Eugen Enin: A ninja on blades
He's newest edit went viral on Facebook with more that one million views. We talked to blader Eugen Enin about spots, inspiration and setups.
Borken, North Rhine Westphalia, Germany in the early 2000’s, a young kid pops in a KFC (Kansas Fucking City) video in his video machine and dreams of skating like Chris Farmer. 17 years later this kid ’s remix edit posted under the name “Ninja Levels” on Facebook has more than one million views, and it’s not without reason.
His name is Eugen Enin and he’s easily one of the best aggressive bladers in Europe. With his smooth and playful style of blading and his unique and creative way of using the city’s environment, Eugen takes aggressive blading to the next level.
We had a talk with him about how he finds spots for his edits, and how he gets his inspiration and what drives him and what kind of setup he uses.
Preparation is the key
Trick: Topsoul to 180 Stale, photo: Mark Heuss.
Eugen is skating towards the white curved, wavy rail by the side of a staircase in the middle of a park. At first glance, it seems nearly impossible to grind. But he’s determined to do it. He reaches the rail, sets off, locks on to the rail in a Soul Grind and lands clean.
The scene is from the edit posted on Facebook. This is only one of many sweet spots featured in the video. Eugen points out that it takes a lot of careful planning to find those unique hidden gems.
“I’m from a small town and have to travel to get to a big town like Düsseldorf. I have to plan what to do from home. Luckily we have Google Maps. I search for things like “Düsseldorf” + “church”, “youth center” or “architecture”. Local bladers are also a great help, when you’re finding spots, they’ll know all the crazy places and can tell you important things such as the condition of the surface or if you’ll get kicked out”, he says.
But finding the right spot is only half the fun when Eugen is preparing to ride all those wild and weird spots, you’ll see in the video.
“There’s a lot of training behind the things you see. To start with, I train grinds at my local skatepark, but an important part of the preparation is to try it out on the spot before I film. When I see those curvy, wavy rails, which I love, I’ll just want to skate them for hours before I film”, he says
Photo: USD, trick: UFO Grind
“Wow look at him, he moves so smooth and effortlessly”, is the typical reaction, when you read the comments about the edit on Facebook. There is no doubt that both Eugen's technical and creative skills are out of this world, but where does he get the inspiration to keep progressing as a blader?
“It’s a development process. In the start, I found inspiration in blading and skating. The last couple of years I‘ve also found great inspiration in freestyle skiing, with their butter style riding.
Especially “The Bunch Crew” from Sweden, they move so smooth. They’re going fast and big, something that I'm very inspired by”, says Eugen.
He points out that he also finds great inspiration in the speed and tricks of BMX and last but not least scootering.
“They’re doing a lot of cool and hardcore stuff, and I think the whole scene is in a good place. Scootering reminds me of blading you know - When blading was young a lot of people also hated on us, just like they do now on scooter riders. But I think that the scooter kids are handling the hate in a cool way”, he says.
Photo: Olfert Poelen.
Eugen is by far one of the most innovative bladers the scene has seen in a long time. One thing is training and taking inspiration from other action sports, but to Eugen, keeping his “inner child” alive is key to his innovative skating.
“One of my favourite quotes is “Don’t do it if it starts to feel like work”. Yes, it might take hours to film a clip, and that’s how blading goes, but if it feels like a job that you do to make money to pay the rent, then stop doing it - You should only do it for yourself and for having fun and never forget your inner child. This is the most important to me -maybe expect from getting hurt”, he laughs.
A classic setup
Trick: Mute Grab Top, photo: Jeff Hofstede.
Eugen’s blades are handling everything from rails, stairs, and wallrides to ramps, boxes and verts. So what makes the perfect skates for him? Well, the answer is not quite so simple.
“For grinding and street, I prefer slim and soft boots. It sounds weird because most people would choose a stiff pair of boots for this kind of skating. Over my years of skating, I’ve built up my muscles in my legs and lower body so that I can handle the pressure. Soft boots are comfortable to wear, like my pro model the USD Eugen Enin Carbon Free Boot, he says
When it comes to the frames, he’s currently using the Kizer Fluid VI Frames, which is an old acquaintance of his.
“I always loved Kizer frames. When I was young, I used the Kizer Fluid III frames they lasted forever. I’ve been exploring other brands, but now I’m back to Kizer, where I'm using the Kizer Fluid VI frames.
Photo: Olfert Poelen.
When it comes to wheels and wheel setup, Eugen likes to keep it pretty old school with a classic Anti-rocker setup.
“I use up to 60mm Undercover wheels on the outside, and on the inside polyurethane grind wheels. I know that plastic grind wheels are good and fast, but I prefer a bit more grip if I'm doing step and switch”, he says.
Eugen points out that his setup changes a bit depending on what project he’s doing. So what are we going to see him in next? The only thing you can be sure of is that is going to be awesome.