Up and comers: Dick Heerkens

Introduction by Randy Abels
Interview by Matthis Lapaire
Edit by Cavin Brinkman, Sven Boekhorst & Dick Heerkens
Photography by Bojd Vredevoogd 

First of all, who are you, how old are you, where are you from and who is your sponsor?

My name is Dick Heerkens, I am 23 years old and I live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Right now I skate for Rollerblade, Burnside and Aerial7.

How did you get in touch with rollerblading and what is your best achievement so far?

When I was about ten years old I saw my nephew skating in his backyard on self-made obstacles. He had a small funbox with a ledge, and a down rail. After I saw him skating on these obstacles, I started to build them for myself in my parent’s backyard and so it began. My best achievement is hard to choose. Dutch Champion 2011, 3rd at the Winterclash Amateurs and 10th at the Winterclash Pros are the three biggest achievements so far, but I can not choose which one is or feels the best, haha.

You have lived in Amsterdam for a few years now, how is Amsterdam to skate? Are there a lot of good spots and shops there?

Amsterdam is really good to skate! The spots are amazing, although most of them are quite far away from the city centre. Amsterdam has two shops, Skatezone and Thisissoul. The last one is owned by Ivo Vegter, who has, in my opinion, a heart for skating. He really supports and helps the Amsterdam/Dutch skating scene. But although the spots are really good, I don’t skate that much in Amsterdam. And when I skate, I skate at the mini at Museumplein or the famous Olympiaplein skatepark. Because all the good spots are pretty far away, it’s easier to go to one of these parks. Maybe I am too lazy, haha.

Are there any other places you’d recommend visiting in the Netherlands besides the classic, Amsterdam?

Yeah, definitely. I don’t think Amsterdam is the best place to go for street skating. Rotterdam and Almere, for example, have some really great spots. Rollerdam and DSA are the biggest crews over there. Contact them and they’ll be your spots guide!

How exactly are you involved in the Dutch rollerblading scene besides skating?

For my study, I did an internship at Sven Boekhorst’s company, SB Events. During this internship I got involved in the background of skating; organizing, creating, producing, instead of just doing tricks. I really liked this internship, where I learned how this world is being managed and created. One of the main projects became the well-known Cityhopper Project for Sven’s pro model.

What is the hardest lesson you have learned in the rollerblading industry?

During this interview, I travelled through the jungles of Indonesia for 2 weeks. I discussed this question a lot with my companion, Yvo Mudde. After two weeks I realized, there hasn’t been a really hard lesson for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a lot thanks to skating. About the sport, the skaters, the structures and the politics. But still, skating has been pretty polite to me. Yeah, I realized that becoming a professional skater isn’t an option anymore, same for participating in the X-games. But these are more “becoming-an-adult-things”, rather than hard lessons from skating. Also the will to destroy my body for a sick trick, made place for performing clean, nice and stylish tricks, all while preserving my body. But once again, this is just a part of becoming an adult, rather then learning the hard lessons from skating. I think skating and I are just good friends. Hopefully he/she/it won’t stab me in the back one day…

Do you have other interests besides rollerblading?

I am a sport freak. In the spring and summer I like to cycle with my friends, through the Netherlands, Belgium etc. During my travel in Indonesia I cycled for a week in the northern part of Sumatra. Besides sporting, I’m really interested in my lovely girlfriend, of course.

Who are the new Dutch talents at the moment? Is there anyone we should keep an eye on?

There are always a lot of youngsters who are really talented. But in Holland, a lot of the kids stop skating at a particular point, because of “growing up”. So it’s hard to say who to look out for, but I think David Claassen from Den Bosch (13) has a lot of potential to become a really good skater!

If you were bitten by a zombie, who’s brain would you eat first?

I’m a lover, not a fighter. Haha, no man, I don’t hate people. Okay one, my landlord. When I came back home after one month traveling, he welcomed me with a letter in which he sued me for frozen and broken water pipes when I was gone.

Name five things that friends are good for.

Love, conversations, “Henkenpoints”, experiences, and support.

What do you do when it is too cold to skate?

To the gym.

Do you sleep with your skates under your pillow?

How about no.

Are you finished with your school yet? Have you thought about what you want to do when you are finished?

I just finished my bachelor in Communication Science. Until the summer I’ll be working at SB Events again! In September I start my masters degree. In the summer of 2013 I will be done with my masters, so I still have a lot of time to think about the hardest question in life.

Describe one of your coolest moments you have experienced, that you wouldn’t have if you never started skating.

Pffff, there are just too many. Beside all the big things I’ve experienced, like the Winterclashes and the Cityhopper experience for example, one thing really stands out for me. I lived in Enschede before I moved to Amsterdam. That period was maybe my best skating period. Me and my best friends Joery van der Pol and Wesley van der Loosdrecht were driving around in search for spots. One day we travelled to Essen, Germany in search of the skatepark ‘Skate Factory’. After searching for maybe six hours, we decided to go to back home. We just couldn’t find the damn park. So we wasted our time and money, but at the end, this was maybe one of my best skating trips! We had so much fun with just driving around. I would never have experienced this if I didn’t skate.

What is your favourite trick and is there any trick that you are yet to achieve?

I have two favourite tricks; bs backslide and bs savannah. I haven’t been skating for a while now, because of school and holiday. So before I concentrate on new tricks, I first want to focus on my basics, haha!

What are your plans for the future? Do you want to attend a lot of competitions or do you want to travel? Or is it something else? Share it!

Traveling and competitions are a good combination, so I really like to continue doing this. But since other things in life take more time, it gets harder and harder. My personal goal is to get my masters degree next year. Besides that I want to travel – non skate-related – more. But studying and travelling does not go well together… Unfortunately.

Any shoutouts?

I want to thank my sponsors Rollerblade, Burnside, and Aerial7 for supporting me! And of course I want to thank my girlfriend for giving me her support! Thanks, Be-Mag!