Most of you who skimboard and are online will know Ian. This interview is a treat, especially for me. The sport is made up of a lot of beautiful riders; settle in with a warm cup of delicious and enjoy this interview with Philippines skim mama, 26 year old rider Ian Olmedo.
Words by Kelli Bean
Q: Let’s start off with your full name. A lot of us have wondered at some point what Ian stands for.
A: Arianne Rachelle M. Olmedo
Q: What part of the Philippines are you from?
A: The province of Cavite.
Q: Are you a flatland rider, wave rider or both?
A: I’m more into wave riding.
Q: How long have you been skimming?
A: I have been skimming since 2009. I was 21 years old back then. So, about 5 years.
That’s right we started skimboarding in the same year.
Q: Tell us how you were introduced to the sport.
A: I was into surfing at first then a friend (Hi Ton!) suddenly asked if I had tried skimboarding. I didn’t give much thought to it at first because I liked surfing better. Then I looked for a surfboard online and was introduced to Gerwin Bautista (owner of Skate Skim Surf PH) who sells surfboards. He told me about Alon Skimboarding Club. I checked them out and got introduced to Arlene Nonato. One thing led to another, then I was on a skim trip every weekend with them.
The Alon Skimboarding Club seems like a great skim family.
Q: What do you love about skimboarding?
A: What I love about skimboarding is the adrenaline rush of running and getting that perfect wave even if it’s 1 super stoked wave per session. Also, the travelling! “Travelling helps a lot in riding different waves. It helps a lot to progress when you ride different waves from different countries.” -Matthieu Thibaud
What a great quote.
Q: Like myself, you have not gone the route of professional athlete but instead support others to achieve their dreams. What motivates you to give back to the community as much as you do?
A: At first, I was really concentrated on just getting better to be like Jen Jacobs, Keiao Bucasas and Anna Prophet. I tried competing and luckily won some. Then one day, it hit me, free riding is way better. I get to travel a lot because of skimboarding. I see that a whole bunch of kids have a lot of potential in the sport and the scene is growing bigger and bigger. I thought it’s time to share skimboarding in the Philippines to the rest of the world! So, I started locally first. 😀
Q: Now that your focus is on supporting the community, how do you participate in contests?
A: Helping with the registration, organizing the riders with their heats, announcing. I don’t know if it’s help but I like how skim competitions run. I get tips from my travels on how to organize skim competitions. It’s also a learning process. 🙂
Q: Describe the skim scene in the Philippines for those of us who have yet to visit.
A: The skim scene in the Philippines is huge! Since we are a country that has 7107 islands and in the middle of the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, it’s super fun to have noticed that almost all the coastline in the country has skimboarders. Everyone is happy, sharing boards and taking care of their local skim spots.
I cannot imagine how fantastic that would be!
Q: Which riders are pushing the sport right now?
A: Biased or not, these riders sure push the envelope in skimboarding and I’m proud to say they have represented PH Skimboarding greatly. Jerry “Arjun” Jimenez (Cebu), Roderick “Manoy” Bazar (Eastern Samar), Sonny Boy “Bayogyog” Aporbo (Mati, Davao), Leo Espada (Tanauan, Leyte), Roberto “Obet” Yanuario (Tanauan, Leyte) and Rodel “ Panggoy” Patawi (Mati, Davao).
Sonny Boy Aporbo by Dylan Uy
Q: Which companies in the Philippines are pushing the sport?
Q: Where do you see skimboarding going in the future?
A: Touring South East Asia for skimboarding competitions. Of course, this needs a whole lot of planning but once we get united with the idea, I’m sure this will push thru. I’m really hoping for it.
The industry in North America hopes for synergy with your athletes and South East Asia!
Q: What were your initial thoughts when you read in Aaron Peluso’s interview him share an excellent UST Stop would be in the Philippines? What do you think having a stop would do for PH skimboarders?
A: When I read Sir Aaron’s interview about thinking of having a UST stop in the PH, I was grinning from ear to ear. Everyone will freak out (including myself)–in a good way. I mean, all of the pros from the United Skim Tour are really huge in our country, basically like celebrities. But like I said, it’s a GREAT idea but reality checking, we need a whole bunch of supporters who could fund everyone to get here. And of course, on our side, we need to thoroughly plan that event because as we all know, there’s no money in skimboarding. We’re going to need government support! But hey! UST Stop #9 Philippines- YEEEW!
I was grinning as well!
Q: You mention earlier you have been fortunate enough to travel a lot, what has it been like to travel for the sport?
A: First, I was very fortunate with meeting Alon Skimboarding Club (especially Arlene and Brien Secades) because they were the ones who introduced me to the world of skimboarding and I get to travel with them locally and internationally (Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore). Then we tried taking it to the next level and worked on going to Taiwan and USA with Arjun and Manoy. Travelling for skimboarding is way better than I expected because it’s like the time is always limited. For example, we have to go to this spot because it’s where they shot Stimulus, MOV, Random Analog. It’s very awesome to experience our idol’s skim spots.
Q: What things have you learned in your travels that you can use to support the PH community?
A: Sharing, always share. Humility. Being very appreciative. The true meaning of responsibility and patience, which has got the best of me. Of course, respect for the local spots with the places I have visited.
Q: You are a very talented artist and Jaromanoy Skimboards is lucky to have you onboard using your artistic abilities. When did you start drawing/painting?
A: Wow, thank you! I started drawing when I was in kindergarten. I saw my sister doing some sketches and I tried to copy her. Then it progressed, I don’t know how, but I just started drawing and drawing, then started painting those drawings. I still have a lot to learn though and I am thankful for my tattoo artist friends because they give tips and help me a lot.
Q: You also take footage, edit and create skim videos. I commend your hard work and thank you for showing us some of the PH lifestyle. What do you enjoy about making skim videos?
A: I enjoy being behind the scenes and witnessing everything about skimboarding; the surroundings and the riders, everything’s just natural. Then it escaladed to “how can I show the people how stoked it is to be a skimboarder?”
Sounds about right! I would love to ask you a few personal questions before we end the interview.
Q: Where do you normally skim and with whom?
A: I’m always in Liw-Liwa, Zambales with the Jaromanoy Skimboards crew, and mostly with Manoy.
Q: Where is your all-time favorite skim spots?
A: Magic Left and La Paz in Zambales.
Q: What are some skimboarding goals for yourself you are working towards?
A: I really would love to finish the skim documentary here in The Philippines that I’m not yet half-way making. And still, working to travel to more skim spots. Someday..someday.
I am excited to hear you are working on a PH skim documentary!
Q: For the groms, what board do you ride?
A: Exile Skimboards double carbon hybrid.
A lot of groms tell me they want to fall in love with another skimboarder. You are engaged to pro rider Manoy Bazar.
Q: How did you meet?
A: We met at a skimboarding competition back in 2009. But before that, I was asked to design the poster of that event. I asked who the was guy on the poster I’m editing, and they told me that I’m about to meet him. Then we met at that skim competition. They introduced me to him as ‘the guy you were editing on the poster’. When I saw him skim, my jaw literally dropped.
Q: What is it like to be in a relationship with someone who loves the sport as much as you?
A: AWESOME! haha (Manoy, don’t flatter yourself 😉 ) But seriously, it feels nice because he gives me tips all the time and encourages me to go beyond my comfort zone in skimming. Like for instance, I used to be scared of riding backside, then he dedicated skim sessions for me just doing backside wave rides. Also, we get to travel a lot in the sport and it’s not just all about being lovey-dovey, we’re more like a team, coach/student, client/manager. Haha!
That is awesome!
Q: Besides skimboarding, what makes you happy?
A: Music and being a recording engineer.
Q: Do you have any last words or shout outs to wrap things up?
A: Ton Gregorio, if you had not mentioned skimboarding to me during our conversations, I never would have gotten curious about it. Mom and Dad for always supporting me! And to my idols Keiao and Muchu [Matthieu Thibaud]. For my videographer inspirations, Toeknee Bianchi, Matt Adams and Adam Hayward, I love all your work. Hi Manoy!
Muchu and Ian at the Victoria Skimboards shop
Thank you Ian, it is always great to talk with you! Your enthusiasm for the sport in contagious. I cannot wait to meet you.
Photos by Mark Olmedo, Dylan Uy, Dhen Migrino, Manoy Bazar and Ian Olmedo
If you would like to do an interview with me, please email me at email@example.com