Zdeněk Rybár is a passionate skateboarder and snowboarder, who fell in love with splitboarding. In addition, he is in charge of operating a concrete skatepark and a covered mini-ramp in Vrbno pod Pradědem in Czech republic. He actively participated in realization of both of these projects. In the interview, you will find out, among other things, what the skate scene looked like at the time when Zdeněk started skateboarding or why he has with his friends an account on social media called @otroci_prasanu. And don't forget to check out our #HFtrippraded and #HFtripvrbno videos!
Hi Zdeněk, for those who don't know you, could you please introduce yourself?
Hi!!! I have lived in Vrbno pod Pradědom all my life and now I take care of the operation of our skatepark and indoor mini-ramp. I hike the hills on a splitboard in the Jeseníky mountains and this year I will celebrate my forties.
You ride both a skateboard and a snowboard. Most people who ride will sooner or later combine these two sports. How was it with you? Are you a skater who started snowboarding, or a snowboarder who started skateboarding?
First I started riding a skateboard. It completely engulfed me and when the winter came, snowboarding was an ideal form of entertainment. It looked cool on the hill in about 1991. The first snowboard ride was unforgettable. I almost couldn't carry the huge snowboard that the boys made themselves, and when I was riding down the hill, I had my legs very far apart, so I didn't make a single turn. But it was a lot of fun.
When did you first start skateboarding?
My older brother and I were guided to sports from an early age. In addition to skiing, I played football, which my father trained in Vrbno. When I was nine years old (1990), I went from football training to the cabin in football boots and looked at the guys who were skateboarding in the local skatepark next to the football field. What I enjoyed most was watching the guys riding the big ramp, and I thought it was quite a fun swing. The guys called me that I shouldn't just look, and try it. I take off my football boots and on the very first day I swayed to the middle of the ramp. I came home with football boots in my hand and said I would never need them again. I kept that, and to this day I haven't put that thing on my feet no more. It can be said that I spent my whole childhood in a skatepark.
What did the beginnings of skateboarding look like in Vrbno? Where there any places where you could ride?
When I started riding, the scene in Vrbno was quite hyped. Over twenty people rode here frequently and I was the youngest, so I could still look up to someone. We had a skate club led by Jozef Rektořik. The section belonged to TJ Sokol and thanks to that we received some money to operate a skatepark, we could go to competitions around the country. It was all completely different than now. Around 1991, only a few people from the skatepark had a real skateboard from America. Thanks to the management of the skate department, we were each individually sponsored by local companies and factories, which we advertised at various events (competitions, exhibitions, balls). At the time, I took it as a fun and I got skateboards for free, which was a big deal. The skateboard set was worth a lot of money at the time. Of course, my parents were the biggest support, so when I needed something, it wasn't a problem. Skatepark was at that time at a good level, street set up, a mini ramp and a large ramp.
You participated in the construction of a concrete skatepark in Vrbno. Can you tell us more about that?
I was honestly annoyed by what the old iron skatepark looked like over the years. Some obstacles were over twenty years old.I have always been interested in working with concrete, and I said to myself that when I start to do it there, people around me and the city management will realize that I meant the requirements for a new skatepark for safety reasons. At that time, I was wondering, whether to make a DIY skatepark in the old place, or to make a project for a new skatepark that will be in the new place. In total, we chased the offices for eight long years and finally we managed to find the city land. Thanks to Fiveramps, a few successful negotiations took place on the spot and it was possible to start making things up. Denis Martaus came up with the first concept and we worked with various options for about a year. Jezus, Míra Tovaryš, Ivo Prášek and I intervened in the design. But we found ou that it is impossible to please all the skateboarders with it. So I spent a few sleepless nights with worrying about that. Probably the worst part of the project was the abolition of the old legendary skatepark. I had to find a company that would break down all the obstacles and take them away. The only thing we managed to save was the mini-ramp, which we gave to the boys in Zábřeh in Moravia. It wasn't easy to witness how is your favourite skatepark been demolated.
In 2017, we were there with the whole HF crew at #HFtripvrbno, of which you were a part. How do you remember that?
I remember a great weekend. The whole party was accommodated in a nearby camp in retro cottages. There was a quality skateboarding with a barbecue and a fire, which is an ideal combination. Some went for a walk in nature and I think everyone looked satisfied.
A year later, #HFtrippraded took place there again, where the entire HF crew snowboard at your local spot, Praděd. The afterparty also included skateboarding in the mini-ramp in Vrbno. It was you again, who participated in realization of this project :) Please tell us more about it.
The idea of using the hall to build a mini-ramp in the former glassworks came while drinking a beer with friends. We had a look on that space andit was clear! We are building a mini-ramp! Huge thanks go to the people who sent us money and helped us with their hands. The biggest boss in the construction of the mini-ramp and the street part was Jezus (Honza Kesler). Lots of the material was from Peter from Picnicskateshop, so the guys deserve a huge thanks too! Without their support, it might not have worked out. But I didn't go to the project of the covered mini-ramp all by myself. With Jakub Rektořík we combined together music and skateboarding. He has a rehearsal room next to the mini-ramp and we try to maintain the hall and, of course, gradually improve it. We organize concerts associated with riding in the mini-ramp and sometimes we have some video and film screenings in the evening. In winter, thanks to the cooperation with GARA splitboards, it is possible to rent splitboards there. On Instagram you can find our photos under #skateclubvrbno.
You spend your winters in the mountains by splitboarding and riding powder. You also have an account on social networks with your firends called @otroci_prasanu (which means powder slaves), where you document all your adventures. What was this year's powder slaves season like?
I came up with the name when we didn't have splitboards, and climbing up the hills without splitboards was a terrible slavery. We document the vast majority at home in Jeseníky on Praděd. Sometimes one of us gets to the bigger mountains. What was Japan, for example, last year with Jara Sijka and his girlfriend Eliška. This year we enjoyed a lot of hiking, especially on Praděd. For a few days, the powder was excellent, not too far from the Japanese one. This season, for example, Martin Michalčák joined our group, who is very good on skis and has an excellent physicist when hiking. Anyway, our whole group is great and I always feel the best in it on the hill.
People who are willing to hike for a few hours because of a few minutes of riding, have a special relationship with snowboarding and the mountains. Do you feel the same way?
My relationship with the mountains has changed in some ways thanks to the splitboard. The transition to the splitboard was a big shift, and I have to thank Jara Sijka to that. He helped me with the equipment, he showed me how to move on it and gave me the complete basics. We hike up the hills together and enjoy the snowy hills. You can plan your line according to your abilities and physics. Sometimes it happens that you enjoy hiking more than riding down. When hiking, you have more time to observe things around you, to enjoy nature and to be completely calm. The ride downstairs itself is then such a pleasant reward. I have a deeper relationship with nature and I don't think anything will ever change again.
We know from our own experience that with the love of the mountains, there is usually an interest in nature and its protection. What about you and this area?
When walking in nature, I don't like to come across trash, and I don't understand people who throw away packaging in nature at all. We fight in this area mainly in the skatepark. Groups of children make an incredible mess around them. The vast majority of waste is pet bottles and cans of the cheapest energy drinks. For example, I'm currently trying to figure out the placement of a hand-held pet bottle press in a skatepark to reduce the total amount of waste.
What is the best place where you had the opportunity to ride?
I probably wouldn't call it the best place, but I feel the best in our covered mini-ramp after returning from powder riding on Praděd. When, at the end of the day, an ideal group of skaters meet, who enjoyed powder on the same day and then skateboard in a heated mini-ramp, they will certainly understand my answer the best. An earlier childhood dream simply became a reality.
In the end, do you have something you would like to add/refer to?
The most sincere thanks definitely go to my parents for their lifelong support. Huge thanks also go to my friends who help me with the implementation of all projects and events. Thanks to skateboarding and snowboarding for meeting so many amazing people. I cannot forget to send thanks to the people who were part of our lives and suddenly left us forever. Many thanks to the Horsefeathers crew for the pleasant support based on a frienship. Jara Sijka for photos and cooperation with Gara splitboards. Perhaps this strange situation with the covid will soon improve and we will have a beer together after a good ride. Enjoy every day and don't be afraid of anything.
You can support Skate club Vrbno here.
Zdeněk on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zdenekrybar/
Powder slaves on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/otroci_prasanu/