1.) You have to be the only freestyler in the 80s to only have a pro street model instead of a freestyle model. Tell us how you got on Walker and why you chose to release a street shape? Also, how did you come up with the 'bagged critter' graphic?
Well, to answer all your questions, I have to go back to one of my former sponsors G&S Skateboards. Ok, I got on G&S in 1984 I think. Billy Ruff put me on the team and I had a great time and was proud to be sponsored by a US board company; Tracker was my first US sponsor since 1982. Then in late 1985 things folded for G&S and the team was ‘fired’.
After that I got in touch with Walker Skateboards by sending them a ‘sponsor me’ letter.
A skater owned and run company with lots of Freestylers appealed to me. Yup, Bruce put me on the Walker Skateboards Team and things started to roll. In February 1986 I got over to the US to meet Bruce and some team riders and we went to a contest together.
As Walker had so many Freestyle models already, we thought about cashing in a bit on the growing Street market as I entered Street and Vert contests as well back in the days.
I skated everything, except high jump.....
The graphics on my Street deck, the ‘bagged critter’ was based on an art poster that I sent to Bruce Walker’s brother Steven to work on some kind of graphics. Ok, he ripped open the wrapping and added the teeth and tongue to make it more ‘radical’.
YOYO, the muscle guy and the bear was my idea.......
2.) You know we're not going through this interview without mentioning the Yoyo plant. Not only did you invent that trick; you have a ton of variations on it. How and when did you come up with this spine contorting trick?
As I said before, I skated Vert as well and we didn’t have a half-pipe in my home town.
I thought about doing some kind of inverted trick on flat ground and came up with the idea of the yoyo plant. At first I was doing step off versions where I held the board in my hand, planted my hand on the floor and jumped on my board; kind of the modern version I do these days where I put the deck in a railstand position and then jump on it.
I even did varial variations before actually pulling off a fully vertical yoyo plant.
At the German Nationals in 1982 I did the first YOYO Plant in a routine and in issue #3 of Transworld Skateboarding 1983 you can see a sequence of me doing the plant in sunny Cali.
3.) One of the first few companies that emerged during the ressurection of freestyle was Casper Industries. They did not have alot of pro model decks and you managed to get your name on one of them. How did you get on the team? While, we're on the topic, how did you start skateboarding?
Bob Staton was working with Bobby Boyden aka Casper to get Freestyle back on the map again. As I was in touch with Bob all the time, he put me on the team and did the graphics for all the first boards that came out. Thanks Bob (R.I.P.) and Bobby for pushing Freestyle, as well as Darryl Grogan for creating the Casper Video!
Skateboarding for me started way back in 1975 when my uncle, who lives in Cali., came over to visit our family in Germany and he brought me and my brother a skateboard as presents.
I still have that very first blue plastic skateboard on my museum wall.
That’s how it started and since then I have never stopped to skate!
4.) Age affects all of us. Our body break down, especially after decades of hard skating. You carry an 'Ice container knee cooling' thing everywhere you go. Tell us about this and any other nagging injuries you may have.
I don’t leave home without my Aircast Cryo Cuff cooler and bandage. Well, this thing works wonders and keeps the swelling down after a hot session; lots of athletes use it as well.
It’s just age and not a real injury. We gotta pay to play as Russ Howell would say, and I can only agree.
5.) You obviously know how small the freestyle scene is from running a distribution in Germany. How do you feel about its current state and do you have any predictions for the future?
The scene in Germany is smaller than small these days, but I am optimistic for a little growth.
We just have to see the scene in Europe and that’s growing. It will never be huge, but we are more like a big family and I love it. I am not in it for the money, more to serve the sport of Freestyle Skateboarding!
We are here to stay!
Over and out.......
Have a nice day!