Soderhall, Jani - Sweden

Slalom Skateboard Racer Profiles

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Adam Trahan
Phoenix, AZ, USA
Phoenix, AZ, USA
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Soderhall, Jani - Sweden

Post by Adam Trahan » Thu Oct 17, 2002 5:36 am

2002 Profile of Jani Soderhall

When I was still skating after the age of 30 I thought I was getting too old for it. Actually I stopped competing around 1989 and made a kind of comeback in 1991 thinking that it would be only for travelling, meeting friends, having fun, but all of a sudden I was in the middle of it again. Well, back then I had not really quit. It was just a short break. I know that now. After 1995 though I really quit. The last contest Corky, myself and my wife Monique organized just took too much time. We now had to concentrate on the daytime-work for a while. There wasn't really any intention to stop publication of Slalom! magazine at the time, it just happened like that. No time, work was overwhelming.

Now it's 2002 and all of a sudden I'm getting back into this sport again. Hey I'm 40! I shouldn't be doing this stuff! Well if it wasn't for the continuous efforts of Dan Gesmer, John Gilmour, Adam Trahan, Intl Longboarder Mag, NCDSA, the FCR race series, Jean-Michel Attia and Chris Linford, I probably wouldn't care much about what was going on in slaloming right now. But they changed it all, and here I am trying to do as much research as I can on what is actually happening.

Why are all these guys slaloming? Why are there so many boards, wheels, trucks out there devoted to slalom? Why all of a sudden this huge interest in slalom? I thought it was all over. Done, finished, kaputt. Gone.

Well, apparently it is not. Slalom racing is still around, and it's coming back with stronger support than we've seen for a very long time. And I love it! And I don't seem to be the only one!

I started skating and slaloming back around 1977. I entered my first contest in 1979, first nationwide contest in 1980. First international contest in 1981. After that I tried to go to as many as I could. At least the major ones, which in Europe meant at least the European Championships each year. I won a few of them: 1985, 86, 87, 88.

In 1985 the European skaters (ramp, freestyle & slalomers) made a kind of revolution and ousted the old association and started a new one. The reason was that the old association did not approve ramp skating! I became the first president of the new federation called Association of European Skateboarders (AES). I stayed on the job working for all aspects of skateboarding until the European Championships in 1987 when I handed over the presidency to Martin Kopecky of Czech Republic.

After 1987 I decided to concentrate my efforts on slalom and slalom alone. The reason was that slalom was not getting the attention it deserved. Although there were contests held the organizers did not pay enough attention and we were sometimes left to do our own thing on a parking lot outside the main skate arena. How fun is that? Two 10 second runs and the whole thing was over. That was not how I wanted it, and luckily there were many supporters to join me in my thoughts and efforts. The ISSA was created. Gianluca Ferrero, Italy, became the President and I became the secretary. Contests organized in the name of ISSA should ideally have three disciplines: straight, special and giant slalom. Like that those who would come to a contest would get a full weekend of fun, not 2 x 10 seconds. It was quite a success although producers did not support the sport we did pretty well keeping it going for another 10 years.

Slalom! magazine became our communication method. Almost no other magazines published photos, results, articles about slalom, so we did it ourselves. As soon as there was enough material to fill an issue (and time enough to have the work done) a mag was prepared, printed, shipped to all those that showed interest. 23 issues were published and the magazine had a truly world-wide circulation although total numbers were small. As this website builds we will publish copies of the old issues so that those of you who did not read them at the time can appreciate them, and for all of those that did read them, and contributed articles and photos to them, it will bring back fond memories. This site should also bring you new articles, results, pictures in the spirit of ISSA and maybe the mag can continue in an online format. It's up to you!

With these few lines I just want to tell you how glad I am to see the slalom revival and to be part of the slalom community again!

I'd would like to extend a warm Thank you! to those who have fought hard to bring this sport back into the light again, and to those who are currently making it happen. You've all done a excellent job bringing it back and I am very excited to see where this sport will go over the next few years. Let's make it happen together!

John Gilmour
Team Roe Racing
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Post by John Gilmour » Mon Jan 13, 2003 7:26 am

I am looking forward to whatever you may organize because always- racing for the racers is the priority- not merely as a sideshow.

I am very happy to see you involved again as you were in a sense the "rosetta stone" of slalom translating all the concerns into comprehensible text.

Also- good show on that first run in the 2002 World Championships Slalom race against Charlie Ransom- remarkable to have such a fast time after such a long hiatus.

You have waited a long time for America to wake up. Now if only we can wake up Europe fast enough to keep the sport circling the globe. Cheap airfares will make transcontinental racing possible. Many people I have spoken to are willing to race in Europe.

Would having a few USA slalom legends attend help European attendance at a slalom race?

Chris Eggers
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 2:00 am
Location: Germany

Post by Chris Eggers » Mon Jan 13, 2003 7:52 am

John Gilmour wrote:Would having a few USA slalom legends attend help European attendance at a slalom race?
John, we would be happy to have "USA slalom legends" attend races in Europe, but I am sure we will race no matter if there will be an American participation or not.

Sam Gordon
Sam Gordon
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Mr Soderhall

Post by Sam Gordon » Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:16 pm

Contrary to the avatar, Jani does actually ride his board:


But to quote Nastasja from Airflow: "Some people only need one run."

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