Category Archive: Articles

10 Years of Voodoo Jam by Scott O’Brien!

Photography: Fat Tony.

With 10 years of the Voodoo Jam going down this weekend in New Orleans, Scott just wrote this article about what it means to him, the friendships he has made, & a whole lot more. If you can’t make it to the Voodoo Jam, you can celebrate with them by watching the lifestream. Read on!

In 2004 I had an idea about having a contest in a club with spectators being close to the riders so everyone could feel the energy and create a special experience. The idea was to highlight my love for riding with my friends and show the world that Flatland can be highly entertaining. I wanted people to feel the love that Flatland BMX has for life. Flatland is about friendships, hard work, artistic values, athletic abilities, mental strength and most of all its amazing life experiences. Red Bull believed in the passion I had so they stood behind me to create The Voodoo Jam.!

There was a problem with the 2004 Voodoo Jam, we could not find an MC for the event and I could not trust just anyone with my vision. We had some names, but I was so afraid that my vision would not be brought to life the way I wanted it to be. So I ended up just taking control of this part of the contest even though I was the organizer. I never MC’ed for an event before in my life. I had no idea my passion for riding could just come out like that and I am so honored for the life experiences since that day.!

So, here I am 10 years later reflecting on these past Voodoo Jams. I think about the impact it has had on Flatland and many riders in this world fueling my sport in so many ways. My friendships have grown strong because of Voodoo Jam. Most of all, Terry Adams and I have something together with Voodoo Jam that you can’t put a price on in life. The impact that Voodoo Jam has had on my life is hard to put into words, but since that day,in 2004, I would not have these friends, I would not have these experiences and most of all, I would not have this amazing outlook on life. Voodoo Jam has given my family a global view of life and for that I am forever grateful. !
Life can be what you want it to be, go out there and get it. Flatland BMX is one of the most amazing things on earth and if you truly believe in that, you will get so much back from it. Get out there and experience it!!!

Thanks to all the riders, sponsors, friends and family that have made Voodoo Jam possible.!
Much Love, !

Scott O’Brien!

Julius Salo – Too Small Bikes 2014 Interview

Intro/Interview: Sietse van Berkel/Navid Saleki.

Some of you have been waiting for TSB14 for some time, but do you know who´s the brain behind it? We (Sietse and Navid) stayed in Helsinki for the video premiere of TSB14 and for the legendary Flatstyles jam the day after. Julius, the maker of the TSB series, was our host for these days. During our stay, before the premiere, he was VERY busy with the last things for TSB14. Who is this guy who makes one of the best web videos for years? A small interview with Julius Salo, creator of the TSB series:

Tell us about yourself please? Who are you, what do you do?
J: I’ m Julius, I’m living in flatland capital of Finland: Helsinki.
25 years old, started get into BMX around 2003. I work at a local bike shop and I’m doing some video projects besides that.

Can you tell us about the video projects you did? Where did you get the inspiration from to make TSB14?
J: My first flatland video was about showing the scene we having fun, nothing serious. I did a couple of movies like ’SCuFF THaT SHiT’ and ’I Don’t Quite Get It’. I see many small clips like progression clips on the internet. I didn’t want to get my videos got lost on the internet. That’s why I choose to make bigger edits.

Too Small Bikes (FULL MOVIE) from Julius on Vimeo.


When i made some courses in film school i got more inspiration from Finnish cool looking snowboard videos like ’Elekrep’ . I wanted to try something with the same kind of style, then I started ’ Too Small Bikes’ around 2010. It was a success among the riders, and I developed an addiction for making more videos. After the second and third one, which are kind of mixtape with different riders and styles i wanted to make something new.

TSB14 is a little bit different compared to previous TSB videos. Riders have their own part. I tried to make each part look like the rider by the music and way of editing & color grading. For TSB14 I had the help of the sound designer Tomi Hyyppä. He did an amazing job with the sounds!

TOO SMALL BIKES 2 (FULL MOVIE) from Julius on Vimeo.


Talking about web video’s, what’s your favorite video on the web?
J: Church of Pedro Melo.

You put a lot of work in TSB14. How much exactly?
J: First clips were filmed in 2012 and last 2014.
But how much time i used exactly… I don’t want to even think about it :D

What is your future plans regarding the TSB series?
J: I don’t know yet, but definitely something different. You will see!

Thank you Julius! Any shout outs?
J: I would like to thank :
All flatland riders worldwide for the support!!!
All the music maker who let me use their awesome sounds!
Super thanks to Tomi Hyyppä!
All the riders in the video!
My lovely girlfriend who has let me sit all the time in front of my computer!
Everyone who has helped me in anyway with this project!
Thanks to all my riding buddies for being such a good friends!!
Thanks to Sietse and Navid for this interview and being so great guys!
Thanks to Flatmatters!

TOO SMALL BIKES 3 (FULL MOVIE) from Julius on Vimeo.


Some links of sites where you can listen the musicians!

Links of previous videos of Julius Salo:
I Don’t Quite Get It &

Repo: 30 Years of BMX Cologne

Intro/Text: Effraim.
Photos: Peter Steffen.

This year marked 30 years of BMX events in Cologne, so for this years repo why not have 30 points about the contest I thought. I hope you enjoy this break down of what went on this year in Cologne.

Dominik Nekolny, xft juggler combo. Photo: Peter Steffen.

1) Cologne – one of the best cities in the world to visit with a huge tradition in BMX. 30 years of contests is an amazing achievement, moving with the times the whole way along the way trying to new things each year to keep the event fresh is a tough task. The beautiful architecture of the city is something to be experienced, whether the iconic Cathedral just across the river. Or the laid-back culture, the art in the city (parking lot on building -see photo is one of my favourites.) The bridge with padlocks all the way along is a must see if you ever in this city. So much to see, and despite being there so many times, always new things to see and experience.

2) Jugendpark – you really would be hard pushed to find a venue as suitable for such a big contest. The ride down the spiralled walkway still gives me goosebumps as all the memories come flooding back as you approach the park. Argueably the biggest contest of the year, there is something about the atmosphere there that cannot be explained unless you are there. The Wimbledon of BMX.

3) BMX- flatland right in the mix with the BMX family is a beautiful thing and a huge part of why this contest is so well respected. BMX is so much stronger, when we are altogether.

4)Bumper Cars- I am sure everyone was curious, will the bumper car flatland area work? If you weren’t there, I will tell you now it was the best floor yet in Cologne. Solid foundation for the wooden floor + really good size floor, room for spectators without losing contest area space, tight dj set up, this was as dialled as I have seen in Cologne!

5)Judging – As always judging can be tough, especially with 54 riders to look at in the prelims. Stretching over 5 hours, of course not everyone can be happy with judging decisions that is the nature of the subjective beast. Scott O’Brien to his credit did make it well known in his press release the judges were looking for originality, difficulty, and progression, so the philosophy was clear.

6)New format- Scott and Alex Jumelin set about a new format to try and push more progressive riding in contests. Linking the traditional 3 minute run that Cologne is known for with a bonus round to determine your final score. It was interesting to see how this format unfolded, with a lil’ tweaking this format can work a lot better I am sure. Perhaps holding the 1 minute bonus round right after each riders run, so that it is directly obvious for the audience?

7) Rayk Hahne is a beast. Qualifying first with an amazing no touch run switching front to back wheel and vice versa with so much power in the Am class, right before his finals run he suffered a flat tyre which knocked him off tune a lil’ bit, regardless of that he managed to take the third place spot. Congratulations Rayk.

8- Wow! Michele Maiolani!!!! Qualifying second in the Am class, Michele had an amazing flawless final run to take the win! He dropped one of the tricks of the contest in his run, a bar grab pedal one handed 5 coasted across the contest floor with ease, jaw dropping! Search his name on the sidebar of the site if you are unsure who he is. This guy is the real deal, such a calm rolling style! This guy could make the jump to Pro Class with ease. Check his run above.

9) Pro Qualifying was stacked with 54 riders, Alex Jumelin taking the top spot with one of the best runs of his life touching once. Starting out with his spinning scuffing pedal picker was a brave mood, and that worked from him! Qualifying lasted 5 hours, it was so great to see so many pro riders in attendance and also considering quite a few heavy hitters not in attendance (Adam Kun, Matthias Dandois, Viki Gomez, Yohei Uchino, Hiroya Morizaki, I could go on…) Some said it was the easiest year to win in Cologne, but first you had to get past 53 others, great turnout!

10) The spanish army were in full effect this year! If there were an award for a nation dominating the event, this years would have gone to the Spanish. Five riders making into the Am final, Mario Garcia Correas had the run of his life to take a well deserved second place and send all his friends into a frenzy, it was a beautiful moment. Alberto Moya and Guelo Monzon both killed it in prelims to earn a well deserved spot in the pro finals. The spanish army made so much noise, giving a lot of support to all the riders. Much respect to these guys and the energy they bring to flatland!

11) The ritual premiere on friday night documented 30 years of BMX Cologne contests was an amazing touch to the contest. So much history, so many faces in attendance from all generations of BMX. If you can get hold of a copy, I suggest you do so, it is a great story. Definitely one for the collection.

Amazing crowds every year in Cologne!

12) Raphael Chiquet – Raph had an awesome qualifying run stomping an awesome spinning caboose body varial directly into xft gerator body varial with so much style. Great to see the former world champion back on his bike and having so much fun too.

13) James White – Had the run of his life to take a well earned fourth place, James came out to the “Don’t call it a comeback” and it really set the tone of his run jamming to LL Cool J “Mama said knock you out” and brought the house down when he rode out of his flawless routine in his legendary slow controlled style. The man is a total legend, and did it all with a smile on his face. What an amazing advert James is for flatland! Performance of the weekend? James really brought the heat up in the final.

14) George Manos – It seems everyone loves to talk about George, I lost count how many times people asked me what do you think about George? Well, when you are so different than everyone else you stand out so much more, whether it was it his choice of music, or the short hard links. The xft foot ride to front and back no footed crackpacker during the finals was a beautiful moment. I respect George for being brave enough, to say “here is MY riding”. How many people can say its there riding?

15) Alex Jumelin – Qualifying first at the last two big contests, it didn’t quite happen for Alex during the finals. he did finish strong with rollback boomerang to pedals keeping the rollback going to stem boomerang to pedals. He also dropped a double brakeless pinky right on the buzzer in the bonus round to earn him a 5th place spot.

16) Dominik Nekolny – I said this many times over the last two years, you beat Dominik and win the contest. Dom threw down an amazing 3 minute run and nailed his bonus round combo to a well deserved win that I am sure he has been dreaming about for a long time! Congratulations Dom!

Moya, all tweaked out! So stylish!

17) Moto Sasaki arrived Friday for the contest, and like all the top riders threw it down when it mattered. Moto is so dialled, it has been quite a year for him already. Getting on Monster, three amazing video parts, and a second place finish at BMX Cologne to add to his contest resume.

18) I met Shintaro Misawa right as I got off the plane at Koln airport on Thursday. I wondered if he could translate his incredible videos this year to the contest floor, the answer this time was no. It wasn’t to be his day, the around the world halfpacker he nailed in qualifying was absolutely beautiful, one of my favourite tricks from the whole contest, for now he got 14th place. But he will be back!

19) Scott O’Brien worked his ass off to make sure everything ran on time, and killing it on the mic throughout the three days in such hot weather is not an easy job! During the finals Scott’s energy somehow went up a gear despite all the partying and his voice beginning to go. When the bonus round was threatening to be cancelled due to an electrical storm on its way, Scott continued on and got the job done! And helped make this one of the best contests I have ever been to! Thank you Scott!

Moto Sasaki, spinning hang 10 during qualifying warm up.

20) Bumping into old/new faces is one of my favourite things about the Cologne event, from all walks of BMX throughout the four days of being there. You see people you might not see for another year, great this year to see OG Marton, Frank Lucas, Mike S very briefly (he was helping organise a street event in Munich), Bram Verhallen, great to see the japanese contingent,

21) Lajos Sinko has like a cult status in Cologne. Every year he brings his carpet to be signed by all the riders, he has 15 years worth of these to his collection. This year he drove to the contest with James McGraw and Dave Szabo, the 2013 expert world champion to compete in the expert class, and add to his collection.

22) Ah yes, James McGraw as always was a barrel of laughs. Whether its pointing at me as he was about to do a backwards grip ride mid run, or his fake hungarian hollering at Lajos Sinko, it’s always a good time hanging out with this guy. And I didn’t get snaked once! And he almost lost his hair to James Whites scissors. (Check that photo)

23) The tension at this contest is nothing like I have experienced, I think its the reason this contest has so much draw to it. Many a rider have crumbled around the pressure, its something you really have to experience to know truly what I am talking about.

24) Phil Dolan made his comeback to the contest scene and it wasn’t quite the return he was hoping for. But it was great for all to see Phil back in the contest arena where he belongs, I hope we see Phil sooner rather than later back out there. And of course the non stop banter that goes with that.

Your host for the event, Scott O’Brien.

25) Vapianos was the place to go and hang out for food and drinks most of the nights, any time you get together with your flatland friends you don’t see everyday is a good day!

26) Hector Garcia helped a ton behind the scenes with the contest, and we had non stop laughs with this guy especially when he mistook Shintaro for Moto. But all the work behind the scenes tabulating scores, bringing food and drink for the judges was greatly appreciated. Thank you Hector.

27) The two small bikes crew were in full effect once again in Cologne, Aleksi Ritsilla narrowly missing the cut with a nice ET nose manual combo, Aapo Airas went for some of the hardest tricks in the Am class, it wasn’t the best run but he did hit a hang 10 360 flip to halfpacker pivot to opposite xft hitch right at the end of his run. The finnish guys always have a blast!

This shot captures the feel of practise, Martin Drazil busting out.

28) Tanja Michelinchen deserves a hefty pat on the back, this lady for me is part of the main reason the BMX Cologne contests work so well. Working tirelessly behind the scenes, whether it’s booking flights, hotels, food and drinks, shuttles to and from the airport, liasing back and forth with riders, judges, this lady does it so well! Thank you Tanja for everything once again!

29) The weather this year was perfect, it was so hot everyday! The event almost got shutdown during the dramatic bonus round of Pro Flat finals which is why the livestream went off. But Scott pulled through and kept going to get it done. And even then the weather changed and came out nice again, we left to pouring rain on the Monday so I think we timed it well this time.

30) 30 years more of BMX Cologne events would be great, but one thing is for sure these guys who are involved year to year running the contest have made their mark on BMX and flatland forever. Thank you to everyone who is involved with the event, from Stephan at the top to bottom. Hope to be back next year for another amazing time in the Jugendpark.

Maybe you were at the contest, what was your highlight? Let us know in the comments.


Repo: Flatland Fracas by Todd Carter

Text: Todd Carter.

Photos: Tony Long of

Todd Carter, pedal death truck on his way to 5th in the Bad Ass class.

Sunday July 20th was a great day for the flatland scene.
The 5th annual Flatland Fracas went down just outside of Boston Massachusetts. I have been a fan of the New England flatland scene for decades, so I was honored to be a small part of it for a day.
The location was a super smooth street hockey rink in East Bridgewater.
Some really nice basketball courts directly next to the rink, made it a great location for families to come and hang out. It was great to see some New England flatland legends in attendance like Tommy Simpson.
We dodged some light raindrops first thing in the morning, but made it through the whole day with a dry surface!

FF Groupshot.

First up was the “Pretty Good Class” (beginner). It was encouraging to see 8 riders from three different states battling it out. Colin Carter pulled a whiplash rebate on his way to first place. Camden Carter brought out his Miami Hopper spin variation and locked down a solid second place. Massachusetts’ own Ian Hicks has mega-spins dialed! He took third place.
Special shout out to Mike Reynolds, who went down hard in his first run. Mike ended up with a broken ankle. Heal up quickly Mike!

Jim Cavanaugh killed it at Fracas 2014, 7th place in Bad Ass.

Next up was the “Real Good Class” (intermediate). 13 riders took the floor with a ton of trick diversity and style. New Hampshire’s Scott Denocourt took home the win, with a smooth style. Scott Duszlak of Massachusetts rolled into second place, and Freddy Brown also of Massachusetts spun his way to a well earned third place, while also celebrating his 30th birthday! One highlight for me, was seeing Mike Nogueira riding in this class, while watching his son Mannie getting ready to ride in the next class. Mannie was all smiles during his Dad’s run, and it was a joy to see them celebrate together, after his Dad rolled off the contest floor.

After the intermediate class finished, the event organizers brought in 28 large pizzas for lunch! Wow!

The “Bad Ass Class” (expert / pro) got underway shortly after lunch, and as the temperature began to increase, so did the level of riding. Quest BMX’s Danny Sirkin set the tone for the class of 13, with a nearly perfect run. New York’s Masashi Itani has some incredible back wheel pivot flow. He took first place. Massachusetts’ Rich Upjohn brought back some impressive undertaker combos, with a snappy, effortless style. Rich got second place. California’s Gabe Kadmiri is such a joy to watch. His aggressive, and original style blends power and technical flow. Gabe got a solid third place. Some other highlights for me included, Brian Chapman pulling a hitchhiker kickflip in his run! Jim Cavanaugh having so much back wheel style and flow, he just keeps going! Sunny Singh and his insane time machine variations.

The Best Trick contest followed quickly after the third class, and it was uniquely judged by the crowd reaction. Pretty cool! Riders pooled together the cash, and in the end Masashi Itani rode away with the $130 US Dollars.

It’s important to note that Flatland Fracas 5 was a completely free event. No entry fees, free lunch, free water and other drinks, and some of the best prize packs that I have seen at contests in recent memory. It is clear that Rick MacDonald (and others) puts in an amazing amount of time on this contest each year. At last count, I noticed more than 40 sponsors! That is incredibly generous and encouraging to me. So please let me speak from a riders perspective, thank you sponsors for all each of you have done. It truly makes a difference in our lives, and the lives of the next generation of riders. I am humbled and grateful for your generosity. Thank you Flatland Fracas for a great experience. See you next year. :)

Pretty Good
1. Colin Carter (OH)
2. Camden Carter (OH)
3. Ian Hicks (MA)
4. Mike Fink (MA)
5. Luke Hammerquist (MA)
6. Max Bowes (MA)
7. Stephen Toomey (MA)
8. Mike Reynolds (ME)

Real Good
1. Scott Denoncourt (NH)
2. Scott Duszlak (MA)
3. Freddy Brown (MA)
4. Rick MacDonald (MA)
5. David Alden (MA)
6. Shane Reed (MA)
7. Trent Chavez (CT)
8. Andrew Duszlak (MA)
9. Andrew Parrish (CT)
10. Tommy Williams (MA)
11. Jesse Hicks (MA)
12. Jim Bowes (MA)
13. Mike Nogueira (MA)

Bad Ass
1. Masashi Itani (Japan/NY)
2. Rich Upjohn (MA)
3. Gabe Kadmiri (VT/CA)
4. Brian Chapman (RI)
5. Todd Carter (CA)
6. Danny Sirkin (OH)
7. Jim Cavanaugh (MA)
8. Seongtaek Kwon (MA)
9. Mannie Nogueira (MA)
9. Sunny Singh (MA)
11. Steve Jordan (MA)
12. John Simmons (GA/NY)

Best Trick: Masashi Itani (Japan/NY)

Thanks to all the sponsors for their support!

QuestBMX, PorkchopBMX, DK, Freegun, Flatlandfuel, St Martin, Bizhouse, Cheap goods BMX, Bhoodwear, Deco, Animal, Planet Airin, Boston Bikeguy, Profile,, Vita Coco, EC BMX, G-form, Colony, Tables and fables, Port Jeff Bike Dr, Primo, FBM, Remorse, Skizz, Reklamation Bikes, Daily Grind, Southbridge, east Coast Threads, DMBS, Odyssey, S&M, Tyrant, Etnies and Joe Cicman!

Simon O’Brien in Tokyo by Jason Halayko

Text/Photos: Jason Halayko

I first met Simon O’Brien back in 2012 at the Red Bull Circle of Balance. As one of the main photographers for the event I was asked to take portraits of all the riders, and I was able to use this time to get to know Simon. As we are both interested in Japan we hit it off right away and had a great time during the competition.

Fast forward to present day, and imaging my surprise (and excitement) when Simon e-mails me and lets me know he is in Tokyo for a bit and looking to get some shots in. Great! Having just quit my day job to be a pro-photog I jumped at the chance to shoot with Simon in Tokyo, and headed up from my home in Kyoto as soon as our schedules matched up. As it turned out we would only have 2 days to meet up and shoot, but this was enough to get some cool shots in the can that we were both happy with.

The first day had us meeting in Tokyo’s Asakusa, an older area of Tokyo that still has the old school flavour from decades ago. With zero spots in mind and no real plan at all we started to wander, but it didn’t really take too long to come across some cool streets with that old school flavour. I was even able to get the new Tokyo Skytree in the background of a shot! After a couple spots and hours of shooting, some foul weather started rolling in, and it started to thunder and rain. Perfect time for lunch!

Finding a local udon shop we sat and chatted while waiting out the rain. Of course actually shooting photos is the best part of these rider sessions, but sitting and enjoying some hot udon with an X-Games gold medalist is a nice was to spend a day too. Simon is really interested in learning more Japanese, and since I have lived here for over 10 years and am pretty fluent, it was fun giving him pointers and teaching a little of what I know.

Once we were done the streets had dried so we were out shooting again. Things pretty much went like this for the rest of the day, ducking the rain, finding random spots, having a quick beer, chatting with locals (who were really enthusiastic with Simon’s riding) and generally having a great time. We even got some great weather in the end to finish off an amazing day.

A couple days later we were able to meet up again and headed into Shibuya, Tokyo’s shopping district for young people, to see what we could find. After getting kicked out of our first spot we decided to head over to Yoyogi Park, and were lucky enough to find some pretty sweet spots there. Although Simon may not have been riding full time this last year as he was in the Navy, he is super professional and was always willing to try for “one more shot.” And even if we had to wait for people to walk by and that it was never a problem.

After shooting a few spots in Yoyogi Park we wandered through Harajuku (TOO MANY POEPLE TO SHOOT!) and ended up at the famous BMX shop Decade Tokyo. This is a mecca for flat land BMX in Japan so it was great to visit and meet the owner. If you ever visit Tokyo you must visit this place and say hi! I know I will be stopping by the next time I’m in the city.

After getting a late lunch with the owner of Decade we decided to change areas and headed over to Kita Senju where Simon was going to be staying with some local BMX riders. After chatting with the riders it sounded like there were a couple local spots where we could get the lit-up Skytree in the background, so we headed out into the night, this time on bikes! My legs were happy we were not walking, that’s for sure.

Our first spot had us shooting on this really wide pedestrian bridge just up river from the Skytree. This was a great spot as the bridge was crazy wide, and pedestrians rather few. Using a slow shutter with my speed lights we were able to capture some really cool shots that I have never really taken before, but as the clouds were coming in and we wanted to try one more location that night we decided to ride on. Through Simon’s friend’s suggestion we actually ended up riding back all the way to Asakusa to try and hit up the temple at night. There are several areas of the temple that would have been great to shoot, but we could only get two spots due to the rain, and the local police finally kicking us out, just after I got my favourite shot from the two days of shooting too!

With the shoot done we decided to try our luck with getting our bikes on the train home (as it was raining pretty good by then), but let me tell you, garbage bags are NOT a replacement for proper BMX bike bags, and there is no way you can get a regular bike on the train. Trust me, we tried, and failed, hahaha.

In the end I am super happy with the two days of shooting, and glad that I was able to get to know Simon even better than when we first met at the Red Bull Circle of Balance. He is a super nice guy and I really hope we can shoot again while he is still in Japan.

Check out more of Jason’s work:

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Chauvel Brothers Interview – Astrolabe Contest

Intro/Interview: Johann Chan.
Marked Photos: Maxime Cassagne /Unmarked Photos: Johann Chan.

Yannick Chauvel.

Jean-Michel Chauvel.

We first met the brothers Yannick and Jean-Michel Chauvel at King of Concrete. Two brothers from France who have for many years, repeatedly treked across the channel to shred the contest.
They occasionally mentioned an event which they organised in Noireau, France, and if their event matched their riding devotion, we knew it would be worth checking out.

So when Keelan Phillips and James White asked me if I wanted to jump in their car, and visit the comp, I had to take it.

On arrival we were pleased to see an organized and genuine home grown style of contest. A high level of riding, a healthy class of young shredders, a nice undercover riding venue, a decent floor space, above the norm catering, good tunes and a most importantly – a good overall atmosphere. One where arriving riders, come and shake the hand of every rider before even stepping on their bike.

We caught up with Jean-Michel Chauvel on some of the workings behind Astolabe.

You manage to keep the costs low for all the riders and spectators, Is it difficult to finance the contest?
We do a few shows to make money. There is competitor registration which is ascending with categories. Also young riders parent’s make some cake’s we sell, there is also the barbecue.


Romain Dodelier, Hang Nothing with a twist.

How is there such a healthy scene of great young riders?
We have a formal club here for the young riders. We can use a gymasium 2 hours a week which keeps a connection between riders.
My brother and I give advice to young riders. It’s not like foot ball training…. we want each rider to have their own free style. We just push them and give them advice or answer their questions.
then for the young riders parents it’s not too much underground and then they not afraid.

So this is the 4th Astrolabe contest?
Yes it was the Astrolabe 4…. but we also organised 3 contests between 86 & 88 with French riders. At that time our father was the president of the club.

Where does the name come from?
Astrolabe is the name of Amiral Dumont d’Urville’s ship. A great sailor who discovered the Adelie earth in the Antarctic continent.

The future generation.

The return of Aude Cassagne!

Who organises the contest?
My brother is in charge of relations with riders and local authorities, my sister is in charge of catering, and I’m in charge of the floor.

You both still compete at the contest, is it difficult to ride and organise the comp at the same time?
We can both do the contest and supervise the event, because every thing is well prepared and we have help from parents of the young riders.
This year we had 2 DJs. An old friend from riding “DJ Larco” and my son Charlie Mess who did his first public mix.

Any final Thanks?
Thanks to my wife local shop “tant qu’il y aura des hommes” DC Shoes France, and Freegun France for presents to the am categories.

Joris Bretganolles.

Keelan Phillips.

Gabriel Gallon
Rouchdi Aroua
Tom Lepesteur

Aude Cassange
Valentin Flad
Nicolas Delangle

Yannick Chauvel
William Herve
Renaud Meloni

Dez Maarsen
Keelan Phillps
Stephan Fabien

George Manos: Novum Organum

Intro: Effraim.

Sometimes flatland can become one big blur, not many individuals stand out. But when they do, it brings a smile to my face like nothing else I have experienced in my life and a sense that all is alive and well. George Manos is a man with a vision, and is not afraid to stand out and paint a different picture. This is when flatland truly comes into its own in my opinion. Carving your direction can be a lonely process, here we caught up George and photographer, Sotiris Gkonis for some background and some amazing photographs which capture Georges dark personality. Two perspectives: Novum Organum.

Text: George Manos.

Living in the city of Ioannina for almost ten years now. A historic city with legends from the old times and a lake 2.000.000 years old, some say, surrounded by mountains, grimy sometimes and dark, yet beautiful and nostalgic when the sun comes up. For the most part its dark and rainy, the heavy atmosphere is easily built and it was not long until it rubbed off on me. Being sick of waiting for the sun in order to ride I did what a desperate man would do I got out of my comfort and started exploring the darkness trying to find a haven to ride, the best places I found were mostly like dungeons. In the heart of the city, yet still remote and thus perfect for my mystic experiments. Images and tricks, motions, came naturally after I let myself drawn in the surroundings, embracing despair I was rewarded with treasures that I could carry into the light, yet they shine better in the darkness in my opinion, that’s why I choose mostly to present my ideas in the place of their development. With the help of Sotiris I managed to capture the process of it. I wanted to do this for a long time, welcome to my world.

Text: Sotiris Gkonis.

George reminds me of these artists, such as Lukas Samaras (greek as well) , who try to create their own path no matter what, in an environment that guides them to do the exact opposite. He is one of a kind at what he does and how he approaches it. I know him for three or four years now and the progression of his riding and way of setting up the whole thing is ridiculous. But the recognition of this approach remains unfortunately in the same level. Even in ‘’progressive’’ sports, such as bmx, unique styles are still a taboo. I believe that this is the fate of every human that is trying to bring something different to the surface of our society and doing it silently. George is one of them, silent as when you see him ride, silent and never disappointed because he is doing it for himself in a city far away from the industry.

Remember this?

Mateus Beckmann – The Flatmatters Online 2013 Awards Interview

Intro/Interview: Effraim
Photos: Mateus Beckmann.

Last year there was something wonderfully pure about Mateus Beckmann sharing his progression with the flatland world. It turns out his amazing progression led to 34 videos. Mateus deservedly grabbed the Editorials Choice for Rider of the Year and Most Progressive Rider of the Year by a landslide! Mateus stepped up once again to bring us a new “Must Watch” video with his new tricks to go with this interview! Enjoy!

Firstly, congratulations Mateus you got my vote for Rider of the Year as well as readers vote the progressive rider of the year! From my perspective, producing 34 progressive videos throughout the year, with contributions every month made you the clear winner, you are motivating riders worldwide consistently all year! What an amazing year for you, how do you feel firstly about winning the awards?
Thanks Effraim. Win the award-winning ‘Rider of the Year’ and ‘progressive rider of the year’ is truly incredible. I am very, very happy for that. At first I really did not expect something like that, when I saw my name next to the names of my idols in Flatland I really was very happy. Is strange win of riders that you get inspired… Thanks Effraim and all!

34 videos in one year is incredible, such amazing progression last year, do you film every time you ride?
I had no idea I had made 34 videos in 1 year!
No, I only filming when i have a lot of new tricks, or sometimes when I’m very close to hitting a difficult trick.

I saw your flawless run during the Overground series last year, and I see the World Circuit will come to Brazil this year, will you be competing in this contest and other contests this year? What is your mindset towards contest riding?
Yes, I made a good run in Overground Series of simplest tricks.
Yes, I’ll try to go in all competitions in Brazil this year.
My mindset for the next riding contests is to make original tricks, some of my tricks( variations whips and decades) and some long combos too, I know I can actually do good tricks in competitions.

You have been doing a lot of decade/whopper variations recently, what I call one hit tricks, super hard! How do you see your riding progressing, are you just out there learning whatever comes along?
Decades / Whoppers variations are really my favorite tricks, are tricks that have not yet been very explored, there are still many variations of whoppers to create.
I like a trick, so I try to do this trick, maybe so my progress. ALWAYS TRY TO LEARN THE TRICKS THAT YOU LIKE :)

What are your plans for 2014?
Participate in all competitions in Brazil, participate in contests outside Brazil if I get sponsors.. Keep riding and progressing.

Your videos have inspired every flatlander at some point last year. I see that you ride at a skatepark, are you inspired by other types of BMX and other sports, such as skateboarding and so on?
What really inspires me is just in BMX Flatland and BMX Street. I like riding BMX Street with my friends, it’s great fun.

More recently your edits (i.e 2014), I noticed you are riding without a chain, why is that?
Yes, problems with my Freecoaster.
For the Master Bikes have only frames (SAMPA), forks, and bars. Freecoasters are too fragile to tricks jumps/whoppers.

Any final thanks/shoutouts Mateus?
Effraim Thanks for the interview.
Thank you Family & Friends.
Thanks Master Bikes,SAMPA BMX, Marcos Paulo de Jesus (Pig), Ederson Ferreira, Casa dos consertos.

Keep Riding!

Related Links:


Top 5′s with James McGraw!

We are back with the Top 5′s feature, intended to be a light hearted read in contrast to the more serious interviews on the site! And James McGraw doesn’t disappoint, always down for a bit of fun and banter! Read on!

Tricks to do daily:
Gliding stick bitch or junk yards, what ever you wish to call them to switch pivots.
Stubble ducks
Nose wheelies
Back packer combos
I always have a new idea I try everyday some good some seriously suck.

Places to ride:
I almost always ride in my tint shop’s Garage. Its a controlled environment I have kids so when I get to ride I want to make the most of it with no distractions thats why I almost always stay indoors.
I have a great outdoor spot and my basement as well.

People to ride with:
No one likes me cause I snake too much :-) lol.
I usually ride alone but Brian Gavigan AKA yellow comes down to ride with me when he can, as well as the Colorado flatjams crew.

Websites to check:
Everyday I go to Flatmattersonline and Global-flat to see whats up.

Snaking techniques:
Look for British guys that wear gloves and be sure to get in their way, also watch for someone to get ready go and make sure to cut them off while always looking forward. (editors note: Don’t I just know it hahaha -ref- Guru jam Practise)

This year AM Flat Circuit, Trans Jam, Bike days in Switzerland, Fise in France,
The Worlds, and some of flatland world circuit.
Also if there was a good contest in England, I would maybe go to that as well LOL :-)

London Bikes, Profile, Odyssey, and Ares tires

Gone in sixty seconds, Hangover movies, Iron man movies.
Most movies that are based on true story’s I always find entertaining.

Video parts to watch:
I have a few videos out there on vimeo my “year in the life” has alot of good stuff as for everyone else.
I don’t have a collection I watch whats posted daily, but I have been known to watch Uchie, Hiro, J Dub and Jason Ploudre’s video more than once.

Favourite riders:
Uchie, Vicki, Hiro, J Dub, Jason P, Kevin Nikulski, Thomas Noyer and I seriously like to watch Matuis B

Bike companies:
London Bikes has been really good to me I have to thank them.

Swear words you use when you ride:
Seriously what the Fuck!!!!!!!!!!!
Are you Fucking Kiding me!!!!!!!!!!
Dang Nabit!!!!!!!

London Bikes
Yellow designs

Non Bike Brands:

Whiskey (only the best)

Well I’m not a vegan or a health freak so
Korean food
Lots of Red Meat
Golden berries

Things your hating on:
I hate the wind I would rather ride in the rain and I am way to old to ride in the cold.
People who talk shit Its flatland we all have something to offer and we all put alot of work in to it.
Ride because you love it and It will take you much farther!!!!

Things to do besides riding:
My wife
Hang out with my kids
Build my classic cars
ride my motorcycle
Run my window tint business
Do man shit like weld shit for no reason at all :-)

Not so much I never really sit down.

What ever is in the seat pocket of the air plane I’m on
Better house keeping
Better homes and gardens
Playboy and Hustler, but only for the articles

Tricks you wish you could do:
More turbines with pumping
anything that I find to be a challenge yet is still fun!!

Holiday destinations:
Disney world
I have always wanted to go to the pyramids.

Who’s next?

Alexis Desolneux & Sebastian Grubinger / Heresy – Readers Choice Edit of the Year!

Intro/Interview: Effraim
Photos: Provided by Alexis Desolneux.

Firstly, congratulations guys for the Readers Choice Edit of the Year! Nominated in both reader and editorial choice edit of the year, plus second place in brand of the year. Tell us about some back ground information on the Fifth of September edit, did it turn out how you wanted it?
Thanks E! I was really surprised when I saw the nomination. I didn’t expect anything like this. So cool! I couldn’t believe winning the Readers Choice Award in the end. It was mind blowing to get this news before the year changed. Thanks everybody for that!

Well, the Fifth of September…
All started that Alexis always wanted to film with Tom (Sevisual). As Tom lives in Hungary and Alexis in France, they didn’t get the chance too often yet.
Alexis was going to visit me in Vienna just before the OSG in Budapest, so we came up with the idea to get Tom here as well and get some links on tape. We had two days before heading to Budapest, so we thought it could be good to film some riding and do kind of a relaxed « a day in Vienna » edit. I didn’t ride much the weeks before because I had lots of work at my job and Alexis had a bad crash just a few days before his arrival, where he cracked some ribs, so we decided to take it easy — just capturing the good vibes and chilled atmosphere.

When we arrived at the spot we got pretty motivated and I had tricks in mind I really wanted to pull for this edit. It turned into a mission and at some point all of us (including Tom) were working pretty hard to get everything done in time, haha. Finally we finished the riding clips in one day.

Honestly I didn’t think much about how the video could look like, I was just happy to pull my stuff. In the end I was really stoked how it turned out! We both got cool clips, Tom’s filming and editing was perfect as always and Michi made the best track for it. It was a fun project with friends with an awesome outcome.

Thanks Effraim. Yes, a big surprise for us to even be nominated considering the number of good videos coming out each year and featured on FM. I had no expectations after that, I had a lot to care about before the end of the year, time passed and we ended up winning the award, that was crazy especially after getting the video of the month on FlatwebTV…Thanks everyone !
The video almost didn’t happen. I injured my ribs 5 days before my flight and was unable to ride. Tom was already there and we had planned this for a couple months. Somehow, with a large chest bandage and painkillers I could ride an hour the day before departure so I decided to leave anyway hoping an extra day off spent travelling would do me good…I figured I’d film little things and mostly let Sebastian shred. We had only one day to film some riding so I wanted to capture that special viennese atmosphere, make it a « more than riding » thing. On the morning of the 5th of sept., although the ribs hurt all night I was motivated to spend the day outside, the weather was perfect. The bandage held my ribs in place and with painkillers again plus some warm up, I worked my way up to some riding but only in line. Anything turbined or twisting my upper body was not possible, the last link was actually a bad idea… Like Sebastian said it was a mission but just being with friends at the Heldenplatz made for a great day. Tom and Michael (Sommer) did an amazing job working together and I always like to talk about music with Michael, he’s open on all styles and we could just create our own soundtrack. Michael came in the morning to the spot and we defined the musical elements that would build up a tension mixed with a positive vibe, Heresy meeting the city of Vienna in summer…Michael nailed it first try afterwards.
I shouldn’t even have ridden my bike that day so at dusk I was stoked and the title of the video came naturally as a special day for us to remember. Thanks to Tom and Michael’s input, the video turned out better than I imagined.

Did you guys hit all the tricks you wanted? Do you prepare for edits with a plan of what you want to get done?
Yes, I think about tricks before I start working on an edit. I even write them down somewhere. This list can change in the process of filming. Some tricks will go, some new will come to the list. Writing it down helps me not to think about it too much and to be able to fully concentrate on the riding. I usually start filming with the „easiest“ trick. It gives me confidence for more difficult tricks to already have something on tape. For some reason I didn’t do that for the „5th of September“ edit. Maybe that’s why I started to struggle, haha.

I really wanted to pull the links that are in the edit. I didn’t pull two of them before, but I felt close the days before. Riding and filming with Alexis and Tom gave me great motivation to go for them that day and finally pull them. As I already mentioned, it was quite a mission and there was a point when I thought about giving up one link. Alexis and Tom were super motivating and finally I landed it.
The next day my body was sore but I felt great!

I did get what I wanted and although being injured sucked, it probably made me appreciate it more. I focused on just 3 moves that could work despite my injury, and that I never had the chance to film properly before. We didn’t take the first pulled clips as I tried to reach that certain peak of flow/amplitude you don’t want to miss to get the right clip. It worked on the fakie Xwhips and the antechrist/backwhips line but on that last octopus line, I was in pain on each try and just wanted to pull it and put my chest to rest. I wasn’t sure about it but when I watched it I was happy with it so sometimes the only time you pull it in the session can do the job.
As far as planning goes, when we jump at the chance to film a video like this one or « Heresy in Strasbourg », there’s a bit of that to get everyone in the same place. Vienna was easy to plan but with Strasbourg in the middle of winter we had to think of spots a bit more…with Heresy in general I would say the hardest aspect is to find a way to meet up despite our different schedules and places of residence but when that happens we just try to make the best with what we get. It’s good to have a general idea of the video beforehand but feeling our environment and enjoying what we do is essential in the end to produce a document that isn’t devoid of human feelings. That said, with the limited time we had, luck was with us to get some good riding for these videos. Next to that we have our solo projects going on and it’s a different process then…

Heresy has a very particular style, which is hugely respected throughout flatland. What are the core philosophies of the brand?
Honestly I don’t think much about a philosophy of Heresy or BMX in general. It’s more that I just follow the path I feel and try to do the things I want to, the things that are fun and feel good to me – on my bike and in life beside BMX.
Maybe that’s one thing that makes Heresy what it is: a few guys going their way since years, do what they love.
It’s amazing that people like and respect what we do, I’m stoked about that and want to thank everybody for their support.

Well, I can only say that Heresy is way more than just a brand for me, it’s everything I’ve always wanted to do…with riding, friends, music and other sources of inspiration for which we can only be grateful for all the energy it gives us and in return to share it through this project…which is like a medium where we channel our ideas and actions, make the products we need (and naturally that others might need) and present the whole thing how we like it. We put a lot of effort into our riding, following our own directions and loving it, and our local spots are where things mostly happen for us. I want to hope that it tells enough about what Heresy stands for in this world. It’s important for me to leave things to interpretation. I prefer people to feel what we do and think for themselves. Some will relate, some won’t but that’s ok because we’re not trying to appeal to everyone. Heresy came like a new trick idea that had to come out how it came out. After riding for different bike companies in the past with their own agenda, this wasn’t really a choice as at my age I was going to do it exactly that way, uniting with friends who share a vision or not do anything of that kind anymore. I quickly went for the first option ; ) Naturally it’s much harder to start an independent company but every step means something to us and for the little we did so far, it’s been by far the most fulfilling project I’ve ever been involved. Heresy is just another way among all possible ways to experience BMX and give a representation of BMX. It’s truly amazing for us if what we do speaks to people out there and we are very grateful for all the good feedback !

If anyone wants to get ahold of Heresy product, where can they get it from? in France and Europe, 430 / in Japan.
We’re amidst transition as we had to part ways last month with our original distributor/producer Distance Cycles, but we’re reorganizing things at the moment to get back on tracks and have things in production as soon as possible.

What are your plans with Heresy for 2014?
Well, we have a lot of work this year to improve distribution of our products and we have some new stuff in the works too. I’ll also keep on printing DIY clothing so expect some limited series as usual, keep an eye on
On the riding side I just put out a full part which took a lot from me…but I’m enjoying riding and back at filming to complete another kind of project later on. I’m sure we’ll have some videos coming later but we don’t plan too much ahead. I know some opportunities to meet up and film will arise as we’ll all want to travel a bit and have a good time…So see you at the spot!

The only thing planned is a trip with my girl to Sydney and New Caledonia to visit Michael Husser. We start 20th of February and be around for about 4 weeks. Can’t wait for it! Probably we’ll film a bit, if we have time beside chilling on the beach:-)
Nothing else planned yet… having fun, learning new tricks, filming for samethingdaily3 which should come out end of summer. Probably I’ll film an other Heresy edit with Tom anytime this year, if he wants to and if I have new tricks. Some trips to contests will happen as well. Let’s see what else 2014 brings…

Any final thank you’s guys?
Thanks Effraim and flatmatters for making this award and this interview possible!
Thanks to Tom for being so patient, always having fun and motivating me! I know that it sometimes takes a while, haha!
Thanks Michi S. for the great soundtrack and Michael H. for the graphics.
Alexis, it’s always a pleasure to ride and hang out together my friend!
Thanks Matt @profileracing, Lisa @puma, Jakub and Pauli @paar-laden, Preddy @Personal-Rec.
Thanks to my family and my girl, Simone, for taking care of me since years and supporting me!

Thanks E + all the readers, Tom and Michi, Michaël Husser, Giorgos Manos, Matt/Profile, my friends @Savate skate socks, Alex V/Vans France, family and friends!

Thank you guys, it was a real pleasure catching up! All the best for 2014!

Watch the edit again!