EDWINFINITY: Tribute to a Legend
On September 22, 2015 rollerblading lost another member of our close-knit and global community after world-renowned skater Edwin Wieringh fell from his own apartment balcony. A tragedy that shocked close friends and family in Amsterdam and quickly spread across the blade world, Edwin’s death touched skaters around the globe — those that have had the pleasure to session a spot or skatepark, or share a beer, or even those that only know of Edwin through his skills and personality as featured in a video edit from a faraway land. In that spirit long-time friend and roommate Remy Cadier has put together a documentary about the life and skating of his friend — which is capped with the VOD that Edwin was making that will sadly never be completed. Please take the time to watch this film to learn about the person behind the blading, the impact he had on his community, and all those ways that he may be gone… but EDWINFINITY is forever.
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Hi Remy, we watched the documentary and it was very powerful. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to put together. Can you start off by telling everyone a bit about your history together with Edwin?
According to Edwin we had met somewhere once, but he probably didn’t register with me since he hadn’t tapped into his blading super powers yet. First time I can remember seeing him skate was in the infamous “Rollerwave” skatepark in Zandvoort that had the amazing pools featured in Hoax 3, Lost Cities, etc. Here was this young kid doing nice tech grinds with high velocity. All of a sudden he did a line consisting of an A.O. Topsoul 270 revert, followed by an A.O. Topsoul 450 rever, the other way. And it was impossible to tell which of the two tricks was switch. From that moment on he made a lasting impression on me. This was 1998 I think. From then on we knew each other’s name and ended up bumping into one another at competitions and sessions around the Netherlands.
Secondly: please clear up any misconceptions about how us foreigners should be saying his last name.
His last name should be pronounced like this: we-ring.
Most people that read this will never have a chance to visit Amsterdam or experience your scene — let alone as it was with Edwin a part of it. Please explain his importance and role in the region for our readers.
You know that most flourishing blade scenes have one or, if you’re lucky, a few guys that play an important role. You have your guys organizing sessions, and you have those standout people that can do amazing things while on skates, and people always getting hyped for the next contest somewhere in Europe. Edwin was all of the above. He was not only the very best blader in Amsterdam/Holland, but also the guy who skated the most, was always down to session, and much like the rest of us, was also always down to grab a few (or many) beers during and after a session. I think the candle-making industry in Holland will notice his absence, since he always put an obscene amount of wax on the downledges that he made his bitch. He skated flat for decades and was not about to have a hang up! Without him I would say there will be a lot less skating taking place, since he was a driving force behind so many sessions.
One of the quotes that stuck with me from the documentary was your line “Hated by none.” That is true and pretty damn impressive in 2016. How did he accomplish that?
How he did this was beyond me, as I am a typical jaded old fucker, having seen all trends come and go and having seen more great bladers quit than have started blading in the last decade. I suppose it had something to do with his upbringing — his parents have always been super supportive of their son’s blading, and they instilled the values in him which would make him a very loved person. Also the fact that he was always in a good mood, with a broad smile on his face and ready to go do something fun, would have helped. Lastly, for someone so proficient at blading, he had no attitude about it at all. He would be just as stoked to see a little guy do a first sit-in as he would be to see someone else do the hardest shit on death defying spots. In short, he received so much respect because he gave so much respect. Couple that with his immense skating skills and you have someone who most, if not all, people are glad to get to know. He was not only popular in Holland, but his fanbase stretched all over the world. I mean his Instagram clips got more views than most people with pro boots get for their whole edits. A true wizard on blades, and also someone who you could look up to and be proud of. He would not make you regret choosing him as your friend, idol, or favorite blader and human.
What did Edwin consider his proudest achievement? Was he aware of the positive influence he had on those around him?
I do not think he was aware of his standing in the blade world. I would say that his biggest achievement in blading was to be known as the ultimate master of the Truespin Topsoul, and everyone knew and agreed that he was indeed King of that trick. I can honestly say that there might only be a few bladers in the world that had such command of the Truespin Topsoul. And those that did didn’t execute them at even half the speed. Whenever I was filming Edwin I would need to bring my 80mm Twisters to be able to keep up with him.
And I think he underestimated his influence in the blade world. For him to be kind and humble was nothing special, since that was his default setting. He knew he had some fans, but he always thought he needed a pro skate to truly cement his name among the inline greats. Sadly for him Razors never thought there would be enough people that would buy his skate, since the scene in Holland, influential as it may be, is quite tiny compared to say Germany, Great Britain or France. Of course we all know that he was already a legend in his own right.
I certainly don’t know what happened the night of the accident, and I’m not asking you to tell us about it here. But having experienced it first hand and lost a dear friend, do you have any words of wisdom for our fellow bladers out there?
Well, he fell off of his balcony on the 5th floor. It happened on his birthday, and he was pretty drunk. What I can tell you with a 100% certainty is that it was an accident, no other people were involved. The details I’d like to keep to myself, the Wieringh family has been through enough I’d say.
When you sat down to work on this project, did you know what you wanted to accomplish? How long after the accident did you need to wait before looking at footage and photos?
I had a rough idea, but the final form of the project only emerged after I had received the interview footage from “The Freestyle Games,” a Dutch extreme sports TV program that had featured Edwin. Once I had watched the interview they did, it all unfolded for me. I was working on an edit with Edwin and a few other heavy hitters from Amsterdam, for the Amsterdam-based clothing label “Nuff Said,” so I already had a bunch of clips lined up. (In this edit, which will be released soon you can see the very last tricks Edwin ever laced.) I knew he was working on a VOD, and had a massive amount of unseen footage laying around, so it became clear to me that I could be able to actually make something worthwhile, a true document of his skating and personality. I think I waited for about three months before mustering up the courage to watch all the footage, which you can guess was no picnic. I was very sad, but having to watch, re-watch, then edit and re-edit all the footage of Edje was heartbreaking. My goal was to premiere it during Winterclash, which I managed to pull off. I had loads of help and contributions from all over the world, which showed me once again that Edwin was loved by so, so many bladers.
The film is full of powerful moments, like the funeral procession with the massive line of bladers clacking their skates in unison. Who organized that?
Actually, Yann Coppen was the one who started to clap his skates together when we passed the coffin, and everybody just kind of followed his lead, without a single word being spoken. It was a chilling moment.
What perspective have you gained and what lessons have the AMS bladers taken away from this tragedy?
First: don’t fuck about on high-ass balconies. And second: that you need to have your affairs in order NOW. Not in a while, or when you’ve “grown up.” If you love your friends, make sure they know this. Tell your family what you feel about them. Try to be a positive influence to everyone around you. Take a page from Edwin’s book. And if you want to be as good as Edwin, you need to skate as much as he did. Which is every fucking day.
Let’s talk a bit about the VOD you two were working on — how long had it been underway?
He had been stacking them clips for over a year. I was going to step in with some extra fresh clips and editing pizazz — we still had plans to film some big rail tricks and big gaps with my quadcopter, and he was totally willing to hurt himself to get some tech stunts in there.
If everything had gone to plan, when would you two have wrapped it up and when would it have released?
The plan was to release it this spring. He was filming a lot with Ryan Claus, Joery vd. Pol and Erik Droogh, besides the regular filming sessions with me, and he’d amassed a bunch of great clips filming with “New Spot” Steve Steinmetz and the Santee crew in Cali. He wanted this VOD to truly leave an impact. Unfortunately for him this edit will do that, for sure, but sadly not for all the right reasons. Don’t get me wrong, the tricks are on point, but know this — he was saving the best for last, and never got around to actually delivering on that promise.
It sounds really petty and meaningless to say, all things considered, but the VOD portion was awesome. You two nailed it. Edwin was not fucking around.
Thanks a lot. I share this praise with everyone who held a camera to get clips for Eddie, y’all know who you are — one love.
Are there any plans to start a charity or memorial for Edwin, to memorialize his amazing personality, attitude and ability for future generations of bladers? If so, please keep us informed. Lord knows we could all stand to take one hell of a lesson from him on how to live our lives positively and productively.
There have been a couple ideas floating around, there have been tribute shirts made by “That Rolling Brand,” Steve Steinmetz and the guys at “Shred Cologne” also created a memorial sticker. If and when something great happens I’ll keep ONE in the loop. Of course what really should happen is that Razors should release a memorial red and black SL2 pro skate for the homie. But what can you do…
Then let’s wrap it there Remy and let the video tell the rest. Again, great work on cutting together the last thing you ever wanted to make. I have to believe that Edwin would be proud.
Thanks ONE. It was a labor of love, and I never felt so much pressure to come correct on anything blading related I ever made before. I love you Edwin. We all do.
Read Edwin’s 2015 Digi v.5 interview HERE: