INTERVIEW WITH ALMIR JUSOVIC: “THE WORLDS WEIRDEST SKATEBOARDER”

Almir Jusovic isn’t “cool” by your typical American skate standards. He doesn’t have tattoos down his arms, dress fashionably or have a crazy marketing gimmick that kids eat up. Actually quite the opposite: he’s got unusual tricks, sketchy style and a strong European accent – which is why we love him. Born and raised in Slovenia and removed from a lot of American skate culture, he just goes and does his own thing. Whether it’s riding his skateboard in doggystyle position or working on motorcycle sculptures, he’s part of a dying breed of skater. While kids get so wrapped up in skate culture and doing tricks that are cool that month, Almir continues to stay true to his vision and dream up new ways to ride a skateboard. Check out the minute of unreleased footage he sent us and enjoy his first US interview ever.

Why do you consider yourself to be the world’s weirdest skateboarder?
Well, people thought my skate part was weird, so I changed the title of the Youtube clip to “Worlds Weirdest Skateboarder” and actually, I do feel like an outsider. You know that feeling, when some people don’t “get” skateboarding? They don’t understand why we need to jump up and down on this piece of wood. Well I get that similar vibe or feeling from skaters sometimes too because I simply do it my own way.

Why skate in doggystyle / bunny position instead of on two feet like everyone else?
I like to try new stuff, I constantly think about what can still be done with a skateboard. I started when I was 7 years old, and I got hooked because skateboarding for me was something different. I used to be able to stare into my skateboard for hours and feel happy. But after some time I lost the spark. I wanted to get that feeling back and came to conclusion that I needed to do something that was different. Bunny stance was just a joke for me in beginning but I couldn’t stop doing it. What I visualized and thought was possible needed to be done.

Do you drink or smoke a lot of weed before skating to get creative?
I usually smoke weed before I skate. I was high the whole time filming my first skate part. I am most creative and get ideas when I take a break and don’t smoke for a week or so. Then when I get high again I just start writing down stuff like crazy. Sometimes afterwards I don’t even know what I was writing or what some of the ideas were!

Do other skaters make fun of you?
Other skaters do not make fun of me here. People love me, kids know who I am and they like me a lot I think. I even make them laugh sometimes. I think that’s what I like to do. With years of growing you feel less of embarrassment doing anything. I try not to worry about what other people think. Embarrassment just slows your progress. There’s so much love in it, kids ask me for advice and I always push them and say, “sky’s the limit.” I enjoy talking with kids and I like moments when I can act like them, just be a kid myself.

Being a weird skater, do you have any weird fantasies or fetishes?
I don’t think I have any weird fetishes or fantasies – I’m quite normal I guess. Maybe I will have more than one wife, that would be cool. I think warriors like me should get some more care. To tell you the truth, there’s so much stuff I want to try. I want to have a black girl that can ass clap and I would love it if there were three chicks waiting for me at home everyday. When I come home all fucked up from jumping or working, they would take care of me, clean, cook and give me pleasures that I could not imagine.

Do you dream about hot American girls?
American girls, hmm, not really. For me, the best looking girls are in Sarajevo, Bosnia and they are pretty here in Slovenia too. Too much plastic in America if you have those kind of girls in mind. I like natural girls.

Who are some of your heroes or inspirations in skateboarding?
Rodney is my biggest influence. He gave sense to my skateboarding, when I saw his part in Second Hand Smoke I was amazed. I have the original VHS tape at home and when his part starts everything goes blurry, because I’ve watched it so many times. I was amazed how he was creating new tricks that just came from his head. It got me thinking that maybe even I could do something more original, that’s special to me.

I also like skaters like Jeremy Wray, Mike Vallely, Reynolds, Aaron Homoki, Gou Miyagi and Richie Jackson. I don’t like guys with New Era hats, when I go to my local skatepark kids know that they need to hide their hats with those stickers on them…just kidding!

What do you do outside of skateboarding for work?
When I’m not skating I work on sculptures. They are mostly based around skating but I’ve started to become interested in motorcycles too. I also love Martial Arts. So I do 3D figures and reliefs based on the things I love the most. But to live I need to help and work with my dad sometimes and take on other jobs for money too.

Is your goal or dream to be a pro skater?
My goal is to give it my best at what I do! But I’m injured all the time. I just had a back hernia and it was BAD, couldn’t laugh or even walk. I also skated with a broken bone in one of my legs for two months. I was just born to be wild. I would love to be a pro but I don’t really care. For me I’m the best skateboarder in the world, I managed to be what I wanted to be. People are entertained by what I do, and I have a lot of fun doing my thing. There is so much happiness in doing something different and that is mine.

Do you keep up with the skateboard industry? What do you think of Street League?
In 2005 I thought I invented the primo slide, that’s where I am coming from. I was not informed and didn’t follow the skate world. But now I see some stuff. Street League is cool, but I don’t watch it really. This year I watched 5-Incher and Stay Gold. I was impressed by Andrew, Daewon and Haslam. I like to watch Jaws jump crazy shit too. What I follow are martial arts, I was a huge Bruce Lee fan, then I followed Mike Tyson and now I am hyped about K1 kickboxing.

In a way I’m kind of bored by what’s going on in the skate world. All the MTV kids and those new era hats and HD cams and everyone doing frontside big spins. But at least they don’t feel embarrassed when trying a trick. I hope that more embarrassment becomes involved in skateboarding… kidding!

I heard that you broke Danny Way’s world speed record on a skateboard.. Is this true?
Yeah I broke Danny’s record (73MPH). My top speed was 76MPH. I got an even faster time too. With a climbing belt strapped around my waist for training, I hit 77MPH. Currently though, Lance Segerstrom holds the record, but he did it with a holding bar behind a car so there’s less wind and resistance. For the record you are allowed to hold onto a moving vehicle behind or beside it. I thought that it would be too pussy if I did it behind a car.

Has anyone contacted you about skating for them or sponsorship opportunities?
There have been many people that contacted me. The guys from Dwindle even came here but I don’t think I made a good impression. I was too nervous. I have something like social anxiety. For me dealing with media can be harder than doing a hippy jump over a moving car. I am getting better now though. I think that skateboarding helped me become more confident, achieving tricks made me believe I can be someone or do something. When I can do a trick Rodney did, that is a big boost for my confidence and it’s even better when I create a new trick no one else has done.

Who else contacted you?
I talked with the guys from ShredOrDie [Now the RIDE channel], they liked my part and I told them that my dream was to jump the mega ramp in bunny stance. Tony Hawk said he could take me to Bob’s mega ramp, but Bob told Tony that he would invite me personally over email. I don’t know what went wrong but my English and my wishes were a little bit mad and it kind of never happened.

There have been so many people that told me I should go to LA to pursue skating. Usually I don’t have the money, but now I do have it and I can’t sleep cause I don’t know what I should do. Should I go to the states and try to make something out of it or I should buy an old motorcycle? I think I will buy a bike and finish the next skate part which I’m working on now. The video part is half way done and after we release it, I will see. I want to finish what I’ve started and then go. I can say that this new part should spark some more interest, it will be and already is more funny, technical, raw and sexy. It’s the most entertaining part I’ve done yet!

If Tony Hawk called you up and told you he bought you a ticket to LA tomorrow to do the Megaramp in Doggystyle / Frog stance, would you do it?
If he also paid for health insurance! I’m kidding, I would do it, for sure. I would just need to take a lot of sleeping pills. For me it’s scarier flying to L.A. than jumping the mega ramp. I hate planes, I’ve dreamt so many times of crashing. Last time we went to Morocco, I was all sweaty and shaking and the woman sitting beside me was the same or even worse. She was praying to Allah and the plane was looking beat up as hell. The armrest was wrapped in duct tape. When we took off it sounded like someone was starting an old motorbike or lawnmower.

What do you want to be known for at the end of the day?
I want to bring joy to people, make them happy and get them inspired. I want to be known for being an entertainer and doing it my way. Maybe this interview will help me reach my dreams, maybe people will understand me better.


Words: Ian Michna
Photography courtesy of: Almir Jusovic
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Comments

  1. Persona:

    Knew about him long time ago and absolutely loved his skating. I suggest watching his part in Obsession (Obsešen) and in general that video was rad.

  2. Persona:

    Haha, I also hate HD and new era hats. I really hope it works out for Almir making a career in skateboarding, under Rondey’s wing in Almost it would be super rad.

  3. Tim Barney:

    sorry Paolo Diaz did this better
    and it was 1996 and he was on crack cocaine

  4. Doctor Pepper:

    Danny Gonzales, your writing makes you sound like an ego-maniacal wiener – who in the fuck would be proud of doing kickflip one foot nosemanuals first anyway, let alone call out some Eastern European dude for doing them? I used to be a fan, but holy shit dude, no wonder everybody hates you.

  5. Thomas:

    This guy is the distilled essence of skateboarding

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