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Jan Hoffmann – CGN to BCN

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Jan Hoffmann had an interview in the first issue of Solo. Back then, he had just moved back to Germany from Dubai, where he spent his teen years. Starting skateboarding in a place that is pretty far away from the centers of skating gave him his own perspective on how to do it and that brought some fresh air into the German scene. Over the years, his style has naturally changed and evolved, and 50 issues later, we’re here for an update. What stayed the same is that he’s still able to skate pretty much everything. For this interview, it was spots in Barcelona.

You had an interview in Solo #1 and it was just after you moved from Dubai to Germany. What has changed since then in your life as well as in your skating?

Skating in general has changed in terms of tricks, spots, and speed. I like it to go fast nowadays as well.

Do you have a more precise idea nowadays of how your footy should look like?

Yeah, I check how it looks on camera and if it’s not something I’m super stoked on and I would have to battle for it, I’d rather save my energy for another trick. When I was young, I was listening more to filmers or photographers which tricks would be cool. If it’s a cool idea, I’ll still listen to them, but normally I come up with the trick ideas. I prefer filming to some degree because you actually use the landed trick in the end, whereas you usually only use the one that looks best in terms of photos. And some of the tricks look sick on photo but don’t work for video. I only filmed half of the tricks I took photos of. For example, the 360 flip has just a short landing and you instantly go into the other bank really slow. That’s a photo trick.

JAN HOFFARD boardlide to fakie into the wall by Gerard Riera

Boardslide to fakie

Who are skaters that inspire you?

Grant Taylor, he does his tricks picture-perfect. I like what Kevin Bækkel does or Andrew Allen, and I also watch legends like Dan Drehobl. I want to skate more transition again. You get back into it quickly and don’t unlearn it as fast as street. However, my crew here in Cologne is not that much into skating bigger transitions.

How is it for your skateboarding if you’re on the road a lot compared to if you’re mostly at home?

I’m only productive when I’m on tour. I don’t have the motivation to film something cool in Cologne. At home, you’re learning new tricks, however, which you don’t do on a trip. There you only try what you know you can do. In Cologne, I skate with Jost [Arens] and the Rat crew.

Are Jost and you pushing each other?

I think there couldn’t be a bigger difference in our style of skating, which means we can learn a lot from each other. I showed him some transition stuff and he helped me learn fakie flip manuals.

JAN HOFFMANN bs smith double bank by Gerard Riera

Backside Smithgrind

I find it funny that some great skaters are lost in transition. You always skated everything. How come?

When I started skating in Dubai, there was no skatepark, so we skated street and listened to hip hop. Then a wooden bowl got built and we instantly switched to transition and punk rock. That’s why I always skated both, and I like to skate every kind of spot and at least be able to do a few tricks.

Is tour life sometimes so exhausting that you can’t skate at a level you want to skate?

Sure, it’s lots of skating and lots of drinking, but it’s fine. I was just on a tour where we slept in skateparks and the hard ground was good for the back, and you’re fit if you sleep in fresh air.

When you came to Germany, you didn’t drink or anything and you said you don’t miss that, cause you weren’t used to it when you grew up. How did that change?

Well, in Germany, most skaters drink beer, so I got used to it and I think it fits skateboarding. During the week, I normally don’t drink unless I’m on tour. There it’s on pretty much every day, but I’m 27 now and start feeling it if I drink the day before.

JAN HOFFMANN fs 180 bump over the street by Gerard Riera

Frontside 180

How’s it going with your studies?

It’s on hiatus now, but I don’t want to become a teacher anymore anyway. Maybe I’ll study something with sports, but you have to pass a practical test and I’m not sure if I can do that cause my right arm has this injury.

What happened?

On some Cleptomanicx trip years ago, I fell into shards and slit my arm and muscle open. The doctor fucked it up as well. That’s why my biceps is shortened and I have less power in my arm. I helped a friend move recently and dropped a box cause I can’t lift shit if it’s too heavy.

How about inverts then?

That’s okay. Because of the movement, your body isn’t that heavy, but I can’t hold them as long as Ronnie Sandoval.

JAN HOFFMANN gap to lipslide by Gerard Riera

Frontside Lipslide

Although you’re handicapped, you’re an athlete and skateboarding brought you to different places. What were the strangest ones?

Probably the ball of the German Sports Aid Foundation with lots of higher politicians and a seven-course menu, where I met the then minister Jens Spahn.

How did you get involved with the German Sports Aid Foundation?

The athletes of the Olympic team are in the normal program and for those who don’t like to compete but are still influential in their scene, there is a different program through Our House. It’s for skateboarding, BMX, wakeboarding, parkour, snowboarding, and skiing – and you nearly get the same financial support. We’re also doing a trip a year and they have deals with different partners. Last year, everybody got a cell phone, and this year, we’ll get shopping coupons for an ecological drugstore. And on the last trip, a star chef from Berlin was cooking for us.

JAN HOFFMANN hurricane hubba rail by Gerard Riera

Backside Hurricane

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