Intervija ar Ryan Jaunzemis – amerikāņu virtuozs ar latvieša saknēm
What’s up, Ryan! I was visiting one of the biggest rollerblading forums called Be-mag.com and topic with your name brought my attention. Your surname “Jaunzemis” sounded so latvian like. I couldn’t resist to find out more about you and contacted you immediately. Would you please introduce yourself?
Sveiki to all you bladers out in Latvia! And thank you Roberts for doing what you do. My name is Ryan Jaunzemis. I’m 34 –years-old, and I’m from Los Angeles, California.
Pro rollerblader with latvian roots in mid 90’s? So, when exactly did you start aggressive inline skating and what was the time when you became as PRO?
I started skating back in ’96. Funny enough, I was supposed to be starting on the Varsity football team at El Segundo High School that year. One day on the way home from practice I saw some random dude who was dressed in all black and was flying down the street on a pair of black rollerblades. All of a sudden, this mysterious skater jumps up on top of a nearby picnic-table, and then jumped off of the end of it busting out a madd 360°—coolest shit I’d ever seen! After I got home, I ran straight to my room, dropped off my football pads in the corner of my bedroom floor (Never to be worn again), got my mom to take me over to Big-5 Sporting Goods to buy me a pair of Rollerblade’s Lightnings, and started skating around later that evening. I showed my best friend Danny Lynch my skates and he got a pair of Rollerblade’s Boxcars, and we started skating every day after that (Like 16+ hours a day)—we were addicted! A while later, we found other people who grinded, and the two of us quickly became fully-immersed within the aggressive in-line skating community. The two of us were getting exceedingly good at a remarkable rate; drop-rocket fishbraining 25-step handrails, busting Misty Flips down 8 stairs, and grinding through Heart-Attack Kinks. A few months later, I started filming and editing my own skate videos on an old Hi-8mm camcorder, and begin submitting my videos to different skate companies. One day while Danny was reading through the Manhattan Beach Reporter (A local newspaper) he stumbled upon an ad from a new company called Soap Shoes; a new skate-shoe company claiming that they had just invented the world’s first pair of “Grind shoes” and were looking to sponsor aggressive skaters in the local area to begin testing their prototype models. Danny and I both got sponsored by Soap. We started receiving free shoes, free clothes, and were getting paid a salary of $200 p/h for photo/video shoots, and starred in their national & international sales commercials. Soon after that, we ended up touring around the country with them—it was really exciting. We were skating and Soaping on some of the most badass rails on the planet, and were being seen on TV in all of the major retail shoe shops that carried Soap Shoes. Later, Bryndon Smith (Fellow pro skater and Soaper), created a new company called Relate Video Productions and sponsored us both on his team. Relate later released the famous full-length Soap videos “One” & “Two” on VHS taking the sport of Soaping, and the Soaping Community as a whole to the main stream.
What was your sponsor back then and how long did you skate as a pro?
I got sponsored by Soap in December of ’97. Soap Shoes were skate-shoes, just like Vans, or Etnies. I still rollerbladed, but I got more into Soaping as that was what was now paying the bills. Being only a junior in high school and making $1000 a day for a full video shoot was pretty fuckin’ awesome. I remember when I cashed my first check—I felt like a baller!
I found out about soaping as a sport only a month ago when I saw your video, although I knew some people were doing it when Rollerblade made their first grind shoes and I think Salomon did some too. Was the sport really that big?
Soaping was pretty big back in the late 90s. In many ways, I would describe Soaping as even MORE aggressive than that of rollerblading; simply for the fact that I was now able to grind on objects that were completely inaccessible in the world of aggressive in-line skating. You can’t really session on blades on the tiled fountain in the middle of the Galleria mall, or bust out on the rails inside of a theme park like Disney Land, or Magic Mountain. But with Soaps, I was NOW ABLE to hit ANY RAIL—anytime, anywhere! I was even able to grind on random-ass objects like LOGS, or secret hidden rails on hiking trails like the ones inside Yosemite National Park. You could grind ANYTHING!
Why did you move from aggressive inline skating to soaping?
Soap sponsored us as “Skaters”, though the company (Soap) itself never wanted to consider “Soaping” as a sport. They thought walking down the street should not be considered a quote-on-quote “Sport”—though many Soapers out there would disagree. Their view point was that the people they sponsored were pro “Bladers”, or people that they believed skated at a “Pro” level; people such as Myself, Brandon Smith, Danny Lynch, Paul Cerfuentes, and Eddie Ramirez (The original 1997 Soap team). Soap was also giving us free skates and free skate wheels; as they wanted us to CONTINUE rollerblading just as we always had been before. It was nice, I was able to rock my Soaps in class DURING SCHOOL and represent to everyone that I was a skater. Other kids who skated, who were also wearing Soaps, were know recognize others within the community. It turned into a great way to spark up a conversation with a fellow skater., i.e., “Hey, you got Soaps! Do you sk8 too?” “Hell yeah I sk8!” “Cool! Let’s go bust out on the gold rail in the quad after class!”
Can you compare these two- pro rollerblader VS pro soaper?
Yeah people are always hating. I always hear stupid comments such as, “Why don’t you just rollerblade?” or, “Get a fuckin’ skateboard fag!” The randomness always makes me laugh because those are the people who obviously don’t get it. The thing is, you can’t ALWAYS be wearing your skates. Most people that I know who Soap, also skate, and always have (Skateboarding as well). Sometimes your skates (Or skateboard) are in your locker, but if you and a friend are walking from 5th-period gym over to-6th period history class (Or something like that), RATHER than having to walk over to your locker, to then have to take off your shoes, AND THEN to have to spend the next 5-minutes lacing up and ratcheting together your skates just to go out for a quick 5-minute session on a curb, AND THEN to have to return BACK to your locker to change BACK into your shoes, etc., etc., etc. Instead, why not just be WEARING Soaps already? This way you can just walk right up to any obstacle (Curb, ledge, handrail, etc.) and bust it! In the end, it’s just a funner way to get from Point-A to Point-B.
You have written “Soap Shoes: Secret Tips & Tricks” and “The New Soap Shoes Tricktionary Version 2.0″ both are sold on Amazon.com. Are there people still interested in soaping?
I hear from kids all over the world; actually not just kids, but even adults in their late 30s and even early 40s! People still want to Soap. There are small communities rising up all over the planet. I believe the biggest underground Soaping scene right now is in Australia with the Melbourne Soapers Group on Facebook; lead by famous Soaper Greg Crellin, who is also a dope rollerblader.
Please tell us more about your family roots and your latvian surname?
My grandfather Herbert Arnold Jaunzemis I came over from Latvia on the boat. My dad Herbert Arnold Jaunzemis II was the first generation born in America. And now, here I am. Originally my family’s Surname was Jaunzems, which I know in Latvian is pronounced Yaunzem, which was later Americanized into Jaunzemis, pronounced John-zim-iss. People have been mispronouncing my last name since grade-school. Some guys try make fun of it, but the ladies like it because it’s different, and I’m perfectly okay with that. I also have two awesome boys of my own who I love very much, Aaron & Aiden Jaunzemis, who live in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England (As their mother Sarah is British).
Have you ever been in Latvia or know anything about it?
I’ve never been to Latvia. I’ve heard it is a beautiful place full of many beautiful women, and I’d love to visit there someday. I would definitely be interested in finding out more about my roots there.
You are considered American virtuoso. Pro rollerblader, pro soaping, tattoo artist, lifestyle coaching and rapper. What else should we know about you? Is there a favorite profession for you?
Honestly, I’m just me. I think a lot of people have some really weird perceptions about me because they see this public persona of me doing so many different things—I think it confuses most people.
I get bored if I stay in one spot for too long; physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Really I’m just a laid-back party guy. I work hard, but I play even harder. I love kickin’ it. I love to party. I feel like life is short; 28,000 days—that’s all you get, and I want each one of those days to be fun, exciting, joyous, wholesome, and fulfilling. I stay active, I stay motivated, I stay productive, and I’m always trying to better myself as a human being. I just want to get the most out of life while I’m here on this planet. I always try to do the best that I can do, each and every day. I lead by example, I’m devoted to helping others rise up, and to help them become the best that they can be. All-in-all, I just here trying to do my part in helping out to make this world a happier, brighter, more vibrant, and more colorful place to live.
I’d love to give a few special shout-outs to all the homies from the Soap team; Danny Lynch, Bryndon Smith, Paul Cerfuentes, Eddie Ramirez, Ben Kelly, Chris Fox, Joey Barbara, & Sandy Murray. I gotta throw some shout-outs to my boys up there in Canada; Greg Cumberford & Atley @Soapshoe.com. I def wanna give a big shout-out to my homeboy Jose Ruiz in “Tha Dirty South!” Props to my boy Eric Hegland up in Nor Cal. Def some big shout-outs to Greg Crellin, Anna-Bella Brock, Ryan Pyro Neu, and everyone else out there in Melbourne & Queensland, thank you for all the support fellas, and Soap it up all you Adrenaline Monkeys! Big ups to ALL my fans out there who continue the SPORT of Soaping—you know who you are! Thanks everyone for the “Likes”, Shares, & Shout-outs on my vids and posts. MADD love to all you bladers out there, and everyone else in the aggressive in-line skating community! Thank you www.Inline.lv., and thank you Latvia—paldies! Cheers mates! This is Ryan Jaunzemis, peace!
Ryan Jaunzemis – Aggressive skating (1996)
Soap Shoes — Secret Underground Footage
SOAP SHOES 1999 Promo Video – SHAG THIS (featuring Professional Motorcycle rider Mike Metzger)
Interviju sagatavoja: Roberts Pundurs