Photo by skateface.se
I met Tyler Edtmayer while I was for the first time visiting and actually skating at the Vert Attack VIII contest in Malmö, Sweden in March 2014. I met him on the stairs while going to the vert ramp and he was as you can expect wondering who the hell this dude is who was asking about his skating.
After traveling with him and his mom, Amy, to the Norwegian Skate contest this year, I wanted to give this young skate talent a chance to be seen a bit more. After a lot of waiting and back and forth with me here’s finally his interview. A lot has happened inbetween so I definitely be adding updates about this all-round shredder who skates vert, pools and street so well for his current only 13 years of age. Really glad to get this online – check it out, share and let us know if you want to know more. This kid has sponsors but surely deserves more!
Hi Tyler. You are by far the youngest skater I’ve ever done an interview with, but you’ve been skating so well, improving so fast and placing great at contests lately that you deserve some recognition. As a lot of our people visiting our website probably don’t know you, let us know some basics about yourself: how old are you, where are you from and when did you get started with skateboarding?
I’m 13 years old and I come from Lenggries, Germany, which is about an hour south of Munich. I started skateboarding when I was about 3 ½. My mom is from California, so when I visited my grandparents on vacation, I saw everybody skating around everywhere and wanted to try it, too. When we got back to Germany, I saw a skateboard at the supermarket and bugged my mom to get it for me. It was only like 20 Bucks, so she bought it for me to play around on. At first I just scooted around on it on my butt or knees in the driveway, but when I was like 4, I started trying for real.
Tyler at Vert Attack – photo by David Östlund
Then the kid next door to my grandparents in California saw me trying to do ollies in the driveway and told me my board, wheels, and trucks were shit and that I’d never be able to do any tricks with it. So he gave me one of his old setups and then I really started learning stuff.
These days it’s not so unusual to see skaters your age who already have a big bag of quite difficult tricks – at least for the skaters in my age group who are stoked to see people just doing some airs, inverts or some lip tricks. It’s probably just the normal development in this day and age that you have seen more difficult tricks done by a lot of people earlier in your life that has helped you develop faster, BUT once you get used to a vert ramp, a concrete skatepark or whatever, you seem to just let go and your skating flows. Now the question – do you get a lot of you ideas for tricks from videos and other skaters or do you just know what you want to try yourself?
When I was younger, I used to just watch guys who were better than me wherever I was and ask them for tips. I still do that in street, but for vert and bowl, that doesn’t work anymore where I live. So when I’m home, I just watch contest live streams and all the good transition videos I can find on the Internet and then go out and try stuff by myself.
With my 540 there’s kind of a funny story behind it. I had just learned a gay twist in the mini ramp extension and one of the guys was laughing and said, “What are you going to do next, a McTwist?!” I didn’t even know what a McTwist was, but when he told me it was a 540 we both laughed again. Then when I got home, I looked it up, found some videos and decided to try it.
I didn’t even skate vert yet at the time and that guy told me he and his friends had an old vert ramp out in the woods and I should come skate with them. It’s kinda far from my house, but I convinced my mom to take me there. I tried doing McTwists on somebody’s trampoline a few times first and it actually wasn’t that hard.
Tyler doing the 540 in Marseille, France / Photo by Aurian Sempere
Once I landed it on my feet, I tried spinning it on the ramp. I could already spin it the first day, but I was too low because my setup for it was only a drop-in (in couldn’t even do a fifty on vert yet!), so I was trying to spin it really fast and couldn’t keep the board under my feet while spinning. Then I started trying it in the vert extension on the mini ramp, because I could do a fifty there. It was really hard, because nobody could help me.
I just watched „How to McTwist“ on the Ride Channel over and over and when a guy in Brasil I was on Facebook with found out I was trying it, he told me to post a video so he could see what I was doing wrong. We chatted on Facebook and he gave me some tips, too. It took me about 6 sessions and then I landed it in the less than 8 ft. high mini ramp vert extension. That’s the story of my life when it comes to learning new tricks!
Photo by Faby Reichenbach
Living where you do, you usually don’t have a vert ramp around the corner to skate at. Where do you get to skate and practice on a regular basis and how much travel and time does this mean for you and your family?
Well, Munich’s an hour to the North and Innsbruck, Austria is an hour to the south. I’m more in Innsbruck, though, because they have the WUB Halle, which is a good indoor skate park where I can practice a lot of different stuff. When it’s dark, raining, or snowy, it takes even longer to get there and back and I go at least 2-3 times a week.
In the summer, I try to go to The Cradle in Brixlegg, Austria whenever I can. It’s only about 45 min. from my house and they have one of the most gnarly bowls ever! It’s huge and I can practice almost everything there. Unfortunately, since it’s outside, it’s only open half the year and you have to be lucky with the weather. That’s the problem with everything around here, even in the summer. Luckily since last year I’ve been traveling a lot, so during the week, I just skate after school somewhere within an hour or two in Austria or sometimes in Munich or Augsburg, and from spring to fall I travel almost every weekend within Europe. Then I get to skate all kinds of different awesome parks with all kinds of different skaters, which is really cool, because at home I’m used to skating alone most of the time.
Since we have no full-sized vert ramps anywhere near where I live, that’s the only way I get to practice vert too. Either way, I skate pretty much every day and my parents drive me or fly with me, wait for me, watch me, cheer me on, and have to play with my 3 year-old sister the whole time when she’s there while I’m skating, too.
Photo: Marco Freudenreich
A Camp Woodward is supposed to come to Europe soon and it will be in my town! (Red: we’re waiting for this to happen!) There’s no date yet, so I’m just waiting and hoping… Everywhere I go, people keep asking me about it, so I know lots of people want to come when it opens. It’s going to be the most amazing training facility ever and then I’ll finally not only have something right by my house, but also pretty much the best thing I could even imagine and lots cool skaters to ride with!
I met you – just for a few minutes – at the Vert Attack 8 in Malmö, Sweden this year and the next time we met at the Oslo airport with your mom to drive and skate at the Hangup Contest 2014 in Horten, Norway (which was a blast as well everybody, sure to be even bigger and better next year). How do you feel to be able to travel around so much in the world to skate contests and parks with the support of your family?
When I travel, I’m lucky to be able to ride with really good guys, so I get lots of cool trick ideas and they help me out with stuff, too.
It’s very cool to skate contests and parks all around the world, because you see a lot of different cultures, meet a lot of different people, and hear a lot of different languages. I always make new friends wherever I go and I stay in touch with lots of them on Facebook and Instagram. When I go back to a place, I just tell my friends I met before that I’m coming and then we all meet up to skate.
Some of them have even stayed at my house in Germany when there were contests in Munich and I’ve stayed at different guys’ houses in other countries when I’ve been there for skate stuff, too. It’s really cool that my family is helping me travel because not very many people have a family like that.
Tyler at the Bergfest contest in Münster, Germany with a backside boneless / Photo by Gerd Rieger
Keeping with the contest questions – you won the AM bowl contest at Sosh Cup 2014 in Marseille, France, got the wild card for the pro contest, and then made it to the quarterfinals and placed 16th there. The next weeked, you won the Munich BE(A)ST Tour Hirschgarten 2014 bowl contest in Germany, a week later placed 13th place at the Mystic Cup 2014 pro bowl contest in Prague, and then the next weekend you really won the Bergfest 2014 bowl contest in Münster, Germany (which unluckily I wasn’t able to make it to – I was supposed to be a judge as well!) which is one of the coolest European “underground” skateboard contests around. As if that wasn’t enough, you even rode a couple big street contests and won the Volcom Wild in the Parks European U15 country qualifier in Germany.
Do you plan your runs the night before, dream about how you are going to skate, list your tricks on paper (I used to when I could list them *hehe*)? And is it difficult for you to skate with a lot of older skaters or is it just skateboarding for you?
I usually plan parts of my lines the day before, but not everything. Most of the bowl contests I skate are death match jam sessions, so I do try to plan my introduction runs, because you only have a certain amount of time alone in the bowl and I want to make sure I get certain tricks in. I’m still learning how to do that, but it’s getting better. You can’t really plan for heats where a bunch of people are skating at the same time, though, so I just try to practice certain tricks in a row and then somehow get them done during the jam.
There are so many different things you can do in bowl contests and sometimes it just comes to you while you’re skating. I’ve tried and landed tricks in contests that I’d never even thought of before in my life! Vert contests are different because you usually skate alone, so although I could actually plan lines for those, I don’t really, because if something happens and you loose speed off a trick, then it messes up the rest of your line. Of course unless you have a time limit, then you kind of have to.
Tyler at Vert Attack – Photo by Eddie Think
So sometimes you have to be flexible and spontaneous right during the middle of your run! I do have some tricks I like to do in lines though, and otherwise I more just skate and see what comes. When I skate street, I do actually plan lines, because you don’t have very much time and you have to try to get as much as possible in before time is up.
When I first started skating the same events with guys I’d only seen on TV, in videos, or at X Games before, I was like, oh my God, that’s so and so! And I was so nervous and I didn’t know what to say to them and I was scared I’d get in their way. I’m getting used to that pretty fast now, though, and now it’s all just about have the best, most fun, and gnarliest sessions! Skating with older guys is just fun and about seeing what skateboarding was like 20 years ago, seeing what like the roots of skateboarding are and a different style of riding.
You were sponsored by the European representative of ZOO YORK clothing and skateboards until recently, they then had to stop their business due to let’s just say business problems as I don’t have all the facts and this is not the place to discuss it. You still have a good amount of sponsors though so let us know who they are and are you still looking for further support for skateboarding?
Yeah, with Zoo York that was a real bummer and really bad timing! Right in the middle of the contest season and now I have no decks and no help with travel costs. I’m riding flow for Bones Wheels and TSG through 24/7 Distribution, wear power bands from Efx Germany, get my socks from Stance Socks Germany, and special insoles for my skate shoes as well as shin and ankle protection socks from Footprint Insoles.
Tyler in Copenhagen vert – photo by Tobias Plass
I’d actually had the same shop sponsor, Neokeltic Skate Shop, helping me out since I was 8, but now they just closed down their shop and started something new in the next town, so they’re not going to have a skate team anymore.
Of course I’d love some additional support! Who wouldn’t?! I’m always open for brands whose image fits good to me, my style, who I am, and where I want to go with skateboarding. It’s really important to me that I like and can stand behind the products I’m riding for and that I ride for companies I can grow with. Because I skate mostly transition, I have to travel internationally all the time, since most of the big contests and events are out of the country.
So not having help with travel costs right now is really difficult and although I’ve still been able to make it to all the events I’d planned for this year, it was really hard for me and my family to do it, because we didn’t have the money, but somehow we did it anyway. Next year’s going to be even more difficult, though, with some bigger events further away.
It would also be really cool to have a team to travel with or meet up with
sometimes, just to have other fun guys to go places and skate with. So I’m really hoping to hook up with brands that support that.
Is there something besides skateboarding that you really like to do or is it just all skateboarding for you right now?
Mostly I just want to skateboard right now. Until recently I was playing ice hockey, too, but it’s too much for me with both sports now. I stopped doing gymnastics for the same reason a couple years ago. I
actually like doing lots of different kinds of sports just for fun. Here in Germany, I live in a ski resort, so I go freestyle skiing a lot in the winter. Surfing is really cool, too, and I have a short board at my grandparents’ house in California. When I’m there, I try to go when I can, but I still kinda suck, LOL.
Tyler at the Flora pool in Hamburg, Germany
While I’m writing this interview I know you just got back from Scandinavia, California, and some different places in Europe. Where did you go and what did you skate (which parks and ramps)?
First I went to Copenhagen, Denmark to skate with some friends and then on to Malmö, Sweden to skate Ultra Bowl 6, where I made it to the finals and got 4th in U18, which was really cool because it’s one of the only truly international U18 contests there is and it’s just so fun like every contest John Magnussen puts on! The parks up in Scandinavia are so awesome and there are so many cool guys to skate with! I really like Fælledparken and Stappelbädsparken and hung out there with my friends most of the time. They have huge flow bowls and street flow areas and Fælled even has a massive outdoor vert ramp with a roll in.
After that, I went back to Germany for two days, stopping by the Cristiania bowl in Copenhagen and the Rota Flora bowl in Hamburg for quick sessions on the way down. Then I flew to California for 3 weeks. There are so many good things to skate there and rad guys to skate with, that I don’t even know where to start! Of course I hit the Combi Bowl at Vans, the Volcom park in Costa Mesa and tried out the new Vans skatepark in Huntington Beach. I was at Etnies in Lake Forest and Venice a couple times each and love them both. And they opened up a new bowl-only park in San Pedro called Peck Park while I was there, so I checked that out, too, and then got to have a quick session at Channel Street nearby.
I went down to San Diego twice and got to combine a little surf trip to San Onofre with a visit to the Stance Socks company headquarters in San Clemente, where I got to check out the whole place (awesome is all I can say!!) and ride their new bowl. I also got to go to the Sector 9 Skateboards headquarters in San Diego and got a tour of their on-site factory (yes, they actually make their own skateboards right there!) and got to ride their cool bowl, too. I was privileged enough to be able to ride two of the most awesome (and famous) private vert ramps ever, which I was so stoked on! And inbetween I hit up the Alex Road Skatepark in Oceanside and the Alga Norte Skatepark in Carlsbad with some friends. Oh, and I made a quick stop at Washington Street, too, which was just gnarlier than gnarly!
As soon as I got back, I went straight to Italy for the Big Sunday vert contest, where I got 6th, then onto Spain for Volcom’s Wild in the Parks European Finals in street, and I’m just flying back from Birmingham, England from Blockless Combat 11, which is part of the UK Independent Vert Series, right now. I got 4th and am super stoked on that.
It was funny being in so many countries in just a few weeks! Today in Birmingham I couldn’t believe how many awesome stairs and rails and curbs they have all over the city and nobody has even skated them (and there aren’t even skate stoppers!). My friend told me no one skates street in Birmingham. Bummer it was raining when we were walking around!
As you are still really young, you are still going to school which is a great thing as you never know what will happen in the future. How do feel about going to school during the week and going to skateboard contests during the weekends – do your friends all really think it’s “cool” or is it something you keep for yourself? And is it hard for you to combine both?
I actually wish they had home schooling here in Germany, but it’s not allowed. I have a special athlete status, so whenever I have to miss school for a contest, my parents can request permission and the school checks to make sure my grades are good and that I’m not in trouble, then it’s no problem. But I can’t miss too much, though, since they’re pretty strict here on that. Right now it still works like that, but I’m not sure how I’m going to do it when I have to travel more.
Kids at school see what I’m doing on Facebook and Instagram, so sometimes they ask me about it. I guess they think it’s kinda cool, I don’t know. Some of my guy teachers used to skate, too, so when I go to big contests, they usually ask me how it was and we talk about it a little. I just started 7th grade and some kids in my new class actually skate, so I met them at a street park in the town where my school is (I only live in a small town, so I have to go to a town 7 miles away for school) and that was pretty fun to skate with kids again.
For me it’s quite rad to see you already doing 540s anywhere and all of the tricks you are doing. We’ve talked a bit about you looking at new tricks, trying to get new stuff done – do you have any special tricks, types of tricks you are looking at that you really want to learn next or do you just go out and try it them when you are at a certain spot?
Even though I have to do it that way a lot, it’s really hard to learn new tricks by yourself from videos, especially if you don’t have the right places to learn them or you can’t figure out why something you’re trying isn’t working. What I especially want to work on now are different kinds of flip and varial tricks in vert and bowl and some more difficult grinds, but I’m having trouble figuring some of that stuff out on my own. I’m also working on learning to pop my ollies and airs out better in transitions that aren’t vert and lots of the other guys I’ve been skating contests with have been really helping me with that. So I’ve been getting better at those things while I’ve been on the road the last few months!
Tyler skating at the 2014 Mystic Cup in Prague / Photo by Burkhard Zacher
Always a favorite question for me – can you name a few skaters who you really like for their skating skills and style and tell us why?
Ah, I hate that question! So I’m just going to name some of the guys I’ve skated contests with recently who I really like to watch and learn from… and who are all really nice guys by the way and they give me good tips, too! Danny Leon and Bjørn Lillisøe, because they’re both still really young, but skate everything from street to vert, have huge bags of tricks, great style, and are kind of like my big brothers when we all meet up at different stuff in Europe. When I watch them ride, that’s kind of the way I want to be riding in a couple years. I really like the way Jimmy Wilkins flies through the vert, too, and everything just looks so fun and easy. Alex Sorgente is a good one, too because he’s only 3 years older than me and he is getting so gnarly so fast in everything! And last but not least, Pedro Barros because he’s so gnarly, smooth, fast, stylish, and high!
I read a post the other day from your mom on your timeline on Facebook that she is very happy that you wear pads and a helmet, something which is not so normal these days with a lot of skaters but to be honest, I think this is the smartest thing you can do! Do you ever get anybody making fun of you for doing this…and do you care?
Oh, yeah, people give me shit about it all the time! It depends who’s giving me a hard time if I care or not. Some people say you get judged down at bigger contests if you’re wearing pads and a helmet, because it’s easier and you’re not taking as much risk, which I don’t really understand, because you could even end up in wheelchair from not wearing a helmet. I always wear one no matter what I’m skating. I’m still so young and it’s hard for me to run out big stuff with my short legs too, so that’s why I wear knee pads. I don’t wear those in small bowls or street anymore though. When I get bigger, I’ll probably just keep them on in big stuff. I also only put on my elbow pads now if I’m going to do a 540 or if I’m learning new big tricks in vert. I think everybody should be able to decide for themselves if they’re going to wear pads or not though.
Photo by David Östlund
Wrapping this interview up for now, what are your plans for the next contests and events in 2014 and 2015 and where do you plan to go to shred?
This weekend I’m going to Denmark for the opening of the new Street Dome skatepark, which is going to be totally amazing! After that, I’ve just got a couple local contests in southern Germany, one street and one vert and bowl, and that’s it (as far as I know) for contests and events this year. Then I’ll be going back to California again for Christmas vacation. (Update: Tyler already went to the Street Dome skatepark opening and skated the demos!)
In February there’s Volcom’s ISPO mini ramp contest which is really fun and I hope to be able to skate Simple Session (a street contest with huge ramps) in Estonia this winter, too. What I definitely have planned is Vert Attack 9 in Malmö, Sweden in March and I really hope to be able to ride the Vans Amateur Combi Pool Party in California that’s usually around the same time.
No dates are really out for next year yet, so other than that, I’ll just have to see when stuff is and what I can make it to. Hang-Up in Norway, Sosh Cup in Marseille, the Munich Be(a)st Bowl, Mystic Cup in Prague, Bergfest in Münster, Ultra Bowl in Malmö, Volcom Wild in the Parks Europe and Big Sunday in Italy again for sure, but there were also some other really good ones this year I didn’t go to yet or missed because they were the same weekends as other things, like the Denim Cup in France, the Vans Spring Classic in Italy, Murder Bowl Mania in Italy, the NL Contest in France, NASS in England, Bowlmasters in Austria, and the Copenhagen Bowl contest in Denmark that I will try for next year, too. I also like to try to hit up at least one stop on the UK Independent Vert Series and
there are always lots of other smaller things also worth going to around my part of Europe to fill the gaps in between!
Maybe there’ll be some cool new stuff I don’t even know about yet, who knows?!