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What are skaters doing during the Corona Pandemic? - Giorgi Balkhamishvili

The Corona Pandemic has been described by the UN as the worst crisis since the Second World War and, as with almost every citizen of the world, it has an impact on skateboarders. We interviewed a few scene representatives to see how they deal with the situation. To find out what pro-skaters are doing during the contact ban, we called Giorgi Balkhamishvili in Berlin.

Giorgi, what's up with you?

Nothin'. I'm watchin' TV.

And what's the general situation in Berlin?

When you walk the streets, people first check out if you wear a mask. If you're with a buddy and don't keep the necessary distance, they'll look crooked, too. Understandably so. But I don't find it so dramatic here. It's not a curfew yet, it's just a contact ban. Could be worse.

When was the last time you went skating?

I was at the Ernst Thälmann memorial with a buddy. It's right nearby in a park where there aren't many people. If there comes another skater there you still have enough distance and we don't kiss. The skateparks are all closed. Last week many people went to "Polendenkmal" and then the police came and said: "That's not possible", because you are only supposed to go out in groups of two. But in general the rules of conduct are followed and when you say "Hello" you don't shake hands anymore for example.

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Kuscheln mit Brad Staba geht in Corona Zeiten leider nicht mehr

What is the situation in Georgia?

It's more regulated there. You're not allowed out after 9 p.m. The police patrols, there are heavy fines and as a repeat offender you can even go to jail.

How does the pandemic affect you now in terms of sponsors, events, trips?

Actually, not so much. I was recently in Lisbon with Farid [Ulrich], Dan [Schulz] and David Jakinda and we came back the day before it started with cancelling flights and stuff. That was the last trip now. I wanted to go to Paris two weeks later, but of course that's over now. Nobody can travel at the moment, it’s not ideal for sure, but I don't mind. We're all fucked somewhere, I don't need to be in a bad mood.

"the New Year's resolutions can be postponed to 2021. Now the world is on vacation"

You've been spending your time in that apartment on Instagram. Will your furniture survive the restraining order?

The couch suffered for a moment and it's a little bent, but I fixed that. Anyway, I thought it was a little more solid...

The 50-50 drop looked radical.

I thought, what can I do most stupidly in my flat and I had three of those bars at home, but I could only put them on the highest obstacle. I didn't have anything else lying around and then I had to exaggerate a bit. I was scared, too. I thought, I’m alone here and if it goes wrong, it's gonna go really bad. But then I can already assess the risks.

You'd be in need of an explanation if you had to tell the paramedics in Corona times why you called them. [laughs] Have you developed a specific Covid 19 power work-out to keep you fit?

I've used a ten-pound dumbbell to try to lift it with one arm. Two days later I had the most terrible muscle ache. It's not an option for me.

How many were you able to do?

70 - After that my arm was like Arnold Schwarzenegger's. Then I thought I had to train the other one a bit. After that I had absolutely no strength for four days.

The fact that the Olympic Games were postponed probably doesn't affect you that much.

I don't care about that but I would have liked to have seen it and would have been happy when it was over. [laughs]

And either way, you're the world's greatest skateboarder.

Yeah, and I've held a trophy in my hand before. It's just metal.

Speaking of trophies: How many rolls of toilet paper do you have left?

I think I have three, but only one in the bathroom and two by my bed.

Do you need them by your bed a lot right now?

I think so. I also already ran out of data. [laughs]

How is the toilet paper situation in Berlin like?

I haven't seen a roll in the supermarket for two weeks. But Eric Erhardt works in a supermarket and he supports me with toilet paper. You can also take a shower if necessary, but I've already thought about it, if it's really not possible, you could cut open a tampon or something.

Do you think skateboarding will change with this experience? What impact could the pandemic have?

At the moment probably nobody is filming a video part, so I think there will be less parts out this year. Those who release a part afterwards will definitely get more attention. And many people will also be looking forward to the events, because there won't be any big get-togethers for a long time. I would say that the New Year's resolutions can be postponed to 2021. Now the world is on vacation. Others are more affected, others less or not at all. But as someone who lives by skating, it's not super bad.

The worst thing is that all the spots out there are empty now and you can't go.

Theoretically you can go out together in a group of two. That is, skaters and film-makers would go. But with three or four people it's just shit. Butm we have to go through it.

Considering it's the biggest global crisis since World War II, we're still doing pretty well. I got hot running water, I got Netflix up and running...

It's definitely bearable. The TV can take away five hours of your day and the rest you can get rid of somehow.

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