Andre Gerlich is a special dude, he really cares and we at Place like that he cares. All this slim shady “I Just Don’t Give A Fuck” behavior is pretty fake anyway right? You might ask “how do you know that Andre cares?” Exhibit 1: He texted me daily about how things were if we needed anything else etc. Which was a welcome change from the “Are we done here?” types. Anyway, I am also kinda mad at Andre because I had the idea for a full-slomo part a while back and now he has gone and did it. But at least he did it right!

Photos by Robert Christ.
Text & Interview by Roland Hoogwater.

He was always an inspiration ever since I was a little kid.

Jun Kummer on Andre Gerlich’s footage over the years.

Back to Andre, we interviewed him and he talked about this sick banked ledge at a school that Robert Christ found. He talked about some hidden easter eggs/references in his part (Sounds like some alien communication or some 420 shit to us here at Place) and we talked about many other things but what Andre didn’t do is sing his own praises. But that is going to be my job. Andre, we really like your skating, your ideas, your style, and obviously the way you care about all of the above.

If you talk to Andre he will play the everyman/working-class hero. He will make you think that he is just a dude doing what other dudes can do as well. False modesty? Doesn’t seem like it. Andre did tell us that Boardsliding a wall was hard to do: “It was hard to make the Boardslide look like a Boardslide.” was his exact quote. In it is a message that he felt he did his job well and we co-sign that. Plus didn’t John Lennon say: “A working-class hero is something to be”?

Felix Hempel, filmer and friend of Andre’s told us: “One of the things I like about Andre is that he knows what he can and can’t do. He likes all kinds of spots. Even rough ground or whatever won’t stop him. For this part, Andre often came to me with ideas. He found the song and through that song he got the idea that he wanted to do a full-slow-motion part. He also told me he wanted to do single tricks and focus on “fancy footwork”. Quite early on, we decided to skate certain types of spots, the type most people would pass by but not skate. We really hunted for spots and even went on some fingerboard websites to see the type of spots they skated. We did a lot to find small, and weird places to skate.”

Sure looks like a boardslide to me!

You see, the whole team cares, the work they put in translates to a really nice part, and the slomo does it’s job, as Felix explains:

The slowing down of the motion was done so that every trick could have its moment. It also helped to make the video long enough so that we could call it a part (laughs). 

Didn’t Reynolds once say 35 clips was a solid part? Or was that Magnus Bordewick? Anyway, this project asks: “What is a part?”. Is it a certain amount of clips? A certain length? We say this: skateboarding isn’t about rules it is about action and doing things you like. So again we returned to Felix and we asked him what he liked about the project:

“My favorite moment in this part is the Backside 180 onto the bank and then the pop over to Switch Frontside Board. People know the spot and if you have had the pleasure to visit you will see how hard that combination actually is. Another highlight was the Backside 180 Nosegrind Body Varial Out. That spot is a big bust, the cubicle where the security guy sits is right next to the spot. On that day, we got lucky, the normal guy wasn’t there and this older man let us skate and told us he didn’t see any skating. Andre struggled a bit for the regular to fakie version, it took about 20 minutes. Afterwards he wanted to try it with the body varial and he managed to do it in two tries. I was amazed.”

Now, the reason we asked Felix is because he has been an integral part of the process. He filmed it, co-edited it with Andre, found spots and he also seems to like to come up with crazy trick requests:

“I do like to come up with crazy ideas for tricks, things that might not be possible. But I want to inspire people, I want them to look at spots in another way, and Andre for instance is pretty good at taking my ideas and making them his own.”

In our talks with Andre, he did say that Felix and Robert Christ both contributed to this part. He also told us that he feels like it is a group process & that he really likes to do missions with these two gentlemen. It is always easier to compliment other people and it is true that both Robert & Felix did contribute loads but we wanted to make this a text about Andre Gerlich, a very nice person, great skater, and someone who is not afraid to show he cares. 

N.O.R.E. always talks about giving people their flowers when they can still smell them. Well, roll it up, light it up and smell your flowers Andre!

We want to give an honorable mention to Mark Nickels: We love you Mark, and we appreciate you for guiding Andre in our direction. Secondly, keep those vintage clips coming, I am about to YO-IT-UP and search for some signed Smolik gear.