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Created by T. Gentsch | Feature

Whats going on with...? | Ralf Middendorf


Interview with the first european ever landing a McTwist

You think you're a punk rock skater just because you went on a skate trip with your buddies and spent the day skating and drinking through cases of beer? Maybe you stayed the night at a campsite, only to get kicked out for being so damn loud? Afterwards, you headed to a rock festival and got so crazy that your friend puked in the tent? Alright, that‘s pretty wild!
Ralf Middendorf probably wouldn’t bat an eye to stories like this, he’s lived it for much of his life! "Ralle", as he has gone by since the mid-eighties, truly lived the pro skater life in Germany during the first big skateboard boom the country experienced. From 1988, practically every young person in Germany had at least tried skateboarding. It was at this time that Ralle received his pro model from Titus. There was already a great demand for Ralle’s pro model when it was released. However, after he became the first European pro to land a McTwist, sales for his pro model skyrocketed. To put it simply, Ralle was a star!
With the death of the Vert scene in the early nineties, Ralle withdrew from the spotlight but has continued to live on with his "rock star" reputation. Whether at festivals, skate contests, or organizing skate events like the Euro SB next summer, Ralle is always ahead of the action and pulling the strings behind the scenes of the best events.

From when to when were you pro for Titus?

From 1987 until, well, today! Last summer my new re-issue deck came on the market. ;-)

What was the craziest/wildest/most insane experience you had as a Titus Pro?

There were definitely a few! Actually, there were so many that I wrote a book called “Paid Vacation” a while back about all the adventures.

Something that really meant a lot to me was that Christian Hosoi once came up to me after my run at the Monster Mastership in ’88 and congratulated me saying “Great run man!”.

Those times in general were just awesome as I got to hang out with many skate heroes from my youth. I even spent a week with ZDF doing television broadcasts with Tony Hawk. This was huge at the time because getting coverage on these channels meant a lot in the late 80’s-early 90’s.

Being on television on Saturday night pretty much meant that everyone would approach and recognize you on the street the next day! Of course, since there were only about 3 TV channels at the time.

In what ways did your life as a pro affect you later in life? What are some things it taught you?

In retrospect, these times in my life have taught me how important it is to behave correctly towards your fellow human beings.

I am still constantly amazed at how many people come across me today and recognize me from previous times in both my and their lives. For example, German rapper MC Fitti (who I had never known before) approached me a few years ago at the Bright trade show in Berlin. He had been at a half pipe show in Gifhorn in the 90’s and still remembered who I was! I’m thankful to have given him a positive memory of skating.

The guitarist of rock band the Donots had skated with me years ago in Münster at the skatepark. He told me that as a kid he even had a poster of me hanging in his bedroom.

Finally, there was an amazing connection when I wanted to do an interview with German reggae artist “Gentleman”, or, Tilmann Otto (which is his real name) once in Hamburg. I had no idea that Tilmann once skated the COS Cup and, like me, was sponsored by Vision Streetwear years ago. I later found and gave him a copy of Monster Skate Magazine featuring a sequence of him inside and a full-page ad on the back with myself! 

 

What positions have you held in life after your early pro days?

- Team manager of Team Titus

- Sales Manager of ASAP GmbH (Skateboard Sales)

- Managing director of SMO Agency (An event agency that, among other things, organized the Münster Monster Mastership)

- Managing partner of NICE Production (An event agency that, among other things, organized the Telekom Extreme Playgrounds)

Ralles biographie guarantees some interesting insights to an 80ies pro-skaters life!

What do you miss the most (and least) about your earlier pro days?

Actually, my life nowadays still constantly revolves around skateboarding, so I don’t really miss anything! My involvement in all the events and things is fun and keeps me in great contact with the skate scene. To be honest, I’m happy to not have to fly to the USA 3 times a year anymore. I turned 50 this year and the older I get, the worse the jet lag is!

 

What are you doing nowadays?

Currently, I’m the managing director of TDI Event & Consulting - A consulting company that organizes the COS Cup and coordinates the development of all Titus skateboard products (decks, trucks, wheels, etc.). 

What would you be doing if you were never a Titus pro?

Probably not much.

Do you still skate? If so, when and how often?

Not so much. Honestly, there came a time when the expectations from locals at various spots became so high that I just couldn’t keep up. I had to come to the realization that I’m older and just can’t physically be at the level of skating I once was. However, since about the year 2000, I have taken up motocross and it’s very fun, even if I’m not the fastest on the track.

Ralles 50th Birthday | Summer 2018