Merry Christmas from Flatmatters!

It’s been a while since I filmed a flatmatters exclusive. I’ve had a few good months back riding so far un-interrupted with injuries after 2 years of being forced to slow down. Starting to feel good on the bike again and progress again, heres the first of what I hope of many new clips as I work towards my next edit!, plus a lil’ Merry christmas shoutout to you all watching. To document, share, and progress! Flatmatters! Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to you all!

FM Exclusive: The Mike S. Interview!!

Intro/Interview: Effraim.
Photos: Mike S.

They say that good things come to those that wait! And in this case, that saying is totally on point, this interview with Mike has pretty much taken a year to complete. One of the all time flatland’s greats, the stylish Michael Steingraeber, or “Mike S” as many of you now know him, has been killing it on the scene forever. Nowadays he would considered a contest veteran, always in the finals at the major events when he competed regularly and more often than not on the Podium, add to that Multiple X Games medallist, amazing parts on Props Groundwork, and the Intrikat videos. With that in mind, I felt it was well and truly time we did an interview! Respect!

When I look at the flatland scene in general Mike there’s not many that have been riding steadily as long as I have, but you have been around since I can remember, I think the Trier Worlds 1991 was the first time I met you, when did you first start riding? Give us some background about how you got started
Yeah, I guess you’re right about that: I have been riding forever!
I first stumbled across BMX in 1983. For some reason or other I started riding 20″ bikes that fall, not yet BMXs. I had inherited what we called a “Bonanza Bike” from my older brother and just started having fun with that. The younger brother of my brothers girlfriend at the time had a BMX and that’s been my first experience with a real BMX. Mind you, BMX was very popular at the time, E.T. Had just come out at the movies, you’d see pictures of racing on cereal boxes and the occasional article would pop up in a mainstream magazine. So I started to hang out with my new friend with a BMX, we rode everything we came across and all I wished for for Christmas that year was a BMX bike. I guess I must have been a good boy, because my wish came true. Luckily my brother understood my passion for BMX right away and gave me an issue of the German BMX magazine at the time, BMX Speed as a present. It had a “how to” in it: front wheel hops! So I tried that over and over. It was quite difficult to be honest! But I never looked back, bought issue after issue of that magazine, tried to learn all the tricks they had how to’s of and just lived BMX. I still do I guess…

Can you remember when you started, if there was much of a contest scene, and did that help your riding progress?
Where I grew up, a small town of about 10000 people, an hour north of Hamburg there was not much. No ramps, no race track, no contests or jams. It was three riders for the most part and a school yard. That’s all there was. No videos, no Internet, nothing. So we tried to collect everything we could find, watch every sports program on TV just to make sure we didn’t miss that one show where they’d have a report about something BMX related.
I did once make it to Hamburg to watch a GT BMX demo with Eddie Fiola and Dave Breed. And it got rained out. What a disappointment! However, that show had been organized by the same bike shop that would later start Dranonfly, one of my first sponsors. Pretty cool actually.
And I finally met the Hamburg locals at some point, met Christoph Huber for the first time and started riding with him and the other Hamburg locals. A big city an hour away was a long way away at the time, but I tried hanging out with them as best I could, tried to be part of the scene. My first trip to a contest was with those Hamburg locals, too: 1987 or 88 I think, we took the train down to Cologne for one of the infamous Jugendpark Contests. What an adventure that was, and I finished second in the beginner flatland class. Back then you’d get a trophy if you finished top three, so that was the first of many to come! Good times!

Who was your first sponsor?
My first sponsor was Mutation Clothing, followed by Dragonfly shortly thereafter. I’ve had a couple of shoe hook ups through Mutation, then finally ended up with Vans in 1998. They’ve been pretty good through the years, still giving me the occasional pair of shoes. 

What year did you start using the no stem handlebar combo? 
Not sure! I think I’ve had it in 1995. Went to The USA in 94 for The first time and changes my bike setup after that, running my bars way backwards. Then I made the first pair of my handlebars the following year.
Throughout the whole time you have been riding, was there a point when you felt most inspired?
Most inspired in which way? I’m sure it’s safe to say I felt very inspired by the Dorkin’ in York videos by the Plywood Hoods, late 1980s to mid 1990s. Then I guess even though I always feel like Kevin Jones laid the foundation for the tricks I do, Edgar Placencia’s part in “Wheelies” gave my riding a certain direction and pushed my style.

Throughout my years competing, I always remember you would make funny hand gestures at the crowd, they always made me laugh, brought across your personality to the contest run, did you use those gestures to relax yourself, I always curious about that, had to ask!
It felt right at the time…When you ride in a contest, in front of a crowd, you are not just a competitor, but also a performer, an entertainer of sorts. People watching you shouldn’t be bored. I guess it was part of me trying to be entertaining.

When I think of you Michael, and all the memories, certain things spring to mind, Trier, funky chicken whip to switch foot locomotive, Aalborg Denmark 92 the elephant glide whips sitting on bars, the X Games in Philly when you were in the lead until Martti’s last run, and when you took your riding “Switch”, all combos both ways? What moments stands out to you, over your riding career?
You remember well! Trier in 1991, a flawless run if I remember correctly, finishing off with probably my first original switch, chick whip to x-footed locomotive. That felt great! And the X-Games silver medal in 2002, leading after the first run, watching everybody else do their second runs and not beating my score. Such a strange feeling sitting there thinking: “Oh, I’m guaranteed 5th!”, then 4th, 3rd and…second. Couldn’t beat Martti’s run. But silver was great!
Looking back I’m just really stoked I got to do all the things I did, competing all over the place, seeing the world, riding my little bike. 
I haven’t made too many bad choices, really, always been free to do what I like, not too much pressure from my sponsors. Most importantly staying real, just riding a little kids bike having fun!

How long did you ride for Dragonfly for?
Phew, a long time! I guess they picked me up when they were a distribution in Germany, not even really a bike company. I believe that was in 1995. They have supported me for a long, long time, and I basically stayed until they were gone. I started talking to Christoph at Mankind about riding for him, designing a frame in 2010. That’s when I officially didn’t ride for Dragonfly anymore. They had basically left the scene a year or two before that. No more new products, oh well! About 15 years then, pretty cool. I’ve always tried to build good relationships with my sponsors, not going from one to another all the time. It’s pretty hard to believe a guy telling you his bike is the best, then next season another brand is the best and so on. That’s just not my style!

Moving onto sponsorship Modern day. How are things going with Mankind?
I love riding for them. Christoph Huber, the Mankind boss has been a friend of mine since the late 1980s and he gave me the chance to design a frame the way I like it, no questions asked. He doesn’t put any pressure on me as far a competing goes. I just ride and have fun using his products. I love it!

When did you make the move from Hamburg to Köln? Why did you move, I heard a rumour that it was purely for the Hyatt riding spot?
After all these years travelling the world I thought I should try a new place in Germany as well. I thought about moving to Koblenz to hang out with my good friend Frank Lukas a lot more. I stayed at his place for two weeks, started looking for a room and tried riding his local spots. And what happened was that I wasn’t happy riding any of the spots in Koblenz and hopped on the train to ride LVR in Cologne a lot. Then I found a room in Cologne pretty easily and that’s how I ended up here. So yes, LVR played a big role in my choosing Cologne as my home spot. That was in 2007, coming to 6 years in Cologne now.

That’s a good story Mike. Let’s go back to the “Switch” riding, what inspired this direction? And what was the time period to learn combos both ways?
There are different aspects to my riding switch. One of them is that as a flatlander, maybe more so when we were scuffing all day long, you stand on one leg a lot and use the other leg for scuffing or balancing a lot. And it’s always the same leg you’re putting all your weight on. That’s not very healthy and my lower back started to act up. So I figured I should try to do my tricks switch. The other reason was that I was trying to figure out the direction Flatland was heading, or which direction I wanted it to head to. I actually really liked the tricks I was doing at the time and I didn’t want to learn a different style of tricks. So I tried learning the same tricks switch. This is a bit strange, but I actually thought I was doing what should be done and that I would be the best teacher doing the same tricks I already did, just switch!

Anyway, it was a long process, when I first started trying a few scuffing tricks, like a lard yard, or a caboose, it felt really difficult. Kind of like when you start riding. But it was a lot of fun, too. I was living in Hamburg at the time, riding the Kunsthalle spot and I would try some basic tricks switch. Then someone wold walk past and ask how long I had been riding, probably expecting me to say a few weeks, and I’d say something like 15 years or so and it would make me look pretty bad at what I was doing. It was funny to me back then! Anyway, once your legs understand what they are doing you start learning tricks a bit quicker. But it still felt strange doing tricks switch. And I loved it, because it felt like a totally new accomplishment!

So aside from your lower back, have you had any other injuries? You always have seemed in good shape, you don’t drink do you?
I rolled my ankle badly falling on a surfer to bar ride attempt in the late 80s. I had to have surgery and was out of riding for about half a year. I’ve had a broken hand in the early 90s, but nothing serious. Wore a cast for a while and that was it.
I know you can get injured riding Flatland, but to me it’s more the mental aspect that makes it so difficult. It just wears you out spending all those hours on your bike, year after year, trying to learn tricks that shouldn’t be possible in the first place. If you want to compete you’ve got to try to dial them in and then pull them off under pressure. It feels great when you do pull it off and it feels horrible when you don’t. Once you start playing mind games with yourself it’s getting a bit too much and might be time for a break.

It always seemed like you placed better in the US then in Europe, particularly with the X Games, how did you feel about that at the time if you can remember?
I didn’t do too bad in Europe, but I guess you’re right, I got even better results overseas. Maybe part of it was me being from overseas, and being the new guy, too.  And judging was a bit different at the big contests in the US. You HAD to be very consistent over there.
What I liked about that judging was that it was consistent: you knew how the judges were going to judge and it was always the same. You can’t forget that those big ESPN contests were not just contests, but a mix of that and a TV show. I liked the organisation over there, and I liked the contests in Europe as well, a bit more wild, a bit more real BMX in a way.

Now you don’t compete as much, has your riding style changed much at all? The way you practise?
It has changed a lot. I don’t make money riding my bike so I have to go to work and I don’t have as much time to ride anymore. But it also means there is no pressure to prepare for such and such contest, and I really enjoy to just ride for the sake of riding. I still find myself going through the same links as if I was practicing for a contest. Old habits die hard I guess.

What’s a typical day like for Mike S in Köln?
M.: Right now I’m not back to work, so I just chill through the morning, have a coffee at a cafe, surf the web and if it’s not too cold I go for a ride. Usually I go to work at a photo lab, either early morning shift starting at 6am or late shift working until 11pm. Not the best, not the worst either. Then ride in my free time.

Martti Kuoppa called you the most dialled contest rider in a Flatmatters article about contest preparation, what work did you put in before contests?
Well, I guess first of all thanks Martti! I’ve always tried to be consistent in my riding, just doing my links and combos over and over, not changing them around too much. I do enjoy riding okay in a contest, but the preparation required sometimes took the fun out of riding for me. That’s one of the reasons why I’m not keen on competing anymore.
Come to think of it it’s actually pretty funny that I would try to do my links three times in a session, and it would take a while depending on my balance that day, or my focus. And that’s all, no three in a row, let alone 5 in a row. So I basically never felt very consistent in practice, but it worked for me to be consistent enough in my contest runs. Sometimes anyway…

You’ve had a fair few classic video parts over the years, which part are you most proud of?
Being in Groundworks was great! I guess that’s the one that meant the most to me!
But being in the Intrikat videos probably did the most for making a name for myself. I’m very glad I met Chad and that he wanted to film with me!

Yeah for sure. Now of course you competed last year at the OG Contest in Hungary and you don’t compete much anymore, why did you choose that event? And congratulations on reaching top 3, how did that feel?
It was quite simple: András Pentek told me he had that event coming up and asked me  whether he could invite me to be one of the international riders. I hadn’t been to Hungary before and had always meant to go there once. And once I had agreed on riding in the event I felt the old fire again, changing my riding a bit, going back to working on consistency of my links and tricks. I enjoyed that, but I don’t need it all the time. Once at the event I was pretty nervous, as usual. But I pulled a few tricks, and it felt like some of the other guys didn’t really try to do well. Anyway, I was a bit surprised and very happy about finishing on the podium.
The funny thing was that I left a few guys behind me who I was going to judge at Circle Of Balance the following week.

What was your experience like judging the Red Bull COB?
It was great, actually! You know, I had competed in the first three COBs, now I was still able to be part of it, just without the pressure of having to perform. Well, they made us judges come out into the arena doing a trick to introduce ourselves. I chose a simple trick and couldn’t even pull that. Good thing I was “only” judging.
While judging is hardly ever easy, I find battle style contests to be easier to judge than runs. It’s just either one guy or the other. No points, no thinking about how much better was this guy so how big a gap in points does he deserve. And no 25th rider where it becomes difficult to remember the first rider and his run.
And just to have mentioned it: I prefer judging a battle style contest, but I do prefer to ride contests with individual runs. It’s the true form to me!

Besides judging, you did a lot of stuff beside the scenes for the Rebel jam? Do you see yourself doing more of this kind of thing in the future?
I’ve helped out at contests before, helped building the contest area, helped running events, and been judging. I feel like my experience can be helpful and I love doing it. I will always try to be in touch with Flatland as much as I can and try to push it. If you need help, need an experienced judge, hit me up! 

We talked about style a lot during the Rebel jam weekend, what is style for you?
To me it’s quite simple: smoothness is a good starting point. Once a rider knows his tricks well, he will start to work on his style. Or he might just have it. To me it’s a matter of not just barely pulling off a trick, but doing it easily…and with style. It’s actually difficult to put in words for me. Just one example: at the Eindhoven Rebel Jam we judged style as well, and one of the judges told me he loved one riders sketchiness and thought it was extremely stylish. While I was highly entertained and very impressed by that particular rider actually pulling his tricks even though it looked like he would fall off, I would never in a hundred years call that stylish. That’s why it’s such a difficult category to judge. And that’s where as an organizer of an event you have the responsibility to chose good judges!

Besides riding, I recall you do take a lot of photographs, and you work at Photo place. Can you see yourself doing this in the future perhaps as a full time profession?
I do want to take more pictures and hopefully have more published. I love photography, but it’s a difficult field to make a living in. We’ll see what’s going to happen! 

Any final words of wisdom or thanks to finish this up Mike?
Where to start? The way I’ve come to know BMX I have to say I just love it! I’ve traveled the world, met riders everywhere, slept on people’s floor or couch. People gave me lifts to contests or sessions, people let me take their picture. It does feel like one big family! I sometimes wish there was more connection between Flatland and other disciplines, like in the old days. It’s all BMX to me. But it’s also all good the way things are. We have big
events, great pros, good up and comers. What else do we need?

I have to thank a few sponsors that supported me along the way: Vans, Dragonfly, Mutation, Eastpak, JYKK Japan,
and currently Mankind, Vans, Atmosfair Clothing, KHE bikes, People’s Store. Surely I forgot someone…
Thanks to my friends who ride with me, thanks to flatmattersonline for this interview!

As always: do what you like to do: want to ride front wheel only, do that! Backwheel only? Do it! Both wheels, street, park, dirt? Do it!
Whatever it is you want to do on your bike, just go for it. And if you don’t want to ride for a day, for a week, or a month: just don’t ride. The need will come back, and if you push yourself too hard you’ll destroy it!

Ride on!

Thank you Mike! Was amazing to catch up with you! Hope you all enjoyed this one!

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The Friday Interview – Viki Gomez! (Part 1)

Photos: Provided by Viki Gomez.

Who better to cap off this first 4 years anniversary week than Viki Gomez!
Chances are like me you watched in awe as the Red Bull Circle of Balance contest unfolded. What became apparent to me as the battles progressed, was the level of control, focus, adaptability and machine like quality Viki Gomez possesses.
To win the worlds biggest flatland contest 3 times passing over a ten year time period is a huge achievement, that might never ever be done again.
As I sat at the top of the bleachers trying to take as much of the event in as possible, what I couldn’t help notice, was how calm Viki was during the whole contest. The level of focus he showed during the tense battles was very inspiring.
You could sense a few riders quite rightly were just stoked to be invited and enjoying the moment, whereas Viki maintained “gameface” throughout the event. It was fitting that a bomb trick will be remembered for winning his 3rd Red Bull COB title, it was a moment I won’t forget in a hurry. I think flatland needed that! Viki demonstrated truly what it takes to win at the highest level.
As well being a contest machine, Viki is of course an artist, delivering ground breaking video parts, that have been inspirational for years, there aren’t too many riders that have truly excelled in both.
Without further a due, I’m really excited to bring the first part of this Viki Gomez interview, as I say “enjoy!”…

Basic introduction, your real name is Jorge right? How old are you? How long riding? Where are you from? Etc..
My name is Jorge Gomez. Nick name Viki from the famous cartoons Viki the Viking! I started riding 17 years ago when I was a smaller teenager with long hair and the looks of Viki. I am from Madrid, Spain. I am 31 years old, and I have been professional for 12 years and visited 50 countries so far until today. Here are my most memorable contest results since 2001:
2 times European X games champion (2001-2002)
3 times King of Ground Gold medallist in Japan (2001-2004-2006)
Braun Cruzer Tour champion of 5 contest out of 7 and tour champion (Contest like Flatground, King of Concrete, Ninja Spin, etc)
2005 Metro Jam Champion in Canada
Bmx Flatland World circuit champion (2010)
Red Bull Flamenco Flatland champion (2011)
3 times Red Bull Circle of Balance Champion (2002-2007-2012)
I love my bike and I love riding and freestyling!

Of course Viki you are world renown as one of the best flatlanders of all time, I recall the first time I met you at the Madrid Worlds in 1999, you entered Masterclass right away. Spain is not famous for its flatland scene, what got you into flatland?
Well, when I started to ride there were a huge amount of flatland riders in Retiro Park, the biggest park in Madrid City. I had a BMX but not prepared for freestyle and one day I crossed this park and I saw around 20 riders riding together, flirting with the chicks, having fun,etc…from that moment I realised that this was the coolest thing I wanted to do in my life! And I went for it!
I kind of forced the riders to admit me in the crew! Hahaha Nowadays most of them are my best friends and we laugh a lot remembering the way I wanted to become friends with them! First thing I said was: “Do you have pegs to sell?” I was a 14 years old kid with super long hair and the cap and they said I looked like “Viki the Viking” (German cartoons famous in Spain) and since that day they called me Viki! In this park I rode for 6 years and it has been the best teenager time of my life!
We didn’t only ride, we were trouble makers, but always with good and positive humour! We were a big family and I believe we still are somehow! even if life separated us due to age duties like work, family,etc These guys will forever be in my heart, and these memories are still the reasons why I keep riding! I met for once and for all the real spirit of freestyle, and I will stick to it all my life!

That’s interesting, is this the big public riding spot in the KGB video that you talk of? It’s interesting to me what you said abut family, as I remember you were always with Nathan, Martti and Phil in “The X trials days”, kind of like a mini family almost.
You are one of the few riders out there that can juggle the professional riders life of travelling, shows, commercial projects, and yet still progress in a hardcore way, delivering banging edits with new tricks/variations, how hard is it to juggle this lifestyle? 

I realised that the more busy you are the best your brain works. Therefore the imagination level that you need to put into flatland gets higher and your riding level increases as well. I remember when I was 23 and I only was riding all day long, my life felt empty and thats why I started KGB, just to keep myself busy and keep learning things in different ways. After riding ideas were coming nonstop! Everything is all about the mindset that you have. If your brain is on fire, your imagination and body will be on fire as well. So how I keep myself fit is working on new projects, brain storming and using riding as a therapy to free and/or increase my mind! At the end, I am a business man where I am the boss, the employee and the product! And by loving what I do life pays back with beautiful opportunities!

Do you progress when your on the road touring? You of course travel a lot, I saw recently Dubai, England, and Maldives, Japan, and I’m sure that’s not all…
New tricks come anytime and unexpected. Sometimes riding and sometimes in your mind. I remember talking with Akira Okamura about one of his signature tricks and he told me, “I was in the toilet and suddenly: Booom!!! This trick idea came to my mind!” Laughs!!! I realised then that I wasn’t the only one having these moments!

What are the benefits of this lifestyle in your opinion?
Everything is a benefit. And specially the way I travel! I am always with locals and this way you can experience their culture and learn from it. Therefore you progress a lot as a person and this is what we are here for. To become better people and progress! I have been in 50 countries in the last 14 years and I have learnt a lot about the world. I stopped believing about nations, countries, borders and frontiers. I believe more in the different cultures of the human race, the different visions and at the end we are all in the same planet which make us very alike to each other! And I can see that the world is getting better, I don’t watch the depressing news and I judge by my experience and everyone nowadays just want to have a good life. I think thanks to the internet people realised that love is the best way to live!

You blew up on the scene in 2000, I recall the Worlds in Koln 2000, so many fresh tricks with savvy style! You’ve been a heavy hitter since then, at what point did you realise flatland would become a job for you?
Actually since day one I got my first real BMX freestyle bike my dream became true! I knew from that day that it will never matter how hard it will be, I will always ride! I have been very lucky ,my bike saved my life in many aspects and I think that by being grateful every single day, life is bringing me more opportunities to keep on riding! All is about Karma! When I do shows I feel that people get happy, exited, kids smile, and I am so thankful to have the chance to make this happen! And with this Karma riding life just goes on!

For as long as I can remember you have always had brakes? What is your opinion about brakes, no brakes?
Well, I think brakes are mandatory to learn basics and be original making different switches. At least in the beginning. Being original is the most important thing in Flatland! This sport should be call “Originality on bike” then many people will understand what is this game all about. I went deep searching for new ways of progression! I had many masters like Martti, Nathan, Phil who taught me how important is to go your own way and I found myself using the brakes in order to find this freedom and be someone original and respected out there.
But right now, I reached a new level where I feel free with no brakes and thanks to all the basics I have learnt, I can explore into new levels and this feeling makes me really happy! Flatland is infinity, so searching is the way, but not the final form. So don’t worry about brakes or no brakes. You better worry about searching new unexplored ways. Don’t count your life with seconds, minutes, hours, days or years…better count it with the actions that you have done! For me every new original trick that I have done is an action, and this is the way I count my life in Flatland!

In my opinion the KGB dvd captured some of the best riding of all time from yourself and Martti. What’s your fondest memory from filming for that dvd, and also that time period hanging out with MK a lot?
I think everyone can feel that our philosophy in riding is about going deep in progression and show that Flatland is infinity! This DVD has this feeling and also KGB was all about it! This part of my life has been my university in business and definition of progression!
And what better and funnier than having MK as a classmate? We learnt a lot, we lost a lot but at the end we WON A LOT because we learnt big lessons! Now we are prepared in life to achieve any dream we want and having these lessons learnt is the most precious treasure you can ever wish!
MK is with no doubt one of my best friends and still the person I look up to riding wise. When you think about it, no human yet had reached his level! And this is amazing! I follow his steps and I am so lucky to have learnt a lot from him. Nowadays we meet in amazing epic places where we just laugh non stop remembering the crazy times we lived, and living even craziest times nowadays!

That is awesome! Tell me something about competing, over the past few years you came back to featuring on the podium after a few years struggling to place well, what changed for you? 
After winning COB 2007 I lost my motivation to compete. Also Martti lost it. So weird times came along for us where we saw flatland going so down. We come from X Games times where Flatland was huge! And seeing flatland going into the direction of wooden small floors wasn’t so exiting! So I decided to take a break and keep progressing at home and don’t think about contests! But if you are a Red Bull athlete, you can take a break, but eventually you will need to come back strong to compete. And I am really happy that Red Bull pushed me to comeback! After all I got 3rd place in the BFWC 2009, first place of BFWC 2010, Red Bull Flamenco Flatland 2011 and this year I have won Madrid contest, Fise in Costa Rica, Bike days in Switzerland, Colombia contest and the best that I could ever imagine! Red Bull COB 2012!!! I also want to thank my girlfriend Alexandra for being my main inspiration in life! When you love some one deep it gives you strength! And when someone loves you deep it gives you a lot of courage! She believes sometimes more in me than myself, and it’s really helpful when you are down. I thank and appreciate every moment of my life with her!

Is there such a thing as winning mentality?
The only way to success is when you don’t let your mind to come in between. If you are able to have this mindset in a contest, then you will be very satisfied about your riding! And that’s all what really matters!

So the Red Bull Circle of Balance’s back this year and you already won two of those events, the COB is pretty much the biggest and most prestigious event in flatland, would you agree that your riding seems more favoured towards the battle format style contests rather than the traditional 3 minute run format?
As I said before, everything depends of your mindset. Doesn’t matter the format, the place, the atmosphere…everything is in your mind! Set it free and you will succeed!

Tell me something about the Madrid scene? It seems to be up on the up right now, I feel a lot of positive energy coming out of that scene right now.
Yeah there are a lot of new kids riding and they are like a small family hanging out together. I like the way they support and respect me, taking me as a master for them! They are my friends and super cool guys who just have fun with their bikes and have a lot of passion in riding. Guelo is the captain of the crew, and we became really good friends in the last years! He keeps the scene alive always helping new riders to feel comfortable and motivated!

I’m always curious when your at the top of the sport, and your searching for new ideas, where do you draw your inspiration from?
As I said before, by keeping your mind busy in positive and progressive things in life, your riding will be also reflected by the right mind set! I try to learn something new everyday. Not every time is a new trick, but a new combo, a new feeling, the way you leave the spot happy and motivated looking forward to come back. And I am always feeling lucky to have time and being able to ride! So this way you can get the best out of it! Never take things for granted!

To wrap up Part 1. We can’t have a VIki Gomez interview, and not ask about Dominik Nekolny. Nowadays he’s going more towards his own style of riding, but still does a lot of your “known” old switches. Does it feel strange competing against him?
With Dominik everything has been all about mix feelings. Of course I got surprised the first time I saw him doing many of my signature tricks! My visión of riding is completley different in this sense, but then I realized that he was doing my tricks because they were hard tricks, and he has been the only one capable to make them! I just thought to my self “why someone with so much skills is doing someone else tricks?” But then I realized that he was in a learning process and besides that, I should be happy that someone is following my way, and proving that with these tricks you still can place good in a contest. I am happy to be an inspiration for someone. After the confusing times I got to know him personally, and he is a super nice guy and I always have jokes with him!

Part 2 to follow soon…. Comments anyone?

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John Yull Flatmatters exclusive!!

So much content coming through right now to celebrate 4 years of Flatmatters! Quite fitting that I interview one of the riders that I grew up riding with on the Hutch team, John Yull! John is of course paving his own way, fair to say he is one of the exciting riders to watch right now! Keep an eye out for this FM interview really soon! For now peep this lil’ bit of decade innovation.