Photos: Provided by Martti Kuoppa & Viki Gomez.
The 2014 Flatmatters Online Year Awards for Edit of the Year in 2014 panned out much like the Rider of the Year category, Bombardaros by Martti Kuoppa and Viki Gomez took landslide victories in the Editorial Choice and Readers Choice Edit of the Year category. Over 13 minutes of quality modern day flatland by two of the finest flatland riders ever! I caught up with the both of them separately. You definitely want to read what these two legends have to say about the video and the background work and emotion that went into it! Respect!
Firstly Martti congratulations for the two awards you received in the 2014 Flatmatters Online Year end awards, Readers Choice and Editorial Choice Edit of the Year. To begin with how did you feel about winning the awards?
I felt touched to be honest.. Bit speechless too. I didn´t really know what to say because the Bombarderos video or any of the videos I have delivered before, have never been filmed having any award in my mind. Well, maybe with couple of them I thought about how cool it would be to win NORA cup, but in general all of my videos have always and will always represent the pure essence of creativity in a form of tricks on a bike. So to sum it all up: It felt great that riders out there understood the level of riding that was presented on Bombarderos!
If you had to choose edit of the year who would you have picked?
I voted Alexis ”You are your path”. And I would still vote for it again.
How long did you spend filming?
Hmm, if I remember correctly I started in April and finnished in August, 5 months, but not everyday
The video reminded me a lot of the Rodney Mullen vs Dawekon Song videos where they both went head to head and people picked who they liked the most. What was the idea behind the video?
Viki and me have always pushed each other. We have always been competitive, but in a healthy way. We have always shared ideas of new tricks and we really grew up together with this flatland lifestyle. We have competed against each other, we have freestyled late night hours in Tokyo, we have done videos together and also had a bike company together. I guess I wanted to close the circle so to speak.
So, I had the idea of getting started with a video but doing solo stuff is not very motivating. I did my solo time, before I called it a day few years ago and I didn´t want to go there again, but I had this inner urge to come up with a video once again, so I called my bro Gomez and he was really into it immediately and there was no doubt about it. That´s how Bombarderos got started. Funny thing was that after the phone call I felt bit unsure, because I wasn´t really in a shape of my life in terms of riding or new tricks and I knew that Viki is still top pro athlete out there and I would have to get myself back in shape quickly and learn A LOT of new tricks. HAHAHHA. So yes, without this project together with Viki I don´t think my section would have been that great. We can be good alone but to be great we need other people…
Of all the clips, which was the hardest clip for you to get Martti?
I would say that regular side triple stemlash took me longest and I guess it´s still really hard. Then I would say the stem g turn to backwards whip was something I have tried, I think back in when I first pulled double stemlash several years ago. And I was really happy to pull the whopper to stemlash to connect couple of tricks from different eras in couple of seconds
Your riding still to this day continues to amaze, and the creativity is absolutely inspiring. Is the chase for new tricks and documenting them what got you pumped on riding after a break from it all?
Both. I am a kinetic learner which also means to me that I need to express myself in a form of a movement, especially in a form of a creative movement. Somehow I feel that I am truly expressing my emotions when I come up with a new trick with my bike. Sometimes I take breaks from it because too much is too much. And sometimes it´s also good to study how to express my feelings without the tricks with my bike LOL! I learn´t a new way of learning and it opened a lot of new doors for new tricks.
I guess one obvious question everyone wants to know, any plans for a Part 2 kind of deal with Viki?
I would love to make the expectations go high and say YES, but I don´t want to do that. I also don´t want to dissapoint anyone either by saying NO, so I will leave this answer open.. will go with the flow and see what happens. Right now I am working full time and started evening/weekend studies and I am aiming to graduate in couple of years, because I didn´t have time to study earlier because all of those tricks had to be invented. So now it´s my turn to be in school
How much of a toll did all those stem tricks take on your body?
A lot. It´s really hard for the lower back. And something happend with my right shoulder too because it´s not working properly at the moment… I don´t think I´ll go back with stem style again. There was several tricks I couldn´t get on tape because it started to be too heavy on my body. I hope to see others to take it from where I left the style. Many variations / ideas are still out there to be taken! Just to give someone an idea: Deathtruck to jump directly to the stem and continue with steamroller or stemlash Anyone?
Lifestyle wise how have things changed for you since you stepped out of the limelight, I heard you stopped drinking and hitting gym and stuff?
I didn´t have a beer for 2 years. It was an interesting couple of years to get to know myself better. Now it´s okay to have a beer or 2 sometimes but I could not see myself getting drunk, because I am not interested in it anymore. It would wear me out too much and I don´t want to waste my life being hazy.
Any final shoutouts Martti?
I would like to thank Viki Gomez for being such a good friend and motivator for me. I want to thank all the fans out there worldwide who are still stoked to see my riding after all these years!
I would like to say that “I miss you guys” to all of the guys I used to have good times at all those comps we used to hit together! It´s been years since I hung out with any of you but yes, I do miss you (sometimes :). I would like to thank my zen-teacher Karen Terzano for teaching me to take a very good look in the mirror and I would like to thank my girlfriend Karita for all the support. I would also give shout outs to few younger guys out there who are pushing it! Keep going! Thank you Effraim for keeping Flatmatters going!
Congratulations for the two awards Viki for Bombarderos in the FM Year end awards, firstly how do you feel about winning both the Readers Choice and Editorial Choice?
I feel thankful and blessed! I really want to thank all the readers who voted for us! We give to Flatland and to the community with our progression, so the best feeling is to get the appreciation back! Also thank you very much for the editorial choice!
What was it like teaming up with Martti Kuoppa once again, I imagine you guys were going back and forth on clips you got and that was motivating each of you?
Teaming up again was epic! Martti is my best friend and having this project together and being motivated to kill it between us was overwhelming with positive energies. We didn’t watch each other’s part until the video was finally edited by Wildschnitt. So it was a great feeling when I watched the video for the first time! I remember Martti called me that day and we were so excited! We killed it again and we realized we are definitely a good team! So hopefully, there will be more teaming up on future projects for ya!
Which clip took you the longest to get?
Actually I had a super busy year in 2014. I attended over 80 events in 30 different countries and 4 continents. I’m not a rider who wakes up and the only thing he needs to do is to ride. I have a lot projects going on and trips to prepare! Therefore, I didn’t have much time to practice. Basically my riding in this video Bombarderos was a natural evolution of my daily riding. I couldn’t focus on the dream tricks I had in mind because I was travelling a lot and I didn’t have many new ideas back then. My focus was to take some of my tricks to the next level. I am very happy I was able to progress a lot in many ways. When I finally had time to film in August, I halfly dislocated my shoulder, while filming and I had to stop the project then, and get back to it just before the date of publishing it. Anyway I’m very satisfied because I was able to do the most I could at each time.
You stacked up a lot of footage in your part, how long did you film for?
From September 2013 I started to film slowly (almost 1 year before the release in Sep 2014), as I knew that 2014 was going to be busy and hectic. Sometimes I have tricks I want to film to prove to myself that I created/pulled them, with the risk that I might never do them again. It’s a method to get rid of tricks in my mind, and focus on new stuff. All in all, I took 1 complete year in filming bits and parts, here and there, and made a huge compilation out of the saved footage content.
Was there anything you didn’t land for the video?
Yeah definitely, a lot! I realized at the end of 2014 that I had to put a brake in my traveling and focus on progression in my riding and the projects that really deserve time and effort. This way I can take everything I do to the next level. Also, what inspired me was by meeting Tom Pages last year who’s a World Champion FMX rider, who is making a revolution in his sport by stopping backflipping and bringing originality. He invented so many original tricks like the bike flip with a motorbike and he told me it took him 6 months practicing every day until he pulled it. This opened my mind and made me realize that I have to be patient and have discipline in order to achieve dream tricks. I guess you can never wait to long for the good things to come. So I have been riding the whole winter indoor just focusing of what I really want to do. It has been the best winter of my life! Riding more than 5 hours a day and progressing like never before.
I guess the question everyone is wondering, will you film a Part 2?
I was so hungry for filming since I couldn’t finish my part in Bombarderos so I started to film in February 2015 some of my new progression. I don’t know if Martti will film for a second part, but my new riding will definitely be dedicated to him because he killed it in Bombarderos. He pushed his limit like no one and made a big progression for Flatland. I was shocked not to see Martti in the list of Nora Cup riders. I think the difficulty of his riding is not really understood nowadays. I love to see riders doing their own thing in a level that no one can do. This is why being original means to be being a step ahead. You are playing in another league when you are going your own way. And I hope to follow my own way and to share this by making edits here and there.
Aside from your video which video was the standout video of 2014 for you?
Sorry I just can’t choose one! I loved the Heresy video from Alexis “you are your own path” since he shows a kind of riding that it is so hard-core and it really motivates me! Big respect to the Heresy riders as well for keeping it real and also for being very good persons which is very important in a small world like Flatland! I want to give big props also to the videos of Moto Sasaki, Simon O’Brien, Ucchie and Benjamin Hudson! These riders are insanely off the hook! Thank you ALL for the motivation!
What are your plans for 2015?
Keep progressing, keep practicing on my dream tricks, keep filming, try to make the best of me in every competition and take BMX Flatland to the next level. The Flatland world needs to wait to see what I’m planning for!
Any final shoutouts Viki?
I hope that our message of positive Freestyle creativity can reach to as many people as possible and motivate them! I want to thank Martti Kuoppa for being a friend, a master and the one who really makes me laugh! Thank you everyone for the positive feedback! Thank you Camilo Gutierrez and Wildschnitt for the editing! Well done! BIG THANKS to Flatmatters! The job you are doing is awesome and motivating! Thank you for creating this motivating awards!
I also want to thank my management GG.M.image for motivating me and supporting me with all projects, making me able to focus in riding and be more creative, and then I thank all my sponsors and supporters; Red Bull, G-SHOCK, Arnette, Tenga, Orbea, Ares Bikes, Moto Pedals, Le Fix Clothing, FatMoose Outerwear, DC Shoes, Surf’in shop Luxembourg, DrDenim Jeans, Happy Socks and Evoc, for all their support and awesome products. Let’s make 2015 a brilliant year! =).Thank you for everything!