Repo: Extreme Barcelona

Repo: Effraim.
Photos: Effraim, Alberto Moya and Ruben Vigil.

When I was at Bike Days in Switzerland one month ago I was invited to also to judge Round 2 of the 2015 World Circuit in Barcelona. BCN is one of my favourite cities in the world, that hold many memories from when I competed in the Euro XGames and so on so it’s pretty much a no brainer for me. The flight from London is also only one hour 45 minutes so it’s nothing at all. And even better it was my girlfriends birthday on the Wednesday, so we stayed a lil’ extra few days and made a holiday out of it after the contest.

Viki Gomez, gliding junkyard on the freshly painted floor before prelims.

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Bike Days 2015 Day 3

Text and Photos: Effraim

Judges view warm up

I just got back home from Bike Days with nothing but good feelings about this event. If you have never been to Switzerland, every thing runs like clockwork, everything is very clean, well signposted, lots of green countryside, beautiful mountain views, the people are very friendly and polite. It is hard not to love the place!

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Shintaro Misawa – 2014 Flatmatters Awards/Most Progressive Rider Interview

Intro/Interview: Effraim
Photos: Shintaro Misawa.

We start the week with the third in our series of exclusive interviews with the winners of the 2014 Flatmatters Online Year end awards, this time it is the turn of flatland jedi, Shintaro Misawa who was voted Most Progressive Rider of the Year by you the readers of Flatmatters! We catch up to talk about his online videos, practice rituals, his various bike set ups and so much more! Don’t miss this!

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Dominik Nekolny – 2014 Flatmatters Awards Contest Run of the Year Interview

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! Continue reading

DecoBMX – 2014 Flatmatters Awards Brand of the Year Interview

Intro/Interview: Effraim.
Photos: Chad /

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:

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:

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 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.

Silicon Valley Has Lost Its Way. Can Skateboarding Legend Rodney Mullen Help It?

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.”

Repo: Battle in the Rockies

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”.

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Flatmatters – 6 Years Strong!

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? Continue reading

James McGraw – Battle in the Rockies Interview

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 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!

First real session in the Battle Zone from James McGraw on Vimeo.

Repo: Round 4 World Circuit – Overground Brazil by Viki Gomez!

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.