Ros is a cool bro from Singapore who has gone as far as South Africa for the love of skating. He tells us about his adventures in Malaysia and his vision for the future of DH in Asia. Enjoy
Hello Ros, how are you?
I’m doing great thank you!
How’s your week going?
I’ve been very busy with work.
Where are you from?
I’m from Singapore.
Nice place to grow up?
It’s very expensive here. We need to work hard to earn a good living. But apart from being an expensive country, it’s one of the safest countries (I think) to live in and it’s clean too.
When did you start skating?
I started street skating at the age of 13 and stopped at 16. I had not skated until I turned 24 and saw a couple of boys skating on a long skateboard with big wheels in a bowl at a skatepark in Singapore. I got so interested and I asked them if I could try and I told my wife that it was fun! And soooooo she surprised me with a longboard for my 25th birthday and I was over the moon when I saw it. I’ve skated passionately on a longboard since then.
Best present ever?
Definitely my best present ever!
How did the long skateboard feel different to what you did as a kid?
Street skating breaks bones while long skateboards gave me lots of cuts and bad bruises.
Did you break any?
Thank god I did not when I was on a skateboard, only bad bruises. But I got crazy injuries while longboarding. I got a shifted tailbone, I got my right shoulder dislocated, my shin got a deep cut and needed stitches and also 9 stitches at the back of my head all due to downhill skateboarding.
What’s your favourite scar?
The ones I got at Cape Town, South Africa. My buckle on my helmet snapped and I crashed which caused me to go into concussion and it left me 9 stitches at the back of my head. Memorable one indeed. Check me out at 03:27 onwards. That was how I crashed back in 2011. Thank god I’m still alive and kicking!
Were there many people doing it when you started?
Not really. It was a new sport in Singapore back then but they are still growing numbers here until today. The community has grown into big numbers. So glad to know many Singaporeans, mostly working adults and high school kids, are enjoying it.
Where did you skate in the beginning?
It was at Rifle Range Road, Singapore where I met the first few batches of Singapore’s longboarders and we remain friends up till today.
How did you find people to ride with?
Facebook! And the local skate shop got me hooked to some dudes who had the same interest as I do which is downhill skateboarding. We became very close friends till now ever since and we name our team, “SKKRETT”
When did you first go fast?
Local outlaw comp organized by a local skate shop named Longboard Love, 2 months after I got my first longboard. It was a time trial outlaw comp and I came in 4th place. And decided to explore more about downhill longboard races outside Singapore and so I found Malaysia which is just 4 hours drive away from Singapore.
Martin Siegrist who was one of the downhill champion was there in Malaysia while the SKKRETT boys went there on a skate trip. In Malaysia was when I first go fast and it can hit about 70-75km/h. The adrenaline rush was just so orgasmic that made me wanna do it again and again! Hahahaha!!
What was your first board?
The board my wife got me was a Landyatchz Switch 40. Very stable board to use at high speed and I got a Rayne Killswitch for my 2nd and it has been my favourite so far.
What did you like about going fast?
Attacking corners at high speed because it requires a lot of good judgement, which I’m still learning.
How did you meet Martin?
We found out that he was on a business trip in Malaysia in 2009 and Abdil Mahdzan “current IDF and IGSA luge world champ” organized a meet up, cum mini outlaw race, at Kuala Kubu Bahru, Malaysia and the outlaw was partially sponsored by Martin himself and so we decided to drive up to join the fun.
What did you learn from him?
Martin taught me how to tuck.
Who is Abdil Mahdzan?
Abdil represents Malaysia for the luge category and has been Champion on a few occasions in IGSA and IDF. He travels a lot to compete.
Do you get to skate together?
Yes we did! Abdil used to do stand up as well but not into racing.
Is he a big role model to you guys?
He is one of the pioneers I should look up to.
Who else is in your team?
There are 7 of us in total.
– Aizart X
– Fazrul “Dirt” Malsa
– Khairi “Lego” Razib
– Half Feast
– Soul Han
We are more like a family. “From strangers to close buddies”..
What is your role in the family?
I am one of the most active guys. I love to explore and I’ve joined a downhill longboard comp as far as Cape Town, South Africa. I just love to experience different tracks. It’s a learning journey for me and I made a lot of friends too. It’s most important to meet some of the well known pros! And my skrt family has been one of my important motivators all along.
Can anyone join?
We skate with everyone and we invite interested skater to drive up to Malaysia whenever we can.
What are the best lessons you’ve learnt on this journey??
Different track has different techniques to apply. And it’s all about gaining great experiences.
Are there many good shops on your Island?
Not many actually. 2 of the favourite skate shops, which cater to most of the longboards needs, are Longboard Love and Spitfire Skate.
What did you get up to in 2010?
I got Champion for the first ever official downhill race in Singapore competing against strong riders from Philippines, France, Norway and our local riders. And I got my first sponsor: Riptide Sports Inc. Thanks to Brad and Tracey the owners of Riptide for believing in me and they have been one of my important motivators too.
Is there a big downhill culture in Singapore?
Nope there isn’t due to the limited space we have here in Singapore plus we don’t have hills but we have good slopes though! Haha. We need to drive up to Malaysia for better hills and not everyone is free to do that.
What is the terrain like?
We have a couple of technical tracks which is good enough to do some trainings but they are not as fast. The fastest my buddies have gone in our local terrain is 40km/h where we can go as fast as 80km/h for an average hills in Malaysia.
What is your relationship like with the skaters in Malaysia?
If Team Skkrett is family, than the Malaysian skaters are my close cousins. Get it? Haha!
What’s your favourite thing to do on your board?
Go fast with it.
What is riptide
Riptide is a company which offers us a wide range of quality accessories for our trucks needs, etc: bushings, pivot cups, hardwares, foot stop and many more. You may visit their web store at http://www.riptidesports.com/
Riptide owners Brad and Tracey have been the best couple who have been giving their utmost countless support to their riders and they’ll personally give you well wishes on every races or comp you are going to. They have been one of my inspiration to continue doing this sport passionately.
Were you the first person from Singapore to have an international sponsor?
So far I’ve not known anyone who skated longboard in Singapore who got any international sponsor before me. So probably yes.
How did you guys hook up?
I was approached by James who used to be one of Asia’s Riptide distributor but he has retired from the scene.
Do you skate in Malaysia often?
YES! Thats the only place I can bomb hills all day! Hahaha!! Thanks to my Malaysian buddies, Team TFY for taking me to their superb hills.
How did you go from Singapore all the way to South Africa?
Hot Heels Africa was the last IGSA comp for the year so I went there to give it a try and get stoked.
Were you the first Asian to race skateboards under the IGSA?
Nope! The guys from Philippines and Malaysia were the first asian to race under IGSA.
Where else had you skated that year?
Hot Heels Africa was held during the end of the year. So that was the last I skated for the year. Haha!
Where is the DH capital of Asia?
I would say Philippines!
Have you skated there?
Yup. 2010 – Tagaytay Highlands
2011- Rad Hill
2012- Haven’s Gate
Have you raced Gerard?
Oh yes! Haha, he is so good! I’ve got a few heats with him and never get to beat him because he was damn FAST! I would say that he is one of the best Asian riders and he can be labelled as Asia’s “k.rimes” haha!!
How was 2013 for you?
Recovery year for me. Too many injuries.
How did you do in Haven’s gate?
2012- Managed to finals on a 6 men heat and got into 3rd runner up
2013- Only managed to the semis, till someone clipped my back wheels and I flung off my board which caused me to have my right shoulder dislocated.
What setups were you racing on last year?
K Rimes old setup. Because he is my idol.
– rayne baby killer
– k4 aera trucks
– abec 11 centrax.
Are you healed now?
Not really. I have episodes of popped shoulder every now and then.
How is this year going for you?
No luck. Firstly I missed Maryhill registration which was sold out within 12 minutes. Maryhill has always been my dream track. Secondly, I gotta give that first Asia’s IDF race a miss due to limited time to do my trainings. I hope I can make it for the upcoming Indonesia race. Looking forward to that.
What are your plans for this year?
To beat K Rimes in a race. Hahaha!! Kidding!!
Have yet to organize my racing plans this year and I don’t usually have any plans organized for any races because I always plan them last minute.
Why should people reading this visit Singapore?
We have many potential riders from different disciplines. So come down to meet them and go for some skate session.
Is anyone from Singapore involved with the ADC?
Me. I represent Singapore for ADC.
Nice! What can we expect from your corner of the world?
It takes a lot of work and a long period of time for us to get an approval to organize a race here in Singapore due to our limited space so I’m ready to organize a coach up to Malaysia for races there instead.
Where would you like to see the community in 5 years?
My dream is to see the community made available in Asian X Games. I would be so happy if it happens!
What do you do when you’re not skating?
Besides being a workaholic, I spend my precious time with my wife whenever I can.
Pick 3 numbers between 1-21.
1 – If you had to be a bad guy in a movie, who would you be?
Dr Evil from Austin Power.
5 – what’s the scariest thing that’s happened to you?
While I was in Cape Town I got bumped off my flight due to the peak period and it was a full flight and I had to fly to Johannesburg and stayed there for a day to get onto a waiting list for a flight back home.
21 – Lyndsay McLaren asks – what is your dream skate destination?
My dream skate destination would be Swiss Alps and Maryhill.
Thank you so much for your time bro. Hope we get to hang out over there someday!
Thanks for having me bro! Hope to see you around and hang out someday.
Any last words?
I’m hoping to see more passionate riders around Asia to live up the longboarding scene.