Interview by Ryan Loewy

Photographs by Thomas Thelmann and Tony Cheetah


Over the past decade, Patrick Ridder has come to establish himself as one of the prominent figures of what I feel is the new generation of rollerbladers. A meticulous style, paired with an extensive vocabulary, Ridder has truly defined himself as one of the greats. In addition to his skills on skates, Patrick has also honed himself well as a videographer. A handful of releases under his belt, Patrick decided to take the next step in producing his VOD, titled Peel, which releases today, August 6th, 2018. I took some time to talk to Patrick about the project to get a further understanding of how he works his craft.


Photograph by Tony Cheetah

I guess we can start off with the idea of Peel….when did the idea first come to mind?

We started filming in April; at first I thought of making an edit. But then I thought about it more,  like why not a video? Cause I never really did one besides the Valo Europe VOD, which I made with Tony Cheetah.
I also didn’t want to go for a regular video with profiles, so I made a list of themed parts we could do, similar to how we  did the subway thing, “unten” , last year.
The main goal of a skate video is that it makes you wanna go skate. That’s what I try to do every time I edit something.

I thoroughly enjoyed Unten; I loved the premise of it. And that’s what I felt when I saw it, it was really inspiring because you took a rule in a way, like you limited yourself, and in that regard yielded a wealth of creative results.

The theory of discipline or enacting a rule to one’s craft has always been intriguing. It can be yin and yang in how it’s approached…

It’s fun and refreshing, cause you’re down there at this one subway stop and there’s nothing else and you have to make your brain work to figure something out. And most  of the time we’re surprised that we actually get a session going on these “non” spots.
Plus we got a lot of attention from random people good chats too; the typical “people still rollerblade?” or “I used to blade too” are frequent. And another classic nowadays is “what’s your YouTube?”
Photograph by Thomas Thelmann

Hehe, I always get the “is this gonna be on YouTube?” Line. That’d be a funny shirt to make….

With your YouTube url too…

Hehe…So, tell me a bit more of how this started to come more to the fruition of being a video. I see you have a handful of great names in the mix. How’d the current line up take form?

Well we had been talking about doing a video the last couple of years, and I bought a new camera last winter, so we thought we can make it work in a couple months. We’ve been doing F.T.S for 4-5 years, and they boys here are my best friends too so it just happened naturally I’d say.

The only reason I’m making this a VOD is cause I spent way to much money the last years of traveling and making free content. Like activated or 1984. Plus this is my 3rd camera and…I don’t know, I have high passion for all this so I spent more than I actually had so now I’m paying off a huge bank loan because of that. So I hope nobody will judge me for making this a VOD. The line up… well Dominik Sandro and Thomas Thelmann live in the area and they’re my best friends; they’re the guys I always skate with. Marius Gaile lives in south Germany, but that kid is hungry and we love to hang with him and  his brother Fabian. They’re very nice kids with a nice perspective on blading. Then there is Tony, who also become one of my closest friends during the time of doing Valo Europe. Same with Harry Abel; we met up a couple years ago and we instantly figured that we’re on the same page and love to hang out. And “special guests” are the Kelso brothers and Nemo, who sent me a handful of clips of a session in NYC. I met them the last year while skating in the states and we’re all homies . Sean and I actually talk almost everyday…s/o to ma man! I’m glad to have all my friends and my favorite skaters in one video.

Photograph by Thomas Thelmann

Love hearing that. I think it’s worth it though, the investment that is, because you care. And it’s necessary to take those sort of measures when you care that intensely about something. Like, to others, they may not think it logical, but I think it makes sense. Can I ask, cause I have wondered this for a while, and this is probably a stupid question, so I am sorry if it sounds stupid…what does FTS stand for?

It stands for nothing lol.

So in Germany your car license plates first letter(s) is from the city you live in F (Frankfurt) and the other two letters are random or by your choice, so Dominik’s car plate said F-TS. We used to go everywhere with his car because Dominik is super organized and always has everything you need for skating in his car! A metal plate for shorty run ups, the weirdest tools, hand sanitizer,drinks; the man has everything. So we started saying “we’ll go with the FTS Mobile” or “Yeah, the FTS Mobile has it”, like Batman has his Batmobile. We tried the find a meaning for FTS later; we had the corniest ideas though, haha, like full time soldier, first try soul, for the soul, flame that stik and FanTasieS… it’s because of the car that we started doing this.

Photograph by Thomas Thelmann

Hehehe I love all those names. Kind of remains me of FR, nobody actually knew what it meant. So let’s get back to the video a bit: How did the Kelso’s and Nemo get looped in on this?

Like I said, Sean and I are very close; we text random shit and share music everyday even before we met the first time. We’re very similar and like the same shit in blading and editing too. Actually the first plan was for him and CK to come out here and film with me, cause I was there with them for Trust the Process. But they couldn’t make it, but Sean told me he had a bunch of clips from a session in NYC with Nemo. I’ve only hung out with him once but he’s amazing and of course his skating is too. So Sean wanted to send me the clips, and it turned out to be a amazing guest part cause I wanted them to be in it anyways. FTS is not only us here anymore, I see it as a collective; we try to keep the friends together. Also Matt Luda sent me a clip, he’s me long time friend. The same  scenario occurred with him where he was supposed to be here with us but…money is the enemy!

Oh hell yes that’s incredible. Can definitely see the bond you two share as you’re both meticulous with your approach; it’s fine tuned but fluid. Do you ever see FTS doing a collaboration with Bacemint? Feel like that could be very fitting…

Actually yes! Same with the family in LA, Chinatown! Would be amazing to work on something in the future. I mean the collaboration just happens with the video, so
I love what they’re doing! Clothing brands like Bacemint, Chinatown and Blackjack are so needed, I mean at least I’m sooo happy there are rollerblading brands who make garments that I love wearing and getting positive feedback from people who don’t skate.
Photograph by Thomas Thelmann

110% agree. I feel like the brands you mentioned are among few that are making clothing that people beyond the sport would find interest in wearing.

So let’s talk about the title a bit. We talked about Under the Skin a bit and how that influenced that name. Can you explain that a bit more for me?

Oh yeah. A friend of mine told me about that movie and I got a thing for these kind of cold movies, especially for the soundtracks. That said, Under the Skin blew me away. It’s hard to explain, but these kind of movies do something with you while you’re watching them, and I love getting that from skate movies too. There are a couple skateboard filmers/editors who can create a vibe that does something to you. I’m very fascinated about all of that and am trying to learn how to capture that either cold, or funny, or whatever feel. So that was one inspiration from that movie. Second inspiration comes from  (watch out spoiler!) at the end, she’s losing her skin; it peels off and there’s something unexpected underneath. So that stuck in the back of my head for a while. A couple days later I went to an art show of Jean-Michel Basquiat. At the show, there was his sketchbook ,and one page just said “peel”. And I saw that, and said to myself, “that’s what I’ll call the video.”

Photograph by Thomas Thelmann

I love that. I’m akin to those kind of movies. Have you ever seen Only God Forgives? Has a similar premise to that of Under the Skin. Lots of dynamic visuals that in turn, they don’t have a clear directive, they’re ambiguous, but they have a means of inspiring, not sure how…but I love hearing that. And I agree. There’s definitely a feeling, an emotion if you will, that is channeled. One section in particular I feel like did that was Grant Hazelton’s section from Mike TorresOne for The Road. The section that had the Fuck Buttons song. The filming, the build up, the editing, the skating; it all wrapped together incredibly well. Another one that comes to mind is Broskow’s Champagne section…

Yes they’re some really good sections, I agree. I also got to say an all time favorite of mine is what Nemo did with with Nick Labarre for Adapt; I think everyone agrees, even if you’re not a fan of that type of blading.

Labarre is on another level. I talked with Broskow about that a while back when we did his Top Skater Profile. I think he explained it best that Nick was doing things that people couldn’t understand, but ultimately would define what I feel is a refreshing and more fine tuned approach to skating. I think people assume skating should involve massive tricks, like stunts. But like, how many times can one do that sort of shit before it gets a bit stale? And it’s not fully relatable either. Like I’m more inclined to skate a curb and hone the nooks and crannies of my skating rather than risk myself at some stunt spot…

Agreed! I mean that’s natural that this happened, or that Nick just became Nick cause he was a young kid, out of a different time while all the other rollerbladers got old and stuck in their time, which is normal in society. Young kids bring the new vibe.

Photograph by Thomas Thelmann

I think that there are a myriad of disciplines within skating, you have your stunt skating, mushroom bladding; there’s all kinds of different types and they’re all integral to skating. I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other, I think they all play their part equally…

Exactly, but for some reason I only hear the stunt fans complain haha. Nah no offense, but the complaining period on rollerblading went down. Shout out to all complainers in rollerblading.

I hate that. I really don’t know what it accomplishes for people other than I guess venting their displeasures, but it’s not really going to change anything , at least in my opinion. So let’s discuss the filming of this, how long have you actually been filming yourself ? And is there anybody in particular that you would say inspires the way that you approach filming?

I started 5 years ago. I was filming every now and then, but I bought my own camera in winter 2013, so I’m still learning new shit. For example, I just switched from Final Cut to Premier.

I always loved what the Kelso’s did, so I definitely took inspiration from that. But I also have to say that nowadays, I watch a lot of skateboarding cause I got a lot of close friends who skateboard and the amount of good content is 100 times more than in blading…obviously. I’d also say that I pay more attention to movies now, and like I said earlier, the soundtracks and what they do to you. But if we’re talking about filming blading, my main influence was and still is SK and Nemo. Makes me even more happy to cut their footage.

Photograph by Thomas Thelmann

I think that’s a pivotal aspect of creating, working and learning from those that you admire. So, a bit about the actual filming. You did most of the filming I’m assuming, how long was that process, and what were some of the highlights for you during it?

Yes, it’s mostly me and Dominik Stransky. Sometimes Tony when he comes over. The highlights are the unexpected or unplanned things. We really had so much fun filming for this, maybe it’s better to explain if I tell you the structure of the video. It starts with a montage with Dominik, Sandro, Thomas, Tony and me. The second part is mostly Harry Abel and Marius Gaile. After that, there’s the NYC session I mentioned earlier. Then a night section, and the last part is the subway section. It’s hard to tell which clips are the highlights, but one was Sandro doing a huge drop in from a sculpture in Frankfurt while I’m holding back a security guard. He wanted to do it for so long, so I had to hold that security guy back. But yeah, I think the clips speak for itself and you can point out your personal highlight. My main highlight is the fun and the laughs we had while filming for this.

Photograph by Thomas Thelmann

Yeah I would say over anything, I create for the fun and reward of documenting those that I respect. So I guess we can end off with what its next for you, as that is something I guess I always ask. But maybe a better question would be, do you have any expectations for yourself over the next, I don’t know, 5 years? Do you want to see yourself anywhere in particular?

Next for me is hopefully NYC and the Boschi comp, hang in Philly a couple days; there already plans…will see what works what not.

Me in 5 years? Damn I don’t know, definitely skating, maybe filming more than skating. I don’t know, look at Julio! I’ll be in the streets haha! Good chat man, looking forward for some NYC pizza…

Photograph by Thomas Thelman

Peel is a film by Patrick Ridder and Dominik Stransky. It features Dominik Stransky, Sandro Gruenheid, Thomas Thellmann, Patrick Ridder, Tony Cheetah, Marius Gaile, Harry Abel, Sean Kelso, Colin Kelso, Andrew Nemiroski, Jared Reddrick, Matt Luda and  Michel Wekwert

You can purchase Peel here.

Patrick Ridder lives in Mannheim, Germany. You can follow him on Instagram here and follow FTS on Instagram here.