Name: Thomas C Slager
Hometown: The Hague
IONIC FLUX: You’re an ambitious and competitive rider, and we really admire your drive. When did you start competing?
THOMAS C SLAGER: When I turned 15.
Tell us about the Haagsche Longboard Marathon. When did you start it, why did you start it, and (for those who might be interested in doing something similar) how did you start it?
I started this organization because I wanted to promote the sport. It started in 2013. My crew and I had a hard time finding sponsors for the event, which is how you organize — you find sponsors for goodies and payment for the racetrack.
What is your involvement in the Dutch Summer Solstice Ultraskate? Just as a rider, or are you involved in other ways?
I’m at the event every year. That’s all. I’m not with the organization, and my interests are in the fast marathons, not the slow ultraskates, but it is fun to be there.
What is your training like? How do you prepare for marathons?
That is my secret.
You ride a Maha board, right? Tell us about it.
The Maha decks are made with tech other than the normal everyday plywood decks. The deck is made out of solid wood pushed together from the sides, so Maha decks show racing stripes. That’s not a graphic but another layer of another kind of wood.
Other than Ionic Flux, who are your sponsors?
I have Seismic, my wheel and bearing sponsor. I’m very happy with them; they make high quality bearings and their wheels roll out long. In combination with the Ionic Flux formula, it makes for the best ride.
What’s the ROGUE team?
The Rogue team is suppose to be a team of Long Distance Skaters. All members are highly skilled in at least one discipline in the sport. At the moment I can’t advance the whole thing because there are no sponsors for it.
What’s your local scene like?
My LDP scene… Well, I’m not very populair in the main LDP scene here. I train alone and I never meet up with them, and they don’t meet up with me either. The overall longboard scene is nice here. We have shops like Rollerwave and Sickboards, where people hang out and get advice for their boards if they need it. Those two longboard stores also sponsor my events every year.
You seem to have a lot of clear goals, several of which you’ve already accomplished. What are some of your current short- and long-term goals?
My short-term goal is to win the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon once again. The long-term goals are to keep winning—wherever I race, whenever I race, and however I race.
Alright, time to talk about Adrenalina. In 2014, you competed in California and took first place ahead of Joe Mazzone and Andrew Andras. What was that like for you — both the race itself and winning it?
My start was clumsy as hell, but I made up for that in the second lap. I left the lead pack and went ahead of them, found a good pace and kept going with that. I opened a time hole of at least five minutes. Winning was amazing. The whole San Diego thing is so big and overwhelming; the sunset there makes me feel small. There is nothing like it, it’s so amazing, and the race is also much more overwhelming than other races. In short, I still cannot believe that I won this great marathon.
Ready for Adrenalina 2015?
Yesterday I checked my stamina level. Well, I could do a little better, but I should be ready.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yeah, this summer me and my organization from the Haagsche Longboard Marathon started this new sprint event called RACEDAY. Its focus lies on short distance LDP racing, like 500 meter, 5 km, relay and more brutal speed limit pushes.
You can find Thomas on Facebook.
At the beginning of this last round of the International Downhill Federation’s World Cup Tour, three riders were battling for the Men’s Championship: Thiago Gomes Lessa (BRA), Carlos Paixão (BRA), and Dillon Stephens (CAN). The World Cup Tour starts every February and ends in November, and has 8 World Cup rounds and 13 World Qualifying Series rounds.
According to the 2015 IDF rankings, 1008 athletes from 51 countries competed in the World Cup. Brazil was the last stop with the Mega Grand Prix taking place from October 30th to November 1st. The Mega Space is a 1.2km track, has 5 turns, and the riders can achieve around 70km/h going downhill. It received over 200 athletes from all around the world competing in all categories (Open Men and Women, Master, Junior, Classic and Street Luge).
During the first two days, the riders were competing in open qualification runs. Dillon Stephens set an early lead, closely followed by Carlos Paixão who was trying to improve his time. Thiago Gomes Lessa qualified in third, leaving the World Cup decision for the final day.
Photo by Thiago Maciel
Photo by Luciano Lima Jr. Photography
On Nov 1st, Ionic Flux rider Carlos Paixão (aka Guto Negão) pushed out in front for an unprecedented win by a Brazilian rider since the IDF’s creation. Dillon pushed out 4th and made two passes, but ultimately came in 2nd place. Douglas Silva was 3rd and Thiago Gomes Lessa ended up in 4th.
Photo by Longobarding Republic
For the Women’s category, the end result was no surprise: Ionic Flux rider Emily Pross was the 2015 IDF Champion.
header photo by Stephanie Abreu
Name: Jürgen Sarjas
Hometown: Tartu, Estonia
Riding for: Statum, Ionic Flux, Vans
IONIC FLUX: So, Jürgen, we first met you when you were giving lessons at the skate school in Tartu. You guys look like you have a lot of fun there! You must get a kick out of seeing the kids you teach figure out how to handle their boards?
JÜRGEN SARJAS: Yeah, we have a blast with the kids. It has given me so much. I have gained so much in my own skating by breaking down the tricks for the kids to learn. It’s really rewarding to see a kid doing their first drop-in or shove-it. Pure happiness in the kid’s eyes. I think that’s what skating is all about.
Tell us about the Tartu skate scene. Is it growing fast?
Now that we are running the skate school, a new generation is getting started. Skaters come in waves in Estonia. Right now we have this scooter mania that is absurd, and we are trying to change that with the skate school. There is definitely room for improvement, but some of the best Estonian skaters are from Tartu and they are taking their skating to new levels, banger tricks and smooth styles.
Do you think you’ll take the skate school beyond Tartu and open up in other locations?
Right now I only have time to run it in Tartu. It’s more like a hobby that I’m doing alongside my studies at the university. If anyone needs any help to start something similar in their home skatepark, I am more than happy to help. I hope they open one up in the new skatepark that is opening in Tallinn. It would do good for the skate scene.
How has the community in Tartu reacted to the skate scene? Do they get involved? What’s your dream for skateboarding in Tartu, or even in the whole of Estonia?
The community is very supportive. Tartu’s indoor park is funded by the city, and there are rumors that the big outdoor park is getting a full renovation. Last year, a new small street skatepark opened as an addition to a playground. Also, every summer we do demos in the city center with a youth center for little kids. My dream would be to make Tartu a destination for skate trips and for some skaters to get noticed so they could turn pro. There are no pro skaters from Estonia, and that speaks for itself.
There are plans for a new skate park in Tartu. Why do you think it’s important to have this park when there are already three others?
They should open another indoor park because the one we have is getting overcrowded. The more they open, the better—if they can take care of them. The big outdoor park is hazardous for skating. Even the asphalt is bad, not to mention the obstacles that are falling apart.
You must have been totally hyped to be skating in the Simple Session for the first time this year (2015). What was it like?
It was dream come true. It’s been a must every year to skate that course. I love that high speed and flying around. This year they canceled the extra riding day for everybody, and I was like no way, I can’t skate it. I was drooling over the course design the day it came out. Luckily I got the phone call that I could compete.
What was it like skating alongside top riders from around the world? Any nervy moments?
The course is so different than parks I ride in all year long, so it took some time to get used to it. I thought I would be shivering there, but the park is so big you don’t even really notice the spectators. I just tried to do my best and have a good time. But the level of skating there is amazing. Jaw-droppers all the time. Really cool to see it so close.
You can find Jürgen on Facebook.
Name: Harrison Tucker
Hometown: New York City
IONIC FLUX: We know you race every distance from sprint upwards, but you chose to crack out 324 kilometres (201 miles) during the 24-hour Dutch Summer Solstice Ultraskate in The Netherlands this year. What was it like?
HARRISON TUCKER: The Dutch Ultraskate is a long story, but I’ll try to tell it quickly. The day before the race, I had to take an important statewide Regents Exam at my high school in New York City. Immediately after completing the exam, I went to the airport and hopped on the flight to Amsterdam. I couldn’t sleep on the plane because I was so excited and nervous, and it was only 6:30 PM (NY time) when I boarded the plane. I landed at about 7:20 AM in Amsterdam and, with only carryon luggage, I was able to take a taxi to the race track and get there 20 minutes before the race started. However, I was ready to race. I started out skating with my good friend and Don’t Trip teammate Andrew Andras. I knew that, due to the conditions, I wasn’t going to do very well. But I figured at the very least I could give him someone to talk to and help pace him, in addition to giving him some moral support. After all, Andy was “the guy” to beat! At the end of the 24 hours, I had completed 201 miles, which is far from my best of 232 miles in my last Florida Ultra, but respectable for being up for at least 48 hours straight. I was certainly happy with it. I skated 99% of my race with Andy. Just taking laps off here and there which I would normally never do in an ultra if I had properly slept before the race and wasn’t also subject to jet lag. It got to the point where I was thinking about his race more than mine. I even had to stop for a while to fix Andy’s board after a malfunction. But hey, that’s what teammates are for!
So distance skating is taking you round the globe. What’s the worldwide distance scene like? Where are the best places to skate ultras?
The distance scene is getting increasingly more popular and more competitive. I’m going to say the 188 mile, three-day Chief Ladiga Silver Comet Skate Challenge (from Smyrna, Georgia to Anniston, Alabama and back) is the best place to skate, but damn you’ll take a beating in that race.
How about in the US? Is it popular in New York? Where do you ride there?
I would say that it’s bigger in the US than in other countries, but that could just be ethnocentrism. The distance scene in NY is definitely small. But pushing for basic transportation around New York City is HUGE. I usually train in Central Park, which is four blocks from my apartment. It has a nice six-mile loop. Or I train on the West Side Highway bike path along the Hudson River, which is 30 windy miles along the water with great views.
How do you prepare for a 24-hour race?
Tough question. Long story short, but it basically requires many, many hours of what’s called Zone 2, an easy pace, and what is known as the fat-burning zone. It requires that you go at about 65% of your maximum heart rate. I train about 150 miles a week on my board in primarily Zone 2 to properly train for an ultraskate.
Do you get blisters on your feet? At the Dutch Summer Solstice Ultraskate, we saw some pretty awesome photos of riders wearing right through their shoes over the 24 hours. Has this happened to you? Have you ever passed out while riding?
I use Body Glide to prevent blisters. I always show up to an ultra with new shoes to ensure that I don’t wear through them. I wear through shoes in training, but never in a race. I’ve passed out twice while riding. Once, at the Dutch Ultraskate, when I put my hands on my knees and started coasting, then went off into the grass and fell over. However, I don’t think anyone saw me! The second time was when I was doing hill repeats in Central Park on an empty stomach and fell unconscious near the top of the hill. I woke up a few seconds later, sat down for a few minutes, and then skated home.
Thomas Slager looks like he’s set on driving the distance scene in Europe forward and grabbing a bunch of World Records at the same time. Did you meet him when you were in The Netherlands?
We talked briefly. It looks like we are headed in pretty different directions. I think he really wants to pursue the marathon distance while I want to pursue the ultraskate and multiday races. But the guy is fast, no questioning that.
Harrison Tucker with Thomas Slager
The distance scene feels like it is growing all over the world. What’s your take on it?
It’s definitely growing. I love it and all I can say is bring on the competition!
Where’s your dream place to ride?
I love the Chief Ladiga Silver Comet trail from Georgia to Alabama, which runs through all sorts of interesting scenery and countryside. But there is still something meditative and relaxing to me about going in circles on a small course, like Central Park in NYC or during an ultra.
Your Instagram feed is packed with some pretty tasty looking photos of vegan food. Is eating right – for your sport and your principles – important to you? How long have you been vegan?
I initially became a vegan for athletic reasons. Many of the world’s best endurance athletes have found success in plant-based diets. Even the Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis was a vegan. However, I don’t want to be that guy who says that I’m superior because of what I eat. A lot of vegans do that. But if you are interested in being healthier and being able to recover faster, I would look at the research and start incorporating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, starches and nuts into your diet. I’ve been 100% vegan for about a year. I was doing research on it and slowly transitioning towards it for about six months before that. Although my initial interest in veganism was for athletic performance, I also have discovered loads of other reasons why it’s positive. I no longer have the severe hay fever allergies I used to have each year, and I haven’t had a cold in a year. Coincidence? I don’t think so. If you are interested in what I eat and what I’m up to, definitely check out my Instagram.
You can also find Harrison on Facebook.
Name: Hector ‘Chino’ Reyes
Hometown: Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
IONIC FLUX: You get lots of family support, especially from your father. What does it mean to you to have your family behind you all the way?
HECTOR ‘CHINO’ REYES: It means a lot to me because they know that this sport is very dangerous.
You’re the youngest rider on our team, but you’ve already achieved so much. How do you see your career shaping up?
Well, I’m only 15 and I have already done so much, but I see my career as a rider shaping up very well.
You’ve been winning junior divisions, so what do you think will happen when you enter the men’s division?
Maybe it’s not going be that easy to win everytime. But as a rider, everyone carries two bags: one for losing and one for winning. I think it will be fine; I’ve just got to get faster.
We know you’re a fan of Hi5ber boards. Which do you skate, and what’s so good about it?
The board that I’m currently skating is the Hi5ber Python, a prototype version. What’s so good about it is that it has a variable tub with a concave rocker and effective foot platform, so it keeps me very stable. It also weighs only 2.85lbs, so it is very lightweight which is great for pushing.
Tell us about the hills in Puerto Rico. Is downhill is a religion there? Is Puerto Rico somewhere every skater should get to?
Most of the fastest hills in Puerto Rico (and by fast I mean 55mph or more) you will find up in the mountains. No, downhill is not a religion here; it’s more like a sport. Every skater just skates whenever and wherever they want to.
What’s your local riding community like?
Well, it’s a nice, classic place to be. The hills are not that fast, but they’re good to skate.
With both surf and skate, Puerto Rico is pretty blessed. Do lots of people get involved?
Yes, lots and lots of people get involved. That goes for the youngest to the oldest.
Tell us about Guajataca Downhill. What is it? How did it get started? What do you love about it? Who is El Pajaro?
Guajataca Downhill is the biggest event in Puerto Rico. Over 200 athletes and 5,000 spectators. It got started back in 2007 when El Pajaro, Jose El Loko, and other riders found the hill. El Pajaro is the oldest rider in Puerto Rico. For us, he is a legend.
And what about Crash Boat? What was that like?
Crash Boat is a beautiful place. It’s got a fast and very technical hill. It was super awesome, a great experience, and I hope next year it will be even better.
Do your beliefs impact how you skate?
Yes, my beliefs do impact how I skate. I have great talent thanks to God who created me.
So we know that talent runs in the family, with both you and your brother Gabriel up in the Top 5. But Gabriel is a man of few words, right? Our final question is: How the hell do we get in touch with him?
Well, yes, Gabriel is a man of few words, but you can get it touch with him with my help because he doesn’t speak English.
Awesome, we’ll do that! Thanks for your time, man.
Names: Gage Cowling and Olivier Caudle
Hometown: Saugeen Shores, Ontario
IONIC FLUX: You guys run North Bound Skate on Instagram and YouTube. What is it and why’d you start it?
GAGE COWLING AND OLIVIER CAUDLE: North Bound Skate is a way to get more creative on our boards and with the community. It’s just two brothers searching for adventure using our passion for downhill skateboarding.
So basically you’re using Instagram and YouTube to document your adventure. What people have you met as a result of this online presence?
Yeah, well, we met our homie Chris (of Ionic Flux) and a couple of other up-and-coming brands, but really haven’t reached out to too many people yet.
What’s the longboarding scene like in Canada, and where you are in particular?
Currently we’re dwelling in a smallish town called Saugeen Shores, Ontario. The longboard scene here is pretty much non-existent in our town, but we got the good hills. It’s just us two shredding our town, but we’ve had a bunch of stoked kids come up and say that was awesome! It definitely adds a little extra smile on our faces. It is growing in the cities around us, though. Actually, it’s growing super rapidly, which is super sick to see.
We figured it made sense to interview you two together since you ride together. How’d you meet?
We met through a friend we had both known for a while. When he moved away, we just started chillin and the rest is history.
What’s the Schomberg Shit Show?
It was this really fun outlaw race in Ontario. Chill vibes and some fun surfy sandy pavement.
So this was your first time there? Was it your first time competing?
Yeah, it was. We loved the hill and the race, but we’re not really keen on the go-for-the-win attitude.
Did you get the chance to meet any awesome downhill pros at this event, or was it more geared toward the local guys? Anything interesting or out of the usual take place at this race?
We met a couple pros, but we’re more focused on meeting kids like ourselves and just interacting and comparing skills. At first packs were very tight. We had a blast getting sketchy with new riders and vibing off their pure stoke.
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
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.
Name: Ain Luik
Hometown: a little seaside village called Häädemeeste in Estonia
IONIC FLUX: The first time we met was at the Jõulumae skate event down near Pärnu. How long had you been into longboarding at that time?
AIN LUIK: I think it was in August, so I guess about 5 months. I think I had owned my own board for maybe 23 months by then, so actively I had been riding about 3 months.
What was the driving force that got you into longboarding?
I do have one long story for how and why I do what I do, but I’ll skip the long part and get to point. Basically, I was always looking for different things to do during snowboarding’s off-season that would improve my boarding skills. Now it’s getting rather the other way around. And of course my passion and love for riding boards, I guess.
Over the last year or two, you’ve developed a pretty unique style and now own a ton of boards. In my opinion (and the opinion of others), you’ve really developed a great skillset for longboarding, considering it is so new here in Estonia. And you’ve already secured a really good hookup from the local skateshop Surfiaed. What are your thoughts?
My first thought about word skillset gets me thinking about the movie Taken, but actually I can’t describe how happy I am that I met Rain and Nele from Surfiaed and that they took me under their wing. They have been so great. They get me everything I need and offer me lots of new stuff to try to see if I’ll like it. In my mind I’m such a pain of a customer, but they have been so great with searching and finding me the stuff I want to get and test out, so biiiig, big thanks to them. They’re really wonderful people. As for the skillset you are talking about, I myself actually feel that I’m still learning the basics of longboarding with just a little bit of a twist. I don’t consider myself great, but I love to ride and I get bored just pushing and I’m also not a big fan of going fast downhill. I’d rather jump around, find some interesting lines, dance. I try to keep it interesting and fun. If it wouldn’t be, I would sit home and read a book. As for tons of boards, I have tested out boards that seemed like they would fit my style of riding, and I think for now I have tried out all I wanted. Actually, I would love to try a Hi5ber board with kicktails… I strongly believe that riding different boards, shapes, sizes, setups helps a lot for getting great allaround skill. Of course, it’s really positive and gives me lots of motivation that people see and think that what I do looks great, and it’s really nice to hear that it looks like I have my own style, cause I really try to do my own thing and so I guess I’m doing something right. One of my goals is to make it more interesting for people, so they would want to try it it and would come out and join me. I would love to see more people coming and asking to ride or help with something they want to know or learn about it.
What is your preferred skating style and what is your setup?
Styles: Freestyle, Dancing and Carving with Carver boards (wonderful boards, so much fun)
Board: Loaded Tesseract
Grip: Whatever comes with a stock Tesseract (really grippy stuff, not very good for dancing though)
Trucks: Paris 180
Bushings: Divine 90a (I think)
Bearings: Bones REDS
Wheels: Orangatang 4President 80a
Pretty much a stock setup with really loose bushings.
How would you describe the longboard scene in Estonia, and what are the best places to to go longboarding?
I haven’t really had a chance to ride with other Estonians a lot, and I really can’t give a great viewpoint on the longboarding scene. It seems that there is a small, core group of people who are kinda everyday downhillers and sliders, and then there are lots of people who use longboards to get around or to enjoy a nice evening now and then. We hope to improve that situation with Surfiaed. We are making events so that people can come and ride with us and to create that community spirit.
We are all enjoying the same thing, so we should do it together and more often. I think you know what I mean. Best places, umm… I really like nighttime in Pärnu during the summer. There is a great route you can ride there that goes alongside the beach and river… really beautiful and lots of fun. Come to Pärnu and we will go there.
Do you have any plans to compete this year? Perhaps in one of the Latvian Downhill Races in July, or are you just mostly in it for the fun?
I have no plans to compete, mostly because I have never liked competitions much, but I think I am a really competitive person, actually. Secondly, half way down I would just like to do manuals and stuff rest of the way. 😀 I’m totally in it for fun. Maybe if there is a competition for fastest manual or something more fun like dancing, something that would really progress that side of longboarding, then I would do it.
If you could sum up what longboarding means to you in just one sentence, what would you say?
With one sentence… umm… Longboarding is my other world. And what I mean is that when I ride, I forget everything — my work, problems, friends, family, kinda everything. It makes people mad sometimes. It’s really hard to explain, but it’s just me and the board. I get lots of ideas for what I could possibly do with it and lines I could take from different places. I tear up boards pretty badly if I really lose awareness and get into the vibe, but I’m always having the time of my life.
Last but not least, we always have to ask — do you flux your bearings regularly? And if you were to give a fullblown honest review, what do you say about our bearing oil?
Depends on the board. There are boards I use less, so those bearings, not so regularly. For Tessy though, once or twice a month. I ride with rain sometimes, so after the rainy days are over, I flux right away. As for an honest review, I have nothing to compare with your bearing oil. As soon as I needed oil, I found you and I have been using Ionic Flux since then. I can only say that I am really happy how my board rolls. It rolls great compared to some other people’s boards I have ridden.
One last note: I would like to say that people should come outside more to see how much fun stuff there is to do here. 🙂
Ain is on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.