Throwback Thursdays with Martti Kuoppa!

It is hard to believe this is 13 years old. Martti destroyed the Level Vibes contest back in 2000. Even if you have seen this edit, it’s worth a rewatch. Back in these days, which many refer to as the green quamen era, Martti was a contest machine, but also delivered ground breaking Intrikat video parts. He dropped the Hang five kickflip to halfpacker (one footed in this edit) for the first time in public, check it out!

14 thoughts on “Throwback Thursdays with Martti Kuoppa!

  1. I remember that.. the one and only time i’ve seen martti ride in person.. absolutely blew me away.. did have a lot of footage of this level vibes but cannot find it anywhere.

  2. League of his own.

    It’s crazy to think that that all still stands up as better than the average current pro level performance. Sure, these days there are a few more spins and turbines to dress it up, but think about it, when you strip it back to it’s raw form, who has banger switches like that these days in their contest run? Look at the diversity too. Kickflips and technical switches, difficult and original balance positions, fluid rolling, spinning etc.

    These days, I feel like the pursuit of style and a personal style stops people really being creative because it pigeonholes them too much. There’s too much focus on having a certain style from the beginning. Going to Japan proved this to me. Almost all riders either can either only do 3 or 4 tricks, or only choose to do a very small number of tricks. We only see the cream in the videos. There’s not more creativity there. There are just more riders with a narrow focus trying really hard with their couple of tricks to find some original variations. In videos, we just see the successful riders (like Ikeda as a prime example). For each one of them there are many normal riders who get really stuck and can’t get unstuck easily, because when they try it feels like “back to the beginning”. If we compare a rider like Ikeda to Martti. Well Ikeda is amazing, in his way, but of course, we can’t even compare even if we want to because of Martti’s range. I’m guilty of this too. I wish I had tried more different things out in the first 4 years and built a better base/foundation of core skills.

    I feel like the era that Martti and Effraim came up in was very different because they can both do so many tricks. Maybe you can say “they can do everything” in that regard. It pays off too.

    Try a bit of everything, because you can’t go back and undo it once it’s done.

    Martti is still the best. Even this Martti of 13 years ago. That’s crazy!

  3. Martti Rules, wanna my fav guys to hang out with. Martti was so ahead of his time. That trip to Mutts was so fun 😀

  4. @Paul Chamberlain – Lot of good points Paul that I agree. Particularly interesting what you noted about the japanese scene, I wonder what caused that change of focus to happen, what was the influence?

    When you watch a video like this, it shouts originality, the first combo, steam kickflip to crack to no footed steam to kickflip steam he twisted, all his tricks. Remembering that time period, one of my lasting memories would be that thought of constantly searching for the next trick, to show at the next contest, everyone had new stuff, and the jam sessions at every event were always the highlight.

    Watch his worlds run from 2002. Up until this day, this is still one of the best routines of all time. Ticks just about every box I can think of.

  5. Right up there with Kevin & Chase. You can’t talk about pioneers in flatland without including Martti.

    How far ahead is he? Everyone does or has done Kevin Jones tricks and Chase’s links, but outside of the pedaling time machine you don’t see many people doing Martti’s kick flip stuff or his switches. All time most progressive rider.

  6. @ Paul and Big E,
    You guys are right, there are two different approaches to riding for various eras.

    If you were riding in the 90s and before, you would go out and just start learning various separate tricks. Today a lard yard, tomorrow a half packer, next month fork spin… So then you would have all these separate pieces and later on try to fit them together.

    If you started late 90s / early 2000’s, riders (in general) will learn one trick, then learn the next trick that links from the first and keep building on that combo. So after years of this, a rider will have about 4 / 5 combos. This also naturally puts them in “contest ready” position. They have their combos, just gotta make sure they are dialed. Since contests have been the back bone of riding for the last 16 years, one fuels the other. Riders wanna be ready for the next contest. Contests are created to serve these riders.

    So now you got dudes who are crazy good at “what they do”, but with out the diversity of moves that Kevin, Martti, Chase, Chad Degroot, Dylan Worsley, Day Smith, etc. In 90’s, the contest was more about “show me your newest tricks” than be dialed to get first place.

    I’m not saying one is better than the other, it’s just how things have developed over the years.

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