Tag: flip skateboards

GEOFF ROWLEY – 19 pairs and counting

From the vault (no Vans pun intended) pulled to your screen just because it was too good to rot away in some corner of the internet. We did this interview with Mr. Geoff Rowley around 1 year ago in Paris, France. His “Take It Back” part was about to drop, his Rowley Classic just had been re-released and we had some prying questions about Liverpool, his 19 pairs of signature vans, and how important it is to have creative control when it comes to your career. So without further ado, Geoff Rowley for your enjoyment.

Interview + intro by Roland Hoogwater.

Images from the Chromeball incident and Vans,

Did you just come from the U.S. ?

No, I came from England. Liverpool to be exact.

The hometown! Ok, first-question, have you had a lot of creative control over what you have put out?

Yeah, I have always had my hand on what I put out.

Okay, because it seems like, creative control seems something you are very keen on having, right? You were heavily involved with creating the early flip videos on the editing side as well.

Yeah, that is right!

Same with the shoes, especially that just got re-released, correct?

Yeah, it has been in and out. It kinda got pulled for a bit. We put it back now, it is back to being in the line full time. It is still a favorite of mine, we just cleaned it up and made some improvements in the manufacturing process, and put it back out for the people to skate it.

Sounds great! I was thinking about that recently because you had a lot of shoes on vans right? I counted them actually and it is 14 original models and 19 shoes including different editions in total. You are on Vans for 20 years now, so that is almost one shoe a year.

That is right.

That is pretty impressive!

It is really humbling. The brand has always supported me and had my back, you know. And that says a lot about the Vans-brand and about myself. I am a pretty loyal guy. I am not the kind that wants to ride for a company for a bit and then go somewhere else. I am a people person. I like to talk to and hang out with my people. When I believe in the company and the staff that I meet, then I make a choice and to be part of that. Vans has always believed in me. It is a great brand and I am proud of its history.

I recently saw that Nine Club Episode with Caballero and he actually credited you a lot for bringing Vans back to the forefront. So obviously, It is not only that Vans has stayed loyal, but you also brought a lot with you.

I mean, if Steve Caballero was not at Vans, I would not be there. Steve paved the way for Vans during the 80s and 90s. Nothing but respect for Steve. And then Tony Alva, it still is the same as before. He still is with the brand. Through good times and really bad times. So I think Steve is like that too and I have nothing but respect for him. I mean he is an incredible skateboarder.

Pedro is on FREE DOME 66/99 he surely fits the “Gnarliest of the Gnar” slogan.

Transitioning back to creative control, You made the decision to create your own brand. FREE DOME 66/99. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Well, I was involved in the skateboard business for most of my life. But after a certain time, it (FLIP) did not end up going in a direction that was necessarily healthy for me. So I had to remove myself, and this is a hard reset. A brand new start. I feel really positive, stoked and creatively inspired to rebuild again. And thats what I am doing with this brand. No Rules, I do not have a business plan and I am going to do it all on the fly, all the time.

What I really enjoyed when I went to the website was the open call for sponsor-me tapes. I believe it said: “The Gnarliest of Gnar” and “Positive of Mind and Spirit”. I really enjoyed that, because it shows pretty much both sides of skateboarding. What was the thought process behind that?

Well, that heavy side of skateboarding. Bigger, faster, and more aggressive, just that Cardiel “skate and destroy” thing, that I have been inspired by. It does not have to be a negative thing. It is not an angry attitude. That is not an attitude against the concrete and the handrails. It is about getting that emotion out when you are skating. You can be in a positive state of mind when you are doing that. That is what I meant by that.
If you are going to skate and you are going to give it everything you got. You still have to have the right attitude. You know? Especially now, more than any other time, we have got so many challenges with all of the digital technology that is being thrown on our brains. It is not healthy and I want to count to that.

I can feel that with the brand. The boards for instance look kind like they are screen printed.

They are! All of them. Every season we have been screen printing them. As long as we can handle the workload. It is a little more labour intensive than using the digital transfer, which you can do a lot of cool stuff with as well. But the process of putting a graphic on to a skateboard the pure way is with paint. Right?

It feels more like an object when it is painted.

It is a different feel, it smells different and it slides better. We are always going to try more of these types of things. I come from a manufacturing background, you know? I do a lot of manufacturing with my knife company that I do. I am learning a lot about what we can do or not do with a graphic. I like pushing boundaries too.
I really like the analog feel to these things. It feels more like a return to how you maybe started skateboarding. Just think about how boards and t-shirts looked back then.

I want to build an environment for the brand for it to be healthy. When you usually start a brand you do about 4 drops a year. Maybe 5 other small drops in the middle of that. But that is being done already and there is an opportunity to build different relationships with retailers and customers. So that they understand your intentions. It is really important to me that the focus goes to the skate shops. Because that is where it started for me.

Is that also why going to Liverpool, is important, because of “Lost Art”, Dave Mackey and those kinds of people?

That scene is hugely important to that part of England. To give kids a place, to go to where they feel accepted and be a part of that kind of skate culture.
I am from Liverpool, I am from the north. That is where it started so for me and for my story with Vans that is an important part of the story. So for instance, for my shoe re-release we did an event in a bombed out church, those places mean something they are tied to my story.

A little taste of Liverpool in the 90’s

I heard it is a very famous spot, that you used to go by on your way to School every day?

I used to get off the bus there and go skate. So that I did not have to take the one-way service, that would actually take longer, it went all the way across the city, to the skate spot that would all meet at. So I would get off at the bombed-out church and I would skate down the hill, down Bold Street, passing by Lost Art Skate Shop all the way down to the bottom of High Street just mess with the students along the way. Trying to power slide past everybody. And then, I would hide on the back street, so I would not get beaten up. Because It was pretty rough back then.

Liverpool was not the same as it is now. You were not the cool kid in school with a board back then, right?

Yeah, I was spat on, I was shouted at, all the worst things you could imagine people screamed at us. We were attacked and beaten in every way possible.

That has really changed, hasn’t it, skateboarding is more accepted now.

Yeah, in most cities in England, before there were cameras everywhere (CCTV), they were more violent, more aggressive, dirty, unhealthy and sick.

It is obvious that Liverpool and England is important to you but you also like taking people on trips and showing them the spots, is there something in that for you?

I have always been in England, even around the time that I lived in the US since 1994. I think there is not one year that I have not been back to the UK. I usually go back between two or five times a year. I go to Europe a lot you know? Those trips are not really intentional. But when asked, where I want to go skate to start making a video, my immediate answer is where I am from. It is always like that really. That puts you in a good frame of mind and you know, you are going somewhere, that you are comfortable at and that fires you up. Also, a lot of the skateparks in the UK are different, they are older, from the 70s and early 80s. Some of them are forgotten, so there was something to that too. My last project with Pedro Barros & Ronny Sandoval, some of the gnarliest park guys. I wanted to see them skating in the same parks I grew up skating.

That is what I mean by taking them there. Maybe there is a particular skatepark, in Scotland or somewhere else for instance and you are wondering what these guys can do there. And it gives the scene something too, to be featured, and show these parks.

Geoff & Arto in the Thrasher SOTY video, 2003.

You are the first person from Europe and from England specifically to ever get awarded Thrasher Skater of the Year.

From Europe? I have never even thought about that. You’re the first person that has ever even mentioned that to me. Are you sure that’s correct?

I double checked it!

Bob Burnquist from South America was before that right? But that I am the first from Europe?! That is fucking rad!

That means a lot, I think. Maybe it is not spoken about a lot, but just mentally people remember that you are from Europe and it reminds them that they can do it. It is not just for Americans.

Skateboarding was not really global back then. The industry was still out in America, California mostly. The European scene was still fragmented from that pro circuit side of it. We always had amazing skateboarders coming out of Europe, but when I moved to the states in the mid-90s, that was just about to happen. A lot of the videos when I moved and we started to film, we wanted to come to places in Europe and film there. There were not a lot of videos prior to that, that showed Europe, South-America, Asia, we wanted to be worldwide. With a global presence. I think the first ES video, “Menikmati” was an important step towards that and then the videos that came after that…

Flip “Sorry” which is a big part of European skate history.

We all filmed everywhere. As a catalyst, to show that skateboarding is global. To the American community in Southern-California. That kind of growth, was healthy for everybody.

That 100% true! And it was inspiring to see for the European skate scene. Maybe moving to the states then was necessary then, but it is not anymore. Maybe you were the catalyst that started that change.

I agree, that it is not necessary, but a lot of the industry is still there. It is the birthplace of skateboarding and the tree has grown from there. There is still a lot there, that is still a reality. But it is awesome, that it is open to a public community, for skaters, boys, and girls, people everywhere, how sick is that?

Do you have a prediction who could be the next skater of the year from Europe? People that just make you think: “Wow”. Because you can not just become SOTY you gotta have something special.

Daan van der Linden has the ability! But there are a lot of great skateboarders right now, and I think we are going to see kids popping off in the next two years, that are going to knock people’s heads off.

I mean there is a great one from Liverpool too right? Charlie Birch for instance.

Charlie is an amazing skateboarder. I have known Charlie since he was a younger kid and he is a good example of what we just talked about.

He is undeniably for Liverpool with an accent like that.

Very humble too! Very nice family, very great skater and nothing but respect for Charlie.

No particular order because he doesn’t do favorites but some solid historical footwear picks from Geoff.

One last question. If you were to rate, Top 5 shoes you had with Vans, which ones would that be?

I can tell you that I do not favorites. I can tell you 5 that I like though:

1.Black Canvas Era’s, not suede. Black Canvas Era’s, I like those.

2.The Original Half Cab in black and grey. Incredible shoe.

3.The Rowley Classic, that is three right? So two more that are memorable.

4.The original Vans Natives, do you remember those? In grey suede, I love those.

5. Black Suede Chukka Boots with brass laces. Because when I was first growing up I had about five pairs of Chukkas in different colors. The black ones were much harder to get tho. So they always kind of stuck in my head. And when I got them I skated better, than with the other ones because I was so juiced up.

That really makes a difference. Looking down and you really like what you see.

“Toe down” is what they call that.

Is there one shoe out of those 19 pairs that had your name on it, that you would like to re-release next to the classic?

If I would be straight up honest, I like them all. I designed them, all for a purpose. So I can not really pick one honestly.

There has been a couple of great ones. The XL2, the first one (XLT). I really liked those.

The XL2 design-wise but the XL3 was really comfortable. The best one out of those 3. That one was my favorite for comfort. Because it was a little bit slimmed-down at the right spots and it had the right shape on the feet. It would be great to see those again.

Thank you so much for your time. It’s pretty cool that you were the first guy that I interviewed when I started in skateboard media. It would be cool to do this again one day.

Thank you too. Really good questions too!

We have some fond memories of the Rowley XLT series 1 through 3 left to right.

Denny Pham is back with a new video part and this time he brought it back to a classic. We said it before and we say it again, Denny remains one of the best technical skaters from Europe. And.. did i see a Tom Penny cameo!? Instant Classic!

Represent your boy and get some hot products HERE! <-

Do you really wonder why Denny Pham is a professional Skater? No, right? If you do, watch his new part and lose all your doubts about him. Best one yet! Now, get to work Denny, you have a lot of new responsibilities in your position. Mo’ money mo’ problems.

As you may have already heard, Berlin’s Denny Pham got himself a spot in the Flip Skateboards pro ranks and none other than Tom Penny himself took the honor to break the news to a clueless Denny. An overwhelming and honest joy was in the room and, besides a few technical difficulties, it was quite the perfect surprise.

Next to Tom Penny, Denny’s closest family & friends came to the Nike SB Shelter for some Pho, drinks and a piece of Denny. By the way – while Tom Penny was giving Denny his first two designs, the DJ was playing THIS song (Notorious BIG feat. Puff Daddy & Mase – Mo Money Mo Problems).

You guys think it has a deeper meaning to it? The video that introduced him to the pro life will be released tomorrow. All Photos by Julius Krappe.

Here is a LINK to a video of Denny’s Pro Party by Skatedeluxe.

Since I got to know Denny almost ten yeas ago, he is on a constant rise. As he is the skate buddy who “made it”, I followed every step of his career and although I am all too aware of his qualities he still manages to surprise me whenever we meet causing me to speculate where all this might lead to one day. Well, only god knows! But let’s find out how Denny himself sees his near and far future.

Interview by Paul Röhrs
Photos: Benni Markstein


Where will you be in…

…one second?

I will sit on the couch between my girlfriend Sara and our cats while watching the European Football Championship round of 16 game Switzerland versus Poland.

…one minute?

I will watch the first half of the extra time.

…one hour?

Probably drinking beer at the summer garden of the Nike SB Shelter while watching the next round of 16 game Wales versus Northern Ireland.

…one day?

Most likely hanging around at one of Berlin’s skate parks before I of course going to watch Germany against Slovakia at the summer garden.

…one week?

I am going to be in Munich to watch Street League there and hopefully meet some good friends that I haven’t seen for a while.


…one month?

I am going to be on tour through Switzerland and Austria with the SkateDeluxe team.

…one year?

Since there will be neither European Football Championship nor World Cup, I am pretty sure you might find me skating the “Bänke” or “Polendenkmal”.

…five years?

Then I’ll be 31 and finally start learning how to skate transitions properly.

…ten years?

I will assist the extension of Berlin’s Dog Shit Spot, which in 2026 will continued to be built out of the ruins of the “Berghain” club.


…15 years?

I will play the very last round of S.K.A.T.E. against archrival Yannick Schall at “Polendenkmal”. Winner is going to take it all.

…20 years?

After I lost all my belongings to Yannick and had to start from scratch I will invent the revolutionary “Phamski”, a multifunctional device that is going to make the heart of every do-it-yourselfer beat faster… or so…

…25 years?

After my loss against Yannick and the “Phamski” turned out to be a total flop, I of course will not surrender and finally will reinvent myself as a physiotherapist.
Due to the declining techno scene since the end of the “Berghain” club, I moved back with my family to the outskirts. Here we regularly throw nice garden parties so come by! Future looks bright!


Over the years, Sami Harithi‘s name has come up in conversations multiple times – even before I moved to Germany I had heard about him. But I didn’t completely understand what that name meant, aside from legendary Powell video parts and stories people told about his skating. I was reintroduced to Sami’s skating through the “Propeller Island” video, where one trick especially sparked an interest: a frontside 360 ollie in a bank. The run-up was extremely short – it only allowed for one push – and I had an authentic WOW moment when he landed. Since then I’ve shook his hand, watched him skate, socialized with him and took his children to skate events. In all those situations he seemed so comfortable, both in the limelight and behind the scenes. A true natural, I knew he had a long run in skating but I had to dig in the PLACE archives to be able to grasp the full extent of what, where, and how Sami has made his way through skateboarding. And since life focuses on the here and now, I wanted to supplement his upcoming Spot On video part with these 10 facts that I found when I was roaming around the archives…

1 (410)
Photo by: Phil Boyd

1. Sami started skateboarding in 1988.

2. One year later, he was sponsored by Powell-Peralta Skateboards.

3. He had a full part in Powell’s “Celebrity Tropical Fish” video from 1991. This part features tricks that are still inspiring today, e.g. an impossible lipslide body varial out!

4. In 1992 he won the European Championships in Münster, Germany.

5. That same year, Tony Hawk asked Sami to join his new company Birdhouse Projects; now known as Birdhouse skateboards. He filmed a part for their “Untitled” video which ends with him backside flipping the famous Brooklyn banks barrier.

6. In 1993 he went on his first trip to the United States of America to skate with Tony Hawk and Andrew Reynolds.

7. The following year, at 17 years of age, Sami was asked by Jeremy Fox and Geoff Rowley to join the newly-formed Flip Skateboards company. So Sami went to the States for the second time to pursue the skateboard dream. The footage of this time ended up in his “Cities” part. His ender at the Baustelle was a NBD at that time.

8. In 2002, Sami became a father for the first time, so skateboarding moved to the back as he focused on his family.

9. Nowadays you can find Sami skating at contests, events, or just on the street, often with his kids by his side.

10. Although Sami changed over time – as we all do – his unique style on a skateboard has remained unchanged. He has seen trends come and go and is now experiencing a second youth as a seasoned veteran.

by Roland Hoogwater

Denny Pham hat sich mit seinem Thrasher Part “It’s A Phamtastic World” ein Denkmal gesetzt und ist wohl endgültig auf dem internationalem Parkett angekommen. Verdientermaßen, denn diese vier Minuten zeigen technisches Skateboarding auf allerhöchstem Niveau. Denny, wir sind stolz auf dich – großes Kino, geschnitten von Gerrit Piechowski!


Ali Boulala ist nach eigenen Angaben schon seit über einem Jahr trocken. Auf seinem Blog gibt es einen Bericht über sein neues Leben und einen sehr gewichtigen Text über den schrecklichen Unfall bei dem sein Freund, der australische Pro-Skater Shane Cross, ums Leben kam. Zusammenfassend kann man sagen, dass Ali sich ziemlich gefangen hat und einen neuen Lebensabschnitt genießen kann.

Today 25 July I’ve been sober and free from all and any mind altering substances for one year, and it is probably one of the best things I have done.
HOW? H.O.W, is how.
Open-mindedness &

No I didn’t come up with that. That is from a 12 step program that I’ve been following and for 1 year I’ve been going to meetings almost everyday.
I have “quit” or tried to quit before but never been able to “stay clean”. Or just quitting one thing and not EVERYTHING. That didn’t work because that just made me double the intake, or switch/replace the substance I still allowed my self to use.
I found all and every excuse so that I would still be able to use something/(anything).
I didn’t realize until after I didn’t take ANYTHING
, how badly I was fucking my self up.
I’ve thought many times : “Ok this is it I’m gonna quit!” Especially after something bad had happened. Like after getting arrested or a friend had overdosed. Or like losing Shane.
But I only used more and used those bad things as an excuse to use more, and convincing my self I HAD TO, I NEED to. “I feel like shit, I’m depressed, I need this, I want this”
After quitting all mind altering substances for almost 3 months (for me 74 days exactly) not until then did I feel and notice a difference.
That fucking time up until I could feel a difference, was absolutely NOT FUN at all for me. It was fucking HELL!!
But I stuck it out and didn’t use anything. I then realized why I had felt so bad, it was the FUCKING DRUGS!! The one thing that I thought I “needed” was the one thing that was fucking me up. 20 (ish) years of using is what made me feel so bad that death was the better option. Death or the only thing I hadn’t tried, which was quitting EVERYTHING that altered my mind. That was all I had left to try.
And I’ve “tried ” for one whole year now and will continue to do so. I need the program to do it because it’s an instruction manual to life for me.
That’s “how” I’ve been able to do it.
Thank you so much to all the people that has helped and continue to help me everyday. (You know who you are)
Much love

Über seinen verstorbenen Freund Shane Cross:

Ok Someone requested that I write about Shane Cross. Or to be more blunt and specific they wrote; I should write about how I killed Shane.
I get these type of messages pretty often. So I’ll write about it.
Mars 6 2007. I was out skating and having a good time with my friend Shane and a group of our friends. I we were filming for the Flip video. After skating we went to Cherry Bar. (Much like most nights) that night they had a quiz night and I apologized to the girl that had organized it. I had behaved badly on one of the things she had organized earlier. I only know that this is the night of the 6th of Mars because someone told me this,( long after the accident. )
After that we all went to Amanda’s.
That’s is all I can remember.
I wanted to do something else, (but that’s for some other time)
Everything else from that night that I know is things that I’ve been told.
I my self don’t remember what exactly happened or how.
Not because I was to wasted but because I hit my head so hard that I almost died.
I know we were wasted because I read later ( and the police showed me) that I had a blood alcohol .15 and Shane .18
Ok now more about why I’m writing this;
I often get angry, negative and sometimes threatening messages/comments.
I don’t think the people that write these horrible things understand how horrible this whole thing has been and still is for me.
The worst thing about this accident has already happened and someone writing negative things will not change that.
All that it does is spread hate, anger and negatively.
The very opposite of what Shane and his whole life was about.
The people that knew him know this so well.
I understand that people are angry at me and that the whole thing happened.
I also understand that under anger lies sorrow.
I know this because I was and still am angry and hate my self for what happened.
But under that anger and hate, I am actually really really sad. So very sad that I have lost a very dear and loved friend.

Ali Boulala während den Dreharbeiten zu Flip Sorry in seiner damaligen Heimat Lyon:

Vom Flip Skateboards Kid zum ernstzunehmenden Pro Skater. Louie Lopez schaffte es den Kiddie Bonus abzuschütteln und reift zum absolut stilvollen Lieblingsskater heran. Wir in der Redaktion sind beeindruckt und schon lange Fan. So ein bisschen was von Kenny Anderson, oder? Louie zeigt seine Heimatspots und plaudert über sein derzeitiges Leben, gefilmt auf 8mm.

Flip Skateboards releasen mit “3” gleich drei Full Parts auf einmal – Louie Lopez, Curren Caples und Alec Majerus sind nicht mehr die kleinen Jungs, bei denen sich mancher gefragt haben mag, was Flip überhaupt mit ihnen will. Vorbei mit Kiddie Status – die Jungs beweisen mit ihren Parts, dass sie mittlerweile nicht nur in den Pro Rängen angekommen sind, sondern das auch durchaus verdienen. Richtig gut!

Leider hat Transworld die Embed Funktion mittlerweile ausgestellt, ihr müsst also auf das Bild klicken um weitergeleitet zu werden!


ben nordberg

Flip Skateboards Ben Nordberg konnte nach dem Untergang von Gravis einen neuen Schuhsponsor finden. Tim Gavins Filament Brand wird den stilbewussten Engländer ab sofort mit Tretern beliefern. Man darf gespannt sein, welch anderen Namen der ehemalige Blind Pro und Gründer von DVS noch so ins Boot holen wird. Ein paar der Modelle gibt es hier zu sehen.

Die Hauptakteure der jüngsten Flip Tour nach Kanada sind Louie Lopez, Curren Caples, Matt Berger und Alec Majerus gewesen. Diese bewiesen im Land des Ahorns, dass sie ein echtes Team sind, während das Video Feature des Skateboard Mags vor guter Energie sprüht – egal ob Streetmission oder Demo. Die Mischung der verschiedenen Charaktere mit unterschiedlicher Trick- und Spotauswahl macht Flip Skateboards 2014 zu einer der besten Companies überhaupt. Arto Saari, der als Fotograf mit dabei gewesen ist, als auch Legende Lance Mountain wird es gefreut haben zu sehen, wie die Jungs das Holz gefällt haben. Cheech und Chong dürfen auf so einer Tour natürlich nicht fehlen.

Luan Oliveira hätte sicherlich auch einer Karriere als Profi Fußballer antreten können, die nötigen flinken Füße sind ihm gegeben. Ein Haufen technischer Lines mit knallendem Pop und am Ende gibt es sogar noch ein Tor. Was ist eigentlich mit Luans Nollie Heelflips los?

Es gab viele Gerüchte um einen angeblichen, unveröffentlichten Part von Bastien Salabanzi. Nun hat das Rätselraten ein Ende, denn das Thrasher Magazine zeigt die Auflösung. 10 Jahre später sehen wir die Footage, welche damals weit vor ihrer Zeit gewesen wäre, und vielleicht jetzt erst reif ist. Ein Hauch von Skateboard Romantik weht durch den Raum.