Mr Longboardina – Aryo tells us everything about longboarding in his country with this first interview ever from Indonesia. He tells us about organising the first official event in Indo, hooking up with Bustin and taking photos.
What was it like growing up there?
Like other big cities: traffic jams and yes, it’s very stressful driving here haha. But its still my birthplace and I love Jakarta!
When did you start skating?
I started street skating first, at the age of 11. Now I’m 25, so I’ve been skating for 15 years! I stopped for a while at age 20 because I saw street skate tricks getting more ridiculous haha.
I skated on and off until I worked in Singapore at age 23. People riding skateboards are common there, so I bought a cruiser for commuting. It felt great when I cruised down a slope… felt like “oh hey, I’m riding a skateboard and I don’t need to step on the ground for pushing’’. So I started looking for long slopes where I can do long runs without pushing.
Soon after, I heard about downhill skateboards, that’s how I started downhill skateboarding. I set up my downhill board and when I got back to Indonesia, I started to spread the sports with my best friend, we went skating down flyover roads and parking lot slopes, because you cannot find a hill here in Jakarta. We have to drive at least 2 hours to skate a hill.
Who are your best friends?
What’s the most ridiculous trick you know?
Hmm… 540 flip late shove it! Hahh thats crazy man and I see some 12year old kid doing that. Maybe it will take 5 years for me to do that trick haha.
Is skating popular in Indonesia?
Street skate yess. Definetly, lots of skateparks here in every city. So many talented and pro street skaters, events; but longboarding is quiet new here.
I’m sure it will grow. As I can see, coz I manage one of the biggest longboard shop in Indonesia, but like I said, there’s no hill in my city, but we have so many hills outside Jakarta, maybe even too many haha! That’s why I feel very optimistic that the longboarding scene will grow up fast here in Indonesia.
What adventures did you have on your cruiser back then?
Since I street skated before, I liked to do some tricks when I cruised some street banks and small slopes or going night cruising with my friends. Singapore is an awesome place to cruise!
Back then, where could someone buy a longboard?
We had to order from Singapore, or online longboard shops. There was no skateshop here selling a specific downhill board back then. Then I met a guy who was interested in opening a longboard shop. His name is Shandy, he offered me to manage the shop; I’m a skater for over 10 years, work in a skateshop, tried all the latest boards, hey! what could be more awesome? Haha. I wanna spread the sport also, so I accepted the offer and started researching how we can spread the sports and sell the right stuff to the market here, and I’m very glad to be a part of the longboarding scene here in Indo.
Was it hard getting the shop open?
Not really. Actually, because people here are really enthusiastic with new things, we only had to explain what longboard was, and tell them to care for safety equiptment +and product knowledge and that was it! It’s hard because I have to wake up earlier to open the shop everyday haha.
How did opening the shop help the community?
It really really helps a lot, we share some info what is longboard/downhill skate and people can buy a longboard without going overseas. We started to have some shop riders, made some events, sent the riders to compete overseas and got to know how the longboard scene out there is. We communicate with longboard brand, and it’s still growing until today, and its growing fast. We have longboard scenes at Lombok, Surabaya, Bali, Lampung and other provinces.
Where is the longboard capital of Indo?
I can say Jakarta is the longboard capital of indo, we have the biggest longboard shop in Indonesia here in Jakarta.
Who else was longboarding in Indo when you started?
Back then, in 2012, one of my best skate buddies Andry. I told him what I felt when I go downhill and yeah he got interested and bought a longboard from an online shop. We started searching some hills outside Jakarta and it was fun, we met a few old skool skaters who maybe started longboarding before us, and shared some spots we found.
The community got started by itself. Our first downhill spot is called San Diego Hills in west Java, 2 hours from Jakarta. It’s a great spot for beginners, so we ask a few skater friends to skate there and they got stoked! I held the first downhill skate event there called Graveyard Open, since the spot is beside graveyard haha. There were skaters from Bandung, lampung, Bali even Singapore and Malaysia attending the event. We made skate family with Singaporeans called SILF: Singapore Indonesia Longboard Family! That was the beginning of the downhill scene in Indonesia.
Who are the old school skaters there?
I met Didi Arifin, he is the one of the legendary Indonesian skaters who brought skateboard culture to Indonesia in the mid 70’s and he still exists until now! He’s a living legend.
When did you first go fast?
First time I attended an outlaw event in KL, Malaysia, in 2012 called Bukit Putus race. That’s the first time I went fast, but if you ask ”really fast”, that was when I joined the Visayan Longboard Trilogy in. There are so many fast and gnarly hills, so many good people and good vibes. Hitting the corner at almost 80km/h is really fast, at least for me haha and I love going fast!
When did you first organise graveyard open?
September 22, 2012.
Had anyone organised any events before that?
Nope that was the first downhill skate event ever held here in Indonesia, and its official.
Wow! How was it?
It was great fun and I’m very happy to see all the skaters from everywhere interested in downhill skateboards.
Are there many downhill spots in Indonesia?
I’m sure we have so many skateable hills in Indonesia, but we have to travel to explore and find them. We are working on it now, meeting some locals, visiting them and explaining about safety.
What’s your favourite kind of hill?
My favourite kind of hill is a very long hill with less traffic haha. Even better if there’s no traffic. No matter how crazy the slopes, if there’s a safe traffic, that’s my favourite.
Is it hard to get roads closed there?
How much you have is what you get here. You know, money talks a lot here haha.
How has the shop grown in the last 2 years?
The shop has grown very obviously, we can see from lots of customers buying stuff from us. The shop has had 3 renovations in the last 2 years, because it’s getting bigger and bigger. Lots of stuff coming to meet the needs of longboard enthusiasts in Indonesia, and we have a barbershop on the 2nd floor now! How cool is that haha.
What types of skating is most popular there?
Freeride, freestyle. It depends on the place. Some cities have more freeride hills like Bandung, Surabaya, some downhill such as Lombok, and some are flat like here in Jakarta. But the most popular is freeride.
How was 2013 for you?
2013 was a great year. I went to a 2 week event; Visayan Longboard Trilogy, one of the best longboard event in the Philippines and its now part of the IDF qualifying series. I met all the good people there, met the pros such as Patrick Switzer, Dandoy Tongco, Pedro Escarda and we held Talegong longboard festival in west Java, more people coming from Philippine, Singapore, Malaysia, visited by Justen Ortiz from Landyachtz on his pacific rim project, Ishtar Backlund from Abec11. AND I got flow sponsorship from Bustin! It was great.
What is the Talegong Longboard Festival?
It’s the 2nd downhill event that held officially and international scale, with international standard regulation held by Watermelon Boardshop at Talegong, West Java. Pne of my favourite spots in Indo.
Did you have fun at the VLT?
LOYS. Had fun, felt free, good vibes and skated every damn day! Good people and big joints haha.
Were you the only Indonesian there?
Nope there were four of us; me, Andry Satria and Fadel Ramadhan were from Indonesia. But we had one longboardina rider that has no nationality named Ali HD haha.
What’s your relationship like with the rest of the asian downhill community?
We are one big longboarding family!
How did you hook up with Bustin?
I got contact with Rob, owner of bustin. Showed him a sponsor me video, and it just happened haha. Actually, we need more brand representatives here since our scene is growing, to help us spread the positive vibration of longboarding.
Are you having a fun year?
Definetly yes, my life is fun man, more but no less haha.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Throwing a longboard event, just wake up and live, and make my life more fun.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I’m photographer, make some furniture, sleep, sleep, sleep, lurking and of course taking care of the shop!
Do you shoot skateboarding?
Sometimes. But when I see people skate, I’m skating as well.
Who are your favourite people to shoot?
Villagers! They have honest facial expressions.
Do you have more fun on your board than behind the lens?
Yes! Cos skating makes me forget everything.
What are you shooting with these days?
Canon 5d, I usually use only prime lenses like 35 or 50mm.
Pick 3 numbers between 1-20.
15 12 can I pick 88? That’s my birthdate and my atm pin.
15 – Justen Ortiz: if you could combine 2 animals to create the most deadly animal on earth, what would those two animals be?
Goldfish and panda, cos it will too cute to kill.
12 – Who would you like to be reborn as?
Me again then, I’ll know what to do haha.
88 – How many skaters does it take to change a lightbulb?
Any last words?
I would like thanks to longboardina, bustin board, cosmic and my family, friends, girlfriend! Such a wonderful life that I live!
find me on instagram @aryo_nugroho