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Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Updated: February 24, 12:59 PM ET
Amateur Hour: Madars Apse


Sometime last year I started hearing my friends talk about this Latvian ripper staying at Element pro, Levi Brown's house. I wound up getting to skate with this kid on his last day in town before he headed back to Spain to go to school. As luck would have it, he was in town last week for an Element catalog shoot and, after a hectic tradeshow weekend, I once again got to skate with him on his last day in town. Here is an interview with the 21 year-old Baltic beast, Madars Apse.

Madars Apse dips a perfect backside Smith grind before tackling the hill that awaits.

Where is Latvia? Sadly, I graduated college yet I have no clue where it is on a map.
Briefly, Latvia is located to the west of Russia, south of Finland and right across the Baltic Sea to the east of Sweden. It's one of the three Baltic countries and part of the European Union.

What was it like growing up skating there?
We only have five months of good weather but even when the weather is bad we're still skating besides the snow, under rooftops in stadiums, etc. I come from a town of 30,000 people and there really are only a few spots. We have a pretty big concrete skatepark though, which we'd skate all the time. It would be really hard to encounter what is happening in skateboarding outside of the country's borders though. I'd stay up late watching sports TV, recording it on VHS. Also, getting a skate video would be the ultimate prize at any contest.

What is the skate scene like there now?
Finally there are some indoor skateparks popping up and people are getting busy doing contests and getting some footage. I believe slowly skateboarding is growing. If there would not be this damned economic crisis, which hit my country the worst in Europe pretty much, more people could afford skateboards. Boards are basically four times more expensive than in the U.S.

You're going to school full time in Barcelona now, right?
Yeah, it's my third year now and I'm planning to finish the fourth year in London.

Wait, does that mean you speak three languages?
Well actually my grandmother was Russian, so that makes it four together with Spanish, English and Latvian. If you're Latvian and trying to meet people from other countries, language barriers must be overcome.

Madars pops and catches a perfect fakie heelflip then takes it for a ride.

What are you studying?
I believe that the bachelors degree will be something like International Marketing. I still have some time to decide if maybe I want to do Human Resources or something else. It is a hard choice, though because I don't know when or for what purposes will it be useful in the future. Regardless, I'm sure education will come in handy.

Are you good at going to school or do you just skate in Barcelona the whole time?
I have no trouble combining studies with skateboarding as school is only three times a week and only four or two hours a day. I guess I am good at studying when it's really necessary to do so. So skateboarding has to stay in second when it gets down to exam time.

Were you in school when you filmed your "Get Busy Living" part for Element?
Yeah. I was doing my second year and filming a part for the Vans Europe video "1966," as well.

How do you get out of class to go on trips all the time?
I get my team managers to write a little email to the school administration. They're very understanding and even help me at times, offering things like on-line studying.

Latvian ripper Madars Apse during his extended stay in Califorina.

Who are your sponsors?
Element boards and apparel, DC shoes, Red Bull and Perus crew.

Would you recommend going to college and trying to skate at the same time in Barcelona?
I would recommend doing it anywhere in the world, though Barcelona is good in a sense where a car is completely not necessary. If you can find a city like this, it may work for sure.

The few times I have gotten to skate with you it seems like you really like to go fast. What are your favorite spots to skate?
Isn't it easier to skate fast? I believe you can have more control like this. Regarding spots I am a big fan of just skateboarding anything, probably just cruising down hills for days, jumping curbs, pole jamming and wall riding. My school is actually on one of the highest places in Barcelona, so pretty much every day after boring business studies I clear my head with some good down hills. It's awesome.