Skate Expectations: Axel Serrat Interview
I had the opportunity to connect with Axel Serrat to shoot for Skate[Slate] Magazine issue 29. I couldn’t wait to hang out with Axel again, it’s been a long time since Summer ‘14. His no-nonsense approach to living in the present and prioritising the important things in life; family, fun.. would help me unravel myself from the heavily commodified shitstorm that is London. He is an inspiration to me creatively and skate-ively. I’d booked a last-minute trip out to Barcelona in January to catch him before he left to south America for some weeks. We set out determinedly every day; touring the city with eyes peeled for a bank or pole jam, sniffing out gradients in the countryside, listening to the land, really enjoying this pace of life! We worked collaboratively on the photos, Axel’s got a great eye for shots and thoroughly knows the lie of his land. We visited some secret gems, and discovered as many new spots; both features in the street, and sweet bends in the road in the foothills around his Mum’s place. I also got to experiment with some fresh ways to capture the moment in time AND space.. I’m super interested in capturing skateboarding in panoramic formats right now, hopefully some of the results of my play will interest you too.
Reality bites again, I’m writing this after work in a stolen moment, dreaming about slow days going fast in the Barcelonan hood.
Our modern age is quite a marvel. While Axel was tens of thousands of feet up, mid-way to Columbia, we had a little chat about life, skate and kiwis.
Axel! Good to catch you, you’re on a plane?
Williams. How are you my lovely British guy? On the way to Colombia for some South American adventures. I am on the airplane.
Eahhhh! Nice. Flying!?!?
Axel: Yeah, Wifi man. USA
Wow yeah the USA has everything
About to die now. Crazy turbulences.
Hahahaha this is wild.
Jajaja. Wild as fuck.
Got time for a chat?
Sounds good man.
Doesn’t sound like you’re going anywhere hahahaha
Jajaja. Actually yes. Hahaha
Ok so: Axel! Good to catch you, I hear you’re on a plane?
Yeah! Heading to Colombia for some South American adventures
How was Puerto Rico? Congratulations on your win at the Guajataca slide comp. It’s three years since I was there, still as crazy?
Haha! Still crazy man! It was really fun as always. People are so hyped there. Makes me feel like being home
You hung with the original team in PR?, my buddy Sam Holding was out there, bringing some of his special flavour! I trust you have been cooking up some good stuff.
Yeah buddy we have been working on something different. More about showing the vibes and the energy that place give us. The video is going to be really fun.
Can’t wait to see! With so many talented skaters and filmers in one place..
It was crazy. We were more filmers, photographers than riders.
It’s a great challenge to show the sport in a different way. Who are you going to visit in Columbia?
Alex Ameen and Chela [Geraldo] are there. Guancha is going to come, Brett also. And I think Will Royce too.
We’ll see who else shows up.
That’s what I am looking for, having fun man. Getting gnarly used to be important, enjoying life and good people it’s what matters now.
Is that a big theme in your skate career? Do you think your focus has changed?
I think I skate much better since I decided to not care about what people think and say, about getting gnarly and that shit. I just do what i want and I don’t press myself or listen to others.
When I was younger I used to feel bad about not getting people stoked about my skating, or about just being gnarly and not fun. Skateboarding is to intimate to me to do it any other way than how it feels to me in the moment. Skateboarding is orgasmic. Literally like an orgasm. It can’t be replicated for me and is something only I can to feel. Faking it is only screwing you the wrong way. So I have stopped worry anymore about others. It’s satisfyingly selfish.
Do you even regard it as a career? It’s a strange word to use, but as someone who lives through/from their skating, does this make difficulties?
I don’t know man. Career.
I try to be my self. Thats my career.
I feel that’s a very admirable path.
You think? I think it should be the priority for everyone
I agree. I guess I’m getting at the contradictions between skating for fun and the love of it, and the pressures from outside to be whatever. I think you answered already to be honest, but I feel there’s maybe a shortage of people who are truly doing it for themselves primarily.
Yeah I mean it gave me enough to live. And of course sometimes I feel the pressure. But I decided to balance it more to the passion.
Discovering a new spot, with new views, features, colors or smells is something that turns me on. Always thinking about what line I am going to take or how the picture would look with a particular friend focused in it.
I started getting into photography because I wanted to get into something new. Feel in new ways. I don’t do it to show it to the world. I just love all the memories that relate to them and I think my friends deserve to have those memories too. It’s amazing to share my experience with them as it happens and after as I saw it happen for me. It’s magical.
I don’t consider my self a photographer but I like to play with the geometry of it. Like skateboarding, it’s just something that makes me happy, for me. Satisfyingly selfish.
I can see how that could be! This relationship between work and play interests me. Some of the most inspiring skaters out there skate for fun.
That’s it. Just found what makes you feel good be happy and go for it.
I don’t think about skateboarding or photography as a job, or even as a lifestyle. I ultimately just feel it’s a personal way to avoid the fake days we are living and express my self without boundaries. I hate limits. I love having fun. So I do what I want and enjoy getting off on both.
The challenge to explore skateboarding and photography for you. Do what you want. Don’t be sorry to do it different. And have fun getting off on it all.
It’s actually making work get better.
Fyi 10% battery. We have wifi but not usb plugs…
We can keep going till I don’t have more.
Let’s do it. I’m sure you’ve done this one already, but who inspires you?
Basically my family. I come from a mix between two really different cultures. Time ago I would say some skaters that I don’t know. But now I am older, I just get inspiration from those I know and love. My friends my family. You can always learn a lot from them. And they are the most important in our lives. Those are the real influences.
People who you can interact with, can see their faces.
Just sayin what I think man.
You inspire me also man. You should know it, I learned a lot from you too.
Real, immediate people. And thanks man :)
It’s not easy to live the dream, contrary to the impression we might get on social feeds..
It is not easy. But nothing is. You better know you are not going to be famous or rich. But at least at the end of the day you should be happy with what you’ve done. At least try it if it’s what you want, even if it not always possible.
Yes! And sometimes there are sacrifices to make. Or at least compromises. It’s worth it if you can be your own boss. Our destinies are fragile. So easy to get trapped in a path that isn’t who we are.
Man! Life is hard! But we pretty lucky to live where we live.
Things can get really bad, but you can always start somewhere else.
We are all fighters.
Nothing is easy but hope is something we have not to lose. Maybe it is easy to say for me. But I feel like this. If things got fucked up I’ll figure out and make it to feel good again. And I had a pretty easy life. I mean I had to work hard. But I had happy childhood and lot of love. So I feel pretty thankful.
Of course, and the opportunity to devote yourself to something like skateboarding is a huge privilege.
Yeah it is. I am really lucky.
Battery is dying. We can keep going. Just saying at some point is going to be over.
Haha ok! To the bitter end!
What are your big aims for 2016 (or life, fuck it!)
I want to visit new places.
Probably go to Giant’s head.
Hang out with my homies of Salsito House
I smell a road trip..
And probably looking to learn more photography. And come out with some creative media. Different stuff. So I feel as I am progressing. I don’t want to be stuck.
Blaxels kiwi needs to progress too!
Yes! What does the future hold for your little fruit? He’s had some issues with censorship recently..
Who knows maybe animations..
At this point in our gripping convo Axel’s battery finally gave up on its heroic effort and we were disconnected.
We caught up later just to sign off and Axel had this to say in conclusion:
I want to thank my Father my Mother and my Brother to always be there, to my friends and Salsito House to help me enjoy life and to Original Skateboards, Ennui, Paris Trucks, Cult Wheels and Sickboards shop for making my dream be true.
Check out Axel’s latest raw run with Skate[Slate].TV here:
DON’T MISS ANOTHER ISSUE!
As another season of shredding, traveling, and general fun starts to warm up, make sure you don’t miss another issue of Skate[Slate] Magazine. With the best photography, interviews, and stories in the biz, Skate[Slate] Magazine keeps you up to date and will fuel your fire to get out and skate!
Missed the subscription cutoff? Not a subscriber yet? Download the app and read it now: