Latvian Skate Cinema: Asfalta Bērni

Our small skateboarding community has been riding around Latvian streets for 30, or so years. A few generations have changed. Some scene figures walked away leaving not much behind, others left recordings of their sessions. Skate videos of the past not only show tricks and spots, but also the spirit of the time, serving as a somewhat time machines. Our scene, though small, has created a lot of video history by now. Unknown to many but dear by some, our early scene videos were essential to our collective up-bringing as a skate community. One video inspired the next one, and so on. 

Latvian Skate Cinema is series of public screenings of the best Latvian skate videos. We had the first screening at KKC on 28th of February and the next one is coming in the end of March. The first video to open the event was the Mosquito skateshop’s 2007 Asfalta Bērni video. We talked to Rudolfs Henčels and Miks Grantiņš before the screening. They are the only two active skateboarders from the video. MIni interview below. 

Who started Mosquito skateshop?
Rudolfs: Two brothers from Cesis. They were snowboarders. That was the time when was the only skateshop in Riga. So they wanted to do something else, something different. I worked there from the beginning almost.

What was Mosquito like and what do you remember from those times?
R: The best times. It was the best. We could do whatever we wanted. We could make the shop they we though a shop should be. When someone came, we wanted to make them feel good. We tried to create a friendly vibe. There was a sofa next to the counter. A lot of friends came to hang out all the time. We had a classic skateshop corner.

How long did this shop exist?
R: Something around 5 years. The rent was 2500 Lats. A lot of money. It was on Barona street. That attributed to the shop’s closer.

How did you get into the team, Miks?
Miks: They hosted a competition. You had to sent your video and get 3 boards and a discount. I won that. And then Rudolfs asked me to join the team. I was like, “what? Rudzits is talking to me? He knows my name?” Later I went there and got everything. I could choose trucks, board, clothes and shoes. I came out fresh. My parents didn’t believe at first. They thought I robbed something. “We made it!”, I told my mum. It was cool.

Rudolfs with his notorious nollie big heel.

What can you tell about the video?
M: This video is made by Gvido Glazers. I was 15 – 16 years old back then. I was scared to hang out with other team members. They were the big dogs. I filmed with my homies, separately. Armands Blumfelds and Andris Kudors filmed most of my skating on a handycam.  I just gave Gvido 5 DV tapes. I asked him not to use some clips, especially one specific dramatic moment [Miks broke his arm and it is in the video]. But then when I saw it in the cinema; everything was used in.

Rudzit, you were closer to the main crew. Who else was in?
R: Atis Eric, he worked in the shop with me too and Dainis Siliņš.

M: Aka Chilliņš aka Jeremy Rogers.

R: Yeah, Dainis has the last part. The best part.

M: It is 2005- 2007. It is pretty cool to see how people skated and how skateboarding developed till nowadays. All the shit we have now with Instagram and all that is not so impactful.

Rudolfs what do you remember about the filming?
Embarrassing. This was the time when skate videos were too romanticized. Every skater had an emotional song and every trick was overanalysed. We had to wear the right outfits and so on. Skaters were more emotional too; we threw our boards and screamed a lot more when tricks didn’t work. All this stuff now when I watch it, I think why was it used. But that is how it was back then.

Dainis Siliņš ss bs 180 manny. Our favorite trick from the whole vid

Stay tuned for the next screening in the end of March. 

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