Riding Shotgun With Wieger

Wieger Van Wageningen is a redheaded young lad from Eindhoven, Holland. Not your average redhead, either—I’m talking a legitimate bright neon-red head, freckles and all. He’s currently nineteen years old, the perfect age for exploiting. Not a perfect age for hanging out in the uptight U.S. of A., though. He chain-smokes like a chimney, but I guess this’s normal in Europe. The Dutch, Wieger included, can speak better English than a lot of Americans. We made plenty of Dutch-oven jokes, we even named the inward heelflip after this joke. As you might have guessed from that last sentence, Wieger does inward heelflips better than anyone else.

This lists the different variations of inward heelflips Wieger performed on tour: inward heelflip frontside five-0, switch inward heelflip, inward heelflip noseslide, inward heelflip tailslide, and fakie inward heelflip fakie frontside crooks.

I felt bad the first time I hung out with Wieger in America. He tried so hard (in a humble, legitimate way, of course) to get some footage and photos. I think he just overwhelmed himself. He was so frustrated by the time he went home, but he still managed to get great footage while he was here, and some good photos as well.

Besides the inward heelflip (or Dutch oven), Wieger has the meanest backside tailslide. Watch his part in the Firm video Can’t Stop to know what I’m really trying to explain. He’s done the longest backside tailslides that I’ve ever witnessed. He had three different ones to chose from for the video, all equally amazing, and we ended up using two because we couldn’t decide on just one.

Wieger was the only amateur on this Firm tour. Demos are set up for the pros to show their bag of tricks—show ponies, if you will. No one expects the ams to be there—in fact, kids generally don’t even know the am’s names. “Is that Johnny Newgun, or is that Billy Badheart? These are the common questions that I’m fair game for. I guess by standing on the sidelines, looking confused with an important oversized backpack, I’m left to field these inquiries for the hundreds of curious kids.

Wieger destroyed every demo we attended—a nonstop whirlwind for in excess of two to three hours. From the Dutch oven and the back tail to the backside 360, everything would happen first try. Beginner’s luck? I don’t know, but when the fire’s hot, you’re not worrying about anything else. “Wieger who? will be no more.

After explaining his round-two annihilation across America, I think Wieger is over the proving-yourself jitters. Twenty demos in 28 days is a hard schedule. The days off are usually spent driving to the next city, or just recovering from doing four demos in a row. But Wieger managed to skate like a pro for 28 days, without an ounce of complaining. Be on the lookout for the tour video to see your favorite flying Dutchman.

I’m always paranoid about everything a demo trip entails. Are the pros going to get stage fright? Are any kids going to show up? Who will take charge of the demos? But despite my paranoia, the whole team skated like champs, shredding for close to four hours in every city. I was super impressed with everyone’s ability to step up to being a pro skateboarder.

Wieger was definitely driving the van on this tour, and the rest of us were riding shotgun.