All photos by Arnaud Mauler
When you think about stylish riders, there are always a handful of guys that instantly come to mind and we would be willing to bet Kevin Kalkoff is one of those guys! Kevin has been blowing peoples minds with his riding for years now and after making some moves and joining The Shadow Conspircy and Subrosa’s line up at the end of last year, we figured an interview was well over due! We won’t lie, were huge fans of Kevin, so this is one we are more than psyched on getting the opportunity to do! Let’s see what he had to say!
Name: Kevin Kalkoff
Location: I was born and I live here in Annecy, France. Specifically in the Alps, south east.
Years riding: Not exactly sure, but I think around 14 years now.
What was it the first got you into BMX? Any early memories com to mind?
I always liked to jump around on my bike, but BMX bikes were expensive back in the day. I tried a lot of things like skateboarding, but I remember one day passing by the park in my town and I was blown away by those guys riding trails! Not later than a week after, I was jumping with a weird bike that I had (that was a mix of a BMX and a MTB), till I broke it and my dad got me a GT Bump. That is when everything started really, since then, I have never stopped. I rode trails for a long time till they were torn down and then I went to the bowl they built in my city.
So, Kevin! How’s it going? Have you been staying warm this winter?
Yes, I’ve been trying to stay warm. I was planning on doing some skiing this winter back home, but it hasn’t really snowed yet and even if it’s still cold, it’s quite warm for the season. So, now we are trying to ride but it’s not the easiest. We don’t have an indoor park where we live. We need to drive out of town or try to ride outside when it’s dry, but it’s kind of a mission.
You joined Subrosa and The Shadow Conspiracy’s French team a little while back! How did that opportunity all come about?
Well, I stopped riding for Flybikes at the begining of last year and some friends of mine started a new distro for Shadow/Subrosa here in France. Also, the art director of Shadow is a friend and lives in the same street as me, so we sat down and all talked about it. All that together made me feel like that was the best choice I could do. I like both of the brands and the way they do things!
Do you have anything in the works with them as far as trips, video projects or anything that we can expect to see you involved with? I feel like they like to keep their teams on the move!
Yeah, I will be going to the States soon to see everyone. They also asked me to film for the shadow DVD and I can’t wait to start…
How are things going with Vans? Any new projects in the works with them that you can tell us about?
Things are going really well with Vans!!! They take good care of their riders and I’ll start filming with them next month for an upcoming edit that will premiere this summer during my jam “By the Lake”. It’s my jam that I’m doing for the second year with the help of Vans and the rest of my sponsors.
What about the rest of the sponsors? Anything exciting going on with them that you can tell us about?
Yes, everything is good with my other sponsors like Monster Energy. I m also riding for a burger place in my town, “The Roster”, and we have a really cool project we ve been talking about that we want to make happen this summer. I can’t talk about it as I want to keep it secret till the video comes out.
So, this past year appeared to be a pretty busy one for you with trips all over. Where did you have the opportunity to get to?
Yeah, last year was busy but it was so good!! It’s so crazy to think about all the places BMX takes you! I went to South Africa, Mexico, Denmark, Spain, Oregon, California, Texas, England, Swiss…
If you had to pick, which trip would you say was your favorite?
Hmmm, it so hard to choose one in particular because they were all good, but I’d say that the one I did in the US this summer was the best. It was one week of camping in Oregon, riding crazy bowls with a sweet crew and then we flew to Huntington for the US Open and that was really fun, too. Then my girlfriend joined me there for an other two weeks of adventures in Cali, that was the best time.
Anywhere in particular you’re hoping to get to in 2015?
I don’t know. There are many places I’d like to go back like Asia or Australia. Argentina was really good, too, but I can’t really pick one in particular. There is a few places in Europe, too, that I’d like to go too like Croatia and Turkey.
I know you just had your Shadow and Subrosa welcome edit drop a little while back, but I’d imagine you have been filming. Do you have any new edits or video parts we can expect to see soon?
Actually this year I’ll be concentrating on filming for my Vans edit. I’ll also be filming for the shadow DVD, along with stuff with my respective sponsors. But at the moment, it’s not possible to film where I live and I know I have other stuff coming in a couple of weeks, but not quite yet.
You’re known for being one of the most stylish riders in BMX… Who were some of your biggest influences growing up?
Wow! Thanks a lot for that. I’ve always like to see someone riding with style and having bike control than someone doing crazy things, upside down. Since I have started, it has been like that and my influences were Ruben Alcantara, Garret Byrnes, Mike Aitken, Sergio Layos, Brian Wizmerski…
Who are a few of the guys that really get your stoked to ride these days?
The guys that really get me stoked to ride these days are Chase Hawk, Ruben Alcantara, Alex Kennedy, Greg Illingworth, Dennis Enarson, Matt Priest… There are so many people that I enjoy watching ride.
What’s one trick you can’t do for the life of you no matter how many times you try?
I think nose wheelies. I don’t think I will ever do a proper one. It seems impossible for me to do it.
You have been doing the pro thing for quite some time now. What do you think you would be doing today if you never got into BMX?
I don’t know to be honest, I would probably have a regular job, I guess. I would do what I learned at school, which is welding and everything that comes with it. Something with metals in general… I would have to work in a factory where they build stuff… I’m so thankful that I can ride my bike everyday and travel for it!
What are you usually up to when you aren’t riding these days? Do you have any hobbies or anything else you’re really good at?
I like to ski during the winter and try to go when I can. I also like to swim in the summer, but lately I like to go hiking in the woods, mountains. It’s so cool to live in a place where you can enjoy the nature around you. But most of the time I would cruise my motorcycle if I’m not riding.
You have posted up a few photos of your motorcycle on Instagram. What kind of bike do you have? Are you pretty into motorcycles or is it something you just like to cruise around on from time to time?
Yes, Im really into motorcycles! I have a Honda CB 350 Four from ’75 and I just got an XL600r that I’ll be working on this winter. I love to ride around my town, I can just cruise next to the lake or disappear in the mountains and the feeling you get while riding is so good!! Somehow I get the same feeling cruising my motorcycle which taking a turn as I do when I do a curved wall on my BMX and I love it!!
What’s the last song you heard and movie you watched?
The last song I heard was Alt-j – Breeze Blocks and the last movie was “Grand Budapest Hotel”.
Traveling all the time and BMX tend to create some pretty interesting situations. Have you been caught up in any sketchy situations at all lately?
I don’t remember being caught in a sketchy situation lately and I’m stoked about that, haha!
I noticed you have a tattoo on your wrist. Any sort of story behind that? Do you have any other tattoos?
The tattoo I have on my wrist means “BMX” in Japanese, I had it done while I was in Tokyo a couple years ago as a souvenir. It’s cool sometimes I forget that I have it and then I see it and it makes me think that my bike brought me there!! Besides that I got a Mexican skull on my ankle but that’s it.
How can people keep up with you these days?
People can mostly keep up with me on Instagram. I use Facebook, too.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Yeah, I would like to thanks my sponsors for the support! Vans, Monster energy, Subrosa, The Shadow Conspiracy, Sparkys France, Pure BMX shop and The Roster.
Anything else you would like to say?
I would also thanks my girlfriend & family for all they do for me!!!