Adrian Deck: Switzerland Strong
Adrian Deck skates with confidence and power, traits that make sense in conjunction with his solid build. As you’ll find out in this interview by Steve Steinmetz, that’s no coincidence. Adrian puts a great deal of thought and effort into maintaining his physical fitness in order to improve his skating performance. He is also in the practice of carefully visualizing a trick before attempting it, a measured approach that has allowed him to accomplish well-executed stunts on a variety of terrain. Recently in San Diego to film with Adapt, Adrian showed off his eye for spots and fondness for good conversation, but it was skating with Dean Bradley on their home turf in Switzerland that made for most of these photos. (And a real gem you’ll see in Issue #25!) So if you don’t know about Deck, this in-depth conversation is going to shed light on a Swiss talent that may have flown under your radar… until now.
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Okay, Adrian, tell us who you are, how old you are, where you’re from, and how long you been inline skating.
Hey, guys! My name is Adrian Deck. I’m 29 years old and live in the beautiful country of Switzerland. Mostly I skate in northern cities like Basel and Zurich.I started aggressive inline skating in early 2001, so I’ve been skating for 18 years now! Damn, this interview is the first time that I have calculated that. I thought I had been skating longer for some reason.
Switzerland has held an esteemed space in blading since the beginning of our sport, through competitions like Lausanne and professionals like Cossimo Tassone, Toto Ghal, and Nicolas Schopfer. How has living in Switzerland influenced your abilities, your work ethic, and your attitude towards being a professional inline skater?
I knew that the big days were over around 2004 which was a few years after I started. That sounds a bit harsh but that’s how I remember it. I was progressing in my skating during that time though, and it was great to see how active little Switzerland was during that short period before I became a professional. I saw all the influential names at that time, like Beni Huber, Jona Messerli, Cossimo Tassone, Sandro Brun, Ivo Schappi, Nicolas Schopfer, and many more that were in international competitions, videos, and magazines. They paved the way for me and I’m grateful that I saw them in their prime.
When a person is from Switzerland, they are expected to follow a school path like any other country, but what’s different is that here we also need to complete an apprenticeship. So we work full time at a younger age compared to the rest of the world. Of course, I did that too!
I was always working, skating, and somehow trying to relax. The Swiss mentality is intense. It requires more work than play, but somehow I still found time to inline skate and hit the gym. Now I am pursuing my passions like traveling, being a professional athlete, and an entrepreneur.
It’s been a few months since we said our goodbyes, and you headed back to Switzerland. What was your favorite part of your trip to San Diego?
That’s difficult to say! It was a dream to go with the Adapt team to San Diego! Then to make all these clips for the edit was another dream come true. Everything we did, from hanging out at the spot to eating food, we did together as a team and it was a new, exciting experience for me. I think my favorite part was the family of San Diego skaters welcoming us to skate and hang out after skate sessions. Logan Fowell’s rooftop BBQ session in downtown the night before we left was “a buds” as Logan would say. It was a great time, thank you to all the San Diego guys!
What setup are you skating on right now? What do you like about it? What would you improve or change?
Right now I’m riding the green Vegan Limited Edition boot from Adapt. My frames are from a Swiss-made frame company called LEAF. Lastly, I’m riding 59mm Pills Wheels which is a new company from Russia. It’s the best skate and setup I’ve ever had for my taste in blading. I’m not just saying that either. The boot fit perfectly straight out of the box without any heat molding. You can really feel the time and energy Adapt Brand puts into their skates. The LEAF frame is a bit higher than a regular frame, and it is massive compared to most frames on the market. You can put up to 72mm wheels on the outside with anti-rockers, or you can ride them flat with 59mm wheels without wheel bite. I prefer to use 59mm wheels without any anti-rockers. I’m more than happy with this whole setup. I wouldn’t change or improve anything.
While visiting San Diego, you and the team were working on the newest Adapt edit called “No Risk No Fun.” Where do you find your inspiration for pushing yourself into more dangerous or stunt oriented inline skating?
In my eyes, to look for inspiration from someone else can be dangerous. However, if the place looks good and I can visualize it clearly then I usually have to do a trick! Maybe not at that moment, though. I just love the feeling of adrenaline when I’m out skating something that involves risk.
Sometimes I watch freestyle sports edits to find more interesting obstacles in my area. Then when I am visiting a new city I and go out on my Adapt Hyperskates to look for spots and save them for later, or maybe I do it that day too.
How much mental and physical training are involved when you approach a stunt such as a drop rail or ledge? What kinds of techniques do you use to prepare for tricks, such as visualization or waiting till something feels right?
When I find a big trick, or when someone takes me to a an obstacle that is risky, I rarely do that trick on the same day. My visualizations need to be precise before I do the trick. I’ve found that I need good sleep, the right kind of food, plenty of water, and good vibes. If all those things are in place, then it should work. For example, in my 13-15 section, the last trick was a curved drop kinked rail. It was an incredible spot! I went there six times just to check it out. Usually I don’t have to keep coming back to a place, again and again, but that one was a killer. Being in the best physical shape and training for spots like that is very important to me. I don’t take breaks from rollerblading for any longer than two weeks, and during that time I still train.
Unfortunately, sometimes unplanned accidents happen. In the recent edit we see you with a pretty nasty cut in your palm. How did that happen and do those freak injuries ever discourage you from trying certain tricks?
That was so stupid! We were skating at the beautiful Mission Beach in San Diego, and I remember thinking I shouldn’t be skating because I was tired. But a few minutes later I saw this high rail that was shaped like a bump and it had a roller coaster in the background. I wanted to skate the rail just because of the unique environment. I was stuck. I could either listen to my body and not skate or just go for it. It sucked though that I missed and cut my hand.
With risk comes fun! One of the stand out tricks from your trip was the double kinked rail at the famed San Diego City College. Walk me through that trick.
We had just finished our day off with Sem’s rail line, and Julian’s fishbrain on the kinked rail in Del Mar. The plan was to go back to the apartment. As we were heading back, we passed by this beautiful kinked rail at San Diego City College and it was like Christmas! But I was already super tired, so we decided to stick to the plan. I just took a picture of the spot with my phone to think about it. After some food back at the apartment, I started to think about the rail and I had the idea to do this switch up on the kink. A few days later we went to a skatepark to warm-up and film something for Instagram. We had no fixed plan, and we started to think about spots. I looked over at Cavin Brinkman, our Adapt videographer, and told him. “Hey, I feel the double kink.”
A few minutes later we were at the spot, but I had to do the trick quickly because it was a school day. I tried topsoul and realized it was super fast, so I put some dirt on it. After a few more attempts, I got the topsoul then thought to myself. “Hmm, just a topsoul looks boring, and I feel the switch up.”
The next two tries I had the wrong stance to make a switch up. Then on the third try the feeling was excellent, and we got the clip.
Explain to the readers what sport-specific athletic training is and how you are involved?
Most people hit the gym for looks and general fitness. However, being athletes, we are doing things that are far more dangerous so we can be prone to injuries that need a different, more individualized approach to training our bodies. I personally need to keep improving and sharpening my athletic capabilities as well as my mobility. It’s a lifelong process, and I highly doubt that I will ever stop even after retiring from professional skating.
To give you a little insight I need to explain some elementary facts. Most training systems and coaches claim to be functional when it comes to sport-specific strength training. If we look more into it with a scientific point of view, we need to admit that regular strength training hardly covers the requirements that aggressive inline skating demands of our bodies. Therefore, when I train I use more specific and modified exercises that closely imitate the movements of skating. For example, I feel that it is important is to focus on my body’s line of gravity when I jump or land a specific trick on a rail. I can even mimic the different states of the multiple muscle contractions involved when I’m balancing a rail trick. Then to work on my approach and landing I incorporate plyometics exercises or jump training to increase my strength and power. These sports-specific tasks can’t be covered by doing regular exercises like bench presses or deadlifts. You need to be way more in-depth when training for a specific sport like skating. It’s a very creative process, within a scientific approach and it is a part of my actual skating.
I can follow up with even more if you want to know!
What can we expect from Adrian Deck in the future?
We will see.
We will be on the lookout for you in the future Adrian! Shout-outs? Closing thoughts?
I just want to say thank you. Thanks to all the homies for the thousands of beautiful sessions!
And on the sponsors side, first I want to say Thank You to Adapt Brand. It is an honor for me to be onboard, with the opportunity to drive these high-end products, and to have the chance to fly to California to film for an edit! What a dream!
Next, I want to thank my coach! He taught me to mizou 18 years ago. Now we have done 10 years of sports-specific athletic training together. He has repaired me several times and made me stronger!
Thanks to the Leaf gang, it is always fun to create funny spots and have fun on small shit. And on top of that, to create and test products!
Thanks to Pills Wheels for believing in me and supporting me with these super strong killer wheels!
I almost forgot the Rollingrock Skate Shop, thanks for the free entries and for letting me grow up in your skate park!
Finally thanks to all the photographers, filmmakers, movie makers and tripod holders who made it possible to complete various projects.
THANKS THANKS THANKS
Photos by Dean Bradley
Interview by Steve Steinmetz
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Great interview! Adrian’s need to visualize the trick is an under-utilized strategy for lacing difficult tricks. Great hearing his dedication to being in skate-shape as well.