Intro/Interview: Effraim. Photographs: Credited below each photo.
Welcome back to the second in our series of interviews with the winners in the Flatmatters Online Year End Awards 2014. Dominik Nekolny won “Contest Run of The Year” for his finals run at the BMX Cologne contest voted by you the readers of Flatmatters! I caught up with Dom to talk about his contest run, the emotions of the previous years performance, contest preparations, his plans for this year and much more, read on!Click here to read more »
The winners of the 2014 Flatmatters Online awards now have their medals, so I am going through the process of interviewing each winner over the next month or so. We begin with “Brand of the Year”, which was won by Deco BMX. I caught up with the main man behind Deco, Chad Degroot to grab his thoughts on winning the award, his brand, new products in the works, collaborating with Profile, and talk all things flatland, read on!
Firstly congratulations to you and DecoBMX for Brand of the Year, how do you feel about receiving the award Chad?
This is awesome for so many reasons. First off I want to thank you for doing this, seems like BMX has lost sight of why and how we got here. Plus who are trying to push things for the better of the sport. These awards are refreshing and such a great idea. This award is for DecoBMX but it wouldn’t be possible with all the supporters out there. And a huge thanks and respect for the whole team including the ramp and street riders. Tsutomu Kitayama or “Storm”, Lee Musselwhite, Terry Adams, Thomas Noyer, Tang Meng, Kerry Gatt, and Hiroshi Uehara holding it down on the flatland side. This award is a stamp on history for 2014 and I couldn’t be more proud to receive this on behalf of DecoBMX and what we represent. Thank you.
Thanks Chad! As well as having great product, it’s also about the team getting out there. Who makes up the Deco team?
It’s not limited to Tsutomu Kitayama or “Storm”, Lee Musselwhite, Terry Adams, Thomas Noyer, Tang Meng, Kerry Gatt, and Hiroshi Uehara but more or less anyone who rides a bike part, sticker, LIKES us on Facebook, comments on anything, and throws support our way.
Selling the Wu pegs singular was a stroke of genius, something unless you ride you might not understand. What are your plans without giving too much away for Deco in 2015?
Thank you for this, but it was a few minds coming together to make the WuPegs possible including Shawn Burnham. We are switching production in house at Profile Racing in USA so you know the original Wu was great but were going to make it better. Tsutomu is on his signature JACKPOT frame that is done sampling and will be out early summer, clean design, well thought out, great graphics, and hand picked colors. Our Camo line of seats including a flatland specific seat, camo fork caps, camo swirl grips, camo pedals are either out now or will be soon. Also the Tie Dye parts including seatpost clamps and seatposts have a great look. Working on a bag that doubles as a tool bag or toiletry bag. USA made Pac Ends bar ends are out now. We are supporting great jams and events like Fl-BMX series, Nowhere Jams, One Love, Voodoo, Battle in the Rockies, and more. On a side note working on the Profile Z-Coaster is a dream come true finally having it released in April. I spent a lot of time and work helping them develop this product that is THE BEST hub I have ever ridden. I give that shout out for Profile stepping into more support with Deco, Tsutomu and TA as team riders, and the flatland community needs this support with a great company with this kind of history.
The main man behind all things Deco! Photo: Chipriggs.com
Besides Deco you have ran a couple of skateparks, and now also a shop as well. How do you feel these experiences have helped you with running Deco?
It’s having business pride but also employing riders, giving money back to rider owned companies, building our local scene here in Florida, not trying to change the world of bmx but staying with it for the long haul, making the right moves, being a business to stay in business with good decisions, making the customer happy or giving them options.
On a day to day basis, how many people do you employ under at Deco HQ?
To employ is a tough one, it’s really only me. But I don’t want to leave out my employees at my shop who answer the phone, sell Deco direct to customers, and answer questions about Deco as my shop Mr. B’s doubles as Deco as well. Right now in house my shop has 4 employees. Outside I couldn’t consider them employees but people who help Deco and see the light. Chris Rye does some graphics and ideas here and there. Matt Coplon has always put in time and effort on social media, ideas, and sales through Profile Racing Distro. The Space-Station crew with the shirts and graphics. Randal takes care of hats and patches. So I am not really answering this correctly but if you have to ask under this one roof for Deco its just myself and my many personalities.
Xft One handed Opposite Hang 5 out at his second office, photo: Chipriggs.com.
What would you say are the core principles that define what Deco is all about?
Look how you want to be seen. Be honest and don’t let business run you. Keep it in control at all times. Once you are to big you lost control. Everything is a story so I am keeping the stories telling. BMX birthed Deco so I’m staying true to the roots where it all came from.
If someone wants Deco product, where can they get it from?
First I would say to shop local, but this can be tough so respected mail orders would be next. For Distros if your a shop hit up Direct, Profile Racing, QBP, Deco Spain, Deco France, Agun, Decade in Japan, and many more and always keep in mind direct from me firstname.lastname@example.org and hit me with any questions on ordering, where to get the good stuff, and even suggestions/concerns/ideas.
Any final shoutouts?
Thanks to everyone who voted, who rides, follows, likes, is honest, and gives two shits about Deco. and smiles about BMX.
The skater-philosopher: Mullen takes the stage at TEDxUSC to expound on the connection between skating and hacking.
Every so often I come across an interesting Rodney Mullen article or video that has parallels with flatland riding and the process of riding flatland. Wired magazine recently published this article entitled “Silicon Valley Has Lost Its Way. Can Skateboarding Legend Rodney Mullen Help It?”.
This is a long article, this paragraph in particular stood out to me:
“Three days later, as we sipped green tea on the balcony of the Redondo Beach home he shares with his girlfriend, Mullen expanded on his distaste for how avarice has altered skating. “Don’t frickin’ skate in front of the camera, don’t practice in front of the camera, don’t friggin’ publish it on YouTube every time you get a new trick—it’s not about that,” he said as he gazed at the setting sun through wraparound shades. “If you do it for the sake of loving it, and you don’t care whether you’re seen or not, or paid or not, all that stuff will come. But enjoy the process! If you start doing things for the sake of selling up front, for rewards, then it’s going to catch up to you. The other guys not chasing money are going to outdo you in the end, because real innovation and grit come from loving the process.”
Text: Effraim. Photos: Effraim + Dub + Marcin Biegunajtys – Manmade Media Studio.
On the last day for many of us we all got experience the Rockies for real. James took us up Pikes Peak, crazy good time with this crew! Photo: Dub.
Sometimes in riding you need an extra spark to spur yourself to the next level, I feel like the Battle in the Rockies event was just the tonic I needed with winter amongst us and perhaps you if you attended the event. When you see a flatlander put his heart into what he loves, it speaks volumes. From the very moment I got to Denver with Thomas Noyer who was on the same flight as me, the flatland community vibe that set the tone for the week was in embudance as myself and Thomas met James, Dub, Jason Plourde in the airport before we embarked on an hour journey that took four hours due to the heavy snow to get to Colorado Springs. When you have 5-6 flatlanders altogether once again even four hours goes quickly, plus as was Thomas Noyer’s first time to the US, we took him to as American a restaurant as we could find on the road, “Five Guys”.
As I sit here reflecting on 6 years of running FlatmattersOnline, I just dropped the second annual year end awards yesterday and Simon O’Brien’s amazing new edit, the site has come along way, taking journeys of ups and downs. I wondered what kind of influence Flatmatters has had on the flatland community over those 6 years? Click here to read more »
Intro/Interview: Effraim. Photographs: Provided by James McGraw.
There’s a lot of work that goes into organising a contest that you truly cannot comprehend, unless you are inside of it and have experienced that responsibility for yourself. James McGraw just stepped up to the plate, and in a big way! He had a vision, and rather than just talking about it, he knuckled down with the help of Reklamation Bikes and made Battle in the Rockies happen.
At the age of 44, James’ passion and drive to compete shines brighter than ever, finishing a very respectable 11th place in the 2014 World Circuit year end ranking.
When an individual gives something extra to give back to the sport that’s not just for him, that to me something special, and something that helps flatland grow. As I travel to Denver, Colorado today for the first time, I am excited by the unknown with this event. How will everyone deal with the 6000ft above sea level altitude, what’s the warehouse riding spot like, who’s deejaying? What riders are going to show up and throw down? What is Denver like? It is an exciting time! I wanted to catch up with James before I arrive in Denver to find out what’s going on his mind, read on!
Battle in the Rockies is fast approaching, you are just back from the last two rounds of the World Circuit in Brazil and japan. Did you learn anything from those events that you will bring to your event?
Well I would say I have always had a dream of how I would do a contest. Yes basic format is there, but what I saw at the last two stops on World Circuit was the passion that the rider who put the contest together had. Everyone brings a little different flavor on how things run and the intensity the event builds. Brazil was so fun and you feel confident, because you get a chance to ride the spot and find your line. Japan has always created epic events with a turn out of riders that is unparalleled, but for me and many riders I talk with the stress level in Japan is high and confidence level is low due to very little time on contest surface. The areas are always small and crowded and there is no warm up area. So you stand around for hours and then you go, it is the hardest place to ride, but it separates the men from the boys so to speak. But the after parties and lifestyle is great!!!!
For me contests are no longer about winning or losing it is an excuse to ride with my friends I have all over the world. I know many guys make a living from it like I use to and because of that they take it way more serious, but when all is said and done they reflect on the fun and sessions with everyone. My goal is to have a fairly judged event that is low stress and lots of fun. There are two qualification runs so you can relax if you hit your first, push it in the second you have nothing to lose if you miss you can try again, this helps to really allow riders to shine. So what I will bring to my event that I see in other contest is the passion and love for flatland with a little McGraw twist!
Gerator body varial at the warehouse where Prelims will take place.
Who is sponsoring the contest and for the record how much prize money are you throwing down for this contest?
Well the sponsors are Reklamation bikes, Redbull, Deco, Flatlandfuel, LLumar window films (product I sell in my auto tint business) Westside tattoo, Cedar Springs Hospital, Quest Bmx, Cemant face clothing, Touch of Shade tint, Colorado Flat Jams, AmFlatland Circuit, some crappy web site called Flatmattersonline, Denver electric, The Mansion night club, London bikes, Sequence, The one and only Terradome where dreams come true, Yellow designs, Pedal action bmx, Sanchos mexican food and Louies pizza, with help from everyone we have great prize packages as well as a large pro purse. Thanks mostly to Fred and Robert as well as my self we have $10’000 for the purse. As it stands we will be paying some out of pocket due to unforeseen expenses that have arose but we are hope full that ticket sales for the finals and t shirts sales will help offset that. No matter what we will deliver in CASH to be clear though this would not be possible to have done the video contest with airfare and everything else if it was not for Reklamation bikes. Fred and Robert have put up alot of money not only to help bring recognition to Reklamation bikes, but truly for their deep rooted love of the sport. I am forever grateful that they have allowed me to run with my somewhat crazy idea.
The location looks amazing, can you tell me about the building, the surface and the work you are doing behind the scenes?
The location was a challenge we had initially had a convention hall that was being donated to the event. The Hall somehow closed up and sold to a church towards the end of the summer leaving us in a very stressful bind. I worked out a deal with my friend who owns almost every bar in Colorado Springs to use space in his bars. He told me sizes and it seemed really good. I waited for a few weeks feeling good about the space to go get photos and upon doing so I discovered that yes the size was good, but the freakin polls in the middle of the floor suck ass. I personally spent the next two weeks trying to secure a spot with no luck. As it turns out due to the fact that Marijuana is now legal here in Colorado warehouse space is simply not available.
In the past two years this town went from a 50 percent vacancy on warehouse space to a 1% vacancy. Every place I looked was rented to weed growers. So after hyping this event up putting my name out there I really was stressed. I drove by a spot on the way to lunch after damn near giving up and saw this spot. I called the number on the building and got the guy listed turns out he was in fact the owner I more or less begged him and explained my situation he then agreed , but I had to rent the space for at least two months so I did, hence unforeseen expense. Is the floor perfect? No nothing is, but I have personally patched any and all chips and holes to make it better. I also scraped by hand spots that had paint to make sure that the surface was the same thru out. I have power washed the floor three times to make sure it is clean and I have no soda on the floor and I can not slip the floor has a smooth finish yet I have yet to slip or slide out. There are a few uneven spots at the seams that as it turns out I have a friend who does cement resurfacing and he is coming down this week to help me even those out. I have rode it and like anything I have found my line and it is really good. I cant see anyone hating this floor. No matter what I know that I have put everything I can into making sure the spot is the best It can be. The actual contest floor measures out at 70-40 foot leaving room for staging and spectators.
James has been killing the back wheel this year, dump truck xft ice cream pivot.
Can riders practise at the venue the week before the event?
Because I have rented the spot for several months It will be open the whole time. Riders are welcome to ride all day and night thru out the week leading up to the contest. My only stipulation is respect in the day Monday thru Thursday the surrounding business need to be able to work so music will have to be turned down some and we have to respect other businesses and not congregate being loud. After 5pm all is good. It’s real simple thou I rented this place in my name if someone trashes the place I will have to pay for it. We can ride, have fun, party a little, but we need to respect the obvious boundaries.
Behind the scenes organising a contest, there is a hell of a lot that goes on. Shuttle pick ups, hotel bookings, picking judges, working out format, paperwork, organising the venue logistics, are you offering any of those shuttle type services, riders might not know about?
Yeah as I just said so much goes in to organizing an event like this. We have arranged a couple cars and drivers to try and help pick up riders flying into Denver, because it is 50 minutes north of the springs. If we are unable to get some one rental cars are easily available as well Coloradoshuttle.com who specializes in transportation to and from Denver airport to Colorado Springs. As for the Hotel we listed it several times on the Battle Facebook page, it’s the Holiday Inn Suites, Central Colorado springs discount code is BIT this is located a few blocks from the bar district where after party’s are as well pro finals. The venue address is 3208 N Nevada, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80907, there is alot of surrounding hotels everything is with in a few miles of all aspects of the event and parties.
What contest format are you using?
We will go with standard Amflat format 2 runs best one counts finals for pro and expert. However we will for pro finals have 12 riders and we will do the same battle format as seen in Flatark this format is alot of work, but very fun to watch.
How you going about getting a big crowd at the event additional to the riders that don’t ride flatland?
The town has really got behind me on this event. I am lucky to know the guy who owns all the bars in town and he is helping me out with radio and Tv ads leading up to the event as well as interviews in local papers and on radio and tv. Because I perform alot around town I am well known and have alot of followers that will show up and with the finals being in one of the largest bars in town on a Saturday night with public able to come in for 10 dollars, which is the normal cover charge anyways we will have a big crowd.
James can ride the front wheel too! Xft hitch in Kobe, Japan! Photo: Bobby Carter.
Of course, BITR is the AM FLT finals, what are your thoughts on who is going to take the crown in each class?
well AMFlat has had a good year with Real City Spin by Dub this year alot of riders have made the journey to these events. Mine is bring alot of international riders that otherwise have not competed in AMFlat so they will not have a chance to get year end placings. So the year end is the usual suspects I really have no predictions because anything can happen. But I do know that who ever wins expert will be in pro finals.
Anything final I may have missed James that you want to say to all the flatlanders entering and reading this?
I have to say to those of you who have not been to high altitude places before, it is not a joke you will feel the difference. First and for most Drink alot of water it helps and know that when drinking alcohol you will get drunk quicker. Sometimes if you are not use to altitude alot of caffeine like sodas and energy drinks can be bad it is best to really take it easy on the first day until you know how it affects you. I really want to thank everyone who has helped me do this. It has always been a dream of mine to hold a big event and now it is a reality I have brought flatland to my home town. I have to thank my wife for putting up with me on this event there has been allot of extra stress due to this event and all my traveling I am thankful she has reluctantly (lol) put up with me. This event will be hosted by me and my family meaning all of us show up and have a good time my goal is for everyone to maybe not care or remember how they rode when is all over but too remember how much fun this event was and how great it was to be able to ride with everyone no matter if they are one of the best in the world or simply just starting out. See you soon!!!!!
Thank you James, I’m getting ready to board this plane, I will see you and everyone else really soon!
I caught up with a jet lagged Viki Gomez when he arrived back home from the long flight home from Brazil, just before he flew out to Japan for the Flatark contest, and asked him to come up with 20 Bullet points about his trip to Brazil for Round 4 of the World Circuit. Viki played a big part in helping this Round of the World Circuit take place in Brazil. So it’s great that Viki translated his words in english and spanish for more riders to read!
Viki placed 2nd at Round 4 of the World Circuit, check out his amazing run right here! Thanks to Lisias Tabarelli for the upload!
Mateus learning new tricks during a photoshoot with Viki, One handed kick flip hitch. Photo by Pedro Amora.
1-Brazilian people are super friendly!
1-La gente en Brasil es muy simpática!
2-Portuguese language is so similar to spanish, so I can understand almost everything!
2-El portugués es muy parecido al castellano, por lo que puedo comprender casi todo!
3-When I met Mateus Beckmann it was as if I knew him already. Internet Magic I guess!
3-Cuando me encontré con Mateus era como si ya le conociese. La magia del internet supongo!
4-Mateus Beckmann only does hard tricks even to warm up. He landed for the first time 1 hand hitchhiker kick flip just for the photo!
4-Mateus Beckmann solo hace trucos difíciles, incluso para calentar – Cayo por primera vez y para la foto 1 hand hitchhiker kick flip!
5-Sao Paulo is a super big city! Traffic is terrible!
5-Sao Paulo es una super ciudad! El trafico es horrible!
Owen Bohn, gliding junkyard on the pedal grabbing the cross bar is no joke! Photo: Koty Flat.
Tsutomu Kitayama! Look at the crazy balance point of this signature move! Photo: willi Flat.
6-MUF organitation of Overground are very professional and put their heart in what they do!
6-MUF Organización de Overground son muy profesionales y ponen todo su empeño y corazón en lo que hacen.
7-Event location was in a city called Itapevi, 40 km from downtown Sao Paulo. Itapevi is a very local city.
7-La localización del evento fue en una ciudad llamada Itapevi, situada a 40 km de distancia de Sao Paulo. Itapevi es una ciudad muy local.
8-The japanese crew were in a shock about Itapevi city. Quiet different from downtown Tokyo I guess.
8-La crew de japoneses estaba en shock en la ciudad de Itapevi. Supongo que era un poco diferente al centro de Tokyo.
9-The latin riders a super kind! They asked for so many photos and autographs. They appreciated the visiting pros competing.
9-Los riders latinos son super simpáticos! Me preguntaron por muchos autógrafos y fotos. Realmente apreciaron nuestra visita.
10-The floor of the event was perfect! It was a bit slippery and it was solved by cleaning the floor with some soda. The japanese cleaned it several times in the área where they rode.
10-El suelo del evento era perfecto! Resbalaba un poco y se soluciono limpiándolo con algo de soda. Los japoneses lo limpiaron varias veces en la zona donde ellos montaban.
Takahiro Ikeda getting some love. Photo: Ederson Ferreira.
Viki was instrumental in helping the Overground event be a part of the World Circuit, great shot of Viki translating during the riders meeting with James McGraw and others. Photo by Ederson Ferreira.
11-The level of the latin riders is amazing! None follows the new trend of McCircle, steam roller and McCircle. It felt like the good old freestyle days where everyone was doing their own business.
11-El nivel de los riders latinos es increíble! Todo el mundo es original y nadie sigue las nuevas modas de steam roller, mccircle y time machines. Me recordó a los buenos viejos tiempos donde cada uno hacia lo suyo.
12-Mateus has so many tricks! He always looks so serious, but it s wrong! He is focus! He landed for the first time 1 hand hitchhiker kick flip just for the photo!
12-Mateus tiene muchos trucos! Siempre parece muy serio, pero esto no es verdad. Siempre esta concentrado! Cayo por primera vez y para la foto 1 hand hitchhiker kick flip.
13-Ucchie made the best run I ever saw him doing in a contest. Well deserved to be World Champion!
13-Ucchie hizo la mejor ronda que jamas le haya visto hacer en un campeonato. Bien merecido el campeonato mundial!
14-In Sao Paulo you party until the sun comes up at 6:00 am.
14-En Sao Paulo sales de fiesta hasta que sale el sol a las 06:00 am.
15-Making this contest in Brazil will change the future of Flatland! Everyone is so motivated!
15-EL haber hecho este campeonato en Brazil cambiara el futuro del Flatland! Todo el mundo esta muy motivado!
Bruni Zebu kills it! Mid half packer pivot to xft hitch, photo by Willi Flat.
16-The trophy is the biggest and heaviest I ever got! Luckily I had a extra bag to pack it right!
16-El trofeo es el mas grande y pesado que jamas he tenido! Por suerte tenia una maleta extra donde lo pude meter!
17-Sometimes I wish people in the first world would be as friendly, thankful and genuine as they are in less advanced countries. Big lesson to learn everytime!
17-A veces me gustaría que la gente del primer mundo fuese tan amable, agradecia y genuina como lo son en países menos avanzados. Siempre es un importante lección que aprender!
18-Next year I will be back to Brazil and the contest will be held in the city center. Most convinient for everybody!
18-El próximo año regresare a Brasil y el campeonato será en el centro de la ciudad. Mas conveniente para todo el mundo!
19- I went to swim at the beach in front of Neymar´s house in Guaruja. Good waves for Surfing!
19-Tuve la oportunidad de nadar en la playa en frente de la casa de Neymar en Guaruja. Buenas olas para surfear!
20-Thank you everyone who made this epic trip and contest possible! GG.M, Red Bull Brazil, G Shock Brazil, Tenga, Freegun, Sony, MUF, ESPN Brazil, Fox Sports,etc! All the international riders from Japan and US! All the latin riders who were several days in a bus to come to the contest! Big respect for that! Let’s make a better contest next year!
20-Gracias a todo el mundo que hizo posible este viaje y campeonato! GG.M, Red Bull Brasil, G Shock Brasil, Tenga, Freegun, Sony, MUF, ESPN Brasil, Fox Sports, etc! Gracias a todos los riders internacionales que vinieron desde Japon, EEUU y sobre todo a los riders latinos que viajaron desde tan lejos, alguno estando mas de 2 dias en un autobús! RESPETO!!! Hagamos entre todos un mejor evento el próximos año!
Riders meeting, photo by Ederson Ferreira.
A pensive Bekko waits for his run, photo by Ederson Ferreira.
Mateus Beckmann, Suicide Bunnyhop, photo by Pedro Amora.
BMX brings us together to ride, but it also brings us together to experience life. Aloha Jam is not a contest, but it is more than just a jam, it’s a BMX Holiday. Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. Aloha Spirit flows through this community and even with the island itself. With Hawaii as the backdrop, we all got to experience the Aloha Spirit!
Todd Carter, Photo by Jeff Cox Photography.
“I decided to go to Aloha jam mainly to experience the Hawaiian Bmx community. I had heard stories about what a tight knit group of riders exists there, and I wanted to check it out. Honestly, the community completely blew my expectations out of the water. I experienced riders who seem to support each other no matter what kind of setup they ride. The group supports riders across all bmx disciplines, and they genuinely want to hang out with each other. New school and old school co-exist. I was inspired and refreshed with a true experience of Aloha. And a renewed hope, that our bmx communities, though we have work to do, can more tightly support each other. ”
“I think the Aloha Jam showed the people here in Hawaii how something so different & out of the ordinary can make such a positive impact. Also how cool this sport is and how it is growing across the world…and to reach places like Hawaii, it’s simply amazing.”
Derek and Bobby, dual xft mega spins.
“It was amazing. The jam was great. The spot was out of this world. Beautiful aesthetics combined with a smooth flat surface made for a great riding day. My wife and I went on a shark cage dive where we saw a bunch of galapagos sharks. We went to Waimea Valley and swam in a natural swim hole under a waterfall. We went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay and saw sea turtles, coral reefs and all kinds of fish. We made a failed attempt at body boarding in the North Shore. We went to the Polynesian Cultural Center for an authentic Hawaiian luau and saw a great show. The island has so much to offer. We had a blast. A trip/BMX Holiday we’ll never forget.”
Christina Lapsley (Steve’s Wife)
“I really enjoyed spending the day at Hanauma Bay with the group who came. We don’t normally get to hang out that much at contests while everyone is focused on riding & competing. Additionally, I was welcomed with open arms by the other riders and their families while in Hawaii and they made a point to get to know me. I felt included & hope more wives and families will come in the future!”
Photo: Steve Lapsley.
“Aloha jam has given me clarity. bringing together the heart of BMX, like when Eaton said something to the effect of “just wanting to create that feeling of riding”, I know I am sure that I want to continue in the journey of BMX, its not about the wave, its the journey. We had all factions of BMX present. In the evolution of BMX style it would seem the ‘new ways’ are not segregated and the physics are all blending into each other as if there were no separate disciplines. As a child I never knew ‘this’ riding or ‘that’ riding. We may have joked about what a ‘true’ biker is, but freestyle is just that, and has no boundaries”
“The most memorable thing, well its hard to pick one for there were so many amazing adventures. Let’s start with the overall vacation. First I was blown away by the landscape especially the majestic mountains and the turquoise ocean which includes the marine life. Second was going out with Adam Jung for the early morning photoshoot and seeing all the rainbows and then traveling to the north shore that day (that entire day was overall the best day for me). Third was meeting all the riders who were just super friendly and seeing how tight the BMX community really is over there. In terms of Aloha Jam day, it was the vibe, the BMX community getting together. seeing everyone and meeting new folks. riding, eating all day, and being on TV.”
Dennis Toyoda (Dennis is on the left in the photo recovering from back surgery, in the photo above he’s with the first generation of flatland riders in Hawaii.)
“Da jam wuz awesome! Good seeing everyone from old skool to new skool! Hopefully I can ride da next Aloha Jam! Shoots, Brah!”.
“I am absolutely, positively, certain, that I want more of this type of travel in my life. It was a nonstop adventure and discovery on all levels. The Aloha Jam event itself was awesome, but it was everything else we did and all the new friends we made that made me certain I was living life to the fullest in a meaningful kind of way. I definitely want more of this.”
“It was an amazing sight. I started riding in 1984 and quit around 1989 so I missed the whole forward rolling, brakeless era. I started riding again back in 2011 and have been trying to get uma bay shot here???
“I really enjoyed spending the day at Hanauma Bay with the group who came. We don’t normally get to hang out that much at contests while everyone is focused on riding & competing. Additionally, I was welcomed with open arms by the other riders and their families while in Hawaii and they made a point to get to know me. I felt included & hope more wives and families will come in the future!”.
“I love the scene here and the riding spots. I’ve been coming out here to ride and surf for about ten years. So, I finally bought a one way ticket to stay and it’s worked out better than I could have imagined. Aloha Jam was a lot of fun, but I was kinda buss from doing it big the night before. Definitely got me stoked to ride my new Intrikat set-up! Let’s do it again. Shoots brah!”
“The jam was great! Positive vibes all day! The news coverage definitely helped BMX get noticed more! Can’t wait till next year!”
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, !
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.
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!
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
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!