On an unusually sunny and warm September afternoon I had the pleasure of calling up Ben Raemers while he took a break and sat on the grass during a session in Livingstone, Scotland while shooting for the upcoming Volcom movie. Ben has been on the road a lot, spanning the globe on the Converse One Star World Tour through midwest America, Europe and Asia. He’s not stopping any time soon however, as he explained during our call. He’ll probably only have the odd week back in London, which he is now pleased to call his home again, until Christmas and the New Year.
For a guy with some pretty huge sponsors, it was refreshing to hear that it wasn’t really phasing him. That’s another way of saying that he actually didn’t know which campaign we were supposed to be talking about that day, which was fine by me. When it comes down to it, skaters just want to watch good skating. Sponsors or not, Ben is delivering that in spades.
Having had a clear-out surgery on a troublesome knee only a few weeks prior to our call, I was quite surprised that he was out skating hard, and feeling good so quickly. Props to the doctors who did that surgery, because he basically walked out of the hospital and was back on his board within less than two weeks. I had planned to ask the usual injury down-time questions, but clearly there was no need, because he’s straight back on it and focussed to get some hammer shots in the bag.
Read on to find out Ben’s hopes for the Asia part of the One Star World Tour, what went down at a recent Converse product shoot, and how he will be spending the winter months in London. Look out for him at the Bay, get excited for his Volcom part, and catch him on the internet on the One Star recaps, I’m sure he’ll being crushing at every stop.
Hey Ben! What are you doing up in Scotland, filming?
Allo mate! Yeah, I’m filming. I’m on a Volcom trip because they’re putting out a full length video at some point. So we’re up here filming for that.
Have you got any shots up there in Scotland?
I’ve got a couple of things I’m pretty happy with. I’ve just been trying something at Livingstone for quite a while; I tried it once in the winter last year but I kinda gave up.
Tell me about the rest of your summer, you were on the One Star World Tour right?
Yeah, it’s been crazy hectic. We had the One Star Tour in America, I came back for like two weeks and then went off on another One Star Tour around Europe, got back from there and went out to America again to shoot a load of new Converse product, then went on an Enjoi trip to Denver and Albuquerque, then I chilled at the house for like three days and left for this road trip around England with Volcom for three and a half weeks and then when I get back from that I have five days before going round Asia with Converse for another One Star Tour. Then back home chilling for like five days after that and back out to America for another Volcom thing and then I think going to South America so pretty hectic, a lot of travelling but it’s super good. It’s quite gnarly if you’re paying rent at a place you’re never in though.
Sounds like a wild summer, any highlights?
I don’t really know to be honest. One thing that was particularly cool was going to New York again because I haven’t been there in ages. I love it there, just that place in general is amazing. We started that trip off in Atlanta but I had a few days there for some reason. I did some tourist stuff and went to the aquarium and it was the craziest aquarium I’ve ever been to in my life. You go through this tunnel and there are great whites and all this crazy shit everywhere. So sick.
What’s going on with this Volcom trip then? Is that anything to do with the ‘Real Life Happening’ campaign or is that all wrapped up now?
I don’t really know what that real life happening campaign is about to be honest. We’re just out here filming for this video, trying to get as many clips as possible. That’s my main video project at the moment.
How are you feeling, you had surgery on your knee recently right?
Yeah, I got that done three weeks ago, and it was just clean-out surgery, super easy. They just took out a little piece of something in my joint which was like stopping me from bending my knee properly and the cartilage was a bit messed up so they sorted that. I walked out of the surgery and two weeks later I was skating again. It’s feeling good, I’m stoked. It was getting to the point where it was kind of unbearable so I had to get it sorted out. Basically all my savings went on this surgery, I went privately, so I just paid for it myself and got it done like asap. From getting it checked out to walking out of the surgery it was a month in total, it was worth it mate, I feel like if you ever need to get surgery the best way is to just go private because if you go on the NHS you have to wait for ages. Sometimes it takes a year before you even get an MRI or something.
I was gonna ask about what you’d normally do when injured and not able to skate but…
I don’t really do much to be honest; I quite like it because I’ve been so busy this year it’s nice when I’ve got a solid week to just chill. I just hang out with my friends and go and see my mum. I still skate everyday pretty much, but I’ll go to a park with friends instead and just mess around. Where I live in London at the moment is a really good location for everything. A lot of my friends live around here and there’s a lot going on; like art shows with free booze and stuff but yeah, there’s always stuff to do. You can get to any part of London really easily, just rent a Boris Bike. There’s three sick parks right where I live: Victoria Park, Mile End and Hackney Wick are all a ten minute bike ride away so usually I go there. Oh and Clissold is sick but I’ve only been there once.
Tell me about the One Star World Tour. It’s had a lot of coverage.
It’s just demos. Crazy. We did one in America, drove around the whole of America, well the mid-West, a lot of places I’d never been to. A lot of towns that you would definitely not visit, not touristy just middle America so, it was cool to see that side of things. All anyone ever thinks about is New York, LA, San Francisco, Oregon, I’ve never really experienced these other sides of it, so it was pretty interesting. We drove around for two weeks, sometimes we’d drive for a whole day, wake up, go to a signing, do a demo, start driving that night, sleep, wake up, drive another six hours, do a signing, do a demo, so it was full on and hectic but you’re with all your friends and everyone is in the same boat. It’s fun. Then we did the same in Europe, which started in England, flew to Madrid, and visited a tonne of places that I’d never been to in Europe as well, that was really good. I’m stoked we’re going to Asia because it’s my favourite place in the world, I love it out there.
When did you go out there before?
I went twice when we were filming for Enjoi, China the first tim, Taiwan the second. It’s fucking crazy out there, no one knows how to drive but I love it. We’re going to Thailand and South Korea, never been there, so it’s going to be interesting.
You mentioned that Converse trip, shooting products before, can you tell me a bit about that?
It was just all the new shoes that are coming out. We went out there to shoot all the ads for them. Wearing the correct shoes for the right people or whatever so, it was pretty cool. Two different groups of people went out, the first part was in New York, second part was in upstate New York. Half the people went to each half, but I did the whole thing. I was hyped to get out there and just do it. First of all John was like we just need you for upstate NY, but I wanted to go to New York as well. That was a result, back out in New York, in the summer as well, ridiculously hot, I’ve got a bunch of friends from San Jose that moved to New York that I haven’t seen in years so it was a good opportunity to see them. I saw Clark Cassler from Enjoi; I don’t see him that much. He’s always been in New York since I got on Enjoi so it’s nice to get out there.
When did you move out of San Jose?
Basically it was a pretty gnarly deal because I was living in Jerry Hsu’s house with like five other people. Me and the filmer for Enjoi at the time shared a room with bunkbeds. We lived in bunkbeds for like three years man. Even though I would come and go it got to the point we both agreed we couldn’t do it anymore. So I moved out, ended up getting another knee surgery in England and I’ve been so busy since then there’s no point in really having a place. Every opportunity I get to come back to England and hang out with my Mum and friends I’ll do it, so I may as well just have a place here. I’m barely home, but when I am I want that to be England. I don’t want to have a home somewhere else, or have to fly back to America after all these trips. I love America and I’ll go there as much as possible but I don’t want to call it home. England is always going to be home.
So are you going to be around in London for Autumn and Winter?
Basically the next time I’m around for a solid month is from mid-December until mid-January. That grim month where the weather is treacherous and you can’t skate and you lose your mind and you just go to the pub and eat and drink all the time. That’s on the cards, but I almost like that part of the year when it’s shit and you can’t do anything even if you want so you just chill. Give your body a good rest, everyone is cheerful because it’s Christmas and New Years, everyone is in good spirits for the most part.
Where will you skate in winter?
At Bay. I hit up every single person on my phone every single day and try and convince them to come skate with me if they’re not working.
What’s the deal with Bronson Speed Co bearings, that’s your newest sponsor right?
Yeah, Rhino; the TM for Independent hit me up saying he was starting a bearing company asking if I was riding for anybody and I wasn’t, so he asked me and that’s how it happened. But I haven’t actually got any yet, I’ve been slacking, they’ve just been sending them to my old address in America so, I’m so busy and bad at communicating with people. Someone hit me up asking what I thought of the bearings and I haven’t even got any yet. They’d been sending them to the wrong address and I was like ‘shit, I don’t even live there anymore’. So many packages are sent there, hopefully someone is opening them and putting all that stuff to use, otherwise it’s just a waste.