Luo Jian Shen Is a Small Skater Known for Big Tricks


Hi, I’m Maggie
from the VICE office in Brooklyn. Our friends in China hung out with
pro skater, Luo Jianshen as he shreds through
the city of Guangzhou. Stay tuned. I’ve never been to the
Canton Tower before. It’s my first time here,
the highest spot in Guangzhou. I’m very excited. Wow. They even have weddings here. So chill. Everything the light touches
is Guangzhou. All of this. It’s massive. This is my hometown. I’m Luo Jianshen. And I’m a professional skater. I started skating around
1999 or 2000. I saw a bunch of people skating
near the Tianhe Sports Center. I was very curious to try it. I saw them doing lots of tricks
with their boards. They could do kickflips.
They flipped the board so easily. They could jump off the stairs, and slide on the ledges. I was like, “Wow,
skateboarding is amazing.” That’s how I got interested in it. He pushes himself hard so that
he accomplishes the dangerous tricks. He skated in spots where not many
skaters dared to skate. People tend to judge you
by competition results, but I don’t think you can judge a skater
solely on competitions. His videos show you how passionate
he is about skating. The most impressive one is the nollie
heelflip he did at the double set in Beijing Road. There’s hardly anyone who can do
better that, even now. That is something
about him, he keeps trying no matter
how many times he fails. It’s rather admirable. I’ve been skateboarding for
14, 15 years. I used to skate… with the mentality of a kid,
you know. Just me and my friends. Chatting, laughing, messing around. Hanging around. I never thought there’d be sponsorship,
or a company paying actual money for my skating. For me to support myself and skate. Because skating is legit. I don’t know how to say. If you want to skate, you skate. You’ll want to do it everyday,
even just for a bit. Anywhere, really. After the company paid me to skate,
my parents would say, “You spend so much on skateboards
and outfits every month.” “Where did you get the money?” I said,
“There’s a company sponsoring me.” Then I said,
“I’ve got money to skate now,” “You don’t need to worry anymore.” “I’ve got a job now.” I go to work everyday,
my job is skateboarding. This is the skatepark in
Guangzhou’s Higher Education Mega Centre. It’s huge. And now I’m going to skate. -You’re here to play?
-Yeah yeah. -How much for an hour?
-15 yuan [$2.25]. I thought it was 9 yuan [$1.35]! -That’s for students, you got your student card?
-Nope Then it’s 15, we need to take pictures. All right, 15 then. You don’t normally ask for signatures. We always do, ever since we opened. Write down your ID number here. I forgot my ID. -Ok, what about the number?
-Don’t remember. -What about your student number?
-Can’t remember either. Can I just put down a name? What about your mobile number? I have a phone. Put down your phone number then. Now strip and skate. Sunbathing. It’s just so boring… when I skate alone. No fun. I just keep trying. Fuck! But I just can’t get it right. It’s no good. So close. Then, alas…
I get very upset. So stupid. Damn you, fuker. I get angry often. So angry. At myself. Can’t make the tricks. Yo, Min. Wow, what happened? Broke it in a tantrum. I’m getting a new board. The first time I met him, I was quite impressed. Because he’s small, and dark and well-built, He was already pretty fast. He would also try different tricks. He was really, really… working hard to do those
“How dare you even try that?” kind of moves. At that time I’d already
opened my shop, so I started sponsoring him. Yeah, done! Earlier on, I was a part of
the People’s Skateboards. I was a member of
the People’s Skateboards. Then somehow I left there. Since then I’ve always
been in Guangzhou, and the AT Company and SHOX Company
were also in Guangzhou. I live in Guangzhou, I’m a local. So I thought… it would be more convenient
since we’re in the same city. Then I joined SHOX and AT. And then, I got sponsored. So now I can change my boards
and skate like this. I can use the new ones,
the good ones. Without worry. Now I got the new board,
let’s go and skate in Yingxiong Square. Try it out. Where you think you’re going?
Are you coming to House of VANS? Why the fuck?
Too many fucking people! Fuck off. Your skating’s so dull. If you go skateboarding in Guangzhou… If you go out, you go in the afternoon. Around 3-4 pm. In Yingxiong Square,
where they have a box and a rail, and a bunch of people. If you want to shoot videos or go somewhere else, you can only go alone. Sometimes I’ll call my friends
to come out to skate on the streets, not just skate on the
flat ground at Yingxiong Square. It’s boring. When did you come out today? Half past three. Just on the ground?
No props? Why even bother?
I’m on my own! Wow, that sounds boring. Yeah, from 3:30 to now. Your shirt’s still dry. I didn’t do much. Why are you not sweating? After skating at Yingxiong Square,
I’ll have dinner if there’s nothing better to do. After dinner,
I just hang around at the shop. Or help out a little. I’ll pay later. Have a beer, get a smoke,
browse online… Then head home and sleep. The scene’s not as good as before. It used to be like, You can have a lot of fun
even on flat ground. Now there’s so many spots,
but no one shows out. They keep skating at a same place. I’m the only pro left. Just me, by myself. Looking for new spots. And asking Tian Wei to film with me. Someone slid on the ledge
over there. It’s waxed. -The flat one?
-Yeah, the flat one. This one’s waxed. This one too. Which side are you gonna use? This one here. Not bad. I might get exhausted
by just holding the camera Before he feels anything.
He just keeps trying. Maybe because of this lonely
situation of ours we don’t usually get
the clips we want. Because it’s a bit boring
without other people. Talking about filming him-
to be honest, I’ve filmed many skaters. But I know Blackie the best
because I film him the most. But actually, you will realise that
the more you film him, the more you’ll find out
about the skater. They’re much more than
what meets the eye. You’ll notice from time to time, like “Oh, I didn’t even know
he can do this trick.” He doesn’t mean to show off. Because he’s had great basic training,
he can do tons of tricks. New Bailun, New Bailun. USA New Bailun. The knockoffs are just unbelievable. Knockoff level: China. It’s crazy. Couldn’t catch that tricycle. He turned suddenly. You could have fell flat. Definitely! Let’s go to the LOFT. There’s always been street culture in Guangzhou.
It’s been a long time. There was once a TV show
called CSN. Dickid was on it every time
because he was hosting it. Also, he was one of the top
skaters in Guangzhou. He used to lead us, and helped us with the filming.
Helped us promote this culture. I really love this sort of stuff. What’s special about Guangzhou
is that you’re not just into one thing. The graffiti artist
love skateboarding too. The rappers would also
enjoy graffiti and skating. Some music goes along
with skateboarding. I really like that about Guangzhou. When there’s an event,
we just sing and dance. Yeah, remember to come
to the next event. Of course. You’ve got to come. We’re here. Beer! Beer for sale! Who wants beer? Whenever there’s a big event in Guangzhou,
there’s people from everywhere like Shenzhen, Hong Kong
and Hangzhou. They will all come here to attend. I feel great. I’ll be with them dancing, skating, drinking… So much fun. When the event is over, I become alone again. All alone. Then I’ll call Tian Wei for shooting. Just keep skating and shooting. You know. The atmosphere compared to when
they are here… When a lot of skaters
are gathered… I have a great time. But when they’re gone
and I’m the only one left, I’ll go flming and skating. I’m the only one skating
in this town. It’s a completely different
situation. You can’t skate for your whole life. Nobody can. One day you’ll be too old for that. You’ll find something else to do. However, I love skateboarding
so much, I’ll keep skating until I
can’t do it anymore. We’ll see then.

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