Asia’s longest running skatemag
Ditto Shafar @happenmagz
You started a national skatemag called ‘Happen’ in 2003. What was the skateboard scene like in Indonesia back then?
The skateboard scene in 2003 was developing. Not many skateparks available at that time, but there was a lot underground and national skateboarding contests. There were many skaters in each province of Indonesia even though not as much as nowadays along with better technology and information which they can easily access.
Now almost 20 years later, are you happy how skateboarding has developed in Indonesia?
We have seen the communities growing, the industries are growing and there are plenty of skateparks around. So yes, we’re grateful.
Why did you start a skatemag in first place?
At first it was a continuation of the office inventory from the previous skate magazine which production was stopped. Although the initial form was a zine, we were determined in making Happen Magazine to raise Indonesia skateboard scene. It’s like from us skateboarders to them Indonesian skateboarders.
‘BEING THE LONGEST RUNNING SKATEBOARD MAGAZINE IN ASIA GAVE US OUR OWN PRIDE AS WELL. HAPPEN HAS BEEN RUNNING FOR 11 YEARS WITH 125 ISSUES.’
In the beginning, what were your main challenges in getting ‘Happen’ done?
As the third Indonesian skateboard magazine, we were still in the form of a zine (xerox/photocopy form), scorns and condescending responses were obviously coming towards us, especially on our first issue. For the second issue, upgrades in colors and better papers worked well for Happen, even though the insides were still colorless. The other challenge was to convince the local also international skate brands to advertise with Happen.
What was your proudest moment with ‘Happen’?
To all of us in Happen, our proudest moment was when every month, we were able to release new edition and seeing that every skater reacts very well towards Happen magazine. Being the longest running skateboard magazine in Asia gave us our own pride as well. Happen has been running for 11 years with 125 issues.
‘THE OTHER CHALLENGE WAS TO CONVINCE THE LOCAL ALSO INTERNATIONAL SKATE BRANDS TO ADVERTISE WITH HAPPEN.’
The last issue on issuu.com dates back 2012. How many issues did you do in total and why did you stop?
We did 117 issues in total, but not all the issues we published on issuu. The media industry is changing all over the world, including Indonesia. Brands no longer see printed magazine as a good marketing media for them, that’s one of the biggest reason why we stop making magazines.
Have you thought about digital issues instead of printed like freeskatemag?
Yes, we have but we prefer to convert our older issues to digital version first rather than making new issues in digital releases.
What are your plans with ‘Happen’?
We’re still on progress of making digital contents with Instagram as one of our platforms. We’re also planning to make and publish skate videos on Youtube.
Do you think you will ever go back to a printed issue?
When it’s possible and the time is perfect, we will. Maybe not very often like what we did back in the days, but more like a special issues or photo annuals.
What does the future hold for the skateboarding community in Indonesia?
Of course, we cannot predict anything but as we see now the community is getting bigger, hopefully this will also bring positive impact for the talents.
Last question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?
Tony Hawk. We want to know how he could manage to convince the Olympics to include skateboarding.