This week saw the release of Brett Nichols newest video called SPÄTI and for those that know us know that we were closely involved in the making of that video (on the skateboarding end of things). After his 2015 visit, we stayed in touch with Brett and some of the other American guys even made a return visit in 2016. That summer spent skating and sitting at the Späti drinking beer resulted in multiple projects happening, A plethora of pictures shot by Alexey Lapin, Friedjof Feye and Danny Sommerfeld a lot of social media output and even projects like Pete’s B’n’B in Amsterdam are connected to this visit. Coming back, those weeks spent cycling, skating and drinking resulted in multiple stories which will be unfolded in this article.
Traveling the through city.
Picture this, Berlin 2015, every summer year guest flock to our city to experience life as it is lived in the German capital. Back in 2015 the summer marked the return visit of a couple of our friends from the USA coupled with the visit of Russian skate photographer Alexey Lapin and German photographer/skater Conny Mirbach. From the start, everybody got along great and skate dates were made, “Let’s go out and shoot some photos and film some stuff, motivation was high. Now normally skate photographers travel with a lot of equipment and that often means that you are bound by a car, but Alexey traveled very light. It was in fact, Brett Nichols the filmer who carried two boards, multiple VX1000 cameras, wax and all sorts of other tools. He had everything, from stuff to smoothen out the most un-grindable ledge to stuff that could fix the worst run up. The best way to find stuff to skate in Berlin is to travel the city by bicycle, which meant that Brett had to carry a lot of stuff, which he did without ever complaining! I… did complain though. When you are out looking for spots you don’t always know what you are going to get, so that meant for me that I didn’t get to skate that much being that the spots didn’t favour me and that, to be honest made me feel quite sour. Like on the day that Tjark did this wallie 180, you can see me in the background anxiously waiting for him to land it so we could leave.
Changing up your style.
For those of you that don’t know, not every American uses a bike to travel to where they need to go. So cycling around for days on end definitely caused some sore asses, stiff leg muscles, and the occasional back ache. But that wasn’t the only thing that happened as a result of the hours spent on a bike, seeing that a lot of spots were ‘hit and run’ type of spots Bobby Groves developed a thing where he wouldn’t even take his pants out of his socks (A thing you do so you don’t get grease on your pants.), instead he just skated adopted a new style of dress and rocked the shit out of it for a week or so.
Not being able to Ollie
Brett wouldn’t skate that much, he carefully choose the spots he wanted to skate and what he wanted to skate seemed to never involve him having to Ollie, I asked him about this and he replied that his body sort of denied him the ability so he tried to find other ways to get his skateboard-fix. As a result, Mr. Nichols would skate somewhat weird spots, things that others wouldn’t necessarily want to skate. His taste came not only from the fact that he wasn’t able to Ollie it also came from his surroundings. He had a thing for spots that looked like they were built in a certain era and in a certain style. This made Brett interesting to watch, his eyes would wonder during our long cycle tours and if he found the right thing he would battle until he got what he wanted.
All in all, we skated a lot of new spots and Brett was open to film whatever you wanted to try, culminating in us skating some spots that had not seen a lot or maybe any skating at all. Ever since Dane Brady’s Polar part people seem to be into skating alternative surfaces more and more but during this trip, we tried to skate some seldomly skated spots in ways we hadn’t seen them skated before. One of the many things that made the whole experience so much fun, every day we had a routine, meet up at the local skate park, skate, Alexey would drink a beer and then we would get on our bikes and skate the whole day. Brett took his time with the edit but in the end, he captured the fun quite well, making it seem like one of the most fun summers I ever had, and maybe it was.
Text by Roland Hoogwater