I met Leon a while ago when I was introduced to our flatland scene. He was like that shy guy always sitting in the corner, but when he jumped on his bike… That’s when stuff got serious. As one of few flatland riders, through the years he shown his optimism and style even out of our borders. He has spirit and the will to try out anything you put in front of him. Just the thing I needed to jump into this project…
Tell us something about yourself.
Hi my name is Leon, I’m 19 years old and I ride flatland BMX.
Your opinion on the Croatian extreme sport scene, what do you think would improve it?
The scene lacks serious sponsors and investments in parks, events and riders. We have a lot of talented riders who could make it in the international scene, but unfortunately they don’t have enough support or can’t get a chance here.
How important do you think photography and videography is in the extreme sport world compared to the past?
Every form of media is still a big deal, a lot of companies spend big budgets on marketing and media, I think that it’s essential that every athlete express their skills and knowledge through pictures and videos. Even the digital world developed so quickly that pictures and edits of some athletes are pure art and I enjoy watching them.
What’s important to you in a photo when you work with a photographer? What criteria must be met so you can say “I want that pictured framed and hanged in my bathroom!” ?
It’s important that both the rider and photographer understand each other and what they want to accomplish. As of myself and flatland, what fits the most are cool long exposure and combinations with architecture or light/shadows.
What’s the best road trip that you won’t forget and why?
That would definitely be a trip to Slovakia for a contest with the EliteBMX crew where I won first place. The day after we went sightseeing around Old Ľubovňa and surrounding mountains. We stayed there for a few days having fun and riding around the country. Oh yeah, we nearly got into a bar fight but that’s all I’m saying for now… *Smiles*
Do you have any unique mods or parts on your bike that makes it special?
My bike is custom build part by part, but all of the parts are as is, I like to keep it simple. At least I can easily replace something if it breaks.
As one of a few flatland riders in Croatia, what are your plans in the future?
Well I have a simple goal, to make a living and succeed in the BMX world. We’ll see what the future will bring me.
What do you typically carry with you in your pocket or backpack?
Bike tools, some personal items, an iPod and earphones, riding shoes, a clean shirt and recently I carry a inner tube because for some reason I get lots of flats lately.
What goes through your head when you ride your line?
I just concentrate and go with the flow, do it just like I learned it and focus on style.
I know that you are camera shy, is there any background story regarding that?
To put it simply, I just don’t think that I’m that photogenic and I don’t like to se myself on pictures. But when I ride I don’t think about how I look and focus on me riding, because of that I’m more relaxed. I let the photographer take care of the pictures and I take care of the trick, that way this “shyness” of mine disappears.
What is your next project after this story?
Well I plan big, you can say very big. I don’t wanna talk about it much for now, you’ll find out soon… I think that 2014 will be a good year for my career and in 2015 I’ll try to go to more competitions. I really hope for that and look forward to it, but it certainly won’t be easy.
Want to say some last words to the readers? Now is your chance.
Follow your dreams! Especially the young folks out there, if you don’t know where to go next in your life, just follow your inner voice- Show to people what you love to do and be the best in it. I’d like to thank Stephan for creating this project and for choosing me to be your test rat.
I went for a ride and #ijustgotframed !
I would like to thank Leon for being the first to tell his story. This project has only started and I really don’t know where it will take me. For now I wish you all the best in this year and stay tuned because the next story may just be around the corner…