Interview by Michael Bayr
Photography by Dominic Swagemakers
Adapt was officially launched at Winterclash 2012, how do you feel?
The first weeks after the launch and the two years before that was pretty hectic. I think working full time on a skate and working full time at a normal job, finding time to skate takes a lot from a person. I never stopped working after my venture with the shop and skatepark. It’s a good thing that Olga is by my side to remind me I have to take it easy, haha! I always feel like I am not doing enough, that I can do even more, but I think Olga and I are now trying to plan our time better so we have more structure in our lives. I feel great.
Starting a skate company is definitely the biggest venture in the skating world, why did you decide to take this step?
It’s something I always wanted to do when I was a kid. I was born to do something. At around 12 years old I had this vision: I knew what I needed to do. I knew I was never going to be the ASA pro or X-Games champion so this became my mission. My mission is to create. I like creating dreams and making them come true. My family always supported me to reach out for this goal. I always had to work for things, I never got anything for free. I think my passion for skates made this the next step for me. At one point I felt like I had tried everything the industry had to offer and needed something else on my feet. Skates should “adapt” to my feet. I needed something else. Something that I could share with the world. Adapt is my dream come true.
Ben Harmanus was announced as a rider close to the launch, why did you decide to start working together with him?
Olga and I were looking for wheels to put under the skates. We wanted to have a skater owned wheel so we didn’t have many options. The way Ben is running Chimera is so close to our vision so we got in contact with Ben and instantly felt like there was a healthy connection going. Ben is just a grade A skater and he fits in with the team perfectly. We went to Germany to visit him – the rest is history.
How is the feedback so far on the skates?
Very good. It’s even better than we thought it would be. A lot of people like the idea behind the brand. A lot of older skaters just loved it. So, we are going to keep doing this for sure. We decided to start with a test program: The idea came from Ferrari that has its ‘Corse Clienti’. People get to skate the product at a better price and we ask feedback from them. We created a new shell with all those people giving us responses. A better fitting shell for the rolling crowd. This new skate will be coming out soon. It will be a reworked Ben Harmanus pro skate. Almost the same but the secret lies in the details.
Did the launch go the way that you anticipated it?
Yes and no. For me everything goes too slow! That’s just the person I am. I said I wanted to start a skate brand in 5 years, we did it in 2 years. With the launch there was so much going on. We decided to create a new version of the website 2 days before the launch, haha. We made our deadline, but we are now working behind the scenes to create a completely new website that is more user friendly, has more info and a much more solid image.
Why go for Adapt skates?
The same reason you would choose Valos or Shimas. Adapt is skater owned and we started a boot company from the ground up. I think we can be proud of our creation. This is only our first product and it’s right up there with the best skates ever created. Adapt is the brand that puts passion into every skate made; every skate is built for you.
What does Adapt mean for your personally? Are you able to work full time on Adapt now?
Adapt is our way to say thank you to a lifestyle. It’s our love and passion. I could stare for hours at the Adapt boot. It puts a smile on my face every time I ride them. For us to be able to work full time on Adapt we first have to reach a few more goals. Doing this full time would mean that we use the money for ourselves but our goal is to support our team like they should be supported. Our goal is to create a better product and all the money we make now is going to those goals. Olga and I both work full time beside Adapt. Olga works for a local skate shop and I make speed skates and ice skates at the highest level.
When will we see the next skates?
Something that I am very good at is to keep them secret until the day we want them to be in the spotlight. We are testing out the ‘Vegan’ skate but you cannot tell it apart from the ‘One’. We use the same style skin to cover it up and work everything out before we even change the outer skin. We want to make sure Adapt has a family line. Like exclusive cars, you have a big brother car and the smaller car. This will be the same with Adapt. They will have the same features but the ‘One’ is the big brother and the ‘Vegan’ is the small one. Both very good skates and high end. But still different.
Will you also add new team riders?
We are currently talking to two US riders who want to join our team. We had a lot of people asking to be on the team. But we stay with our goal to meet them in person before we even put them on the team. We need to know if they see Adapt like we see it. This summer – that’s all I can say for now.