India’s freestyle and street skateboarder “Kima” from Mizoram.
We had this wonderful opportunity to chat with Kima probably one of India’s best freestyle and street skateboarder from Mizoram.
He not only won back to back “Jugaad” India’s biggest skateboard competition but also he recently made India proud by coming 4th in The World Freestyle Round-Up in online competition, which is annually held in Canada, Cloverdale. This podium finish is the best result by any Indian skateboarder in international competition till now.
Question: First of all hope you and your family are keeping safe. How is this Pandemic treating you?
Ans: Thank you for having me. I and my family are doing good as far as today through this pandemic fortunately. And though this pandemic has been drastic and tragic, I have found several benefits in my personal life. No one’s in a pleasant situation but gotta try to see the good side of everything I guess.
Question: So tell us about yourself and when did you start skateboarding?
Ans: How I started skateboarding is a little bit complicated, to narrow it down simply; I was first introduced to the board in 2008 and I started skating using my sister’s board, she used to skate a couple of years earlier. I was on and off not thinking much about skating. I however started really skating and started learning tricks in early 2014 and been doing it ever since.
Question: Was there any objections from family?
Ans: Not really, there was a huge concern for my safety from my parents when I started and I was also not allowed to skate for a little while after my first major injury, however there’s no real objection from anyone close as far as today.
Question: Will you consider yourself as the only pro freestyle skateboarder in India?
Ans: I’m not officially a pro freestyler yet myself. I practice it and have become a bit known for it is all. However, there have been others in India lately that has picked up freestyle skating and i’m very glad they’re progressing pretty quick too, but none of use are of pro freestyler caliber yet.
Question: What motivated you to choose freestyle and were you influenced by anyone?
Ans: Its a common misconception that I ‘choose’ freestyle. I love and do all sort of skating whether its street, park, bowl or vert. I just excelled at freestyle the most merely because of the environment I grew up in. There are no skateparks here, not street spot, no handrails, not much grindable ledges and so on, so freestyle is the most accessible for me. I actually wanted to skate vert the most when I started. I was first introduced to freestyle by Kilian Martin’s Concrete Circus part in 2014 and was immediately hooked on it.
Question: Who is your role model?
Ans: If i’m to pick from skateboarders, I’d say Rodney Mullen and Mike Vallely are the first to come in my mind. The admiration started from their skating skills and style, however overtime, after reading about them and watching countless interviews about them, its really more of the men behind the tricks and their character that I admire.
Question: Congratulations in securing 4th place in the world round Up freestyle skateboarding Championship 2020. You made history for India in skateboarding. Tell us more about this contest.
Ans: The World Freestyle Round-Up started in 2012, held annually in Canada, Cloverdale. Its the biggest platform for freestyle skateboarders from around the world to get exposure. Moreover, its about the freestyle community coming together and sharing their experience and support each other.
Question: One of the judges compared you with Andy Anderson, what were your reactions? And it seams you have met Andy before. Can you walk us down the history on how and where did it happen?
Ans: I was honored to be compared to Andy. I met Andy back in 2016 to basically do a freestyle tour and demo around the country. I was sponsored by Active8 Sports then, and they got Andy to come to India, he had won the World Round Up amateurs the previous year and since Active8 was planning on getting me on the World Round Up that year, they thought it’d be great to meet someone who’s experienced in it.
Question: You have also won in Jugaad, India’s only skateboard competition in Bangalore couple of times. Can you tell us more about it? and how participating in competition like this helps you. Would you recommend young skateboarders to participate?
Ans: Jugaad is pretty much the biggest skateboarding contest in the country right now, and I believe it will continue to be in years to come. Though its called a contest, its really more about getting the skateboarding community in India to come together and meet each other, share what they’ve learned and so on. Escape Skateboarding has been doing a great job with it, so props to them. It has helped me a lot in raising my profile as a skateboarder. I’d recommend young skaters to participate if they have intentions to pursue skating as a career, if not i’d still encourage them to attend the event as it would help them grow as a skater and as a person.
Question: Skateboarding is huge in the U.S and other parts of the world? What is your take on Indian skateboarding scene right now?
Ans: Skateboarding in India has grown a lot over the past 6 years, its not as fast as i’d personally like it to be, but its gradual and not stopping till today so slowly but surely; with skateboarding being in the Olympics now, I believe the scene in India will eventually be as big as it is in other parts of the world.
Question: Although skateboarding is officially now in the Olympics but many skateboarders around the world have different opinion about it. What do you have to say on this?
Ans: Well, in my opinion its doing more good for skateboarding than it is doing bad. Its gonna open more opportunities for skaters all around the world to get exposure and help them in pursuing it as a career. And skateboarding won’t lose its original meaning and everyone can still do as a form of self expression by themselves. Nothing’s really changing, only growing. So its a win-win in my opinion.
Question: Do you think skateboarding is just a sport or is it about the skate culture? What are your thoughts about skateboarding as a whole?
Ans: In my opinion, its more than both. Its a lifestyle, I never saw it as a sport when I started and I still don’t. As Rodney Mullen say, “there’s an intrinsic value in creating something for the sake of creating it” and going back to your community and sharing it and seeing it expand and grow…” so the skate culture plays a big part in what skateboarding is about. I’ve always seen it as some form of art where one can express himself. The thing I was most excited about when I started skating was being able to ride normally, get the basics down and creating new tricks on my own as much as I want, and i’m very glad that i’m able to do it today. So, skateboarding is an art and an endless form of self expression.
Question: Do you think there is a career for skateboarding in India?
Ans: Yes I do, the answer might’ve been different if it was asked about 6 years ago, but I do believe there can be a career in skateboarding for Indians now if you want it enough.
Question: You also have a youtube channel and you are very active in social media, what message you want to bring through your channel?
Ans: I just use it as a way of sharing what I’ve learned from skating for the most part. And helping new skaters to progress, encourage them and sharing my general experience in what to look out for as a skater.
Question: Are you sponsored by any brand? We know that getting a sponsor is not easy especially in India. What you have to say about getting a sponsor? Do you think in India getting a sponsor does really exist?
Ans: Yes, I am currently sponsored by Piso Skateboards and a clothing company all the way from Japan called Yabai, which also happens to be co-owned by Andy Anderson. Being sponsored is great but I don’t think that’s what the youth of skateboarding should be too focus on.
Question: What plans do you have in the future? Is there any advice you would like to give to anyone who wants to start skateboarding?
Ans: First of all I am planning on starting a small skateboard business here in Mizoram and try to grow it as much as possible. Keep on competing and doing my best to progress everyday and we’ll see how I go from there.
Question: Drops is not just about our products. We are trying to grow the skateboarding community in India by doing our part. Do you have anything to say about us.
Ans: I think Drops have been doing great in involving themselves in skateboarding events and the skateboarding scene in India as a whole. I can only wish you the best for your on going journey.
Thank you Kima for taking out your time. We really appreciate what you are doing for the skateboarding community in India and the influences that you have made. We wish you all the best and May God bless you.
Ans: Thank you for having me. God bless.
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Check Kima’s Vlog and amazing tricks on Youtube
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