I have been skateboarding since I was 9 years old and have been working around skateboarding since I was 19. I am now 30 years old and still working around something I love so much. I started off in the skate shop and worked my way up. I was determined to make a living out of skateboarding. To prove to myself that I can do anything I want with my life. That I can set goals and achieve them on my own terms.
My first job outside of the skate shop was doing domestic sales at Blitz Distribution (SK8MAFIA, JSLV, LE, Black Label, Hook Ups, Fury, and Momentum Wheels). It was a great learning experience. It was a small staff and had a family feel. We worked hard and partied even harder. I got laid off eventually due to problems with the business. Hard goods business is tough. I was bummed but overall it was a great stepping stone in my career.
For the last 3 years to be exact I have been doing e-commerce operations at Sole Technology (etnies, Emerica, eS, Altamont, 32). If I could tell my 14 year old self that I would be working at the company that made Menikmati I wouldn’t have believed you. I am happy with what I have done with my skateboard career thus far.
My boss is located at the Sole Technology European office in Amsterdam. There is an 8 hour difference between us but we make it work. At the time, we were working on creating a new etnies website and implementing all new back end software as well. One day he calls me out of the blue and says “Hey we need you to come to the Amsterdam office and get training on the new e-commerce software”. At first I was tripping out because I was like “Holy Shit I am going to Amsterdam”. We booked the ticket a week later and I was about to spend 10 days training and working at the Sole Tech European office.
This trip was super special to me because I have never been to Europe before and I was going to be spending 10 days in Amsterdam. If you know about Amsterdam and you know me then you know I was about to be living the dream. Also, this was a work trip which my accommodations and travel were paid for. It was my first work trip ever provided by skateboarding. I always wanted to be one of those staff filmers that get to go to exotic skate destinations and film the best shit. This was as close as I was going to get for paid skateboarding travel.
I used Ilford HP5 film and shot it on a Canon AE-1. Amsterdam is a beautiful city with so many walks of life on the streets at all times. It was very easy to catch some epic shots. I was definitely super pumped when I got the photos back from the lab. Check out below and enjoy!
About to land at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. I had a direct flight from LAX to Amsterdam. Woke up just in time to take this photo. Slept most of the 10 hour flight.
If you know me then you know this photo is kind of ironic. I constantly categorize things in my life as “ART” as a joke. Sole Tech put me up in this hotel for the first few days. Saw that sign when I got there had to snap a photo.
City Center of Amsterdam. This area is always poppin’. The famous Red Light district is actually to my right through some alleyways.
There are so many ways to get around Amsterdam. Boating through the canal being one of them. Probably one of my favorites I took of the trip.
View from my boss’ flat. Wouldn’t mind waking up to this everyday.
People live on the canal too in their house boats. While I was cruising around on a co-worker’s boat I saw this dude standing in a small boat cleaning his house boat. Thought it was interesting.
From what I was told Amsterdam is built upon reclaimed soil and so homes will look like they are leaning to the side. Super interesting architecture that has lasted 400 years.
My co-worker in Europe Carolien and her boyfriend Chappy took me out on their boat for a locals only tour. It was a 25 minute boat ride from the center of the city. Super fun and very beautiful. Crazy to go from people everywhere to quiet.
This photo is super special to me. At the time of this photo Carolien was leaving Sole Tech Europe in a month to live in Nicaragua with Chappy and run a surf getaway. This was their last month living in Amsterdam and were selling this boat to a friend. It was just a beautiful moment I had to capture between them too. They were about to embark on a crazy journey together.
I took this photo from the top on a 10 story library. It was biggest library I have ever been in. I don’t remember the name but I would love to spend a whole day in there. Cinema section was epic.
Just cruising around Amsterdam on a bike. Just stopped on this random bridge and snapped this. Epic place.
“New Beginnings, Here I Come” (theme of my whole trip)
Leaving Amsterdam. Got a window seat this time.
Overall, the trip was life changing for me. I worked hard and I played hard. I experienced so many things in such a short time period. I want to thank Sole Technology for being such an awesome company to work for and flying me out there. My co-workers at Sole Tech Europe, Rafa, Wilko, Carolien, Bas,Tyrone and Regina. Thanks for showing me a great time and showing me the local vibes.
I would also like to thank skateboarding. My love and passion for skateboarding is what got me to Amsterdam. Just wanting to be around something I love so much finally felt like I hit a huge achievement in my career I guess you could say. Even though it wasn’t a glamorous European filming trip, it is as close as I am going to get. I am super thankful for every moment of that trip.