Andrei Churakov Interview: Balance, Belgium & Beyond

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Andrei C. cruising a garage park in his home town of Blankenberge. Photo: Radu Fetila

Thanks to the power of the internet, the skateboarding world doesn’t need to travel all the way over to Belgium to get a taste of Fireball Team Rider, Andrei Churakov’s unrivaled blend balance and tech. Instead, a quick search on YouTube or Instagram provides a glimpse into the insanity of his skating. From solving rubik’s cubes in one footed manuals to making use out of broken skate decks, his unrivaled board control is among the best in the freestyle community.

Even better for us, Andrei has spent some time in our neck of the woods, enjoying the Southern California summer. Before he takes off again, we sat him down for a few questions about his time on the Fireball team, riding style and where he’s headed next. 

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Nose mannys on a skate trip to Barcelona with Axel Serrat and Sam Holding. Photo: Axel Serrat

Fireball Supply Co.: How long have you been a part of the Fireball squad?

Andrei Churakov: I’ve been a part of Fireball since 2011 so pretty early on. When David sponsored me, it didn’t make sense because I’m a freestyler and dancer so I don’t really do downhill or free ride and nobody in that scene really was sponsored. Then again, having me on as a team rider is good because I only use one set of wheels every couple of years!

FSC: We’re putting you on blast. Is it true that scootering helped you get so good at one footed-manuals?

AC: It actually did. Before I wanted to be a longboarder, I was all about scootering. I wanted to be a pro scooter rider and I was actually been doing it for years - halfpipes and bowls with scooters - and I got relatively okay. Then, I remember one time someone gave me this weird look like,

"You’re too old for a scooter"

and I was like ‘Alright I guess I need a new sport’ so I got a longboard and started doing that. But yes, knowing how to manual on a scooter with one foot is actually the same as one foot manual on a longboard so that did help me out.

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Though he needs only one truck to manual, Andrei is known to steal multiple sets at a time. 

FSC: Where does your inspiration for new tricks and combos come from?

AC: I always say that people should take from everything. If you’re a longboarder, you don’t have to take from other longboarders. If you’re a skateboarder, you don’t have to take from just skateboarders. For example, I look at snowboarding videos, I love BMX videos and I love inline skating and stuff like that so I just watch videos on YouTube. If I see someone rollerskating do something weird with their foot that helps them do a pirouette or something like that, then I just take from that and try to incorporate it in my longboarding.

FSC: What skaters are out there that you think are getting overlooked right now?

AC: To be honest, right now, the people that should be in the spotlight are in the spotlight. I do have one rider, Josh Turner, who is doing the creative things. He does things on a longboard that nobody else has even ever imagined. Pushing the limits with every trick that he does. For me, I really enjoy the creativity of longboarding so he’s one of the most entertaining skaters. 

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Adding some signature style to a dock in San Diego... Photo: Ryan Ricker

FSC: After spending some time in SoCal, what’s been your favorite spot to skate?

AC: Definitely Venice Beach. The vibe in Venice and Santa Monica is so cool with everyone skating or roller skating or biking. There’s stuff going on and creative people just doing their thing. As I said earlier, I take creativity from everything so I can see someone hula hooping and do something weird with their feet and think,

"Maybe I can do that with a board" 

FSC: What’s the difference in skating here than back home in Belgium?

AC: The first difference is that in California, in the span of a week, you can go out and skate every day. In Belgium in the span of a week, you’ll have two hours that it doesn’t rain and then you have to find a spot that is not wet from the rain earlier and skate it really fast until it starts raining again. The main difference is that weather is not factor and I think that’s a big luxury that people here overlook. Another thing that’s definitely different is that people do longboard dancing more in Europe while here is mostly downhill and freeride focused.

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...Annnnd also falling in style. Photo by Ryan Ricker

FSC: Where are you headed after your time in LA?

AC: In September, theres a big chance that we may do something with Paris Trucks: attending a wedding of one of the riders. I cannot say too much about that but there’s going to be a big wedding so we might actually go to that and then travel to Barcelona or travel around Europe with Paris Trucks. I also hope to be back in October! 

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Whether it be G-Turns or Best Tricks, Churakov is a contest killer. Photo: Cécile Orlandi

If you catch Andrei out on the streets, odds are you’ll find him rocking a set of Fireball Incendos with Dragon Bearings. If he happens to give you a tip for those one-foot mannys and you want to copy his setup, you can check them out in our shop here.


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