Unless you have been living under a rock, there is very little chance you haven’t heard about Cityhopper World yet, let alone watched the third episode of Sven Boekhorst‘s blading adventures around the globe. With the number of views rising higher every day, and the 22 minutes piece being nominated for One‘s Video Of The Year award, it seems that mostly everyone in the blade community has taken a lot of interest in the project. Arguably the most enjoyable episode to date, Cityhopper World has met an enthusiastic crowd and great success already.
In the last month only, Sven gave interviews to every major publication, in addition to being featured several times on the international Rollerblade site. If his name will forever be associated with Cityhopper however, such a high scale production would never be possible without the help of a strong and dedicated crew. To get to the bottom of things and hear the full story, we talked not only to Sven but also his two major collaborators since the inception of the very first Cityhopper project: listen to the whole story, as told by Remy Cadier, Axel van Dijk and Sven himself!
Hey there guys, thanks for doing this with us! First things first, how did the whole Cityhopper project start? Could you maybe give a little summary of the first two episodes?
– Rémy Cadier: Back in the day Sven used to film himself on a crappy tripod or would just have some local yokel hold the camera for him when he did his stunts on blades. Randy and I heard that Sven was finally going to receive a pro skate from Rollerblade, and since I had already filmed a part with him for my Ouwe Mannen dvd the idea of trying to do something which was not just a run of the mill edit came to mind while talking with Randy Abels. Not soon after that I was chatting with Sven online and I told him about the idea Randy and I had come up with. After having worked with Axel on some play around edits I decided to ask him if he was willing to join us. Little did he know what he would be in for.
– Axel van Dijk: Phone rang, I answered, plan was told, deal was made. Done.
– Sven Boekhorst: Basically, I was thinking about a promo video for my pro skate back in 2012. And together with Randy and Remy we came up with the idea to do something with a ramp. Luckily I’m have good contact with the guys at my local park who gave me the space and material to start building this ramp, without even knowing if we would find a budget to make it happen. Back then, Dick Heerkens was working as a student at SB Events and we started to look for sponsors for this project. At the end we found Redbull and Rollerblade. I believe we got all the shots for Cityhopper NL in september 2011 and the whole project went online in January 2012.
It became a big success and a lot of blogs/sites were sharing it which made us and Rollerblade realize we could even go a step bigger. Because of some miscommuniation with Redbull we lost them as a sponsor for the project, and somehow we were not able to find any other sponsor for Cityhopper Europe. In the end we made some local deals in each city with the local skateshops. We started shooting for Cityhopper Europe in April 2013: the first city was Brussels and we finished with Berlin in september 2013. The release of Cityhopper Europe was during the Winterclash 2014. Right after the Clash I was already in contact with Rollerblade to see the possilbilties to make Cityhopper World happen.
You mentionned a few people already, and obviously a project that big doesn’t happen without a strong crew. Who is part of the team, and who’s doing what? What are Sven’s other jobs besides blading?
– Sven: Remy & Axel, camera and editing. Niels: camera, designs (logos). Timmy: extra camera shots, production support on location. Randy: production, (online) marketing support . Dick: website, production, (online) marketing support. Dominic: photos when he was able to take a day off from work. Me: skating, budget, dealing with all communication to sponsors & locals, spot search, logistics, accomodation, production… Besides that we had many many many phones calls all togehter about how we could make the project even bigger and better.
– Remy: My job was to bitch and moan if Sven didn’t want to do a trick again, since I was not satisfied with either the shot or the landing of the trick. Oh and hold cameras and make sure shit was correct at all times. And yell out cursewords in the language of whichever country we were in at the time.
– Axel: I film, edit and take adjustment calls from Sven although a lot less then previous editions. Besides that I have to beg all my musical connections for ‘legal’ music for the soundtrack. Thank you DJ DNS, DJ Native, Engel and Diggy Dex.
– Remy: Oh shit, indeed, hustling for music we could use without YouTube cockblocking the hell out of us. Like Axel said, thanks Shroom!
Where did Cityhopper take place? How did you pick the different locations?
– Sven: It was a combination of two things. There had to be a big distributor in this country for extra support + a local community to support us. And two, the locations had to look good on video, with some nice spots we needed for sure in Cityhopper World. And the idea was to have only one city on each continent.
– Remy: In the end unfortunately Australia was the one country/continent we couldn’t make it to because financially we just couldn’t swing it, and being away from home much longer and having to sit in a plane for so long we decided against it. So that is kind of the one that got away.
– Axel: I believe two of the original locations were Cape Town and Shanghai, then somebody told me that the weather was nice in LA and Rio. The sun is shining in Australia though.
How long did it take to film the whole project this time? When and where did you guys start, and what was the final step of this production? How much time for filming, and how long did the post-production work need?
– Sven: We had between 5-7 days for each trip to film both Cityhopper and the 80MM segments. We started with Cape Town – Shanghai – LA – Rio – Amsterdam. While we were in each city we pretty much “worked” our whole stay. Waking up most of the days around 7-8 in the morning and going to bed somewhere around 23:00-0:00 to be fit the next day.
– Axel: I just recently came in to contact with daylight again. Editing takes up most of the time.
Haha yes, there goes your suntan! On another note, how is this kind of project even possible financially? How much work and effort actually goes into budgeting the whole project beforehand?
– Sven: This project was only possible as we were doing the 80MM project as well. It’s a cool way to create something within the aggressive market which normally would not be possible, as if Rollerblade were to only use the budget from the sales of their aggressive skates, there would be no way to find funds for a project this big. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to focus on 2 big projects while we were there.
– Remy: Let’s just say we did not get rich off of it. Skaters should understand that in order to get what you want, sometimes you have to do things you might not normally do, like make free skating edits. Not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s more fun than a lot of things I film in my day to day job, but still, I prefer filming stuntblading. But the Freeskate part is also a great way to find spots. And if you need to do this in order to have a chance at doing a proper Cityhopper, make something more commercial, well it’s not a huge price to pay.
– Axel: You film these types of projects because you love skating I think. I’ll tell you out of experience: you don’t film/edit these projects because you want to get rich quick.
But you get to live the adventure, and that’s much more valuable even. What was your personal craziest story? Your best memory & worst moment? Anything that did not go according to plan, like specific injuries or technical issues involved?
– Remy: Well, in Rio we had some crazy times. From getting up to film a sunrise, filming the whole day and still being awake when the sun rose the next day, to downhill bombing in favela ‘La Rocinha’ and partying in another Favela that night at a party called ‘Babylon’, being one of 2 other gringos at that party. Fun was had, fucks were not given. L.A. was less of a hoot because of Sven’s head injury. We did have a good time with Sean, Tim, Ray and the rest of the Lux Armor gang, but my memory is kind of hazy, which might or might not have had something to do with all the medicinal Marihuana that was being smoked to collectively help heal Sven’s head.
– Sven: As for the best memories: our visit to the townships in Cape Town. It Was so great to see all the joy those people had because we were there visiting their neighboorhood. This was the same for the favela in Rio. For me it was really special to speak with some local riders like Maxwell, that could tell me exactly my X-Games and ASA finals runs back in 2000. Amazing! The worst memory, for sure the slam on my head in LA. Not only for my head but also the responsibility I had to the rest of the crew. As I was making the program for each trip I had to let things go. Luckily things went all right and I was even able to do some trick a week later. But still this whole trick went a bit different than planned.
– Axel: By far the funniest thing was watching Eric Cheung suck the gasoline out of Sergio’s taxi to use for lighting up the ramp, which didn’t happen. The fireworks worked great. One of the worst things, next to the heatstroke I suffered in Cape Town, was that I almost learned ‘all’ of the lyrics to “I’m in love with the Coco”… I’ll never forgive Timmy Vanilli for that one.
And in terms of traveling, what was your favorite location during this worldwide journey? Favorite obstacle / favorite trick landed (or not)?
– Sven: My favorite trick: properly my 720 in Rio and the triple grind combo in Amsterdam. As for the favorite location I would like to go back to Cape Town and/or Rio one day.
– Axel: Least favourite was the flatspin in Shanghai, the trick itself didn’t bother me so much, but the guy playing the out of key f&cking trumpet next to me did even though there was a sign that said you can’t play the trumpet there (yes they actually have signs for that). I tried to tell him to stop but he was looking at me as if I was speaking Chinese… My favourite trick was the switch-up in Amsterdam because I believed that after Sven fell on the 360 out, and this was the 812764918nd try, that this trick wasn’t happening. 3 tries later he managed to pull it off. Still a professional after all this time.
– Remy: The trick I was the most happy with that he actually did was the backside to Soul in L.A., because he had 15 staples in his head and a blue/black leg. When he stomped the landing I knew that L.A. would still be fun enough to watch. The trick I like the best would be the 720 Corkscrew in Rio. We, or rather Renato, had to ‘donate’ €200 worth of stuff the place we wanted to skate needed. Of course this was not a bribe, but just an ‘agreement’ which was made. This is Brazil after all. I knew Sven should be able to do the Cork Seven there, but to see it happen was still something worth watching.
How did it go with the release? How was the video received and what kind of feedback did you get? How many views / downloads at this point? Are you guys happy with how the whole thing came together?
– Sven: The premiere at my local park was great. Everybody was really happy to see it. All the feedback we got online was positive. The only thing I’m suprised that it did not get picked up by pretty much any blog/site outside of our community. Not sure why, because I think this edition of Cityhopper is probably the best one looking one as far as locations and tricks go.
– Remy: We had a good time. It was nice to hear people react to the video the way you intended them to, and to hear some of the cheers when there was a landed trick or hard fall. But it’s no premiere at Winterclash!
– Axel: I believe the views are getting close to 25K at this moment, so it’s going pretty well.
So now that it’s all said and done, what is next for you guys? You have been all over, what do you envision / fantasize the next project to be?
– Sven: At this moment I will be focusing more and more within the Rollerblade family and will do some freeskate/marathon projects as well. And who knows, some day we will go to the moon. But for now Cityhopper World was the max and I’m happy we made it. Besides that I’m also turning 36 next year!
– Axel: I believe the sun is still shining in Australia…
– Remy: At the moment I’m getting started on the last ever edit of our good friend that passed away recently, Edwin Wieringh. His parents have given me his harddrives with the footage he was saving up for his VOD, and I’ll be combining that with footage I received from ‘New Spot Steve’ Steinmetz and a whole bunch of new footage I had of him to edit his tricks together so we can enjoy his blading one last time. And besides that, my normal work as freelance cameraman.
Any last words of wisdom you’d want to share with the world, thank you’s shout out’s?
– Sven: Of course I want to thanks Rollerblade for their support to me personally for the last 20 years. And again these last 5 years with Cityhopper. But I really want to thanks the Dutch crew and all the locals, friends and people we met during all our trips for the last 5 years. Amazing how many great adventures we had all together. For sure I will never forget this, ever!!!
– Axel: Rollerblade for making this happen, all my musical friends for hooking me up and my girlfriend Remy Deinum for creating the coolest custom rollerblades, ever.
– Remy: I would like to thank all the people I met on the stops we went to for making everything possible, together with Rollerblade, the Cityhopper crew for always coming through and my lovely wife Kitty Gabriels-Cadier for putting up with all the Cityhopper shenanigans.