was happy with the shot.
Another issue we often faced was the “speed thing”. Unlike driving a car or a similar vehicle you can’t just go down a hill on a skateboard slower but still taking the same line and do the same movements.
Many times I got told something like; “Alex, that looked really great! But please do the same thing again, just very slow”.
Due to the fact that there are no brakes and that the way you move on a board really depends on the speed, that is just impossible.
I have never really thought about this, but I think it is something that makes our sport very unique and natural…
Fortunately the film crew adapted quickly and we always found a way to figure it out.
Filming with the Wildcat-buggy was really interesting too.
The off-road suspension did not allow it to go around the corners very quick but it was impressive to see how they mounted that big camera gimbal on it. The follow runs were quite scary because I got really close in some corners but it was really enjoyable 😉
It was also really inspiring to work with Ferdinand.
He really knows a lot about filming and he controls his drones like a champ! Every time we were filming with the drone, I had a feeling that the footage will be incredible and he actually filmed enough great stuff to fill a whole hour of downhill action and breathtaking landscape.
Actually the whole aerial thing really amazed me. In most videos I miss the connection to the beautiful mountain ranges in which we usually hang out – showing a close shot of a rider and then flying out to show the panoramic view in the same take is a really cool way to make that connection.
Everything’s better with friends
Even though the production was hard work I really enjoyed the time with the film team and my fellow skate buddies.
Unfortunately Max got smashed on day one so he was forced to be the safety officer for the rest of the trip and made sure everyone else was happy.
Even when we were sitting around in the cold for hours, waiting for the sun to come up or down for the lifestyle shots, the Portuguese spirit always spread laughter and a good time for everyone.
A big difference to normal skate trips was that we were staying in a really nice little hotel in the mountains (thanks to Paul, our host) with great breakfast and a fridge which was always full of delicious little Portuguese beers and got great lunch and dinner by a local restaurant – a priceless comfort when you work from dusk till dawn.
When the last day came, we all were really sore and tired, but super excited for the footage. The film business is really exhausting and from now on I will have even more respect for the guys who do that kind of hard work every day.
There are some things that I would have done differently if I would have been the editor (fortunately I was not^^) but I think that this is the reason for the result to be such a high quality downhill video for a big audience, not just for longboard nerds like us.
What I really like is the “behind the scenes” edit, because it shows how the video was done and we can also see Max skating, Olli and Björn get their part and I’m saying something that was not scripted 😉
In the end I can just send out hugs and kisses to everyone involved. It was an unique experience and not everyone gets the chance to do something like that. I have learned many lessons, made new friends and last but not least, helped promote our sport and my supporters to the outside world.
Longboarding took me to numerous beautiful places, made me meet many awesome people and gave me many opportunities that would have never been possible without it.
I am more than curious what else there is to come.
When first hearing about Morocco, most people think about surfing and deserts. But that doesn’t mean there’s no skate scene there. This wonderful country separated from Europe by the Straits of Gibraltar and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea is know for its rich history and unique culture.
Yassine Boundouq is one of the skaters living in Morocco. He comes from the city of Safi and his mission is to develop the local longboarding scene and bring it closer to people. Despite not having great skateboarding conditions, like we have in Europe, Yassine still shares his love for the sport. Skating on tiles and bad pavement doesn’t hold him back.
His Longboard story a.k.a. MoulTawa Story represents the Moroccan way of living. Besides showing off his skills, the video creates a special vibe with lifestyle shots of the locals and architecture. The MoulTawa Story thus embodies Morocco and shows people how longboarding can fit into its culture.
Yassine Boundouq is an ambassador for OrangatangWheels and Loaded boards.
In June, the French Longboard Girls Crew found themselves filming a new video called French Girls Going Down. The filming took place on Espigoulier Pass, located near Marseille, France.
Anne Poursin, Marjorie Roméo, Lyde Begue and Laure Descloitres took two days off to skate a giant corkscrew road. Meanwhile, Augustin Joan-Montes from AJ Médias captured their motion and me, Alban Pernet documented their adventure with the lens of my camera.
This trip was an opportunity to appreciate the fast and feminine style of the girls riding, who are always happy and smiling. Even after two day of non-stop runs under the hot sun of Southern France.
The new French Girls episode features the following riders:
To survive the winter, a squirrel needs to stack about ten thousand pieces of nuts, acorns and pine-cones before the first snow hits. Tough life.
In general, as skaters living in a country where the weather is seasonal, sometime around the first autumn signs we need to think about charging our batteries to the maximum, just so we can survive winter.
Last year we came up with an idea to visit Spain and guess what, it was a straight bullseye. Without even the slightest hesitation this year early in April we started planning our next trip.
In 2015, Pablo Quiles, a well-known rider from Spain, showed us the ins and outs of Gnarlicante. So basically thanks to him, we now know the spots, local riders and the Spanish way of living.
Getting ready for the trip
When getting ready we tried to plan everything ahead so that nothing would surprise us and we could stay as low profile on the spots as possible. It’s very important for us to respect the spots and local riders that use them on daily basis.
Fortunately when it comes to the whole planning phase, we have a ruthless engineers Bartosz who doesn’t leave anything undone. So by the time we were leaving Poland, our map of roads we wanted to hit looked like a globe used as a shooting target for close range shotgun practice.
We had that covered. To get other things done we got in touch with David Butti from Salsito House. He offered us to stay at his home, helped us with the rentals and overall was an awesome host the whole week once we got to Spain.
I can easily skip the whole ‘omg excitement phase’ with the packing, the flight, the whole clapping after landing and the fact that we could easily throw our jackets to trash because of the 29 degrees in Spain, while in Poland people had to scrub windshields of their cars in the morning.
This year we managed to smuggle into Alicante the whole STWS so there were 7 of us. Next year we probably will bring our families and pets and in two years’ time we will most likely come back with all the crap we own and stay for good.
Skate all day, everyday
All jokes aside Spain has so many beautiful spots and such a unique climate to offer that I myself sometimes didn’t know wheatear I should laugh or cry, so I cried with happiness and enjoyed the trip as much as possible.
We had an ambitious plan to “skate all day, everyday”’ and to test the heck out of the new improved core mounted in LOBO wheels. In fact we calculated that in one week we should be able to pull around 12 skate sessions, counting the Gnarlicante King of the Hill Outlaw Race and Castell de Castells freerides.
The plan was simple…
Wake up, hit the market, eat at the spot (which I really like), skate, lunch somewhere at the beach, skate, dinner, relax, sleep, wake up and repeat.
Sounds a lot but to be honest, if the weather wouldn’t prank us for a day or so, we would most likely pull it off. Nevertheless, we still got tons of riding done and left behind loads of burned urethane.
Alicante is a region that offers hundreds of spots you can skate on.
I literally write hundreds because it’s true. Most likely if you’re a local rider 98% of the spots is invincible for you, but as pure “flatland boyz” we were stoked.
Of course in a weeks’ time we weren’t able to hit all of the spots we saw but we did the best we could playing it smart enough not to burn anything for the locals.
In my eyes Alicante region offers everything. From 30% grade slide spots, through awesome roads with small traffic to pure open road freeride experience with all kinds of other attractions.
So the whole week went by excellent.
During the day we were skating, having fun, stacking clips and snapping photos. Evening on the other hand we spent either relaxing in Salsito or just roaming the small town of Calpe, enjoying the late night life of elderly citizens. I’m telling you, it’s the Miami of Europe.
Fortunately the photographic equipment we took this year for the trip also levelled up, so thanks to the gimbal, a sweet GH4 and a handmade car mount, we were able to record many runs.
King of the Hill Outlaw Race
On the 14th, the Gnarlicante crew organised an outlaw race at on of their local favourites, a spot called “Psychospot“. This name actually comes from the one and only Pablo Quiles, who’s nickname is Psycho, so if you know Pablo or at least seen him skate, you get the drill about the spot.
The road itself does not forgive mistakes and brings genuinely tons of fun. Most of the surface is destroyed in one way or another. From huge cracks and random concrete humps to fairly large holes leaving just a small pass to go through. Add over a dozen degrees of grade plus a few corners and you got yourself a pretty interesting mixture.
I asked the locals why they love the spot so much and heard that the pavement is just perfect where it needs to be and the rest is just details. Frankly, that’s true but I myself think that besides that, Psychospot also offers tons of adrenaline and almost no traffic, plus the guys block the road while bombing.
So, we skated a bit over there. Melvin Herrmann helped us with recording a run of Rafał and we moved on to another road to shot some more footage.
Eventually Melvin Herrmann was declared The King of the Hill by winning the outlaw race, which is well deserved since he is an awesome skater and also by the way has freaking mad driving skills.
Toti Bicileta was second with Adrian Leon Suñol coming in third and Oscar Archibaldo Rodriguez Escoin swooping the fourth position riding on the new LOBO Kraken Downhill series wheels.
During the Friday outlaw race we’ve run across the guys from Netherlands, Robbert and Jordi, with whom we already had a chance to skate at KnK in the past and at Castell de Castells freeride the next day.
Castell de Castells freeride
As I mentioned before, for our last day in the longboard paradise we decided to visit Castell de Castells freeride event organized by the guys from FreeDivision Crew. The freeride was a full weekend event but because of our flight we only attended the first day.
Castell de Castells is located in the mountains of south-east Spain. The town itself is very small and only has around 500 residents, but the freerides were organised on a public road connecting it with the next city.
When you look at the spot on findhills you might not be impressed because it’s only an average 6% grade, nearly 16% steepest point, barely 3 kilometres and just a few corners and sweepers but the point of view changes once you get inside that shuttle bus.
Believe me, it’s awesome. The whole course is not very demanding but you build up speed fast, the road is wide, the pavement is smooth and the corners are crazy-steep. What more could a skater ask for. We took some photos, had lots of fun and went back to Salsito with no losses.
Overall we had a great time!
We did everything we wanted to, including a very hard test of the new and improved cores in all models of LOBO Wheels, which by the way turned out great.
We filmed a lot of clips and snapped some photos to share amongst friends and homies but what is the most important thing, we got to skate with cool people, had a lot of fun and charged our batteries to help us survive the winter break.
Big thanks to David from Salsito House, who once again welcomed us in his home and proved to be a great host and thanks to Melvin for helping us record a sweet run of Rafał on Psychospot.
I’m pretty sure we will come back next year because Gnarlicante still has so much to offer and it only gets better and better.
Just before the Go-Goats Freeride (France) in September, Pierre “le Laboureur de Talus” Hardillier, Mathieu Zeder, Thib “la Roulette” Mordacq and me, Alban Pernet, found ourselves on a three-day long skate trip around Morzine. We filled our days with big rides down the small roads, filming, picking mushrooms and preparing delicious dishes on a “Campingaz”. Adoring fresh vegetables, mushroom sauces and good food, it really was a real gastronomic skate trip…