Ramsy Saidi (BE), skateboarder, Ghent

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“Needless to say, after 14 years of skateboarding, my body is battered. Most of the time I’m fine, able to skate all day, but there are days I can’t move because of the pain in my knees and ligaments. The thing is, I have noticed an improvement in all these aches when I reduce my drinking and smoking, but that’s exactly what you do when you’re injured and unable to do anything else, right? It becomes a vicious circle. I’m not going to lie, it’s an addiction, but what would you expect living in a shitty country like Belgium. There’s nothing to do here, no wonder kids prefer getting wasted.

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I’m looking for my ticket out of all this. I’ve been sponsored by Vans for the last five years, but things are not as they used to be. Brands are going corporate and the budgets for riders are shrinking. I remember a time of trips abroad and hotel rooms to trash, but that’s history. Luckily for me, my Paris-based sponsor Wasted Paris supports me in every way they can, as does skate shop Flesh & Bones from Aalst, my other sponsor. But it just isn’t enough to make a living from, it’s necessary to keep a day-job, to become part of this never-ending rat race, if I want to be able to keep skateboarding.

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I have a lot of skateboarding-related tattoos. Like the ‘keep rolling’ on my hands, which, unlike many might think, does not refer to rolling joints. Tattoo artist Levi Netto did most of my tattoos over the last couple of years. I deliberately became his practice pad when he first started tattooing from his apartment, with some kickass tattoos as a result. Much different from the first one I ever got in Prague. The artist initially wanted 70 euro for the ‘PD’ on my arm, which stands for PissDrunks. I ended up only paying him 15 euros and a lukewarm beer.”

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