The Voodoo jam is almost here! And it doesn’t right to not include Prasheel Gopal in the Voodoo Hype build up, one of the biggest characters in the game right now answers a few questions I sent to him, in this own comical fashion!
Photo: Justin Eastman
You bring a lot of personality into flat, a lot of banter to the game, care to comment on all that?
While flatland, in my opinion, is the greatest spartform ever, and should be taken seriously, it is also fun and I guess my outlook and communication via social networking just reflects that. Plus, with traveling and seeing everyone so regularly (especially with the AM Flat Circuit), a lot of us have become good friends, so it’s always a good laugh to see everyone and catch up. Besides, I’m just trying to keep up with Cicman’s twitter game, dude is hilarious.
What was all this Pralex invitational stuff all about?
That was just a bad luck actually. Turns out that Scott & Terry and I coincidentally both planned our events on the same day at the same location. After extensive negotiation, and because of the upmost respect I have for
the two of them, I let them go ahead with Voodoo, in exchange for me getting to organize (ie take credit for) the pre-jam and after party.
Luckily, this was all decided just as I was about to order engraved gold invitation letters.
In contrast to Trevor who we just interviewed you have been AM for a while now, just for the record how long have you been competing in the AM class?
Uhmm, I started riding in 2000, and competing in 2001 (IFL in Whitby, Ontario), which was the only time there was an option to enter more than one non-pro classes when I started. After that, at the annual Toronto contests,
I started competing in the expert class in 2002. In my first year there, I think I got 36th out of the 40, and if I recall, Dane won first. I guess I wasn’t technically ready to be competing in the expert class back then considering my piss-poor placings the first 5 years, but yeah, I guess 11 years now?
Following on, is anyone saying why aren’t you in the Pro Class yet Prasheel?
Recently, just Mark, but only because he gets nervous about competing against me. Luckily, Alex is always there to quickly remind me I am not good at riding bikes and barely deserve to be in the expert class, and am in no
way ready for pro. I found that when we had the masters class, there were more comments being made then about the guys that were near the top (Alex, Tyler, etc.), or even occasionally comments being made after a #pralex edit
would drop. The gap between expert in pro is still really large, and I don’t think people that made those comments realized that. Besides, I still haven’t actually won a contest before lol
Any kind of contest preparations you are going through right now to get ready for Voodoo?
I’ve been in the hot yoga studio quite a bit this past week, just trying to get acclimatized to that NOLA heat. I’ve also lowered the gearing on my fixed gear bicycle, and have been trying to increase my cadence, that’s been
a fun and interesting challenge. Lastly, been eating at Popeye’s LilWeezyana Kitchen on occasion, but I know it’s nothing like the real po’ boys down south.
The only thing left to do before Voodoo for me is to purchase Rosetta Stone and learn Czech, so I can properly congratulate Dominik on his victory next week.
Photo: Jim McKay.
How important are contests in keeping you motivated?
In terms of motivation to develop consistency, it’s great. The guys I compete with are all really good riders, with vastly different styles, and hard tricks. This year already, we’ve seen podium placers at one contest not even qualify at the next (sorry Ron) and vice versa, so it really comes down to who has a good day and hits their stuff.
With the amount of contests that Alex, Mark, and I travel to attend, I’ve noticed a decline in progression in my riding, so have been thinking of trying to fade away from contests for a bit and go back to just riding without a focus on consistency. Even when I try not to focus on contests, it’s always on the back of my mind I guess and I haven’t been able to push past that and focus on new stuff in a while (similar to how I felt when doing shows before I got burnt out on that).
All the way from canada for the trip, how you getting down to New Orleans you flying or driving?
I thought about trying to make the 2400km bike ride down, but I don’t have 4 weeks of holidays available to do that. Me and the team are using just two vacation days, and flying down at really inconveniently early times.
Between the three of us and everything we each have going on outside of riding, there are a lot of conversations and compromises that go along with attending events and rationing out our holiday time and travel budget, such
that we can attend all the events that we want to support (basically all of them).
Who are you looking to as the main competition for you?
Just Alex and Mark, ain’t no one in our class even at our level; there’s too many ninja swords, plaques, and prize bags in our way to even see the rest of our competitors. Now that Mark has been able to get over his contest
nerves, and know that he’s able to compete for those top spots, I think he’s a real threat to my victory. Plus, Alex told me a while back that his contest placings were going to suffer for a bit, as he pushed himself to change/expand on his style, but after riding with him recently, he’s going to consistently beat me at contests again soon I know.
Like I said though, the expert class is full of a lot of talented riders, any one of which is capable of taking first at Voodoo, it’s just a matter of who’s able to work through the pressure at hit the tricks we know each other
are capable of. While it’s not on the AM Flat Circuit, I think there is, at least for me, a lot of pressure as Voodoo is North America’s largest event.
Are you planning to drop any new tricks at Voodoo?
I don’t think so? But maybe. It comes down to how my run starts coming together and if I have time for it at the end. I usually don’t plan too much out in advance (and subsequently, start asking Alex and Mark mid-run what I
should do next), but I got some stuff in mind that I’d like to hit, some of which is different than the runs I’ve been able to put together in the past.
Who are you really psyched to see ride in general in New Orleans?
DOM! He’s always a blast to watch and hang out with. Glad he’s bringing his Autum teammate Waldemar, and that Kornely is even coming. With its short absence, I think everyone is really excited that Voodoo is back, and more
people are putting in that extra effort to come out and support this contest to ensure it’s a success.
Photo: Aidas Odonelis/Ruby Photo Studio.
Are you ready for Scott O’Brien getting crazy on the mic?
For sure. I remember going to Voodoo four years ago, after hearing how it’s a crazy energy at the event that doesn’t come across in videos and web edits properly, and I cannot wait to be back. Plus, after getting to know Scott
recently, it’s evident how strong his passion for flatland is, and how determined he and Terry are with ensuring this event’s success, so I’m just excited to go and support and be part of that.
Any closing comments on the Voodoo jam?
Just want to thank Scott and Terry again for the amount of work they’re putting in to this. Despite unpopular belief, success is not inevitable for a contest; it takes an incredible amount of effort, and thinking otherwise is setting yourself up to fail. #shotsfired
Also want to thank everyone that is coming out to and supporting the official #pralex pre-jam on June 8th, and the official #pralex after party on June 9th. To those that aren’t coming, you still have a week left to reconsider and figure out plans (and you really should).
If you are unable to attend, please feel free to wish me luck on my pro debut, after my imminent expert victory, via twitter, @PralexGorier.