BMX Union are doing a series of “Firsts” with media guys in BMX. This week Mark Noble interviewed Fat Tony, hit the link to learn more.
If you listened to the TCU Podcast with Fat Tony we published the other day, you will know that Fat is out on his own hustling hard. This website is a good example of that. It has the traditional “portfolio” section where you can see some of his best photos (including some amazing flatland shots!), but as a whole, the site is geared more towards the business end of BMX media and marketing with an emphasis of showing how his work can help the brands he partners with.
Head over to the site take a look.
Great Podcast by the TCU crew with Fat Tony, former Ride BMX employee, current Freegun team manager and freelance photographer. Of course, Fat does a lot for flatland, so this is of course of interest. They talk about how he started out at Ride BMX Magazine, his work ethic, what he did when he left Ride, and a whole lot more!
Text and photos by Fat Tony.
Every photo has a story behind it, and to help shed some light on what went into the fifth annual Flatland Calendar, I wanted to share some of those photos and stories that were created while working on the project this year. From Adam Kun in his home country of Hungary to three crazy Canadians in the Southern United States, here are seven behind the scenes photos…
As always, the 2013 Flatland Calendar presented by DK Bicycles is FREE with all orders placed with flatlandfuel.com, so go get yours now!
Adam Kun – Budapest, Hungary
I traveled around Europe for about five weeks this summer, and on the very last day of my trip I had plans to meet up with Adam Kun in Budapest, Hungary to shoot a photo. About a half an hour before we met up I was out street riding and wanted to try a gap over a trashcan. While doing a warm up run for the gap I crashed into a metal light pole and messed up my ankle, wrist, and knee pretty bad. By the time I met Adam at the city’s most iconic riding spot (Hero’s Square) the pain was really setting in. I couldn’t even hold the camera on my own, so I mounted it on a tripod to shoot the photo. Once we were done shooting I was in so much pain I could barely stand it and had to leave as quickly as possible. Even though my entire body was in pain, we managed to get a sick shot, and Monster Energy stepped up to the plate and sponsored the calendar so the photo could get a proper home.
Alex Jumelin – Las Vegas, Nevada
If you remember Alex Jumelin’s Freegun video from a few months ago (http://www.flatmattersonline.com/must-watch-alex-jumelin-welcome-to-freegun-edit), then this scene is probably pretty familiar. The day before Alex got into town I drove around Las Vegas and the surrounding dessert area for about seven hours looking for spots to film and to shoot photos, and this freeway service road about 20 miles from the strip made for a really dope spot. We filmed a solid combo here for the edit and shot Alex’s photo for the Saint Martin page in the calendar.
Chad Johnston – Long Beach, California
This spot in Downtown Long Beach is just a few blocks from both my house and Chad’s house. It’s a really popular street riding spot, but on this sunny So Cal day Chad put it to good use for his photo on the Primo page of the calendar. The view here is looking straight down Long Beach Blvd. from the Performing Arts Center on Ocean Blvd. This is LBC at it’s best!
Dane Beardsley – Austin, Texas
After DK Bicycles agreed to be the title sponsor of the calendar I was excited to find out that Dane Beardsley was going to be in Austin for the Texas Toast contest and I’d get to shoot with him there for the cover and poster. The sun was quickly setting, so we were racing against clock to shoot the cover at a tennis court that he likes to ride at. This was the first trick we shot, but neither of us were that into it. After looking at the image on the back of my camera for a bit Dane decided to try another trick, and that other one is the one that eventually landed on the cover.
Dane Beardsley – Austin, Texas
On the way to the tennis court where Dane and I shot the cover photo he pointed out a big ditch that he thought could be good for a photo. I barely caught a glimpse of the spot out of the corner of my eye as we passed it, but I saw the water puddles and immediately knew exactly what kind of photo I could get there. After Dane and I shot the cover the sun was already gone, but we still had just enough light left for one last photo. We had to move fast and squeeze through a hole in one fence and hop another before going down a super steep bank into the ditch. Then Dane had to quickly sweep some debris out of the way while I set up my flashes—one of which was standing in water. I also had to walk through and stand in water to shoot the photo, but in the end it worked out exactly how I had planned and we got a great reflection photo that was perfect for the DK Bicycles poster.
Eric Wright – Long Beach, California
The Globe in Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor has seen countless flatland riders come and go over the years, and Innertwine Clothing’s Eric Wright is one of them that’s sessioned there more than a few times. Even though the spot is only about a mile from my house, I’ve never actually shot a photo there, so when it came time to shoot with Eric I put aside my desires to stay away from what is considered cliché’ and snapped a picture-perfect fisheye shot of Eric doing Alex Jumelin’s signature one-footed pumping cliffhanger. From this angle you can see exactly how I had my three flashes set up for the shot.
Team Pralex – New Orleans, Louisiana
If you follow flatlanders on Twitter, then you probably know that Prasheel Gopal likes to fake re-Tweet things. Sometimes it’s funny, other times it’s crossing the line, and sometimes it gets him exactly what he wants. That was the case when he fake re-Tweeted me saying that I was going to shoot with Team Pralex at Voodoo Jam for the calendar. It was pretty funny at the time, but once the idea was in my head, I actually thought it would be kind of rad to get the three guys (Prasheel Gopal, Alex Poirier, and Mark Kuhlmann) all in one photo together. I didn’t know how well it would work out, or if would be possible at all, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway. During the Voodoo Jam pre-jam I took the trio to the New Orleans Lakefront for a nice clean backdrop showing just a moody sky and the calm lake. I set up one flash pointing at each rider, and after a couple dozen attempts, all three riders managed to choreograph and time their tricks properly and the mission was a success.
Thanks to Fat Tony for exclusively showing the behind the scenes calendar shoot here on FM! Part 2 next week.
Get your calendar from: http://www.flatlandfuel.com
Jim McKay at the TCU just dropped this tight calendar interview with Fat Tony, hit the link yo!
Fat Tony just sent in the press release for the 2013 Free Flatland Calendar, check out the photo, link to rest of calendar and press release below…
For the fifth year in a row Flatland Fuel and Fat Tony are proud to present an exclusive Flatland BMX Calendar. The 12-month 2013 wall calendar features 15 original flatland photos of riders from six countries shot all around the world. Each month showcases a different rider in a unique location including Japan, Hungary, Spain, and the U.S. In addition to the twelve months, there is also a bonus poster of DK rider Dane Beardsley so you can keep flatland on your wall even after 2013 has passed. As the only calendar of its kind, the 2013 Flatland BMX Calendar presented by DK Bicycles is a must-have for flatland riders worldwide.
The best part is the 2013 Flatland Calendar is absolutely FREE when you place an order with Flatland Fuel! (While supplies last.)
Free 2013 Flatland BMX Calendar Presented by DK Bicycles Now Available at Flatland Fuel
Riders Include: Dane Beardsley, Adam Kun, Alex Jumelin, Chad Johnston, Eric Wright, Jean-Francois Boulianne, Kotaro Tanaka, Matthias Dandois, Moto Sasaki, Terry Adams, Trevor Meyer, Viki Gomez, Yohei Uchino, Prasheel Gopal, Mark Kuhlmann, and Alex Poirier.
The 2013 Flatland BMX Calendar presented by DK Bicycles is proudly co-sponsored by Flatland Fuel, Vans, St. Martin, Monster Energy, Flatware, Motel Works, Primo, Innertwine Clothing, 430 Clothing, Suelo, ID Clothing, and Freegun Underwear. A huge thanks goes out to each company who helped make the calendar possible. It is support from companies like them that keeps flatland growing!
Click here to see a preview of the 2013 Flatland Calendar presented by DK Bicycles!
This year it seems you took a more pivotal role in the organization of JoMoPro. Obviously you no longer work for Transworld now and are freelance with time to do what you love… Your passion for flatland shined bright this weekend in my opinion. Tell me about the JoMoPro contest and why you personally got involved with it?
Yeah, now that I don’t work for Ride I definitely have more free time to get involved with contests and stuff like this. That’s part of the reason I left my full-time job—so I could free myself to work on other projects that I was passionate about and continue to give back to BMX in other ways. I tried to get involved with JoMoPro more in previous years, but I just didn’t have the time while putting forth so much effort at Transworld.
When JoMoPro had a skatepark contest, Ride was always a media partner and big supporter of the event, so I’ve been in pretty close contact with the people who run the contest and venue for several years. About five years ago during Interbike while having lunch with Jeremiah Anderson from The Bridge (the contest venue) he said they were interested in bringing in flatland, so I ended up working with him to help with the logistics of getting flatland into the mix the first year…
So I’ve had a pretty strong tie to the contest from the very beginning and it was a natural progression for me to help with organizing things this year. Pat Schoolen from Flatland Fuel had been the main organizer the past few years and he reached out to me this this year to see if I was down to help out. He handled all the sponsorships and coordinated the on-site logistics, and did all the online marketing and promoting with the Web site, press releases, videos, and Facebook page.
Basically there was a need and I was available to (and capable of) helping out, so I was happy to step up to the plate. I’ve voiced my opinions on forum boards and stuff about how flatland contests sometimes lack professionalism when it comes to how they promote and market themselves, so I kind of wanted to try to make a case study of how a contest could come across to a global audience if you put forth that kind of effort. I feel like we were really successful with that, and I’m stoked on how things turned out.
What were the highlights of the weekend for you?
Well, I love announcing, so that was super fun. Also, my girlfriend Ashley was with me helping out…it was her first BMX contest, so having her there was really cool. The fact that so many riders showed up (59 competed), and so many pros entered (18) was really great, too. But I think the biggest highlight for me, and probably everyone else in the building, was the Best Trick contest. The energy was insane, the riders were pumped, and everyone was throwing down so hard!
How did you see the two-run format go compared to the battle format?
The battle format, by nature, is designed for an audience, not the actual riders. It’s really just for spectators, ya know… It’s super exciting and gets the crowd into the event, and it’s awesome for people who aren’t too familiar with flatland. However, we knew going into things this year that we wouldn’t have a huge crowd on site. Neither Pat nor I live near Joplin to promote locally, and it wasn’t a big priority for The Bridge to promote it for us. So instead of trying to cater to a crowd that wouldn’t be there anyway, we reverted back to a two-run format for the pro finals to be fairer to the riders. It’s definitely a much more accurate way of judging and figuring out a top ten, and the riders seemed really into it. Basically, we took a side step this year and figured out ways we could cater to the riders and the progression of the sport as much as possible. I think we did a good job of putting on an event that truly felt like it was done for riders, by riders.
The Best Trick contest seems to be the way to go…it seemed to inspire the riders a lot more. What is your feeling about that?
Yeah, the Best Trick contest was sick! It was Pat’s idea from the beginning… He wanted to add in something exciting to the event since we were getting rid of the battle format finals. He kept saying that it was an “experiment,” and luckily for everyone the experiment worked perfectly! The whole concept was to have a fast-paced jam that really focused on the originality and progression of tricks where the riders could feed off each other and really get into it. We felt if we could achieve that we’d be doing our part in helping push the sport in a positive direction.
The way it worked out kind of came together at the last minute, but it worked out awesome! We decided to add in a “live judging” aspect so the riders and crowd would always know which rider was in the lead. Each time someone one-upped the last person who was in the lead the judges raised flags and I was able to announce who the new leader was. To keep things organized and moving quickly we had the riders in a line on the parameter of the floor, and that helped give a cool visual and vibe that added to the jam as well. There were 17 riders, so within the 30-minute jam each person probably got about 8 or 9 chances to pull their trick. During the last round, instead of just one and done, we gave everyone two chances to try their tricks back to back, which worked out really well. Like I said, it was all kind of figured out and put together on the fly, but somehow we pulled it off, and I think everyone was really stoked on how it turned out—especially Terry Adams, haha! The fact that Terry (who won JoMoPro last year) was the last rider to go and ended up stealing the win from Takahiro at the last possible second was just icing on the cake. You couldn’t have written a better story, and it was a perfect way to end the night.
After any contest there is always plenty of talk… From your point of view, were there any lessons learnt this past weekend?
I have to call you out here, Effraim… I honestly think that by you mentioning the haters or whatever on the site you are calling attention to things and actually feeding into negativity. You posted the finals video, and instead of just saying how dope the riding was, you immediately opened the doors to controversy or speculation about the results. When you are speaking to a large audience like the readers of Flatmatters, I just don’t feel it’s really good to call attention to stuff like that. It just starts the comments and conversation in the wrong direction I think…
Anyway, I’m sure there will be some talking here and there, but that’s to be expected, and it’s not really a big deal. I don’t think many people can or will argue the judges decisions though this time around. We had a very fair judging system that we tried out at JoMoPro. We came up with the system on a private Facebook page where a lot of industry heads and pros from around the world went back and forth putting in their input. Difficulty and originality were weighted heavier than consistency, so again, we were trying to push the riders and the sport…we didn’t see a bunch of “safe runs” at this contest. I haven’t talked to many of the riders or judges yet to get their feedback, but from what I could tell it all went really smoothly.
There are always lessons to be learned, and there are always things you can improve on, but it may be a little too early to tell right now. We’re definitely going to look to the future, but we also want to take some time to enjoy the success of the event right now and let it all sink in!
As a contest organizer myself, I know how draining it can be…how are you feeling right now after the contest?
Haha, I’m pretty beat man! I got up at 7am the day of the event to tie up loose ends, got to the venue at 9am to shoot a photo with Ucchie for the Flatland Calendar, ran and announced the event until 10pm, went to the after party until about 1am, then woke up the next day and worked in the hotel until about midnight on the follow up work—press releases, photos, and the highlights video. So yeah, I’m pretty tired as I type this interview out on a 7am flight back home, but with no full-time job, there’s plenty of time to rest and ride when I get back to Long Beach!
Last but not least, I would like to personally thank you, Fat, for taking the time to step up and help organize JoMoPro. It is one of the most respected events on the calendar. Who would you like to give thanks to?
Thanks man, I really appreciate that! I definitely want to thank Pat Schoolen who did so much behind the scenes. He doesn’t really like to put himself out there or be in the limelight, but he did a ton for the event over the past few years. Also, Jeremiah Anderson and everyone at The Bridge… They provided us with the venue along with food and drinks in the hospitality room for four years now. Thanks to all the sponsors who stepped up this year and threw down cash and prizes for the riders. Green-G and Hiroshi Uehara came out the past two years on their own dime all the way from Japan just to help out, which is amazing—that truly shows their dedication to the sport. Thanks to everyone who helped run things the day of the event…too many people to name! Thanks to my homie Eric Favot for filming the finals for me. And of course, huge thanks to all the riders who showed up and killed it! Joplin isn’t the most fun city to hang out it, and it’s definitely not the easiest or cheapest to get to, so the fact that so many people came from so many places to ride is incredible! See you at Voodoo Jam!
ESPN Article by Fat: http://espn.go.com/action/bmx/blog/_/post/7845777/japan-uchino-wins-2012-jomopro