Elusive German street skater Patrick Ridder opens up about his appearance in Valo’ s V, parting ways with Chimera and becoming more prominent in the upcoming months.
Patrick Ridder is so rarely witnessed, yet often spoken about, that you could fairly conclude that he is somewhat of a mythical creature, like a unicorn or the Loch Ness monster. The only evidence that he actually exists are a few online edits, which could easily be a feat of clever editing, and a Facebook account that may or may not be genuine. After all, anyone can find a few photos, sling them online and pretend to be a real person. Hell, there are numerous television shows and films dedicated to people who have successfully done it.
Our fears that Ridder was nothing more than an urban legend of European blading – a figment of our imagination – were laid to rest thanks to his appearance in the recent Valo team video V. The German puts in a noteworthy performance, linking together solid lines, transfers and some clever switch-ups, and holds his own against strong appearances from Kruise Sapstein, Matt Ladewski and Cosimo Tassone. However, there are certain to be a lot of people who must be wondering how a relatively lesser known member of the Valo amateur team ended up securing quite a prominent place in their latest video.
“I just visited Jon in Cali and hung with Ivan Narez, who became a really good friend of mine”, he begins. “Of course, we also filmed a little bit during that time. One year later, when Valo V was already in the process, I went there again with Kare Lindberg and Olav Norheim, but it was not about getting clips done for the video; it was more like a vacation and having a good time.”
Well, that vacation turned into the opportunity of a lifetime, appearing in one of the most highly anticipated team videos in recent years and arguably Valo’s most accomplished releases to date. It was also somewhat of a landmark blading video to be a part of because it is the first to appear on iTunes. Apparently there will be more gallavanting in the near future thanks to a relatively relaxed employment situation.
“I work as a printer in a big factory”, says Ridder. “It’s an easy job and I get paid very well. I’ve got also a lot of free time and my boss is very cool about giving me days off for skating and travelling.”
Despite his elusive tendencies, Ridder has managed to secure sponsorship deals, not only with Valo, but The Blackjack Project and BDST as well, which would understandably infuriate all the try-hards out there who put out edits faster than meaningless Twitter mind farts in order to get any form of recognition. At present, there are only about five edits of Ridder available on YouTube and most of them are several years old. He doesn’t help matters by sporadically deleting old profiles that he believes no longer represent where he currently is as a skater. You could be forgiven for thinking Ridder is slowly attempting to remove any trace of his existence from the internet. It’s a good thing his sponsors don’t seem to mind the fact that his online presence is considerably lacking and, if his trigger happy tendencies with the delete key are anything to go by, getting smaller with each passing month.
“To be honest, I deleted three old online sections of mine because I don’t like them anymore”, he admits. “I also think the brands that support me don’t care about having 5,000 edits out there.”
The limited footage of Ridder circling the internet looks set to expand, as he is currently working on an online video with Kare Lindberg, Olav Norheim and Tony Cheetah that is tentatively titled Valo EU. Apparently the video will feature full sections from each of the afore-mentioned riders, as well footage from many other familiar faces. This is a pretty big deal considering the entire project started with the humble intention of filming a few clips for the Valo website’s Maneuver Monday feature.
“Kare, Olav, Tony and I met up in Barcelona to hang out and film some Maneuver Monday clips. After that week, we had enough clips to make a short online edit, then Tony came up with his idea to make a full online video. We’re really good friends, we love to skate together, we’re all getting skates from Valo and we also felt like giving something back to the brand. It’s going to be a 30-40 mins online video with full parts of us mixed up with clips of all of our Valo homies who stuck with us during our trips, and we’re going to sell the video for four euros.”
According to Ridder, filming for the online project will finish in September, “So it might be ready right after.” Right could be slightly over optimistic on Ridder’s part, but it is encouraging to know that we can expect another full-length online video featuring a host of European talent later this year. When asked about the experience as a whole, he simply responded: “There were too many good and funny moments with those guys. We’re like a family.” We’ll assume that means it was a positive adventure for everyone involved.
“I think the brands that support me don’t care about having 5,000 edits out there.”
One notable exception to Ridder’s current list of sponsors is The Chimera Conspiracy, the independent wheel company owned by Ridder’s friend Benny Harmanus, who curiously gave him a pro wheel a short while back. In a recent, and somewhat out of character, statement by Ridder on Facebook, he called out Harmanus for dropping him from the team, neglecting to pay him royalties on his pro wheel and blamed him for the breakdown of their ten-year friendship. Since that outburst, Harmanus has been in touch with Ridder, offered to reimburse him the money he is owed, and the pair are currently working to mend their fractured relationship.
“Benny used to be one of my best friends when he lived in Frankfurt”, says Ridder. “My relationship with him changed a little bit during my time on Chimera. We didn’t always agree on things, like making a pro wheel for me, which I never really wanted or deserved, getting more online content, working on the wheel material, etc. In the end, I got kicked out and promises were not kept. Maybe some people saw my little freak out on his Facebook wall, but it’s alright. Time changes friendships, too. It was a typical money versus friends story.”
Based on his recent experiences regarding a sponsorship deal that went sour, it seems only logical to find out Ridder’s views on the current dynamic between a brand and their riders. The recent years have thrown up a few examples of what happens when a skater becomes disenchanted with their sponsor, particularly the love/hate relationship that has developed between the The Conference and the Kelso brothers.
“I kinda don’t want to judge them because I don’t know what happened in the background”, he says. “I really love Colin and Sean’s work, but I don’t know them in person, so why judge them? I love their skating, the way they helped the industry, and they make blading look cool. The rest is none of my business. I just hope they all keep skating those streets.”
When Ridder isn’t randomly appearing in Valo videos or venting his frustrations on Facebook he can be found looking for good beats wherever he can find them. His current vice of choice is Soundcloud, where he discovered bedroom producers Lil Ugly Mane and Bones, you know, the weird white guy with a penchant for southern rap music that has two songs featured in KCMO. Other favourites of the self-confessed beat junkie include iconic producers such as Madlib and J Dilla, as well as old rap music from the ‘90s and Bone Thugs N Harmony. When asked about the last live music event he attended, Ridder instantly begins gushing about a night dedicated to one of his favourite producers.
“I just went to a J Dilla tribute, with Slum Village, Guilty Simpson, Frank Nitt & Illa J, Fat Lip and Slimkid3 (The Pharcyde) on the line-up, which was the best live shows I have ever went to.”
Whether he’s snapping his neck to his latest online musical discovery or trekking across Europe with a backpack and a pair of blades, one thing is for certain: Patrick Ridder does things his own way and in his own time. He will not be rushed, he will not compromise and he will not accept anything but the very best from himself. He advises that the reason he takes his sweet time doing everything is so that he will “never lose the fun and love for blading.” Considering his perfectionist tendencies and the fact that he seems to be trying to erase previous examples of his high quality blading from the internet, you can bet for damn sure that when the Valo EU video drops later this year his section is going to be a memorable one.
Words: David McNamara Photos: Matt Langel, Peter Bender, Fabian Stransky Pietro Firrincieli and Beathrixie Conde Corbal
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