Simon Stricker is a real talent, but so humble and low-key that the Swiss could be described as an under-the-radar ruler. Continuing with our push to help break out new talent, we asked Soerfi Schweingruber (himself a don of the Swiss scene) to tell us what it was he spotted in Simon as a skate rat right at the start.
The interesting thing is, if you think about what Soerfi says as you enjoy Stricki’s banging breakout part above, and it all adds up.
"Stricki is is one of the most determined and professional skaters I ever saw in my career," he says. "He's addicted to progress, testing his limits every day to learn new stuff. After so many years he still loves skateboarding more than anything – the first one skating at the spot, and the last one to leave. No break, no distraction, just enjoying every second on his board."
After so many years he still loves skateboarding more than anything – the first one skating at the spot, and the last one to leave.
We reached out to Stricker as he paused, mid-Cyprus trip, for a break in filming just long enough to hear his thoughts on how he got to where he is, and where he hopes to go with skating.
We first met as a big part of our famous trip around Ireland. How did you find that whole experience?
The trip to Ireland was a really cool adventure. When I first got the call to go, I had no idea what spots to expect and who I'd be spending that week with. Speaking as a skater, Ireland was a challenge! Ireland isn’t known for its smooth ground – most of the spots were pretty rough. The whole team worked really well together and in the end the whole project turned out to be cool.
Can we talk a little bit about Soerfi Schweingruber and what he's done for skating in Switzerland?
Yeah, of course. I've known Soerfi for more than 10 years and as well as being my team manager, he's one of my best friends. In my opinion he's had a huge impact on the Swiss skate scene. He's been skating for over 30 years so he knows the demands of his team riders.
The cool thing about him is that he supports his team really well. He shoots photos for magazines, films videos with us and supports us well with product. Besides all that, he has also influenced the Swiss scene with his distribution and shop, supporting contests and events through his distribution illumate, and providing shops with all the best gear. He's really appreciated within the Swiss skate scene.
Who would you say has the strongest scenes and biggest rippers in Switzerland today?
It's hard to say which is the strongest scene. I think every bigger city in Switzerland has a cool skate scene, but the biggest ones are definitely in Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern. Right now Switzerland has a lot of good skaters, too. My current favourites are Kilian Zehnder, Sven Kilchenmann and Martino Cattaneo.
You seem to have been back and forward to California a few times lately, would you ever move out there?
Yes, I was in California for two weeks in January and I have thought about moving out there a few times. Cali is one of the hotspots for skating because they have really good skate parks, street spots and a huge skate scene, but what's missing for me is that European feeling – that you can get around without a car, just by board. So, I came to the conclusion that I'd like to go to Cali for a few months, but still be based in Europe.
You're an educated guy and you have options for the future, and compared to maybe 10 years ago there isn't money around in skating these days, so would that put you off going pro if you were offered?
Yeah, there's not such a lot of money to be made in the skate business – it has changed a lot. For me it was never about getting rich through skateboarding. Of course, it's cool if you can make money skating and making a living through your passion. If I ever was to be offered a pro model, I'd certainly accept. What really counts for me, though, is just being on my board, pushing around the streets and having fun.