When and why did you start skating?
I started to skate in 2000, I guess. There was a video game, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1. I always played it back then. When you finished the mission, you’ll get the videos of the real skater which made me curious like “how the board can stick to their feet?” So, it makes me want to try it, and coincidentally there were a couple of skaters who always skated near my elementary school. So, I started hanging out with them and asked them how to skate. Since then, I borrowed their boards until I got my first board a year after that, I think. After I skated near my elementary school for a year, I started to skate at another place in the city (Bandung, West Java, Indonesia) because I live in city which is one hour from the city by car. There I met new friends who skate with me until now.
Which pro skater did you look up to at that time?
Marc Johnson. I watched Transworld Modus Operandi skate video and really love his part. Great style, great music. I forgot how I got the video, but since then he is my favourite skater.
From when you first started skating to today, how has skateboarding changed in Indonesia?
Very well developed in my opinion, although in terms of facilities it is very lacking. The condition of infrastructure in Indonesia is not all good so it is indeed difficult to skate on the streets, especially in small cities. However, in several big cities in Indonesia there are already skateparks that are quite helpful for skaters. If you look at the development of the skills of the skateboarders, they are developing very well. To access information is very easy through smartphones nowadays, so children are now quicker to see examples of foreign skaters who are better. These children are more focused on posting their videos on Instagram than making video parts. In terms of industry, there are many skate shops, skateboard board brands, trucks, local wheels. There are also many clothing brands that support skaters even though they are not skater owned brands. Many clothing brands want to enter the skate scene to look cool I guess (laughing).
‘When Malta made a pro model board for me, I was very happy but also very scared. I felt that I was not good enough and worthy to have a pro model board. I never thought or dreamed of having a pro model.’
Outside Malta Skateboards, which brand represents skateboarding in Indonesia the best in your opinion and why?
I think it’s Motion Skateboards from Bali, because they have been in the skateboard company for a long time. Also, they have a big skate shop there with very complete skate brands from the USA. So, I can say they have strong enough capital for a skateboard company.
Would you say that local skaters buy more of the local brands or do they still prefer the brands coming out of the USA?
For clothing, I can say that more people buy local products because they are more affordable and have lots of choices. For the skateboard itself, although there are already many local skate, truck, and wheel brands, but maybe there are still many who buy products from the USA. I’m sure local skate brands will sell better here because the prices are cheaper with quality that is not inferior to US products.
Your board sponsor is Malta Skateboards. How did this come about?
I have a friend from the beginning when I skated and still skate together until now. His name is Ega MP. We have been friends for about 20 years and he has several brands and opened a skate shop and skateparks for the public. One day he offered me to be a rider of the brand Malta Skateboards. Since then I’ve been his rider.
Do you have any other sponsors?
Beside Malta skateboard, I ride for Vearst clothing, Staycool Socks, Was Watch, Guts Truck, Blab Store, 10 Thirty Caps, Concrete Supply. All of them are local brands from Bandung, Indonesia. I also recently joined ‘Happy Wheels’ from the US.
‘For me getting a salary from skateboarding is a bonus. I never thought to have income from skateboarding.’
Are there any Indonesian skaters that can live off skateboarding yet?
Yes, there are. Some local brands here provide salaries for their riders including myself. I get a salary every month from several of my sponsors and with today’s developments, many “influencer” skaters in Indonesia are getting money from the advertisements they get on Instagram, Youtube and ads on TV.
Are you able to make a decent living from your sponsorships?
Yes. It’s decent enough for myself but there are also those who have a salary much more than me and can actually live from skateboarding. For me getting a salary from skateboarding is a bonus. I never thought to have income from skateboarding. All I know and feel is skateboarding. It makes me very happy, that’s the reason why I still skate.
What recommendations would you give a young, talented local rider that also wants to live off skateboarding like yourself?
Keep your attitude good. Don’t be snob, no matter how good you are. Always be polite to everyone, respect your elder, respect your filmer & photographer. Stay humble. Keep your good relationship with your sponsor. Be professional with your sponsor and try to always be on time.
What are you doing when you are not skating?
I’m DJ-ing sometimes and I’m in the band with Ega. We are called ‘The Hollowcane’ and we did a collaboration with Evan Smith for our newest single called ‘Verbal Irony’ (Verbal Irony – YouTube). During the pandemic, it’s really hard to have a gig here, so we just exercise, run and skate more often.
How did the collaboration with Evan Smith come about?
I think it happened naturally. We connected via skateboard and he has the same passion in music. After that there was a chat between Ega and Evan and the collaboration was created over the internet. Evan played Hammond organ and synth on the song.
Do you have any goals you still want to achieve with your skateboarding?
Yes, I want to finish my project for Malta. I am in the middle of making a video part which has taken a long time due to an injury that I suffered for 2 years in a row. It’s terrifying to skate without insurance and to have pain for a long time.
What is your proudest moment so far?
When Malta made a pro model board for me, I was very happy but also very scared. I felt that I was not good enough and worthy to have a pro model board. I never thought or dreamed of having a pro model. Until today I don’t know for sure Ega’s reasons to give me a pro model board (laughing). However, I’m very proud and grateful because not all skaters can have this experience.
If you could any board company in the world, which one would you like to ride for apart from Malta Skateboards? Primitive, because to me, they have a dream team.
I broke my palm a few years ago and I cried so hard in front of a lot of people when the local doc corrected my bone position. It was so embarrassing. I have never felt such pain before (laughing).
Have there been any pro-skaters showing up in Indonesia for a tour or a contest?
Yes, there were several. There was a DC shoes tour, Nyjah Huston, Wes Kramer, Alexis Ramirez, Jake Hayes, Tommy Fynn. New Balance shoes tour. There was Jack Curtin and friends. Also the Thrasher mag crew went to Bali a couple years ago.
Last question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?
What would you ask? It must be Paul Rodriguez, because he’s so good at skateboarding. He can get back on board after injury and he still is as good as before. I don’t understand like how someone can skate that good after getting injured. I want to ask, like how you can fight your fear and trauma after a bad injury?
‘Keep your attitude good. Don’t be snob, no matter how good you are. Always be polite to everyone, respect your elder, respect your filmer & photographer. Stay humble. Keep your good relationship with your sponsor. Be professional with your sponsor and try to always be on time.’