Voodoo Jam 2019: The Scott O’Brien Interview

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.

Health Matters – Part 1: Flatland and Low Back Pain by Scott Hagnas

Intro: Effraim.

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!

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The Sietse Van Berkel Flatmattersonline Interview!

Intro/Interview: Effraim.

At the FiseWorld in Hiroshima, Japan last month it was on my list to catch up with the Flatmattersonline 2018 Breakthrough Rider of the Year, Sietse Van Berkel!

Sietse is one of those riders that has been on the brink for a number of years, last year he stepped up in a big way blowing the flatland world away with his final submission for the Master of Creativity finals and taking a well deserved win.

I dig into what went into his Master of Creativity entry, his horrific head injury that followed, from being the MOC winner to judging. Winning the FM award, his elegant style that is like no other, getting on Four pegs and Deco, his mindset training for contests and some surprises came out throughout the interview that I won’t spoil.

This is pure gold, is down grab and cuppa and listen to what Sieste and I have to say in our one hour 14 long conversation that taught me a lot and hopefully you at home listening.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the Sietse Van Berkel Flatmattersonline Interview!

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Kevin Jones: A Pivotal Moment that changed Flatland forever!

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?

The Flatmattersonline Pete Brandt Interview!

In my opinion, You couldn’t really script this story.. Who would have thought my childhood hero would organise a go fund me fundraiser to get me out to San Francisco and the One Love Jam.

Wait what????

How many would do this or even think about doing this for another rider? It is and was an amazing gesture. So much so I pinched myself at various points of the long flight over to SF. Is this really happening??

As Pete broke the news, aside from my initial disbelief, and thoughts of finally riding the clocktower and going to the One Love Jam. This was finally my chance after ten years of running Flatmattersonline to interview Pete and ask him all the things I was curious about over the years.

I first travelled to SF when I was seven years old with parents, then again at 14 years old and to compete for the X Games in 99, and 2000. The city definitely strikes a chord with me, it is my favourite place to travel in the world. So much history here, the bridges, all the different cultures, the views each way you look, the people, you can ride around Embarcardero and see all the famous skatespots just a throws away from the legendary Clocktower spot that Pete rides everyday, making the 40 minute BART commute from across the bay in Fremont.

I have met Pete numerous times over the years at contests across the globe, and even at the San Francisco X-Games twice which we discuss in the interview.
I haven’t however, hung out with Pete for any considerable amount of time, until this dream trip. I think it’s fair to say we got along so well I now consider Pete a close friend and we share a lot of the same music tastes, views on flatland, we both vibe off skateboarding, and best of all just a lot of laughs and good flatland sessions.
As I approach my 45th birthday in March, seeing Pete still going as hard as ever was a massive motivation to me “hey you can still do this and work a full time job and juggle family life with kids” and be an absolute monster to boot.

There are multiple layers to Pete’s life, which we cover in this interview. The term “legend” gets over used a lot, but Pete really is a flatland legend. And in fact as I now call it he is an “architect”. Pete has helped shape the spot/artform we all love, have you ever shove-it’ed mid trick, done a crackpacker, held a hitchhiker on the peg instead of tyre, used plastic pedals, use a freecoaster, these are all things Pete invented and made them popular and the list goes on.

The man deserves a BIG interview so much I can’t even stress this enough. Our sport/artform needs to respect the architects that shaped what we love today, and Pete is still going hard and infact I can almost guranteed he’s the last to read this and will be out shredding at the clocktower without a care in the world other than riding his bike and doing what he loves on the daily.

Over the years, I have met just about everyone in the flatland scene and Pete is the realist rider I have met. This guy eats, sleeps, and breathes flatland, and he totally gets it.

Grab a cuppa, and make some time to learn about one of the best riders to ever do it. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s do this, the Flatmattersonline Pete Brandt Interview! This is for all the hardcore riders out there, proud to bring this exclusive to the flatland scene.

Effraim Catlow / Flatmattersonline

The Flatmattersonline Pete Brandt Interview Teaser!

Have you ever met your childhood hero? Last month, I got to hang out and ride with Pete Brandt for the first time for an extensive period of time, since I have known him. When I received the news that Pete was organising a Go Fund page to get me out to San Francisco and the One Love jam. To be honest, I didn’t really know whether to scream, or shed a tear, what I can tell you for sure is I was very hyped and super excited to get out there. I can remember talking to myself and saying, “right this is it! It’s time to get the interview I always really wanted on the website.”

I had the time of my life, riding and hanging out with Pete everyday during my trip to California. After approx two weeks of editing, plus going over footage, and general tweaks that come with putting something like this out (I have never worked on a video for so long, hence why FM updates have been a little slow…). The full interview will drop this Friday, today to whet your appetite here is a little teaser.

Words cannot express how hyped I am to drop this interview on Friday, Pete is a true architect of Flatland, and a man that deserves the utmost respect from all of us!

Stay tuned!

Repo: The 2019 One Love Jam

Text: Effraim.
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.

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One Love Pre Jam – San Francisco / LA trip Part 3

Good morning everyone!

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.

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San Francisco Trip – Part 2

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.

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