November 19, 2013

Meet Longboarder Melanie Golz

After the impressive weekend full of great artists and dancers, I just had to get in touch with Melanie Golz, 1st place in the European Longboard Dance Championship Berlin 2013. I've already recognized her the very first night at the beach party before the contest started and noticed that she was very special. Melanie definitely has something pure, may it be pure passion or the pure glow I saw in her eyes. She instantly draw my attention and during the contest, she jumped and danced her way through it. 

Now, after she won the title, she stayed a few more days in Berlin and we met at a Sushi place for dinner. We've talked about so much and I'm glad to share these inspiring words from her to you. She tells us about how she started longboarding, what meaning it has to her and what else she does in her free time :) So enjoy and please spread the word out :)

Could you introduce yourself?
Yeah, hi everyone, my name is Melanie Golz, I'm from Cologne and I'm 24 years old. I was studying 'sustainable design' but right now I'm travelling. 

How long have you been skating?
I've started skating three years ago now, in September. First, I was just riding from A to B, I skated a lot until I eventually started dancing. I also didn't have my own board for about half a year, I had a borrowed one. It's also an interesting story how I actually started. 

How come? Why did you start skating?
The first time I saw longboards was back in Australia, when I was travelling there, but moving to Cologne brought me to the actual sport. I got to know skaters and it was really cool to see this sport coming overseas from the US to Germany. I was happy to find people at college who were into it, too. So, one day I went with a buddy to a skateboard shop to get some information about longboards. Another friend stopped by and wanted to take me to their skate spot at the Hohenzollernbrücke. First, I was like: Hey, sorry, I do not have a board. But that was no problem, one of the guys borrowed me one so I followed them cruising through the city.

It was the first time for me skating through the city and it took us half an hour from the Leyndecker Street to the Hohenzollernbrücke. I was totally stoked to skate with them on the streets, tracks and sidewalks. That day I've learned so much by just watching them how they'd pass the streets, and I've tried to do the same things. It was a great feeling and actually my first longboard-moment *big smile on Melanie's face*.

What kind of Longboard are you skating right now?
Right now I'm skating the model 'Stage' from Airflow and I'm very content and happy about it because it's a lot of fun. I also have wonderful green Paris trucks and Orangatang wheels. 

Who's your sponsor?
I'm sponsored by the Concrete Wave Shop in Cologne and their own brand Bolzen Hardware and We-Funk wheels and We-Funk bearings from Alex Luckert, Cologne. 

So, Melanie you won the European Longboard Dance Contest, how do you feel about it?
How does it feel? Of course awesome! I'm really glad, but didn't expect it although a lot of people thought I'd win again because I just won the last two contests. So, the expectations were pretty high. I didnt put any much pressure on myself and just wanted to stay away from these thoughts. It was more like 'I don't care if I win or not' because I didn't want to feel pressured. Additionally there was a lot going on with college because two weeks ago I've just decided to quit. It wasn't really easy and yeah, it's crazy that I won this competition! I dont know, it's just.. but of course I'm super happy! I'm the female European master of Longboard Dancing. 

How did you like the contest and Berlin?
Berlin is great and wonderful, I'm always glad to be here, I like the Berlin scene a lot and to skate with them. The city is just amazing. 

About the contest, I honestly have to say that it was a bit chaotic because for example there were no drinks included, that it cost 30 Euro and there were no prizes for the winner. Furthermore when the police came and talked to Fränky, this worried me a bit, but this can always happen if they do not know. I also think that it was a pity that he talked in German the whole time because it was an international contest and he should have done the whole thing in English and the judge were no dancers. That's why I think it's difficult to know the difference of a trick and sometimes, if you don't dance and you don't know how to make this trick, it's hard to tell if it's an easy or hard one. You won't understand what's going on at that moment, you just see that there's a twist but not more than that. And if you would know that this trick is a big spin-180-nose-comply-whatever you would see it and otherwise you don't.

Still, I think it's very cool that Fränky was brave enough to organize something that big. It was the first European Contest and I just hope that maybe next year it will be in Paris or the Netherlands. 

What's longboarding for you? In three to five words, please :)
Longboarding for me is a bit of freedom, family and friends all over the world, it's so easy to get to know others; energy, so you could exhaust yourself but also gain some energy because you can free your mind and afterwards you're more aware. For me it's also being creative while dancing on your board and making up new combinations and tricks. It's about your own flow, style and spontaneity, you can always make up combos and it's like: Oh hey, let's do this trick with this one and add this and that. So that's a lot of fun. 

What's your signature trick?
It's definitely the cross-step in my special way, so cross step forwards and then jumping backwards by swinging my right foot into the air. 

Any good spots in Cologne to skate?
Yes, definitely! Our homespot is the Rheinpark, they've built the Bundesgartenschau in the 50s and now the spot is still there. It's a big green area with lots of trees, small sealed streets and it's right next to the Rhein, so you can just hang out there, jump into the river or skate. There are no cars, there are just pedestrians or bikers, but most of the time we are on a road by ourselves.

What are you doing if you not skate?
If I don't skate, I had college. Now, not anymore. I like meeting up with friends, I cook and bake a lot, and also being creative, designing and taking pictures. I've just started filming and editing and it's one of my biggest dreams to learn it. For now, I film longboarding videos, but I'm up for anything, let's see.

What do you think about the cliché that women cannot skate? 
I definitely do not agree with that because women skate as well as men do, but I just think that girls are more afraid of, which is why we need more time to learn or practice something. It's in any sport because of the different muscle structures in women and men. 

How does a normal day look like?
A normal day would be getting up, taking a shower, having breakfast if I have time and then out the door to Uni. In the past I skated to college, but nowadays I don't do it anymore because I want to take care of my knees. I skate a lot in my freetime so I don't want to skate to Uni which is 7 km far away and took me 30 to 45minutes with hills.

Do you surf or snowboard?
Yeah, I snowboard, but the last time I did was in March 2012, oh wow, it's one and a half years ago. I've started at the age of 12 or 13; before, I did skiing and so far I went four times to a snowboard trip. I went surfing 2012 in South France, but also just for two days because we went to a longboard trip and I was able to stand on a surfboard. So, I'm super stoked to keep doing it! This year I won't be able to surf again because I'm doing an east Europe trip but hopefully next year, I want to do a small roadtrip through France, Portugal or Italy. 

What do you listen to when you dance?
First of all I think skating with music is really nice and there's a different flow but if you're skating with others it's difficult to listen to music because you also want to chat with them. The social part would be limited so I prefer not listening to music when there are people around. Hm, what I listen to is always different, sometimes it's fast and aggressive, other times it's relaxed and more fun, like Tunng. So, there's no specific genre.

How often do you practice skating?
I skate one or two times a week, this year I didn't skate a lot that's why I thought I didn't improve or develop myself compared to last year when I was skating a lot more. This year, Uni was pretty stressful and it's also important for me to see my friends and a lot of them don't skate, so yeah. Sometimes, I also didn't want to skate and to do other things like cooking. Anyways, now that I have so much time, I'm really looking forward to skate more often and to go out every other day. When I met up with friends for skating, we would be at the Rheinpark for three to four hours and hang up together, skate and practice new tricks. It's so nice to be around people who support and push one another and there's always one who can teach you something. 

How important is style to you and how would you describe your own skating style?
Of course there are some skaters who stand out from others because of their skills, but if the style (sense of rhythm, transitions and choreography) doesn't look good, the skater won't be able to show an impressive sequence of tricks. There, the aesthetics show ones control of body. 

I think that I skate very energetically. A mixture between aggressive and jumping around, but it's difficult to describe one's style. I rather feel it than see it, you know ;-)

Do you have any tips to stay fit?
Healthy nutrition is definitely a big part of it, but also exercising and being content with life will keep your body and mind fit. 

Any goals for the future or longboarding?
A bunch of, I want to learn a lot of tricks, would love to learn a full cap or a half cap , it's when you twist around in 360° with your board and then keep on jumping with your board. I'd also like to learn a 360° Body Varioul. It's a pirouette while jumping and also another trick which Lotfi has showed me: It's a twist like in ice-skating on the nose of your board, so you're skating on one truck. And a lot more tricks. Other than that just having fun, being content and finding myself. 

Any messages to girls who want to start skating?
Just start, be brave and just talk to people if you see them. Don't be afraid of them because it's always more fun to skate together and watch videos to push yourself. And most importantly feel well with what you do. 

Anything you would like to say?
Rock'n'Roll!!! Oh no, that was Fränky's part. Longboarding is a family all over the world which is really amazing.

Melanie, it was really nice talking to you and I hope that we will see more videos of your skating. Thank you for this interview and I am very much looking forward to our next meeting :) Maybe in Cologne?! ;-) And guys, check out her current video 'Smelly Wonderland' and share, share, share! ♥ All the best :) xo

Smellys Wonderland from Melanie Golz on Vimeo.

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Love, Minh