Interview by Andreas Petry Photography by Philip Carstea
Marco, only a few weeks left until the doors open at the event. Tell us some details about the competition.
It will be at an indoor skate park event and we will have a pro, girls and an amateur competition plus a special kids challenge in the beginning. The area is the new Halle 59 in Cologne. There will be a tradeshow, a chill out area, food, drinks, bars, etc. and in the night there will be the big after party called “Overdose” in one of the biggest clubs of the city.
When I first heard that you were planning the event again, I was happy. Meanwhile, I’m totally surprised how big it seems to have become. More pro and sponsor announcements every week and more guest commitments as well. Did you think it would grow like this from the beginning or did it all evolve time after time? How did it all start?
One Year ago after finishing my studies, I moved to this region and saw how many bladers lived in and around the city of Cologne. New skate parks started popping up all over the city and so I realized that we needed an event to bring the scene together. In the beginning I thought about a real street contest but then something very good happened. I talked to Dany Leuffer from the Skatehall Cologne and she told me about a complete rebuild of the old skate park in the fall of 2012. So I decided to organize a contest in the new Halle 59 Cologne and everything started. I needed a big sponsor for the event and I found a very good partner with Hedonskate. Nothing could stop the progress of this project after that. All the scene sponsors were hyped about the idea of the competition so we decided to move on and work together with one of the biggest German beer companies called “Veltins” and they agreed as well. After this I realized how big it could become, so my friend Björn Pakusa started to create the designs for the event and we founded a website made possible by Marcel Elz and Mario Damman. After launching the website we get commitments from bladers from all over Europe. We will have big names for the pro competition like Nils Jansons, Mathias Silhan, Alex Burston, Richie Eisler, Nick Lomax, Dominik Wagner, Jojo Jacobi, Ben Harmanus, the Hedonskate team, the Adapt team, the Chimera team, the Blackjack team and some skaters we will announce in the next few weeks. To say it in one sentence, I saw the potential of the area and this city, but I didn`t think that it would become so well known.
What can you tell about Halle 59? I saw some pictures of the rebuild on the web and it all looks awesome. Who built the park and did you have to add some special ramps? What can we expect?
The New Halle 59 will be a big extreme sports center in the heart of Germany. Your will not only be able to skate but you can go and ride the BMX dirt jump park, rock climb in the climbing hall, play basketball, soccer, dance, party or chill in the lounge area. It’s the perfect place for everyone. It was built by Camp Ramps and some volunteers and was organized by the awesome team of the Abenteuerhalle. The new skate park is completely different compared to the old one. You can see some of the new ramps on the pictures. There’s a bowl, wall rides, a step up, a spine ramp, ledges, rails, but there will be more. For the Shred we will build some special ramps sponsored by Hedonskate, Blackjack and Chimera wheels.
You have been skating since the 90’s. What motivated you to put so much effort into this project?
All I do is for the love of rollerblading. In my mind we need more events to meet all your friends and to celebrate this unbelievable sport. That is the way to make it famous again. Show the world the positive energy of freestyle rollerblading and nobody will deny it. My motivation is to give something back to a movement that changed my life in a positive way since day one. You don´t need to be pro or something, it’s all about fun and creativity. With this event I wanted to say thank you to rollerblading!
Tell us about the format of the competition. What can we expect?
The event will begin with the Young Guns in the Chimera best trick challenge. After the amateur qualification will start. The contest format will be a jam session. To enter the amateur contest you must be at least 16 years old, otherwise you can skate the kids’ session. To enter the pro contest you must be sponsored by a boot company in the industry (which means flow, am or pro status). Only pro boot sponsored riders will get points for the W.R.S. Rankings. You should wear protection and a helmet but if you are 18 years or older, you can sign a disclaimer of liability so you can skate without a helmet. But as we say, helmets save lives! Here is the format of the competition:
Qualification Amateur & Girl: Jam format – 5 minutes, 5 riders
Pro: Jam format 5 minutes, 3 riders
Final Amateur & Girl: Jam, 10 minutes, 5 riders
Pro: Jam, 15 minutes, 6 riders
Judging is based on lines, difficulty, style, and creativity. Winners will be determined by overall impression. The best trick doesn’t win but the whole performance.
After your last competition, we know that we should be prepared for a wild after party. What are the plans for this year?
Haha, yes, the last after party was legendary. This year it will be bigger than the last time. Daniel Gourski and Daniel Maier are organizing a real big after party called “Overdoze” in the E-Feld Club with 2 Floors and 7 Djs. We are also planning a chill out floor, but who needs to chill out? Here is a video of the last Overdoze filmed by be-mag filmer Chris Piotrowicz.
Any shout outs?
Yes, I really want to thank Björn Pakusa for all the designs and for helping me out with every problem and Dany Leuffer for making so much possible in the Halle 59! Oli Nermerich made a lot possible! Thank you! Also thanks to Marcel Elz and Mario Damman for the website! Everything started with Hedonskate and I want to thank Mirek Ragan and Dirk Oelmann for trusting me. Last but not least, thanks to all the sponsors for making this event possible. Hedonskate, Veltins V+ Beer, Adapt, Chimera, USD, Razors, Black Jack Clothing, X-Mini Speakers and of course Be-mag. Thanks to every single person that helped me out and will help me to make it an unforgettable event! Oh and thank you for doing this interview. Make sure to be at the Skate park in October!