Author Archives: Anja Braun

Adventures in a Yellow Van: Wie Gehts with Alex Dehmel

Alex Dehmel is one of the OGs (Original Germans) of team Skoa; alongside Matze Ebel, Stephan Risch and Leon Ritter as the first people to be on Team Skoa. Over this season, he’s been all over. Alex really focussed on his European game, skating regularly with Pablo Quiles and the dudes from Salsito House in Spain. I’ll be linking some videos in later in the interview, but let’s jump right in with Alex!


Tommy Watson: Hey Alex! Seems like I’ve been seeing a lot from you this season. Can you take me through the places you’ve been and maybe give a shout out to the best locations people should add to their must-skate lists?

Alex Dehmel: Guten Tag Tommy! I actually travelled a whole lot this year. In the beginning of the year, when it was still rainy, cold and grey in Germany I travelled to Spain three times. I went to the Canary Islands in January (was also there in December, loved it!!) with a big German shop for a photo shoot. We travel there a lot in winter because flights are cheap and the Spanish locals are very hospitable and happy for visitors to show them around. Another important date early in the year is ISPO in Munich. It’s a big get-together of the industry full of partying, skating and of course a bit of business. In March we had another sick trip to Alicante with the Risch-Crew to visit my good buddy Pablo Quiles at Salsito House.

Alex and Pablo

Alex and Pablo look out over a valley in Spain - photo: Risch Aerohelmets

In Spring I went to a lot of smaller races like the German DLL series, the Belgian Championships, a sick boardercross in Barcelona and a surf trip in southern Spain with my bro. When the summer came, I got in our beloved yellow Opel Astra and started my three-months-eurotour. Talking about all the Spots I went to would be way too much for this interview, but I am publishing all the stories on my brother’s skate-blog Between Kozakov in eastern Czech Republic and Porto on Iberia‘s west coast, I did 15k-20k kilometers, skated, visited old friends, met new people, camped, partied and finally ended up in southern Spain with my mates at Salsito to stay there for a couple weeks… It was one of the most fun trips I have ever done so far and I can not express how thankful I am to all my supporters who made this possible!

In the end it is really hard to tell which place was the best, but I think pretty high on top of my must-skate list are the French Alps. I am sure it is hard to find a place with better conditions for our sport somewhere else (as long as it is summer, of course).

TW: That’s a ton!! I don’t know where to start. I guess at the beginning of the year when you went to Spain. We’ve all seen how epic the Canary Islands can be through Patrick’s Greener Pastures, and even some older videos from Kevin and James when they were on OTang. Was this your first time there? Is there anything special about the architecture of the roads, like pavement or certain types of corners? They look unreal.

AD: My trip to Tenerife last December was actually my first time on the Canary Islands and I was really stoked to be able to visit another island there only such a short time later. On Tenerife for example you can find Spain’s highest mountain, El Teide (~4000m). Both Tenerife and Gran Canaria are basically just massive volcanos sticking out of the ocean, which makes it almost impossible to find a flat spot anywhere.

Like many other nice places in Spain, it is crowded with tourists from central Europe most of the year. All these tourists also want to be taken to the hills and the nature in a comfortable way. That means that a lot of money was spent to build nice and wide roads for the buses into almost every fucking valley. Yeah! So that makes it pretty easy to find good spots for our sport there. I really love the fact that you can see the ocean from almost every run, sometimes it feels like dropping into the water. It is definitely a great experience!

Another interesting thing is the pavement there. Its kind of grippy but still slides super predictably and just eats wheels like hell. Take a look at the videos you just mentioned. Almost all the slides leave big, chalky marks. The reason for that is that the gravel they use to make the roads consists of mostly volcanic rocks (makes sense, huh?) which are pretty coarsely porous and sharp-edged. So they wear down faster than other roads but when they do the grains are always fresh and sharp, compared to other roads (for example at some places in the alps) where the grains are more solid but get rounded when they wear down, causing them to be more slippery.

Alex having fun at a jam in Spain - photo: Ride&Travel

TW: What shop was it that you were traveling with and where are these pictures?! I haven’t seen them yet…

AD: It was a trip organized by Titus. They have been around skateboarding in Germany since it started and are now also getting into longboarding. The main outcome was a free longboard-basics guide for beginners, which they gave away. You can find most parts of the content here.

TW: I hear great things about ISPO. Any shenanigans go down outside of all the business matters you were dealing with?

AD: Dude if you have not been there yet, you have to come to see how it is like. It kind of feels like a skate event without actually skating a lot. You see many faces from the scene and the industry and everyone is having a good time. Volcom usually puts up a big miniramp. Last year 40inch magazine put up a skateboard-pumptrack and there is free beer at every second booth during the whole day. You can have a really good time there and still do the obligatory business stuff, but beware of the secret police that are all over the place trying to catch people that smoke weed or do something else they don’t like in Bavaria. For those who don’t know: Bavaria is the strictest part of Germany, something like Texas in the US…

richard gibello kozakov

Alex wins another kind of race against James, John and Tyler - photo: Brie Schelling

TW: Haha, anywhere outside of Travis county is pretty bad in Texas! Stephan Risch also holds the round table every year, right? How was that? What is it for those who don’t know?

AD: After a day full of business talks, free beers, police chases and miniramp sessions, Stephan’s round table is the place where the longboarding/downhill scene meets to have some more drinks and food, either to end the day in a relaxed environment or just to gather and get ready to go partying to the center. It usually takes place in a lovely bar close to Stephan’s house in a beautiful neighbourhood close to the river Isar.

I really recommend visiting ISPO to anyone involved in the longboarding industry but if you decide to come, try to find a place to stay early (hotels are usually quite busy during big trade shows) and be aware of always driving sober etc because if you look like a skater you will most likely be talked to by the police at some point. Nevertheless Munich is a very lovely city where you can find really good food, beer and a lot of nice people. Like Mr. Risch, who makes a really good host every year!

Risch AeroHelmets “Mallorca” from Salsito House™ on Vimeo.

TW: Stephan sent me some pictures from Alicante, and that video from you and Pablo is awesome. Seems like the Spanish really like their narrow winding roads. How did you guys even come across that one?

AD: This certain road is located in the valley at the backside of one of my favourite downhill spots in Alicante. One day we wanted to skate there but it was very busy and wet in many critical corners. No problem if you are cruising with Pablo, because he knows basically every spot in the whole province. We just went to the next spot, which unfortunately was wet as well what finally brought us to the road you know from the video. Of course the locals have known of it for a long time.

It is a dead end road with no houses, the result of the Spanish construction industry-crisis (which I talked about it in this travel report on SkateON). It is quite short but it has the best shape for freeriding I have ever seen. It offers a very comfortable steepness and perfectly banked hairpins that just suck you in to the apex. The second part is super steep and has some very challenging but super fun sweepers, just watch Pablo and me doing a couple big pendies all the way down, still going kind of fast.

The spanish mountains are full of freeride-treasures like that and I don’t know if anyone can ever get to skate them all. Even some people like Pablo and Axel who are trying really hard 😉

spanish shred alex

Alex gripping through one of the many corners Spain has to offer. Classic Spanish guardrails in the background… - photo: Salsito House

TW: Axel and Pablo are both involved with Salsito House, right? Can you tell people a bit about what is Salsito House and who are the dudes behind it?

AD: The Salsito House is located in Calpe, at the coast of the province Alicante. It is owned by David Buti who lives there with his mate Pablo. It is a typical skate house and one of the major hubs for the Spanish scene. You can meet all the big spanish rippers like Toti, Axel or Oriol (and many more!) and it is also frequented by international guests a lot. From the house it is 10 minutes skating to the beach and 40 minutes driving to the good spots in the mountains.

Besides offering shelter to their skater friends, the guys are actually working a lot for the scene. Pablo is setting up a longboard school, trying to spread the stoke to beginners and giving abandoned urbanizations a new purpose, they regularly organize small events like slide jams etc. They report everything in their blog,, so check it out!

Now they have even released fresh Salsito-branded slide gloves together with Agro’s new Label GOM. I really really like the people and the place and try visit the guys as often as possible. I am totally stoked that my sponsors, especially Risch made it possible to stay there for a while after the Eurotour and I hope to be back to celebrate New Years Eve with the crew!

TW: Would you say there’s anything unique about the style of skating coming from Spain? Any defining characteristics where you can see someone skate and say “yeah, that guys from Spain”?

AD: Especially compared to Germany, there is definately a certain style the Spanish have. When I got into the sport, I mainly got socialized by guys like Basti Hertler or Boris Schinke, going in leathers and race mode all the time. The spanish way of skating is way more relaxed. Most of the people focus on acquiring a perfect freeride style instead of practicing their tuck and race lines. It is actually a really good metaphor for the different lifestyles of Spanish and Germans. I did not even know about the difference of “downhill” and “freeride” before I started skating with the Spanish; I always just called skating freeriding when it wasn’t a race heat…

Alex kozakov pablo

Alex and Pablo at the Kozakov Challenge - photo: Brie Schelling

There is a lot that both sides can learn from each other, just take a look at Pablo Quiles. When I first met him, he already had released a sick Perropro freeride video which was spreading all over the world, but it seemed like no one ever told him about the downhill thing. Through his intense motivation of growing his skills and learning from others (including some of the Germans), he’s now turned into one of Europe’s top longboarders, throwing big standies at 80kph like a boss while also being a serious contender in world level downhill racing.

In general I would say the pure Spanish way of longboarding is very stylish and more freeride-orientated, skaters like Axel, Toti and Bruno are perfect examples of showing off the spanish lifestyle on their boards.

For me, there is a lot to learn about skating and lifestyle (and of course the language) and I can only recommend it to others. But, as everyone hopefully already knows: Don’t just go there and try to find/skate hills on your own in an area which is known to have a longboarding scene. Contact the locals in advance of your trip and hook up with them. If you are nice and respect their spots they will be very hospitable and you will surely have a good time!

TW: Thanks for the stories and travel advice Alex. I can’t wait to hear more and see more of your adventures in the future 🙂

Nerds by Dehmel&Toti from Pablo Quiles on Vimeo.


“Wie Gehts?” with Simon Lang

Tommy Watson: Hey Simon, it’s been a little bit since we heard from you with your raw run. I’ve been seeing some pictures of you floating around from events though. Looks like you’re still having fun with it. 🙂 How’s it been? What’s been going on on and off the board?

SL: hey Tommy, yeah I had my exam in summer as a cook and not as much time to skate as I wanted. After that I was at several events with my buddies from “TEAM ADÄQUAT”, but it’s always hard for us to film because when we skate together, we crash all the time 😀 But at the moment we’re filming a lot and hopefully some good shots 😉 I want to go to Australia in January for skating and cooking.

like riding rails

photo: paul brosig

TW: Pushing the limits with your friends is fun for sure. What’s Adaquat mean? Who are the other guys on it?

SL: team ADàQUAT is only a three men team, andreas mangold, burak duran and i. we’re really good friends and go often together skating. we were at the 24 hour race in Groserlach and had no name for our team, so we made a safty meating in my car and and i said: “…would be really adäquat.” burak and i look at each other, because we didn’t know what “adäquat” means but we were so excited about the word that we said “that’s our team name” 😀 sry but i can’t find an translation for the word in english.

TW: The 24 Hour race looks awesome! For those of you who don’t know about it. It’s a race where you bring a team of people, and trade off who is skating over the course of 24 hours! The team who completes the most laps wins, and at Groserlach there is a chairlift to the top…

a GROßERLACH run from skateON on Vimeo.

Anyway, there’s another event that you were at that I’d like to hear more about. The Scharfenstein Freeride. Free entry, community involvement… what’s the story behind this event?

SL: Tommy, that was really the best event I ever was at. scharfenstein is such a nice track, really steep, nice corners, and for free, beautiful =) The motto of the event was skating against racism. because of that they get a little bit of money from the state, so they could close the road and things like that. all skaters had to work at the event. I helped preparing the road for the freeride and made a little slide workshop for beginners. other guys did some hours of course marshalling or things like that. It was really cool because everybody was so happy and stoked there.

scharfenstein freeride - photo: CK photography

scharfenstein freeride - photo: CK photography

TW: Are there lots of freerides happening in Germany?

SL: no unfortunately not, i think this year we had about 4 or 5 freerides, i know 😀
it’s a shame because we have really crazy roads, but there aren’t a lot of people who are motivated and have the time to organize such an event.

TW: Definitely, I think that it’s the same deal over here in NorAm. People are more driven to host races. I think that that will change as the scene gets older.

SL: yeah hopefully, i like to race but the mood at a freeride is much more better

TW: Do you see about as many people at freerides in Europe as races?

SL: In Europe I’m not sure but in Germany people use to go more to races, because there are more races in Germany than Freerides. That’s often the only way to get some freerides on a closed road.

TW: Do events there give riders the option of signing up just for the freeride days?

SL: yep, at some races you only can pay for the freeride days if you want. it’s good for the mood at the event because more people come to the event and the party getting better

TW: I came on to Skoa after you, so I don’t know your back-story with us. How did you first come to ride with the Skoa guys?

SL: Matthias Ebel and some of his friends organized the “Häldenrennen” race in Germany. I got to know them through skating and after the event i stayed there one more day. I was lucky because also Uwe and Reini were there and they made a little Skoa-Team meeting. I was just there listening and everytime when Uwe said he’d like to do this or that, I said, yeah no problem I can do this, I also can do this, and after that evening I was part of the team 😀

TW: Funny how things can just fall in to place like that. 🙂

simon sidewalk slide

photo: paul brosig

TW: What’s your favorite thing to do on a longboard?

SL: My favorite thing to do on my longboard is to fool around 😀
I love to ride next to the street or do stupid things on my longboard

TW: You’ve got an interesting style for heelsides/frontsides. Are you always so far to the nose like that?

SL: no not all the time, but I like to walk on my board when I skate. it’s much more interesting because it always feels different and always a little bit sketchy - I LOVE that
try it, it’s funny =)

TW: I’ll have to give it a go, though I gotta say, I’m not super hyped on falling 🙂 Did you start off skateboarding and then pick up a longboard later?

SL: Yes I started skateboarding when I was 14 and I‘ve been longboarding for 3 years now.

TW: What got you into longboarding?

SL: I tried my friends board and I got directly hooked. I skated directly down a steep road without any protection or skills, it was amazing, so much adrenalin =) =) =)

TW: Hahah! I did something similar, but got speed wobbles and just barely managed to run it off. I had no idea wobbles even existed! Is there an anti-longboard sentiment among skaters in Europe/Germany?

SL: I think in some parts of germany we have that, but maybe because they have no hills and they don’t know downhill longboarding.

TW: Do you street skate as well as ride transition?

SL: I do some street skating but most time I go skating with my downhill set up, I don’t like the short boards anymore, it feels a little bit wrong :/

simon lang - stairs

photo: paul brosig

TW: Outside of Skoa, who else do you ride for?

SL: I ride for Olson&Hekmati boards and Olson&Hekmati wheels, Dübel Distribution, and since 2 weeks also for the

TW: What are you doing outside of skating?

SL: during the winter times I go skiing a lot and when I have enough money I love to go surfing.


TW: Thanks for taking the time to catch up!

Skoa Design Insight Pt.1 - Orientation is everything

- Words by Tommy Watson

The initial call out to Atlas Trucks on their claimed I-Beam design didn’t spark the conversation that I thought it would. Atlas remained silent, where I’ve heard a lot from another truck company and now most recently and most thought out, from Lunar Boardworks. I’m excited to have the opportunity to expand upon the ideas behind our design and clarify some misconceptions that I’ve seen in regards to Skoa Stream 7s. Skoa trucks maintains that we are the only truck in the game to truly utilize an I-Beam design, that is, with flanges parallel to the ground, and the benefits that that utilization brings to our strength to weight ratio and resilience in most load scenarios experienced during skating with the Stream 7.

IIf the Stream 7 utilizes an I-beam, how are a lot of the common style machined RKP (reverse kingpin) trucks like the Vapor actually different? They both appear to have cross sections that look like an I. In order to understand how orientation of a shape affects strength, we need to know how the components of an I-Beam work. An I-Beam is any beam with a cross section appearing in the shape of a capital I. The top and bottom horizontal elements are called “flanges” and the middle vertical element is called the “web”. The flanges resist bending forces (ones that may cause the material to flex), and the web resists shear forces (ones that may cause the parallel internal material surfaces to slide past one another. Think of plate-tectonics). I encourage you to read more about both of these forces, about I-Beams, and the theory behind their design to get a better understanding of what we’re talking about. I will tell you more as we go, so assuming you’re satisfied with what you know… in longboarding, we’re mostly dealing with bending forces when it comes to trucks.

Stream and Vapor Cross SectionsI-Beams are already a huge step forward in reducing weight in comparison to a solid beam. They’re great at supporting load across the length of the beam, and in structural design there are a few types of I-Beams. There’s your classic I-Beam that’s just an extrusion of that capital I cross section that I mentioned above and these are great, but can be made even lighter. To save weight, material is sometimes taken out from the web of the I-Beam. Some different types of I-Beams with this weight saving feature are “castellated” and “cellular” beams, differentiated from each other by the shape of the material removed.

beams vs stream 7When designing the Stream7, the cellular beam was a big influence over the shape that we created. In the Stream 7, this cellular “I-Beam” shape that we talk about runs the length of the truck (axle to axle) because the truck, the same as any beam, is designed to handle the load distributed across its length. This loading is experienced right when the board is put on the ground and is intensified when a rider stands on it. I’ll refer to this load scenario as scenario 1. We can simply look at this scenario to illustrate how shape and orientation of a beam affect its strength.

Below we have our FEA simulations on 90mm beams (about half the length of most trucks). These beams are made of a given material in different shapes and different orientations, fixed on one side with a force applied to the other. The force applied is an arbitrary amount of 1500 Newtons just to give us values of deflection. This force was applied 18mm from the end of the beam to simulate an axle and the bearings/spacer in a wheel. Of course, there’s more forces that act on a truck while you’re skating and the exact angle that a force interacts with the hanger at will depend on the angle of the baseplate it’s mounted on, the object applying the force, size of wheels… a whole lot of stuff. We’re simplifying all of that for simulation’s sake. Using these simulations, we will show how orientation as well as shape affect strength and weight.beam load scenario 1i beam load scenario 1common rkp load scenario 1As you can see in the simulations above, the orientation and shape play a huge role in how the beam will handle the loads applied to it. Most beams have a strong axis of bending and a weak axis of bending. We’ll define these axis below:

strong and weak axis of bendingThe I-Beam shape is great at handling loads across it’s length, as illustrated by the man on the right, and worse at handling loads across it’s height, as illustrated by the woman on the left. From our simulations, the I-Beam and Common weight-reduced RKP are roughly 42% lighter than the solid beam, yet the I-Beam in the correct orientation deflects the same amount while the common machined RKP exhibits over twice the deflection!

In designing the Stream 7, we based our simulations off forces like the ones above, as well as from other angles that could be caused from running over debris, cracks, etc. Our flanges are quite wide and according to our simulations, we did not need much material at all between the axle housing and bushing seat areas to achieve the strength/weight characteristics we wanted in our truck. With this knowledge, we chose to have the minimal amount of webbing that we have between the flanges. Our simulations of the strength of the Stream 7 have proven to be correct over the last 3 years that the Stream 7 has been out, with bending only being reported in extreme circumstances, such as a board being run over by a vehicle.

stream vs cellularCertainly, both orientations of this shape work for skateboarding. We have all used trucks designed in the common style and it’s the common style for a reason. It’s effective enough and much easier to produce! Easier production lowers the cost of the end product to the rider which is certainly a something to consider when making a purchase. Common weight-reduced RKP trucks like the Vapor can still be light and strong, but the orientation of their flanges is not optimal for the forces that they experience. Stream 7s are the first truck out there to have the optimized orientation and fully utilize the benefits of the I-Beam shape. You don’t see I-Beams installed in buildings at an angle because it’s not effective. “Nonnovation” is taking something that’s been done forever, naming it, and calling it a feature. 90* baseplates are the solution for the common truck if you want to get the most strength out of that shape… but until someone does that (which would not feel good to skate on), Stream 7s are the only trucks that can lay claim to the I-Beam in our opinion.

Interview with Connor Ferguson - Euro Tour, Pikes, Angies and Back in Oz

- words by Tommy Watson

Skoa Team Rider Connor Ferguson has been getting in his miles this season traveling from Australia, out to Europe, back home… back out to America and back home. He’s also been racking up the points and consistently getting on podiums in both the Junior and Open classes. I got to sit down with him across the internet after we both got back from Angies and get the details of how the season’s gone and get to know a little more about how Connor started off longboarding back home.

Connor not only took Juniors at Kozakov, he got second overall. Here, Jacko carries Connor up tot eh Podium Aussie style.

Tommy Watson: Hey Connor, what’s good?

Connor Ferguson: Yo Tommy! Just got home to Australia from about 3 months overseas. Summer’s coming so time to chill and enjoy the weather.

TW: You just got back from the Euro tour and North America, eh? How many countries did you end up going to?

CF: Yeah man, I flew into Prague, CZ for The Kozakov Challenge, and then to Toulouse, FR for Peyragudes Never Dies then back home for a bit and then back to North America for Pikes and Angies.

TW: I’ve heard that the freeriding is better than the racing in Europe. Did you do more mountain pass skating than race runs?

CF: I’ve been lucky enough to have a parent come with me both times to Europe over the last 2 years so freeriding has been kept to a minimum due to flying in between the races.

TW: What do you get up to between races?

CF: The usual tourist activities.

TW: Brie and cheese and what not… How many times have you been to Europe now?

CF: That’s it! This year was my second time.

Connor going through the fast lefty at Kozakov. Photo: Andre Gorokhov

TW: Any huge cultural differences from OZ?

CF: The bread tastes good and the english language isn’t very prominent

TW: Did anyone try to speak Australian with you?

CF: Surprisingly no, but in Las Vegas this lady was convinced Australians don’t speak english.

TW: What event did you have the most fun at?

CF: Kozakov Challenge for sure. Managed to score first in juniors and take second in opens behind Sebastian Hertler.

Connor and Patrick battling right to the line at Kozakov 2014

TW: Yeah! That one looks like the best to me. I’ve wanted to go since I first saw the course!! Outside of fun, how do you rank the track against all the others you’ve skated?

CF: My opinion is pretty bias because I favor the track a lot but I would say it’s more of a race course. It’s got everything, fast corners, fast straights, and lots of braking. It’s similar to Pikes Peak with the race track side although I personally think it is gnarlier. The party is killer too!

TW: Who did you take your best run with and what went down?

CF: There was a super sweet run with all the sector 9 guys where we were making sketchy passes and kept hella tight.

TW: I saw some pictures of the run with Kevin at Kozakov. The look on your face was priceless. Haha. Can you walk me through that section of the course? How did you manage to get out of that without crashing. In one shot it looked like you were basically sitting on Kevin’s board!

CF: Yeah that is the top section of the course. The first corner is a 90km/h double apex right hander that you have to slow down for and then quickly goes into a left hairpin and then into the forest section. I have no idea how I even stuck that outside line without crashing. I had no idea that his board had been there until afterwards when I the photos. haha.

Connor riding it out after the contact with Kevin at Kozakov. Photo: Marek Štefech

TW: What happened afterwards? You got second at the event but they took it back?

CF: Nah I was just messing around. There were a few people hating on the whole situation with Kevin, and yeah it sucked. I just made a post making fun of the haters saying that I had given up my second placing.

TW: Haha, well you got me. You’re sitting pretty good in open and have a commanding lead for Juniors. Are you doing South America and Hot Heels?

CF: Yeah Im pretty pretty stoked with where I’m sitting at the end of this season. Not going to any South American races but I just attended Pikes Peak and Angies Curves. At Pikes I had to decide which class to race because of the transport back up the hill being an issue. So i chose to race opens and crashed myself out in the quarter finals with a pretty big lead. hahah. We drove to Angies from Pikes and hit up some real rad roads in Salt Lake and spent a night in Las Vegas. Im pretty stoked with how I went at angies. I somehow qualified 6th in open, rode in the top 10 shootout and crashed myself out, qualified 1st in juniors, placed 9th in opens and 1st in juniors.

TW: Yep, I saw that crash at Pikes. Chilling in to the last corner and then just off your board. Being in Juniors, you’re still in school, right? Is it hard to balance all the traveling with that?

CF: Yeah pretty much. I have to work really hard over this next term so I don’t fail my final year.. haha.

TW: After this final year, are you going to be focusing more on skating, or do you have college plans lined up?

CF: After I’ve finished school I don’t plan on going to university. I’d like to get a job and do some real world stuff for a while and save up for travelling again.

TW: What are you doing when you’re not skating?

CF: Spending time with my girlfriend, hitting up the beach, and sleeping.

TW: What do you look forward to about the Ozzie scene when you get back from a trip?

CF: Just skating with all my mates and having some rad skate trips.

TW: That’s the best for sure. What’s your favourite spot back home?

CF: Ooh I have a couple. They are mainly fast with minimal braking.

Connor at Angie’s the year. Photo: Austin Paine

TW: Secret runs 🙂 You’ve got to protect them from the local groms, or is skating pretty chill in Australia?

CF: Gotta keep the gem spots secret or groms will hit them up every day, litter the place and blow it.

TW: Yeah, we’ve got the same problem here: groms kooking out and leaving wheels and trash all over the neighborhoods we skate. We’ve gotta run in with a clean up crew every once in a while.. Super frustrating.

CF: In some ways it’s good that groms here are all about the 180 stand up slides so they don’t blow the fast runs we love

TW: Who are the guys that you looked up to in the scene when you were starting out?

CF: Jamie and Pokie/Paul Gwillim, and Stephen Daddow

TW: I know who Steve is, but who are the other two guys?

CF: Jamie and Pokie are brothers and the guys that brought me into the sport. They organised the first race I ever attended and have taken me under there wing ever since then, taking me skating almost every weekend. They also started Team Monkypig which is what’s up with the monkypig on the back of my leathers.

TW: Haha, awesome. I’ve always wondered about team Monky Pig.I hear slalom is pretty popular over there. Jacko and Daddow seem to get on it a lot. Did you ever do any slalom?

CF: A few years back I set up a real sketchy slalom setup from a board that got run over but never competed in any competitions.

TW: Kind of glad that it got taken out? The bails in slalom are gnarly! Full grip commitment to BAM… on your side or whatever.

CF: There are still a few slalom competitions happening every now and again in Sydney but yeah, I don’t think slalom is my thing.

TW: Can you talk to me a little bit about your current downhill set-up?

CF: First of all you gotta have those Skoa Trucks. I ride the Vapors which came as 47 degree but I threw a 40* plate on the back. Inside the Vapors I rock Riptide bushings. 90a Fatcones boardside with 3 washers underneath to have the same height as a tall bushing, and 95a tall barrels roadside. I ride Zealous bearings inside my RAD wheels. All of this is mounted onto a Sector 9 Javelin with RDVX griptide to keep my feet on there. This board goes seriously fast.

Connor’s race set up and leathers.

TW: What is it about the Riptide formula that you like? What’s the added benefit of that fat cone?

CF: I’m not too sure. I’ve been riding Riptide bushings, the exact same duros and almost the same shapes, for almost 3 years now. Its just what I’m use to and what I’m comfortable with. I don’t really know my thinking behind it either. I like to think that having a softer and more restricted shaped bushing on the boardside adds stability but still allows a real smooth turn. But I’m constantly reminded that I have no idea what I’m doing. Go with whatever works and feels comfortable for you I say.

TW: Rad. That’s a bit different from the standard thinking, but the softer on bottom setup is something I run with my Venoms sometimes as well. I think it gives that soft bushing dive but with the harder rebound from the top bushing.Well cool. Thanks for taking the time to catch up with me, Connor. Anything else you want to say or shout outs to make in closing?

CF: Huge thanks to Skoa for helping me out and supplying me with the lightest and best trucks on the market. Shout out to Team Monkypig, Rad wheels, Sector 9, Riptide bushings, RDVX Grip, Zealous bearings and Shredders boardstore.

Connor on top of the Juniors podium at Peyragudes


Team rider Roberto Cobian wins the Mounds Down!

Tommy Watson: Hey Roberto, heard you had some fun over the last weekend. Where were you?

Roberto Cobian: Oh yea, I took a last minute decision to go up to Wisconsin with my homie Johnny to race The Mounds Down 2 and came back with a 1st place!

TW: Nice one!! I heard about this race last year talking with Black Squirrel Skateshop, who’s also in Wisco. They’ve got some good stuff up there! I’m forgetting the dudes name, but there was a Wisconsin racer who came down to Texas/Oklahoma for one of the races that Seth Gouker was throwing and slayed it. It’s cool seeing that Mid-West scene develop. What’s the course like? Can you walk me through a turn by turn?

RC: Yea midwest skate scene is growing every day! Im very happy to be also part of it! You kick off into a steep 90 degree right, into a straight with another right that you can tuck trough then into the left turn (crash corner) into the final long straight where many passes were done! It was wet during saturday which make is more interesting, few people afraid of the water and many crashes! thank to canada for the wet skating abilities!

TW: Who were the heavy hitters there?

RC: They were many local shredders, also Johnny Fireball, homie from Nebraska killed it. charles fricker another fast dude! Also many groms killing it men, good future ahead!

TW: Yeah, I’ve raced with Johnny a couple times. He’s definitely quick.About how many people were there?

RC: they were around 85 people or more, big scene for sure!

TW: Was it a one day event? What was the event vibe like? Camping?

RC: It was a 2 days events on a national park, where everybody camped out for the weekend with no internet! Was fun, music, campfire and much more! Good vibe everybody super nice! Cool local scene and lots of local shop support! Those kids are lucky!

TW: How did the final heat go down?

RC: It started to rain right before the final, the rider were freaking out trying to hurry up to ride the road dry but during going down it was totally wet and 3 of them crashed luckly I made it through with no issue for the win!

TW: I love rain riding! Definitely something we get to practice a lot up here in Canada, but not something I ever did when I was living in Texas. Sounds like those Wisco guys are the same. 🙂 Is this your first time to race in Wisconsin?

RC: yes, first time to race in Wisconsin and definently going back to skate with the locals!

TW: What’s your favourite section of the course?

RC: My favorite part of the hill was the left corner and it was much better when it was wet for sure!

TW: Who organized the event?

RC: Cam Adam, did a great job organizing the event, haybales, closed road the whole weekend, swaaag for the groms and good place to camp and chill! It was an amazing event and will be back next year! Wont forget my leather next time!

TW: Is there a mid-west outlaw series or anything like that?

RC: Not so far.

TW: What are the races that everybody’s attending from the area.

RC: The other mid west events, like davis city downhill, hummel havok, and many others!

TW: What’s the next race coming up in the area?

RC: Next one on the midwest is Soldier of Downhill! fast course and good place to be at!

TW: Yeah, that one’s probably the best known in the Mid-West. Lot’s of out of state and globally ranked riders attending that one.

RC: Yea, Went to soldiers of downhill last year and the scene was big, lots of fast rider and gnarly course as well, will be missing it this year because shcool….

TW: Well, rad. Good luck with that one, Roberto. And thanks for taking the time to talk. Any shout outs or last words to say before we sign out?

RC: Yea thank to my sponsor for all the support, Rayne, Abec11, Skoa Trucks, Vicious and Holesom as well mom and dad! Thanks Tommy!

Race Report - Insul (words by Chrisi Eckbauer)

The Ride to the German championships in Insul started on the evening at 7pm. We planned to start at something like 4pm, but I can’t remember any event where we started as we planned… After a nice and relaxed ride in Tina Zobel’s Volkswagen van we arrived just one minute before my birthday and so it was a very nice welcome at the camping site! After a few beer we all went to out tents or vans to be prepared for the next day.

The Insul track is a super nice track with 5 hairpins, a fast straight (+75km/h) and perfect for racing and freeriding. We had a whole day of freeriding on Friday. Simon was rocking the track with his incredible standup slides into the first corner with nearly 70 km/h). Matze and Leon were riding the new Maryhill edition from SKOA and it was nice to see how good these trucks were working.

Reinhold switches up wheels before the next run.

After the freeride, we went back to the campsite and warmed up for the party with a small Pogo-Schnaps-Birthday session by our vans/tents. There was a band playing that evening called “The Duff Boys” so we expected a lot of beer, rock’n’roll and more Jägermeister! We weren’t disappointed! Nice oldschool rock’n’roll, hard pogo dancing (especially Matze) and Sebastian Hertler arrived in the right moment with more Jägermeister!!! The rest isn’t super clear.

So the next day starts for some with a small hangover and others felt sick and did’t participate in the qualification runs in the morning. During Qualification rain and sun changed every hour, so we had only 3 quali runs, but this was not a problem because all riders were qualified (the race organization decided to make the 128cut). The Saturday evening starts with big dinner for all riders and ended with a super good Jam Session. Gunnar was rocking the drums and other racers joined in with the guitar, bass or vocals. It was an awesome vibe and the whole skate family enjoyed the evening.

Leon leads Matze and Chrisi in to a nice lefty.

The Race day starts with two film runs in the morning for Simon by Oli Dehmel and his Project SkateOn. We get two dry runs before the rain started up to make it fun for the Luge/Buttboard and Juniors. The weather conditions were now really changing every heat, and so we started in dry conditions for the first heat in the open class but then the second heat was in wet conditions and so many riders crashed but nobody get really injured.

Reini, Simon and I reached the ¼ finals but we were eliminated there and the ½ finals had the usual suspects. There were really close runs but in the end, the original residents of the legendary “steezehaus” Stuttgart: Sebastian, Jakob and SKOA team riders Matze and Leon reached the Final for the German Championship. It was a really close runs because these four skaters know each other so well and so nobody could forecast who will win. In the end Hertler won his 3rd title as German champion in a row. Matze got second and Jakob finished 3rd before Leon.

Matze, Sebastian and Jakob on the podium.

To Sum the event up: Jaaaa!!! Schöööön!!

First thanks to all the guys who make this event possible (Andi, Stephan, Seb and and and). Thank to all my friends for this unforgotten birthday party. Thank to the Duff Boys and all the riders from the German Downhill family, because all of you make the longboard scene in Germany and Europe so unique.

Go out and skate!

Matze Ebel Takes Second at German National Championships!

Congrats to team rider Matze Ebel for taking Second at this past weekend’s German National Championships at Insul! The weekend weather was on and off rain, but that didn’t deter Matze, or the rest of the team. Team riders Crissi, Simon and co-Owner/Machinist Reinhold were in the top 16, and team rider Leon Ritter was also in the Finals with Matze, coming in fourth place! Sick weekend for Team Skoa at Insul.

Photo: Mr Bookwood



We want to hear from you! What bushings do you run?

It’s a pain to get a set of trucks knowing that you’ll need to change out the bushings. At Skoa, we really enjoy the performance of the 90a Venom Barrel. For us, it’s a great mixture of resistance and rebound and let’s us have fun carving around and bombing hills. That being said, not everyone is the same and we want to make sure that your trucks are as close to perfect when they get to you as possible.

How would you have your set come to you? Let us know by visiting this link and giving us a little info about what bushings you like.


- Skoa Team

Tommy Watson Walks You Thru How to Change a Precision Truck Axle

I sat down a few weeks ago and whipped up a video walk thru for how to properly install an axle in to a Skoa Vapors. However, looking around there wasn’t much instruction online for how to replace a threaded axle in general, which is the most common style of axle found on many precision trucks. Luckily, this process below can be applied to any precision truck that has a threaded in axle such as Skoa, Aera and Munkaes just to name a few. Scroll down for more text details to help you out.

Skoa Trucks - How to Replace a Precision Truck Axle from Skoa Trucks on Vimeo.

Required Tools:

  • Latex or similar gloves
  • Rag
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • 13mm (for Skoa Trucks) or Adjustable Wrench if you’re unsure
  • Loctite 271 (Red)
  • Loctite Klean ‘N Prime

Applying the isopropyl alcohol to the rag and giving the hanger side threads a rub will help you cut through the oil that is often left on precision axles after they’re milled or following whatever anti corrosion treatment they go through. The Loctite Klean ‘N Prime that I use next further helps to promote bonding between the axle and anodized hanger. This isn’t necessary if you’re hanger and axle are untreated/raw, but since we black oxide our axles and anno our hangers, it’s important. You will want to use Latex gloves or something similar when working with these chemicals as they can cause skin irritation, etc.

The video doesn’t walk you thru the removal process of the axle, but I’ll tell you about it here. For that you’ll just need the right wrench for your axle and enough muscle to break the Loctite that’s holding it in there. It may be necessary to use a vice or some other sort of clamp. To protect your hanger from scratching, put a rag in between the hanger and vice/clamp. Folding the rag will give you some extra padding if you need to clamp down hard. BE CAREFUL HERE! The vice is most likely made of stronger metal than your hanger and can crush it… don’t over tighten.

That should be everything you need to know to swap your axles. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected]!


Interview with Roberto Cobian - words by Tommy Watson

Roberto’s been traveling all over Puerto Rico enjoying his summer away from Iowa. Pretty much every time I talk to him he’s driving and sends me a picture of the beautiful scenery that Puerto Rico has to offer: beaches, light houses, mountains, roads… beaches. It’s a good place to be! Roberto had some free time, so he and I plugged in our computers and talked about his recent racing, the Puerto Rican scene, and skating in general.

beautiful vistas...

Tommy Watson: It’s cheesy, but I’m still curious. Everyone has a different answer… What inspired you to skate in the first place?

Roberto Cobian: When I was in highschool all my friends used to skate and surf since I live on the west coast and everybody do the same thing, therefore I wanted to join them on what they like, after I tried both, skating was more fun…after a year all the support that my friends and family gave me inspired me to continue skating which have become very fun! I can’t forget that my grandmother took me to all the hills while my parents work! The truth is that I started skating because wanted to follow all my friends, and I never lie about that, But I found something that I like!


TW: That’s awesome! It’s great that your family is supportive of what you do. You’re dad skates as well, right? Did you get him in to it?

RC: Yeah! My dad wanted to join me and start skating too, but he do not know how to stop yet!!


TW: Can you tell me about the Puerto Rican scene? How’s the skating different than other places you’ve skated?

RC: The Puerto Rican scene is very big even though we are a small population. The style is very very aggressive, competitive and sometimes reckless. 🙂 I love my island and my people everybody is super cool and friendly, I had visit many other places and got involved in many other communities but Puerto Rico is unique!

jose loco on the left, kelvin lopez, roberto and jomar

TW: Did you have a favourite local skater growing up?

RC: When I started skating I always went to Quebradilla since everything started over there, and I always followed how Jomar “Black Mamba” Guzman skated and still skating! He’s a very humble person since day one and still my friend, talking about it we just raced last weekend.

TW: Aw nice! Yeah, I’ve been seeing pictures coming from Rio Arriba. How was the course? How many people were there?

RC: Rio Arriba is very mellow but fast, if you are in front you become a bait, because drafting is key to win, they were around 80+ skaters! Rio Arriba is in the middle of the forest, brand new pavement, 1 neighbor and very fast. You can tuck all the corners but you’re fighting a lot of g’s into them. At least my trucks have a lot of lean therefore I don’t need to break my tuck! The final heat was very crazy It was Jomar Guzman, Jose El Loco, Kelvin Lopez and Me, we were going down very fast and close passing each other on the drafting game at the end got I second place behind Guzman, Loco in third, and Kelvin on fourth!

TW: Awesome man. I love tight draft and pass action in racing. It’s great when there’s some back and forth before the finish line.

some jostling at the finish line

TW: What’s your favourite type of skating to do when you travel back to Puerto Rico?

RC: Everytime I come to Puerto Rico I’m looking to skate our technicals hills no sliding style, mobbing with cars and busses coming up by the middle of the road.


TW: Sounds a little sketchy! Are you guys using spotters or anything?

RC: Sometimes we have spotters, sometimes we dont!

TW: Where’s the best skating you’ve done in your travels?

RC: By far the best place has been Canada! I love the Nebraskan wilderness a lot and also the people is the best! Les Robertson the main host everytime I go, take me everywhere to skate and party at number 2 brown.

TW: Number 2 … brown. Sounds much like the No. 5 Orange.


TW: Is it racing or freeriding that makes you want to travel to these new places?

RC: Mostly racing, but when I’m in Iowa for school I like traveling just for fun and visiting different states and knowing new people, is all about FUN!


TW: If you suggested one event for someone to go to, what would it be?

RC: I have many favorite events but the best is Guakataka Downhill, even though 2 years ago was a shit show, last year improved a lot and it will continue to improve! Is the biggest local race in Puerto Rico, everybody attend it and is like a huge party!


TW: Which Skoas do you ride?

RC: I’ve been riding stream 7 since I got them to try, I liked them since they are very low and they still turn a lot. It’s very consistent because of the big urethane pivot cup that reinhold pours in Germany which make this trucks very unique and different from others! Although I just set up Vapors last weekend and love them so far. Very turny and have tons of lean, which Stream7 dont have because no rake and little offset.

race decksroberto's two piranhas - streams left and vapors right

TW: How do you set up your Skoas for freeride and for racing?

RC: For freeride I set up my Rayne Gmack with Stream7 and short barrels purple and yellow venom. For racing I’m currently using a Rayne Piranha with Vapors and tall barrels red and short barrels purple! Although both setups are capable of doing both. I currently weight 167 but sometimes I increase or decrease.


TW: Who are your other sponsors?

RC: I currently ride for Rayne Longboards, Abec11 Wheels, Vicious Grip, Holesom Pucks and now Skoa Trucks 🙂


TW: Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?

RC: Skate Fast and Skate safe, keep your local spot clean, bring cake to the neighborhood and get involved with your community!


TW: Thanks for sitting down and doing the digital do!


Tommorow, Roberto is heading out with Pam Diaz to skate the hills of near by Dominican Republic! Have fun and skate safe! I’ll be stoked to hear how that trip goes!