Name: Jürgen Sarjas
Hometown: Tartu, Estonia
Riding for: Statum, Ionic Flux, Vans
IONIC FLUX: So, Jürgen, we first met you when you were giving lessons at the skate school in Tartu. You guys look like you have a lot of fun there! You must get a kick out of seeing the kids you teach figure out how to handle their boards?
JÜRGEN SARJAS: Yeah, we have a blast with the kids. It has given me so much. I have gained so much in my own skating by breaking down the tricks for the kids to learn. It’s really rewarding to see a kid doing their first drop-in or shove-it. Pure happiness in the kid’s eyes. I think that’s what skating is all about.
Tell us about the Tartu skate scene. Is it growing fast?
Now that we are running the skate school, a new generation is getting started. Skaters come in waves in Estonia. Right now we have this scooter mania that is absurd, and we are trying to change that with the skate school. There is definitely room for improvement, but some of the best Estonian skaters are from Tartu and they are taking their skating to new levels, banger tricks and smooth styles.
Do you think you’ll take the skate school beyond Tartu and open up in other locations?
Right now I only have time to run it in Tartu. It’s more like a hobby that I’m doing alongside my studies at the university. If anyone needs any help to start something similar in their home skatepark, I am more than happy to help. I hope they open one up in the new skatepark that is opening in Tallinn. It would do good for the skate scene.
How has the community in Tartu reacted to the skate scene? Do they get involved? What’s your dream for skateboarding in Tartu, or even in the whole of Estonia?
The community is very supportive. Tartu’s indoor park is funded by the city, and there are rumors that the big outdoor park is getting a full renovation. Last year, a new small street skatepark opened as an addition to a playground. Also, every summer we do demos in the city center with a youth center for little kids. My dream would be to make Tartu a destination for skate trips and for some skaters to get noticed so they could turn pro. There are no pro skaters from Estonia, and that speaks for itself.
There are plans for a new skate park in Tartu. Why do you think it’s important to have this park when there are already three others?
They should open another indoor park because the one we have is getting overcrowded. The more they open, the better—if they can take care of them. The big outdoor park is hazardous for skating. Even the asphalt is bad, not to mention the obstacles that are falling apart.
You must have been totally hyped to be skating in the Simple Session for the first time this year (2015). What was it like?
It was dream come true. It’s been a must every year to skate that course. I love that high speed and flying around. This year they canceled the extra riding day for everybody, and I was like no way, I can’t skate it. I was drooling over the course design the day it came out. Luckily I got the phone call that I could compete.
What was it like skating alongside top riders from around the world? Any nervy moments?
The course is so different than parks I ride in all year long, so it took some time to get used to it. I thought I would be shivering there, but the park is so big you don’t even really notice the spectators. I just tried to do my best and have a good time. But the level of skating there is amazing. Jaw-droppers all the time. Really cool to see it so close.
You can find Jürgen on Facebook.