Thursday, 25 December 2008

James Smith reps his riding roots...

It's xmas day, and I'm working on the blog... bmx never stops does it?.....

James Smith has just produced some handmade South Bank t-shirts, been talking to him for a while about it, the project has recently gained momentum pretty fast, I wanted to know a little bit more about it, read on...

Why t-shirts James?
Hmmm, because I don't take the conventional 9-5, I need to at times make my pleasure a business a break even or profit to fund further and future pleasures. In the last year, I have mixed things up between filming/editing/photography, tattooing and most recently printing t-shirts.

Why did you choose South Bank?
South Bank is where I started riding, that's where I met Jason Forde, James White, Phil Dolan, Rasta Dave and countless others over the years. South Bank has maybe looking back, shaped me and my riding. Some people used to go there to ride flatland, others street and now I go there to do both.

Do you see this being for everyone, bikers/skaters, South Bank is very iconic for both especially?
Yeah, totally. In fact I have sold and had requested from all types, including people that don't even ride any form of anything other than a bus to work. In no way am I playing to a particular niche market, it's something I felt I wanted to do, and it seems people have there own reasons for liking the design.

What does the Lion represent?
The Lion is representing a pair of statue's that were situated at the Red Lion Brewery that was on the South Bank (where the Royal Festival hall now stands). After surviving the 2nd World War and the closure of the Brewery, at the request of George VI they were spared being destroyed and were relocated. One stands to this day on the south side of the Westminster Bridge and the other at one of the entrances of the England Rugby Stadium at Twickenham. Several signs around South Bank use the Lion symbol, yet I'm sure 99.9% have no idea, though having said that, it's much the same with every other aspect of life...

So why the t's now?
Well having seen videos and photos of South Bank dating back 25-30 odd years and it still being there, despite recent mentions of uncertainties of it's future. I thought it was time people/me paid homage to it, admittedly South Bank stirs up some real Love/Hate emotions from me, with it being flooded with tourists and kids at the weekends and it being sketchy with crimes at times, it has a roof (that leaks) and it has lights (some that work). Ooooo and recently I found it has parking for my Vespa bang on the doorstep, so I can't really ask for more.

Having just started printing t-shirts, how are you finding that, must be a trial and error process?
Yeah like most people, the rare time I was at college we were introduced briefly to the screen printing process. At the time riding was my main distraction, so that knowledge came and went very fast. In the last few years I have wanted to get a bit creative with art type stuff, but time has been an obstacle.
So with the idea of making t-shirts in mind I did loads of research on equipment I needed and in many cases the stuff I didn't need. On the face of it, it's a pretty simple process, screen + ink + t-shirt, but as I discovered, with a large chest design it's harder than your typical smaller design. So it has been a hit of a hit and miss with the first 30 t-shirts I made. Having said that because this design is so simple and bold, any imperfections gives it character. And if you have ever or been to South Bank, that place is at times dripping from the walls with character. Sadly I'm getting good at printing them now, so I'll have to think of a new way of fucking them up to make them look cool.

So South Bank t's first, what do you see this leading onto, where do you go from here, to other iconic spots around London?
I can pretty safely say that won't be the case in regards to other London spots, having said that due to me and my likes being the driving force behind the direction, it will certainly have a BMX or Tattoo influence in it. I also want to stress by no means is this a t-shirt or clothing company, it's merely a means and a medium to put down and put out ideas I have at the time. At the price I'm doing and selling the t-shirts it's just about breaking even so in no way is it a profit based venture, just a way to share with like minded people.

Merry Xmas everyone!!!!

Merry Xmas everyone!!! Lil hectic over the xmas period, couple of big updates coming to the blog soon, have a good one everyone!

photo credit:andy colver

Thursday, 18 December 2008 goes live!

Flatland heads take note of this!!! Michel Verberg of Flatground fame has been busy!
Here's the press release!
It has been in the works for quite some time now, but last week, we officially kicked off Without further a due, we introduce you to your local sports finder extraordinaire:! So here you have it: the ABC of New Breeders.

What is New Breeders?
New Breeders is a location based web service for the action sports community. Come again?
Ok. New Breeders is a website that will help you find spots and connect with friends.
How does it work?
After you have created your profile, you can start adding your favourite spots. 
In google maps, little pins pop up for every spot created. Add the spot where you and your friends hang out, the local shop, cool events and, of course dont forget about the bar and the club! Once you have added your favourite spots, you can even show off what great stuff you or your friends have done there by adding photos and videos!
When will you need New Breeders?
Have you ever gone on a trip and visited a strange place of which you are sure it must be filled with great spots and locals, but you dont have a clue where they are? This is one place where New Breeders will come in handy. The same goes for your own city: there are still so many spots to be discovered! Filter the spots on sports, discipline, proximity and regency.
Where is New Breeders?
This is the best part: New Breeders is worldwide! Everyone can create a profile and everyone can add their own favourite spots. This way, you freely exchange the knowledge that you add to New Breeders about your own spots with the knowledge of the places you want to travel. Easy as that!
So what are you waiting for?
Get yourself signed up to, start adding your local spots, hook some photos to them, get connected with your friends, discover your own city and plan your next trip. Before you know, you will be hanging out with the locals on the other side of the world!...
Go to

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

From the sky up review

One of the stars of From the Sky up, Aki back to front wheel switch.

The follow up to "Here Comes The Sun" is out now, I bought my copy from FF, the selling factor for me was the 20 min Chase Gouin bonus section, only a fool would dismiss this...
The first section goes to Simon O'Brien, quite a rarity to see him these days. In the modern day era of web videos/over exposure, its refreshing that you dont see too much of Simon, everyone knows Simon is one of the worlds best riders afterall. Could he live up to his epic solo dvd standards? He did raise the bar!!
There are glimpses of brilliance from Simon. Shot in really good locations, I get the feeling this is just a warm up before his next solo dvd hits. Anyway, what does he do? As always from Simon theres plenty of variety, double front wheel boomerang out of a combo, xft mccircle turbine step thru to halfpacker, and my favourite, whiplashes direct to tea kettle, insane!!! Cant' wait for his solo dvd!!!

The next sections goes to Akihiko Takahashi, Zion's Japanese rider. I've heard a few people refer to him as the "Japanese Cory Fester". And from this DVD you can see why, the guy is a backwards riding machine! Long backwards combos with mad technical switches thrown in, snappy style. One of my favourites is all one handed, check this: one handed backwards fork wheelie to backwards crackpacker step over backwards halfpacker to backwards hang5 step over to backwards fork wheelie round to backwards hitch, hard enough with both hands, one handed is epic! I especially liked Aki's part cause you could see he really worked at it, shot over time, so many hard tricks, filmed with nice backdrops also, as a video part should be. The ender to his part is insane, multiple backwards hang five to backwards halfpacker backwards crackpacker walkarounds. Dont miss this section!

Sequences Aaron Frost hasnt featured on a dvd for a while, I believe Mixt was the last time. Aaron has mad around the world  ambidextrous bike skills, flowing from side to side, his part is full of really long combos, one of my favourites is his xft halfpacker ride in from fork wheelie position to hitch to steam bar flip to crackpacker walkarounds. Aaron is good!
The next part is one of my favourites! Ed Nussbaum has the skills, I rode with him at the Marina parking lot in Long Beach last year, and this is where this part is filmed. The opening combo is one of the best on the whole DVD, hang five to 360 flip to steam one kick walkaround direct to halfpacker turbine, talk about buttery! Ed has mad skills front and back wheel, crazy gerator walkaround to xft backwards wheelie pivot to junkyard glide on pedal, so sick! Ed is massively underrated, much respect Ed! 

Matt Wilhelm has the next section, Matt like Aaron hasnt been on a DVD in a while, so this was great to see. Super dialled, looks like Matts section was filmed in one day, shows how dialled he is. One trick I havent seen him in a while that I loved spinning gerator over headtube to switch foot caboose to upside down mega spin flip to mega spin up to blender flip to upside down mega spin flip to mega spin perverted out! That is a combo right there! Awesome! Bobby Carter filmed Matt's part, dialled!

The last part goes to Chase Gouin, do I have to say anymore? Nah......
But I will... This is flatland history right here. Chase's part covers old tricks and new. Some of his tricks are mind boggling, try this (jokes) whiplash to opposite chick whips stomping on the tyre over ten times without touching pegs to xft tomahawk, flat out amazing! Is this guy old school? Give me a break?!!!!
His perverted decade combos on here make new school riders with foot jam decades look stupid!!!!
And theres so called "New School" riding as well on the bonus section, really nice halfhiker turbines, pedal hang five shove its anyone? Loads of nice floating style combo that Chase originated. His part and bonus scetion is comprehensive and not to be missed.
I feel silly typing this, its Chase! The guy is a legend, pay some respect! Go buy this for a piece of flatland history.
Stewart did a great job with this DVD, much better production/editing than HCTS, nice mix of music for the soundtrack, and 8mm/16mm footage also.
I give this a high 4 out of 5.
Whole DVD has feel good factor about it. Glad I bought it.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

James White's 38th birthday jam

Whitey's birthday jam was a timely reminder to all present as to what riding is all about, especially here in the UK.
"Making the best of a crap situation"...
So here we were in the corner of an Asda car park, waiting to see if the rain would stop. It didn't till much later.
It seems to be written that it rains at everything we have organised outside this year, but yet we have fought past the barrier, riding in the rain, and on this day cold tempertures as well.
Part of the day was spent sessioning the corner of Asda waiting for James to arrive.
Most of you will have seen Mario's web edit with riding from all who attended. But what you wont have seen was the banter and enthusiasm between all pushing James to pull his first whopper.
"Come on, I want it today!!!"
"Effraim, give me some shit, I need to be pushed to get this done, otherwise I wont do it, it's been 2 years" was something along the lines of what Whitey said to me.
"Ok, well that tricks as old as you James come on". 
Amongest other tongue in cheek lines from everyone.
As James went over and over,  in reality it was prob 20 minutes, first in his vest top, then no shirt, he meant business!
Couple of tries later, and countless heckles later, his first whopper was born. It was a beautiful moment in the history of UK flat, seeing how stoked James was at the age of 38, to land the whopper was another welcome reminder as to what flatland riding is all about.
Just the feeling of  pulling a trick you've wanted for so long, finally getting it done.
I found it very inspiring, and I know everyone there did.
Everyone cranked open the beers, great end to a miserable rainy November day.
Much respect to James!
Thanks to all the TGM/London heads, Phil D, Lee Wilson, and everyone else who made the effort in making it down to Whitey's for a day to live in the memories forever.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Terry Adams interviewed about his Dreams DVD...

What was your motivation behind Dreams?
I wanted to produce a movie that explained how I got to where I am today. I get tons of people asking how I make a living off flatland. I wanted to let everyone know if you have a goal all it takes is to go after it! If you are reaching for the stars you are at least going to reach the moon. I wanted to showcase my best riding as well, but the main focus was to give people motivation in life and show them anything is possible.

Did you achieve everything you set out for originally?
Yes I did. I had the entire movie structured out on paper before we started filming. I handed that paper to Mickey in the very beginning and we stuck by it the entire film. It is exactly what I wanted so I owe tons of thanks to Mickey for that!

Did any of your sponsors back you with the cost of producing the DVD?
Red Bull helped with flying Mickey and myself to a couple of locations and that was a huge help. Lotek also helped with some finances towards the film. Global-flat was a huge help in promoting the DVD so they were basically a sponsor too. Odyssey has helped with the distribution so a huge thanks goes to them.

What kind of difficulities making "Dreams" did you face along the way?
The biggest difficulty for me was trying to find enough tricks to fill up three riding sections. I am not Martti Kuoppa so my tricklist is not endless. I wanted to not repeat any tricks and I feel like I accomplished that goal. But I must say it was hard for us to film some of those combos. Mickey always did a great job with keeping me motivated and saying "come on man" you got this!

This was the first flatland film in quite some time to have a message, do you hope another riders will be inspired by that and follow a similar path?
I hope they can watch my DVD and get motivated to do something. Even though my story was about flatland. I wanted to structure the film to let riders know that they can do anything they want in life. Being a pro rider, a doctor, a astronaut, or whatever they wanted.

Mickey Gaidos did a great job with the DVD. What kind of background does he have in film making?
I think this question is better answered by Mickey. Mickey followed his dream and works on movie sets and big budget films in New Orleans. He has pretty much taught his self and is now earning respect in the film industry in the area.

A lot of riders are finding it really tough to even maintain product flow sponsors at this present time, how are you finding the recession? Has it affected you, if so, how?
To be honest it has not really affected me at all. I have been very lucky with my sponsors and their support.

Many riders dream of having their own riding spot, you have a kick ass riding spot in your backyard, tell me about it, how did that come about?
I always said the day I purchased a house I would pave the backyard for a riding spot. It was just another dream that I wanted to happen. I cant even believe it when I look out the window.

I noticed that you didnt use to many shots from your backyard riding spot, why did you choose not to, and also why did you not discuss the fact you have your own riding spot? Thats a dream in itself for many riders?
For the first two riding sections we wanted to show as many locations as possible to keep the film looking fresh. We even made sure I was wearing different clothing that meshed well with every background. We felt showing my backyard more than once might bore a viewer that was not a rider. Another goal of my DVD was to market it towards non riders so that all people could enjoy it. I didnt talk about my riding spot because when I wrote the commentary I was not at my new house. I personally thought it was a little off subject to the point I was trying to get across. But after hearing your thoughts.Maybe I could have mentioned it.

Is there a clip or trick in the DVD that you are most stoked on?
The 360 backpacker jump back to backpacker.

And finally I have to ask, what is the deal with the cover?
I could sit here and make up a crazy story, but the truth is.... That is exactly what I wanted it to look like. I did not want it to be a riding shot, because the majority of the film is talking about following my dreams. Yes its true. I took off my shirt, oiled my chest, looked at the stars and shot the photo. I am happy with it.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Top fives with the UK's No 1 AM Lee Wilson

Photos sent in by Lee Wilson, loving the pose shot Lee!

Shintaro Misawa
James White
Keelan Philips
Akira Okamura
Pedro Melo

Old hip hop
Al Green
Barry White

Markfield Community Centre Car park
Amsterdam Gashouder
Koln, Germany
Keelans Studio

My boys
Georgina Avery
My parents
Paul Cartwright
Leicester riders

You tube
Global flat

Sony Ericsson Phone
Astra sxi mk 4
Stan Smiths
Makita Tools

Trickstars 1
Dorkin 10
Trickstars 3
Flatland manifestos

Bike Products:
Odi grips
Chase tyres
Macneil OG seat
Geisha freecoaster
Sequence pegs

Shintaro Misawa
Aaron Frost
Ciaran Perry
James Smith

Lost at sea
Maz's TGM and Contest vids
Akira's Soul vid
Elite mindsets
Brian Tunney vids

How do you feel about winning the UK groundroots series?
Im very happy of course, it was great to have a contest series for the AMs, loads of riders competed and brought together the UK riders, thanks to Big E for organising it, if there is a flatland event and you ride, you should come and support it, whatever your level!

Keelan for the frame and inspiration, Paul Cartwright for all the support and parts thanks mate, Kev at Leon Cycles for my wheel builds and parts, Markfield locals, Ollie, Palmer, Aaron, Robbie, Joe,etc, my sons Matt and Dylan, my bro Ross, get on your bike! And last but not least my girlfriend Georgina xxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 5 December 2008

Musselwhite and Keelan on X Factor tommorow night!

Ssels at Shepton show.
Following a turbulent few hours late thursday night with X factors researchers franitically ringing around trying to get flatlanders, no one was sure who was doing the x factor, Lee Musselwhite and Keelan Philips in the end snagged the gig. 
Performing in front of millions live tommorow night (Saturday 6th december), it is the semi final night for the x factor. About as high pressure as it gets, tune in tommorow night (not sure what time as slightly different semi final nights apparently so check your tv listings) and see what bangers get dropped!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Cream 31 is about to drop/Plus some News

Cream 31 arrives into Paris Tuesday 9th December, so will be available everywhere else about a week after. In the UK, if you live anywhere near a Borders they sell Cream, worldwide orders of course are available from Flatlandfuel. This looks to be a packed issue. Big up Cream for supporting flatland!

Couple of bits of news:

KHE's Adam Kun is off his bike for at least a month, damaging a muscle in his back. Get well soon Adam! Some big news from Adam in February....

"From the Sky up", Stewart Munro's follow up to the epic "Here comes the sun" is about to drop anyday at Flatlandfuel, full sections with Simon O'Brien, Chase Gouin including 20 min solo part, Matt Wilhelm, Aaron Frost, Ed Nussbaum, Akihiko Takahashi (check Aki's blog also:

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Top fives with TGM's Jason Forde....


Sam Foakes
James White
Phil Dolan 


Drum n'bass
Hip hop


South of France

Web Edits:

Anything from Sevisual
Skavenger pop off
TGM vids
Writing on the wall
Crazy colt remix


Phil Dolan
James White
Jesse P
Chase G


Apple Mac
St Martin


You tube


My mother
TGM crew
The wizard aka Michael


I'm gonna change this to films,etc. On the downlow, Loiter, Khe fitness (my first bmx video), Nowhere fast, Flatland manifestos, these films changed my life.

Bike products:
Chase tyres
8" bars
Plastic Seats
St Martin


Penstar, T-bone, King Joh, Pastel, V-lad, Ras Dave, Maz, Diddy, PC, Big E, Chann, Canteloes crew from back in the day, the whole TGM crew worldwide son, and all the FLATFAMILA wherever you may be.


Sunday, 30 November 2008

Discovery DVD review

Yorimitsu Miyata, this guy had a unique style, utilising his brakes to the fullest to gain momentum. Riders like this are all over Japan, mm21 spot/yokohama.pic by ec.
I brought this DVD when we went to a flatland only bike store called "cave" in Yohohama, after sessioning the MM21 spot all day, Aki kindly took us there. Where else would you find a flatland only store?
I knew I wouldnt find this DVD anywhere else, and a friend of mine Hanawa Sihimpei is starring on this DVD, so thought i'd buy it. 
The DVD documents mostly underground riders both Am and Pro level, I'd never seen most of the riders apart from Hanawa and Russia so was interesting to me, the trailer looked good online so....
The only thing I didnt like was the music, was almost all Fatboy Slim, but aside from that...
The riding level on this DVD is really good as you's expect, its Japanese. Discovery is made up of four chapters, documenting the scenes in Kobe (how good does the Kobe Docks spot look?), Kyoto, and Osaka (x 2 sections), what you quickly realise is these guys are blessed with marble spots everywhere, amazing!!
Theres a variety of riding styles on here, Nanito Wantanabe has a really solid front wheel style, effortessly throwing forward karl to halfpacker to tea kettle to spinning hitch for example.
Hanawa has improved a lot since I saw him at Gypsy games two years ago, really liked his steam jump to backwards spinning tea kettle.
Russia has a nice flowing section, clearly inspired by Osicka, but nevertheless very impressive. Especially the whiplash to around the bars and back.
My favourite riding comes from Masashi Itano, who? Exactly! I love japan for that, no expectations, then you get blown away. This guy is back wheel buttery, one of the best back wheel combos I've seen in a long time, right foot inside opposite dump truck 360 bike flip to two footed pumping dump truck to turbine xft upside peg wheelie, so effortless, love it!
The DVD also has bonus section which covers the Under 23 contest in Yokohama, contests and jams go on like this all over Japan, and with DVD's like this motivating their scene, you can see why Japan holds the largest concerntration of flatlanders in the world.
If you can get ahold of this DVD, its well worth a couple of viewings.

They dont have my shoe size?

                       Spinning circle k to halfpacker, photo by Pete Hollinger.

Recently I was informed after almost ten years of riding for Adidas, that they can no longer support me, why?...
- The credit crunch? Seems most likely...
-Lack of media coverage?...
They dont have my shoe size, UK size 9. Laughable.
So does that mean I wont be able to buy these shoes now? I love the Comptown ST model shoe,and id ride this shoe whether sponsored by them or not.
I dont know whether to be pissed off or just laugh, but the reasoning is pathetic. After almost ten years of riding for them, thought be worth at least an honest answer. 
Are there any other adidas sponsored riders that are size 9, I wonder....
Do big corporations really care? I dont think so..
Thought id share, might make you laugh :)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Southsea Skatepark Fundraiser 2 last night

pics by ec. one hell of a surridge 360 /classic southsea bowls.

Deep in the P05, the Durty Block party crew put on the 2nd annual Southsea Skatepark fundraiser at the Havana bar. With the help of the crew and the local skateboard scene the Skatepark has been saved for now, pressures still continue. 
Portsmouth City Council are working with the Skatepark users group to keep the park open, a 2.5 million "myplace" government bid for funding has been applied for, February 2009 is the crunch date.
The group are seeking to find other ways of keeping the park open and generating new interest in the legendary skatepark, one of the most requested things we get asked for, is a beginners mini ramp.
So the Durty Block party crew set this night up purely to raise money for this new beginners mini ramp that will cost five grand.
The previous year the group raised over a thousand pounds, and last nights takings estimated to be about £1.500 will go towards the new ramp.
As always when everyone gets together, it was a messy one, hip hop, drum n bass, funk tunes all night, old school and new school heads getting down on the dancefloor, games of poker to raise money, it was all going on, old school videos documenting the park all night long, good times, thanks to the Dirty Block party crew for raising awareness once more and keeping the park fresh in peoples minds.
Long may nights like this continue. Much respect to the Dirty Block party crew for their hard work.
Support Southsea Skatepark!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Green G Photo exhibition Tokyo October 2008

                                                          green g exhibition,photo by ec.

Whilst myself and Sam Foakes were in Tokyo for the World Circuit finals we were invited to Green G's photo exhibition a small distance from the famous Shinbuya crossing downtown Tokyo.
The concept for the exhibition for the photographic exhibition was so simple, yet amazing conceptually.
"The current prosperity of Japanese flatland scene, is rooted in 6 Japanese riders, York Uno, Takashi Ito, Ryoji Yamamoto, Hiroya Morisaki, Akira Okamura and Kotaro Tanaka, born between 1975 to 1978.
Along with those top 6 riders still greatly contribute to the development of the flatland, "+Next" which stands for for the next generation, the most prominent rider, Youhei "Ucchie" Uchino is featured."
For many flatland is an art and this exhibition I felt enhanced that viewpoint, the Japanese embrace flatland as part of their culture, and Green G did a great job in simplifying such a complicated artform, the exhibition consisted of only 7 images laidout in the middle of the Eastpak store. 
Having only seven images it made the exhibition was easy on the eye and very focussed, one photo of each of the riders, in my eyes by far the standout shot was the capturing of Hiroya's steam whip to timemachine jump, where Hiroya appears to be floating in the air.
Riders such as Simon O'Brien, Michael Steingraber, Mike Sommer, Hiroya Morisaki, Yammer were there the day we went to see the exhibition as well the regular public.

Only in japan can you see something like this, flatland is beautiful. 

To scuff or not? part four

photo: sam foakes, crackpacker twist at the green mile. photo by ec

Is this whole matter a personal thing to your riding? Or can it be looked upon as something more than that?

Terry Adams:
Not personal at all. If I bust a combo with no scuffing I do get stoked. But in no way do I think I will ever be so anal about it that I will change every trick to no scuffing.

Sam Foakes:
For me, pumping has opened up a number of possibilities to progress my riding. It has also enabled me to extend my combos much more than if I didnt pump.
In some cases, it can be used to stabilize a trick, I would say I am definitely guilty of that one, especially in contests. That said I dont think stabilizing pumping is as safe as stabilizing scuffing. When done to excess or without any real purpose (e.g pumping a trick with no intention of using that speed for another trick or switch) i wonder if its worth doing....

Jay Forde:
It is personal, I work on a lot of different styles, rolling, pumping, scuffing, you need to work on all these to be a well rounded rider. I find myself freestyling most of the time with a lot of hustling.

James White:
You could call it progression, In the 80's, I was balancing and hopping the 90's rolling and scuffing, and now I'm pumping. i think its obvious that riding will continue to get more fluid. But every time the new wave comes you think this is it, this is the bomb that cant be beat. YES! Even when I was doing petersons, gumbies, etc kitted out in full factory Skyway gear on my street corner!!! (balancing tricks for those of you werent around in the 80's).

Keelan Philips:
Each rider to their own, as I said if you feel like your going to fall off and you scuff to stabilize then cool, but it technically is less hard than if you didnt scuff, and as I said about my riding, I used to not scuff at all, but as long as I have my own original tricks in a link, no matter how small it may be, I dont mind scuffing somewhere, but if any scuffing does happen, it should be kept minimal! Like if you stabilize yourself then a scuff should do.
I obviously prefer pumping, I think  I can pump just about every trick I can do (I think I was the first doing pumping cliffs -not turbines just helping it move forward and hang fives).

Matthias Dandois:
There is something else, after pumping, its called jumping! You only need one jump to take full speed whether you need more than to pump to get speed. So I think this whole matter is way more than that. No limit!

Justin Miller:
It's not a personal thing. This is how I've rode my whoile life and enjoy how I ride. I'm not going to change most of my tricks and pump it a million times to make a few people happy. I want my own style and tricks.

Chad Johnston:
Yeah, its a personal thing, each person chooses what tricks they want to learn. It defines a riders style to eliminate or use different techniques. I think its cool to do your own thing. More flavours make riding interesting. There are two ways to look at it. If I look at it from an artistic standpoint, I say do whatever you want, especially if its something cool and unique. From a sport standpoint, I believe every position should be isolated and analysed. then, I think you have to take into account that there is a variety of techniques to move on your bike. Some are more technical than others. Some are more popular than others. Some are more popular than others. There should be an objective laid out for all to see.

Cory Fester:
I just look at it like I want to do things as hard as I can. I like the challenge. I do a lot of backwards stuff and that stuff you cant really scuff and pumping it is ridiculous so I dont really have to worry about stuff like that too much. For me doing a 2 minute link with like 5 or 6 switches is boring and easy for the most part, I want to to do 5 or 6 switches in 20 seconds not in 2 minutes. I'll take one really bomb original trick over a generic, flashy 2 minute link anyday.

(article finished..)

Thanks to all the pros that answered my questions, a few didnt get back to me, but I think this is pretty comprehensive as it is. What was interesting to me, was how opinions seem to vary country to country.

any feedback blog readers?

Thursday, 27 November 2008

To scuff or not? part three

photo: Terry Adams on his own riding spot, photo by ec.

Is pumping an extra circle no different than taking a power scuff or worse?

Terry Adams:
I really have no comment on this one. I will like the trick if the person does a power scuff or if they pump a extra circle to set up. Its all impressive to me.

Sam Foakes:
I think pumping an extra circle is the equivalent of a power scuff, but i think it is more graceful to pump a rolling trick than to come out of a rolling trick to scuff and then to go back into it again.

Jay Forde:
It's the same thing I guess, some people cant scuff, some people cant pump.

James White:
How personal do you want to get, this is peoples styles you are messing with, one may make the extra circle look fantastic, another may not. For me the goal would be to keep the speed and flow without any obvious pumps. Matthias is the master of  this!  But is he the master? Foakes power pumps it up like no tommorow... How do you like it? Rough and hard or soft and delicate...its a very personal choice!
To answer the question though, it depends if its done to for that extra time to get a suck on that nipple. They should be marked down if so, but this is just analysing it too much! But thats you all over "E" and we love you for it. Who else would question this?

Keelan Philips: Power scuff is worse, it means you didnt get enough momentum into the trick so you scuff to compensate.

Matthias Dandois:
At a point, pumping is ugly, if you pump too much its boring. So yes, sometimes its worse to pump too much instead of one scuff! For example, in steamroller, three pumps is the limit! hehehe, no more or you die!!! DOG!!

Justin Miller:
Definitely! There is no difference. Whats the difference if someone lands in a backpacker and scuffs the tyre or pumps it. For me to get enough speed pumping a trick I have to pump more than i would to scuff. Each pump is like a scuff to me. It also depends on the person too. I've been giving the tyre a quick scuff or two or years so its no big deal and I can make it look smooth. But lets say I land in the same trick and pump it, I would look like I'm out of control and I would need to pump it longer to get my speed up. I can do it, but it depends on the rider and there style.

Chad Johnston:
Pumping an extra circle is different than taking a power scuff, the riders not touching the tyre. Its a more modern technique.

Cory Fester:
To me its almost the same thing. I think landing into a rolling trick straight to rolling vs.landing on the tyre is harder for sure. I think there is a big difference between catching a trick with one good pump and going vs having to catch it and roll around two or three circles to get your balance and speed.

(part four continues tommorow...)

To scuff or not? part two

photo: shane badman, circle k at the brum jam. photo by dnb chris. shant on geez.

At the highest level during a contest is scuffing the tyre mid link to stablize a trick lessening the degree of difficulty or is it adding another trick?

Terry Adams:
Do I think scuffing the tyre is like touching the ground? (editors note I didnt ask that Terry). Nope. If a rider does an entire combo without scuffing I will recognise it and give them props. But I still enjoy watching people ride that hit their tyre to get speed before the next link. If the tricks are hard, I think the judges shouldnt worry too much about this, no scuffing only pumping so called future of flatland.

Sam Foakes:
It is definitely stabilizing the trick. If you do a switch into a rolling trick then put your foot on the tyre, you are immediately making it easier because you can control the speed and counter act a mistake which may have been made. I think from a judging perspective, when close decisions need to be made, this has to be taken into consideration.

James White:
You can't ask this question without pointing the finger at Justin Miller. He does the most perfect links, dropping original bombs all over the place, then kicks the tyre for no reason, its like taking a big suck on your mothers breast for comfort. I hate it. But then, it works for him to keep it together in a comp. We all know how hard it can be to pull one of your simple links in a contest, let alone what he does time and time again. I could only dream of being as dialled as he is. But to answer the question I would consider a scuff on the tyre the same as dab (touch) on the floor in this circumstance.

Keelan Philips:
Obviously if you scuff to stabilize a trick its not as difficult as without! But contests are a wierd thing, its the same as riding at your normal spot, I think a lot of  riders will throw a scuff in to stabilize at a comp, because they might be a bit off riding if they are nervous, I think if you throw a scuff in to help your riding then cool, but if you did it without then even better.

Matthias Dandois:
Lessening the degree of difficulty of course! I mean, when you are unstable, its so easy to scuff, and really hard to keep both feet on the pegs without touching the tyre. And its much more stylish not to scuff. Check raphael's stubble duck, its like 1000000 more stylish than scuffing stubble duck, and much more harder.

Justin Miller:
This is a hard question to answer, because there are soi many riders out there with different styles and not one is better than the other. It may take away from the difficulty a bit, but its hard to say because I usually give the tyre a kick for speed, not to stabilize myself. Then again, if i have a choice between falling and scuffing the tyre a few times I'll take scuffing. There is no difference though if someone pumps a trick and rolls it a long way to stabilize themselves.

Chad Johnston:
I think its adding another technique to a  position. It could be scuffing, squeaking or gliding. It could behopping or stalling also. The bike is in the same pose, just motored/balanced differently. I dont believe it lessens the degree of difficulty, it actually adds variety.

Cory Fester:
Definitely it lessons the degree of difficulty of the switch, so does having to pump a trick around three circles as well. Going from switch to switch without having either of those things means the switches have to be dialled. I think its a lot harder to dial in the timing of each jump or flip than dialling how to scuff or pump.

To scuff or not? part one of four

photo: phil dolan, pedal five. photo by ec.

Within your own riding, how do you view scuffing the tyre mid link?

Terry Adams: 
With my riding I just pretty much do whatever is fun. Sometimes I like the way a trick looks to have one power scuff instead of jerking my body to pump for speed. I just do what I think looks best most of the time.

Sam Foakes:
I don't scuff mid link at all, I would sooner fall off and often do, haha.

Jay Forde:
I dont have a problem with it, I love all styles of riding, just dont put your foot down, that's the main point.

James White:
A long time ago I remember Lee Musselwhite learning that backwards spinning halfpacker thing. Nine times out of ten, he could get into it and spin it, but just couldnt get out of it. I tried to get him to put his foot on the tyre at the end to slow it down, and pop out of it, Lee point blank refused, I just didnt get it! It took him a lot of hard work and determination to get that trick done. I totally respect him for that, and boy was it worth it! Way ahead of its time! I've always tried to flow and be smooth, maybe not with the same foresight and determination as Lee (I had a life outside of riding!). But I don't think I've touched the tyre for many years. I would rather step off, than touch the tyre!!
But this is a personal thing very similar to the personal choice of brakes or no brakes. I love the look of modern flatland, no brakes, pumping, spinning and flowing. However, I'm going to state that scuffing shouldnt be done. I had a lot of fun scuffing back in the day and as cringy as may sound that what its all about. Freestylin and doing what you enjoy.

Keelan Philips:
I used to be like no scuffing at all, I was like no scuffing looks smoothest and flows, but now I think it doesnt matter if you scuff mid link, in my own riding I put something original of my own in every link, so as long as I got something of my own in a link it doesnt matter if I scuff at all!

Matthias Dandois:
Useless! But i guess sometimes one big scuff is better than two minutes pumping a halfpacker for example.

Justin Miller:
Scuffing is part of my riding. I think its part of my style. I like to get speed out of certain tricks and I think a few quick scuffs looks good.

Chad Johnston:

It's a way to stand on my wheel. I view myself as scuffing friendly. It's cool, as long as it's occasional and not excessive.

Cory Fester:
For me personally I like to go switch to switch with as little time between them as possible. I like the idea of creating enough momentum from the switch itself in order to get to the next trick without having to scuff or pump.

Debate: To scuff or not, that is the question intro

Flatland always goes in cycles of progression, it's the nature of the wheel. Some riders these day are not touching the tyre at all when they ride, and using their body and bike as momentum, on the flip side contest veterans still use the tyre as a matter of stability and speed, the common trick being the halfpacker scuff (aka the circle k).
I wondered is this technique of touching the tyre now considered a mistake at the highest level? Are you taking a break mid link and thus lessening the degree of difficulty? Is this a level everyone should strive for? Or is it just a personal thing?

I interviewed a broad range of pro riders and this is what they had to say.

Effraim Catlow

Flatland Fuel Thanksgiving Sale and Holiday Giveaway

Pat Schoolen at FF is at it again, its that time of year, loads of great offers.

"Happy Thanksgiving  to all our friends and customers!

We have lots of big news here at

The first thing is that is Thanksgiving here in the United States. In the tradition of after thanksgiving sales, we are having a BIG one. 20 percent off EVERYTHING! Just enter the code TURKEY during the checkout process. The discount applies to online orders only. The sale runs from Thursday through Monday. Tell your friends! We have never offered this big of a discount. take advantage of it while you can. Rules and restrictions apply and can be found at
The second piece of news is our annual Holiday Giveaway. This contest is simple, Every order placed between Thanksgiving and New years gets you an entry to the giveaway. We have frames from Colony and Quamen. Parts from Alienation, Thomason, Animal, Eastern, S&M, Profile, Revenge Industries and more. Clothing from Animal, Little Devil and Orchid. DVDs and much more! There is nothing better than free stuff and this is what this is all about. This is a holiday gift to you from flatlandfuel and all of our suppliers.
That last piece of news is the 2009 Flatland calender. This amazing calender was created by Fat Tony Enterprises and features Terry Adams, Martti Kuoppa, Takashi Yamada, Justin Miller, Chad Johnston, Miura Hirokazu, Matt Wilhelm, Chase Gouin, Stephan Cerra, Hiroya Morisaki, Pete Brandt, Matthias Dandois, and Viki Gomez. You can see the entire calender on our website. The calenders are FREE with any order over $50. Because they are soi nice you will probably want to pick up an extra or two and these are only $5.99. Check it out!

Again, happy Thanksgiving to all!

Patrick Schoolen
phone 515-244-0312


Hello flatlanders worldwide.

Flat matters online is born, finally, 6 months after its death in Ride UK. This has come about due to a lack of writing about flatland online and in the media, the sport/artform I love, gets very little love. So heres my contribution towards keeping it alive.
What I hope to achieve with this project, is a creative platform for flatlanders worldwide to write about whatever they wish. There will be debates, contest repos, dvd reviews, interviews, anything goes, its flatland it can go anywhere...
I have faced a few hurdles along the way, but here it is finally, some may remember my blogs from the Ronin days, well im going back, but starting something new.

Enjoy flatland.

Effraim Catlow

welcome to flatmatters online