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This Ain't California: East Germany's Skateboarding Culture

By Andres Pachon

A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.


Back in the days skateboarding wasn’t just a thing in California. East Germany also had it's skate scene. Martin Persiel shows in his 90 minute documentary a careful and non-conventional esthetic. This documentary is an adventure since the 70s to the present into the heart of the german skate culture. Also, it goes deep in the strange and unknown world of the “Rollbrettfahrer”, as those skaters were known.


´This ain't California´, a Journey Of Few


Persiel accurately explains the skateboarding subcultures rise in East Germany in the 80s. It’s structure comes from Super 8 home movies and archival footage which are actually a treasure for the skating history, with amazing takes that no one would believe had endured intact. The underground skate scene in the GDR is the only thing you could see in the film, because everything else is open for debate. ´This ain't California´ core is Denis Paracek, a carefree anti-authoritarian who aggravated his father who wanted him to become a champion olympic swimmer, but instead he had a son that became the leader of the local skate pack in the suburbs of Magdeburg.






A Must Watch Film

The images forged are splendid and accompanied with real news footage that prologue the illusion Presiel wanted to create. The story told is about rebellious youths shredding and carving every path they could through the ´gigantic concrete desert´ of East Germany led by an earless rebel. Martin had the creativity necessary to create a documentary that spills over with ineffaceable characters that ends in a 1988 ´Euroskate´ competition with the best skaters from the Eastern. ´This ain't California´ can be seen as the dream of East German teens who wanted to ride their skateboards to freedom.



Read also: Skateboarding in Berlin: The Heart of Germany

Read also: 5 Skateboard Cities You Must Visit



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