Kareem El Rafie exclusive itwSeptember 20th, 2011 by admin received Comments Off Tweet
Today we have had a nice talk with Kareem El Rafie – yes, the Sweden rails killer you saw in “That” and “They Came From” just to name a few, and definitively one of the most representative rider of the Nordic shred gotha. Well, sit down and enjoy this super nice exclusive itw!
Hi Kareem! Stoked to have you on Candiesmagazine! Drop in: age, years of riding, and hometown
27 years, been riding for 13 years, Stockholm
Sponsors and hook ups:
Endeavour, Colour wear, Thirtytwo, Spy, Fl-clothing, Ethnies, Blue Tomato, Väsjöbacken
I guess everyone already knows the story behind your switch from Forum in favor of Endeavor Snowboard, so I hope you don’t mind if I skip this one. My question is far more complex: do you think that nowadays snowboarding is still “riders\riding driven” or it’s up to business and managers focused on following the latest trends and pushing the profits of their big corporations?
Unfortunately the trends im seeing and the where the industry is going are becoming more and more like you said, commercialized and corporate driven. It seems like the industry is heading further and further from the roots and the real soul of snowboarding.
Can you still remind the first time you rode your board? How did you realize that it was going to turn out into a career?
Like it was yesterday. Won’t ever forget the feeling I had and the rush I got from boarding and I knew I was hooked for life. I guess I realized it was turning into a career when I started reciving money to go board.
You’re also running your own business with Frontline (check out the official website! www.flsnow.com). How was this project born? and what’s your aim\purpose with this brand?
It started of just as any friend crew like the other. We started printing out own t-shirts for fun and giving them away to our riders and selling them to friends.
As the years went by our family/crew grew and the hype with it so as my dad has a little factory in Egypt we figured to get more involved in designing and production and the brand FL-clothing started taking shape.
The aim with the brand has always been to design clothes and its sizes the way we want them to look and fit and to express our creativity. It’s never been about money but as you get more into business you realize that the better profit you make the more cool stuff you can give back to the people involved and backing it.
It’s incredible how fresh and innovative is your riding style. Are you highly focused on your tricks when you’re riding, or you just follow the feeling of the moment? Are you workin on something new at present?
I always have tricks on my mind that I want to send in reality and get out on film. A lot of times I’m looking for spots to be able to do them but most of the time its hard to find them like you pictured it in your head. Meanwhile when you see new spots and train you can instead get inspired to a trick more suitable for the spot.
So what I’m trying to say I guess is that the beauty of snowboarding is your chance to use your creativity and you just need to adapt it to the terrain and spots you come across.
Can you tell us any highlight from last winter? You’re working pretty hard on powder riding, isn’t it? Are you getting bored of street riding?
No not at all. There’s too many fun aspects in snowboarding to limit yourself to just one area or kind. I grow up riding the streets cause that was the only thing I had access to. This game me an opportunity to travel more and start riding mountains and pow. These days I just feel that I have more to learn and to experience things that I so fare haven’t in the backcountry then the streets. But like said before I wont ever limit my riding to only park, rails or pow as I love it all to much.
Your part in “They Came From….” was super sick. The feeling is that you’re really pushin 200% while filming. Are you already up on any new flick for next season?
Thanks. As I was stoked on my part in They Came From as that was latest uninjured year and I got the chance to film most of the season. The past years I have unfortinuetly had problems with injuries and unmotivated crews.
This year I was stoked to get to film with good friends and film for the new Helgason movie “Sexual Snowboarding” where I will have split part with comeback kid Risto Ruokala with some tricks that I’m stoked on. Unfortunetly I got injured again by a taxi and had some problems with my crew in Whistler to get to film so I know I got way more to prove and get on film next year.
2011 was for sure the year of the triple cork. Well, maybe of the switch stance triple cork 1440, too. We’re really stoked by these guys pushing progression so far. But in a certain way the feeling is that behind it there’s something more like a gold rush than like having fun and pushing tricks.. Do you agree with this statement, or you think it’s simply a good way to grow as a rider?
Like mentioned before I feel that this is the direction the industry wants snowboarding to go. To me it just feels like more and more soulless spin to win acrobatics where difficulty upside down spins, multiple rotations and points is where its all heading.
I believe that every trick starting from a nolly or switch ollie to more technical tricks has its equal or own beauty depending on how, where and on what you do it.
But these days its getting harder and harder for riders with real soul, creativity, there own way of riding and integrity has way harder to make it as a pro compared to spin to win acrobatic contest machines as that what the industry is pushing and looking for.
You luckily got out of a car accident recently. Of course I’m super happy that everything went out pretty fine, even if “fine” is not the right word when talking about accidents and injuries. But this makes a question pop out suddenly in my mind: are you religious ? Or do you have any kind of personal karma that helps you when life is hitting more hard?
I guess Im pretty super sticius. I was brought upp by a pretty religious mom who used to take me to church every Sunday and etc and that with a mix of a believe in carma guess and stuff like that kinda makes me think when good and bad things happen.
It seems like pretty odd things and a lot of times bad things happen to me but somehow it usually turns out to the best so I spent some time tryin to inturpitate that but hasn’t yet really come upp with an good answer. Haha
Being a pro is the dream of almost every rider, but once you’re a pro, it also becomes a job. Do you ever feel you’re leaving besides anything to follow your snowboard career?
Yeah I guess a lot of pro snowboarders are so committed to riding and there snowboard carier that they never think or care abut life outside and after snowboarding.
Pro snowboarding is kind of a unreal and pretty deceiving lifestyle as it kan end pretty instantly to anyone by a bad injury or getting fucked over buy sponsors.
I think its pretty important to have a backup plan whutt to do when your done or working with meanwhile so you don’t end upp with nothing exept good memories after you carier..
And then…jump on the Delorean…where will we see Kareem in ten years?
Driving an sweet Bently, owning my own Island paradise, my own snowboard mountain and a few cribs around the world.. haha
But will probably for that have to get more business focused with my clothing company and maybe doin more work in the office then boarding.
I will board though as much as possible fo the rest of my life and surfing is something I can se myself doing way moore too. Traweling to non snowboarding related destionations and tripps to is something I wanna do when I get moore time as when your boarding as a professional most of your time goes in to it..
Snowboard is everything, but it’s not 24/7. What do you do when not riding?
I like surfing and skateboarding to abit. Love traweling on non snowboard related trips and just explore the world and life..
And then – let’s relax ourselves – your best book, best tune and best video (even not strictly snowboard related) of the moment?
Best book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Best Video: Inception
Best Tune: Jimmy Cliff – Bob yu did yu job
We got it Kareem! Thank you for your time! Last line is yours, feel free to end as you want:
Thanks fo da support and kids don’t forget to board couse you loving the feel of it moore then trying to accomplish something and get somewhere with it..
Pictures: (c)Daniel Blom (danielblom.com), (c)Oli Gagnon, (c)Russell Dalby, (c)Neuman
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Featured Articles, INTERVIEWS, SNOWBOARD