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Daniel Ledermann Interview

Don’t worry about anything else except skating

You could say that since his last Solo interview four years ago, a lot has changed in Dani’s life. He lives in a new town now, bought a camera to get into filming, and got a job as a TM. But from a different perspective, nothing really changed at all. He’s still a skate rat that is out in the streets all day long. Period. However, once in a while those streets also take him away from Innsbruck’s Landhausplatz to contests in Rio de Janeiro or a quarantining holiday in Barcelona that was originally intended for going skating together with his friend Joscha Aicher. At least he was able to see Joscha when the video conference for this interview started.

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Stefan: Your last Solo interview was four years ago. What has happened in your life since then?

Four years ago, I briefly lived in Berlin. Then the joint there dissolved, and I discovered Innsbruck with the mountains and the Landhausplatz and moved there pretty quickly. Otherwise, I was on the road a lot. I went to São Paulo, Rio, and L.A. with the Philippine national team. After five years, I was finally back in the Philippines.

Joscha: You were in some resort where there was a skatepark.

The guy who built it is called Jack Nonato. He also had the first online skate store in the Philippines. It’s by skaters for skaters. The Palaboy Resort is in the middle of the jungle. The people around there still go spear fishing in the sea. Palm trees and white beaches everywhere. It’s on the same island where my mom has a resort, but it’s way up north and there’s not really any tourism there yet.

"I got cash from the President after I won a section at the Southeast Asian Games"

S: What exactly is your relationship with the Philippine Olympic team and how does it work since you live in Europe?

Well, I’m on the national skateboard team. That’s why I’ve been to all the contests along with TM Anthony Claravall and another coach, Dani Bautista. We actually exchange messages every week.

S: Sounds like they take it seriously.

Yeah, because they also saw that the Philippines are strong in skateboarding through Margielyn Didal. She’s the No. 1 athlete in the Philippines right now. She shook hands with the President.

J: You did too, didn’t you?

I got cash from the President after I won a section at the Southeast Asian Games. For gold, you get money from the President or the state, from the sports commission, and from the mayor of my island I also got a check and congratulations. Margielyn won the Asia Games and placed seventh at the Olympics and now has all the attention in the Philippines.

Daniel Ledermann Kickflip Leo Preisinger

Kickflip

S: Not to get too political, but President Duterte is a huge son of a bitch. He has people killed, has started a drug war, and wants to kill everybody...

Five years ago, it was still possible to smoke weed. Now it’s the death penalty... I was told that a Filipino Red Bull rider ordered weed on the dark net and now he’s doing 40 years in prison.

S: Talking about drugs, how about you and doping tests?

I haven’t had a single one yet, but I also consciously stop smoking five to six weeks before contests, and according to a new regulation, everything outside of contests doesn’t matter.

S: Let’s go back to Berlin for a moment. Why didn’t you stay there for a longer time?

It’s just the best city to skate. There are always new spots, new skaters coming through all the time, and it’s a key city for adidas, so there was a possibility that they would pay me for my apartment. Then the shared apartment was dissolved and I left again.

Daniel Ledermann Hardflip Preisinger

Hardflip

S: What kind of shared apartment was that?

That was in Mitte: the “Banden WG.” The apartment belonged to the mother of a colleague who also skated, but he withdrew more and more from skating.

S: Who is the Bande?

J: Bong Bande.

Michel Funke, Valentin Ott, Farid Ulrich, and a few other heads. Rizzl.

J: Yung Money Blood.

Yung Money Blood, for sure! He was also in the Philippines.

J: He let two ladyboys suck him off.

S: Did he know they were ladyboys?

He didn’t know that there were so many of them, and then there was such a big attraction that he really indulged himself – for free. They wanted him and then they went behind a truck.

S: Okay, but back to Berlin. Without the shared flat, there was no incentive to stay?

I just went skating every day and didn’t bother looking for a place to live. I didn’t get into any paperwork. I didn’t worry about anything else except skating.

Daniel Ledermann 360 Flip Leo Preisinger

Treflip

S: How did Innsbruck happen then?

I knew that Peter Mader has an Xtreme Fisheye and is highly motivated. He would love to go out and film twelve hours a day, and that’s also how I am. I have to get out to stack clips. And anyway, you always come back to Berlin even if you don’t live there.

S: When we talked about the interview a while ago, you also said that there aren’t enough big spots there to shoot bangers. Isn’t it the case that it can quickly become boring in a city the size of Innsbruck?

That’s exactly what’s happening now after three years. I arrive at spots and don’t know what new to do. It also has a different vibe than, for example, Berlin, where every crew has their own neighborhood. Here, everything happens at Landhausplatz, and from there, you go to the spots. Every day is already different, but you know the city by now and it’s hard to find something new.

S: For someone who skates as much as you do, I would have thought that boredom would set in sooner.

I was on the road a lot. Only since COVID times, I stayed longer in one spot.

S: In your last interview, you said that if you are in the same place for five days, you get bored and have to travel again. Was the lockdown hard for you?

The fact that you couldn’t travel was really hard. Otherwise, the rules in Austria weren’t that hard. In Barca, you weren’t allowed to skate for a while – while we were skating with 20 people at Landhausplatz.

"The rail is not even damaged, but I have a conviction for property damage, in addition now three years’ probation and must pay a fine of 2,500 euros"

S: Joscha also told me that you visited him in Barcelona at the worst possible time.

We booked the flight when the numbers were still okay.

J: The thing was that the Delta variant came. When you were there, it was prime time. In our age group, there was an incidence of 3,000…

A couple of colleagues had COVID when we were there. Joscha and I only met twice, and before that, we took a test. Once, we took a car to skate outside of Barca.

J: Which was sketchy because, two days later, I was positive.

S: Was it a skate trip to Barca or were you with your girlfriend?

My girlfriend skates too, which is pretty awesome, then you can always combine that. We go to skateparks together, film each other, so the smile is always there.

S: Speaking of filming, you bought a camera.

I got the HVX200 from a colleague. In the beginning, it was like a Chinese book. I didn’t know what to do with it, adjusting colors, white balance... Now it works and I also got the HPX171. It’s just a new passion now.

Daniel Ledermann Bs 180 Preisinger

Backside 180 over

J: You also film really well and my thesis is that skaters who have been filmed a lot themselves are better with the camera because they have already thought 1,000 times about how a trick comes across well.

Editing is the next thing. I’m currently working on a Homeboy clip.

S: I always thought that when you have a skate career going on, you don’t feel like getting off the board and picking up the camera. How did that happen?

It was just the possibility to get the camera cheap and I wanted to test filming myself. I had already talked with Joscha about the fact that if we filmed ourselves, we would be much more productive because we’d already have the cam on the man.

S: Is this going to be a career later on or is it just a sideline?

So far, only on the side, but I still have a story from where I was filmed the other day. In Kufstein near the skatepark, there is a rail at a mosque. So we went there and I tried backlip three or four times until a guy sent us away. We negotiated for three more tries and then left. Turns out the guy who sent us away didn’t really have anything to do with the mosque, but they have a video surveillance camera and filmed Peter’s car on it and then looked for us. We were then at another spot when a car stopped and three guys came up to us really angry, looking like they want to beat us up, and said that we had destroyed the rail. We offered them to drive to the hardware store to get something to remove the paint, but they said they would go to the police. A week later, the police rang Peter’s doorbell for damage to property, so we had to make a statement and the whole thing went to court. The opposing lawyer, the prosecutor, and the judge really squeezed my balls about how bad skateboarding is and so on. They were real hillbillies. The rail is not even damaged, but I have a conviction for property damage, in addition now three years’ probation and must pay a fine of 2,500 euros. On top of that, another well known skater, who was at the session, stabbed me in the back at the trial by pointing at me and saying that I had destroyed the rail. How can you be so disloyal among skaters?

J: You don’t have to lie, but you can simply refuse to testify.

S: Did the court know that you skateboard professionally?

Yes, I told them that I’m an athlete for adidas and on a national team, and in the end, they asked me why I didn’t learn anything useful and break something instead of doing a real job. No matter what I said, they just smiled at me. The punishment was now forwarded to Germany and now I can (because of the probation) get real problems if I skate a curb somewhere. I.e., every time someone comes and wants to bust me, I have to get out of the way immediately, so as not to take any risks – and all that for a few color stripes on a metal rail. Now I’ve got the money stress.

Daniel Ledermann Nollie Kickflip Leo Preisinger

Nollie kickflip

S: Did you have a lawyer?

No, who pays me for that? I don’t earn enough with skateboarding that I could afford a lawyer.

S: I have legal protection insurance…

…but not if I lose the case. I had that once, then I had to pay court costs.

S: Ah, the incident at ISPO from the last interview...

Exactly, I had to pay like an idiot. I haven’t told my parents yet about the mosque thing, but they know that there’s always something wrong with me. The 420 part, for example, I filmed for two years without health insurance because, as an athlete living abroad, I would have had to pay 350 euros a month. Fortunately, I didn’t get injured during the time. However, my father got really pissed at some point because he thought that was negligent and then I looked for one that now only costs 100 euros.

S: On the subject of money, your list of sponsors includes some unusual names, such as Fritz-kola.

They started a boardsport team and came to me for skateboarding. They’ve been really nice and I get money and drinks. I like to drink cola, mischmasch, or apple spritzer, so that’s perfect.

S: Do you also work with them on a part or something?

They mainly want Insta content and they sponsor a few festivals where miniramps are then built. There is now also a second rider from Barcelona.

S: Another sponsor is Hanfstube [hemp room]. What’s up with that one?

That’s a good homie who moved to Innsbruck because the regulations for weed are more relaxed in Austria. I also helped him in the warehouse once and they have products, CBD honey or something.

S: I also heard that you were asked by an online skate shop to start your own board brand.

That’s still on hold, but it came through Torsten Frank. He had the contact and he said I could be something like Reynolds at Baker, finding riders, building up my own style, etc. For me, it’s still a bit difficult and Tö [Thomas Friedl from Favorite skateboards] doesn’t know anything about it yet.

S: You are also the Homeboy team manager. How did that come about?

Wanja [Bach] called me and said that Homeboy is back. They existed in the ‘90s, but when the baggie pants went out of fashion, they just went down. Since the baggies are now back, however, the brand is also back, and I slipped into the TM role and am just editing the video.

S: Curious about how it turns out. Maybe your next interview will be a filmer checkout…

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