An Interview With The Creator of Skhateyou, the Internet’s Most Mysterious Skateboard Website

June 28th, 2017 | 5:33 am | Features & Interviews | 4 Comments

Dubai

A key feature to the internet’s role in spreading skateboarding across the world is democratic access to spot knowledge. You can become a local in any city with a skate scene through a mere Google search. The spots page is the most common tale of how people discover QS, and QS began as nothing more than a ripoff of the Metrospective spots page — one of the internet’s first city guides.

Anybody who has travelled in Europe (and even beyond) for skateboarding has been told about Skhateyou, which is a crudely designed skate spot guide reminiscent of Web 1.0 sites plus a Google Map. Though it is most well known for its comprehensive Barcelona page, in recent years, Skhateyou has accumulated spot maps for Chinese skateboard meccas, eastern European cities you’ve never thought to visit, and even cities in the Emirates. There’s next to nothing on Skhateyou.com besides maps and pictures of skate spots, so we tracked down the mysterious good samaritan responsible for remotely tour guiding thousands of European skate trips. (He still wanted to be kept anonymous though.)

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Where are you from and how did you first get into skateboarding?

I’m from the Italian Alps. I started snowboarding at the end of the 80s with some friends. When the snow would melt, we’d bomb the hill around our place, and of course, I got an instant bug for skateboarding.

When did you first start Skhateyou, and what sparked you initially? Do people help you out with it?

When I started skating in the 80s, it was lame to skate. People thought that it was a kid’s toy and something that I would stop soon. Around 2000, I was still skating, and started to think about saying “fuck you” to everybody who thought you can’t skate when you get older. I thought “Skhateyou” could represent that state of mind; you don’t understand what I’m doing but are still judging me, so Skhateyou. I printed it on a couple of shirts for me and my friends.

I love to travel, and have always been more interested in the spot than the trick. Even a long time ago, it felt natural to shoot pictures of the spots I was skating. I moved to Barcelona in 2006 for one year, and decided to do the website. It felt logical to call it Skhateyou.com.

Do you remember any other skate websites from the time you started? Were any of them direct inspirations onto Skhateyou?

A friend of mine used to do something similar for the south of France — it was called skalpes.fr. I never really thought about it, but it was probably my inspiration. But back in the early 2000s, there weren’t too many skate websites.

The Quietly Incredible Year For Euro Skaters Over 30

July 5th, 2013 | 4:48 am | Features & Interviews | 15 Comments

shape up

Aging pro skaters don’t owe anything to anyone (except maybe their sponsors), but that doesn’t stop us from constructing narratives for their decreases in visibility. Following Pretty Sweet, there was practically as much conversation about those who didn’t have enough footage and why, as there was about those who did.

Enter any message board post regarding Dill and AVE’s upcoming venture, and it’ll be dominated by speculation about how much they have in the tank. Skate nerds love being in the seventh round of a game of telephone, and using that hearsay to explain why so-and-so could only film a few 5050s and cool ollies for a part. We’re sensitive about our old favorites, mostly because we forget that skaters, like other humans, get burnt out and can’t do the same things in their thirties.

While assuaging the decline of the old guard through the skateboard-internet gossip machine, it has been easy for us, as world-revolves-around-us Americans, to forget about the Euros. Even with Lucas Puig’s American approval rating through the roof, we take for granted that there is an entire European class of older low impact legends still killing it — with little need for excuses or a fan-made script to their “soon-to-be exit.” But we also forget that Rodrigo TX is sorta the best skater alive because he’s not American, so we’re generally just assholes.

Below are the four guys who you could make the best case for as the European Mount Rushmore (oxy moron, obvs) of low impact skateboarding. They’re doing a hell of a lot better than some of the guys we’re on message boards making up stories for. American #nineties affiliations are mandatory for consideration and are most evident through the great L.A. County video.

What Happened to William Phan?

March 29th, 2013 | 5:03 am | Time Capsule | 16 Comments

william phan

We posed the question above on Facebook, and got a response within three minutes: “Still skating in Barcelona every day. Doesn’t give a shit.”

You know that hypothetical “If you could skate like one person, who would it be?” scenario? Most usually answer with Cardiel or Gino, but a consideration people often forget when formulating their response is how nice it would be to have the flip tricks of someone who skated MACBA every day for over a decade. William Phan is one of those dudes who would do insane lines but still have the flat tricks stand out as the most impressive part. The kickflip up the ledge in the first line of his They Don’t Give a Fuck About Us part is legitimately one of the most memorable moments of the entire video. He even makes 360 frontside flips — a trick otherwise reserved for Battle of the Berrics and Greg Lutzka — look good. Observe below.

Unfortunately for anyone who doesn’t skate MACBA every day, he’s seldom been seen since a part in one of the best Euro videos of all-time, and yes, this is our second TDGAFAU-inspired post in twelve months. He’s on some European sect of Nike SB, last seen in the bonus section of Nothing but the Truth and the French SB team’s trip to China montage. BUT, thanks to the magic of Facebook (it’s not completely irrelevant yet!), some lesser-seen footage of Phan was brought to light via what looks like the filmer from the TDGAFAU era’s Vimeo page. This includes a clean quality version of his shared part from No Place Like Home (the YouTube upload for it sucks), which might be his only full part outside of the Lordz video. It doesn’t benefit from TDGAFAU‘s level of music supervision and has graphics that look like they come from shirts sold at Burkina, but it’s great either way. In the same Vimeo account, you’ll also find two “Firing Line”-style uploads that are incredible.

Add William Phan to the “He’d make a great Manolo Mixtape…” list.

Filed Under: Time Capsule | Tags: , , ,

Euro Update: Scandinavian Edition

March 27th, 2013 | 5:11 am | Daily News | 5 Comments

euro update

We’re going to avoid the dominant topic pertaining to skateboarding across the Atlantic for now (even Hitler had a lot to say about it…), and concentrate on less controversial Scandinavian matters.

Streetmachine’s Copenhagen-based VoresKBH and the Norweigian Oslo 5 video (which we sorta reviewed in February) have been among the more interesting full-length releases in a winter dominated by Pretty Sweet Mark Suciu debates. Copenhagen obviously hosts a big skate contest and teams travel to northern Europe on tour, but an in-depth look of the scenes up there seems like unexplored territory for most American skate-video-watchers, now jaded by Europe’s more blown-out destinations. Considering the great response Polar has gotten in the States, both videos are worth a look, even if their respective skate scenes are a bit less sexy as they’re not built on frontiersman-like concrete work. Scandinavian skateboarding seems mildly reminiscent of the northeast, and it’s easy to imagine the circumstances of each video’s production being similar to that of recent Minnesota projects if you were to subtract suburban sprawl and add in the HD.

Ninety minutes of skateboarding from tall Europeans whose names you cannot properly pronounce might be a lot to take in, but each video is solid. The Abu Dhabi and Mallorca sections in VoresKBH and the section that starts at 24:50 in Oslo 5 (fakie hardflips!) are among the highlights.

An Interview With Eirik Traavik, Editor of Dank Magazine

January 23rd, 2013 | 8:10 am | Features & Interviews | 2 Comments

dank stack

We spoke with Eirik Traavik, editor-in-chief of Dank magazine, an awesome bi-annual mag based out of Oslo, Norway. Dank is one of the most all-around unique skate publications we have come across — it’s closer to something you would see on the rack at McNally Jackson for $25 than a crumpled up Thrasher at your local shop. Eirik talks about the idea of a “grown up” skate magazine, independently running a print operation in the iPhone and Hella Clips era, and the future of mags in general.

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What is the skate scene in Norway like? What mags do you guys read up there?

The skate scene in Norway is small and relatively fragmented. You have multiple cliques in every city, and smaller scenes in the countryside. Parks are popping up everywhere, so it seems like more and more kids are getting into skating. You can only skate street for about six months a year, so Norwegian skateboarding has traditionally been presented in parts of mags also devoted to snowboarding and/or surfing. When it comes to print, people are generally into Thrasher and The Skateboard Mag. You’ll occasionally see copies of Transworld. Print seems to be losing ground a bit, I guess most kids are more into instant gratification through Hella Clips and Skatevideosite.

Most countries in Europe have their own mags. I think the geographically closest influential magazine is Fluff from Holland. Scandinavia doesn’t have many interesting print publications. I usually pay attention to Grey, Anzeige, Kingpin and Soma.

A lot of print publications are folding or becoming online only. The magazines that do remain have big websites to back them up. You guys are four issues into Dank and don’t have much of an internet presence. What made you want to start a magazine when all signs seem pointed against printed skate mags?

The decision was based on nostalgia and personal preference when it comes to presentation of skateboarding, especially photography. We’ve all grown up with physical formats, and would hate to see good mags disappear completely. Dank is an argument in favor of slowing the pace down a bit. I can only speak for myself, but I feel completely numbed by the constant online flow of footage, ads, photos and montages. It doesn’t sink in. I think print offers an opportunity to really let photos and interviews sink in. Whenever I’m on Slap and come across something interesting, I’ll usually be looking at it with at least five other tabs open. Dank doesn’t have a big internet presence, true, but it is a product of the internet. It’s a printed mag that takes the consequences of the proliferation of quicker media outlets into consideration. We don’t run stories that are shorter than four pages, we come out only twice a year, and the materials are chosen to make the mag feel more like a book.