Welcome to a new section of Flatmattersonline that has been brewing, not unlike the cuppa right next to me right now as I get ready to drop this first episode. After a lot of talk back and forth with Pete Brandt, “Flat Snitches” is born and dedicated to help educate the flatland community on the history of trick inventions and most importantly showing some love to the architects that came up with each trick along the way, not to mention the evolution of each move with other riders putting their twist on it.
Who came up with what trick and when, is sometimes a grey area, but myself and Pete Brandt after all our years of experience are as best placed as anyone to attempt to do this.
We Kick off Episode 1 with the Plasticman, and talk to the trick creator, Jesse Puente about the tricks history and evolution into another move entirely.
When I think about Jesse Puente, his energy springs to my mind. I always recall when he commented “You bust, I bust” back when we both rode for KHE in the late 90’s, his energy was contagious. Always thinking about new tricks and concepts, he made me want to have new tricks every time I would see meet him at contest across the globe. Jesse’s energy brings me to the plastic man and his desire to create something fresh.
Jesse, rolling the OG Plasticman in Shimersville, PA back in 1994. Photo: Sean Parker.
I’m good friends with James McGraw, and even I was surprised that number one he left London Bikes, and number 2 that he managed to keep this custom ride build quiet off social media until it was done. After a quick chat with James, I was pretty curious about all the details of his new ride and figured you at home might be as well.
Like everyone else on social media I saw your new bike post. No more London bikes and a custom bike build, what’s the story?
I feel very blessed that for the past 30 years I have not really had to pay for a bike. I have had a lot of sponsors over the years and London Bikes has been one of the best. For me the change is not any kind of bad blood or issues its simply time I do something 100% my way. With a sponsor you get some input but ultimately there are trademarks of a brand that you deal with. Ultimately I just no longer am willing to compromise my riding just to get a free frame. My new bike is built around how I ride and the style of tricks I want to do. My next birthday will my 50th and with age come ailments that hinder my riding. For years I was a front wheel prominent rider, however I developed really bad back issues due to the leaning and body position of front wheel tricks. At one point I considered quitting do the the constant pain. Instead I found back wheel to be therapeutic in the sense that I ride in a more vertical position which relived the pain I developed from leaning over on front wheel. With that said Will from London has made a very good bike that he designed for what fits his riding, for me it is way to short and I feel limited to back wheel. I took a look at all the bikes I have rode over the years and really thought about what geometry worked best for front wheel and back wheel. I realized the last time I rode front wheel I was riding a longer frame which in theory allowed me to stand more upright during the tricks. I also looked at seat post angle which directly affects the position of your seat location. With the old seats you could move your seat forward or backwards on the seat rails to compensate position but the new seats you can only change the angle of the seat. So seat post angle is a very critical point of reference depending on your height and the style of tricks you wish to do. Also we made sure to build the bike around the forks I ride to insure that the rolling head tube angle is exactly as I desired. Different forks can manipulate the rolling head tube angle of the bike depending on the length of the forks. Bottom line is after months of really thinking about these factors I realized that I could build a bike based on my body size and ailments that would allow me to ride both wheels again. Simply put at my age I don’t know how long I will be able to keep riding at this level, so I built this new frame in a effort maximize my potential as a rider and remove any limits I may have due to a production frame that has a more generalized geometry as opposed to a very rider specific frame.
Interview: Effraim. Photos: Fat Tony, Leo Furmansky and Red Bull.
It’s the Voodoo Jam this weekend in New Orleans. I caught up with the main man, Scott O’Brien for this exclusive interview. To talk all things Voodoo, sit down, grab a cuppa and enjoy this one.
Voodoo Jam is just round the corner Scott, what’s the plan?
It’s been 15 years since the first Voodoo Jam and the plan hasn’t changed much at all since then. Focus on a quality event and the riders experience. I believe the more simple we make things the better the event is. The riders are what Voodoo Jam is all about so I try to stay focused on that.
Other things surrounding Voodoo will be a Pre Jam on Friday and the after party. Both of these events are made for the Flatland BMX community to just come together and hang out as real humans not social media world we live in nowadays.
We will also throw a Best trick contest into the mix of the finals. I’m sorting out some details with that now and I’ll release those details soon.
Lot of meetings back and forth with Terry? What are you guys mostly discussing mostly?
Yes Terry and I meet often about Voodoo. We discuss everything that goes down with the event. He handles sponsorship, funding and media. So we go back and forth on that. I run the actual event along with a ton of other things. It’s a team effort for sure so we have to stay in contact all the time.
Who is sponsoring the event this year?
Red Bull, Raising Canes, Tiger Balm, Flatland Fuel, Profile, IGI, Heresy, TTM Lifestyle, Grind Legacy, Scuffington Post, Monolithic Eric, Hector Garcia with Neue Creative.
What’s the format this year?
It’s the same format I used 15 years ago. With two exceptions. Top 14 will go to the finals and top 4 of the finals will battle for podium spots. 3:00 runs of course. The final battle is 1:00 each Three Times. So each rider will go three times for 1:00 in the final battle.
For two years I believe we experimented with head to head and I didn’t think it was fair so we got away from that.
The way we do it has a great mixture of traditional with a jam style battle at the end.
I’m taking 14 to the finals because I just love for more riders to have opportunities.
Voodoo is a high energy contest, where does your inspiration come from for the format and feel of the event?
I’m always inspired by the riders themselves, living in New Orleans, music, traveling and of course I get a lot of inspiration when I ride.
If you had to give you three priorities for a Flatland event what they would be scott and why?
Secure a great location. Because location is everything.
Schedule is most important. Staying on a tight schedule allows everyone to enjoy the event and no sitting around. Time is valuable. Somethings happen and things run late at times. But you must keep a tight schedule.
Don’t force things. If it’s not gonna work don’t just throw it together. There needs to be quality in what you do. If you can’t find quality then it’s not worth doing. Flatland BMX deserves quality in its presentations.
Who you are psyched to see ride this year?
Sergio Balu for sure and the Thailand riders as well. But I honestly loved to see everyone. It’s an honor to be in the same room with all of these guys.
For all those that can’t make it, will there be a livestream?
Yes Hector Garcia will be interviewing riders and live streaming most of the day. It will be on Voodoo Jam Facebook page.
If you could give three places people should go and see in New Orleans, where would they be and why?
Do your research and visit local restaurants because the food is amazing here. Definitely walk the French Quarter area and check out the vibes on a Saturday or Sunday during the day.
Everyone says Bourbon Street but I say Frenchman Street at night hit up some local jazz music and enjoy that.
Uptown New Orleans is also amazing with beautiful homes and shopping on Magazine Street.
Um, that’s four haha.
For anyone sitting on the fence, cant decide. Should I go to Voodoo or not what would you say to them?
Well I don’t want to convince anyone to be honest. Just ask the riders that have come to Voodoo if they enjoyed it.
I always love to hear the first timers say, “Why haven’t I been coming to this”
It’s a Flatland BMX Party. Why wouldn’t you come ?
Besides, we never know when the last one will be.
Good luck for the event, Lot of people supporting the Voodoo jam Scott, any final shoutouts?
First off shout out to all the riders that travel to Voodoo Jam because they are the ones the contest is for and they are the ones that make it special. They have enriched my families life with an experience like no other. My kids have a better understanding of this world because of their experience with Voodoo. For that I will always be grateful to the riders of Voodoo.
Id like to thank my parents for being super rad humans, my family for all the support, Terry and Vanessa Adams and the entire group of people that support Voodoo.
Trophies Brian and Lil Robert.
My second in command Paulo.
Hector Garcia for his endless help and always sending me stuff on time.
Today I am stoked to launch a new section “Health Matters” to the site, and the first and most common flatland related injury is lower back pain that we get crouched over our small bikes. Well what do you do about it? How do you recover? Do you rest? Do you work out? What specifics, can you do get back on the bike quicker and prevent injury again? Without further a due, I’ll pass you over to Scott Hagnas!
It was a really great day, morning for the BMX Suli riders and afternoon for the Amateur and Pro riders. We had a good turn out and well motivate kids plus three dads too! The Suli riders pulled some tricks they never did before which was really great.
Amateur and Pro Class saw some new faces which is always good with an all “Hungarian” turnout. We saw some great riding and gave each class 25 minutes in JAM format to pull their best combo. This is a great way to show flatland to the new comers and give the riders more tries to hit their best combos. As you will see this really works and after all it is a JAM not a contest.
I tried Hang 5 Fast Track for the first time, this was a lot of fun and just to make it interesting we did some Freestyle Fast Track too. Hang 5 was basically the fastest hang 5 once round the track and the Freestyle was to find a hard trick to roll one round. Bunny Hop as usual and this time a McCircle Battle not Mega Spin. Zsoldos Andor from the BMX Suli riding less than 2 years got to the semi final! Szilagyi Marton took the Trophy which he was well stoked about!
All in all a great day and now I will prepare for our contest on November 23rd. We may have some big news coming about Sport Zone and as soon as I can confirm something I will let you know. Enjoy the videos and ride on!
Today we have a special treat from the flatland archives that changed modern day flatland forever. Courtesy of Mike Daily and the Plywood Hoods, Kevin Jones and his amazing run from AFA Masters in Austin, Texas, 1987. Miker invited me to write a little something about his influential moment.
Effraim Catlow / Flatmattersonline.
Kevin Jones, 19 & Over Expert, AFA Masters, Austin, TX (May 2, 1987).
Mike Daily, Editor of the Plywood Hoods Trick Team zine Aggro Rag Freestyle Mag! has reached out to Flatmatters for this exclusive world premiere of the flatland run that got York, Pennyslvania’s Kevin Jones sponsored by Skyway. There are so many thoughts that rush into my brain, as (thanks to the Raybo/Dellavalle tapes that Mike was entrusted with to make the Aggro Rag book in 2013), we now get to watch Kevin’s breakthrough run from the 1987 AFA Masters in Austin Texas.
Why do I say Breakthrough?
During this period of time, there were a lot of rumours about Kevin Jones, coming from across the pond. All we had was whatever text was written in the magazines. Most likely that was either Freestylin’ or BMX Plus! at the time–if we were lucky, maybe a photo or sequence.
This is the contest that proved that Kevin Jones was the real deal. Can you ponder entering a contest with tricks that have never been done or seen before? Think about that for a moment…
Then think, Kevin was unsponsored. In my mind, that isn’t a big point but at the time it was, and it turns out it was for Kevin. The video description reads:
“Skyway rushed to sponsor Kevin Jones after his second place finish in 19 & Over Expert at Round 3 of the AFA Masters series held May 2, 1987, in Austin, Texas.
“Kevin pulled stall lawnmower to backwards peg picker into trolley (his head tube-straddling, no-handed scuff); and uptight wheelie (his upside down backwards wheelie while turning the cranks by hand) into straddle.
“Kevin also premiered standing room only (his standing-upright backwards infinity roll); elephant glide (his sitting-on-the-crossbar while letting-the-back-end-of-the-bike-swing-around foot-drag scuff); and then–after he had run out of time, unfortunately–locomotive (his backyard-like progression of his tag sanity hops). Kev actually coasted the locomotive a few seconds without scuffing (locomotive glide), then pulled it off.
“Lew reported in the September ’87 issue of FREESTYLIN’ Magazine:
‘Kevin Jones got the crowd louder during his run than anyone else the whole weekend, including the pros. Every trick he did looked impossible yet was wired. He had a style so fresh it’s gonna take even the best guys a few months to catch up. He did one of those runs that left every man, woman, and child in the arena stunned. He got second place.’
“Haro’s Rick Moliterno–ever the man to beat in 19 & Over Expert–got first. Kevin later told Spike Jonze for FREESTYLIN’ (August ’89): ‘I would have been satisfied if I’d have made the top ten, and then I got second. I didn’t know why there was all the controversy about it…[Rick] beating me. I was just glad to get second, plus I got sponsored. That’s all I really wanted to do anyways was get sponsored. I never really cared about getting first.’”
A couple of things stood out to me about this run besides the originality of the tricks Kevin is doing, that’s a given!
I commented to Mike Daily, it’s like Kevin is battle riding. And what I mean by that, is not battle contest riding. But it’s almost like he’s at a Deejay contest, and he’s gesturing to the crowd mid-trick: “Hey, what do you think?”
And being that the BMX Freestyle world had never seen these tricks before, it makes total sense. Then my thought changed to: “How would you judge this?” I imagine back in 1987, the AFA was largely judged by riders’ parents. This new approach to flatland wasn’t anything that really could be measured. Watch the run again and notice the techniques on show: boomerangs, hopping, scuffing, there’s even a body varial (stubble duck-type move out of the trolley), and rolling tricks, but also the way he connected was very new. The deadtime between the tricks was something that made me think about deejaying, and bboy culture. The gestures! Raditude for a genuine reason is the best. I can imagine this was as heartfelt as it gets.
In the end, the result is not important. The whole world of flatland got to witness this gem and now in 2019 we finally get to see the run that changed the game for us all. Realistically, all we can do is thank Kevin for his vision, and his humbleness.
Let me leave you with a thought: Is this the most important moment in the history of the progression of modern day flatland?
Photos: Effraim, Juan Lopez, Bobby Carter.
The 9th annual One Love Jam in Newport Beach, California was lived up to all the hype I have heard over the years. We were staying around an hour away in Corona, and I believe it was James McGraw who said “it will be sunny at the beach Effraim”. I remember thinking “yeah yeah, that’s not going to happen”, low and beyond we arrive at picture perfect Newport Beach and the sunshine is booming, girls in bikinis everywhere, hockey players, and a fast smooth newly resurfaced riding spot which is large enough to hold 120 riders pretty comfortably with a California beach backdrop.
Yesterday was a good day, we arrived the night before to Robert Castillo’s house in Corina, California.After a nights sleep it was time head out to Long Beach, Corona to Long beach is around an hours drive. LA traffic which can be horrific, we hit up a In and Out Burger joint just round the corner from the jam. The spot looked familiar and sure enough I had been to this burger place before. Must have been like 9-10 years ago, funny how your memory can jog in an second.
Yesterday was the first dry day of my trip to San Francisco. Dylan Worsley from We Bicycles arrived in the morning, and myself, Pete and Dylan headed from Fremont to San Fran by BART. 40 minutes later, we were at Embarcadero and the Clocktower is across the road. The ground was still really wet from and early morning shower, Pete has the Clocktower on lock down and has a let blower, squeechie, and to my suggestion added a towel to the fix to get the riding spot dry.
As many of you will know, Pete Brandt who happens to be my child hero growing up organised a go fund me page to get me out to the One Love jam in Newport Beach, California this weekend. When I was younger, my parents took me to San Francisco on holiday and I always loved the place and everything about it, so much character in this city. So as you can imagine I am still pinching myself that I am actually here. I can’t thank Pete, his wife Karissa, and everyone who donated to help me get here.
I arrived into San Francisco on Monday, after an 11 hour flight and almost three hours in the customs line I was pretty tired, but also pretty excited to get riding and make the most of this dream trip out here.