The world of skating had seen nothing until 24-year old Spaniard Kilian Martin, who combines childhood gymnastic training with freestyle skating, his prowess elevating skating to new heights!
Recently Mb – AKA Mercedes Benz digital publication – joined forces with Martin & filmmaker Brett Novak to create the killer video video “Kilian Martin: Altered Route.” Check it out & consider just how far Martin has taken skateboarding – pardon the cliche, but the vision, quite simply, is poetry in motion!
Kilian Martin is the punk of skating. Not that it‚Äôs obvious. As we meet over breakfast with common friends in Long Beach, he‚Äôs easy going, instantly likeable and brimming with ideas and enthusiasm. Yet behind the pleasant facade there is a focused, fearless and sometimes annoyingly persistent athlete who refuses to be pigeonholed. Criticised at times by other skaters for his cross-disciplinary and dance-like style, the 24-year old Oceanside resident, who originally hails from Madrid, invariably stays true to his own principles. ‚ÄúWhen I skate, there is just me and my board. I couldn‚Äôt care less about pre-defined categories and styles. It is only skateboarding ‚Äì and I do what I enjoy.‚Äú
Thanks to this nonconformist attitude ‚Äì and his exceptional talent ‚Äì the former gymnast has won the admiration and support of veteran colleagues like Stacy Peralta, George Powell or Mike Vallely. Peralta calls Martin ‚Äúthe most impressive skater I‚Äôve seen in decades‚Äù and admits he had to laugh when he saw Kilian‚Äôs first video because his moves ‚Äúare so complicated and he pulls them with beautiful ease. He‚Äôs such an innovator and he‚Äôs so damn original.‚Äú
Millions of YouTube fans seem to agree. Together with cameraman and editor Brett Novak (‚ÄúSkate Regeneration‚Äù), he has already published three videos. Self-financed, of course, as Brett ‚Äì also 24-years old and currently living in Culver City ‚Äì wants to retain full control of his own creations. Both artists share a love of detail, a determination not to repeat themselves – and a strong perfectionist streak, as I am about to discover.
As we leave LA to drive to our two-day mb! video shoot in the Mojave Desert with a beautiful 450 SL from 1980 in tow, Kilian reviews pages of notes covering new skating moves while torturing us with hours of non-stop oldies from the 50s. He‚Äôs twitching like a racehorse, ready for take off. Later, I watch for hours from the sidelines as he repeats his newly designed tricks tirelessly until both athlete and director are 100 percent happy with the results. Or, rather, until the sun disappears and the derelict former water park is bathed in the pale glow of a spectacular full moon, making it too dark to film. Perfectionists, like I said.
Back at the hotel after a Mexican dinner, we finally get round to our interview session while Brett is on the phone outside the door. Not a skater myself, I have to approach the topic from more familiar territory.
You surfed when you were a kid. Was surfing your first love?
Yes. When I first stood up on my body board, my parents bought me a surfboard. But Madrid is far away from the seaside so eventually I started skating.
Surfing to me is being alone with an element of nature. What is skating to you?
It‚Äôs just about me and my board – like a relationship. To me, it is also a form of art. For many skaters it is all about competing. I see myself both as an athlete and an artist.
WATCH – Kilian Martin // a skate illustration – also directed by Kovac!