Whether you watched the silly Olympics or not, you probably know by now that the youth of the Asia-Pacific countries are nothing to fuck with when it comes to contest skating. But more importantly, and often overlooked, is how hard the youth of Asia is skating in the streets. Rubianda, a 17-year-old from Jakarta, Indonesia, is no exception to this overlooked and up-and-coming population of skaters.
With the help of filmer and editor, Joy Suryawan, over the last two years, Rubi was able to drop five minutes of footage despite the brutal humidity of Indonesia and the foot and car traffic of Jakarta. Rubi doesn’t have a training facility like some of the other skaters representing Asian countries in the Olympics, he was still able to produce something much more watcable than the skating going on in the stadiums of Tokyo.
Q&A WITH RUBI
What is the skate scene like in Jakarta? Is it growing at all?
Nowadays there are a lot of skaters in Jakarta and a bunch of skaters with different styles. The streets are rough out here so we gotta adapt with what we’ve got. There are some skateparks too, but when the pandemic began most skateparks were closed or they didn’t let you skate when there were too many people at the park. Another thing that is hectic about Jakarta is the traffic. I think Jakarta has the worst traffic jams in the world.
A lot of skate scenes have their own unwritten rules that the skaters loosely follow. Are there any “rules” in the skate scene that you have to be mindful of?
There aren’t any unwritten rules within skateboarding here, but we do try to not piss off the public cause lately a few skaters went viral for crashing into people on scooters and we would get a lot of hate. I guess it’s the same in other countries too. So it’s really just good to respect each other, smile, and be kind.
For the readers who don’t know you, can you introduce yourself a little?
I’m from Jakarta, Indonesia. I’m turning 17 this September. My Sponsors are Motion Skateboards, Vans, StayCool Socks, and Insurgent. And we’ve been working on this part for almost two years.
If you’re not skateboarding what else are you up to?
I think I’m gonna be a musician because my dad is a musician in a famous band here in Indonesia. If not, I don’t know [laughs]. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of reggae. Do you know Hollie Cook? I really like to listen to their music.
“That’s how I realized my dad’s band was kinda famous”
What’s the name of your dad’s band?
My dad’s band is called Ada Band. They were in their prime probably seven or eight years ago. When I was a kid I saw my dad play a lot on television. That’s how I realized my dad’s band was kinda famous, but I’m not sure if the band is still famous [laughs]. If you guys go to Indonesia and listen to the top 40 pop love songs, there’s a big chance you guys are gonna listen to one of my dad’s songs.
Is it annoying having a famous dad?
It’s kinda cool for me. I’m really proud of what my dad has been doing that for years and creating good music for people. Sometimes I have mixed feelings about it when all guys on a trip listen to my dad’s song in front of me and sing it loud. It makes me feel silly sometimes. But anyway, it’s cool having a father who really loves music.
Is it true that the Indonesian laws are really harsh when it comes to weed and other drugs? I heard they may cut off your hand if you get caught with weed.
I suggest not to play with weed or drugs in Indonesia. You could go to prison for years for even a small portion of weed. A bunch of people that I know got caught, and either had to pay so much money or they went to prison for years. And if you got caught with stuff more than 1 kg, I read that you could get the death penalty. They wouldn’t cut off your hand but they would cut off your dreams. Indonesia is really strict about that.
“They wouldn’t cut off your hand but they would cut off your dreams”
Who are some skaters from Indonesia that the world should keep an eye on?
There are a lot of good skaters in Indo now! You should watch out for Aldytiawan and Phrabawa Junior.
Being a part of the Vans Skate Asia-Pacific team, have you gotten to skate in any other major Asian cities?
Sure. I’ve done some trips from Vans to Singapore and Malaysia for the upcoming Vans Video. It was in 2019 and it was sick. Vans APAC riders are really good nowadays. I feel really lucky to skate with them. One of the riders, Absar Lebeh, is a crazy funny guy. He always has ridiculous magic tricks. Really funny dude [laughs].
I had one of the most memorable trips with the Motion guys. We went to Lombok Island in Indonesia, and on the second day of that trip, we got hit by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake. People were crying, the lights were out, and the buildings were broken. That was the scariest and strongest memory for my journey of skate trips. I hope soon we can travel again and do what we love, but please without an earthquake.
There are a lot of earthquakes in Indonesia right?
For Indonesian people, nowadays we know how to respond if that happens. But the technology in Indonesia for earthquakes is not that good if you compare it with other countries such as Japan, so that’s why we cant prepare much for it. If an earthquake happens and it’s a really big earthquake, you should run to a higher place because a Tsunami could happen, and that could be the end game of Earthquake Nightmare story.
Now that you have sponsors and you’re traveling, are you going to continue to go to school, or are you going to stop going at some point?
I have been doing school and traveling at the same time for three or four years already. I’ve got support from parents to be in a homeschooling program, and they help manage my education so I don’t need to follow regular school or go on normal days which is cool, but the worst is I need to do my homework or assignments during the trip, so that annoys me sometimes.
Does being a sponsored skater help you get dates in Indonesia?
Not that I know of, but I hope it does [laughs].