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So how does a kid from the Northwest end up making a Euro video?
Just all on my own. I graduated college from Boise State University for video productions and fine art, was working at a pizza joint, said “fuck that,” saved my money to buy a computer, plane ticket, and rail pass for a summer in Europe. I looked up all the European skate contests and planned my trip according to that schedule. I didn't know anyone, stayed at the most random places I could crash at. Spent the summer traveling and meeting people, and they said I could come back and stay if I wanted. So 6 months later I moved back and started filming for Without Exit.
So that's when you meet all the dudes that are in your video?
Yup, I was living with a friend in a beach house in Holland, and every skater I ran into I would ask if they wanted to film a trick. Then I meet enough people that they wanted to film full parts. I only knew Sewa from the previous summer. Everyone else I just became friends with through the process of filming.
Do you want to talk about who is in the video and how they came to be involved?
Yeah, there are four main parts. Douwe, Harold, Jesse, and Sewa.
Sewa I was the first person I knew would have a full part because I had met him the year before and saw that he was a super sick skater on the rise. We traveled a lot together, and had tons of fun. He's a robot. Most tech skater I've ever seen. He'll write me about the craziest trick combinations I've ever heard of. Nice kid, from Russia originally but lived in Holland his whole life. I filmed and traveled with him the most, that's why he has the most footage. While I was there he won the 2009 eS Game of SKATE European Championships, so he's coming to California this week to compete in the finals. Hope he does well.
Harold and Jesse are local skaters from Den Haag, where I was living in The Netherlands. I stayed with my friend at his apartment on the beach, and they would come pick me up everyday I wasn't traveling and we'd go cruise the city for spots and just street skate.
Douwe has the first part, and was actually the last person I met. To pay the bill I travel to international skateboard competitions and make daily montages. He was the kid that always killed the course, and had a great attitude so everyone was stoked on him. We probably literally only met up about 9 times, yet he was able to film a full banging part. He's young too, so looking forward to see more of him in the future.
Then you had a montage from Idaho.
Yeah, I came home for a several weeks to film with all my friends that ride for Prestige, the local skateshop in Boise. I also had a travel montage from all over. For 8 months straight, I literally was out of town every weekend. I was in 14 countries, went to Paris 8 times, Germany 6 times, just always moving. Trains, planes, boats, cars.
How did you support yourself for those 8 months?
I was living on a mattress in an office so rent was free, and I had a railpass so I could travel to 21 countries for free. So all I needed was food and beer money. I would travel to all the skate contests and film freelance for different companies. And, back in Boise I filmed videos for the top Night Clubs downtown, so while in Europe I would make promos for their upcoming parties with footage I already had, then send it out for their Facebook/Myspace.
Damn, sounds like you had it all figured out. How did you get hooked up filming for The Skateboard Mag?
Through Skatepark of Tampa. They run quite a few of the competitions in Europe and the States, so I would always talk to them when I could. They needed someone to film a Coverage video for Tampa Pro so I said I would, and I have been covering events for them ever since.
So the SPoT flies you all over to film their events now?
Yeah, its about a dozen comps a year I think.... more or less.
Do you think you'll make the move out to California and try to break into the big time skate biz?
Hmm..... I do visit there a lot. And maybe I will move there for a while, (its hard to complain with the perfect weather all the time). But that was why I went to Europe in the first place. Because I figured everyone goes to California to be a Pro Skater or Pro Filmer, so they can get a job and travel. But if I could just travel already, might as well cut out the middle man.
I like the way you think. It seems also like going to Europe you could be a big fish in a small pond
Exactly. Since I was from the states, I already had an IN.
Do you speak any foreign languages?
French. My mom is Swiss, so I have dual citizenship. An American and Swiss passport. That is why I was able to legally stay over there for so long. She was in the Air Force when I was growing up, so I lived all over. I was born in England, lived in Germany, Guam, East coast. I think thats why I like traveling so much. Now it's my time to do it on my own, for something I love, skating and filming.
Does your dual citizenship get you any other perks than extended European stays?
I can vote, work, live there. And go to Cuba.
So depending on where you are do you show a different passport?
Yeah, or to cut through the lines at airports when the foreigners line is backed up.
Where did the name "Without Exit" come from?
Just random. No story, just something that I thought fit.
How has the reaction been to the video?
Good I think. It's definitely more in the artistic style of skateboard videos, so it's not for the skate nerd that just wants to see the newest and biggest trick ever. But I think its relatable to almost anyone who enjoys skateboarding because there are some great tricks, killer soundtrack, city shots, and a fast pace throughout.
You avoided a lot of the standard European spots, was that Intentional?
Yeah it was. Everyone has seen that stuff, there are so many different spots that are new and more interesting to watch. I've never been to Barcelona. I figured I didn't need to go on my own because so many people go there. Eventually I'll go there on a team trip or something.
Did you go anywhere that you felt could be the next Barcelona?
Hmm..... I don't know. Even though I've never been there, its looks so fucking sick to skate. I've been to all the Scandinavian countries, and they have a lot of dope spots. But then again, they also have the shittest winters ever, and it's so expensive up there. I think Barcelona has a really good combo of everything, but people are getting tired of it and want something new.
I'm definitely tired of seeing all the Barcelona and China spots. It seems like more people are going to Germany. What was your experience there?
I liked it. Berlin is so good to skate. And there are a lot of good skaters, but they are pretty techy.
Do different countries have different styles as far as skating? Could you tell where someone is from by how they skate?
A little bit through skating style. England does a lot of quick nose bonks, and late 180s out, and like I said, the Germans can do any triple late flippy thing you want. I could probably tell more by clothes and just how they looked physically. But that’s why skating is so cool. You can be fresh, or hesh or preppy or whatever you want. As long as you get down, and respect others.
If someone wants to purchase a Without Exit DVD, how would they go about doing so?
It should be available on skateparkoftampa.com or through Hardcore Supplies (The Netherlands) both very soon.
It looks like it isn't up at the SPoT yet
Yeah, it might take them a while. But they do have it at the store. If you email them they could send it out. Or prestigeskateboards.com
Are you going back to Europe Next summer?
Yup, hopefully I’ll make another film over there. I'm currently working on a full length Prestige video in Boise right now, and I'd like to make it to Australia, New Zealand, and China in the Spring in hopes of making a South Pacific tour video.
Is the South Pacific tour video just an idea or a formulating plan?
I pretty sure its set, at least in my head. I have a friend who's Dad lives in Beijing, and they just opened Woodward China, so I talked to Neil Hendrix about going out there to film. Supposedly they are making the world's largest street plaza so that should be amazing. I saw the one they made at Woodward East and it was proper. Then I've never been to Australia, but they have such a strong skate scene, so I would like to get in contact with the local shops to hopefully film the riders. I'm guessing a couple month trip at least. I lived in Micronesia for 3 years so it will be nice go back over in that area.
Sounds like you got a pretty solid outline for how it's gonna work and judging from your past, that's all you need.
Yeah, I definitely like to have plans and follow through. I think I get stir crazy if I stay in one place too long.
How does your Girlfriend feel about al this traveling?
Its definitely really tough, but we make it work. Erica came out to Europe for a couple weeks, and comes to a lot of competitions with me. She knows all the dudes with Spotlight and Damn Am. She knows that I have a great opportunity to do what I love, and she is very supportive of that. Plus I think Wifi and e-mail everywhere has been the biggest saving grace.
That's awesome that she's supportive and understanding. Girls have been the ruin of many great men.
For sure. I understand how lucky I am. She's a dope ass girl.