Checkout: Giorgi Balkhamishvili

© Henrik Biemer

Berlin spits out another raw skater you’ve never heard of before. Remember the name.

Right now, Berlin, Germany seems the place to be when you’re a young ripper trying to make it into the ranks of sponsored street skateboarding.

When Giorgi’s parents left their home country of Georgia, they were escaping economical and political turmoil. Little did they know they gave their son a great starting point to make it as a skateboarder. Which is exactly what Giorgi is set on doing. From parking lot flatground to full part – check out Giorgi Balkhamishvili.

Hi Giorgi. You’re hurt?
Yeah. We were on a filming mission in Stuttgart, Germany when I tore my ACL on this hubba-rail. I wanted to do a Backside 180 Nosegrind on the rail when the janitor showed up and we had to leave. We came back two days later, I tried again but fell – with my leg between rail and hubba. So I rammed my other leg into the ground, all straight and stiff. I heard it snap, but figured it wouldn’t be too bad. Back in Berlin, the doctors didn’t agree and told me I had torn my ACL. Michael Mackrodt told me about this specialist, who operated on my knee last December. He said I’ll be able to start skating again in spring, but I’ll take it slow and listen to my body on that one.

Giorgi Balkhamishvili
Giorgi Balkhamishvili© Nico Kasterke

You live in Berlin, but your name doesn’t sound too German…
Georgia is my home country. When the Soviet Union fell apart, there were civil wars going on and the economy was down the drain, so I came to Berlin with my parents six months after my birth in Christmas of 1994. So I grew up here and spent my whole life in this city. Three years ago, I got my permanent stay permit – finally! It would have been harsh to be forced to leave after all this time. I went to school here, all my friends are from Berlin… It was crazy to carry this around with me in the back of my head for all that time.

Now that I’m hurt, I really see how important skateboarding is to me

How did you start skating?
It was the summer of 2007 and a friend of mine always brought a board to school. He told me I should go skating with him some time because it was so much fun. He put together a setup for me from his old bits and pieces and we skated flat every day in the back of a random supermarket. After a year, I went to Polendenkmal [famous Berlin spot] and met the guys from the Chinchilla Crew for the first time. I joined the crew soon after that.

What do you do besides skating?
I spent a lot of time with my family. Six months ago, my third brother was born and I enjoy this special, beautiful time. After I finished school, I had various jobs in skateshops and such, I’ve always been working. I was thinking about maybe going back to school to get my a-levels, but I’m not very motivated at the moment. Skateboarding isn’t just a hobby to me. Now that I’m hurt, I really see how important this is to me. I daydream about my wishes and goals all the time.

Giorgi Balkhamishvili, Backside 180
Giorgi Balkhamishvili, Backside 180© Henrik Biemer

You can see that – the part you delivered for this checkout is pretty straight forward. Did you plan this thing out or did everything just ‘happen’?
Thank you! You know, in the beginning, there was no plan. I just joined in on some filming missions and got the Frontside Blunt on the rail one day. The first trick for my part. I was hooked up by Trap Skateboards and Lites trucks and was hyped. When I filmed the line at Polendenkmal half a year later, I knew I wanted to put together a part. So from then, it was all planned out missions. I’m definitely happy with my first part, even though I didn’t get as much stuff as I imagined.

You seem very focused. Where do you want to take your skateboarding?
Right now, I just try to enjoy the time I have. What I do now is the best thing possible for me – I don’t know where it’ll take me, though. I try to film and shoot photos as much as possible so that I can remember the good days later. To have the possibility to publish my part on this website is a big motivation for me. I want to live with skateboarding – I mean, I want to have a good time and explore the world. If this turns out to be a possibility to me, it would make me very happy.