Phil Anderson was one of the first people I met in German skateboarding. I had just started as an intern at Place and I was sent to tag along with the adidas team. I am not going to lie, I was a bit shook! Torsten Frank‘s Diagonal was a video that was on repeat a lot in my first student house and Lem Villemin & Benny Fairfax were some people whose skating I held in high regard. So when I hopped in the van, I was timid and shy. It ended up being Phil, who started talking to me and kinda made me part of the group, instead of an outsider. At that time I did not know much about Phil’s own story but now, over the years, it made a lot of sense that he was the one who took and helped me. “Why?” you might ask, well, to answer that question we have this interview for you to enjoy.

Video by Torsten Frank.

Photos by Daniel Wagner.

Outro song by Flawless Issues.

Interview by Roland Hoogwater & Petros Vlachos.

Hey Phil how are you?

Hey guys, I am good, what about you?

All good, let’s start this interview. One this we noticed doing our background checks is how important community is to you. Can you speak on that?

It started with me being a young skater traveling to Stuttgart, I saw this spot the “Chamber” and I got hooked. I grew up in Böblingen, a small town about 30 minutes from Stuttgart so I started traveling into the city to skate a lot more with my crew Joe & Pash. It was after about a year that I met Torsten Frank and he asked me if I wanted to be a part of this TV documentary he was working on called 4kids.

It was through meeting Torsten and working on that project that I noticed the worldwide community aspect for the first time. There was no internet community, you couldn’t just connect with people. Every time we would go somewhere it seemed like the older skaters (older than me) were involved in making things happen for the scene in Stuttgart. Torsten knew us before and he also knew a lot of the skaters from the US that would come to town, and that impressed me. It was an “Each one, Teach one” type of thing, and that was something I connected with because my mom instilled that within us.

We agree, So how did that relationship with Torsten influence your path?

Well, as I said, I was from a little village, and I would travel into the city. Those days ended up becoming longer and longer. We got into a little trouble with the police because of the age difference between us, I was 14 at the time. Torsten saw my talent and wanted to push that side of me, so he ended up talking to my mother to get guardian status and that led to me moving into their statehouse, where skaters, photographers & filmers from all over would pass through. It was kind of like I had stepped into Disneyland, a lot of people, childhood heroes of mine came through, imagine all of that as a 14-year-old. By the way, it wasn’t only Torsten living there, Christoph Inger was there who had studied pedagogy and was a teacher, and lastly, Christy lived there who was a workaholic business type of guy.

So when I moved in and it came to my school work they all had their advice. Torsten would say, it is light out let’s go skate and you can do your homework after. Christoph Inger would tell me to do my homework first and go skate after and Christy would say, “It doesn’t matter when as long as you do it!” They never put any pressure on me to choose their way but I ended up choosing the latter. Those were exciting times and I felt like I had gained three dads!

“It was an “Each one, Teach one” type of thing, and that was something I connected with…”

Phil Anderson, 2024.

That sounds extraordinary, to be honest! To uphold the “Each one, Teach one” principle we asked our intern Petros to prepare some questions of his own.

Petros: One of my main questions would be, why now, and why didn’t we get a part before?

That is a good and important question. You can see I filmed throughout my 25 years as a skateboarder but in 11 of those 25 years, I was battling some kind of injury. Stopping me from ever having that long stretch of time needed to film a part.

One thing I can say is that during my time as a skateboarder and being injured so much, I learned exactly which doctors to go to, what kind of physical therapy is important, and how intense it should be, I want to thank Physio Paul who always helped me get back physically and mentally. I had many a doctor ask me to stop skating, but I would tell them, “You don’t stop breathing, do you?” I was a bit cheeky when I was young but even through my toughest injuries I never considered not skating.

Lastly, I think you need to realize that a lot of this was pre-digital footage and it was not that easy to move footy around, and not that many people had a camera. It wasn’t like we could whip out a phone and film something real quick.

Petros: So, with that being your situation, how did you manage to come back to skating on that level?

My dad always said “Indians don’t feel no pain, when they get hurt” and he lived like that himself, I don’t quite know exactly where the Indian part of my heritage comes from but it is there and that quote was important to me. Another side was that I just couldn’t see my life without skateboarding. If I wasn’t skating, it felt like my life was incomplete. I would miss being out together, supporting each other, and the spontaneity of that life. Physical therapy is hard work, it is not about training and massages or looking good at the gym. It is really hard work, both physically and mentally, It is like losing your shit!

Petros: Skateboarding can be like a drug.

It is. Even though with each injury the fear of skateboarding grew, I always found a way to overcome that fear. I feel like in general skateboarding is about controlling your body and mind and conquering the fear that comes with that.

Petros: Still, it is impressive to do it time after time. You said in the part that “skateboarding without a sponsor is hard”. Why did you feel that way?

I said that, back then, speaking from my perspective. It is important to keep in mind that if are born into a situation where your family is wealthy things like getting support from sponsors might be less important. That wasn’t our situation at the time. We didn’t have the means to buy the product I needed to skate as much as I wanted. So, back to the community, older sponsored skaters often helped me by giving me their old shoes, boards, wheels, or even sometimes new stuff. All so I could keep skating.

Fun fact: I saw this kid on really beaten-up wheels, and I offered him a fresh pair, you know to support. But they declined my offer, telling me “I only skate Spitfire wheels” (laughs). I said, ok and smiled, that seemed such a departure from what I came up with.

Petros: I don’t know if many people know this but you work at the skatehalle in Stuttgart, which seems to connect well to that community idea. But what is your role there?

I have a full-time position managing the park, it is part of a youth center in Stuttgart called “Stuttgarter Jugendhaus Gesellschaft”. Because of that, the park is partly funded by the city of Stuttgart, the rest of our income comes from hosting events and renting the space out for events or birthday parties, etc.

Within the event space, we also offer our expertise, so if you come in as an external partner, we can take care of the entire event. Besides that, there is a “skate school” and skate camps in the summertime, and we also offer space for young people to host exhibitions and show their work. I get a lot of support from my colleague Tone who works part-time, we share the same vision. One of our main things is an event called “Hell Battle” which we organize each year.

Oh, and besides all my work at the park, I also work as an event planner and a event presenter so if you need someone on the Mic 😉

We also asked both Torsten Frank & Oliver Merkelbach to tell us what Phil meant to them.

Torsten: “Phil was the first kid that I met that was super cool, he was a bit of a street kid and preferred going skating over going to school. His mother didn’t quite know how to handle all of his energy, we connected and at 14 he moved into our skate house. It might sound weird looking back on it, but in my opinion, skateboarding saved his life.”

“That old contest footage in the edit was shot during that time, he was 14, and I was working on a documentary film to finish my degree. It all unfolded perfectly, like a script. The Red Bull Local Hero tour came to Stuttgart and the top 3 would be going to the grand final… but Phil placed outside the top three in Stuttgart, so we went to Kassel because he was set on making it to the final in Münster. He placed second in Kassel and ended up winning the whole thing in Münster. It was crazy, he was super excited about Bastien Salabanzi and he ended up being there, so in my film, you see the both of them together. Phil on his come up and Bastien was already an established pro at that time.”

Oliver Merkelbach: “For me, he is truly a big part of skateboarding in Stuttgart, he gives back a lot and is an OG now. He shows how important it is to raise people in your scene and show them the importance of doing things together. As far as Arrow & Beast is concerned he is a big part of us and we consider him family.”

Back to your part, what does it mean to you, to have this part drop 25 years after you started skating?

It means a lot! because a part never formed and my footy was always scattered throughout different projects. So to see it come together like this makes me happy. I am not talking specifically about myself, but I think it is important to archive things. Skateboarding has history and it is important to keep that intact. So to see this time of my life compiled makes me feel good, I am a dad now and this feels like I am traveling through time, I see all these different moments and it takes me back to all those times. I have a connection to each and every trick, and I feel like I am in a Disneyland of memories watching this.

“Sami Harithi, not only as a skater but as a person is an example to me, he has great energy.”

Phil Hamoudi, 2024.

That being said, a devil’s advocate type of question… What is your favorite trick in the part?

The first thing that springs to mind is my Ollie into the bank in Lissabon. I wasn’t skating that much back then, I had just come back from an injury. We were on an Arrow & Beast tour to Portugal but I hadn’t skated that seriously when we got to that spot I got an itch. I didn’t tell anyone, I warmed up and I told Kamil “I want to try to Ollie into the bank…” I kept it low-key I didn’t even do it on my own board, I did it on Lem Villemin’s board.

It took a moment to roll up, but within three tries I rolled away, that trick really helped me get over the fears I held because of the injury, and after I felt way more comfortable on the board and skated better.

It must have felt amazing. There is one more thing we can’t overlook in this interview and that is the role Arrow & Beast has played in your skate career. Can you tell me what “beast” means to you?

Arrow & Beast is my family, one-word FAMILY! I can really identify with what “beast” is, I knew Oli Merkelbach & Jascha Muller before they started the shop and distribution, and their support over the years means a lot. I remember when Jascha got his driver’s license and we drove around together to skate at different spots in the area there. They did so much for me and as a part of that family, I stayed true to them and did my part as the German TM.

One last thing is your current plans, what do you still want to achieve in skating?

I am going under the knife again soon, they are working on my knee but after I recover from that I have some unsettled scores with certain spots. Sami Harithi is my example, he is in his 40’s and skates with such finesse & power. His energy is amazing and he was always so supportive of me and had some of the best jokes. He would always introduce me to people as Phil Hamoudi (laughs), fully serious, some people still think that is my name and would come up to me. Sami, not only as a skater but as a person is an example to me, he has great energy.

I think that is all for my questions, do you have anything left?

Yeah, I have some shout-outs: I want to start with the queen, my mom who always trusted me, and made it possible for me to go out with Torsten. She did all she could, just so I could skate and she was also there to support me mentally. After that, my Dad, Torsten Frank, Jascha Muller, Fabian Fuchs, Sebastian Fuchs, Reiner Pravda (RIP), Ute Bayer, the adidas crew & finally Lem Villemin. I know I am probably forgetting some people but thank you all for your support, it means a lot!