interview and video release

NO DEADLINE NO PRESSURE

Paul Thölen has really come into his own in 2022

 

Paul Thölen just released a new bmx video, which he’s been working on secretly with his good friend Felix Prangenberg. Time for us to ask him some questions.


by MARKUS WILKE – photos by ANTON ARENS

2022 sure was a busy year for Paul Thölen. He tore up bowls in Spain, Italy and on the Gold Coast, joined the infamous Fast & Loose Crew for a month-long trip across the United States, and also entered every stop of the UCI World Cup Series.The 24-year-old also managed to finish up a new web edit, which he’s been working on secretly with his good friend Felix Prangenberg.

Rest assured that Paul did all of this with his signature style, enough altitude to reach Senator status on any frequent flyer program and a huge smile on his face. Let’s find out what Goldilocks has to say about traveling nonstop, giving up on circus tricks and filming street clips for his latest solo project.

Paul Thölen bmx portrait

Paul right before the toothpick in Bonn.

Hey Paul, how are ya? What have you been up to lately?

Whats up! I’ve been enjoying some downtime lately. I got home from Australia just before Christmas and been hanging at home since, which I really needed after a hectic, but super fun 2022.

How many days were you actually home in 2022 and what are your favorite memories from last year?

I can’t really tell how many days I spend away from home, but definitely a lot. I’ve been on tons of trips last year and all of them were special, but I think the Fast and Loose Colorado/Oregon one was a trip of a lifetime for sure. Awesome crew, camping and the best concrete skateparks in the world just do the job.

Amazing! Traveling is awesome, but it also can take its toll. How do you cope with being away from home so much?

Since I’m traveling a lot, I made a lot of friends in so many different places and so traveling is the only way to see everyone every once in a while, haha. I just enjoy exploring new stuff so much. The boundaries of my comfort zone have shrunk to a minimum, so that even if there is just a shitty tent, no toilet or shower and only bread and aioli to live on I can cope with these situations quite well. That’s something I only learned by doing it.

Paul Thölen bmx

180 T-Bog. Right at the beginning of the project & One And Table in the Metall Quarter.

Paul Thölen bmx transition

It’s good to have a nice homebase, though. You’ve been living in Cologne, Germany for a while now. What do you like about living there?

That’s right! I moved in with my good friend and fellow BMX rider Marcel in 2021 and absolutely love the city. Cologne always had a big BMX and Skate scene and good spots in and around the city. Plenty of bars and hangout spots to spend your nights out as well, haha.

Speaking of partying, your new web video just dropped and you guys had a premiere at the re-opening of Halle 59 in Cologne, Germany recently. How did that go? And how does it feel to watch the video on a big screen with a bunch of your friends?

After we figured out some sound problems, it went really smooth. It was the first time premiering a video of myself and it definitely was exciting. I usually like to stay in the background a little more so I felt a little uncomfortable in the beginning, especially when I had to say a few words. But other than that it was good fun. Thanks Felix and Dany for making it possible!

Are you happy with how the video turned out?

Yes, I definitely am. I love Felix‘ work anyways and we always wanted to do a project together. I was really stoked we finally got to do it and even more on the outcome.

Paul Thölen bmx

Flip Foot on the wall.

Paul Thölen bmx

Let’s talk shop! How did the idea for this project come about and how long did you guys film for.

Felix and I always wanted to work on something together and since we both were stuck at home due to Covid, we thought it was the right time to do it. We filmed pretty much all of last year. Not necessarily because stuff was taking so long, but because we both started to travel again and it got harder and harder to find time slots that worked for us.

Have you ever filmed this long for a video part before?

Not really. But I definitely like to not have a fixed deadline, as it just releases the pressure.

Transition riders don’t really film videos too much anymore. Why do you think that is?

I feel like it’s harder to film a proper transition video, because there are simply not as many transition spots and skateparks as street spots. It just makes it harder to not repeat yourself, if that makes sense?! Other than that I just enjoy riding without filming anything so much, haha. Not that I don’t like filming, but everyone knows riding is little different with a camera pointing at you.

One thing that’s cool about this video is, that you’re riding a bunch of street spots in it, too. Now, you’re primarily known as a Park rider. Do you ride Street regularly?

Street riding is definitely something the pandemic got me into. All the skateparks were closed for a while, but I still wanted to ride. I also love, when transition riders come out their comfort zone for a video part and bring some transition style to the streets. Corey Walsh and Dennis Enarson are a huge inspiration for that!

Paul Thölen bmx

Paul is checking out the new trails in Kalk, Germany.

Paul Thölen bmx

There’s also some trails footage in the video. The spot you’re riding is fairly new and I know you also had a hand in it. Give us the low-down.

I think, these are the clips that get me stoked the most. Michael Hanfler and myself started a new trails spot in the beginning of last year. We put in so many hours of work and we’re super happy with how the jumps turned out. They’re big, fast and steep.

Nice! Did you guys set out to film an all-round video (Park, Street, Trails) or is that something that happened organically?

No, we didn’t have a plan for the video at all. All the street clips happened organically. The trails clips we’re something we both wanted to get. But when we started filming, it was no even sure, if we could ride the jumps by the end of the year haha.

YouTube player

 

There are a couple of guest clips in the video. Sharing the fun with your friends is a big one for you, right?

Yes, that’s what BMX is all about in my opinion. I love all the clips the homies got, Michi’s 360 over the big set especially. That was the craziest thing to happen at the trails so far.

Which trick was the biggest struggle to get done?

I’d say the 360 fast plant at the very end. I had that one stuck in my had since 2015 probably. I’m not kidding. I wanted to do it so many times already, but never came anywhere close to landing it. Then that day I somehow had a good feeling about it and the guts to go upside down. It still took me about 20 or 30 tries to actually land one and clear the box.

And which one was the scariest?

Probably the Cannonball out of the slide. I had to give it all pedaling towards the slide without knowing if the “landing” was clear. There was no way to stop once I jumped on the slide. Luckily nothing happened and no one got hurt.

That sounds stressful. Do you get stressed out while filming or are you only going for stuff that comes naturally?

I never really stress out to be honest. Of course there were a few clips that took me a little longer than others, but I always try to be relaxed about it.

Paul Thölen bmx

This railhop took 3-5 tries…

The Ender was something you’ve been wanting to do for a while now, right? Walk us thru the process of finally getting this trick done.

When I was filming for a project with Markus Wilke back in 2015, I think I stumbled across the idea of it. Not because I saw it somewhere before, but just because I was getting into fast plants a lot more back then and loved dipped 360s anyways. But I still had a hard time with it ever since. Besides the one in Duisburg there are not many setups that would work for that trick, so I was unable to try it all the time. So in the end it took me years to finally land one. Once that happened, Felix and I decided this one to be the ender quite quick. It was also the very last thing we filmed for the video, haha.

What about the rest of the filming? Did you have a trick/spot list you ticked off or was everything more a spur of the moment kind of thing?

I think every single clip other than the fast plant, I decided on the spot. I always used to imagine tricks or lines in my head before actually going somewhere and it very often did not really end up the way I wanted to. So for the most part I stopped doing that. I just go to a spot and do what I feel like doing the most.

I know you’re very particular about what tricks you’re doing. A few years ago you were doing a lot of “circus tricks”, but lately you’ve been leaning more towards style, flow and unique lines. Was that a conscious decision?

I’d say, that was something that developed over the years. There was no hard cut between the two types. The Vans Pro Cup series definitely had an impact on my riding, when I first entered in 2017. I just more and more fell in love with trying to ride as smooth as possible and trying to find lines in unique skateparks. It’s such a pure form of riding, I think. I just love the feeling of becoming one with your bike and going fast and smooth without letting go off the pedals and bars. Also the geometry of my bike has changed so much throughout the years, which makes all the tricks that I used to do even harder than they already are.

Another thing you’re really picky about is your helmets. Which one is your favorite one from the TSG collection?

That’s right, haha. I always struggled finding the right helmet for my weird head. TSG gave me the Meta helmet to try and it felt awesome right away, when I put it on. It’s super light and comfortable to wear, but still makes you feel save.

In the end of the video your infamous red VW camper makes a brief appearance. I know you enjoy that van life a lot. So much actually, that you bought a mobile home last summer. How’s that been going?

Yes I have two campers right now, which is kinda stupid, I know, haha. I’m trying to sell my motor home again, though, because I’m so in love with my transporter.

When’s the next time you’ll be hitting the road again?

I might hit the road at the end of February down south to wherever the weather is better than at home. Probably something like Malaga and the south coast of Portugal as I would love to go surf as well as ride bikes.

Shout-outs?

Obviously a huge shout out to Felix Prangenberg and Anton Arens for doing the project with me. Also shouts to Vans, kunstform BMX Shop and TSG for supporting our idea. Love you guys!

Paul Thölen bmx rider

Read more about Paul Thölen by clicking here.

new partnership

TSG supports Adrenaline Alley

 

Together with our UK partner Ison Distribution TSG supports the pioneering skatepark in Corby, UK


We are stoked  to announce that we have signed a sponsorship agreement with the incredible venue Adrenaline Alley.

Adrenaline Alley is Europe’s largest action sports venue and boasts a unique combination of ramps, foam pits and training areas catering for new riders, world champions and future Olympians alike. This great sporting facility based in the heart of the UK enables anyone from complete beginners right through to Olympic medallists to enjoy their chosen sport and develop their skills all year round.

Adrenaline Alley skate ramp

What a beauty!

Adrenaline Alley is a registered charity operating as a social enterprise. This makes it all the more attractive for us. We like to support facilities and projects that give young people low-threshold opportunities to participate in sports.

Adrenaline Alley skateboard ramp

Mandy Young MBE DL, Adrenaline Alley’s co-founder and chief executive, says: “TSG is a fantastic brand for us to partner with as our values are very much aligned. While we focus on providing a safe environment for action sports, TSG focus on safely protecting the individuals who take part in them.”

Declan Brooks TSG bmx rider

AA is Declan Brooks favourite training facility

Adrenaline Alley already act as one of the main training facilities for a number of TSG’s team riders including BMX freestyle Olympic Bronze Medallist, Declan Brooks, and aspiring Team GB athletes Ashley Finlay and Sasha Pardoe.

Watch video of Declan helping to prepare the skate park with new TSG logos:

YouTube player

 

So go visit Adrenaline Alley skate park and by the way TSG products are available from the onsite Skatehut store at Adrenaline Alley.

Find more TSG retailer in the UK by clicking here: ISON 

TSG Gift Guide

Gifts for Park Riders

 

Selected gifts for everyone who feels at home in the snow or bike park.


I Snow Park Riders

II Bike Park Riders

Want to find more gift inspiration? Check out our gift guide!

TSG Gift Guide

Gifts For Urban Riders

 

Gifts for all your loved ones that should commute safely and in style through the urban jungle


Want to find more gift inspiration? Check out our gift guide!

TSG Gift Guide

Gifts For Outdoor Kids

 

Give your kids a reason to get outside.


Want to find more gift inspiration? Check out our gift guide!

TSG Gift Guide

Small Gifts

 

 

Small gifts for little money for all the ones you care about.


Want to find more gift inspiration? Check out our gift guide!

TSG Gift Guide

Gifts for Backcountry Riders

 

All the essentials for a fun and safe ride in the backcountry.


I Gifts for backcountry skiers and snowboarders

If you’re all about finding the secret spots and leaving your tracks in the pristine powder, check out what we’ve picked for you.

II Gifts for mountain bike backcountry riders

Getting lost in the wood on your bike is what you like? Here is our selection for you!

Want to find more gift inspiration? Check out our gift guide!

TSG Gift Guide

Gifts For Bad Weather Riders

Bad weather can’t stop you. You just need the right equipment. Here you will find the perfect gifts for riding through rough conditions.


Want to find more gift inspiration? Check out our gift guide!

bmx video

Good times with Paul Thoelen

flow and speed

 

We just met Paul at Northbrigade skate park on a beautiful sunny day and filmed his lines. Enjoy!


video by WOOZY BMX

YouTube player

 

So much flow and speed in these lines. Check out more about Paul Thoelen.

Paul Thoelen bmx

TSG saved my life

Rider Down

Hannes’ story

Mountain bike team rider Hannes Klausner had a crash that could have easily ended his career. In his TSG saved my life story he tells you why he wasn’t knocked out totally.


story by HANNES KLAUSNER – photos by ROMAN KLOTZ

A Day like any other

Entrance check. Get ready. Focus. Go. A Day like any other. Been out riding and shooting. Aggressive and fast trail riding as I love it.

Mountain biker

Ritual. Last check of the trail entrance. Line choice is crucial.

aggressive mountain biking

Hannes loves to find and use natural berms. Extremely good support in loose and slippery trail conditions and a lot of fun to gain propulsion from the counterpressure. Aggressive riding the way he likes it best.

Out on trails I know very well. Trails I know every single root, every single rock and every single hole on.

Trails I really know my lines on. Trails I feel comfortable on going fast.

mountain biker in the flow

Full Speed. When you fly over bumps like roots or stones and get support and control again when the front tyre touches down. That’s where flow comes in!

A good day

A good day spending time in my comfort zone doing what I love most. A day feeling super well on my bike and being happy with my riding.

mountain biker in the sunlight

What a mood of light. Hannes loves being in the forest. Absolute happy place.

Mountain bike full face helmet

Concentrated look back at a tricky part of the trail and the question in him if another line is possible there. It’s definitely worth a try. Let’s go!

Good fun. Good times. Good day. Pretty much all perfect.

Mountain biking

Trail mode. Fully in preparation for the approaching next section.

Mountain biking

Set high to be early enough for the rest of the section and take the speed with you. This is the only way to maintain the flow. You sometimes have to accept that you have to cross higher roots.

All of a sudden everything changed

But then. All of a sudden everything changed.

I still don’t exactly know what happened.

I went down hard on a very fast section right in between the trees and it felt like one of the hardest impacts I ever had.

Not rolling down the hill after going over the bars. Not loosing my front tire and sliding down the trail. Just a very hard impact that stopped me on point and felt really painful.

A tough one.

Rider Down Hannes Klausner

Rider Down. The moment shortly after everything has taken a different course than originally planned. That’s when you have to lie still for a while. But everything was going really well.

Rider Down Hannes Klausner

After staying on the ground for quite some time to even realize what just happened, I got checked in hospital and luckily walked away with no major injuries. Scratches and bruises all over and a sore body like never before, but no broken bones and no major inner damages.

A crash that could have easily ended my career, but also a crash that left me extremely thankful to be alive and be able to come back to do what I love most.

Super thankful for the high-quality pads and helmet

Such a privilege.

TSG saved my life

Looking back, I’m also super thankful for the high-quality pads and helmet that helped a lot to protect me from bigger injuries on this one and for every single gym session to keep my body fit and be able to take slams like this without being fully knocked out.

A day that ended a lot different than planned, but happy and thankful to be alive after a crash that could have ended a lot worse.

After a crash that could have changed the rest of my life pretty much. Make sure to keep your body fit and use high quality protection if you’re keen to get out there and ride bikes properly. It’s an amazing sport that we have and so much fun to shred bikes down the hill and through the woods, but it’s also a dangerous one.

You wanna keep riding bikes a lot longer, right?

Get out, enjoy the ride but make sure to stay safe and protect yourself.

CHEERS & RIDE ON, Hannes

Click to visit Hannes’ rider profile.

 

Check out Hannes riding gear:

Read more TSG saved my life stories