SkateIDSA’s Resident Designer, Kaspar Heinrici, on making life work around skateboarding, what makes a great event, and how SkateIDSA functions best.
Meet Kaspar Heinrici. He’s an insanely talented artist and definitely one of the fastest 1-mile skaters: in 2014, Kaspar broke the world record for the fastest 1-mile sprint on a skateboard, and that edge never left. He has an edge as a designer and board member with SkateIDSA, bringing his personal perspectives as a highly competitive racer and world traveler to every discussion.
Kaspar’s history in long distance skateboarding eclipses every other person on the board. In 2003, Kaspar took third in a Central Park Race out of NYC and says, “After that I was hooked and started racing the Broadway Bomb. In those days skating 6 miles was a long distance and the term LDP did not exist yet, to my knowledge.” Even though it was fifteen years ago, his roots in competition didn’t start there. “I had been a competitive ski racer and the challenge of seeing how far we could push this idea of going really long distances on a longboard intrigued me. I would go on to do things like the Chief Ladiga Silver Comet Challenge at 188 miles, see how fast we could do a single mile, see how fast we could skate up Maryhill and finally I did a 24hr ultra marathon. As the sport keeps evolving it presents new challenges and that’s what keeps drawing me in.”
To Kaspar, LDP was the stepping stone that kept him in skateboarding. “I take the same approach in life depending on where I am. Yoga and stretching, pushups, handstands, surfing if there is an ocean, running is always an option, oh look there is a climbing wall in that park, this place has mountain bike trails, looks like you can swim in there, and so on… It is similar to the way that a skateboarder is always looking at the possibilities of the environment around them, I conform my activities to whatever opportunities the surroundings present.” As for what he thinks of competitive distance skateboarding for the future, he says, “I never know what to expect. All I know is that LDP continues to survive and thrive. Last night I heard a story from a guy who organizes LDP rides in Beijing with a support van and they go 80km on a road with traffic. LDP racers are everywhere and I am excited to bring them into the SkateIDSA fold and connect them to the wider community.”
We asked Kaspar some unique questions on being a board member for SkateIDSA and his goals:
On connecting his life with skateboarding
My wife and I decided to travel for fifteen months beginning with a road trip up the west coast from Baja to Vancouver then going all over East and South East Asia, Morocco and Europe. During this trip we reconnected with the things we are passionate about like writing, drawing, gardening and surfing. The longer we traveled the more we were inclined to see life as a series of events or moments that are of your own choosing rather than as en endless cycle of repetition performed out of fear of the consequences of not having a job. In Ningbo, China we just had the grand opening of the SBSX Academy at the Ningbo International School where I painted the park, pumptrack and surrounding wall. It was a monumental undertaking planning the logistics and working for three weeks with Chinese laborers who speak no English to get it done on time. My next project is a one week residency at the Wassaic Project in New York where I will do a silkscreen edition with their master printer. Then in November I am doing a month long residency near Oaxaca City, MX where I will focus on natural dye silkscreen. In January 2019 I hope to return to Miami for the Ultra!
On racing, today’s events, and his experience as a host
The issue with longboarding and events of all kinds right now is over saturation. I believe that we need to support the brands that are already out there and attend the events that already need our support before creating event fatigue. This is one of the great things about SkateIDSA is that we are focused only on the longevity of the sport to achieve the right amount and diversity of events which serve our membership. Since I don’t have a home base it is not possible for me to organize any events, but now I hope to support LDP by attending races. On the other side there is the draw of really unique events that present people with new challenges. If it is particularly beautiful or long and grueling or in really fun place like Miami then you can get people to come. The key is picking what your “draw” is and communicating that very clearly. If your race is not a particularly beautiful track but there is a strong group of local riders that love to race then really appeal to their desire to see their friends and compete and don’t bother trying to get people to attend from far flung places. In Dallas I would sometimes just bring a set of wheels to a garage and declare a race to see who would win them, you can get 25 people to show up that way for an impromptu race. If your race is in a far flung place, but presents a unique challenge and exciting terrain then start reaching out to people early so they understand they need to block their calendar and figure out how to get there so they don’t miss the opportunity to be part of the select group that will ever complete such a challenge.
On getting value out of skateboarding and governing SkateIDSA to match
The value [of skateboarding] to me is having a somewhat objective measure of your improvement or reward for your hard work. This is what connects us: a desire to improve ourselves. We have fun when we get better at something and you can sense that at an IDSA event, because there are people of all backgrounds whether it is gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation and age sharing in stories of how their race went and identifying with each others struggle to get faster next time. I think LDP racers are more thorough by nature so generally issues are discussed in great detail via email and messenger. If there is a major rules issue then it is usually addressed by the board and maybe require a vote. If it is something like a new jersey or graphic we will just shoot the shit about it until something emerges that we can all live with. The important thing is that we try to be inclusive and reach out to people in the LDP community. When we make decisions we are thinking about literally everyone from the 50yr old stand up paddler in North Carolina to the people trying to invent new experimental forms of skateboard transportation to the core LDP racers and then also reaching out to our partners in Europe and South America to ensure that what we are doing will work for everyone. We are not trying to regulate LDP so much as create guidelines that make it possible for everyone to participate with a clear standard of fair competition.
Meet the Board is a short interview series intended to humanize and capture the hard work that stands behind competitive distance skateboarding and supercross. For more information on Kaspar’s amazing design work, check out his latest project in the Wassaic Editions Program.