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Gijs Peetsold - IMYTA Unrevealed


Rollerblading defines about their names. A person that thinks about rolling always has names in mind like Aragon, Farmer or Haffey.

Just a few people think about the "behind the scene" guys. Who are those people? What drives them to invest everything they have to push rollerblading?

In our new category `Industry Unrevealed´ we want to introduce you to these hard working, committed and fairly underpaid people.

Gijs "Piss" Peetsold is the third to answer our questions.

Enjoy!


First of all: Where does this Piss name come from?

Ah it’s a nickname and like most nicknames this one has a embarrassing story behind it. Six years ago, in 2000 we, that’s me and a lot of my friends here, decided to visit the first Paris IMYTA. Since we were all pretty much broke motherfuckers at the time we opted to travel the cheapest possible way: by Eurolines overnight bus. Now we knew that traveling any long distance in a Eurolines bus is as ghetto as it get so we decided we would bring bucket loads of alcohol on the bus for added comfort. So we are well underway with this bus which really moves at a snails pace, and we’re pretty much boozing up when the bus driver announces that the toilets are broken. This kinda sucks cause where there’s beer there will inevitably be piss.
Okay anyway we kept drinking and it’s a couple of hours later when I am stuck in a heated debate with Remy Cadier. I am not sure what the argument was but I think it was about Vert skating. In the mean time Jesse Ridder can’t keep his bladder any longer and with the toilets broken he decides to piss into one of the two huge 3 liter Heineken Millenium bottles we brought. I am holding the other bottle and drinking it.
At some point, my argument with Remy gets pretty heated as these things do when you are drinking and when I look away for a second Remy switches the bottle I was drinking from with the bottle Jesse pissed in. I guess you can fill in the rest of the story. Ever since that time I am also known as Gijs Piss.

After having a great IMYTA Weekend in 2005, what can we expect for
2006? Bigger? Better? Boobs?


All three really. It is bigger I damn sure hope it will be better and boobs well, they are mandatory at IMYTA. I guess by the time people read this the program has been released so you have some idea of what the plan is. I am stoked on everything, but two things get me especially excited. The first is of course the IMYTA+ with only 30 of the world’s best riders, and with big names like Shima and Bailey, Haffey and so on.
The other thing is the way we are setting up the Truth: Real Street + Competition. This is the qualifier for IMYTA+ in Amsterdam on Saturday, with five spots up for grabs. We’ve set this up that we’ve added some small “park” elements to street. Nothing much, just a load of boards for run ups or to put into stairs, a bank to open up shit that is to high to jump onto and a box so you can transfer to shit, but I am really looking forward to seeing this: I think it will freshen up the spots and be so much fun to skate.

Who do you tip as your favorite and as the most likely to leave a surprise impression? What kinds of people stand a chance in the special events? And most importantly how many people could get some stripper punani?

My dead-favorite is Brian Shima just cause it is Shima: that guy is incredible plus he has the experience of big IMYTA’s in the past like Paris and shit. A surprise impression might be left by Adam Zurawiecki from Poland and Dominik Wagner from Germany. I am not really familiar with most of the riders that have qualified through the local events so I think even I am going to be surprised. The special events are like Last Man Standing and TRSC+ and the Be-mag Drinking Game. So, Last Man Standing will be won by either Beer Hendriks or David Coppes. The Be-mag drinking game will undoubtedly be won by the ShopKaput team. TRSC+, the qualifier? Shit there are so many names coming that if they compete it is impossible to tell who will walk away with a spot on IMYTA+. I hope Tyron, Daan and Adil will, but it will be very hard.
The only one getting any stripper punani I think will be Jeffrey of Skatezone. After all, he is paying the bill on that shit!


Gijs announcing IMYTA 2005
pic:be-mag

What can we expect on the spots side? Will there fresh spots be
available to skate this year?


Yes there will. Even though Amsterdam has no spots of an IMYTA+ size that have not been tapped in events past, the spots we have this year are at least new to IMYTA. The first location is Amsterdam Zuid WTC. You might remember it of last year’s Be-mag hammertime session. The second location is the Amsterdam arena. That spot was in part last seen in the 2003 Truth: real street competition and part of it is completely new. So new spots.

Could you give us a short biography of TRUTH; birth, adolescence and future?

In 1999 I have to do a business project for college: I have to create my own business plan. At the time I feel that a company image is just a front and all companies operate by the same mechanics. Mechanics that might be opposite to their outward image. I create Truth, a proposed skate lifestyle clothing company that defines its internal mechanics by its outward appearance. The plan gets great praise from my professors. I decide to get a few clothing samples made. They are well received amongst skaters. I get a few orders so I decide to try and set up the company for real. Too bad I did not know shit about making clothes. Anyway I decide that an event is a perfect marketing tool so I create my first own event: skater of the day, in my local skate park. It is a session style event in a time when all events are just one minute run deals. I do it like this cuz I hated riding runs myself. It is a success. I start thinking what else I don’t like about current comps and I immediately know: shit should be real street cuz that is where it is at. So I set off to organize it. I mail Daily Bread about my idea and they like it. They also ask me to set up the Holland Pages at www.dbmag.nl and give us room on their server.
On Sunday July 23, 2000, I organize the first real street competition ever: Truth: real street competition. It works out great! By this time I decide to abandon the clothing business and concentrate on the marketing side of things. My money making scheme is simple: sell ads on the Holland Pages, sell events of my own invention to sponsor and get guaranteed coverage through the Holland Pages and in the mean time have loads of fun skating, traveling and doing articles.
It didn’t work out too well. The Holland pages never really made any money. Even so the Holland Pages were my introduction into the skate industry. I did hit gold with the events when I got a Red bull event, and following that a sort of account with them. Between that and some other straightforward production jobs the company became profitable and I was making a living. In 2005 I decide to adapt the company from an event agency to a full-on marketing agency. That is where it is at now.

How are your truth events going right now?

Not bad, though things have been better. I normally do a lot of business with Red Bull but they cut their budgets a lot this year so that meant less business from them, which is a slump for us. I guess I have to go out and do some more acquisition but I don’t really have the time. I am stuck in to much other stuff. There’s IMYTA+ but I am also involved in a new Dutch online shop called ShopKaput which will have its grand opening at IMYTA+. Then I also have my Editor in Chief job so yeah…enough work on my plate.



How is Rollerblading as a whole going in NL?

I think it is a healthy scene we have here. There are at least three generations skating, and each generation is excited. There’s my generation with guys like Steven Tonnon who still rips, Amnon Klein who comes up with a movie like LOMP and a shitload of other guys who are adult in a way but rolling strong. Then there’s the generation after us, with Kids like Daan Hegt and Tyron Ballantine, who skate at such an incredible level it almost pisses me off, and that generation already has their own very young protégés too, like 10 year old kids getting picked up by them and supported a little cause they’ve got the talent and are excited about skating. I mean I am 28 years old and I skate with Tyron sometimes, who is 15 now. So there’s a gap of thirteen years. But I also sometimes skate with guys like Wiboud de Boorder, who is going on thirty two I think, could even be thirty three. That just tells me that things are not going too bad here…

When did it all start for you, when did you fall in love with skating and knew this was it for you?

I am unsure if it was thé defining moment but it kinda does feel like it: my first handrail, which I skated with Carlos, the local legend. Skating with that guy was an honor in itself at the time. A time when handrails were a mythical obstacle and the only ticks we had was soul and frontside. Carlos could do handrails! I thought there was no I could do a handrail but I ended up at the Sloebrug rail with him and I tried anyway. As if by magic my feet lock on. Soulgrind. That feeling of control over my own body and position in space was completely new to me. It was awesome. I don’t remember if I finished the rail first try or maybe second but I don’t know, I did it and went home on the biggest high of my life. That’s when I knew.

And more importantly how and when did you figure out that you could make a living out of this lovin'?

Ah, when I got the Red Bull account I knew I would be good for a couple of years at least. We did Can You take the Heat for them at zero profit but we did so well that by next year we had a bigger account sort of speak, and I started making some good money. I got a couple of other projects in and there it was: the opportunity to make a livin’outta that lovin

How do you see yourself as a skater? I haven’t seen you skate beside some ramp dangling and was quite impressed to see you drop a serious hammer doing this disaster soul at the forum ledges in Barça.

Me? Well I don’t know. When I came up, I mean like 96, 97 where I lived, which was a remote corner of the country, I guess there I was one of the best at some point. I skated any rail and did all the new tricks. But skating progressed beyond my skill level. Also I got flow from rollerblade and they gave me a pair of CE Chocolates. Those skates man, I must’ve lost 80% of my tricks. I never got back to my old level till I got some flow from USD through the local shop. But it was too late. I was never able to get back up there. It took me a long time to rebuild my confidence.
Anyway nowadays I am 28 and I can be happy just to be skating at all. And funnily enough, that relaxes me to a point that I am skating better than ever. I am still learning new tricks, I got my confidence on old ones and especially big things, burly shit that used to scare me, it doesn’t scare me anymore. So I try to do a lot of that cause landing that is such a rush! I am even getting to a point that I don’t feel like a fool anymore if I am skating in a big crowd with 1000 skaters better than me. I’ll just do my thing and enjoy the moment.


SAW III

Being an old man in skating how does your age affect your skating?

Haha it affects me in two ways. My body, but I’ve been extremely lucky so far and I hardly have any problems (knock on wood) aside from getting fat of all the beer, a weird tick in my wrist and a somewhat weakened right ankle. But it also affects me in a circumstantial way: being an “old” man means I have to make money, pay rent, bills, build a future for myself and so on and that shit takes a lot time away from skating which of course affects your skill too.

Rumors say that you were able to get a quite big check from the EU
for the IMYTA+. What’s the story behind it?


Is it only a rumor? Funny cause I remember just telling everyone about it. Yeah I had worked on a film project a couple of years ago. An intern I had on that told me that he had worked on a previous project which had gotten this obscure but sizeable EU grant for their movie. So we applied for that grant and received it. The movie ended up not happening, long story, but I was in the loop with that grant thing. Then I received this newsletter e-mail thing from the people that administrate this grant for the Netherlands. It was to inform people about a so-called networking grant: a grant for people who come from different countries and work together on a project. The idea is that the EU wants to increase co-operation between young people from the various EU states. Anyway they gave a couple of examples of stuff that could receive a grant. One example was literally a skate event. I already had the idea for the IMYTA qualifiers, working together with existing events all over the EU and beyond, so that sounded like something I could get this grant for. We applied for the grant. We did this in both Holland and Spain. At the time the idea was to have IMYTA+ in Barcelona so the Dutch grant request was really just a backup. But then, unexpectedly, the Dutch agency gave us the grant, whereas the Spanish agency told us to fuck off. You can not argue with the amount of money this grant allows us to spend so we changed our plan and had IMYTA+ happen in Amsterdam again.



So, very important question for me doing the x-mas jam every year, which takes place in a skate hall. It is quite difficult to get insurances for this event. Who pays when some stupid dutch hooligan destroys the PA or pukes onto the desk? I guess it must be even harder to get some insurances for such an event like the IMYTA How do you solve this situation? That in a common way led to the end of the IMYTA in the US.

Well that is a difficult story. There are a few things you have to separate. First there is liability of the organization in relation to the people who visit the event. Secondly there’s liability of the organization towards its contractors. Then there’s the permission / permit liability and permit obligations.

To start of with the first. Under Dutch law I am only liable for the injuries and so on of the people in the event I am criminally negligent in looking out for their safety. When it comes to the skate part of the event, it is outside so there are fewer risks (no fire hazard, no hazard of things dropping on people). Skaters may get hurt skating my event. But no Dutch judge will convict me for damages incurred by a skater who willingly took a risk by jumping a set of stairs, a handrail and so on. Then there’s the party side of the event. That is inside a venue. But all the clubs we use we hire to provide us a service that includes their own liability insurance and also their own permits from the town that specify the rules by which this club must operate if it wants to operate legally and not be criminally negligent. So I have to meet some of the obligations of the club, like hiring security, putting in a mandatory wardrobe and so on. So I hardly run a risk on liability towards the events visitors.

The second is the contractor liability: what if someone pukes on the PA? What if the materials of someone we hired or we hired the stuff from get destroyed? Well, in most cases your liability is limited to a deposit that you get returned if nothing happens and you loose if it does, and something gets damaged. Sometimes we will use materials or a contractor like a band or a DJ will bring his own materials that are not covered like this. Well, we do not insure ourselves against it. We just make sure nothing happens to it.

The there’s the permission liability and permit obligations. That amounts to the point where I can not damage the area where I am doing this event. This is where the IMYTA got into trouble in the USA. They had a permit from the University of Los Angeles to do this event on their terrain. But of course having a permit does not mean you can destroy the area you are having an event in. Some damages though are natural if you have an event. An example: you can’t expect 10.000 people to visit a rock concert in a park and expect the grass to remain undamaged. But some damages are not natural: if you drive your event truck into a statue or something you are paying for it.
As far as I understand it IMYTA got into trouble when the question arose where the natural damages stopped and the liable damages started. UCLA filed some damages suit because people had allegedly trampled on and destroyed some flower beds and the IMYTA organization had not taken appropriate measures to prevent this preventable incident so they had to pay. This was the argument of UCLA anyway. I don’t exactly know the counter argument but it must have been something on the line of UCLA could have known these damages where likely to occur yet they did not specify or oblige any preventative measures as a demand to their permission so it’s UCLA’s own problem. In any case IMYTA won but a court case in the US is expensive. That cost IMYTA a lot of money.
Then the event insurance premium went up, and I think the premium for legal expenses insurance as well. I am guessing the insurance got a bit nervous with damage suits in the US being about HUGE amounts so the IMYTA ended up being uninsurable. I don’t have that problem in the Netherlands quite simply because I respect the letter of my permit and make sure I am not liable. There is a low risk of damage anyway at the spots we skate. Then the damages claims in the Netherlands are nothing compared to the US so basically I’ll just take the chance that I won’t get a damages claim: I do not have event liability insurance.



Is there anything we have never seen so far in an inline competition?

Man everything about IMYTA+ is unique or rare. The qualified riders. The pro attendance. The full color 16 page A5 sized print program booklet with all the event information in it, festival style. The addition of small park obstacles to street in TRSC+. Four bands with skaters in them performing live on stage for the entire crowd. Last Man Standing. The stripper-infested after party on Sunday. The unique Barely Dead preview. The raffle that decides which skater is in a group with which other ones, football championships style. There’s so much new stuff something almost has to go wrong haha…

What do you do for a living beside the IMYTA?

I do events with Truth INC, either by own initiative or as a hired hand in production. I do some copywriting and I am the Editor in Chief of a Dutch snowboard magazine called Taste. And sometimes I run around naked on TV.

Who is the best skater of all time?

Define the best? There is no the best! The possibilities of skating are endless. No rules have been defined. We can never say that this guy or that guy can do everything: no one will ever be able to do all that is possible on skates. And if this guy can do these types of tricks and another guy can do other types of tricks, then tell me: who is the best? You know, that is the same thing with skateboarding where people go yeah, skateboarding is harder that rollerblading. That’s a ridiculous idea, because there are no limits to both sports: like I said no one will ever be able to do everything possible on skates. You can always find something more difficult to do. As both sports progress and the limits get pushed they are both reaching levels of insane difficulty. One thing is not easier than the other because each sport can be made to be increasingly difficult for ever.
But anyway my favorite skater of all time is Josh Petty!



What does tattooing mean to you?

Haha man, I wish I was way more inked up than I am right now. I love the look of a good tattoo but I also love the notion of a tattoo. I can’t really explain. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are a shitload of ugly-ass tattoos out there but there is always an indefinable quality to any tattoo that just intrigues the hell out of me. A good tattoo for me tells me a small piece of the history of the person that has that tattoo. It tells me who they are or, more often, who they would like to be. It helps me in looking at them as people with a past, a present and a future. It puts them in time. Because a tattoo is a mile point. You did not have it, at one point you decided to get it and then it is there, for the rest of your life. I always wonder: what happened? Why that tattoo? And if I like the tattoo I tend to be curious about the person too. That may be superficial, especially since tattoos are so commonplace right now but that’s the way I feel. And anyway most tattoos I really like are the ones you can’t hide: cause it’s those tats that took commitment, that say: fuckit! Anyway I need to get some more ink in there soon, probably after IMYTA+. I got a great idea…

Tell us something of those early days; about your look, first skates?

Shit dude I must’ve passed through all the fashion fads in rolling. At first I had extremely baggy clothes and I tried to look like the guys from Dog Eat Dog. Later I adapted to look like dudes in Hoax 2. I mean I didn’t go right out and copy that shit like some kids do, I was too smart for that I guess, but my look was inspired by them. Then I must’ve done everything: I’ve sported these white guy rasta things, man did they look bad. I’ve had my hair and eyebrows painted black: I was so ahead of times with that. I had pink hair for a while there. Then I saw a shot of Josh Petty in DB or Box, don’t remember, him dressed all black, black beanie and white Fifth elements doing an uberstylish AO pornstar. That look man, that was it. So from then on I started wearing all black. I grew up in a house that is totally Metal, I mean the first CD I ever bought was Iron Maiden’s Aces High, so after a while I returned to that, moving away from the whole Hiphop thing that was the trend in rolling. Black and Metal. But some dudes, if they want to tease me still tell me I’m a fucking poser, Hiphop one day Metal the next. I guess it’s true. Anyway I am a fag like that: I care too much about my look.



What makes you a typical Dutch skater (lifestyle included)?

Hahaha! Boozing! Partying! Traveling, immunity to being a pro-hoe or a complete imitator even if I secretly admire some skaters, not caring how good a guy can skate as long as he’s cool, and if he’s real good but a dick he can still suck mine. Ehhh, not taking things too seriously after all it’s only rollerblading, but at the same time having a lot of love for what we do … being a loud-ass fuckhead sometimes. Hating all authority. A LOT of swearing with fucked up cuss words like cancer and shit. Never skating on big international events… I guess that last thing is more typical of my crew than Dutch skaters but still… yeah that about covers it. Dutch skaters, at least we, to quote Amnon are “living like rockstars but paying the bills ourselves.”

What was the singular life defining experience for you as a skater and for you as a person (outside of skating)?

Having to almost flee from the country at eight years old with my mom and dad because the tax people thought they had a 200.000 claim on my dad was kind of life defining for me. Especially since I found out that the claim was unjustified and the people at the taxes knew but tried to get the money anyway. It has instilled in me a hatred of all strong governments, especially so-called social ones because ion the end that so called social government would bring a family to near ruin just for a few lousy bucks! Basically, I have a deep hatred of all so-called authority. Persons that place themselves above the rest. That hate, to an extent, fuels my fire. Also meeting Anna was life-defining. If it had not been for her I would most likely have destroyed myself a long time ago.

Are the rumors true that you will be unveiling a new project at the IMYTA+? And if so, what kind of project and with whom?

That is true. For a long time the shops here have been in decline and everyone is ordering from Germany. A local shop is important plus since ordering from Germany is a hassle with shipping and paying and also because these shops don’t really market their shit top the Dutch market too well, I saw an opportunity to open up a shop. So I talked to Gijs van Eysden about this, and to you and you guys were down to do this. We created a killer marketing plan. Then you decided to quit cuz you were going nuts and Gerben Kuiper took your position as third partner and now we are opening our shop, ShopKaput at IMYTA+.



Isn’t it a bitch for you that year in year out one of the main worries in Holland is the weather, whether it is summer or winter (just look out the window)? And how many times do thank your god that at least the British have it worse?

The weather is a factor I have no control over whatsoever. All bad weather solutions are out of reach, roofing is impossible, so since I can’t do anything I just ignore the problem all together. If it rains this year at IMYTA+, well, it’s a handicap equal for all the skaters in the comp: they all have to skate in the same rain. It would suck of course, but the show will go on.
I don’t think the British have it worse, it’s just that it seems they must be getting less sun because they are all so damn white, but that might be due to the fact that they sit inside in a pub at every damn hour of the day, while we can be found at the beach at even 15 degrees once the sun is out!

We would like to thank Gijs for taking the time to answer these questions.

Questions: Wietse Reutling & Roll2Soul

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