My strongest memory of Willow from back before I turned my back on Hamburg in 2017 is watching him fly over the huge launch ramp meant primarily for bikers and bladers at the I-Punkt Skateland in pretty much full-on protective gear. While that place probably hasn’t changed a bit since then, Willow himself went through quite the transformation in the meantime. On the two-week trip we shared with the GX1000 crew in Paris and Stuttgart, I kept forgetting that he has barely made it out of his teenage years. He’s calm, collected, easy to talk to, incredibly good at setting and managing his own energy and boundaries (especially for someone as young as him), and is not easily influenced. There is no doubt the “sequel” to the OG Willow [the “German Hammerking” by the name of Christoph Wildgrube], as Dustin Dollin dubbed him, has some big shoes to fill on the international stage. With career moves on the horizon and a video part in the near future, however, “Willow” is soon to be a household name again.
If you think about hill bombing, GX1000 is definitely one of the first names that will pop up in your head. They set a new bar for speedfreaks all over the world, which makes sense, cause the crew/the brand is located in San Francisco, a city where you can go downhill faster than Kanye’s career. But, once in a while, even they feel the need to travel to other places. This summer, for example, they visited Paris (not so much hill bomb potential) and Stuttgart (located in a valley with some quite good hill bombs). Pretty sure you saw the Jagen video already or the feature we have about it on our website. However, GX mastermind Ryan Garshell also brought his analog cam on the trip and took some snapshots. We combined them with some skate shots that haven’t been seen so far from our man Felix Adler and voilà, we present you the GX1000 Euro vacation photo album.
It’s not a bad idea to have a look under bridges for spots. Most likely you find a bank or maybe you find even more. Photographer Friedjof Feye wanted to shoot an article with Niklas Schaible, the younger one of the Schaible brothers for a while now, but when he finally went to visit Niklas at his residence in Mannheim, it rained cats and dogs. Classic Middle-European autumn weather. So they needed to come up with an idea to be able to skate. That’s when they started hiding under bridges and it turned out that there were enough in and around Mannheim to shoot a whole article. There may be more beautiful places in Mannheim, but at least, it was dry there under these huge concrete worms (at least most of the time). So whether you like it or not, maybe you should check out a bridge near you in the coming months as well.
I met Jakob Dellacher at the Vladimir Film Festival in Croatia. He had an exhibition there and presented his book “Polar” (published by FOTOHOF edition, order it through firstname.lastname@example.org or shop.fotohof.at). This project started when Jakob discovered photos taken by his grandfather Peter Breitfuss after his passing which had never been shown to anybody. He was a traumatized and disabled veteran of World War II and didn’t speak about the war. Jakob found some connection between his own photography and the photos his grandfather shot as a soldier. Being raised in times of peace, we were able to enjoy our lives and travel to other countries to make friends there, not to fight. It was unthinkable that a brutal war of aggression would ever happen in Europe again. But the pages have turned and now young men have to fight or fear being sent to the front lines – just like Vans Russia TM and Absurd skateboards boss Kirill Korobkov, who made it to the festival as well. When I saw Jakob’s photos, I knew we had to do an article about them and I thought Kirill would be the right person to write something. This should be a reminder that there’s often just a thin line between peace and war and we always have to be cautious not to fall back into those barbaric times we thought we had left behind us long ago.
When you watch Lea Schairer skating, you can see that she simply knows how to ride a board in a stylish way. What she doesn’t know nowadays, however, is how to do that without being in pain. Since we asked her to shoot an interview for Solo for the first time, she has had unbelievably bad luck with injuries. Even now, when we gave it another shot, she twisted her ankle right away. We got to a point where it almost felt cursed. However, she finally had some time without any injury this year, which she used to stack some photos. All she needed was one day in Berlin and one day in Malaga to shoot everything you can see here – which makes it the longest planned and fastest produced interview at the same time. But yeah, when she’s healthy, she’s definitely not procrastinating. She was even making stewed apples while we were recording the interview, which is a good thing since the saying goes, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.”
Vincent Milou has put in work to be where he is right now. Born and raised in the countryside of France, he started skating on something you barely can call streets, far away from the fancy skateboarding hub of Paris. By skating contests, he took the hard way to get into the spotlight – and the even harder way to emancipate himself from that again and establish himself as someone who will drop a video part that even stokes the people who usually don’t pay any attention to competitions. He kept his sympathetic, down-to-earth attitude, sending good vibes all the time; and being where he is right now, he can finally reap the rewards of his hard work. There is a lot to talk about, so we stole a little time from him as he jets between missions in the U.S., competitions in Brazil, and white wines in Europe.
As I was growing up I digested the unwritten rules of the early 2000’s skate culture without any questions. I got good at navigating my way through “being real” and made it all the way to the pro ranks. I kept my cool if I landed a hard trick and never said I wanted to become something. “Skateboarding is not a competition. It’s a way of life and if you’re not a real skater I don’t care what you think”. And snowboarding? Baggy colorful clothing, cheesy hip hop image... Pffff… It’s not a bluntslide if you don’t have wheels.
This was the sort of vibe I grew into and even though my own beliefs and the whole skate culture has changed a lot in the past 20 years I still found myself struggling with the questions: Should skating and snowboarding be mixed in a video part? Is there a way to do it with good taste?
It doesn’t have to be expensive, shiny, rare, or extraordinary. It can be, for sure, but it doesn’t have to. It can be a barf bag, it can be art, or it can be ham. Whatever it is, it tells its own story. So we asked some well-traveled friends about their most beloved souvenirs from the road.