The first Ionic Flux playlist was put together to get you pumped for riding. Our Smooth Ride playlist, on the other hand, is for those times when you want a chill ride. Forget your worries, get out your board, and just fly away…
1. Hookworms – Teen Dreams
2. Earl Sweatshirt – Molasses
3. Fat White Family – Is It Raining In Your Mouth?
4. Neu! – Hallogallo
5. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Lakers
6. The Gaslamp Killer – Shattering Inner Journeys
7. No Age – Teen Creeps
8. Cloud Nothings – I’m Not Part Of Me
9. LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls
10. Sleaford Mods – Tied Up In Nottz
11. Flying Lotus – Zodiac Shit
12. Joy Orbison – Big Room Tech House Dj Tool Tip!
13. Dizzee Rascal – Pagans
14. Trimbal – Confidence Boost (Harmonix)
Nestled in the northernmost region of Continental Europe lies Estonia. With a meager population of 1.3 million people, and the farthest distance across being less than Andrew Andras’s 24-hour Ultra-skate world record, this country seems quite small and pretty insignificant for the longboarding scene. However, when countries of this size are exposed to new ideas (or, in this case, longboarding), these ideas spread like a disease.
History of Estonian Skateboarding
Estonian skateboarding was born in 1980, when Estonia (then part of the USSR) was hosting the summer Olympics. As more western influence spread to the area right before the fall of the Soviet Union, underground punk and skateboarding shared the common cause of going against the norm. The birthplace of this movement started in the small beachside city of Pärnu, located in the south. A furniture factory based in Pärnu began experimenting with new board designs as seen in the western movies at the time. These boards, equipped with roller skate wheels, became the new underground craze. Given that there were no parks in Estonia to street skate, the early days of skateboarding were focused on the skateboard high jump, slalom and skate hokey (aka Standup Skateboard Paddling).
Early days of skate hokey / Photo Credit: Olavi OllinoSkateboard High Jump / Photo Credit: Olavi Ollino
The Longboarding Scene Today
The Estonian longboarding scene barely existed three years ago. Maybe you’d have a friend who ordered one off the internet, but probably not. Although Estonia has had quite a mature street skating scene for the last two decades and is home to Simple Session (one of the largest street skating festivals in Europe for the last 15 years), the last two years have seen an insane growth in longboard culture. Now, nearly every city in the country has a longboard crew, and a plethora of independent skate shops, local brands, and event organizers have cropped up to help develop a strong and ever-growing longboard community. So whether you are into the push, free-riding, cruising or downhill, every corner of this country now has something to offer.
Tallinn: Capital of Skate
Estonia’s capital city of Tallinn, where over 30% of the country’s population lives, is unsurprisingly the main arena for longboarding. Whether you like to distance push along the gulf of Tallinn between the Old Town and Viimsi, or visit your local Surfhouse or Surf Garden skate shop, there is plenty this place has to offer. The community is strong here. During the summer months, there are a number of cruising events and longboard clinics set up by the local skate shops and a ton of free-riding activities. More daring adventurers hit the hill on Highway 2 straight into the heart of the city at night.
Pärnu: Beachside Cruising Town
Pärnu is the birthplace of Estonian skateboarding. It is home to Estonia’s first and oldest skateboarding competition, KuldRula (golden skate). If you visit Pärnu, especially in the summer time, the entire city is skateboard-friendly and cruising is the best way to get around, whether you want to grab coffee at a local café or head on over to the beach to skate on the boardwalk area.
Joulumäe (Christmas Hill): Shred Central
If you head out a few km’s just east of Pärnu on Highway 4, you’ll find a sweet little shred spot called Joulumäe (Christmas Hill), which is a cross-country skiing track in the winter. In the summer, it’s a running track with smooth asphalt and nice hills that make for perfect slide and downhill sessions.
Otepää: Downhill Turf
Otepää is Estonia’s winter capital and has the highest points in the entire country, which means only one thing: HILLS. While the tallest mountain in Estonia is just shy of 300 meters, there are tons of places to bomb, carve, and cut. Otepää is one of Estonia’s less-skated regions, but that is already changing.
Valga: The New Frontier
Valga is one of the smallest and southernmost cities in Estonia. Despite its lack of population, it is home to the biggest longboard maker in the country, Beercan Boards, which opened up its Baltic headquarters just last year. Since this region is among the hilliest in all of Estonia, it is becoming a major hub of longboarding in the region, especially with its shared neighbor city Valka, to the south in Latvia, where the downhill scene is already well-established. Longboarding has increased dramatically in popularity here and is gaining even more strength over the course of the 2015 skate season.
Tartu: Pusher’s Haven
Tartu is in the heart of Estonia and with a population just over 100,000. With a ton of flat land to skate, it has become a major area for cruising. It boasts massive potential with new bike paths to push yourself with distance skateboarding. As it’s a university town, youth culture is vibrant here. This becomes obvious when you’re skating through downtown. Last year, the first longboard cruises were hosted here.
Longboarding has clearly been spreading over the last 2-3 years, Estonia included. If you ever find yourself here and are itching to skate, no matter where you go, there is a little something for everyone and you’re guaranteed to find a fellow skater. The community is close-knit here; it’s like a family and everybody knows everybody. And it’s a growing family, with more and more people looking to spread the stoke, bomb some hills, and shred some thane — and we welcome anyone to join us.
The Verdicchio Race 2015 took place on August 8th as part of the International Downhill Federation’s World Qualifying Series. Over 140 riders from all around the world participated in this event, which had Open Men and Women, Junior, Street Luge and Classic Luge categories.
Hosted in Poggiocupro (a province of Ancona, Italy), the Verdicchio Race has a very technical track with a succession of hairpin turns, fast corners and straight sections where the riders can reach an awesome 75km/h.
Ionic Flux Team Rider Carlos Paixão (Brazil) won the Open Men’s category in a dramatic finish. Brazilian Max Ballesteros was in the lead right until the last corner, where he bailed on the last turn. Carlos Paixão was following close behind and seized the moment to finish the race in first position.
Quern Ilmer (2nd) and Max Ballesteros (3rd) completed the podium.
Carlos Paixão is now 7th overall in the World Cup with 3903 points.
Check the dope official video from Verdicchio:
header photo by Mirko Paoloni
Woohoo! New wallpapers! This month we’ve got the SMOOTH RIDE Edition, featuring a chill longboarder enjoying a smooth ride on the ol’ concrete wave. (Next week we’ll be offering up a SMOOTH RIDE playlist to go with it.) Ya dig?
Download your format below:
iPad / iPad 2 / iPad mini
iPad Air / iPad Retina
Desktop or Android tablet
Want to submit a design (or an idea for one)? Click here to drop Chris a line.
The end of summer coincides with the Crash Boat Downhill 2015. It will be held on August 30th on Route 458 near the famous Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
Why’s it famous? Because Crash Boat Beach is situated in a former military port used to rescue downed crews from Ramey Air Force Base. It still retains some of the original pier infrastructure, which has become a popular spot for fishing and jumping into the crystal clear waters. Sounds like a pretty sweet place to visit, no?
The Crash Boat Downhill is an official National Downhill Federation (NDF) event with a $2,000 prize. The categories are Men, Master, Women, Boys, Junior, Sliding and the Open Downhill main event.The track along Route 458 is a slope with various curves, including a U curve that can get riders going over 80 km/h. We’re stoked that Ionic Flux Team rider Hector “Chino” Reyes will be competing again this year!
Here are the winners for each category:
– Open Downhill: Anthony Chaparro
– Men: Anthony Chaparro
– Master: José Pérez
– Women: Keyla Denisse
– Junior: Byron Cruz
– Boys: Edward Rivera
– Sliding: Tomas Lugo
Ionic Flux Team Rider Hector “Chino” Reyes was there on the podium in 6th place in the Junior category. Congrats, bro!
You can check photos of the event in the National Downhill Federation facebook page.
Name: Bjorn de Groot
Hometown: Antwerp, Belgium
IONIC FLUX: Boring first question: When and why and where did you start riding?
BJORN DE GROOT: I started riding skateboards in the street and on ramps as a kid, but only picked up longboarding years later to cruise to the night shop. I love snowboarding and mountains, but it is quite a mission to go on a trip with a job and family, so looking for a similar experience I started doing slides and got interested in downhill after getting to know other skaters a few years ago.
What’s the scene like in Belgium? Are there different vibes in different regions? Is there a skateboard/long board divide?
The scene in Belgium is growing and very open, with most crews meeting up at the few spots we have to ride in the south of the country. The north is pretty flat with only slide spots to practice techniques. The older generation of skaters is still involved in sessions, events, etc., and the groms are coming on strong. 🙂 This includes organizations such as One Movement hosting initiations and courses. The longboard scene seems to be pretty much on its own, without many links to the skateboard scene — although for us it is all skateboarding and we skate everything.
photo by Plus de Sucre
What’s your local skate shop like? Are there any must-visit shops in Belgium for riders passing through?
There are a few shops. Stoked is one of the skate shops supporting events and riders. There is also a new shop in Ghent called The Cave, focusing on longboarding. The owner and his mustache will make your visit something to remember. Next to these, there is also Billy’s Kite in Brussels – which carries a nice selection of gear – and Karot board shop in Liege. Lockwood in Antwerp for regular skateboarding needs and an indoor mini pool is worth a visit as well.
Tell us about your board.
After riding boards with complex concave and features, I am currently riding a Rayne Mike Fitter V2 Bro model — a simple topmount with minimal features such as small rocker, micro drops and mellow concave. As it is not wide, the mellow concave works well for me and allows more freedom to position my feet on the board… And who doesn’t love pandas?
Where’s your favorite place to ride?
KNK! I just came back. Great organisation. What a track! And the surroundings are wonderful, as well. Sometimes it is not only about the spot, but more about the people you are with. Skate and explore, meet new riders and discover spots.
How’s your summer been so far?
Although I have been riding throughout winter, the season really kicked off in May with Eat Concrete (a freeride) and the Belgian championship. In June, there was the Wallonhill Festival in Houyet, organized by Xavier Ethuin and the Blutcher longboard club. This event is perfect for your first downhill runs on a closed track or to get gnarly and do fast pack runs with your buddies. This is the longest running event in Belgium with crews from the Netherlands, Germany, France and UK attending. The event is all about the skaters, and has a superb vibe. If all goes to plan, the next event in September will be in Luxembourg on a fast and smooth track we all love. #fingerscrossed In July, I visited WoodWings Longboard Camp for a few days, a new initiative providing riders a full week of skating — freestyle, freeride and downhill, while staying at a guesthouse in the French Alps with a hay bale pool and mini ramp.
photo by William Seynaeve
You contacted Ionic Flux randomly really early on, so we sent you some samples. What did you think after trying it? Have you tried other bearing lubes?
Experimenting with gear is part of the fun for me, and I simply have to admit Ionic Flux does what it promises. I managed to fix rusted bearings and use nothing else now in my bearings.
What’s up with that rad green suit of yours?
Green symbolizes life and is my favorite color. It started with a green helmet, followed by a green second-hand motorbike suit. And it obviously helps that green is the fastest color. 😉
You can find Bjorn on Facebook and Instagram.
header photo by Bram Adriaensens
Looking for some pretty music to help you relax after a long day? Well, this Ionic Flux playlist ain’t it. We designed this playlist to get you pumped to #rolllikehell. Give it a listen and you’ll hear some distorted guitars, heavy percussion, and maybe even some aggressive vocal stylings. It isn’t for everyone, but it is for YOU. Happy rollin’.
1. Screaming Females – Ripe
2. Staring at the Sun – TV on the Radio
3. AFX – Children Talking
4. Marnie Stern – Year of the Glad
5. Fugazi – Waiting Room
6. Sonic Youth – ‘Cross the Breeze
7. The Black Angels – Black Grease
8. Future Of The Left – You Need Satan More Than He Needs You
9. Guitar Wolf – After School Thunder
10. Run The Jewels – Blockbuster Night Part 1
11. Ought – The Weather Song
12. Death Grips – I’ve Seen Footage
13. Workin’ Man Noise Unit – Yellow Mind
Diego Alemparte is a pro downhill skateboarder from Santiago, Chile. He’s been focused on downhill for over 10 years, and his location is perfect for it: Santiago is between two mountain ranges — the Andes and the cordillera de la Costa. Diego is also a father of two and the team manager of Ky Sygni Longboards and UZI Bearings. We’re stoked to have him as an Ionic Flux Team Rider!
IONIC FLUX: Tell us about Ky Sygni Longboards. What do you like about the boards and what is your connection with the company?
DIEGO ALEMPARTE: Ky Sygni Longboards is an Argentinian company developed by some of the best riders from South America. What I like the most is our handmade 3D concave, shaped by us and then scanned to make the press. I think that we have something unique on the longboard scene: narrow decks and concave molds to fit our smaller feet (as opposed to the US/Canada size)
UZI Bearings. We met Carlos Paixão in Kozakov, and he uses both Ceramic and Steelies in his setup. We understand he’s Brazil’s #1 and also a good friend of yours. He swears by these. What’s your take?
We at Uzi just want to win, so we start with the best and fastest riders from South America; we have the top Argentinian, the top from Brazil and the best from Chile. All this mixed with our built-in spacer and some special features inside the bearing making this team unstoppable. #areyoureadytofly?
What are the hills like in Chile? You’ve got the Andes mountains there, so there must be some really crazy hills.
The hills here are amazing! We are all surrounded by mountains and all the roads have to pass through them. We have two mountain chains in a country that is just 200 km wide. We have tons of world class hills all around Santiago. To name some: Lo Prado, Chacabuco, Piedra Roja, Santa Martina, Lagunillas and Camino Farellones. All within a 40 min radius.
What’s the overall longboarding scene like in Chile? Does it seem at all different from the rest of the world?
The scene is nothing special, but we have some really good rippers. Here the longboard scene is more oriented to freestyle-freeride with some strong dh-ers. I think what I miss from another scenes is the slalom/flatland/dance riders. We have almost none of that here. For example, I have just one of the three proper slalom setups.
What are the major longboarding events in South America that are a must see?
Must-see events (or must-ride, for me) are: 7 curvas (Sao Paulo, Brazil – one of the steepest courses with seven turns), Teutonia (Porto Alegre, Brazil – if you race or if you don’t, you can’t miss this serious speed), La Violenta (La Rioja, Argentina – with top speeds of 100km/h and serious corners, this is a course for the speed rider), Festival de la Bajada (Sibate, Colombia – really steep, full of hairpins, sweepers and bad asphalt that makes it hard to get to the bottom in one piece).
If we visit you, where will you take us to skate?
To really get to know and enjoy it, we can spend an entire week in Farellones, which has more than 50km full of good runs.
What shops do you recommend in your city, and what are the core shops most people support?
We have two good core shops – Openbox Store and Alce Riders – both have plenty of good things for skating.
You’ve been riding for a long time and probably have been brushing shoulders with some of the best downhillers in the world. What important lessons have you learned along the way?
That’s right, a lot of years traveling around here and riding with the best for more than a decade. I know Rick Kluddy, Darryl Freeman, Dave Rogers, Bricin Lyons, Stuart Bradburn… The most important lessons? Pre drift lessons with K-Rimes in 2008. After that it all changed, we started to go faster and bigger, the limits were gone.
What advice might you have for someone just starting out?
This sport can blow your mind. Be respectful of your limits, learn how to brake properly before going faster, and use your helmet please.
Want to submit a design (or an idea for one)? Click here to drop Chris a line.