Severin von Ow, certainly one of the most technical skaters to ever come out of Europe, is ready with a new part. Filmed entirely in Australia and China, the part for the full-length Melbourne film Gooch 3D shows off his Swiss precision in the finest of ways. We caught up with him to find out what he has been up to for the last few years. Introduce yourself please. Also state your position in the 2014 European skateboarding hierarchy and your favourite airline.
Alright, my name is Severin von Ow, I’m 32 years old and I was born in a little Swiss town called Schaffhausen, which is about a 45 minute drive away from Zurich. Not quite sure about my position in the 2014 European skateboarding hierarchy, but I’m guessing it would be somewhere very close to the bottom. My favourite airline is usually just the one that’s got the cheapest flights to where I am going.
You just got back from Australia, what’s it like being back in Switzerland?
It’s been good actually. I have only been back for a few days, so I guess it hasn’t fully sunk in yet. The weather has been getting pretty good here now, much better than it was in Melbourne when I left. That’s always a plus.
How long were you in Melbourne this time?
About four and a half months all up. I was in Australia for six months, but I was moving around a little bit. I did not stay in Melbourne the entire time.
You’ve been going to Melbourne for a decade or so now, what keeps you going back?
It’s a great city. It is good for skating and pretty much for everything else too. It has got a good vibe. Also, I have made a lot of friends there over the years so it is always nice to go back and catch up. And yeah, it has been exactly a decade. The first time I went to Australia was in January of 2004. I went there with a friend of mine from Zurich. He stayed for six weeks and I ended up staying four months. In 2006 I went back for about two months I think. Then in late 2009 I went back over there on a one year working holiday visa. I always wanted to go back for longer than just a few months so that was the perfect thing to do. I decided one year wasn’t long enough, so after my first visa expired I got a second one year visa and even a couple holiday visas on top of that. Eventually I ended up staying for two and a half years. I came back to Switzerland for a year and a half and left again in November last year for six months. Now I have been back for about a week.
Backside heelflip. Photo: Dylan SkewesWhat do you do apart from skating when you are there?
When I lived there for a few years I had a job so I was working a fair bit. I was doing a lot of traveling too, especially on the first couple of trips. This last trip was a bit different because I was not allowed to work. I did not do as much traveling either, because I was on a rather tight budget and I had seen most places already anyway. It was mainly skating this time around.
I see. So that brings us to your new part. Can you tell us a bit about Gooch 3D?
Well, basically after Gooch Street 2 came out we just kept filming. That is the whole story behind Gooch 3D. But seriously, it has been about three years in the making I think. I was still in Australia during the first year. Then I left and went back to Switzerland and couldn’t really film much anymore. I really wanted to get some more stuff for it though so I decided to meet the other guys on their China trip. That was such an epic trip, it was pretty awesome to fly over there and catch up with all the boys and just skate and film every day. I also filmed some more on this last trip to Australia. The premiere was only a few days before I had to bail to go back to Europe so I had almost the entire six months of my trip to film some more stuff. In hindsight I got to say that it all worked out pretty well.
Yes, your part is great. But what gives you the motivation to spend so much time, effort and your own money on making a part for a relatively small Australian video?
Because it is the most fun thing in the world! Going on trips with your mates, skate and film all day every day and have beers afterwards, there is just nothing better than that. Also, as long as I can push myself and learn new tricks I really feel the urge to go out and film them. The fact that it is “just” for a small homie video does not bother me at all. Quite the opposite actually, I think it is rad to have a part in a video with all your close friends. Apart from that, it is not like there was any other, bigger video I was going to have a part in.
Since you love it so much, do you think there’s another part coming from you at some point?
I don’t know. Never say never I guess. Right now, I seriously do not feel like I have it in me. But I have felt like that after every video part for the last eight years or so. I generally just need to take a break from filming, skate the local park, learn some new tricks and it is usually back on again.
Going back to Gooch 3D, it features basically only unknown up and coming Melbourne skaters. How would you describe the skate scene in Melbourne?
The Melbourne scene is massive. There are a lot of different crews, but they all know each other and get along pretty well too. The city centre isn’t that big so you end up running into everyone on a daily basis anyway. All the guys of the Gooch crew are real good skaters but most of them fly a bit under the radar. I guess they just don’t care that much, they’re just a bunch of good friends that skate and party together. Everyone is welcome to hang out with us.
Switch tailslide 270 biggerspin heel out by Andrew Bibby.Who are your favourite Melbourne skaters?
Off the top of my head; Kurt Winter, Jack Crook and Shane O’Neill.
What about your favourite Swiss skaters?
That’s a hard one. When I was a kid I looked up to Guy Kämpfen a lot. Sven Kilchenmann has always been the best. Right now Kilian Zehnder is killing it. There are so many more, Switzerland’s got a lot of talent.
The word “Swiss” seems to confuse people for some reason. How many times have people thought you were Swedish?
I stopped counting. I seriously don’t know. It usually happens at least once a day when I am down there.
Do you like to angrily inform people of their ignorance?
Haha, maybe sometimes. I seriously don’t even care anymore. You know, when your friend who you have known for years occasionally still thinks you are from that place where Ikea is from, you just have to roll with it.
What is your sponsor situation at the moment?
I ride for a bunch of distributions here in Switzerland. I get Boulevard boards, shoes from Adidas, Indy trucks, Bones wheels and bearings, Mob grip and I ride for a shop called Doodah.Great, and what is next for Seve?
I guess I will be staying here in Switzerland for at least a little while. There are no solid plans at this stage. I am running a bit low on money right now so what I have to do next is find a job. That is all I know right now.
What about your dad making you the brand manager for his award-winning artisan alcohol company? Imagine the amount of hipsters around the world desperate to spend their dollars, euros, pounds or yen on the finest single-batch whiskey and grappa to ever come out of a tiny Swiss village. It’s only fair, considering he turned your private TF [Seve learnt his tech wizardry skating a bench in his parents’ barn] into a distillery and all.
Haha, he didn’t actually turn my “private TF” into a distillery. The distillery is located in what used to be the stables. It doesn’t really matter anyway because I haven’t skated in my parents’ barn in ages. Anyway, I’m sure the hipsters would be thrilled but my dad is only running a small local business so I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have any use for a fulltime brand manager.
As you said, never say never. Last words?
I just want to thank Tony Woodward for putting so much time and effort into filming me for days on end without ever complaining once. Cheers mate! Also, thank you very much to all my sponsors and of course Kingpin for the interview.
The full-length Gooch Street 3D is available for purchase now at goochstreet.bigcartel.com.
Severin with the Gooch Crew in Tasmania. Photo: Tony Woodward.