TEXT BY: RANDY ABELS
In 2012 Sven Boekhorst and his team worked on a project called: Cityhopper. Long time Rollerblade rider and athlete Sven travelled through the Netherlands with his custom made jumpramp to perform tricks and stunts on highly recognizable and un-skateable spots. This led to an online success that could hardly be exceeded. Unless you take this amazing skater and his team abroad for: Cityhopper Europe.
We met up with Sven to talk about Cityhopper Europe and his experiences.
Cities:Brussels, Paris, London, Barcelona, Berlin
Days on the road:19 Days travelled: 8
Days filmed :15
CH days in total:23 Skates used: 1
Amount of footage:2.0TB Calories burned: 17.500
1. Can you explain us the concept "Cityhopper"
Cityhopper is a video project we started in 2012 in The Netherlands. Travelling with a customized ramp through The Netherlands to execute stunts on highly recognizable touristic locations in the Netherlands, such as the Red Light District and the Dam Square in Amsterdam, as well as many other famous landmarks. The goal was to create a high quality video production, with unique video shots and never before down skate tricks and skate spots.
Cause of the huge success and feedback we started to think of expanding the Cityhopper concept for an European edition.
2. How did you realize this project (crew, passion, friends)
It started already during postproduction of Cityhopper Holland, as we knew we were making something epic. Brainstorming about new ideas and a logical next step would be to go abroad with the Cityhopper jumpramp and crew. Of course this is very time- and effort consuming and it needs another budget. After the production of Cityhopper in 2012 the European edition became more and more appealing to me, and I wanted to realize this next step. During several meetings with all the involved peoples and partners, it became clear the production would be very hard. I almost cancelled the plan. I decided, determined as I am, to go forth and start Cityhopper Europe. Rollerblade backed me up and was ready to get started
3. You started local with Cityhopper 2012, which was a great success. Was it a easy to expand to Europe?
Expanding to Europe was very hard. It meant we had to travel all those distances with all our gear (ea: camera stuff, skate gear, clothes and of course the Cityhopper jumpramp). In The Netherlands we could work with a production team of at least 8 people and 2 cars. Budget wise this was not possible for Cityhopper Europe. Therefore I started to contact my friends and acquaintances in the abroad cities we wanted to skate. They were all very enthusiastic and happy to become part of Cityhoper Europe. The help of locals made it easier for the team to get to “non-skateable” spots and to know about the rules in the cities. For Cityhopper 2012 I could check the spots myself, like the runup, landing, other surroundings everything I wanted to know. For Cityhopper Europe I looked it all up on Google maps and Streetview, which was very surprising when we arrived at the spot. Things change in an instance. Some of the best spots in Cityhopper Europe are the ones we accidently found.
4. What was your major drive to expand to Europe?
My main drive was the success of Cityhopper 2012 and the feeling I had that weʼve created something epic. We still had some several things we could do better in Cityhopper Europe. For example: I wasn't always happy with some of the tricks I did, there were to many normal jumps in Cityhopper 2012 and I really wanted to do more bigger and technical tricks in Cityhopper Europe. Of course sometimes it's difficult to do so, if you only get like 5 minutes for a trick before the police or security guards would kick us out. Another things that would be bigger are the cities, which meant another atmosphere, rules and way of life. The production grew as well Remy and Axel was having more camera stuff including both a drone for aerial shots.
6. How did you prepare for each spot (google maps, street view)
Got to love the Internet! Before we went to skate a spot I already knew it, months prior to the trips I checked the spots by using Google street view. How the spot would like and how we were going to film it, the run up, landing, surroundings everything. There were some nights I was so excited that I couldnʼt sleep well, could not wait for the next day to hit the skatespot. I was visualizing the tricks I wanted to do, hoping we would not be sent away and that it would all go well. It is totally different from a normal day of skating with the homies.
7. Did you push your own limits?
Definitely! Like with the oa fishbrain I did on a fence somewhere in Paris. I remember
I was skating it and started to think how much energy, time and money it took me to bring everybody together for this single moment, that made me realize it would be a shame if I only grinded it with a soul or acid grind. As it was one of our last days in Paris and we already got 4 clips I wasn't afraid that much to get injured. With some extra juice from the crew I laced it first try. Looking at Cityhopper Europe in general I also feel like I pushed my limits further than Cityhopper 2012.
8.How did you deal with injuries?
Not! Getting badly injured was just not an option. I mean if I would have slammed really hard the first day in Barcelona our whole trip was pretty much useless. Somehow I just tried not to think about it too much. Also when you are at spot and the adrenaline kicks in you pretty much forget everything and youʼre only focused on the tricks. This almost went wrong while we were going to Paris. We made a small stop at the Atomium in Brussels. We were back cause the first time we were not able to skate that spot cause of music festival, and I still wanted to do that trick. Only I slammed so hard that there was a possibility I wouldn't be able to skate the Paris trip...But luckily I recovered fast. And if I was suffering some injuries we were doing some freeskate session through the city on our Twisters.
Blading is my passion and we all know it doesnʼt come without any risks, that makes so appealing to me!
9. Who joined you when skating the spots?
In each country we were having contact with friends and locals. For Brussels we had a short meeting with Jeremy Suarez during the Cityhopper shoot, but a few weeks before that we skated a full day though the city on our Twister skates to look for spots, just freewheeling through Brussels.
In Paris Warren Digne helped us out. At the famous Bercy ledge he gave me extra speed with his scooter. Greg Mirzoyan was there too, just to hang with us and take some photos. At the end of the Paris trip we had a fun BBQ at Warrens grandmotherʼs garden all together.
For London we had a lot of help van Blake Bird. He helped us with showing the spots but we were also able to stay at his place for 3 days, which was a big help for us as our budget was kinda tight. During the day Sam also joined us and travelled with us from spot to spot.
It was good to know all these guys better during Cityhopper Europe a bit better during that trip.
In Barcelona I had a lot of contact with Nel Martin and Espi about spots and were to sleep. At the end we only saw them once during our stay. The last day we got a random visit by Kevin that Remy contacted by Facebook which helped us out big time.
During our last stop in Berlin we got the support of Dominc Wagner, Sascha and Jojo. They helped with the ramp, photos and taking care of extra angles. On Saturday we finished our Cityhopper Europe tour so we went out all together and celebrate.
10. What was in your perception the most cool spot?
If you look at it for a skating trick I would say the alley oop fishbrain I did on a fence somewhere in Paris. But thatʼs because of that trick; I was really hyped for that one.
But if you look to most crazy experience I would say Camp Nou – FC Barcelona Stadium -The security was really tight so we thought of a different trick. In this way the change was bigger of getting the clip. We found a small rail and parked the car with trailer close to it, this was already on the area of Camp Nou, after looking around Axel and Remy got there angles and we took 2 pieces of wood out of the back of the car and put it on the roof of my car, from here I would start the line.
Two seconds later I was standing on the roof of my car with a FC Barcelona jersey and was getting ready to jump from the roof of my car into the jump ramp which was still on the trailer behind my car to use it as a quarterpipe for the rail.
Only when I was climbing on the car I directly heard a whistle and a security guard screaming to me from behind. I knew was only going to get 1 try. While he was running and screaming I jumped of my car into the jumpramp and on to the rail.
The security ran straight to Remy and me, and was yelling at Remy to delete all of his footage; otherwise he would call the police. Somehow Remy, clever as he is, made his memory card disappear in his sock :-)
11. You've seen a lot of cities. Which one is the most skater friendly and which one not?
I guess Paris is really nice to skate. We did not get in any trouble with the police and the only time when we got kicked out they treated us really nice. Also just to skate around Paris is one of my favourite cities because of the
ground your rolling on. It's sometimes feel like heaven :-) Especially the little sight seeing twister trip we did next to the Seine was a lot of fun.
Barcelona was maybe the hardest city to get the clips done. We had 3 encounters with the police and security because we were not allowed to skate. Axelʼs iphone 5 and Remyʼs Gopro got stolen. But besides that Barcelona is of course like the capital for street skating with so much spots, only you have to take care of your gear there like no other city. Another weird problem in Barcelona was handling the sun during the day, it was so freaking hot between 13.00 and 16:00. We couldnʼt be productive at that time, but we managed to take a Siesta and woke up pretty early most of the time.
12. Are there any ambitions to produce a global Cityhopper?
You never know but at this moment I have to say: NO
But of course if there would be any sponsor willing to pay a big bag of money for it we will discuss the possibilities.