Aggro Rag Freestyle Mag! Plywood Hoods Zines ’84-’89: The Complete Collection by Mike Daily
Aggro Rag Freestyle Mag! Plywood Hoods Zines 84-89: The Complete Collection contains all 1-12 issues of what in my opinion was and is the holy grail of the ‘zine era. For those of you not familar with ‘zines, they were largely put together with a typewriter, a xerox machine, hand writing, drawings and whatever your imagination could think up–countless hours spent cutting and pasting pre-Apple computers. In a lot of ways I think the ‘zine era had a lot more personality than any magazine or website could ever give you.
Flatmatters would probably not here without Aggro Rag, which inspired me to start my own ‘zine (Totally Intense) during my younger years. It was my childhood dream to get hold of an issue of Aggro Rag. When the book arrived on my 39th birthday last week, I felt like my collection was complete. My overwhelming thought writing this review, is that you really cannot put a price on what this book is worth. But at $24.43 this book is a steal of a deal!
The book is no holds barred, 443 pages of history! A historical archive of one of the most influential crews to ever leave their mark on BMX, the Plywood Hoods, and of course the most influential flatlander of all time, Kevin Jones.
The book opens with some great Foreword/Intro writing by Andy Jenkins and Mark Lewman, both of Freestylin’ magazine fame. Andy recalls the first time he met Mike Daily at an AFA contest in New York in 1986, and Lew writes about their meeting through US mail: “When Freestyle was new. The sport felt like it moved so fast you could feel it shifting under your feet. Paradoxically, the information moved as slowly as the pace of a monthly magazine or an AFA contest; between these events, BMX kids were left to their own devices to fill in the gaps and write their own history… Along with with VHS sister media, Dorkin’ in York, A-rag became a national underground phenomenon and within 3 years it was the, uppercase italics, premier Xeroxed freestyle publication.”
Lewman’s intro is followed by Daily’s three-page new interview with Kevin Jones “about the cover”. Kevin recalls about the cover shot: “It’s a squeakerson, or whatever. Wheelchair walk, sittin’ on the handlebars. I don’t really remember what it would have been called.”, his first triple decade on the CW in the photo, his breakdance influences, riding with Skyway Tuffs and later going on to ride for Skyway, and collecting old bike parts. It is brilliant engaging stuff!
It is great to see the advances through the ‘zine as the issues developed, not only in riding, but design, editorial, content, xerox art, and graphics. A one-page intro leads into each issue.
If you are paying attention, you will notice that the number “43″ appears throughout: in the publication date, the price, and so on, another Plywood Hoods touch to the book that adds personality to the project. You sense as much as the Hoods pioneered modern day flatland, none of this has gone to their heads: They had a blast. BMX was truly about having fun and expressing themselves whether through riding, Dorkin’ videos, ‘zines or any other creative outlet.
Photo credit: Jared Souney.
It would be a massive review if I were to list in detail everything that is contained within the book: countless editorials as you’d expect from 12 issues (Issue 3 contains words that ring true to this day, Society and its perception of us–if you have ever been kicked out of a car park, you will relate) and Issue 9 “Are you a contest zombie?”, brilliant insight into the Hoods way of thinking. Mike Daily writes about the differing attitudes they came across at an AFA Austin Texas contest they covered in the same issue. The Hoods were hanging out at the hotel with a bunch of “well-known freestyle personalities”, and Daily comments: “Instead of checking the [video]tape out, though, the other guys in the room felt the need to cut down mostly every rider for one reason or another.” The Hoods didn’t say anything, Daily writs, and it wasn’t until later that night that they discovered that all three of them had simultaneously thought, “These guys are fake.”
Daily goes to comment about the mocking of Jason Parkes that had ensued. To bring context to this story without including the whole article, the Hoods were big fans of Jason Parkes, and I can totally appreciate why. One of the riders asks, “You LIKE that stuff?” to which Mark Eaton replies “YEAH!” confidently. It is golden, gripping stuff from the archives.
Daily goes on to talk about these kids that live just for the contests, and do their thing without a care in the world. He wraps the article up with: “What I am trying to say is, don’t expect every freestyler in the free world to have the same values you have. Not everyone rides simply to show superiority over others. By the same token, not everyone rides solely for personal pleasure either. Just don’t look down upon a fellow biker for what he stands for, or what he does in a contest, or how he freestyles. The bottom line is…just ride. There shouldn’t be anything else.”
Somewhere through my younger years putting together Totally Intense ‘zine, I coined the phrase “Ride first, read later” and I never knew where I got it from. As it turns out, I got it from Mike and Aggro Rag. And this attitude–to just ride your bike–shines through in every story in the book, time after time.
I’ve gone into detail about this editorial, and I thought it worthwhile as it shows the Hoods way of thinking. They were totally open to riding their bikes in all forms, whether at the lot, a ditch, a backyard ramp, whatever. There is something really pure about what they did, and probably still are doing today, just not all together, as they moved to different parts of the country. The legacy lives on.
Of course there is much more content besides: cartoons, and AFA/2-Hip contest reports. Throughout, the rivalry between Kevin Jones and Rick Moliterno comes up in AFA repos and even the Dizz Hicks interview in Issue 9, which I found interesting. It was something as a kid growing up reading Freestylin’ I never got a sense of, and later on in the three-part intro to Daily’s 16-page grand finale to the book, “Kevin Jones: The Man. The Interview.”
The Hoods document numerous how-to’s, skateboarding, a visit to the home of Freestylin’, (Torrance, CA), and skatepark sessions. In Issue 6, Mike Daily recalls: “The biggest perk [of being a 'zine guy back in the mid- 80's] for me was being asked to contribute to Freestylin’. That was the shit. As cool as it was to make your own ‘zine, getting something printed in Freestylin’ was infinitely cooler. Andy [Jenkins] requested permission to reprint an editorial I’d published in Aggro Rag. It was called ‘A Puppet No More’ and ran in an ‘Off the Deep End’ with a photo of my favourite rider, Ceppie Maes. I think it won a design award.”
At 443 pages, over time I pick up the book and I find something new that I had previously missed. One of my favourite things about this book is the amount of Interviews with groundbreaking and influential people/characters in BMX and flatland. It struck me that a lot like the Hoods riding, Mike Daily and the Hoods were interested in other riders that brought something fresh to the table. The list is extensive: Dale Mitzel, Jamie McKulik, Kenneth Evans, Mario Salas, Dave Pak, Gary Pollak (the inventor of Pinky Squeaks and Perverted Boomerangs), John Swarr, Craig Grasso (his infamous naked ramp run at the Enchanted Ramp in SD appears on the cover of Issue 11), John Huddleston, Ceppie Maes, Dizz Hicks, Jason Parkes, Aaron Dull (who did the caboose on the other coast of the US at the same time as Kevin), and Pete Augustin. Chris Day in Daily’s intro to Issue 11 gets asked how he felt about all the random “fidge sequences” in Dorkin’ 2. The list goes on: Jym Dellavalle, Dave Mirra (four-page new interview in Issue 12), Chris Moeller, Perry Mervar before he turned Pro, Marty Stoyer and…
Of course, the highlight for many: “Kevin Jones: The Man. The interview.” is so engaging. The most influential flatland rider of all time has largely remained mysterious, which only adds to the intrigue. Throughout the 443 pages of the book, when you read the Plywood Hoods’ attitude towards fame and contests, it becomes a clearer: You get the impression that Jones and the Hoods went and had fun every day, whether it was a ten-hour day riding at Mount Rose, or blasting a tabletop at the local skatepark. It was all about fun and the regular “fidge” moment.
As I already commented, there is a wonderful purity to what the Hoods achieved that might never be matched in this day and age of the Internet–riders of all levels who send in footage daily. I feel thankful that the Hoods took the time to document what they got up on their bikes in video form as well as in ‘zine format, and collated it together in this wonderful book. I have often wondered what flatland would have been like now without Kevin Jones and the Plywood Hoods.
The Book fittingly ends with the part I am sure, anyone who is interested in flatland will want to read. The Kevin Jones interview opens with a three-part intro which gives you eight pages of insight into Kevin’s background as a breakdancer and his early days on Skyway. Mike Daily writes about Kevin getting picked up by Skyway, and dropping a whole new realm of tricks at the AFA Masters in Austin, Texas, on May 2, 1987. Kevin dropped the trolley, the crank-a-roni, the elephant glide, and after his run had ended unfortunately, the locomotive. Lew at Freestylin’ reported: “Kevin Jones got the crowd louder during his run than anyone else the whole weekend, including the pros.”
Everyone, it seems–aside from Kevin–couldn’t believe that he got second place to Rick Moliterno. Kevin comments: ” 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 wanted to do anyways was get sponsored. I never early cared about getting first.”
The intro goes back to Kevin’s younger years to document his first competition at the AFA Masters in Long Island, New York, in September 1986. Kevin was already making personal modifications to his CW, such as the homemade locking lever, and bringing new tricks to the table. He dropped a handstand-type boomerang which immediately earned him a lot of respect (Rick Moliterno even commented: “The man don’t joke about boomerangs.” Kevin managed to tie with CW’s Greg Kove “with a completely blown run,” Daily reports.
Mike Daily goes onto the write about Kevin’s contest achievements, and also the Hoods’ first hearing about Tim Treacy doing a scuffing trick call the backyard. Once Kevin had worked out what the technique involved, he went about developing his first scuffing move, the locomotive, whilst holding the beam in his parents’ garage. He planned to drop it as his last trick in Austin, Texas. Around this time, both Kevin and Aaron were inventing the same tricks on the east and west coasts of the country: the trolley or the puppet, the caboose or the stick bitch.
I could go on and on, as I am mesmerised by the text. It’s fascinating stuff. Daily discusses the post-Skyway era with Kevin’s time on GT, his contract with GT being terminated (this is a bit I will leave for you to find out about!), AM riders being inspired by Kevin, and so on. I don’t want to reel off the whole book.
The new Kevin Jones interview–with quotes by various friends and fans–addresses the origin of scuffing, the best basketball sneakers of the 80′s/90′s, trick names, what Kevin feels about modern day flat, why he waited so long to turn pro, what bike frames he designed, family life, having kids, his dream job and why he stopped making up new tricks. There is a great part where they talk about the Hang 5, and the impact it’s had on street riding in the modern day.
It’s a fitting end to a beautiful piece of flatland and BMX history that I will hold dear to myself forever.
This book is a must-have if you are into flatland and BMX riding–whether you’re old school, new school, mid school. Whatever label you care to put on it, going to school will get you an education, help you learn about the sport, and learn about these influential riders that have shaped what we do and love today. And now after 20 or so years wondering, I now know what the art of “fidging” is.
The book is $24.43, an absolute steal!!! Go preorder this right now direct from Mike Daily on http://aggrorag.com Mike is offering signed copies + t-shirts and hoodies package deals until 11:59pm PST on Wednesday, March 13th, and is expecting to ship all preorders worldwide from Oregon before the book’s official release date of April 3, 2013 (4.3.13). It will be something you will look back on for years to come.
Thank you Mike Daily, and thank you to Kevin Jones and the Plywood Hoods for making flatland and BMX what is today!
Well worth checking out this special episode of FlatWebTV that dropped last week!
This is great! Let the world know how the product is! It seems like we all waiting for that smooth, reliable freecoaster. Is the Ezra the one John?
“I’ve been asked how my Ezra freecoaster is working. It never engages and rolls great but it keeps slipping the clutch plate. Heres 3 clips of it doing it. It usually happens as I apply pressure to the pedals during a combo but also happens just pedaling normal (clip 2). It is a street hub so I’m sure greater pressure is applied riding street. Anyone else have this issue??”
Down to the final part of my review of 2012! If you have been following the reviews, you will know they are pretty detailed, and true to form, it doesn’t change here!
September kicked off with some contest news, Lee Musselwhite won the UK Championships for the second year in a row in Bristol. Over in Budapest, Adam Kun won the OSG 3 contest which looked like one of the best events of the year, great to see Mike S on the podium, go back and look through the trailers and contest footage, great contest in all aspects. This is of course served as the warm up to the biggest contest of the year, the Red Bull Circle of Balance in Kyoto, Japan! This was definitely my highlight of the year, flatland on the big stage, and of course I had the honour of hosting the live feed to all of you at home.
When Andy Zeiss, “Hey E, do you think you can talk about flatland for two and half hours with Frank Lucas”. I laughed to myself and thought that is not a problem at all, I planned a loose show taking into account Frank had previously rode in the Circle of Balance event. Unfortunately Frank was unable to make it, so after a few meetings at the event we invited a few guests (The US Haro Team were in the house! Ryan Nyquist, Dennis McCoy were chosen, and a few riders as they would drop out of the contest, and I proposed inviting people to tweet into me with shootouts and thoughts on the events, to give it that interactive feel. The build up to the final show you all watched was incredible, the Haro team put on an epic show outside of the event. It was role reversal in Japan, Flatland centre stage, Park riding as a warm up. Then I started to have doubts, “shit two and a half hours is a long time on your own”, as it turned out, the show honestly felt like half an hour, when your having a blast like that, it’s easy to see why!
Thinking about the event now still gives me goosebumps, and I still have visions of standing up for the last final battle and screaming my lungs off with Dennis and Terry thinking we were going going fall off the top of the bleachers. Flatland this night definitely went to a higher place, congratulations once more to Viki Gomez, achieving his third COB win over a ten year period, something I do not think will happen again. Hosting the show was a total blast and something I will never forget, thank you Andy, Red Bull, and flatland!
The aftermath of the Circle Of Balance was quite rightly taken up with tons of videos from the contest, I especially liked Deep Bmx’s take on it, who toured Japan, and showed that tour vibe, with lil’ parts showing the contest. I also did caught up with the winner Viki Gomez that is well worth a read again, great hearing his perspective and emotion at winning for the third time. Once again if you check the bibliography after this article and can you scroll through each video as you so wish.
Getting back home and back to reality, and the jetlag even though I was only in the land of rising sun for 4 days, was hell for a week. I got back home and remember the first video that I watched was a trailer featuring Shuichi Osada one of my favourite riders from japan, a feeling hit me, why did I come home? Then dropped Aki’s video, right after the COB! This was largely slept on, I’m guessing due to the timing of its release…
September 13th was an awesome day for edits and news! Long Beach’s Sean Fontenot dropped a crazy “Never give up” edit with some mind boggling xfted cab stuff and took the harshest slams, this dude has that fire, go back and watch this one! Dedication to the cause! 2012 was a great year for Jean Francois Bouilainne, and he deserves his hook up with Flatware, a few days later JFB teamed up with Sevisual to bring you his “Welcome to Flatware edit!”!
The FlatWeb TV guys gave so much to flatland last year, aside from the regular shows which is enough work, I really thought there individual edits stood out, and the edit from Vancouver stood out, so good to see some fresh Cory Fester footage! The day finished with the Nora Cup Nominees being announced, with many people speculating as always, it was for sure between Ucchie and Dominik.
On September 17th, one of the most underrated riders on the planet in my opinion, Thomas Noyer dropped a crazy edit entitled “Pieces of Combos” that further enhanced his rep in flatland circles. I expect big things from this man in 2013! Pete Brandt and the crew featured in a tight “Clocktower jam SF” edit on the same day. Always get good vibes watching the SF jam edits, makes me want to go back someday!
A day later and Red Bull released a really tight edit from the COB event, the event already had mad amount of coverage, but this came over as being fresh, which is amazing in itself after how much coverage came out.
On the 21st, Yohei “Ucchie” Uchino was voted as the Nora Cup Flatlander of the year! Winning the first two stops of the Word Circuit and a banging 430 part. A part of me does feel this award goes out to early in the year as there still were a few months to go, but hey, it might not have made much difference anyway…
As the month began to wind down, the edits/news didn’t, JFB was on a high from the FlatWare hook and took the win at the FlatDance 2012 event in Slovakia.
I’m always looking for the next “big rider”, and this kid might well be it, all year he released progressive videos! If you do not know the name “Mateus Beckmann”, type his name into the search bar, and watch a young kid enjoying flatland progression, it is beautiful to watch unfold!
Alberto Moya enjoyed a great 2012, released his 360 bar flip Cliffhanger, entitled “Aoosttt” as well as yet another scene video featuring the riding of Moya, Guelo, and Varo Hernandez. Like Thomas Noyer, I expect big things from Moya this year!
Two of the best edits of the year dropped on the 26th and 27th. And in a way summed one of the great things about 2012! Diversity. Matt Wilhlem’s “At home” edit has all cringing at screen with “that slam”, and amazed as always at the speed of his riding! James White “Whitelines” edit follows a calmer route in riding but equally impressive, and his “bikeflip” surprised the flatland world. The term “Must Watch” was seeming to overdone, but was truly worth it. I imagine these two edits played on repeat at many a flatlanders house over the rest of the year!
Jean William Prevost killed it at the Red Bull COB, and was a name now everybody was talking about. His Interview with Marked Mayhem was perfectly timed, talking about his riding, his travels, and contest experience. Another guy to look out for this year, how would he follow up the success of Japan. Toronto is fast approaching…
On the same day I caught up with Flatland legend, Kerry Gatt to discuss his COB experience, this actually turned out to be one of my favourite interviews of the year. If you missed this one, hit the bibliography, great read!
The month finished with a couple of sweet edits from Jesse Puente “Welcome to Wrung”, Davis Dudelis 60 meter Nose manual, and Mike S exercising at LVR! What a blinding month to the growing list!
In October, the edits were still going from the Red Bull COB. This was one was on a different tip though, and focussed documentary style on Deco owner and rider(s) Chad Degroot and Kerry Gatt! Take a peak back at this one, great edit by Hiroshi!
A day later Tom at Sevisual released a dope black and white edit from the The bridge jam in Vienna, great riding from Markus Redlburger, Sebastian Grubinger, amongst others.
On October 4th I was out in Tossa del Mar, an hour north of Barcelona to judge the Rebel jam. Sunshine, beaches, and beautiful postcard views for a week. As always the Rebel jam is run entirely different. And actually made judging flatland a lot easer, if you had to pick winners from the weekend that would be Jesse Puente who had the run of his life, Matthias Dandois, and Alexis Desolneux who hit two of his hardest moves. But the Rebel jam is all about the BMX experience, I hope to go back to this venue one day. Beautiful.
The worst thing about the Rebel jam was the wi-fi, painfully slow which made updating the site very tricky and time consuming more than usual. Whilst all eyes were on the Rebel jam, there are still amazing edits dropping worldwide. Case in point, the Huntington beach edit featuring Terry Adams, Bobby Carter and Sean Fontenot, this edit captured that HB vibe from the 90′s, and whilst it wasn’t a throwback edit at all, it took many of us way back to that time when HB was the capital of the flatland world.
On October 9th,the Flat WebTV guys dropped an amazing post Red Bull COB show, that featured great insight from the winner Viki Gomez, the MC Scott O’Brien, myself on livefeed, Mike S from judging perspective, plus many more. Well with going back and watching this one!
Two days later, Jason Plourde dropped an intense edit entitled “Liberate”, last year it really felt Jasn had found his way, destroying the back wheel with Raphael Chiquet like pivots, and multiple footjam decade variations mid combo, mixing them into whoppers, amongst other tricks. Amazing!
A week after Rebel jam the focus shifted to the other side of the world. Austin, Texas. And the Texas Toast event, plenty on the line for the year end AM Flat titles, TJ Perry took the win in am, we interviewed him shortly after which caused quite a response! Todd Carter was right behind Tj and took the year end title, congrats Todd! (hit the bibliography for interviews with TJ and Todd!) And in Pro, Dominik Nekolny dropped a hammer last combo, that had many saying the hardest line every done in a contest. One thing is for certain, after a bad start to the weekend with the Pralex car getting broken into and Dom’s bag getting stolen. Winning the event, and the year end title in pro, improved things! What a year for Dominik! Texas Toast along with the Rebel jam took a great deal of the coverage during October!
Some of UK scene headed to Bristol (who has one of the best scenes in the UK) for Mayko Lee’s birthday jam, and as well as the Bristol crew putting on a sweet jam for Mayko Lee, they dropped a tight edit a few days after the event, and we caught up with Josh to see what work went into putting the day on! Hit the bibliography if you missed this one, or refresh the mind maybe.
October 17th was another great day for flatland! Any footage of Steve Mulder is awesome, multiple hanggliders are relatively unheard of in this day in age of peg to peg boomerangs, Mulder completely smashed it with 5 brakeless! To my knowledge thats a record, unless he’s beat it himself? Steve?
Luis Elias Benavides published Part 1 of his Radio interview with flatland legend, Chase Gouin, they discussed his recovery with fungal/mould illness, how he got into riding, his passion for flatland riding, of particular interest to me was the question about judging, where he talks about variety, trickiontary, originality. So much more. Great interview!
I told you the 17th was a good day, and Alex Jumelin teamed up with Fat Tony to bring you a welcome to freegun edit, filmed in Las Vegas, whilst Alex was in town for the Nora Cup ceremony.
What a year for Jim McKay, fast becoming one of the best filmers in the game, another Must Watch from the pre jam for the Texas Toast at the infamous OG spot, such an amazing vibe comes across watching this edit.
Three days later and another great day for flatland edits. What I especially liked about this day was the variety of different types of edits coming in, as you will see if you go back and watch these.
Martti Kuoppa back on a bike! A great day if nothing else, and just messing around with a mega spin full whopper to mega spin decade out! That was enough for me, but the day continued! Jeff Scheer released a really good edit full of different techniques I hadn’t seen in years, but really brought a smile to my face seeing this edit! And holy shit, Sietse Van Berkel in the second half of the year seemed to just elevate to monster status riding wise, absolutely smashing it in his September 2012 edit, great style and tricks from this shredder from Holland. Big future for this guy! Anthony Buglio rounded up a cracking day with a brilliant show from the Texas Toast, really digging the shows isolated to one topic, whether interview or contest, on this occasion, great interviews and riding footage! Top marks FlatWebTV!
On October 22nd, Mr Hyper, Dez Maarsen dropped a sick downside whip to rollback rolled clip! A day later, Chase Gouin Part 2 of his radio interview with Luis Elias discussing his health, signature frame, taking part in contests, favourite riders, suggestions to beginners, and influence of flatland in his life. Definitely worth going back and listening to both interviews.
As the month started winding down, surprise surprise the edits did not! Jim McKay dropped a great short edit with Holland’s Michael Van der Kroft,who went down a similar route to Alex Jumelin with his riding, not touching the seat. It will be interesting to see in 2013, what he gets up to!
Remember the name, Kensuke Hamai! His riding is a mix of Raphael Chiquet, and Yohei Uchino, killer back wheel flow! Big future for this guy if he keeps shredding like he did in 2012! On the same day, Scott Powell released a dope edit entitled “Let the bikes in”, even though it was old footage, I was still amazed at the double foot jam combo in this one! Timeless. Over in Spain, Adam Kun won the MiraFlow contest in Sevilla!
We ended the month stoked on two edits, from Charles Paty and that name again, Adam Kun! I can already hear people saying, oh yeah that edit! Charles Paty killed it in his Superb frames testing edit, killer nose manual combos. On a different tip, Adam teamed up with the Hungarian bank, to film one of the most professional looking edits yet. Both equally awesome edits for very different reasons! A great end to yet another great month!
Now you would think, November.. The weather starts turning bad, nights drawing in, less edits! Wrong! November started like it was the middle of summer in terms of content. I remember thinking wow, this is non stop work! Four amazing edits dropped from the Texas Toast, Dax Wolford, Pete Brandt, and Guelo and Moya, hit the bibliography to watch throughout them.
A few days later, Dax was back with a dope triple turbine edit. York Uno released a really nice edit with “Doke in Kobe”. Joris Bretagnolles won the Vibration Urbaines contest in France. And Jim McKay released “A tips on making better flatland edits” article from TCU, firstly good news the TCU are finally covering flatland, and also good it was someone who knows what they are talking about! Lot of helpful tips to consider on this topic, as we of course flatlanders not film makers.
There then seemed to be a lil’ down time for the first time I can recall all year, of 5-6 days of chilled edits. Then on the 11th, things started to fire up again! Dane Beardsley enjoyed a great year, and took a well deserved first place at the Trans jam in Greenville. Anthony Brogden was spitting feather son the mic during Dane’s run! Go back and watch his second run for one hell of an incredible back wheel line.
Pete Brandt had numerous dope edits throughout the year, but this “Clocktower tales” edit really stood out for me. An inspiration to us all, the man is on it more than ever!
It didn’t seem like Jim McKay was far out of the limelight this year, and on the 12th he released the “Must Watch” edit from Texas Toast. On the same day, Fat Tony released the 2013 flatland calendar with Dane Beardsley on the cover, and Team Pralex on the back. Thanks to fat we had a couple of exclusives on the calendar behind the scenes, hit the bibliography for the juice if you missed these.
S&M made some big statements of intent this year, not only Chad blowing up and dropping one of the best edits. But Peter Olsen delivered a hammer part for us all to drool over, this edit swept across every flatland and bmx website that knew what was up that day, and on repeat for days to come. As it turns out arguably the top 3 edits of the year, were all from S&M riders! Like I said, a real big statement!!
4 days later was all about Matthias Dandois! On this day he won the Com’in Lyon contest and released a really well produced and thought out whiplash how to, that set the standard for how-tos in this digital era. Amazing quality and insight into the trick!
As November wound down as I busy getting articles ready to celebrate 4 years of Flatmatters! Rather than just an edit this year, I wanted to have exclusive content dropping all week to celebrate, and we featured during that week, two part rider perspective on 2012, a interview with the master of the foot jam decade, John Yull, a two part huge interview with Viki Gomez! We announced our media partnership with BMX Union, The Merged, Freecoaster.com, and Can I Dig it? And also during that time Alex Jumelin had a dope TCU interview, Sietse Van Berkel continued his amazing year with another banging clip.
As we rolled into the last month of the year. A few sponsorship chains were happening, firstly Yohei Uchino signed for Red Bull, and Matthias Dandois quit Ares Bykes.
On December 6th besides the part 2 of the rider perspective article dropping, Kenshiro released a sick quad decade clip, that had many of us talking! Most notably, Flat Web Tv held their 2012 awards show, and I was truly honoured to be considered for the lifetime achievement award, let alone to take the award. Watch the show above to see who else won what, if you missed it!
Now we don’t see a great deal of Brian Tunney, but when we do it is always a treat, classic rolling style, and his edit on December 7th was a Must Watch! Also on this day, the KOG organisers released an amazing expert class edit, and Sergio Balu from Brazil “amazed us! Sorry couldn’t resist, in reference to title before you ask!
December 8th was another good day for edits and even though it was towards the need of the year, the edits and sheer volume didn’t slow down hardly at all. One of the things I will take most from the year would be that fact alone, pretty amazing when you think about it. Anyway, on this day, it was great to see Catfish release a “world-wide” that reflected his travels, different cultures, wild partying and the odd amazing flatland move here and there. Thats a good watch! Com’in Lyon also released a tight edit from their contest. And over in Tokyo, Yohei Uchino narrowly beat Viki Gomez for the top spot at the G Shock Real Toughness event.
On December 12th, the news that Same Thing Daily 3 was in the works dropped. Sietse Van Berkel dropped a clip in 0 Celsuis, Ciaran Perry released some amazing old footage of himself from 2008, and Tyler Gilliard’s Welcome to FreeGun edit dropped, hopefully we will see more from this guy this year!
After much speculation, the news dropped that Matthias Dandois was riding for Haro Bikes! And would be riding Dennis Enerson’s signature SD frame. In a random bit of news related to this, I just got word today from hare manager, Colin McKay that his Welcome to Haro edit will be dropping anyway! So hold tight!
December 17th was a great day for flatland, both Sam Foakes and Matthias Dandois released sick edits, that reminded me of old times those two going head to head, anyone else notice these guys seem to have a habit of releasing edits on the same date. Also on this day, Scott O”brine put down the mic, and let us see him shred in New Orleans, dope vibes from the City Park riding spot!
On December 23rd, Adam Kun released a Must Watch edit from his last session of 2012! And whilst many of us were occupied with Christmas. In japan, the KOG/WC Finals were going down, for me it was a shame that due to the scheduling of this event, no one from outside of japan was there. It kind of diminishes all their hard work thats gone on in previous rounds. Nevertheless as we all know, the riding at the final event of the year was absolutely mind-blowing, with Hotoke taking the win, Yohei Uchino taking the World Circuit, could Dominik Nekolny have taken it? We’ll never know. And Moto Sasaki finished 3rd with a dope 1 minute long combo that on any other day would be enough. Go back and watch this edit again! Pure fire!!
Things slow down on Christmas day? Hell no! On Christmas day Alex Jumelin and Jim McKay released “The style the life” with some of AJ’s best riding to date! And FlatWebTV interviewed Chad Johnston and Peter Olsen who both won awards respectively.
On Boxing day, the KOG edits were in full flow, and ESPn released a really dope interview with Simon O’Brien. early stoked to see more of SOB shredding in 2013!
On December 28th we broke the news, that James White as on S&M! And fittingly the year ended with James White teaming up with james smith to bring you his Welcome to S&M edit! Not to forget on the same day a dope flashback edit from Waldemar Fatkin, expect big things from this stylecat this year.
And that as they say is a wrap! What an incredible year that I hope I’ve done some justice if you can be bothered to read through it all! I hope more than anything that this article in its three parts acts more of an archive that you can refer to! Big respect to every flatlander on the planet that has brought content to all of us worldwide, and kept the scene moving forward! 2013 will have a hell of a job trying to top that!
Sit down with a cuppa, OJ or whatever your are drinking this morning or evening, and spare yourself an hour to go through the year 2012, May till August FM style, hit the extensive bibliography for relevent links!
If you already read my Part 1 review of 2012, you will know the format. If not, hit the link above for what you have missed!
Spring was in full mode, perhaps not in England as it rained a lot just for a change, nevertheless the month of May started with some incredible news that I feel helped drive the positive vibes throughout 2012.
We began May with the Posse Up scene deadline and some great edits came in from scenes like LA, Baltimore, and the eventually winner, Athens, Georgia! The concept from the One Love Crew was great, I hope to see much more of this kind of thing in the future.
Also on this day, the trailer for the 430 DVD trailer was released, and certainly wetted the appetite for what was to come from Japan.
On May 2nd, arguably the biggest news of the year was announced. The legendary Red Bull Circle of Balance contest was back, and scheduled for Kyoto, Japan in September. The feel good factor was felt across the flatland world. Events worldwide seemed to gain energy as a result of the news.
Quentin Pelorson released a serious progression edit on May 3rd, this guy really stood out for me in 2012. He may or may not get much credit in broader terms, but right here he earned a ton of respect from me, the spinning ck flip to xft halfpacker in this short clip was no joke at all!
Three days later, Viki Gomez won the Bike Days contest in Switzerland, a contest that seems to be gaining in popularity every year. The podium shot seemed to cause quite a stir here on FM.
On May 7th arguably one of the best contest edits of the year dropped, a little known contest outside of Japan, called the “An Cup” the edit featured back to back hammer combos unedited and totally flawless from Yohei Uchino, Hiroya Morizaki, and Yoshiki Uchino. Remember this one people? Go back and watch this one again!
2012 was quite a year for Jason Plourde, on May 10th Jason released a sweet clip pulling a double footjam decade, a trick he would further explore during the year. On the same day we broke the news that Viki Gomez had just landed a nice sponsorship deal with Levi’s. The good vibes were flowing.
On May 11th I started hyping up one of the most important events on the flatland calendar, the Voodoo jam! The hype began with a whole bunch of interviews with the likes of Mark Kuhlmann, Todd Carter, Bryan Huffman, Ron Monis, and of course Terry Adams and Scott O’Brien (who also had a great interview drop on ESPN on may 18th) , the term “hype” seemed to go down well with the flatland community, and a few days later Dominik Nekolny dropped a savage multiple xfted whiplash combo using the term as a title.
On May 20th Alex Jumelin won the Fise contest in Montpelier, France, before moving countries to the USA. Quite fitting for Alex to win his last contest in his home country. The year kept getting better and better for him.
FlatDev went to new heights last year, one of the best branded events, ton of promotional material, and in my eyes seemed to stand out from the pack in terms of professionalism. Edit after edit, interviews, qualifying videos, and perhaps a new standard for events to reach. Hey, if you want to put on a event, you could worse than check out these guys and what they have done. Top marks to the organisers!
Now let it be said, I am a big Hotoke fan, and on May 24th when Jim McKay released the “Hotoke at JomoPro 2012″ I was hyped, and the whole flatland community were too. With Jim’s editing and filming skills, and Hotoke’s bike mastery, the edit was a sure winner. Go watch this one again for a sweet reminder. (I wonder how many times I will say that throughout this article).
On May 27th, It’s always amazing to see what Aki is up to, I admire riders who go in their own direction. And Aki’s backwards pumping technique had reached a whole different level with regard to technique and smoothness, I remember hitting the rewind button about five times before I even posted it! That ladies and gentlemen does not happen very often – no offence! Hit the bibliography to watch this one again!
Three days later, Dane Beardsley dropped a monster part for ESPN, teaming up with his good friend Brian Tunney. There were so many combos to marvel at, but the backwards xfted halfpacker to steam stood out to me, not just for how hard that is, but the angle of his foot as he pivoted from the backwards xfted halfpacker to steam, absolutely insane!
The month of May finished off with a really well produced edit from FlatDev (yes that name again!) with Mr Buttery himself, Shintaro Misawa. And lastly but not least, a name we don’t hear from too often from, Travis Collier produced a sweet part for a competition called “My Steaz”.
I feel like we have enough for year already, but we haven’t even got to summer yet!
June started off with the rider list being announced for the Red Bull Circle of Balance in Kyoto, Japan. As usual plenty of discussion about who should and shouldn’t be invited. In the end, there are only 16 spots, somebody is going to be disappointed, it is awesome for flatland the event came back, and I certainly feel like it shaped the second half of the year.
In my eyes and I have no doubt many others, one of the best bits of news came on June 2nd. Chase Gouin making a recovery from his severe illness (hit the bibliography for details) and back riding, with a few photos documented on the Odyssey website. After having three years off his bike, the news Chase was back riding, certainly brought a spring in my step and i’m sure many others.
On the same day, another flatland legend, West Coasts Jesse Puente announced a “originality” contest to win his signature Premuim lagger KHE frame.
On June 4th we continued the “Voodoo jam Hype” with a interview with Prasheel Gopal, and that same day Waldemar Fatkin and Stephan Kornely dropped a Must Watch edit shredding the spot in Koblenz. Good to see that friendship vibe come across, and those guys do it perfectly.
Denes Katona is a name you don’t hear too much of, but sometimes less is more! And in this case that certainly applies right here, everybody knows Denes is one of the best riders on the planet, and visiting good friend Mizo over in Ireland, Denes doesn’t disappoint and delivers some impossible whiplash combinations. Sadly this was the last we heard of Denes from 2012. Hit the bibliography watch this one again!
June of course meant, the Voodoo jam in New Orleans! And a ton of edits came out throughout the month and indeed are still coming out now in January 2013! Check the bibliography for all the best edits, especially Jim McKay’s edit below.
As always Scott O’Brien and Terry Adams put their heart and soul into putting on the best possible event. All eyes were on New Orleans that weekend. As the event wasn’t part of the World Circuit, not all the heavy hitters were there (Matthias Dandois, and Yohei Uchino both previous Voodoo jam winners spring to mind).
In the AM class, Canadian Mark Kuhlmann took the win and immediately turned pro (with reference to Scott O’Brien Flat Web TV interview) this was a great idea!, Mark only just missing the cut on his first attempt. We interviewed Mark shortly after on June 13th, to talk about his Voodoo jam experience. The pralex guys were flying the flag this weekend!
In prelims, Matt Wilhelm threw down to take the top spot into the final battles. In the end, Dominik Nekolny stomped to a first place finish. Why this event, wasn’t part of the World Circuit I have no idea, but that’s a whole different topic!
On the same day as the Voodoo jam, Jason Plourde who had an amazing year dropped a banging “Transformer freestyle” edit, if anyone is going to break into that group of elite riders that place top 5 at every event, Jason could be that guy. Style, speed and aggression in abundance!
Pockets of edits seem to all come in at once, this happened numerous times throughout the year. And on June 14th, two amazing edits from flatland legend Pete Brandt at his second home, the Clocktower in SF and Trevor Oleniuk’s visual diary of the Voodoo Jam swept across every flatland blog and website on the planet.
The end of june wrapped up with entries coming in for Jesse Puente’s originality contest, great edits from Russia, Thomas Noyer, David Nagy and Brazilian riders Lisias Taberelli and Bruno Zebu. Lisias took the win, and collected his frame at the BMX Masters! Congratulations once again Lisias.
July is always a huge month for flatland, edits come in so fast, that at times it is hard to keep up, and quite often last year, I’ve held edits back to give other edits time to be viewed and taken in.
Calvin Tan is one stylish mofo, and July 2nd he dropped a “Must Watch” edit, riding the back wheel in a unique way, his riding style screamed “fun!”, go watch it again for a reminder of what this guy brings to the game.
July 3rd was another good example of the “Pockets of edits” comment I previously made, amazing edits dropped by Gabe Kadmiri, and two from Madrid, the Flatmad crew Part 1 (& Part 2 a few days later) and James Smith teamed up with Viki Gomez to bring you “Lots and found” also filmed in Madrid, needless to say but Viki’s skills are incredible, and when you put them together with James’ filming and editing talents, your onto a winner! July 3rd was a good day!
Two days later and another amazing day for edits, with an absolute treat from The One Love crew with Dane Beardsley, I feel like people are finally coming round to how awesome Dane’s riding really is, and this “Shaka Brah” edit definitely did not disappoint. Sebastian Grubinger stars in a lot of Dane’s videos nowadays, and on this day he teamed up with Tom @ Sevisual to bring you his Heresy “Ascend” bars promo, this was a “Must Watch” edit, Steamboat whiplashes, and whiplash to infront of bars whips and back spring to mind.
A day later, and Aleski Ritsila and Bert Ribul brought another “Must watch” banger edit, two stylish cats with a big future! Really enjoyed how this edit was put together, a definite must go back and watch! Good vibes!
July 9th may well have been the best day for flatland/news edits of the year! Don’t believe me! Check the list, and then go watch them all:
Must watch – Voodoo jam edit by Jim McKay!
Botak Raziff wins Flat Dev 2012! Final Battle edit!
Dez Maarsen/ Michael van deer Krost Summer weekend Session
Hiroya Morisaki wins stop 2 of G Shock Real Toughness
York jam 2012 edit by York Uno
Red Bull COB teaser
Edit overload! And they just kept coming and coming!
The BMX masters is one of the biggest contests on the calendar. Last year it was run as the World Championship, and on July 15th Matthias Dandois took the title that had eluded him for a long time, and added to his list of contest wins. Pretty much winning every event on the planet at some point in his career. The highlights edit dropped a few days later, and as always with the Worlds/BMX masters, this event gets lot more attention and comments than any other edit pretty much.
July 16th was another great day in a list of many last year! Both Alex Jumelin and Sam Foakes dropped banger edits, even though Sam didn’t realise he was having an edit filmed at the Flatmatters jam in Manchester. Flatland is quite nice like that sometimes! Alex continued on his personal rampage, having one of the best years of his long career, both edits and riders have been hugely influential this year.
July 20th was another amazing day for news/edits, kicking things off with Russia winning the Real Toughness contest in Osaka, Jesse Puente signing for Wrung Streetwear, we dropped an exclusive interview with Joe Miller to help hype up Round 2 of the AM FLT series, and two great great edits from the BMX Worlds 2012 by Freedom BMx and Deep BMX!
The next few days were taken up with the news of the return of the legendary Aggro Rag ‘zine and Yohei Uchino continued his winning streak, winning the 2nd round of the World Circuit and looking on course to win the World Circuit title in Berlin…
On July 25th, I dropped an exclusive interview with japanese stylecat, Keisuke Tanigawa, one of my favourite riders currently. Who later went on to win the No runs contest in Saga, japan later in the month.
Over in Austin, Texas, John Yull continued to light the fuse, dropping another Must watch edit for one of his sponsors, Tempest Brand. Flatlanders worldwide were taking notes on his creative foot-jam decade combinations.
The Olympics were in full fever around this time, and a whole load of BMX riders were due to perform at the opening show. Johann Chann teamed up with James White, Jason Forde, TGM Maz, and Keelan Phillips to bring the world a lil’ snippet of their routine as last minute the decision was made to axe the whole BMX show. Quite what effect that show would have had on future generations we will never know.
The month of July ended with flurry of edits, The name Pedro Melo is not heard enough on Flatmatters, so you know when an edit drops, it will be amazing. And his “One too hot hour” was a Must Watch for the flatland community.
Lisias Taberelli dropped an amazing “Outside BMX Worlds” edit, that captured the Koln vibe really well. The Brazilian energy came through loud and clear.
The OG crew put on dope events, and released an amazing trailer for the Offline Sports Game contest in September, this looked like being one of the best events of the year.
Summer holidays in flow, and a busy month for me organising the King of Southsea contest at the end of month. A ton of edits dropped in August and Laszlo Tivadar & Steve Mulder started the month off nicely, with a tasty 5 combos edit and 5 brakeless hanggliders respectively!
The exciting news that the Dew Tour were holding a flatland contest was announced on August 4th, the contest scheduled for August 19th in Ocean City, Maryland was invitational only with 4 riders, Matthias Dandois, Alex Jumelin, Terry Adams, and Matt Wilhelm were confirmed. Another positive for an amazing year for flatland!
A day later JF Boulianne won Round 3 of the AM FLT Circuit, in Anderson Indiana, the contest got rained out, but fortunately there was an indoor spot that looks like a reception area to get the contest done, and the ranking points proved to be hugely important.
On the other side of the world, Yohei Uchino won yet another contest, this time the G Shock Real Toughness event in Sendai, Japan, and along with the World Circuit was looking like he was going to take the G Shock Real Toughness Series also.
On August 7th we returned to these “Pockets of edits” I mentioned earlier, Dylan Worsley’s xft backwards halfpacker clip was a timely reminder, not only that he’s still got it, but that he’s still out there shredding hard, stoked to see this! Jason Plourde, Matt Wilhelm and Dane Beardsley all had Must Watch edits on this day, all totally different styles, which is a good point from the year, 2012 seemed to me to bring more diversity than recent previous years. jason and Matt are both fast paced but yet totally different styles, and Dane’s Cross Country edit in Portland, Oregon was at the opposite end of the scale yet of course equally as hard. Flatland is beautiful!
Three days later, and Jason Plourde was most def on a roll with the multiple decade concept, go back and watch this absolutely hammer short clip!
On August 11th, the King of Ground dropped the Official edit from Round 2. And Naoto Tamaru released this must watch edit that seemed to go underneath the radar, featuring Nauto, Kenshiro Ojma and featured an jaw dropping back wheel combo from Yohei Uchino, two footed death truck to out opposite side backwards peg time machine flip to xft upside down wheelie, absolutely nuts!
August 19th was another great day for flatland. With great edits from the One Love crew, Lisias Taberelli, Prasheel Gopal, and the news that Matthias Dandois won the Dew Tour flatland contest in Ocean City, Maryland!
August 25th was one hell of a busy day for me, actually that whole week was! King of Southsea was in full flow. The FM house was full of riders, Prasheel Gopal, Alberto Moya, Navid Saleki and friend, Johann Chann and Trevor Lacey. KOS saw the return of Sam Foakes to competition after a few years out, and as many expected he did not disappoint, taking the win, with Romain Georges in second place. Prasheel took the win in Expert. Whilst all that was going on, Phil Dolan who wasn’t at King of Southsea tut tut, continued his solo mission, with his latest clips exploring the figure of 8 concept. And Trevor Meyer dropped an insane Summer 2012 edit that had the FM house stoked in between numerous viewings of the new 430 DVD!
Two days later I released Sam Foakes winning run rom the KOS. Dez Maarsen won the Chuncheon Cup, and Chad Johnston dropped one of the best edits of the year hands down! Pegless riding at its very best that seemed to utilise all techniques in flatland into one. Mind blown. Chad is a beast!
August as you would expect in the height of summer, finished with tons of edits. Actually that slowed down all year but anyway, it seems busier when your finishing up summer season at the skatepark, and trying to ride and run the website. On August 29th, Argentine shredder Gonzalo Bellanti released a really nice “Post BMX Worlds Hype” edit that documented his progression, this kid has a bright future. Fresh off the Chuncheon Cup win, Dez Maarsen dropped a sick brakeless edit, the man was looking ready for the Red Bull COB. And last but not least, even though the footage is old, one of the best edits of the year, was this Lost Footage edit of Matthias Dandois, shot arguably in his prime. Seriously go back and watch this!
Phew!! A lot happened as you can appreciate from May till August, argueably the busiest months of the year! Stay tuned for Part 3, coming soon….
Almost daily I get new ideas for the site, in the case of reviewing 2012 I felt the “Defining moments of 2011″ didn’t really do the whole year justice I felt like I skipped a lot, in doing so, this article quickly turn into a bit of a monster!
How do you reflect on such a good year with just “Defining Moments” I thought to myself?
I do believe 2012 was one of the best years for flatland that I can ever remember.
So I started documenting all the edits and articles/news as I always do, this time I used the loose criteria, did they make me go back and take numerous watches/views.
I realised pretty quickly that this idea was a monsteras I hit rewind on some many edits, but much like when I’m riding, once I get an idea for trick/or article I stick at it until it’s done.
Two months later, staring at all these video references/notes, after much gnashing of teeth, re-edit after re-edit, here I am with Part 1!
I started brainstorming ideas best to showcase the year as concisely as possible.
This is what I came up with:
This article will come in three parts, Four months summary at a time, with a bibliography.
Let me know what you think in the comments. I am interested to see what people think. Hope you enjoy my breakdown! Anyway, enough of me rambling, let’s crack on!
Welcome to Part 1 of 3 for my review of 2012. Hold tight!
As early as January 4th, One of my favourite riders to watch, Stephan Hearn dropped an amazing ESPN profile edit dropped which kick started the year off nicely! Stephan’s riding since his Create part has always amazed me! 2012 has seen a lot of new faces come to the forefront which is amazing and much needed for our sport/artform. On January 14th, Kensuke Hamai from Japan dropped a “Must Watch” back wheel edit, with effortless switches which further pushed the foundations made by the likes of Nathan Penonzek, Raphael Chiquet and more recently Yohei Uchino.
Working on interviews as I have said many times is one of my favourite parts of putting together FM, first up for the year was Athens stylecat, Jody Temple, who kindly put together a really nice edit for coincide with the interview on January 18th. The year seems to have flown by, as this edit feels like it dropped a month ago.
On January 19th, Quentin Pelorson from France dropped some bombs on the Grenoble scene edit, the forward karl step to halfpacker (11.27) still has me hitting the rewind months ahead, I hope in time this guys riding gets the recognition it really does deserve. Really excited to see how his riding develops this year!
After the well received FM exclusive edit on January 20th, I dropped the first big interview of the year, with Jody Temple. This is most certainly well worth going back over and reading again, plus some awesome photographs to boot!
Also on this day, the first major jam of the year took place in Zuma Beach, So Cal. The One Love Jam saw a reunion of some flatland legends like Dylan Worsley, Day Smith, Brian Tunney, Cory Fester, Chad Johnston, Ed Nussbaum, and many more shredders. The One Love crew added a highest bunnyhop event that helped attract more riders and sponsors, and of course fun! Good times on the West Coast!
On February 6th was a great day for flatland! Tomoaki Yoshimura dropped a “Must Watch” back wheel edit, with his amazing two footed scuffing technique on forward puppets, Tomoaki had a great year featuring a lot across every flat website/blog on the planet. Hope to see more creative riding from this guy in 2013.
Also on February 6th I dropped the second big interview with Flatland legend, Simon O’Brien, I feel like sometimes this dude and what he’s done gets forgotten very quickly, as he’s out there in Australia, but as it turns out later in the year he featured a lot more. As we would later in the year find out.
Also, Adam Kun teamed up with his friend Tom at Sevisual to show the world his new brakeless style. Like I said February 6th was a good day!
On February 11th, Alex Jumelin joined forces with Matthias Dandois to kick start his year with a bang, 2012 was one of Alex’s most productive years yet, and this edit at his work/home riding spot in Paris set the tone of the year.
On the same day, Aleksi Ritsila dropped his Welcome to S&M edit, all I can say is Wow! Go watch that again. I wish the flatland world could see more of this style cat, but on the flipside it’s kinda nice getting brief glimpses of his awesome riding.
George Manos came over to the UK in February, and filmed a few FM exclusives at my indoor spot, but the real treat came on Feb 18th when he teamed up with the talented film maker/videographer, James Smith. The black and white tone and darkness of the edit captured George’s personality and minimalistic riding style perfectly, go watch that edit again!
Two days later, as we all recovered from Georges amazing edit, Tom at Sevisual got together with spanish style cat, Viki Gomez whilst he was over with Adam Kun for a contest in Madrid to film a sweet part in Madrid. Viki won the contest on home soil..
March always starts with the Toronto contest, now that the Circle Cow contest is no more. Toronto really is the first big contest of the year, and the first chance many of us get to see what the heavy hitters are up to for the year. And of course Canada has always historically helped breed some of the worlds best flatlanders. In 2012, Moto Sasaki took the win from Czech’s Dominik Nekolny, the result was uber close, a real tough to call, with how Dom ended the year at Texas Toast you wouldn’t bet on Dom going back this year to take top honours in Canada.
Whilst George Manos stayed at my house, I asked him if he would write an article about his thoughts on originality in flatland, on March 2nd, we released his thoughts and philosophy, entitled “Originality – a hidden identity” that gave you the flatland world some insight into this talented riders world.
Four days later, Bert Ribul had me thinking “is the guy that could step up and be the next big thing?”, so many crazy brakeless switches with nuff style, as I remember this is the first post I ever “stickied”, I may have got carried away with the amount of time I kept it stickied for. Bert’s edit was one of the best of the year, and certainly helped his invite to the Red Bull Circe of Balance later in the year. And 2013 looks like being a good year already for Bert!
On March 15th, Jean William Prevost dropped an amazing “Spring Cleaning” edit, killer back wheel pedal pivots, turbines, and so much flow, the edit had many saying “If he can hold it together he will win a contest…”… They were later proved they were not far wrong on that prediction….
On April 6th, one of the best edits of the years dropped and surprised the world, embracing the old, but making it new, John Yull’s “3 years” edit had me screaming at the laptop numerous times, it was great to see John back firing, John flipped the old and made it new! Killer foot jam decade variations, power mowers, the list goes on! As we all know John this year is working on his part for Same Thing Daily 3. Really excited to see what John has in store for us.
Hiroya Morizaki came out the blocks hot in 2012, winning the first round of the KOG, dialling in his no scuff mega spin whopper combo, everyone knows that no one rides like Hiroya, when the man is on, as I said on the Red Bull COB live feed, “get out of town”.
Shortly after the KOG, of course it was time for one of the best contests of the year and Round One of the World Circuit series, Jomopro. On the eve of the contest, April 9th, Fat Tony dropped an amazing practise edit which was really the first time we saw a lot of the japanese riders in 2012, and wow, Yohei Uchino stood out, as it turned out. Ucchie put his previous demons from the Jomopro contest to bed, and stomped his way to a well deserved win.
On April 10th, the news broke that Flatland Fuel’s Pat Schoolen was recovering from an operation to remove a tumour, thankfully Pat recovered well. But this news certainly shook the flatland world for a minute.
On April 11th, I dropped the story of the trip to the One Wheel Motion TGM jam in London, which certainly let a few of us know that Sam Foakes was back on it, and not slowing down anytime soon.
A day later, OGBikeCo released an amazing edit of the underrated Peter Sarlos, go back and watch this edit, Peter absolutely kills it!
2012 was a great year for Jim McKay, and the first main edit he dropped was the best trick contest edit from the Jomopro contest, we all marvelled at Hotoke’s insane front wheel line, not to mention Terry’s winning combo.
Also on this day, James Smith dropped the hilarious “The downfall of flatland parody” that followed on from TCU edit, James certainly ruffled a few feathers with this one, but in my opinion it is always good to reminded not to take yourself to seriously me thinks.
On April 28th, we broke the news that Alex Jumelin and his family would be moving from their home in Paris, France to New Orleans, USA. Certainly a career defining moment, and complete change in lifestyle.
Two days later, Jim McKay released an amazing edit entitled “Outside Jomopro 2012″, all to often after contests all thats available to see are the runs, Jim’s take Outside the contest, hit the nail on the head. An absolute treat with amazing riding from the likes of Viki Gomez, Hotoke, Dub, Matthias Dandois, and many more. Oh yeah that edit? Go watch it…
Part 2 to be continued Monday, does anyone see why this quickly became a monster? ….
The new 430 DVD just arrived two days ago! After what Ucchie said on the last episode of FlatwebTV I was curious to see if it could live up to the hype. I am knee deep in organising King of Southsea, so I’ll get right into this!
It’s worth pointing out that before I get into any trick descriptions, the camera work, locations, and editing is bang on the money. The dvd even for a limited time comes with a 430 finger bike! Earlier in the year James Smith was flown out to Japan to take care of some the filming, and his crane shots really standout! Amazing quality.
The first section to any DVD is important, it can make or break a dvd in terms of its dynamic. Well… the stylish Tsutomu Kitayama opens the 430 DVD, and wow he delivers a hammer section! The standouts for me without naming every combo he does: A massive bunnyhop from pedals to steam two footed steam flip to inside xft steam without holding bars turbines and pivots into spinning circle k bars x’ed to halfpacker 360 flip to steam pivot rideout *no scuff, (*which is a nice touch).
The section shows how hard Tsutomu has worked, numerous crashes, frustration, and the end product when something like a regular leg carving plasticman (normally it’s xft) into turbine whiplashes to spinning hitch to steam pivot to spinning circle k to halfpacker pivot with hand off the whole time to one handed xft backwards spinning steam pivot to steam pivot xft over to xft inside steam without bars turbine boomerang and out, so so nice!
I thought that was the section ender, but no, the multiple x hand steam karl x hand one handed combo Tsutomu does in contests is next pivot and flip to cliffhanger jump to steam pivot 360 to steam pivot and xft over to inside ft steam (he’s done that one a few times you may note) boomerang out to pedals.
The opening section well and truly grabbed my attention, I’m locked to the screen.
Who’s up next? Back wheel rider, Tomokazu Morinaga. His section opens with a long distance zoom shot of his signature inside rolling two footed dump truck on pedals down to two footed dump truck on pegs flip to xft upside down to gliding junkyard flip to multiple dump truck/junkyard pivots out to peg wheelie shove it to inside sw ft dump truck 360 flip to dump truck/ junkyard pivots, an insane line to open his section! And I like how his style is so different than Tsutomu’s.
He mixes a lil street influence into his riding also with 180 bunnyhop backwards manual g turn manual jump to peg wheelie shove it to inside sw ft dump truck 360 flip to dump truck/junkyard pivots, fresh!
Whats noticeable is that Tomokazus style has become so much more aggressive, in particular the following combo is perfect example: Opposite ft peg wheelie backwards g roll upside down wheelie pivot to inside xft gliding dump truck shove it fast dump truck/ junkyard pivots gliding the pivot longer and longer each time out peg wheelie to dump truck hand round the back turbine to inside xft upside down the other side pivot and out, breath taking combo! Perfect section ender! Mind blown, i’m buzzing after two riders, whats the rest like?
Kotaro Arai is up next, again, totally different style than the first two riders, this man has some gnarly whiplash lines, and opens with a carved xft inside steam jumplash back to xft inside steam x over other side jump to regular whiplash peg to peg boomerang out, his style is lil’ more on the edge than the previous two riders. His ender is amazing, no handed one foot carved hang 5 on the right foot to multiple jumplashes jump direction into sw ft no handed one foot hang 5 fire turbine. His style is loose, really exciting to watch.
The next section goes to Hironao Doko, his section is a mix of park riding and flatland riding, of course for the purposes of this review I’ll stick to the flat. His ender is his signature super leaned inside fork wheelie turbines (Craig Lepage esque) but spinning inside circles and half whopper out, super nice.
Yohei Uchino is up next, we all know Ucchie is on top of his game, and possibly the favourite to win the Red Bull COB in a few weeks. A few of the combos that open the section are staples in his contest runs. Some of the combos that blew me away in their execution, were: flip to gliding xft upside down on pedal to opposite forwards rope pivot to xft peg wheelie up to forward g-roll (undertaker) to opposite inside backwards spinning gerator, so so stylish and perfect technique. The ender is sexy! Backwards spinning manual out forward manual ala Matthias Dandois, jump to two footed backyard pivot bar flip to forward g roll pivot to xft peg wheelie turbine jump to backwards spinning manual out forwards manual whopper out, butter! For a guy in the contest eye all the time, this is an amazing section, does not disappoint at all.
Yoshihiro “Taka” Nishikama is up next, another back wheel rider, but so different than Ucchie. One of the most refreshing things about Japan, is the diversity in styles and this dvd seems to almost shout that out! I haven’t seen much if any footage of Taka in a long time, the section opens with this tasty line, multiple xft mega spin turbines to backwards spinning xft lawnmower pivot to upside down wheelie carved to junkyard on the peddle pivot to pedal time machine, so hard to pivot on the pedal like that! Great opener. Like Tomokazu, Taka attacks the back wheel so fast, dump truck pivot to multiple xft upside down turbines shove it to regular upside down turbines shove it to xft backwards spinning upside down wheelie shove it to backwards spinning xft pivot to time machine peg wheelie perverted out! Bad ass! His ender, is so tech you may get lost, inside rolling sw ft dump truck xft on pedal hand around the back with he turbines! jump to greater to two foot backyard flip to peg wheelie to inside sw ft dump gliding on pedal pivot to pedal g roll turbines undertaker out. Taka’s use of the back brake is amazing, new school style with old school set up. Food for thought, ladies and gentlemen!
For some reason, I was thinking the next section would be kind of chilled, after Ucchie’s and Taka’s but how wrong I was. The next section goes to Keiji “Tamao” Nakamura, the opening line turbine whiplash to right foot steam step direct to halfpacker turbines 360 pivot to halfpacker whip to halfpacker was so intense, love this guys style! His ender, fire hydrant steam wind him into hitch turbine steam jump to tea kettle jump yammer xft steam, super tech!
Takuma Kuwamura flips the script once again, diverse styles! His style is short fast back wheel combos, a lot of tricks centred around the spinning decade out to pedal, roll back to (regular and opposite), inside mega spin turbines into, digging the vibe to this section, filmed in park, skaters flying around, people walking by, my favourite combo he did was inside rolling two foot dump truck pivot xft upside down wheelie pivot backwards gliding lawnmower flip to upside down gliding pedal wheelie jump and switch to backwards riding out, so nice! Takuma’s riding is so different than everyone else’s. This is kind of ringing true to pretty everyone on this dvd, definitely unique riding styles going on.
Shinichi “Russia” Kiba is tech! recently his riding has looked more polished than ever before, he’s developed his very Paul Osicka influenced style to the point where nowadays I think he’s now putting his own mark on it, the last combo for example is insane! Half cab nose wheelie jump to inside xft steam without holding bars xft kick/pivot to x up hang ten 360 to steam turbine whiplash back into x up hang ten boomerang around xft forward karl pivot to steam fire hydrant bar roll back out, super steezie and so much energy in that combo! Tech, tech!
The next section might well be one of my favourites of the dvd, which is bold statement. I found myself screaming at the screen a lot, the section opens with a super long pedal manual to smith decade, the next combo regular foot half lash to gliding junkyard to inside xft coasting backyard pivot to peg wheelie backwards half lash spinning forward death truck smith decade out screamed fresh!! If not that how about forward death truck tweaks his leg like rolling candyman (remember those?) pivots inside xft peg wheleie perverted decade land to pedal jump back to smith, Kotaro is insane!!! I could go one and on, really you need to buy this dvd! One of the best sections I have seen in a long time!
Owner of 430, Hiroshi Uehara has the next sexton, I haven’t ever seen much footage from him before, so was super good to see this section, you can see the Chad Degroot influence in Japanese riding which is no bad thing at all also in his music choice for his section. Trick wise, Hitch darkside to rear wheel backpacker with ease, and for me the standout combo, inside gliding sw ft dump truck peg to peg overtaker out, really short and sweet combo right there!
Who gets the final section in such a good team? Hiroya Morisaki. The man is on it right now, also like Ucchie, must be one of the contenders for the win at the Red Bull COB in a few weeks. The section gets hot real quick, mega spin half whopper one scuff fire half whopper one scuff peg wheelie full whopper no scuff foot jam decade out, fucking amazing! The last combo of the video as you can imagine coming from Hiro is absolutely bonkers! Xft mega spin turbine half whopper no scuff xft inside steam shove it turbine whiplash shove it inside xft steam to backwards spinning xft tomahawk jump to halfpacker pivot to xft inside steam pivot to steam in half a second bar steam bike flip to spinning lawnmower pedal time machine out, the sheer difficulty/power and the way Hiro executes all his tricks is worthy of the last section. I could have wrote down every combo, but you honestly need to just go buy this dvd! It is available from Brakeless distribution and Flatland Fuel. Get it!
In conclusion, Absolutely banging, the 430 DVD wins on all sides, production, riding quality and diversity, camera work, piece of art! Flatland wins most of all. Thank you Hiroshi!
The era of ‘zine making during the late 80′s/90′s always to me seemed to fit flatland and the creativity bursting within every flatlander. When I started Totally Intense zine back in the day, I would swap regularly with other zine makers worldwide. The one zine I always dreamed of getting ahold of, was Aggro Rag. The holy grail of all zines. The sine was put together by Mike Daily from the Plywood Hoods who of course changed flatland forever, I was always curious what there zine would be like.
For years, there were just small glimpses from the pages of Freestylin’ to go from, that wetted the appetite to see the zine even more.
Recently the news broke that Aggro Rag was being re-released. I knew that was my chance to finally get the zine I always wanted.
And the issue doesn’t disappoint, I found myself lost for a few hours, nothing else in the world mattered during the first read. I recall my girlfriend trying to have a conversation, to which I listened to how much of that conversation I will let you guess….
Zines likes flatland are so personal, I find the two compliment each other perfectly, the cover of Chad Johnston doing a pedal 5 personally signed by Chad was and is a really nice touch. If you ask me, nothing compares to the zine days, that personal touch cant be matched.
The inside cover is a collage of images from the rap Dennis McCoy bust out on Dorkin’2 with a short interview with Large Ray and DMC. Aggro rag is really a collectors item for any flatlander that has been riding long enough to remember the Dorkin’ era. The main focus of this issue, despite the cover title “the hip hop issue”, the big focus of Issue 13 are interviews.
All these riders made a huge contribution to the sport whether original tricks, or to their scene. The stories are absolutely gripping, the whole issue is so educational.
Maurice Meyer writes about “influences” and his particular influence back in the day at Golden Gate Park, Damon Frost.
There seems to be a running subtext throughout to find out who invented scuffing, the article indeed asks “Why Tim Treacy is the ultimate undergrounder:, with really great insight from Tim himself, Aaron Dull, with Tim Treacy and the backyard. But also these interviews go into detail about the original riders and characters who all contributed in some way to make flatland and BMX what it is today (Derek Schott and the rolaid, Adam Jung – handstand i- hops, Dave Nourie- Old school legend, Joe Gruttola and his infamous accidental one footed double decade, Craig LePage and the Landspeeder, Gary Pollack and the PInky Squeak, Gerry Smith, style icon and smith decade originator, Cover star, Chad Johnston breaks down his brakeless pegless style and talks about the Team Scrounge days, I could go and on.
Besides flatland there of course is hip hop content with insightful interviews with Aesop Rock, Dark Time Sunshine, Death Grips.
If you are at all into the history of flatland, and you want to know where it came from, and why you are doing what you are doing right now, then you need to get ahold of this!
Top marks to Mike Daily, and the Plywood Hoods! Thank you once again for all you have done for flatland! Go order the zine right now, absolute classic!
On 01.01.13 The complete Collection of Aggro Rag will be available, all 12 issues! Including a new exclusive interview with the man himself, Kevin Jones.
Cost per copy is $10 shipped 1st Class to U.S.
Cost per copy is $11.50 shipped 1st Class International to Canada and Mexico.
Cost per copy is $13 shipped 1st Class International to Worldwide.
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This is a limited edition. Please call dibs if you want to buy a copy, then:
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The dvd itself is 30 mins long with a 7 min bonus section. There is also a how to section as well. It struck me as brilliant marketing, where the video not only showcases the best riding and moments of the trip, but also remembers who will be buying this DVD. The japanese in general really do seem to understand where they come from, and how to maintain a good future.
I’ve been sitting on this dvd for at least 2 months, and it hasn’t got old yet.
With one of the best and most diverse flatland teams out there, you think to yourself it’s hard to go wrong, combine the road-trip format with nine riders jamming with local riders, flatland games, this dvd flows nicely and makes easy viewing. It would uber time consuming to detail every link these guys do, so for the purposes of this review I’ll give you the highlights from the guys who stood out for me.
Kotaro Arai – Opens the video with a nice nosewheelie jump to steam out to stem whiplash!
York Uno - Smooth no handed steam locked under pedal ala’ Matthias flip to straight bar crackpacker!
Hiroya Morisaki – Everyone knows Hiro has really stepped up his game again. Some favourites of mine include the xft mega turbine half whip to xft inside steam no scuff winds it up into backwards spinning xft spinning steam hand round the back jump to halfpacker pivot to inside xft steam steam flip jump to time machine! Thats basically 3 bangers in one combo!
Ucchie – It’s a testament to his level that what you see on the video he is now busting in contests, just incredible! (You know the combos) The man is in his prime right now.
Matthias Dandois – Half cab nose wheelie to hang 5 turbines fire hydrant to half hiker turbines boomerang jump to pedals out, short, snappy and nice!
Tsutomu Kitayama is one of the most stylish cats on the planet, I love this guys riding, and I was kind of surprised he wasn’t invited to the Circle of Balance. Some of my favourite combos from him are: X ft hang 5 on the left side boomerang around to xft steam x over to inside xft backwards steam turbines flowing back and forward pivot to karl 360 to steam turbine x over to two footed inside xft steam turbines without holding seat boomerang out to pedals, so steezie!! And his last combo! Steam turbine pivot to xft inside steam turbines pivot to spinning circle to halfpacker one handed pivot to inside backwards xft spinning steam, so so nice!!! That last switch is one of the best switches I have seen in a long time! Hell yes!!!
Beats from the likes of York Uno, DJ Baku….
Incredible dvd! I got this review copy from the Adrian at Brakeless distribution, contact them if your interested in this, It is definitely worth a purchase! There’s so much more than what I have mentioned! Very stoked on the vibe of this!
Issue 3 of Encounter has been out a few weeks now. And every issue is getting better and better, this might well be in terms of flatland content, the best flatland magazine out right now! Takio Kenata gets the cover shot, so rad flatland is on the cover!
Editor, Yasuyuki Takeo writes in this months editorial he did not intend a theme to run through each issue, but for this issue, “living as a professional” became the accidental theme. The situation has changed in japan, and riders as old as 30 are able to make a living off BMX.
So what’s in this issue then flatland related?
Okinawa Road trip – Yasu flew down to Okinawa to enjoy the picturesque beaches, and of course cover the lifestyle and riding of the Okinawa locals, with some great photos of two emerging names on the japanese scene, Fumiya Kanna and Takuya Higa.
The highlight of this issue is one of the best interviews I have ever read with Yohei Uchino that covers 8 pages with great photographs and layout. Yasu did an amazing story to tell Ucchie’s story coming up as a pro rider… I’ll cover this as best I can for all of you, as I found it fascinating for all of you that don’t manage to get hold of the magazine. This may read as an article in it’s own right.
Yasu writes for the intro…
“The “spaceark league” was one of the biggest local contests held in Kobe by local bike shop “Spaceark” a while back. I clearly remembered a young rider who rode fast with technical moves on the front wheel looking so confident one would even be mistaken for arrogance. He was Yohei Uchino aka Ucchie.
10 years on, Ucchie now lives as the second generation of Japanese Pros and is also considered one of the top 5 Flatland riders in the world. Encounter asked how he found his way to live as a professional and achieving to be “ing” one of the best.”
The interview begins talking about his past as a mogul skier, and swimmer. “It wasn’t fun when we played sports such as basketball or soccer as some of us were already top level in these fields. We decided to start something none of us had ever tried. I once happened to find information to a skateboarding contest but it turned out actually to be a BMX jam.”
Ucchie goes to discuss that 2 years later once he had the BMX bug, a local pro rider Aki Kotani, said to him “You are talented, You could be number 1 in the world if you get serious about riding”, this piece of advise and motivation changed Ucchie’s life, and he began to put more and more time into flatland riding.
After Ucchie graduated high school, he moved out of home. And moved in with Sharlee (the crazy KOG announcer), for a few months he observed how other Pro riders (Hiroshi Uehara, Takashi Ito, Akira Okamura and Kotaro Tanaka made their living. He eventually decided that Kotaro’s lifestyle fit his way of life and what he wanted to do the best. For a while he worked for Kotaro voluntarily for about a year, at this time Kotaro started his own brand “Nidd” and hooked Uccie and Yasushi Tanabe onto the team.
He got his real first break when Takashi Ito was unavailable to do a show, and Kotaro asked Ucchie to fill in the empty spot. Ucchie recalls “soon after, Kotaro and I were doing shows regularly together as Takashi moved out to Okinawa. We had about 300 shows a year, sometimes up to 6 shows a day for different clients during hectic times. At that moment, I had just turned Pro at KOG but didn’t have any good results. I hardly made a living, only surviving through shows.”
So your thinking, so what was his big break?
“A TV commercial for UNIQLO. I was luckily chosen from 2000 performers from various fields. I had to attend filming for both on a long term, so I finally quit my job at the swimming school when I worked since I came to Tokyo, living off BMX full time, KOG was then held in KObe for the first time in that year. I have never qualified until then, but I managed to qualify 4th and won by completing my 3 best combos in the finals. I couldn’t even pull those 3 combos often during practise. Subsequently more job offers came after.”
So at this point he was living low in his words. He began to get offered sponsorship contracts, he recalls “Good results are the fundamental requirement for support. But personality is rather more important” said the person who dealt with sponsorship contracts at Puma.
Yasu asks, “We had not seen you after the victory at KOG in 2005″.
He headed to flatground and the world championships in prague, “But I was totally knocked out”, he recalls “he was totally overwhelmed by the atmosphere. I fully recognised that victory was far even if I did my best run”.
Ucchie went back to Tokyo and continued his commitment to the international contest scene, wanting to make his mark. “the obsession with better tricks haunted me though I had already links that are supposed to be good enough in a contest. I switched to the rear wheel in 2005 but contented doing shows with only front wheel tricks. Only a few riders knew of my challenge then and some people even rumoured that “Ucchie had quit” as they barely saw me. In 2007, I moved out to near my riding spot and rode 8 hours a day when I didn’t have shows. There were no memories besides riding in 2007, I didn’t drink, just practised everyday. Actually I wondered if the effort eventually paid off after this”.
Fast forward to 2008, and the first round of the World Circuit in New Orleans, the Voodoo Jam!
“I qualified 8th but the battle tournament was the toughest ever. The first match up was with Hiroya Morisaki, who was crowned the first BMX Flatland World Circuit champion the year before. The next rider in the 2nd heat was Justin Miller, who was one of the best riders at that time and his riding can be described as a machine. The semi final was my first match up with Matthias Dandois, who was invincible then and lastly in the finals I battled the king of consistency and spinning, Matt Wilhelm…. I spent most of the prize money at the party (laughter).
Alain Massabova moved quickly and hooked up Ucchie, this was his first bike sponsor with salary. After his win at Voodoo “I could buy a car and lived a decent life”.
The next question is possibly what we have all wondered, but no one asks “You’ve been hitting all the World Circuit contests, but not the KOG, why?”
“My ideal goal is to become the BFWC champion first before attending all KOG contests…”The value would depend on how you see it. To me the BFWC is like part of my job, where I simply aim for the best results. While the KOG is more emotional, it’s my roots of BMX. I don’t want to get bored competing at KOG. Thats why being a KOG champion is the last goal for me.”
The interview concludes with what he will do after riding and advice for younger riders. I’ve covered this interview as best I can as I truly do think its worth getting this magazine just for this interview, its gripping stuff. And made me realise how little I know about Ucchie, and it’s also a great story, that’s shows the sacrifice he made for many years to be a pro rider.
The next flatland article is all about the “Under 23″ contest, which was founded by Ucchie! There are short interviews with the top three, Yuki Ito, Taiko Kaneta, and Takuji Izumi. As well as Koh Yoshida who decided to step down as organiser this year. The layouts and text are more in-depth his issue as the magazine has grown and matured. It kind of reminded me of how Cream was back in its peak.
Under 23 contest gets 4 pages, where Ryuta Iwasaki, writes ann interviews riders about the history of the Under 23 contest. It is now in its 8th year. It began in 2004 with Yohei Uchino then 21 starting the concept to help improve the level of younger riders. Yet another example of pro rider giving back to his scene and helping the next generation come through. Theres a short interview with organiser Koh Yoshida and they discuss his decision to step down this year from organising the contest. He has some great advice/words of wisdom for younger riders toward the end of the interview “I feel that some young riders are passive. Having being part being part of organising contests since I was 18. I’ve felt that certain riders take it for granted events are being run by someone see and they do not really care about what’s going on behind the scene. Edtitors note: I couldn’t agree more!
The article ends with short interviews with the top three on the podium, Yuki Ito, Taiko Kaneta, Takuiji Izumi. This article gave me the same feeling as when I used to read the old Creams. So much good stuff within 4 pages. Great research and information into what goes into an event like this. Really informative article.
Each issue of encounter, has some kind of “Theme and answers” article, ad this issue asks the question “The moment you decided to live on BMX, with one page issue dedicated to the likes of Hironao Doko, Takashi Ito, Susumu Moroioka, Motoaki Tanaka, and Fat Tony. Takashi’s story of joint York, as York started AresBykes stood out the most for me, and his realisation as York and Takashi got better results hitting up the X trials circuit they could live a professional, very much echo’ing what Ucchie was saying earlier, less the personality statement.
Yuta Yoshida covers the G Shock Real Toughness event in Toyko, with nice photos of Dominik Nekolny, Kotaro Tanaka, Ucchie (yes Ucchie has so much coverage this issue!)….
Flip one page and its another banging interview, this time Taiko Kaneta is the subject matter. And a very interesting interviewee at that.
Yasu writes: “Can I help you? It was 2005 at the KOG in Fukushima, a skinny young boy amongst 3 kids asked during preparation of the contest. The boy with unclouded eyes worked silently, his names was Taiko Kaneta. A couple of years later, Taiko moved out to Tokyo to study Buddhism in college and began bringing out his talent at contests. taking advantage of his dynamic rear moves, he was quickly recognised as one of the top riders at the KOG.
One day, I heard a rumour that Takio had to quit riding. He is the eldest brother and is supposed to work at his parents temple after graduating from college. Once he started training, he won’t be able to ride or even communicate with the outside world for 1 or 2 years.”.
The interview naturally focusses on what Taiko will do in the future, possibly changing his path in life “It is basically heredity and the eldest brother generally takes over.” His family expect a lot of him as the eldest brother, something that has troubled him. He went to India to go and see the birth place of Buddhism, and was a wake call to him. They discuss death, dealing with the March earthquake, its pretty heartfelt stuff.
Yasi changes the subject to riding, and his last contest competing, the Under 23 contest….
“I aimed for victory as I had never won at contest. I was in good shape, but I ended up in 2nd. Everybody cheered me on the most just as in KOG, so I am totally contented with the result. I’m in the happiest moment of my BMX life.
They go to discuss KOG, and he says he can’t compete with top pros such as Viki Gomez, Ucchie, and Matthias Dandois “I don’t think about living off BMX, these pros fully dedicate their lives. Although I gave up on victory, I still try to impress people. I don’t save myself for good results. I always try new and hard tricks as I would for a video”.
They discuss this latest edit, his hometown scene in Sendai, growing up with KOG pro rider Masatoshi Karino, and finish the the interview with advice to riders from his generation “Once you progress enough to control your bike, it is still fun riding alone although theres something missing for me. You should be more active to participate in whatever opportunities are round you, jams, contests, or just riding with everybody. Looking back now that I would have to leave riding for a while, I often reminisce the time I spent with everyone like that.”.
Great words to close a fascinating interview. Which closes the flatland related content for Issue 3 of Encounter. Which really is taking off where Cream left us I feel. Japan as we all know is the heartbeat of flatland riding, this magazine reflects that, and reflects it really well and in a mature way. Looking towards the bigger picture, these riders and their scene seem to get it. And this one reason why flatland is so big there. Big respect. If you like printed magazines as much as me, you will try your best to get ahold of this, it truly is worth the effort.
I am a bit late reviewing issue 7 of ART Magazine, but anyway here it is. I am sat here with a cuppa, and lets get on with it…
So What’s inside flatland related?
- The first flatland related coverage is Chase’s two page editorial this issue is “Hybrid Fleeting (The trend of flat/streeting), an interesting and timely subject we all talk about. There is a lot of text, the parts that stuck out to me were…
“Let me remind us all that combining street and flat is not a new concept. The only difference is that now it may be brakeless and done in a different way. It used to be a odd flatlander or a general BMX rider or two doing something unique by combining different disciplines. And don’t get me wrong here, nobody needs to be labeled as a member of one single discipline of BMX, or confine himself to certain styles.”
“Personally, I always considered my speciality to be Flatland and I set up my bike in a way to maximise any foreseen Flatland possibilities. I would look at my bike and ask myself if any specific feature might hinder certain types of flatland tricks and always tried my best for this not to happen….”
“flatland never assimilated into the mainstream, have flatlanders changed the look of their bikes and styles of their tricks in order to seem closer to what is popular..street? If (and I stress IF)this IS what’s happening, would it be a form of selling out? If this is indeed happeningand it still doesn’t work, would that be considered a failed sell out attempt? We’ve even got announcer’s at contest’s saying “this is what flatland is supposed to look like”…further convincing themselves and others at the same time. Whether the announcer means the flow of a rider or the actual street/flat look, he is still being dogmatic in TELLING people what an individual form of creative expression is supposed to look like.
Chase goes on to discuss, following the leader, and how flatland could progress much faster if people were open to the vast amount of tricks and styles available to them, he goes back to mention Bill Nitschke first doing the whopper in 1990, and riders such as Jay Miron and Joe Johnston riding with high seats, and not getting tangled up.
The topic of lightweight bikes comes up, and Chase argues.. “I think it’s partly up to the pros and companies to work together and assess the trends for what they are and come up with a wise and a reasonable compromised solution that creates the type and strength and functionality. Chase believes it is possible to accommodate the current flat/street style without changing flatland components.
The editorial is thought provoking, and worth buying the magazine for, on its own! If your open to what Chase is saying, if not….
- Fat Tony has a six page interview, featuring some of his photography work. The interview discusses his worldwide travels, his previous job at Transworld as Online editor, the flatland calendar. There are some great photographs of Bo Wade, Pete Brandt and Terry Adams, amongst others, including Fat sending it down a massive drop at Woodward West. Art always covers all sides of BMX. Not only the riding side, but the media side as well, which is a good thing!
- You all know the name Pete Olsen, infamous for his killer groundtactics entries a few years back. Pete is now on S&M (great news, and hugely deserved, the mean is ` beast!), and is definitely not slowing down anytime soon.
Trevor Oleniuk and Luis Elias interview Pete, the interview discusses his latest “The last ten” part, what tricks haunt him… “It’s the one that’s not in the video actually. The video didn’t come out exactly how I wanted to and I was definitely missing some things I was hoping for, but I’d say the backwards cross foot in general has been a real pain for the last six or seven years. I remember back in 2006 doing backwards backpacker jugglers, wanting to do that cross footed and really straggling with it. I had a mental block up until this year. It’s a territory that hasn’t really been tapped into by many guys so I just wanted to start trying to do some original things with it.
The interview goes on to discuss groundtactics, his creative motivations ” to which he sights Ross Smith, Steve Mulder, Garrett Reeves and Ruben Alcantara”, quite a broad list that kind of shows where he is coming from in general, Pete is open to lots of styles reflected in his riding. They discuss his hook up with S&M via Chad Johnston, which is great to hear.
I must confess I’m always disappointed when riders such as Pete only get 3 pages! This happened with George Manos. Perhaps a magazine policy with the face interviews, in turn I would argue these type of riders that are changing the game deserve more!
- Fise Costa Rica has a three page article, Viki Gomez and Raul each get a small photo.
- Manu Massabova writes about Caen indoor event, with photos of Romain Georges, Yannick Chauvel. Matti Hemmings has a sweet full page advert from Flat Squirrel…
- French up and comer, Melvyn Masson has a three page face/interview.
- Viki Gomez reports from the Voces contest in madrid, Spain.
- Chris Bohm gets a five page interview, with one of the most honest intros I have read in a long time! Alain Massabova writes ” Chris is spectacular, Chris is handsome. Chris the strongest of them all! This amazing rider is a total phenomena. Those who are lucky enough to meet him shall remember the encounter their whole life. This pretentious individual is the type of guy you might hate at first but who you’ll end up loving. His motivation, his ambition is so strong that nothing can stop him. Chris give so much of himself, sure, he’s loveable. Sometimes a bit too much, but he doesn’t cheat. He’s generous to a fault but loves the glory, which is a good thing for us, for bmx. By putting himself under the limelight, BMX has everything to win.”
- Tostivant Malo has a 4 page interview about his bmx brand, PIR Malo.And that finishes anotehr good issue of ART!
ART continues to go from strength to strength, as always theres so much more than flatland in the magazine. But it is great that ART continues to source a wide scope of writing styles and subject matter, the magazine is growing, and seems sustainable. Try get hold of this if you can. Definitely one for the collectors out there.