Piotrek Combrzynski On Going From Vert to Street, the Polish Scene and Powerblading

Photography by Kamil Gregier 

Where are you from? When did you start skating?

I’m from Poland and have been skating since I was 10. That makes about 14 years! When you started you skated vert most of the time. How did that influence you? Vert skating brought a lot into my blading life. I started skating on a vert and the first five years I almost didn’t come down from the ramp. I learned most of the flips there and got experience on transitions and grinding copings. I also gained a lot of self-confidence for skating parks.

Would recommend vert skating to other people?

Definitely! At the first sight vert skating can seem boring and monotonous but your body is in continuous movement. It’s good for your shape and form. When you starting to feel free on the ramp it’s easier to learn spins/flips or how to grind copings. How did your skating change the past couple of years?

What are you focused on right now?

My attitude towards blading has changed dramatically. As I mentioned before I started my adventure in blading on vert. The first 5 years I spent 5 to 7 hours a day on the ramp. Back then blading to me was all about repeating a certain trick for a few days/weeks until I made it. I swore to myself that I would only skate vert… Until they closed the ramp because of a renovation. Then I started to skate parks. Luckily for me Warsaw had one of the finest Polish skateparks – Jutrzenka – back then. Transfering my vert skills into park went quite fast. Skateparks gave me much more possibilities but of course I didn’t stop skating vert! Thanks to my parents, who supported me a lot, I could travel and take part in different competitions and shows.

I remember one time after the Pulawy’02 competition (one of the bigger old-school skatepark events in Poland) all the competitors were going to skate street. Lukasz Malewski (Bidet) asked me if I was coming along. He was very surprised when I told him that I didn’t skate street. I was a real skatepark rat!

As time went on I learned bigger spins, different flips, truespin and alley-oop grinds, but I was still only skating park. I liked to compete and get on the podium. I don’t remember exactly when I began to skate street. At first I was quite reluctant, but I slowly started to get used to the variety of spots. Skating street gave me endless possibilities. I bought a camcorder and started to filmeverything I did. I started to learn fullcabs and spin tricks and began skating for Hedonskate.

During the summers I skated competitions, went on tour and got clips and photos. I started freeskiing in winters. At the end of 2009 during the Hedonskate tour in Kiev I fell on my shoulder and nearly broke a ligament. I had to wear a stabilizer and rehabilitate for three months before I could do anything again. Winter had started so I decided to go freeski in the Czech Republic. After a few tries doing a mistyflip I fell on my nearly healed shoulder again and broke my collarbone. I got totally depressed about the situation – in my entire life I never had to take such a long break from skating. When I got back on my blades I started to put more attention on technical and stylish stuff.

The past two years I focused on the the Polish Rolling League. Unfortunately this year I didn’t get to compete because of problems with my knee and finishing my studies. I’m 24 now, chilling in Warsaw and shooting photos with Kamil Gregier, who moved here and revived the local blading scene. I still enjoy skating as much as I did when started and I hope this adventure will last forever!

Powerblading has been getting a lot of attention recently. There are as many opponents as there are supporters. Which side are you on?

To be honest, I thought Powerblading was sort of new fashion thing and I was definitely against it. Yet everything changed when there was a sale at Hedonskate and I could get a frame setup for half the price. I thought to myself: why not? I planned on selling them if I didn’t like it. When I tried the frames for the first time I was in shock. I didn’t expect that big wheels on an aggressive frame would be so much fun! Thanks to these frames I could skate spots that were impossible before. Blading itself also started to be more smooth and pleasant! As Albert Hooi said: these frames are really addictive.

Whose blading did you like back in the day? Who do you look up to now?

Definitely the Vibralux crew. These guys have been killing it from the start, setting new trends in the rollerblading industry and evolving across barriers.

What’s the best thing about skating in Poland?

That’s hard to say. There are countless things that I like about skating in Poland! The people are full of passion. The atmosphere during casual sessions and competitions is great. Parks are getting better and better. Bladers from every city take care of you and make you feel like you’re at home. And, to be honest, cheap alcohol and inexpensive travels! I recommend visiting Poland to everyone!

Any shout-outs?

First of all I would like to thanks to my family and my girlfriend Natasza for all the support that they give me all the time! Greetings to all my good friends that are currently abroad – Grazyna, Marta, Andzej, @@@! Of course big thanks to Razors, Hedonskate, El Polako and Kizer for stuff and giving me the chance to travel and develop myself.

Piotrek Combrzynski word-rapping:

People that don’t rollerblade… should definitely try!

You can piss me off by… asking if I can do a back/frontflip?

The world’s biggest idiot is… X Games

I am the happiest person when… I’m on blades!

I would really love to know… the numbers for the lottery

My biggest weakness is… laziness

When I was a kid I… looked like a turtle in all my protective gear

I look up to… my parents

If I wouldn’t have started rollerblading… I wouldn’t have met so many great people and see so many cool places

I am proud to have… such a supportive girlfriend