When Nils Jansons approached Be-Mag recently about promoting his GC Blacklist section, I got little-girl-giddy. Rollerblading has it’s history of daredevils, starting from Chris Edwards and Arlo, to Bryan Bell, Shima, Lennen, Feinberg and Pianowski, up to Broskow and Haffey, yet Nils is his own, new breed, as if all his Blading forefathers were condensed into one, extremely fast and determined machine, plus a lot more than that.
Ever since he burst onto the scene eight years ago, he’s been featured in every magazine there was, won numerous competitions and made incredible video sections for his sponsors GC, Remz and BHC. It’s been a real pleasure working with Nils, he’s really the definition of the modern blading pro: besides being an incredible skater, he actually sticks to arranged deadlines and takes his work seriously.
What really makes me excited about Nils’ blading is that he’s still really young and has at least a decade of pro blading in front of him, if he decides he want to pursue it. Nils, pls take some hints on longevity from Richie Eisler, that’s the way to go.
Words: Josip Jagić
Photography: Kaspars Alksnis
You’ve been out of the limelight for a while now and every time we post anything about you, people lose their shit. Where have you been hiding lately and what have you been doing? Did you enroll into college, as you said you would?
Everything has been amazing. Year 2016 was pretty chill skating wise due to my knee injury. I skated daily but it didn’t let me skate street as I would like to or do contests on 100 percent so it was well needed time for me to focus more on my well-being and other things beside being a full time blader. To be more aware of human physiology while I teach kids and train myself I did a little bit of studies to get trainers certificate. I needed to get surgery so I set that for end of 2016 and just before I got my knee fixed I went to Barcelona and filmed this project for you guys. My knee didn’t let me go as big and gnarly as I wish I could but still it was amazing challenge to get a full section done while being injured. It meant that risk has to be very limited, so I couldn’t push my boundaries too far. I’m still on my recovery right now and working hard to shred as soon as my body is strong and all healed up and then work on something fresh.
A lot of exciting things happened in blading in the past year, the release of Eugen Enin’s Revolution Zoo, Chapter II, Joe Atkinson‘s Sydney section, Ranch by John Lyke, Delfon Dio. Whose blading do you enjoy watching the most lately and who inspires you the most among your peers?
All the ones you mentioned were indeed amazing! I’ve enjoyed all of them very much especially the ones filmed in Australia and Greece. When watching blading online I’m inspired by individuals natural style and how one can flow- where even the simple stuff can look amazing and unique. Then it becomes form of art and is beautiful and inspiring to watch. Of course performance and skill has to go with it. And no secret is that I love hammer skating but that should be combined with what I said before. I’m inspired seeing stuff that has never been done and seeing stuff been done like never before.
Do you enjoy the direction blading has taken in the past year, year and a half? A lot of people have claimed blading is going stale and less ballsy, and they often say there’s not enough bladers like you. Would you care to comment on that?
I can say I enjoy blading more then ever! I enjoy the way it is as it is at stage of it’s natural path. Most importantly people need to stand up for what they believe in. Blading is the coolest thing in the world if YOU believe it is! Times change but blading is and will be incredible expression of freedom for you to choose how to do it . I get so juiced from watching Bacemint as I get watching Alex Broskow KFC 3 or Chris Haffey’s Killerboots! Know your roots and promote what you love- simply by doing it with joy.
Following up on the question above, what makes you blade the way you blade? When do you decide that taking controled risks is not enough and that you want to go off the deep end, not knowing how a stunt might end up?
Well… I’ve always enjoyed hammer skating and big spots and that is what I’ve always enjoyed watching when growing up: Carlos Pianowski, Chris Haffey, Aaron Feinberg and many more have been my biggest inspiration ever. I would say that now I’d choose to do big tricks without unnecessary risk. I wouldn’t experiment with my body as I used to 3-4 years back. This is just because I want to stay healthy, feel good and be able to do everyday activities with no pain. I blade the way I feel like which is affected by my state of my mind. Big tricks are impressive but it has to be more than just impressive. It has to be incredible, beautiful, creative, unique and more!
It’s been a while since you were last featured on Be-Mag. In the meantime, Remz released your second pro skate which is, in my opinion, the best looking remz skate since the original remedyz boot in 1998. How much did you enjoy designing it and what was the overall response from the kids? The skate is pretty much sold out everywhere, do you plan on working on something new with Remz anytime soon?
Thanks man! I was really happy about the final product as well the feedback was really great. I’ve always enjoyed light colour boots that make feet stand out and this was my chance to have it. My friend Jānis Zālītis designed graphics to put on them. Everything about designing and preparing for the 1.5 model was special and shooting the promo video with my brother was amazing. I really hope we get to work on something real good and new with Remz in the near future, but we’re not yet planning my 3rd promodel.
Your teammate Chris Haffey is doing huge things with Nitro Circus, would you like to try competing at the Nitro World Games?
Oh man, yes! It’s such a big inspiration to be representing same brand with Chris and seeing all the amazing stuff he does on Nitro Circus. It would definitely be something I would really enjoy doing- stepping over my fear and flipping upside down on mega ramp. It would take great practise to prepare myself but I would be down if a chance like that turns up.
Are you doing the Nils Jansons Invitational again this year? Last years blading was insane, do you plan on inviting the same people or some new heads?
It sure is happening this year again and hopefully we can see some new guest pros. Takeshi Yasutoko joined us in 2016 and we sessioned vert ramp together which was incredible to say the least. As far as I know all the skaters have had super positive experience during GGFest. I’m really looking forward for this year and will do my best to let a spectacular top blading contest happen. 28th to 30th July in Ventspils, Latvia and more details on ggfest.com for those who keen.
You’ve been on the BHC team for a while now, and their last film End of the line features a lot of pretty fucked up blading. How do you like working with Mark Trebble, he seems like one of the truly dedica’ed bladers out there, and the team is full of heavyweights?
Mark is a G! BHC is a true family and I’m grateful to be part of it. Mark has supported my blading for 8 years now and I’m super excited to be working on something new with BHC in 2017! Stay tuned as new stuff is on it’s way!
As you dropped a GC Blacklist section, I have to ask about riding flat. Did you have a hard time transitioning to flat frames and were a bit reluctant on trying to blade flat at first? Do you ride the bigs or the megas?
Not at all. The whole section is filmed on Ground Control BIG’s 64mm flat setup and I’ve found out that this is my favourite frame-set ever. I haven’t had chance to test MEGA frames yet, but I’m pretty sure they will be the new favourites as I put them on with same 64mm sized wheels. I’ve adapted to flat setup very naturally and now I can only feel benefits of how that let’s my skating flow better. The ability to maneuver more while on the ground and I love the extra speed. It might be harder to get royal tricks on curbs but no one said it has to be easy – and when you do get them they are LIT!
How long did the section take to film?
It was 9 days of skating in Barcelona. Mega shout out to Kaspars Alksnis and Konstantīns Makarovs for being there to capture it and Pawel Troscinski for giving us home. Best times with the best crew. And 2 days for two tricks that were filmed in homeland Latvia (Riga and Liepāja).
Thanks to the great people besides me who let the Blacklist part happen. Shout out to camera crew Kaspars Alksnis and Konstantīns Makarovs, my brother Mārtiņs Jansons for improving colours for this piece, Pawel Troscinski for hosting us while in Barcelona and Ground Control frames for supporting and providing me with the best hardware over all these years. Thank you Josip and Be-Mag for this interview and thanks to all you lovley people for showing love and support over the years. And to end this with inspiring quote: Be the change you want to see in this world!
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