Interview with Sven Boekhorst (Rollerblade Original Team)
Sven grows up in Den Bosch, in the south of the Netherlands — and still lives there today. He gets into sports with soccer, which is pretty common for a European boy. But quickly, in April 1994, he discovers skating with a bunch of friends. At the time, skating is a brand-new thing. It starts taking more and more time in his life until becoming his main occupation. From the streets of Bosch to the X-Games, it is just like a long run. Sven quickly completes it: As soon as October 1994, he gets sponsored, only 6 months after he started! He enters the Rollerblade Team Netherlands just after and skates in shows and contest all around the Netherlands.
Towards the international stage
Very quickly the Netherlands become too small: He starts hitting the European roads and goes to the USA for the first time in 1998. He takes part in the ASA Pro Tour Series with pro skaters such as Kalus Dieter Waltner, Taïg Khris and Raphael Sandos. He starts as a pro with the Spanish Javier Bujanda (half pipe) and Alexis Ecija (park), two skaters who become his friends, just like Taïg Khris. This experience naturally leads him to the X-Games. Later in 1999, he starts reaching podiums and winning competitions in half pipe and park: Both worlds are so far apart with different visions and ways of thinking, that it was a hard challenge to take up. But Sven is at the top in both disciplines, simple because he loves both. 1999 marks the peak of his career: This very year he wins the NISS and ISS finals in park, which leads him to become the best skater of the world.
In the wake, he becomes World Champion in 1999 and 2000 and wins the X-Games and the Gravity Games in 2000! Sven is the only skater to have won the Triple Crown (the three big competitions on the same year: Gravity Games, X-Games and ASA Worlds). That crown is probably the greatest moment of his pro skater career. At the time he is always on the road, living for his sport, his passion, sleeping in hotel rooms. That's also his regret, in retrospect:
'I've travelled to so many countries without really visiting them, spending my time between hotels and contests...'
Back to school
When you have won everything you could possibly win, it is sometimes hard to find the motivation to go further. At the end of the year 2000, Sven decides to go back to school to ensure his professional future. His pro skater career comes to an end, even if he keeps on skating in shows. However the ISH offers him a part in a show including half pipe skating, which enables him to do exhibitions in Broadway and everywhere in the world. A new life opens up for him — new but none the less interesting.
This is what brings him to recent years where Sven has been trying in his turn to develop skating in the Netherlands since 2006. For example, in 2007 he set up the event Mind the Gap, the first edition of which took place in Rotterdam. Today, Mind the Gap is a successful three-stage competition happening in big Dutch cities.
In the meantime, Sven skates for Rollerblade and develops new projects. Some of them are still top secret... But what is for sure is that he is going to focus on sharing his knowledge and particularly turn towards schools and local authorities. The aim: Keeping on developing skating.
Sven Boekhorst's ID Card
Name: Sven Boekhorst
Birth Date: 06/19/1980
Place of Residence: Den Bosch (South of the Netherlands)
Where and how: 'In Den Bosch, at home. I started with friends in the streets, for fun. After six months we found a mini-ramp: this is how I started my career in aggressive skating.'
Pro team: Rollerblade since 1996
Best Results: World Champion in 1999 and 2000, winner of the X-Games and of the Gravity Games in 2000, winner of the Global X-Games in 2003, 2nd place of the Asian X-Games in 2005, gets a part in a video game in 2002.
Best music: The Doors
Where would you like to spend your holidays? In Africa
'My favorite trick is Flat Spin 360'
Hello Sven. You have been in the limelight for almost 15 years. You have won everything, the Worlds, the X-Games, the Gravity Games... What is your most memorable victory?
Probably the X-Games in 2000, because it was the last one I had to win and I did it! But I keep an even better memory of my last two victories at the Winterclash Experience. Lots of my friends (all of my Dutch friends in fact) had come to Berlin to see me compete in 2009. For the first time, I could show them what I'd been doing for so many years in the USA.
You have travelled almost everywhere in the world. Where is the best place to skate? And the best place to live?
To skate, I'd probably say the USA for the streets and the skate parks. But the best place to live is at home, in Den Bosch! In the past I was offered the opportunity of settling in the USA. But I always said no: I've always wanted to keep this link with my hometown...
You have experimented hundreds of tricks on your skates. Which one do you like best? Which one was the hardest to learn?
The one I like best is flat spin 360, an horizontal rotation of 360° in the air. The hardest one to learn was probably flat spin 540 in the half pipe. I tried it often, but I gave up a few years ago.
When you compete, what gives you the feeling that you have succeeded?
Today the most important thing for me is to skate well for myself. If I try something I have in mind, I'm happy. I don't pay much attention to my results and my rankings. I try to have some quality skating and have fun with my friends. It's cool to be together with old buddies. It's true that in the past, I had more pressure to reach podiums...
How many times per week do you train to stay on top?
In the wintertime, twice a week most of the time. In the summertime, four times a week. But I have lots of other different activities besides training so-to-speak. In the end, I'm often on skates, simply because I teach children or do demos.
What makes you improve, what makes you want to go forward, reach new goals?
My goal today is to create a pro model of skates with Rollerblade. After that, I don't really know. I would like to go further into coaching, teaching children, sharing my knowledge.
Useful linksBy Vincent Esnault
Translation: Chloé Seyres
Photos : Rollerblade