This is the last time you will see Kader in a pair of Vans and the first time you are going to see him skating Nike SB’s – unofficially.
A film by William Strobeck filmed by Tyler Warren.
GEOFF ROWLEY – 19 pairs and counting
From the vault (no Vans pun intended) pulled to your screen just because it was too good to rot away in some corner of the internet. We did this interview with Mr. Geoff Rowley around 1 year ago in Paris, France. His “Take It Back” part was about to drop, his Rowley Classic just had been re-released and we had some prying questions about Liverpool, his 19 pairs of signature vans, and how important it is to have creative control when it comes to your career. So without further ado, Geoff Rowley for your enjoyment.
Interview + intro by Roland Hoogwater.
Images from the Chromeball incident and Vans,
Did you just come from the U.S. ?
No, I came from England. Liverpool to be exact.
The hometown! Ok, first-question, have you had a lot of creative control over what you have put out?
Yeah, I have always had my hand on what I put out.
Okay, because it seems like, creative control seems something you are very keen on having, right? You were heavily involved with creating the early flip videos on the editing side as well.
Yeah, that is right!
Same with the shoes, especially that just got re-released, correct?
Yeah, it has been in and out. It kinda got pulled for a bit. We put it back now, it is back to being in the line full time. It is still a favorite of mine, we just cleaned it up and made some improvements in the manufacturing process, and put it back out for the people to skate it.
Sounds great! I was thinking about that recently because you had a lot of shoes on vans right? I counted them actually and it is 14 original models and 19 shoes including different editions in total. You are on Vans for 20 years now, so that is almost one shoe a year.
That is right.
That is pretty impressive!
It is really humbling. The brand has always supported me and had my back, you know. And that says a lot about the Vans-brand and about myself. I am a pretty loyal guy. I am not the kind that wants to ride for a company for a bit and then go somewhere else. I am a people person. I like to talk to and hang out with my people. When I believe in the company and the staff that I meet, then I make a choice and to be part of that. Vans has always believed in me. It is a great brand and I am proud of its history.
I recently saw that Nine Club Episode with Caballero and he actually credited you a lot for bringing Vans back to the forefront. So obviously, It is not only that Vans has stayed loyal, but you also brought a lot with you.
I mean, if Steve Caballero was not at Vans, I would not be there. Steve paved the way for Vans during the 80s and 90s. Nothing but respect for Steve. And then Tony Alva, it still is the same as before. He still is with the brand. Through good times and really bad times. So I think Steve is like that too and I have nothing but respect for him. I mean he is an incredible skateboarder.
Transitioning back to creative control, You made the decision to create your own brand. FREE DOME 66/99. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Well, I was involved in the skateboard business for most of my life. But after a certain time, it (FLIP) did not end up going in a direction that was necessarily healthy for me. So I had to remove myself, and this is a hard reset. A brand new start. I feel really positive, stoked and creatively inspired to rebuild again. And thats what I am doing with this brand. No Rules, I do not have a business plan and I am going to do it all on the fly, all the time.
What I really enjoyed when I went to the website was the open call for sponsor-me tapes. I believe it said: “The Gnarliest of Gnar” and “Positive of Mind and Spirit”. I really enjoyed that, because it shows pretty much both sides of skateboarding. What was the thought process behind that?
Well, that heavy side of skateboarding. Bigger, faster, and more aggressive, just that Cardiel “skate and destroy” thing, that I have been inspired by. It does not have to be a negative thing. It is not an angry attitude. That is not an attitude against the concrete and the handrails. It is about getting that emotion out when you are skating. You can be in a positive state of mind when you are doing that. That is what I meant by that.
If you are going to skate and you are going to give it everything you got. You still have to have the right attitude. You know? Especially now, more than any other time, we have got so many challenges with all of the digital technology that is being thrown on our brains. It is not healthy and I want to count to that.
I can feel that with the brand. The boards for instance look kind like they are screen printed.
They are! All of them. Every season we have been screen printing them. As long as we can handle the workload. It is a little more labour intensive than using the digital transfer, which you can do a lot of cool stuff with as well. But the process of putting a graphic on to a skateboard the pure way is with paint. Right?
It feels more like an object when it is painted.
It is a different feel, it smells different and it slides better. We are always going to try more of these types of things. I come from a manufacturing background, you know? I do a lot of manufacturing with my knife company that I do. I am learning a lot about what we can do or not do with a graphic. I like pushing boundaries too.
I really like the analog feel to these things. It feels more like a return to how you maybe started skateboarding. Just think about how boards and t-shirts looked back then.
I want to build an environment for the brand for it to be healthy. When you usually start a brand you do about 4 drops a year. Maybe 5 other small drops in the middle of that. But that is being done already and there is an opportunity to build different relationships with retailers and customers. So that they understand your intentions. It is really important to me that the focus goes to the skate shops. Because that is where it started for me.
Is that also why going to Liverpool, is important, because of “Lost Art”, Dave Mackey and those kinds of people?
That scene is hugely important to that part of England. To give kids a place, to go to where they feel accepted and be a part of that kind of skate culture.
I am from Liverpool, I am from the north. That is where it started so for me and for my story with Vans that is an important part of the story. So for instance, for my shoe re-release we did an event in a bombed out church, those places mean something they are tied to my story.
I heard it is a very famous spot, that you used to go by on your way to School every day?
I used to get off the bus there and go skate. So that I did not have to take the one-way service, that would actually take longer, it went all the way across the city, to the skate spot that would all meet at. So I would get off at the bombed-out church and I would skate down the hill, down Bold Street, passing by Lost Art Skate Shop all the way down to the bottom of High Street just mess with the students along the way. Trying to power slide past everybody. And then, I would hide on the back street, so I would not get beaten up. Because It was pretty rough back then.
Liverpool was not the same as it is now. You were not the cool kid in school with a board back then, right?
Yeah, I was spat on, I was shouted at, all the worst things you could imagine people screamed at us. We were attacked and beaten in every way possible.
That has really changed, hasn’t it, skateboarding is more accepted now.
Yeah, in most cities in England, before there were cameras everywhere (CCTV), they were more violent, more aggressive, dirty, unhealthy and sick.
It is obvious that Liverpool and England is important to you but you also like taking people on trips and showing them the spots, is there something in that for you?
I have always been in England, even around the time that I lived in the US since 1994. I think there is not one year that I have not been back to the UK. I usually go back between two or five times a year. I go to Europe a lot you know? Those trips are not really intentional. But when asked, where I want to go skate to start making a video, my immediate answer is where I am from. It is always like that really. That puts you in a good frame of mind and you know, you are going somewhere, that you are comfortable at and that fires you up. Also, a lot of the skateparks in the UK are different, they are older, from the 70s and early 80s. Some of them are forgotten, so there was something to that too. My last project with Pedro Barros & Ronny Sandoval, some of the gnarliest park guys. I wanted to see them skating in the same parks I grew up skating.
That is what I mean by taking them there. Maybe there is a particular skatepark, in Scotland or somewhere else for instance and you are wondering what these guys can do there. And it gives the scene something too, to be featured, and show these parks.
You are the first person from Europe and from England specifically to ever get awarded Thrasher Skater of the Year.
From Europe? I have never even thought about that. You’re the first person that has ever even mentioned that to me. Are you sure that’s correct?
I double checked it!
Bob Burnquist from South America was before that right? But that I am the first from Europe?! That is fucking rad!
That means a lot, I think. Maybe it is not spoken about a lot, but just mentally people remember that you are from Europe and it reminds them that they can do it. It is not just for Americans.
Skateboarding was not really global back then. The industry was still out in America, California mostly. The European scene was still fragmented from that pro circuit side of it. We always had amazing skateboarders coming out of Europe, but when I moved to the states in the mid-90s, that was just about to happen. A lot of the videos when I moved and we started to film, we wanted to come to places in Europe and film there. There were not a lot of videos prior to that, that showed Europe, South-America, Asia, we wanted to be worldwide. With a global presence. I think the first ES video, “Menikmati” was an important step towards that and then the videos that came after that…
Flip “Sorry” which is a big part of European skate history.
We all filmed everywhere. As a catalyst, to show that skateboarding is global. To the American community in Southern-California. That kind of growth, was healthy for everybody.
That 100% true! And it was inspiring to see for the European skate scene. Maybe moving to the states then was necessary then, but it is not anymore. Maybe you were the catalyst that started that change.
I agree, that it is not necessary, but a lot of the industry is still there. It is the birthplace of skateboarding and the tree has grown from there. There is still a lot there, that is still a reality. But it is awesome, that it is open to a public community, for skaters, boys, and girls, people everywhere, how sick is that?
Do you have a prediction who could be the next skater of the year from Europe? People that just make you think: “Wow”. Because you can not just become SOTY you gotta have something special.
Daan van der Linden has the ability! But there are a lot of great skateboarders right now, and I think we are going to see kids popping off in the next two years, that are going to knock people’s heads off.
I mean there is a great one from Liverpool too right? Charlie Birch for instance.
Charlie is an amazing skateboarder. I have known Charlie since he was a younger kid and he is a good example of what we just talked about.
He is undeniably for Liverpool with an accent like that.
Very humble too! Very nice family, very great skater and nothing but respect for Charlie.
One last question. If you were to rate, Top 5 shoes you had with Vans, which ones would that be?
I can tell you that I do not favorites. I can tell you 5 that I like though:
1.Black Canvas Era’s, not suede. Black Canvas Era’s, I like those.
2.The Original Half Cab in black and grey. Incredible shoe.
3.The Rowley Classic, that is three right? So two more that are memorable.
4.The original Vans Natives, do you remember those? In grey suede, I love those.
5. Black Suede Chukka Boots with brass laces. Because when I was first growing up I had about five pairs of Chukkas in different colors. The black ones were much harder to get tho. So they always kind of stuck in my head. And when I got them I skated better, than with the other ones because I was so juiced up.
That really makes a difference. Looking down and you really like what you see.
“Toe down” is what they call that.
Is there one shoe out of those 19 pairs that had your name on it, that you would like to re-release next to the classic?
If I would be straight up honest, I like them all. I designed them, all for a purpose. So I can not really pick one honestly.
There has been a couple of great ones. The XL2, the first one (XLT). I really liked those.
The XL2 design-wise but the XL3 was really comfortable. The best one out of those 3. That one was my favorite for comfort. Because it was a little bit slimmed-down at the right spots and it had the right shape on the feet. It would be great to see those again.
Thank you so much for your time. It’s pretty cool that you were the first guy that I interviewed when I started in skateboard media. It would be cool to do this again one day.
Thank you too. Really good questions too!
Gotta love the Vans Europe team for their ability to go for it in any and every situation or spot. We don’t want to spoil the trick but we were really stoked to see Dustin Dollin with a great ender trick in this!
On a side note Pfanner is like a very fine wine isn’t he.
I have known Mauro Ruberto for a long time now, possibly ten years or more even. When he came on the scene he was known as a little ripper that liked to jump on rails. But he was also known as someone with good style and a nice trick selection. Now all those years later skating has changed, Mauro has grown older, he doesn’t really jump on rails like he used to but his style and trick selection has aged well. It is for me personally at Place always great to see people you know do well. And to see Mauro and the type of person and the type of skater he has become, it makes me happy and it makes me proud that we can present this part, this article and Mauro to a new group of people.
Video by Dylan van der Laan
Interview by Roland Hoogwater
Photo by Ruben Noorman
Yo Man, What’s up?
Not much man, kinda tired still, I just woke up and went down to the park. I like to go early nowadays because of the skateboard boom the park is filled to the brim with kids. So, instead of going “normal” hours, I go early so I can really cruise around.
Chilling at Wezelande skatepark (Zwolle, The Netherlands), the homespot, has it changed much?
Not really, same old, they installed a speed bump to the park but that is it (laughs).
Ok, still loving it like back in the day. So, tell me a bit about this part we are dropping.
So it started with me meeting Dylan van der Laan (the filmer)…well, it actually started with Kadir Küçük, who I met when we were filming for this Chocolate promo. We linked through Martijn (van Hemmen), he told me that Kadir lived in Arnhem, which is close to Zwolle, where I live. I didn’t know Kadir at first, but we connected through IG, and we started working together on that promo.
After that project, he moved to Turkey…well, he just went on holiday there and never came back (laughs)*. So again I was without a filmer but willing to go out and produce stuff and that is when I heard about Dylan. Like with Kadir, we connected through IG. We are about the same age and he filmed well so, we just started stacking clips. Not for anything particular, we were out there having fun. So after a while, we had enough clips and we decided to make this.
*Kadir returned after a year.
So how long were you saving footage for, a year?
On this part… well at first there was talk of doing it for Lakai because they were giving me shoes. But I quit, I wasn’t feeling the shoes anymore. So I told Dylan, “let’s start from scratch” and from there it took us about 6 months to put this together.
Dylan doesn’t live in the same city, so how did you guys manage to travel?
Dylan lives in Dordrecht, so we would meet at different places. Most of it is in Rotterdam, Schiedam, Amsterdam, Arnhem, and S’Heerenbroek which is a small place near the German border. Kadir lives there so that is how we found that spot. Most of it is Rotterdam and Schiedam though.
Whatever happened to all that stuff you filmed with Kadir though? Is it sitting on a hard drive in Turkey?
Well, the chocolate stuff came out but we did more things, we visited my family in Milan and we managed to get more stuff done, so we should see some of that his full-length project when it drops.
And what about Dylan? This project is HD but I saw you skating in his VX projects, around the same time you worked on this.
Working with Dylan is super nice, he is a quiet person, but if you want to try and film a line for 4-hours he is down to do that as well. We are a good match.
Funny story, Dylan always had 2 cameras with him at all times. The HD for this project and the VX for these fun little edits that he does for himself. So he would sometimes ask me if I wanted to film for that other project. So the VX became the fun cam and the HD was serious, I have high standards when it comes to my tricks so for a while it felt good to film with the fun cam and just chill and try things.
He changed the context, he kind of tricked you.
It worked though, it helped me do other things and have fun while filming.
So what are the tricks in this part you worked the hardest for?
The one that took the longest was the Frontside Feeble Frontside shove it out. That was fucked up, I tried it for 3 hours and I kept landing on it but I couldn’t roll away, it was super weird. So the last try I hit me big toe and it totally fucked up my shit. The whole thing was blue and I could barely walk but I was really mad. So instead of going home, I slept over at Dylan’s. The next morning I put on 2 pairs of socks and went back, tried it again for 2 hours, and each try before I popped my toe would hurt like hell. I think that was the one trick I worked hardest for! The funny thing is I normally have that trick on lock as well.
Street spots always challenge you differently right? You used to be a big rail skater but this part has now handrails in it was that a conscious choice?
I did go and look at some rails, but I wasn’t feeling it. As a kid, I would just jump on those things, no problem. I had a crazy bail years ago in Arnhem. on this long rail with weird legs, I front boarded it no problem so I jumped into a Frontside Feeble and I hooked into those legs and flew down. I remember that the car was far away but I don’t remember if I walked all the way there or whatever. So after that, I became more cautious.
So it changed you in a lot of good ways as well. A shock to the system.
Yeah, I got really into wheelies and other types of tricks. Especially wheelies, I don’t even think people know I can do those (laughs).
My favorite trick in the part is the Impossible Nose Wheelie, I learned that a year back in the park. Finding the right Manual-Pad was hard though, popping Impossibles is hard so it had to be the right one. Good Manual-Pads are hard to find, especially in Holland (laughs).
You have been a Zwolle local for a while now, the city isn’t totally remote but to go to those places you talked about is still a train journey away. Did you ever consider moving to a more central city?
Not really, I like the Randstad but if I stay in those busy places too much I go crazy. I like nature, peace and quiet moments and those are hard to find in cities like the ones mentioned. For now, Zwolle is where I want to be, I got my OV-card which allows me to travel for free during the weekends so things are good as they are. Plus our country is small so it isn’t like I am traveling multiple hours from A to B.
So more healthy living, seems like it is a new trend in skating? I bet your dad still would have like to see you join a soccer team instead.
Well just to get some context, in the beginning, my father was a bit skeptical about me skating. He is from the south of Italy, deep in the mountains so he was more into football. He didn’t know much about skating and figured it was more of a drug scene. A bad influence.
It took him some years to see that it wasn’t like that for me. At the moment I don’t do drugs I barely drink and I don’t smoke weed anymore.
Besides that, those changes are also great for your mental health. Those substances come at a cost. Especially since we as men and especially young men are prone to struggle with depression it is important to talk about things like this.
I used to smoke weed and drink beer for almost every day for 2 years, and at the end of that stretch, I was just super unhappy. And when I stopped, my confidence grew, more peace of mind I just felt better. It works for some people but I found out it didn’t work for myself.
When I used to light up a joint I would get a dopamine rush to my brain and I would feel happy but I realized that I would have less of these moments in general during the day. So when I stopped I started to feel more genuine moments of happiness and those are tangible because you worked to create those moments. I had a lot of negative role models that taught me those lessons and I learned from their actions.
They say a smart man learns from his mistakes but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
True, that works.
Mauro that was a good closer, thank you for the interview and we are excited to see what the future holds for you!
Viva Las Vegas! That is what the French Vans team must have thought when they got the word that they would be flying to the city the Mob built.
Anyway, no foul play here. Sam Partaix, Lilian Fev, Mikael Germond, Oscar Candon, Romain Batard, and the other did their work and put the trip together into a work of perfection.
2020 is a year of openness and transformative thinking & action through education. This posthumous Loveletter is a lovely homage to one of the most important movements in our sub-culture right now.
So press play watch and learn, be an ally!
This is the big one from Vans’ European division. So sit down crack a brewski and enjoy!
This is must-watch TV. Una Farrar, Fabiana Delfino & Breana Geering put it down in this video!
Much credit has to go to Shari White for really upping the anté by making everybody look good with good music and strong lens work.
Extra Shout out has to go to Helena Long who doesn’t have a part but is still a strong standout. Obviously this just dropped but we are confident in saying it is amongst the best things Vans has put out video-wise.
A raw manly voice, some rough guitar work, and some exquisite Andrew Allen footage. What more can you want?
That last outfit must be an homage to the one and only.
By now you will remember Lea Isabell as the host of our wonderful PLACE TELEVISION series. This time she is not in front of the camera but on the phone with a wonderful skater. In a sense, though nothing has changed she is still the one asking all the questions. Rowan seemed happy to oblige and answer all that she wanted to know.
Hey Rowan, how are you?
Hey Lea, I am pretty fine. I just made some coffee between the last interview and this one. And you?
All good, I also have my coffee next to me. But let us not talk about our coffee-drinking behavior. We should start with some new stuff, like your shoe?
Yeah for sure, why not!
Okay nice, so maybe you can tell us: What was the inspiration for the design of your shoe?
When they first told me that I was going to get a shoe I just wanted to make sure that we offer something that is skateable but also something that looks kind of like a classy shoe. I wanted it the same way as the other shoes which came out at any time in the past of Vans, like the originals, so they shouldn’t look too crazy or look like something I wouldn’t skate if they were not mine. I kind of took inspiration from all the shoes I liked in the past. For example the half cab, the Tnt-5 and probably also an old one, which they resell in department stores only, the Bearcat. It was only 30 $ instead of the normal price of a Skateshoe.
What was the process from the first sample and your first idea to the final product?
R: Well, we made a lot of different sketches, I also tried a few by myself but it’s hard to draw a shoe that doesn’t exist, especially when you don’t have any experience in that field. But yeah, we sketched like three different options and then we made sample shoes out of them. The one that came out the best was actually not my first pick but when it actually went from a sketch to the form of a shoe I liked that one the best and then we just moved on from there.
I don’t think anything really changed except for like heights of certain kinds of parts or like different stitching ends, but from the first samples, we didn’t change that much.
Were you also hands-on in deciding what kind of colorways will be put out there?
Yeah, We’ve done 12 colorways for 2020 and then I’ve done a few for 2021 already.
And which one is your favorite one so far?
My favorite one that is out right now is a skate shop exclusive one. It’s dark blue/ navy all the way to the floor, The sole is also navy. But there are a lot of other good ones that haven’t come out yet.
Wow, that’s really nice. I am looking forward to seeing your designs. Let me ask you some tech questions. What do you think about the new Pop-Crush-Insole?
Yeah, I mean I like it a lot. It’s really similar to the last one but it might last a little longer. With every shoe, they want to push some sort of technology or some advancement and since I wanted my shoe to look more old school, more classy, they made the advancement through stuff you can’t see. Like a new insole, something you obviously can’t see because it’s the inside of the shoe or something like the new Rubber Sole, which looks the same as the old one but is a little bit more grippy. Those advancements are there, but they do not always have to be that visible.
But we could definitely guess those advancements when we look at the commercial! How long did you film for that mini part?
Actually it was really cool because Vans let me put all my energy and time towards the Baker video, which was cool because I was wearing samples of the shoes the whole time, anyway. So, when Baker 4 came out everyone was wondering what shoe I was wearing and then two months later the shoe dropped. So, they kind of used all the extras and some stuff they didn’t use for the Baker video. So it was more leftover footage (laughs).
I didn’t expect that. Did you decide that Matt Sweeney would be the one producing the music for the commercial of your shoe?
R: Well the original plan for me was to pick a few bands that I like and then to see if they could get any of them to do the same thing he did, but maybe the bands that we picked were either busy at the time or too expensive for this type of project. so, I told them about my friend Matt. And a few people at Vans are also friends with him so it kind of worked out perfectly. And Matt then picked John Theodore to work with him.
So you are friends with Matt?
Yes, I’ve probably known him for five years.
So is there the connection to your Part in the Supreme Video with the Song, “Neighborhood Threat” by Iggy Pop? Because what people might not know is that Matt Sweeney was on Tour with Iggy Pop in 2016!
Actually Matt helped us to get the rights for the song. I don’t know if it would have worked out otherwise. He was the connection that made it possible. I mean obviously Supreme also paid for the song (laughs).
That is so cool, you seem surrounded by Rockstars. But In general, to me, it seems that you’re really interested in music. Is that why you wanted something special for your very own shoe commercial?
When they told me that I will get a pro shoe, I knew, it needed to be this type of music for the commercial. So I was for one-thousand percent behind it, I thought the idea fit perfectly for the commercial.
What other kinds of music influence you?
I have to say I am always bad at on-the-spot type of stuff. It’s hard to pin-point. I mean I can try but it changes day-to-day. First Iggy Pop, Roxy Music, Wutang, right know I like Pop Caan and one more, (laughs)… I don’t know. WITCH, it’s a Zambian psychedelic-rock band, the letters stand for: ,,We Intend To Cause Havoc”, which is pretty sick and they are from the 70s. They also played at my shoe party, so I am now going through loving them all over since I am a little kid.
I will definitely listen to them straight after this interview, thanks for sharing Rowan (laughs)! You already told us that you combined filming for the Baker Video and the commercial. But can you find any differences between working on a part and working on a commercial?
Well, I mean for the commercial we filmed 16 mm, which is obviously different to go out with that stuff. But I don’t know if I go out and I am trying to get some new footage It is sort of always the same. I am just trying to get something that I am proud of for other people to see, I guess.
And how is it when you are just having a normal session with your friends?
Ahh, when I am with my friends I am just fucking around, maybe trying to learn a new trick, maybe not, I might not even Ollie the whole session (laughs). Just trying to have fun.
And what about the SHEP DAWGS? What can you tell us about them?
They are my group of friends from the beginning. At that time none of us was really sponsored, maybe some got some free stuff, but weren’t on teams. So, we just spend our time together and filming. And everyone is still friends, but most of us have become sponsored skaters and have other trips and responsibilities in skating, so we have less time together to make those videos.
I can totally get this point, would you rather go on a trip with the SHEP DAWGS or with one of your sponsors?
I would love to go on a trip with those boys. I think not long ago they did a trip but I was on a company trip. I was a bit sad but maybe we can do another one soon. It would be great to get to travel with those guys. I mean at the same time I like that I get to go on trips with Vans and stuff, it’s great.
And what was your favorite Skatetrip so far?
Man… it’s been so many. I think we went on a, what was called,, SkateRock”, where a few bands came with a ton of skaters, but we also did one a few years ago throughout Mexico, and that was the last trip where Jake Phelps, Mark Hubbard, and P-Stone went on and since they passed away that was the last one that all of them were on. I think that was one of my favorite tours I’ve been on. But also one of my favorite Vans trips I’ve been on was my very first one on a double-decker bus throughout Europe. That was one of my first trips, yeah.
So you were in Europe! Did you also visit Berlin?
Yes, but I was there for only two times, two days each, so I did not really have the time to see what was going on that much. But I’d enjoyed myself for sure.
So maybe you should come back and get to know the city (laughs), it is pretty cool here, I promise!
When you look back to all your trips, do you think a great Skatetrip depends more on the crew or more on the place?
Definitely the people! I mean a place can definitely help but when you’re with the right people you can be at the worst spot in the world and you will still have fun.
I agree with you, I mean, people make places. Can you tell us how you met Andrew Reynolds?
A lot of my older friends were already involved with Baker at this time, like Riley Hawk. At this time I had never met Andrew, but he asked Riley if I wanted to start skating Baker boards. I got free foundation boards at the time and I was like, hell yes! Every kid wants to skate Baker boards. I am not sure how long it took me to meet him but I met him in L.A. and after that, we started skating and hanging around more and more. So we became friends way before I got on the team.
That’s pretty sick. And what is your opinion on the new generation on Baker?
Like myself and everyone my age or younger (laughs)?
Yes (laughs too)!
I love those kids. Tristan and Zach, also Kader. He is going to be one of the best skaters ever! I mean he already is but he is still getting better and better as he grows. I am pretty stoked on Baker right now. I think these kids are the right kids to carry on the traditions that Baker has.
You are also on Supreme. How is that working out with you other sponsors?
So I skate for Vans and Vans apparel, but when supreme told me they wanted me to skate for them I couldn’t really do it because I was under contract with Vans apparel. But when I talked to Vans and they were cool with working something out. The first period Supreme was my shop Sponsor, instead of being my clothing sponsor. But now they worked it out and now it’s both. Supreme accepts that Vans is my primary sponsor and Vans accepts that Supreme is my sponsor as well. It is also like a partnership, cause Vans and Supreme do like a collaboration twice a year so it’s kind of good for them to have someone on both sides.
And are you getting more influenced now in what you want to wear?
I don’t know, but I guess… I mean both companies are producing stuff that I really like. It just gives me more options in what clothing I can wear.
Connecting to your shoe you also had your own Vans clothing collection right?
Well, all the Art on the clothing is done by one of my good friends Mike Gigliotti. He owns and runs the Lotties Skateshop and made all the art, yeah. But there is also one shirt, it’s a blue and white pinstripe shirt, it’s the same shirt I had for years and years actually I still wear it all the time. So it was cool to make that one into a vans shirt.
For the pants, I just wanted to make some double knee jeans… I don’t know (laughs). There was not too much inspiration, I just wanted to make some cool shit that I would enjoy wearing.
And at the same time make some nice clothing for the homies!
(laughs) Yeah right!
We already know via Transworld Skateboarding that Ali Boulala is your favorite male Skater. The question I want to ask you is: who is your favorite female skater?
At the moment it’s probably Breana Geering, but obviously also Elissa Steamer and Marisa Dal Santo belong to my favorites. Especially because I am friends with them and now since Elissa is on Baker we’re also going on trips together, she is the best!
Is there any difference for you between going on a skate trip with female or male Skater?
I haven’t really been on many trips with Elissa but I mean she is cooler than most of the dudes, she is so fun to skate with and to be around. I met Marisa when I was 14 she was hanging around the Zero offices which where really close to where I grew up. I saw her skating with my older friends all the time. She has known me since I was so small (laughs).
So you were in contact with female skateboarding while you were growing up.
Is the general view on Female skateboarding changing?
Yeah, I think girls are definitely getting the recognition they deserve now. It’s sick to see way more companies hooking up girls and that they have a Pro Contest for Women at Tampa Pro, that’s really sick!
Yeah I think so too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on that! I think it’s always important to be happy for each other and to see things progressing in the right way.
Now you told me a lot, and I am just wondering, how do you manage all these things? How much does the fact, that skateboarding is not only a hobby for you anymore, affect your perception of skateboarding?
I mean skating has always been fun. For sure things come along with it that can be stressful… But that is also the case with other things I always dreamed of when I was a kid. It’s more a feeling of being overwhelmed in a positive way. It is more like a dream come true, you know. Even though there is stress the actual act of skating is and was always fun and always will remain fun. I do not think any of this other stuff will ever change how I feel about skateboarding.
Oh wow, I think that those words were the right words to end this lovely interview. Thank you so much for answering all of my questions. It was really nice talking with you.
Thank you too, Lea!
Thanks to Vans for the support & Antony Acosta for the photos.
2 weeks ago in Copenhagen, we celebrated the launch of Rowan Zorilla’s well-deserved pro model shoe “The Rowan Pro”. We first presented you with the Dutch version of the weartest but today you get the Nordic one.
Video & Photography by Markus Bengtsson.
Thanks to Vans for the support.
Vans actually invited some people from their European team to join in on the fun. People like Jordan Thackeray came in and joined people like Simon Hallberg, Samuel Norgren & Victor Larsson Blé in testing the shoe.
When we talk about people deserving things we can often be lead by our emotions. His last part was crazy, he has been going viral on Instagram, he is so sick he should be pro, this guy is super stylish why doesn’t he have a pro model shoe?
But what constitutes being worthy to receive a pro shoe? Many legends have one like AVE or Steve Cab, SOTY Kyle Walker has one and Gilbert Crockett has one with very creative 1940’s sport-fashion inspired colors. It is not really that defined why or when one is ready to ascend but in our humble opinion Rowan has done more than enough to get his signature style.
To celebrate the occasion Vans said, “Build it and they will come!” so Opperclaes did as commanded. And as was said, they did come and shredded R.O.W.A.N. for a day.
All in all, a really cool idea done really well. The atmosphere was great, the music was alive and the session was eventful! Now press play and let R.O.W.A.N. show you what he’s got.
Robbin de Wit
Pablo de la Place
Tor van Eysendeyk
Special thanks to Jan Maarten Sneep for the video, Ziggy Schaap for the photos & Vans Off The Wall for the support.
First of all, we want to give a big thanks to Vans for supporting us and assisting in making the project happen. Secondly, thanks to Heiners for being a surefire location where we all feel welcome enough to be ourselves. And lastly, thank you to all the protagonists for not only putting your energy towards the project but also for shooting the recap to your own party. Cheers!
Photos by Julian Ruhe, Moritz Alte, Kalle Wiehn & Valle Cafuk.
We can write again and again about “plaza parts” but instead we want to put your focus on how seamlessly this clip manages to bind together PASS~PORT’s style with the “Off the Wall” concept.
Watch and enjoy.
Elijah Berle has gone through many phases from his emo the smiths look all the way to his current look which feels like an in-between version of a skater and a fan of DIY cowboy culture we didn’t know what to expect.
A couple of years back, Gilbert Crockett explained to us his shoes were inspired by early 1900’s sports shoes. A fact which makes a lot of sense because of his affection for thrift shopping.
We all know that when it comes to designing shoes that it can be a difficult, long and tedious process at times. I mean if you would get the opportunity to do everything what would you choose?
Durability, stability, board feel, cupsole, vulcanized, a slim silhouette or a bulky shoe? And what about the materials and the sort of shoe? A dress shoe, a basketball shoe some wallabies or a cowboy boot can most likely all lead to your first pro-model.
I the end, Elijah Berle made it through and created a very solid shoe, one that we believe will be on peoples feet for a while. The shoe simply looks nice, not too bulky not to slim and with a special cupsole construction that promises to combine board feel with protection and durability.
We took Vans Germany skater Valle Cafuk and Vans flow trash Peter Buikema for a run at one of Berlin’s many parks to put words into action and weartest the Elijah Berle pro.
Both were surprised by the way the shoes felt right out of the box, cupsoles often need a bit to break in but these worked immediately and allowed them both to skate and feel safe do the protection a cupsole gives.
In the end, Peter even learned a variation of an Elijah Berle signature, doing his first Crooked grind Nollie flip out! Action speaks louder than words and learning new tricks is a sure sign of approval. So press play if you haven’t already and watch the Vans Elijah Berle Pro in action.
Thank you to Vans for the support!
Photos by Steffen Grap
Text By Roland Hoogwater
When we flew to China we arrived at Shanghai airport as two tourists, my travel companion had been to the “People’s Republic of China” before but it was my first time in Asia. I didn’t know what we were in for but I was down to experience it all, we both wanted to see as much as possible.
We had brought along the perfect tool for that, an old Digital 8 “tourist style” handy cam. Armed with both the “handy cam” and our boards we chose to visit not only the Vans Park Series but everything else that Suzhou, Jiangsu and the Chinese people had to offer us.
First off, I have some information for you, “the internet” is not the same in the PRC, no Facebook, Instagram or even Google! This was at times a big plus because instead of looking down to our devices we looked up into the somewhat smog-filled part of the world we were in.
Secondly, we didn’t want to spend all our time at the hotel or at the event. “When in Rome” you don’t just want to stay inside the Coliseum, right? So one-day Oski (bless his heart) managed to get us some free (complimentary) bikes and we were off into the weird wilderness of China’s concrete jungle.
Now, we were two white guys. Normally that is not a big deal but we were in a part of China that did not have many westerners in it. This Caused us to become somewhat of a circus show at times. People wanted to skype their families together with us, stared without shame, took “secret” pictures and the biggest bonus, they allowed us to go and see and do everything. Nobody told us no! We went into temples, factories, sweatshops and “fake supreme shops” all with our “tourist camera” in hand.
That brings me to my second to last point:
Environmental groups are not completely against dams. We approve of appropriate development.
Ma Jun, Chinese environmentalist.
Now after reading this quote you might be confused about the link to the Vans Park Series right? Well, there is no link other than that we put a large percentage of “random” quotes in this video. Not normal quotes (spoken ones) but quotes printed on various pieces of clothing.
We found these quotes (in a store that sold fakes) that seemed random and were often badly spelled and connected them to our experiences in Suzhou. So instead of trying to make sense of the quote at the top of this article just know it is a random quote we found and used, in a similar way as all the others you will see in our video.
A small example of what we found.
Finally, if that didn’t convince you to watch the video let me assure you that we have included some great moves by people like Romand Pabich, Oskar (Oski) Rozenberg-Hallberg, Brighton Zeuner, Kokona Hiraki and a dancing, screaming but overall ripping Pedro Barros. Press play and enjoy the ride!