Mark Suciu is the only one I know who studies at a university besides being a pro skater. I don’t actually know what subject he studies, but it has something to do with humanities, maybe cultural history. Definitely German, too. He’s just doing a semester abroad in Paris and reads a book at the spot every once in a while. His skateboarding career resembles a game of chess. I once asked him about what’s next on his schedule and he told me all the plans he had for the whole next year. Everything was already planned. When he came to Stuttgart he also knew exactly which tricks he wanted do at which spot and he knew what locals already did there, too. That actually made me think: “What the fuck, how does he even know this?” He’s the most intelligent skater I know.
This was on a Sunday, visiting Tyshawn in his parents’ home in the Bronx. He’s sitting on the balcony, watching the city. His mother told me she allowed him to skate Manhattan all on his own when he was just twelve years old, since he never did any stupid stuff. He still doesn’t drink, he neither smokes cigarettes nor weed and he doesn’t do drugs. He’s 100% skating. He’s got his own company, Hardies Hardware
and he follows his own path with a lot of passion. Coming from the Bronx to conquer the world. At only 17 years, he’s pretty mature for his age. You can feel the respect he has for everybody. Bill Strobeck kind of is his daddy and he knows I’m taking care of Lem, so he respects me a lot. He took care of everything that day, got us our railway tickets and did the best he could to make it a good day for everyone.
The Europe JLB’s (Jetlag Brothers) in Venice Beach. That’s what the Euro-guys call their crew. It came up when Chewy tried to wake up Lem and me at five a.m. to go skate and we wanted to do nothing but sleep. That was when he started calling us Jetlag Brothers. We actually are traveling a lot and our jet lags are always exhausting.
Miles, Lem and Lucas were the guys I spent the most time with during Away Days. They really hyped each other up. Miles looks up to Lucas and he loves watching the big boss destroy ledges. The three guys got one thing in common. They all sort of live a bit outside from typical skateboarding cities, Miles in Sacramento, Lucas in Toulouse and Lem in Stuttgart – and they want to stay, eventhough a lot of skaters would move to New York, L.A. or Barcelona. They feel comfortable with their little home base from which they can travel the world though.
You can skate L.A. only when it’s weekend and that’s why we waited impatiently for the schoolyard sessions. This is Sunland school and if you hop over the fence you’re basically entering a filmset. No one’s there, no traffic and tons of spots. Tyshawn and Nakel chill right here. Tyshawn is sort of like a younger brother for Nakel, they really support each other.
That was the day after my wedding. I travelled the whole world for Away Days. I was on 25 tours within just two years which means two weeks on the road every month and only two weeks I spent at home. Hence it was pretty hard to set up a wedding date. Then I asked my wife Elena to marry me in Vegas, right after our LA trip. It was a dream come true to her, she’s never been to Vegas. That’s why we did it last minute, Rock ’n’ Roll style. Lucas was with us as our best man. Next day we headed to Death Valley and took the photo, I’m still wearing the jacket I wore for the wedding. After that shot we had a nice time together in LA.
Miles always hurts his hand, some skaters always hurt the same part of the body. He skated a ditch that day. Arto Saari once did a fake flip there, Lem backside flipped it. I think Miles’ way of doing tricks is quite interesting. Even before coming to a spot he already knows what he’ll do. He first ollied in, then a kickflip, then a nollie. Then, he did a nollie heelflip on flatground and then nollie heelflips into the ditch. Tyshawn on the other hand always tries his hardest trick right away. Miles skating is more like a puzzle. He’s solving it step by step, like a mathematician would.
Gustav Tonnesen – get ready for this guy! He’s the incarnation of 2016 skateboarding. Playful, unpredictable and always next level. His part is going to be a big surprise and he’ll definitely stay on the map.
Back in the days Lem has always been the youngest and the smallest guy of our team. Now he’s the big brother for the 17 year old Tyshawn whenever Nakel’s not around.
Home sweet home. I produced the most stuff while filming in Stuttgart. I took a one day trip with Alec Majerus and one of the tricks instantly made it to the Thrasher issue that features the toughest handrail tricks ever done. Frontside 50–50 to backside 50–50 at the Staatsgalerie double kink. If the guys come to Stuttgart I know which spots will work best for them. Rails, stairs, ledges, Stuttgart has it all.
To me, lines mean flow and I’m always trying to talk skaters into doing a line instead of a single trick. With fifteen single tricks in a part I can’t watch it, no matter how hard the tricks are, because there will be no flow in it. Even as a filmer it’s more fun to film a line. If I followed Dennis Busenitz for example, and I captured him just perfect, that really feels like a success. I don’t think fisheye filming is easy. To really make a line look dynamic is just as hard as getting a proper longlens shot.
On a sunday at the Hyde Park in London we talked philosophize about skateboarding. Or let me put it differently: Mark Gonzales talked about back in the days. I told Gonz he was in This Ain’t California
and that in the movie there is a scene were the skaters from GDR first met american skaters in Prague in 1988. He told us that he actually was there and that he remembers their DIY boards. That’s what made him talk about that time even more, telling the story of inventing the stalefish grab while touring Europe. Mark and Nestor really make good companions to talk about skateboarding’s history.
Gonz skating in Moscow got kids as excited as their fathers. There were skaters that had seen him back in ’85 when he was in Moscow. He really hypes up people at all ages. Not only with his skating, but with his art, too. I’m a fan of the way he makes skateboarding look like art, to put it in brief terms. There are no days you go out with Gonz and nothing happens. No matter if he films a trick, does a coffin downhill or just has a chat with some random stranger, it’s always a great story.
Blondey and Benny, the Brits. Blondey is quite new on Adidas and you’ll definitely see a lot more of him soon. He’s over all the partying stuff and rather takes care of his brand Thames
. He works at the Palace office on a daily basis and he knows Guy Ritchie, Madonna’s ex–husband. He’s an It–Boy in London. Whenever he hits the clubs with his all–white Palace clothes and his golden tooth, he’s got some sort of charisma. When we were in Japan, Joe Brook saw only two tricks of him and was already like, “Ey, who’s that guy?”. He’s an interesting skater, even if he does nothing but an ollie.
Another Day at the Office. As a skateboard filmer you find a place, put your stuff there and stay there for the rest of the day. You’re like a street rat, hanging around in this world’s cities.