Editorial: Time for Flatland to Grow up!

Following events last weekend at the Fise contest, it brought a lot of issues to a head. It is time for the sport of Flatland to “grow up”. In so many ways.
The battle format has died, it promotes too much confrontation amongst the “egos” of the riders, and we all saw or heard about what can happen, also it has taken the level of riding down for whatever reason over the past few years. When I watched the park contest at Fise, the standard of riding was amazing!!! Everyone pushing their own level, debuting bangers for the first time! There was mutual respect between riders, and we have lost that! We need this back in the flatland scene!
The whole original point of the battle format, was to make flatland more exciting for the spectator, and sponsors, but I don’t see many sponsors jumping on board for flatland, and to be honest why would they?!. We have become stale, and it’s taking showmanship from the rider after the trick is completed (or not!) to get crowd applause, not the tricks in their own right. Are you a rider or a showman? What’s the message? We look desperate.
This issue of course is not a new one, it’s been going on for a while now, we as a sport almost seem to be begging to stay with the rest of BMX, we are willing to take anything, such as bad floors, judging for free whilst the rest of BMX get paid, arena too small, bad organisation, the list goes on. We are bottom of the pile in BMX, and the way to get back is to give the sport credibility, we can only do that by professional organisation, and starting to set standards like they have in World Cup skating. They started many years ago with Tony Hawk’s dad bringing in core basics, no money, etc, now look at them, every contest has to reach certain standards otherwise they don’t skate. They grew up.
Who of course will do that? That takes a lot! We can do the “small” things right to return to the bigger picture. We all love this sport. But we must have credibility.
Setting up international pool of judges to pick from, and judges to be scored on their work by an independent panel.
The absolute worst time for flatland is whenever there is a contest. That is a fact. Always the first question, was there any drama? Not who busted out? A similar drama repeats itself almost every contest without fail, peoples own agendas are allowed to dictate what goes on within the contest scene, time to squash that.
Contests in theory should be the best time, a celebration of the best and newest tricks. I can remember many years ago, only talking about new tricks returning from a contest. The numerous Worlds Championship contests will go down in history for all the right reasons. The jam sessions, the contest runs, you were on the edge of your seat!
We are an all-time low, right now. So now is the time to start again, get some basic rules and guidelines in place. An independent panel, to oversee the contest structure worldwide. Something needs to happen.
Part of the problem, is because there is very little money in flatland, everybody is scrambling like “rats” for a small piece of the pie. We are selling the Soul of flatland for that pie. It is understandable in some ways, (riders trying to make a living), but now is the time to take a look back, and make a change. Where’s the credibility gone? We can’t go any lower right now.
To make this clear, this is not about any individuals, this is about the sport!
Lets start again as a “collective”, and get serious about having fun!
Can we bring the real flatland back please!


82 thoughts on “Editorial: Time for Flatland to Grow up!

  1. Sorry Effraim, but the fact you only go to one contest that turned bad (fise) doesn’t mean they’re all bad…
    I Have been to almost every contest this year and they were all amazing… Jomopro, Ninja spin, Battle at the bricks, bike days, games of skills, Bcn extreme, Flamenco Flatland to name a few… The vibes were amazing and we all had fun!
    Don’t talk about flatand contest scene dying and in a very very bad way when you don’t go t contest… I have a lot of respect for you and I know you hav been riding way more than me and been to way more contest than me back in the days…but come on! How can you judge the contest flatland scene when you just watch it behind a computer screen…
    It’s not a hater coment, it’s a constructive one.

  2. I have to agree with Matthias.

    Yes, FISE didn’t go very well but I had so much fun at contests lately that I just can’t agree with some things that you wrote.

    I agree tho that more structure would be good.

    > Contests in theory should be the best time, a celebration of the best and newest tricks.

    It’s impossible because everything is posted online before the contest 😉

    No disrespect! Cheers!

  3. “Contests in theory should be the best time, a celebration of the best and newest tricks. I can remember many years ago, only talking about new tricks returning from a contest. The numerous Worlds Championship contests will go down in history for all the right reasons. The jam sessions, the contest runs, you were on the edge of your seat!”

    I agree that the ‘worlds’ in Cologne back in the days were awesome. Big crowds, great atmosphere, large floor with tent, banger tricks..
    But I think the ‘celebreation of best and newest tricks’ is less present at contests for a reason, namely the mass increase of web edits. It is way easier nowadays to film yourself and put it online for the world to see, then it was four years ago. Remember ‘www.eengoedidee.nl’, haha!

    Even pro riders show off their newest tricks on the internet, so I think it’s normal that we might be less ‘amazed’ when we turn up at a contest because it’s easier to know what to expect. “Oh yeah I saw Martti working on that one in that vid last week’. Something like that.

    I love web edits, they’re great, but I think this is somehow a bit the disadvantage.

    Won’t comment on the rest of the post, since I haven’t been to any contests lately.

  4. It sucks what happened at fise, but i dont care! Flatland is bmx, bmx is flatland, i love events and stuff but lately it looks like flatmatters is bringing negativety up. i like the movies and stuff and im also entertained bout this whole thing to be honest haha but come on.. im 20 years now and work my crap of and school but i think this whole thing is childish. I know dutch scene isnt very big now but is growing again.. when there is a session going onn only fun of the most time.
    Effraim you go to masters this year? then you can see what bmx is.(also the flatlandway)

    Resppresents Amsterdam BOY!

  5. I was gonna construct a big reply but i havent the energy so il just stick to basics .
    Flatland pre 2005 = Masses of style variety , less uniform approach , more dignity , less concern will money and popularity , originality and display of own expression pushed as the single most important element of flatland . It had heart and soul back then .
    Flatland post 2005 = the birth of the product , Matthias being the “image” promoted as the ultimate in what flat is, giving birth to more clones, less thinkers, more image conscious ,less dignified riders . The birth of jumping around like a moron to sub consciously convince a crowd that what you did was good without them requiring flatland knowledge to know it was good so they cheer anyway ie HYPE MACHINE . I as a rider hate everything mainstream flatland is now and Matthias you are the poster child for that .

  6. I agree with matthias and martin on this one. And nuff of the good old days, it was better back then kinda speech… Times have changed. Let’s work it out for more unity and quality for judging is the real challenge me think ! But thats been a problem for ages…

  7. I agree with effraim, and also with matthias.
    Some contests do not care for the riders, but all the contests are not the same.
    we all make great flatland.

  8. Everyone in this conversation does have good points, no doubt about that.

    These are my points and then I shall step out as I will say whatever I have to say about it:

    -Judging indeed is a big problem which creates negativity among riders a lot. I do understand that riders get pissed off for being judged improperly, however this is where the riders should step up and cool down their nerves. It just looks very bad to show attitude to the judges in front of other riders, fans or crowd. Perhaps would be better off to chat with the judges behind the scenes…? No need to be tough boy in front of other riders.

    -Riders should also understand that perhaps they didn´t ride as good as they thought and the judge was right? Instead of bashing the judges in front of everyone or on the big bad interweb. Let the nerves cool down, maybe watch the video of the contest and study what really happened and next time you´ll see the judge it is time to talk or not.

    -Battle system. Hmm, yeah, it will never fair game for everyone. Changes are that the organizer/sponsor/someone who don´t like the rider changes the battle partners the way HE wants and at most of the times it is too late to change it but what is worst about this is it can break the concentration of the rider. Happened to me a lot in Asia when I was still competing with Viki.
    I remember seeing so complicated “arrow” drawing of who will meet who at the COB in Tokyo and at the end of the arrows I pointed out a mistake (was too late to fix as the battle was about to start) and because of that mistake I met Viki on one of the early rounds who I wasn´t supposed to meet at that point yet. Same thing happened at a GroundForce in Spore and that´s why one of us joked around, hah hah hah, however, we took it the way that we made a joke of it and guess who was pissed at the end of the day? Hah hah hah, not me or Viki.

    -Myself, I used to be complete asshole at some points to judges and contest organizers I must admit that one. My ego was bigger than my skills at that specific moment but that is something I understood after I grew up. I said few too bad things to other people that I even regret now that I have left the comp scene and wish that I could take those words back but I can´t. At least I learn´t to apologize if nothing else. It´s all about growing up and some people never grow up.

    -Contest organizers: You should always be fair about the battle partners. It can do a lot of mess in the head of the rider and that is not fair for everyone because at the end of the day, the riders make the show, not the organizer and without the riders there would not be that contest.

    -You´re all good people and good riders.

    -Gots to go ride now. Out.

  9. Yes, sometimes contests do feel like a show, which I hate. If that is the case then pay me my show fee (which is usually higher than the prize money anyway).

    Who you agree with depends on which contests you are talking about. JoMo and Battle at the Bricks both had a great vibe, but I’ve been to contests that seemed full of attitude and animosity.

    I do have to agree with Effraim about the lack of progressive riding at comps, and the main reason is the battle format. It’s basically like whoever touches gets eliminated. I have some newer tricks that I’m afraid to do in the battle format, but would definitely try in a “Best Run Counts” format like X Games used to do.

    If we are going to stick with battle format, maybe we can tweak it. I always thought you should get 3 one-minute runs in the battle, but the judges only count two of the runs (or something like that).

    Also, where are all the pros at? Ninja spin in 2008 had like 30 pros and now only 10??? Only 5 US pros at Battle at the Bricks??? Flatground had almost 60 pros one year. Where’s everybody at?

    Matt Wilhelm

  10. When ther is contest, the real thing i like the most is battle format. the way it was going at the last flatground was perfect.

  11. Flatland has become a sad sport if we cant have critcism, that only fuels that argument that we must post a positive light all the time. When will we grow up? Please come on guys!
    If the battle format is not confrontational, what the hell happened with the battle Matthias vs Ikeda in Malaga? Im not here to “gossip” on that, but these are all “issues” we need to resolve, instead it’s brushed under the carpet and everything is cool. We cant keep pretending everything is cool. It is not!
    Matthias’ comment that I haven’t been to a contest this year besides Fise is partly true, sure I’ll take that, but what about the other 28 years competing 6-7 contests every year. I feel my experiences warrant this editorial. When something is great, I will say its great.
    So if anyone agrees with Matthias and Martin, then you guys no longer throw arguments at judges at contests, no more of that!
    We need to grow up as a sport to evolve, I see less and less riders at the contests. Ive had so many private messages from riders not wishing to get involved, I feel I have to say something, to make a stand. Everyone seems happy to let things go and bitch in private, that doesn’t help flatland.
    As Matt pointed out there are less and less riders each year, theres a reason for that!

  12. Effraim good write up and I am happy that you care so much about Flatland.
    I think Matthias has a valid and respectable point.

    Here are my thoughts and I would like to think that I am as traveled as you on contest.

    No not every contest has to be a battle format. I think I have helped contribute to this format but it was not intended for every contest out there. I do think there is and will always be a strong place for battle formats.

    Back durning CFB comps with a regular format it was the same shit that went down with riders disagreements with the Judges. Judges judge and we have to live with that as riders. There is no perfect way and we give it all we have.

    Fise was a VERY bad example of Flatland and the organizer should be understand that they failed. They are NOT Flatland ambassadors and made us look bad. So we move on and stay positive with discussions.

    Now to the future.

    Contest organizers: You DO NOT have to do a battle format. Understand your contest and make a way that is good for you.

    I would like to see more Pro riders. Not many exist as Matt W said. We need to find a way to encourage riders to move up and want to beat the guys there now. Go Dez Go Dez!! Kick Terry and Matthias asses! LOL!

    One way to do this would be if you win the Am contest you compete in Pro automatically but can not receive purse money. Free entry into Pro contest with no stress just give it all you have. Just a thought. I did it at the first Voodoo and it was good. KOG does this but maybe a little bit differently.

    Also I like the idea of qualified judges and organization of this. But its a matter of who is going to step up and do something like this. The World Circuit with Yasu is a great platform. I would like to form a committee and we can get something going. Yasu needs more help and we need a representative from each area.

    Scott OBrien

  13. clones will always be in flatland. you have park rats who can do flairs backflips and dobule tailwhips but they can bearly hop 360. its just because flatland is smaller you notice the rats even more.

  14. I agree at every point with Effraim and Ciaran.

    Imagine Alexis Desolneux, Sebastian Grubinger, Stephen Hearn or Ciaran Perry pulling all their hardest combos in a contest.

    At the present situation, they wouldn´t win the competition.

    That is the reason why I don´t compete anymore.

  15. Some contests work great with battle formats, like Voodoo jam, partly due to Scott directing the whole thing.
    But I must say I do miss the days of individual runs. Every rider had their three minutes, their music, concentrated, … Most of us practice alone in some parking lot, it seems logical that you will be able to land more links in an individual run because the factors are more similar then in a battle format.

    In the battle formats there is also always a disadvantage for one of the riders. A rider that does a lot of short links, or can’t pull the link in one try. These riders lose their chance and get ‘snaked’ by the next rider. As Matt Wilhelm said, you’re not gonna waste that one run you have with something that is not as dialed as it could be, so you play it safe (and less exciting).

    In individual runs, I believe riders can get more ‘into the zone’. I remember masters/worlds in cologne a few years back with Effraim judging amongst others. All the individual runs were taped because there were so many riders, and after everybody rode the judges sat down, and if there were any differences they watched the runs again to exterminate dropping the ball due to bad memory (which is obvious if you watch 30 or more riders over a timespan of more than three hours). It is quite possible that you end up giving the last rider more points for a run that was worse than the first rider.

    In short: I’d like to see a massive comeback of the individual run format 🙂

  16. Be the change you want to see, rather than moaning on a blog would be the best way to deal with all this.
    I personally think Bmx/flat whatever is in a very good place. yeah it’s more commercial than ever, but it’s just the way of the world, and in these times there will always be winners and losers. I’m one of the losers lol but I’m not bitter!

  17. I Missed 5 years ago, when have alot contests with Stephen Cerra, Keelan Phillips, Simon O’brien, Scott O’brien, Mikey Gaidos, Nathan Penonzek, Trevor Meyer, Chase…( the legendary ) i dont see them anymore… etc…
    Now i dont understand, where is thats riders? Flatland in the format battle is not the same grace, even once that I am not pro, I’m from Brazil, where I do not have any world championship, I wish I had one day, because here also has many many great riders, but despite these changes in flatland, do not have the same grace, has many things to improve and we must strive !…. Encouragement to riders, as I agree with Scott, and other reasons, but for the moment .. only regret the flatland!

  18. From a fan’s perspective (and I think that’s all I can offer) it’s disappointing to hear about the bickering and fighting, but encouraging that it has sparked this debate. The fact that this has come up means there are still flat contests happening, and that’s a great thing to be sure.

    Scott said it fine, every contest does not have to be battle format. Just like every park/street course is different, it would be nice to see this variety in flat contests, especially when there are amazing riders out there whose style doesn’t fit so well on a small riding platform or in a “touch and you’re out” style. This might even take some pressure away from the judges (a thankless job for sure).

    Format aside though, if we can continue to (start to?) cultivate an energy around flat contests that focuses less on the results of the pro final and more on the atmosphere of the event as a whole (see Japan), that will spill over into the audience and the dependence on showmanship after pulling a run in a battle will fade away. The audience will take their cues from other riders congratulating the rider who just finished more than when that rider slams his bike to the deck.

    Just my two cents


  19. Also, I feel, if comps are to have any future. . .
    Then I cannot stress enough, flatland needs to go back and embrace it’s bmx roots.
    Stop shooting itself in the foot, by being all niche & specialist, and pull in the street/park riders too, to also enter flatl/streetland comp discipline.
    Then see it re-evolve and grow again with new blood exponentially!

    As far as hardcore flatlander’s flatland goes, it will alway have it’s hardcore minority, that will push it as an individual expression/artform that is too subjective to be ever judged in today’s competitions. It just goes straight over most peoples heads anyway.
    …but if it’s is to grow up then you just have to accept that the end of the day, all tricks are for kids anyway ; )
    Ride on.

  20. Just for the record I have had the most fun at contests recently and think the battle format is super exciting! To me the problem is organisation but most importantly having qualified judges!!! How can expert riders judge a pro contest? Whos idea was this? And how can an older rider who wants flatland to be a certain way judge a modern day pro contest? If you cant understand what you are seeing, how old of a trick it is, where modern flatland is at then enjoy what flatland means to you as a fan or a better yet as a competitor! (plenty of classes for all ages and levels)

    I actually hate the old school formats and contests! I loved the riding then but now is a new time! Flatland is so exciting and Matt W look around! Matthias dropped a new trick in his runs the last 2 years of jomo! Dez, Adam K, Dom, ucchie, alex j, etc are all doing new tricks this year!

    I don’t understand how contests will not put more energy into judging, a judging budget, and/or getting qualified judges. I know Scott O does that with voodoo and obvi outside of the us itmay be different but here its like pick from the crowd of people that show up?! haha. And that’s not good enough!
    See everyone at next contest! 🙂 -Bo

  21. Good points Bo! There are possibilities to tweak the jam format so it’s not so confrontational as Scott did at Voodoo, by having the three way battle, but there still needs to be something in there to encourage dudes to bust their best stuff. Two one minute runs brings out the “safety net”.
    Qualified judges and a judging budget in some ways should come before the pro purse, no judges no contest right?
    I dont agree about the level of riding, a lot of people are holding back way too much, flatland missed a beat there.

  22. Good stuff and yes Phil its Deja Vu/boring stuff, but we have to keep pushing including yourself. VD2012

  23. some of the suggestions in here are really stupid. @ bmxism suggesting that flatland needs to be more street oriented. and flatlanders need to stop being “niche/specialist”. thats stupid

    My riding style is only flatland. and my setup is full zero offset with a high seat. I like it like that. If you want to go ride a street setup – do that – but why push your views on others? smh

    He’s saying that “hardcore” flatland – by which I think he means – very technical tricks and style is bad and goes over peoples heads? so what? you want people to dumb it down so that “the people” get it? gtfo. thats a stupid suggestion.

  24. I think we it comes to contests. Whether they are battle format or not. Riders need to be more mature and chill when it comes to being judged. Everyone wants to hate on Terry for pulling the same tricks for the past 5 years, but on the other hand I’ve seen very few riders WORLD WIDE step up and go pro to idk knock him and other existing pro’s off their rocker. I think the BIGGEST problem with flatland is the pointing of finger’s. why not beat Terry and other pro’s instead of just pointing fingers. I competed at jomo for the second time this year and i placed low because i couldnt pull my tricks. I was really upset, but i’ve been riding to change that.I wasn’t consistent and that’s something that bother’s many riders. Consistency. Yet I don’t see many people actually stepping their game up as far as tricks and consistency,and thats fine just don’t complain blow up when you don’t get your way. Get better! ride better! or shutup and don’t compete.

    As far as being included within mainstream BMX we need to stop being so concerned about it, because at the end of the day the mainstream wants what they want. And we need to realize that it’s not really street,park etc riders that don’t care its corporate.Because to them its all about the money. 9 times out of 10 you’ll see that street and flatland riders have a mutual respect for each other. Jomopro’s a huge example of this. The comradery between all riders is at an all time high there and thats really what we should be looking at, not trying to push flatlanders in to RIDE because they don’t really care. Anyone watch Dreams. Did you guys see how much Terry had to do just to get the cover of RIDE and since then i bet the only reason why flatland is seen on the sight or mag is because all the sudden they realize that Terry and Matthias can do whips. I will not bad mouth Matthias for riding or dressing the way he does. He’s not the problem with flatland and has never been the problem. The problem with RIDE is that they didnt care about flatland until they found riders like him that were marketable and hence would make money. Also when he comes to people cloning his tricks we also must understand that flatland IS indeed getting bigger and with a larger size comes different aspects of the sport like “posers” i guess you can say. well that’s they’re choice to ride and dress like someone and not do their own thing and we all need to get over it,and continue to do our own thing.

    As far as sponsors I think the fault can mainly be put on them but then again I do see alot of oppurtunities that flatlanders arent taking advantage of. There is no reason why Dez , JF, and Jean WIlliam have not gotten a solid parts sponsor or atleast flow to my knowledge. if any street rider should those kind of placings that they’ve had for the past 2 years they’d be scouped up on some sort of flow or pro a loooong time ago. how much does it cost a sponsor to get them a bike or just parts packages. Are flat companies that cheap? On the other hand Sidewall Distrubution created Crux Division which they made clear would sponsor flatlanders with flow from st.martin hoffman, and colony or any other parts they had in stock. NO ONE has posted a video for this seemingly easy way to get flow in america…

    When it comes to a lack of american pro’s competing a number of reasons contribute to this it seems. On one hand every other day I see high level american riders come out of the woodwork online but never come to a contest.it sucks. On the other hand there’s alot of Master class riders that have been in Master class for a while, you may say thats because they arent consistent enough, but i think as a rider if you are able to do the tricks that would classify you as a pro then you should go for it. I remember TJ was interviewed some time ago and they asked him why he would go pro, and he said something to the effect that he wont compete pro because riders like matthias and adam would dominate anyways. IMHO thats a bad mentalility. I say “fake it until you make it” in other words if your doin pro tricks and arent consistent at them do them in a pro class competition instead of stifling your riding and waiting on your tricks to get super dialed. You’ll get left behind doin that. I think also there should be so much pressure on you because you know you arent the best yet, but in time you can achieve a higher level of riding. I’m tellin everyone to move up a class prematurely but you know if you really look at your riding on a good you’ll know what class you need to be. On the other hand we cant force every young talented rider we see to go Pro. I since around Voodoo Jam no one has gotten off riders like Tyler, DIego etc for not goin pro So that can be a seemingly ovcerwhelming pressure.

    Flatland needs to grow up, but we gotta step up too. and fuck they haters on global-flat they rarely ride or are seen in public anyway.

  25. i think the key word is PROGRESSION.

    theres no point in progression because its not part of the judging criteria. and so theres no need for contest riders to progress. they can do the exact same run, make a few minor changes to their switches – like grab the bar instead of the seat orwhatever or just re-arrange the order of their combos and call that NEW. plus riders put a time-limit on the tricks they ae learning.

    instead of pushing it to the absolute limit of difficulty, they are put on a deadline to have their links dialed in a couple of months. and some riders are really more about Flash then content tbh.
    i find the whole pumping the crowd up shit kind of stupid. if youre tricks arent doing it for the crowd then Fukkit,

    running around – rolling on the ground – acting like you’re celebrating a win in the olympics or something is just CORNY to me. if you’re a contest rider you’ve probably done that trick a million times? no? so why act and celebrate like its the first time its ever happened just to get a crowdreaction and hype up the audience?

    tht full no handed whip took sooo damn long for me to get consistent – i doubt a flatlander on a contest/show schedule would put in that kind of commitment for a trick that is over in like 10 seconds.

    but hey who am i to judge. I dont make a living from flatland. soo…

  26. yet then again, a contest is about what happens in those particular moments, that’s probably why judges only care about what you pull not what you tried etc, but as far as I’m concerned they don’t even care about originality anymore at all. they just want the tricks pulled thats it. it sucks. but then again don’t go to FISE, and complain about your run when you know all your links are like 15 seconds long each and you want a higher placing than someone that has the same thing. high degree of originality yet super short links. I wasn’t at FISE , but based on what i’ve seen in person and on contest videos thats probably what happened. I mean can you really blame a judge for givin you a lower score because you pulled a link that was a few seconds long and the other rider probably did the samething. Thats what pissed me off about the whole situation. I admire the guy in question as a rider greatly but you can bitch when your runs are like a 1/4 of the time of most other riders in the field. In that situation from my knowledge being level headed whether or not you were right or wrong would have been the best route.

    I know judge is hard and theres alot of pressure, but many of the controversies that have popped up the judging was obviously skewed,and someone mentioned that the way battles were arranged to be more exciting etc makes me wonder why at jomopro Moto and Matthias we’re pitted against each other, I don’t know the facts on that, but i find it strange,and it hasnt been the only time i’ve seen that. it sucks because you know one of them is going to get eliminated immediately although they are both on top of the field of riders…other controversies like the Ucchie v. Trevor incident and the Dom fight with flight incident should not have happened. The worst part about all of it is that the damn riders get the finger pointed at them like Trevor which is horrible. Personally I like battle format when it is done RIGHT. Voodoo Jam too me had one of the best Battle Formats i’d seen. It ran so smoothly and the judging seemed quite clearly to me.
    – I HATED the 3 way battle format that happened at KOG last year. HORID. one touch and your done. That should NEVER be aloud again at any contest.

  27. make it transparent

    so the judges have to show their score

    like in diving, skating, etc.

  28. To be honest I think I could beat everybody still in pro class today if I wanted to with tricks I Invented 30 years ago

  29. hey effraim -I gotta give you props on “keepin it real” tho.

    and tackling a controversial subject. my views and yours aren’t 100% compatible but 99% of it I agree with or see where you’re comign from.

    this was an interesting read anyways.

  30. and lol @ fake “kevin jones” . this is entirely unrelated but i hate these comments about how kevin jones is still on some untouchable pedestal.

    Yes he was amazing in his day and age and deserves respect for what hes invented and done but people saying he can do every single trick that anyones ever done since then till now. or that people still cant touch some of his tricks is ridiculous.!

    hes like the mike tyson of today. mike tysons respected and legend but do you really think he can hold his own if he got in the ring today?

  31. They say that Kevin Jones was 3 years ahead of every rider in his prime. He also Invented every basic move of flatland today. I think his variety would crush everybody and have the crowd more interested in flatland then watching the same people doing the same trick over and over again with that pumping style. Chad Degroot, Day Smith, Chase, Chase Gouin, Jesse Puente just to name a few call him the greatest flatlander of all time.

    Tyson and Jones is bad,,,a better comparison is Kevin Jones and Michael Jordan.

  32. I think in 100 years from now they will still be talking about Kevin Jones when the topic of flatland freestyle bmx comes up.

  33. Here’s an idea: why doesn’t someone come up with an actual judging guideline, so there is actually a metric to compare to? Rather than the gut reaction after someone is displeased with the results. I would be more than happy to consult with people and draft something official. Of course it would be gay like figure-skating judging, but at least it would force people to quit complaining.

    I agree with the comments that there is no progression in modern contests. There are a lot of riders that kill contests because they simply do tricks they’ve been doing for years. Its no wonder those contest runs are flawless. This is true of pro and amateur. There should be a rule against recycling tricks.

    I am 100% serious about creating a judging guideline. Tell me when and I will do it.

    Best wishes.

  34. maybe we feel better now, but, nothing’s changed. flatland still, sucks.

  35. I would just like to point out one thing. Everyone seems to be collectively saying that judging and the drama that comes from it is the sports main problem…This exists in every sport. Figure Skating is known for huge drama in the judging and scoring aspect. It happens in skateboarding, it happens in snowboarding and in almost every olympic sport, we just don’t hear about it because we are not involved in the behind the scenes part of the sport. It even happens in street contests, while I do believe this is a great article and a good way to throw around ideas, everyone seems to think every other sport with the exclusion of flatland has perfect judging, but this is simply not true.

    I can also say that I have been to 85% of the contests in North America over the last few years and most of the drama comes afterwards from people that weren’t even at the contest. The only way to solve this would be by getting rid of global-flat, which is just silly. Most of the contests I have been to have been relatively drama free. The toronto contest has had very successful judging the past few years, and while the style and format of the contest is not my favourite, the judging has never really been the forefront of the drama the last few years that I know of.

    Not attending contests is not the solution and this is what so many pro riders are doing. I think I’ve been judged unfairly at contests and I keep showing up anyways because I have fun. Go to contests, if you think the contest can be improved upon, contact the organizers afterward and tell them, I made the mistake of trying to give a contest constructive criticism online and it turned into a huge shitstorm and now I know of a few pro riders that hate me because of it, haha. If you want improvements, tell them how it can be done, don’t go online and bitch and gripe and talk shit. Thats how we can improve contests.

  36. Also, what is with people saying the sport is lacking progression? Matthias, Adam Kun, Dominik, Dez, Moto, Ucchie are all dropping huge new tricks in contests these days. Are there guys that are doing very reserved runs they’ve been doing for years? Yes. There are also guys pushing the sport in and out of the contest scene.

  37. I do agree with Alex on the progression and internet haters. in the past two years those riders have brought the heat! I think people need to also realize somethin as well. matthias clones arent just clones. theres a new standard of riding i.e a basic trick set that seems to be accepted as a necessary trick repitoire. I.e Time machines, turbine peg wheelies and turbine steams. I believe that most of these riders” internet haters” perceive as clones are just beginning riders period. Not everyone that you see turbine tricks is a Matthias clone. Get off that thinking internet haters. they will eventually find their own tricks and route when it comes to riding. I’m tired of all these internet haters on global-flat.They either don’t ride or dont show up to any of the events they complain about. The effed up thing is its hard to ignore them because they are so prevalent. I mean look at Ciaran’s comment toward Matthias. just hate man just hate. No matter how good you are people like him don’t matter to me in this sport. It’s people that bring positive vibes in flatland IN THE REAL WORLD.

  38. Some of these comments are getting back to individuals, this is not about individuals this is about the sport, and how it is run. From the moment a flyer is made, a venue is decided, and so on down to the format, judging etc.
    I always believed that if the judging became more critical “in the short term it would offend some people” in the long term, the sport would progress, the contests would get better, a better contest, which looks good for the rider and the spectator brings the possibility of more riders getting into flatland. As I said before we have lost “the buzz”, yes I haven’t been a lot of contests recently, but also I am able to look at it from an “outside view” because of that, and nothing changed. I have tried in the past to help with certain points, but people are scared of changes in this tiny sport.
    Anyway, today is the flatmatters jam, im off to London. Thank you everyone for your comments. I really do hope we can progress the sport and i’m stoked Van Homan is on board with us! What a treat! 🙂

  39. Hello Felas!

    I think the best way to make flatland better is to fight for your own projects! I would say the latest and more succesful ones in our sport have been :
    (Many more should be in the list but this is just an example)

    Kotaro : He has created an affordable complete flatland bike = awesome
    MK : He has created Ground tactics = awesome
    Effraim : He has created flatmatters = awesome
    Martin : He has created global flat = awesome
    Alain : He has created Cream and now A.R.T
    My self :
    – With Martti and KGB we created what flatland is today in South America and Asia (except Japan) because we gave away 200 frames with out making profit out of them- 😉

    -I have invented the Flamenco Flatland = awesome contest in 120 countries on TV right now

    I see all those guys have created these projects for the good of the sport and not for the good of their pockets. No rat attitude = succes for the sport

    So ask your self….

    What have you done so far? What would you like to do ?
    Just do it and believe in it!

    But keep in mind that we always have to look up at our ROOTS to keep the spirit alive 😉 We need to ask the opinions of the masters of our sport because we need their advices-

    Just keep believing, riding, creating and enjoying, cause at the end this is what flatland is all about !

    Love & peace and sometimes weed 😉

  40. Viki i agree but if your not a big name like me who’s going to be interested in my jams i organise or projects ? you have to have a big crowd following or at least be sorta famous to stand out and for others to see what you have to offer ,i organise a jam and advertise it i guess not many will come but if a big name does the same many will come as it appeals more.

    Also tdoflatland kevin jones invented tricks in 87/88 23 years ago not 30 do your research but i agree that he created the foundation of modern flatland yes he did that here in Columbia kids learn those tricks first

    Trevor figure skating is not gay (homosexual) stupid comment its skill and masterful look at it.Ciaren is not hating he has an opinion he only says what a majority of us think i agree with it there is no hate its a reasonable comment

    .David Kelly Kevin Jones didn’t invent every basic flatland move today back in 1981 or so Martin Aparajo,Mike Buff,Pat Romano and Woody itson had there fair share on creating tricks and lets not forget Bob Haro ,riding is there to enjoy lets enjoy it.

  41. If bmx freestyle flatland wants to be serious then there should be a major market research for the masses. With the info of the market research then you can package the product the best way to the people to enjoy the product.

    I remember I went to a hockey game and they gave out a little booklet of the rules of the game with easy to understand directions. When you understand the sport then you can enjoy it.

  42. its not a recognised sport though ? when do you ever see it on mainstream t.v news or sports programes or in the newspapers ? never ,its still seen as a kiddies hobbie by the masses.

  43. “We have become stale, and it’s taking showmanship from the rider after the trick is completed (or not!) to get crowd applause, not the tricks in their own right. Are you a rider or a showman? What’s the message? We look desperate.” -Effraim

    I’m with you Effraim. We set up these bogus battles to try and look like breakdancers with attitude (and this is FAKE), we now ride street bikes to try and look like street riders and fit in (and this is FAKE), and after we pull or almost pull a combo we put on a show by either hugging our friends and jumping around or throwing our bikes, or worse yet, by putting our hands in the air and bowing a bunch of times as if what we just did happened for the first and only time and those who got to witness it are the luckiest people in the world (and this is FAKE). Flatland is having an identity crisis. The moment that flatland became about pleasing others it sold it’s soul and lost it’s integrity. It’s absurd to think that with all this fakeness in the presentation of the sport/artform that it could ever attract widespread genuine interest.

    Maybe the old way of doing things didn’t “grow the sport” as so many people pretend to care about but it certainly isn’t any better now. And as we have seen, the professional attendance levels are dropping. Here’s one possible reason why many people no longer compete: they know they don’t stand a chance against a handful of people who are basically showmen or contest machines. Battle formats put way too much stock in consistency which essentially translates into safe tricks and because of that originality and “going big” suffers.

    If contests were a reflection of the essence of riding flatland they would be about progression and creativity. That’s what we all try to do if we are passionate about flatland (in a pure sense and not needing to make money off of it), learn new things and every so often try to come up with something that hasn’t been done before. We need the integrity and courage to be what we are: flatland freestylers. We don’t need our bikes to look like other kinds of bmx to be accepted; we don’t need to act like breakdancers to be accepted; we don’t need to be desperate for praise. We need to come to terms with the fact that flatland might only ever be a pretty small discipline and that can be okay.

  44. Just think flatland had sell out crowds and big money when pros were doing pedal pickers and bar rides….lol

  45. seeing how other sports are beeing judged at contests, and getting ideas from that for flatland contests judging is probably a wise idea.
    You can always learn from others, or from the experience of other sports for judging in that case.

    anyway from where i stand, seeing all this controversy and debate really makes me think that flatland is still very much alive, it means that poeple still care about flatland and are ready to fight for it ! 😉

    No debate, no hate, no controversy, would mean that no one cares, and this would be the end.

  46. I agree the flat comps for the past few years have been packaged with the battle format & super small areas in “hopes” of making it more attractive to the general public, it this hasn’t worked and is a sell out to what flatland is. Even all the crowd pleasing “Spinning” tricks haven’t help sell it. This isn’t flatland to me, in my opinion flatland should bring back the 2-4 minute runs with larger contest areas and get back to Flatland Freestyle.

  47. brandon f, you could put it in terms of Dasein’s inauthentic falling into the being-with-of-others; i.e. the They self of curiosity, ambiguity and idle talk. just sayin

  48. Greg the reason for the big crowds at the AFA comps of 87/88 were that they were there to watch Ramps and Flatland combined which was freestyle i know i was there , nowadays flatland is a separate discipline i mean when do you see say Moto Sasaki or Terry Adams doing a flatland run then a ramp run after with 540’s,no foot can cans,lookbacks,turndowns etc all at height answer you don’t , when flatland branched out from the old AFA comps and they did the strictly flat only comps in 89 there was less crowds , i know i was there with Pete Kearney,Jeff Rugg,George Smoot etc

  49. So the variety of bmx freestyle got people interested which led to bigger crowds and more money. I think what would help flatland discipline is to have a big variety in your tricks. Combine old school and new school together always keeping everybody guessing what you are going to do next. I tell you what if Matthias Dandois ended a combo with a triple decade the crowd would go wild. You could end a new school combo with fire hydrant to double undertaker to boomerang.

  50. There’s so many tricks out there i dont think we need to dig too too deep into old school tricks(although i wonder what happened to all the super hard pedal scuffing and gliding tricks).

    I think longer runs would be great. 1:30 for non pro’s go’s by way to fast.

    IIm not too certain about much larger contest floors, watching old x games footage and other contests back then riders were just way too far from judges and the crowd.

  51. Greg there are elements of old skool in new skool whiplashes,rolaids,whoppers,hang 5,hitch/half hikers,back/half packers,Death Trucks etc etc i could go on these and many others are incorporated in different ways into new combo’s, biggers crowds didn’t lead to more money bigger sponsers did as after 1988 it died as companies and sponsors dropped riders bigtime it was big for a 18 months summer 87 to fall 88. not sure i’ve ever seen anyone do double undertakers from fire hydrants before though.

  52. I did a show for some kids at a Bike Rodeo today with Scott Powell. We had a blast, the kids and parents had a blast. There were several kids trying to do “tricks” after the show. Pretty basic stuff, but at least they were trying. Made me not really give a shit about all this. I like Viki’s take.

    I think a rider’s serious competitive lifespan is often quite short regardless of format. Look at how good Andrew Faris was and how quickly he burned out, Justin Miller and Osicka too. To be honest I’m surprised (and Impressed) Mathias has stayed around as long as he has. Matt brought up a good point about the ammount of prize $ involved relative to his show fees. There’s simply not enough $ at stake to bring more pros to comps! Especially when they know who they are up against and the consistency level of their competition tricks. Trevor was only 4 hours away from Indianapolis the weekend of Battle at the Bricks doing shows for a consistent paycheck at Cedar Point. I could see how that would trump going to a competition.

    The reality here may be that for some Flatland Has Grown Up and competition is no longer a motivating factor.

  53. All of these ideas are great and I understand most of the point of views. Its seems as though there has really never been a problem with Voodoo. I am really picky about who judges and I stay out of their way when they judge.

    Flatland is progressing and there is always a place for competition if done correctly.

    I will be making some adjustments to the Voodoo format to progress with riding and help push Flatland. I will ask a panel of riders what they think and discuss it with each of them as I have done in the past for every Voodoo Jam. We are not perfect but our intention is always the Flatland and the RIDERS first. At Voodoo I feel as though we are riders sharing our passion for Flatland with a great audience. We do not have intentions on being showmen as Brandon F stated. We focus on the core of riding Flatland and enjoy pushing that to an audience of people to get them involved in what we do.

    Oh and Brandon F I totally disagree with you and I do not think you have the experience that warrants your opinion on battles. Last contest I saw you at was Burning Bike in who knows how long ago. Not that you have not been to a few contest since then my point is I dont think you have truly experienced what the Battle format offers and has done. As I stated previously I think there is a place for all of these formats and we should not limit ourself because of a few organizers lack of professionalism.

    I think your statements about bike set ups are ridiculous. Let people do what they want be free to make your own way. If these guys want to ride street style bike that is not fake. Its what they want. Why limit Flatland and people to your ideals and ways of doing things. Why not just be happy for the guys and say “thats his flow and let him have it” I dont have a street set up and never will but I don’t think those guys are fake.

    No one I ride with is desperate for praise or is acting like a breakdancer. But if thats what drives someone then so be it.

    I find your comments to be negative and non productive.

    Scott OBrien

  54. Basically contests are garbage now. Nobody want’s to see Matthais or w.e. “top pros” do the same boring basic combos then spazz out and do some end zone dance.

    Also, who ever came up with the idea that flatland was like breakdancing needs to be lynched, that ideology ruined this sport.

    You ALL ( current contest hounds trying to bank 4 figures a year ) need to go back to the parking lot, maybe figure your shit out.

    • Somebody mentioned maybe Flatland has grown up, I couldn’t disagree more with regard to contests and their structure.

      There is no judging structure in place. Judges are often volunteers, Judges are getting bashed at some events “in front” of the crowd, I understand sometimes decisions get heated, this is also brought to head by the battle format. A point to consider also, is that flatland is so complex, there are so many points to consider, it is very hard to make a quick decision on something so complex, in some ways its actually disrespectful to the riders who put all that effort into their riding. What happens if two riders ride no touch in a battle, its very difficult in some instances to break that down. I’ve seen it happen at almost every contest.
      The “flatland needs to grow up” comes from my frustration over the past 5-6 years, its not exclusive to the Fise contest at all, or any rider.
      We need to be encouraging within the format guys such as Adam Kun to bust out his “monster whip” in the contest for example (I know he tried it at game of skills), my point is that imagine if he landed that! Are you seriously telling me the riders he’s competing with wouldn’t step their game up, maybe not that contest, but certainly in the next few contests. That in turn progresses the level, gets the crowd hyped, it makes flatland exciting. Sponsors want to get involved and be a part of that.
      But we have to start from the beginning, the so called big contests need a unified structure, riders need to know what to expect, what the floor is like, the size of area, the format, judging criteria, formats can be worked on the not so big events I believe.
      I understand some riders are on the defensive on my editorial, perhaps it is time they took a step back and looked at what is really going on.

  55. Just read this today Effraim, and I have to say YES, excellent thoughts! We need competition, but the only drama should be on the bikes, not off them… Jams like the one in Brighton this year are what flat are about for me, riding with friends, learning and growing. There was competition there, but it was fun! The best thing about flat is the individuality… it is out there, it’s just the way the ‘media’ latches onto the latest thing that’s hip and trendy…

  56. btw, we’re just talking from contest anymore! Where did all the good jams go? Thats what I miss the most.
    Sure there are few, but the main focus in flatland is pretty much focused on contests and money.
    Pretty sad I think. I liked it the best to go on jams and hangin around with lots of great riders and people, pushing each other to new tricks etc…

    And if there is a jam somewhere, nearly NO pro rider visits it. Maybe because of no money involved? I think so.

    I had that feeling over the last 5 to 8 years. More and more contest and more and more pro riders NOT interacting with the amateurs or even other riders. Everyone seems to be focused on their show so much, just got the tunnel view on and try to get the most out of it. But the great thing that made flatland so enjoyable for me is missing in the last years. Well its not missing, but I cant see it on contests anymore. RESPECT!

    btw, if anyone wants to join a nice jam this summer. Come to Berlin on the 23th of July. Hope to see some nice people there without any bitching 😉

    • Funny you say that Michael. Yesterday there were three jams across the globe that I know of. Of course the flatmatters jam, New Orleans jam, and the York jam.
      Yesterday I spent some time helping riders with tricks, and was great to see the advice help.
      Jams are great, because there is nothing to bitch about.

  57. Yeah, just recognized that after I posted it..haha!

    Sadly I cant travel around that much to visit more jams. Looked like alot of fun…

  58. ciaran stop being such a fn hater. We get it your this hardcore non conformist underground rider. You jump on any chance you get to attack other riders. Take that emo goth kid bs back to your underground hidden ride spot and scuff in 1000 different directions.

    Not even getting started on brandon. God damn dude just let ppl do what they want and stop bitching all the time. Whole lot of hatn’ going on.

  59. Dan Cooper quit hating on Ciaran he is totally right he is only saying what we are thinking shit man how jealous are you ? critisizing his riding get a life, and Scott O’ Brien whats the big deal with what Brandon said he is right yet again and when was the last time you rode ? all i see is you jumping about like P-Diddy on the mike making the ground move many years ago .
    Brandon and Ciaran are allowed their opinions and rule on their bikes yet its defensive dudes like you who cause friction get back to Global flat you guys you get all hostile like litle girls its pathetic Scott you may as well critisize you ” best buddy ” Terry Adams as he compares brakedancing to flatland also ring him up and moan at him your a hypocrit ,ride your bikes or shut up, this thread has proved what we knew all along that the politics and bullshit in flatland has shown its true colours .

    77th comment coming up.

  60. Do I need to come out of retirement and show you how it done?? Remember I did balancing lawnmowers on a day glow pink G.T had big crowds doing G.T shows in Cal. After R.L, Woody and me got out of the game it all fell crashing down because Kevin Jones was just doing flatland for fun and not to make it in the Magazines. Just my two cents. Chair Man of the Board

  61. For those who don’t know this above person is an imposter as we all know especially the older guys Martin Aparajo,Woody Itson ,Fiola etc etc do actually still ride a lot they never quit as this dude above has clearly not researched this and thinks they all quit which they haven’t , bit of topic this really.

  62. chris will u plz stop nut riding cirian for 2 seconds? Anytime anyone ever says anything bout him u come running to the rescue like anyone give a f what u say and until u have done half the shit scott has for the sport just stfu. You two always talking shit bout people that have due 1000 times more then you will ever do. Props to terry,m.d, scott, ppl that make an impact other then running their mouths about what other ppl.doing

  63. And since when did getting excited u had a good run become a bad thing? Ppl jump around when they get excited. This happens in EVERY sport. Why do flatlanders act like this is a bad thing? Fn stupid.

  64. Nothing wrong with being excited at all Dan whens its genuine. Its when its the same combo each time, and still dancing around, I think thats what rubs people up the wrong way. Its like theres not much crowd noise, they dance around, and there is.