Bangkok, January 27, 2017, 08:30 am. The lights went out, the blinds were drawn. Four Security guards were ready to beat the truth out of us. When I looked at Max, I knew that either our last hour had struck, or that I should now pull my SD card with one of the sickest flatground kickflips of all time, shot at sunrise, out of my sock. The whole thing was not funny anymore and the proof that we were skating on a helicopter platform had to be destroyed.
One year later, looking back on this scenario, I know that I have gained a best friend with Max. On and off the board, of course. Long story short … Let’s get this started.
– FLORIAN “BURNY” HOPFENSPERGER
INTERVIEW & PHOTOS: BURNY
We’re sitting here in front of a 7-Eleven, doing a Thai-style interview … with a bottle of whiskey & soda. Let’s talk about the sick scenario on the hotel roof.
We had met at seven o’clock in the hood, at the 7-Eleven, where we bought drinks and went off with the tuk tuk [editor’s note: vehicle with engine and three wheels, used as a cab] … it was sort of conspicuous, because you said that the way we look, the people from the hotel will know that we do not live there.
We were loud as hell as we rolled up to the property of the hotel and the people from the hotel thought that we are super crazy dudes, who come from the Kausan Road. Stubbornly, we then walked through the lobby and went to the elevator, but it only worked with a keycard. Some guests showed up who put the keycard in, but they got out of the elevator after a few floors, so we just went with them and took the stairs to the top. Right before the end, we had to pass through a door that triggered the fire alarm. The fucking siren went on and luckily stopped after a few seconds. We went through and up to the roof, where we had the best view. Right after we got all the shots we needed, some big Thai dudes who were at least 6,5“ were approaching us. They then accompanied us down to the lobby. Until that moment, everything was easy. At first, we tried to escape, but it did not work out. Then they took us down to the garage, where we ended in an adjoining room … the blinds were drawn, they took their ties off, rolled up their sleeves, and all hell was loose.
“IT’S NOT GERMANY –IF SOMETHING HAPPENS IN BANGKOK, NOBODY WILL KNOW“
The light was turned off, then back on, just back and forth until you’ve pulled out the card at the end, you just did not want to give it away. I just thought, if Burny stays stubborn, I’ll play along. But they would not have spared us much longer and then you unpacked it…
I just hoped that they would not beat us up and throw us into an alley.
It’s just 11 pm and it’s still 93 F. The smog doesn’t make breathing easier. Those are already hard conditions when it comes to skating. What has inspired you to go to Bangkok for almost six years now?
Yo, Bangkok is just the shit! The city never sleeps and you can do whatever you want, 24/7. The city is really dirty, and then there’s another clean and wealthy site to it, which is the exact opposite. I like the mix.
You just have to get out on the streets and you have your fun. It’s easy to hop on a scooter taxi to get around, or if you are drunk at night it’s sick to take a tuk tuk, or just take a cab with an AC. I also dig the whole street food possibilities. The food is just killer!
It’s also cool to spontaneously take over a bar, where I like to connect the phone to the aux to bring the party on.
For the last few years, I have always visited Bangkok for a shorter period before hitting the islands. This year, the gang consisted of Samuel, Sascha, Mari and Marc. We spent two weeks on the road in Bangkok and left not a single thing out: we skated a lot, sneaked ourselves on some expensive hotel complexes to hit the pool, had some good food and shared a lot of laughs. This year in Bangkok was super fun and it was great that we all experienced it together… we’ve all known each other for a long time and have spent a lot of time together.
Next year: same crew, same game!
When did you go on your last trip with Samuel Beyer and where did it take you?
That was a long time ago, I think we went to Barcelona…
If I look at your past like that, I think of how you have been traveling a lot in Asia. Where in Asia have you been and how was your first time there?
The first time I went to Asia was also on a trip with Samuel. We were with Patrik Wallner in Shenzen and Hong Kong to film our part for Translations. Back then, China was still completely underground and no one had it on the radar. We also went on a Nike trip to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia….
Didn’t you do the hardest kickflip of your life in Malaysia?
The kickflip over the streetgap comes after the kickflip on the “Aufmarschgelände“ [editor’s note: famous skateable blocks in Nuremberg, Germany] from the sixth block.
The kickflip from the sixth block, which went down exactly ten years ago and landed on the cover of the Place Issue 5, is for sure one of the hardest tricks in German skateboard history. Have you ever thought about adding one more?
In fact, I did it twice in a row. After that, I tried to hardflip it… I would like to skate from the seventh or eighth block, but after the sixth block the runway gets even shorter and it’s already short, anyways.
What else is going on in NBGhetto (Nuremberg)?
Looking at the skate spots, unfortunately nothing has been changing and even if somethin g was built, they would put skatestoppers on it. There are the OG spots where you can get buck, but besides that, there’s not a lot here.
The homies over at TX-Sports usually invite many international skate teams. We saw a lot of teams here that killed it.
Is it easy for young skaters to go to the bad in Nuremberg, or do you show the younger kids at the Museumsspot (editor’s note: local spot at the museum) how things go? Is Nuremberg to be treated with caution?
It has definitely become more relaxed, the younger kids know what they do and are for sure different from us.
Who are the latest rippers from Nuremberg that people should know about?
Luan should be on the map!
And Nehmia and Jonny Bonez are sick! They are 100% skaterats who are motivated to go skate every day.
What happened to Like Wow? Wasn’t that your Homie Brand from Nuremberg? Or is a new homie thing planned?
Like Wow is still around, but I’m not involved in it anymore… Otherwise, there is something new cooking up!
I’ve been planning something with Mari.
Max B. seems to fit the Dirty Ghetto Kids perfectly! How long have you been on DGK and how did that happen?
I’ve been on DGK for ten years!
Gentsch hooked it up with Urban Supplies back then where Mike Sprunkel took care of me, after that Felix Stephan helped me out and now I’m getting DGK from Mosaic, where Johannes Schön looks after me.
“Skaters are just the real ones! The only negative thing about skating is getting injured.”
How can you identify yourself with DGK?
DGK is more than just skating for me. I really feel the shit the guys in America do and I back them 100%.
Do you have any plans to go to LA and skate with the team?
I will fly to LA in June where I want to visit KAYO. Let’s see what happens.
You’ve been a skater since day one and already had media coverage at the age of twelve. In which direction has skating changed for you today? What are positive and negative aspects?
Skating is the best thing that ever happened to me! Through skating, I was able to see a lot of the world and get to know a lot of different people. Skaters are just the real ones! The only negative thing about skating is getting injured.
Any homies of former teammates you are skating with these days?
I still skate with the same homies as usual: Mari, Samuel, Sascha and Luan.
Everyone has become better and unique. Of the old teammates, I often see Sebi Vellrath and Sami Harithi when I’m in Berlin. Also, Sami was in Nuremberg a few times when he was passing through. Sebi and Sami are two legends. They are always in a good mood and it’s really funny to talk about old times.
Is there a specific year that you would like to experience again?
2007! In that year, I went to New York with Samuel. It was just the best time on the board. No headaches, no stress, just skating.
What’s your favorite part?
Henry Sanchez – Sight Unseen.
Your music taste in skate parts has always been oriented towards old school rap. Which rapper will we hear in your next part and how does the music influence your skate style?
Prodigy of Mobb Deep has been with me for ages! R.I.Prodigy. Music gives me power and motivates me, I live it! I don’t like that new trap shit. In my opinion, that has nothing to do with rap. Although, there are some tracks that are cool.
Didn’t Helge Tscharn shoot most Monster Skateboard Magazine covers with you? How many covers did you have and what is your favorite?
I already had six or seven covers. My favorites are the kickflip on the “Aufmarschgelände“ and of course our cover from Hawaii, which we shot for the Playboard back then..
We are also planning our first issue of Pocket, which will be released as a hardcover in June. What do you think should the cover look like?
It should be a killer fisheye photo with the board as close to the lense as possible! Back to the real shit!
Let’s get back to the dirty streets of Bangkok.
Many of the tricks for the interview happened spontaneously and often you didn’t know what spots to expect. Does the surprise effect motivate you and do you still like jumping down stuff?
I like going to spots spontaneously because I think that it makes me feel the adrenaline right away, which gets me in a mood in which I want to hit the spot right away. I do not mind jumping down stuff, but I’m not the youngest anymore. These days, it’s not always easy for my body to take it. But sometimes it has to go down!
Do you prefer skating in Bangkok by day or night?
Definitely at night. It’s too hot during the day, there’s no chance in the heat. The spot where we shot the Ollie at also makes a great story. I had discovered the spot during the day, but there was a lot of stalls, so it was only possible to skate it in the middle of the night, after like 1:30 am. We came too early, hoping the spot is good to skate. When we arrived, everything was still packed and we had to stay awake for about two hours, so we got some beers. Soon, the spot was finally empty, but it had to go down fast. You were ready and Sam cleared the street … Sam-style, he directly encouraged everyone to keep the street clear for me and then baaaam, I got the trick first try and the street party was on!
I see you as a person who closely observes his surroundings. In Bangkok, there is always crazy stuff happening. What was the craziest thing you experienced there?
There was so much … our helicopter story was the craziest!
In Bangkok, you can have fun and do stuff 24/7 and in 99.9% of the cases, people think it’s funny.
What should one enjoy with caution?
Be careful with drugs, hookers and brawling. Your “I’m so sorry” will not help you anymore!
Five things to do or see in Bangkok?
RCA Private Table with Black Label Soda Water
Lebua State Tower view
T & K SEAFOOD IN CHINATOWN
Dishes you have to try?
Som Dam Thai Pet
Anis Papaya Fried Rice
After a Bangkok trip, what are you doing in Thailand?
We always fly to islands. Our favorite is Koh Phangan and then we just go on to see more islands…
Thailand has over 500 islands, which is totally insane. Are there big differences for you as an island expert?
In any case, Phuket and Samui are very crowded and stressful, because of the airport. It’s fun for a few days though. Koh Tao is chill, but Koh Phangan is the shit! There, you have everything from party to “being alone on the beach“. The vibe is also the most authentic there.
What else is going on this year?
Currently, I’m in Nuremberg and then I will go to LA. In August, I will fly to New York with my girlfriend Gung, then I’ll see…
Thanks for the interview Max. Any shout-outs?
First of all, I want to thank you Burny, for everything and for the killer time in Bangkok! It’s funny with you every time! I think it’s really cool what you’ve been building up with Pocket, you will have lots of success with it! I believe in you, you deserve it!
Shout outs to Johannes Schön and Mosaic for the DGK / Gold Stuff, Norbert Szombati and fine lines for the Nike Stuff and Sven from TX-SPORTS!
A big thanks to my parents, my family, my girlfriend and all my brothers! I love you.