left: Adam Graňák, right: Milan Purdeš
How the idea of creating a multifunctional sports hall was born?
We created it on the initiative of our colleague Milan Purdeš, who came up with this idea and started creating it together with Tomáš Leiblinger. Then they came to me and I put it together from an economic point of view. Because Tomáš and I were working for RedBull at the time, we were close to sports such as skate, snowboarding, skiing, gmynastics and trampolines. Somehow, the idea started to seem real. And of course, it was created in the pub.
How long did the realization take - from the pub idea until final opening?
It wasn’t that quick as I thought it would. The first idea came approximately in 2014, we had the land in 2016 and the final inspection happened in September 2017.
Were there any complications or did everything go smoothly?
There are always complications in business. In sports business - three times more. And during the construction of the sports hall - ten times more. Our fundamental problem was that we had the project developed by a company to which we gave a budget, and which told us just before the building permit was granted, that it would actually cost twice as much as we wanted. Therefore, it took us a while to find another company that got into the budget we could imagine.
left: bigger kicker with snowflex material, right: trampoline training
What exactly Hangair is? And what is contains?
Hangair is a sports center that focuses mainly on non-traditional or community sports - skateboards, scooters, dry training for skiing and snowboarding, jumps on a snowflex - indoor imitation of snow with a landing into the large foampit pool, gymnastics area, trampolines (large freestyle trampoline, on which skiers, snowboarders, wakeboarders train the tricks they need to get in their head to make them easier to do on snow or water). All of this is made to train sports that don’t have that much support. It's the essence of the whole Hangair, whether as a sports venue or as an idea.
Who is the target group of Hangair? Just for athletes or even for the general public?
When we started this project, we thought that only athletes would come to us - whether hobby or professional ones, who need to complete their training process, but we were wrong. The majority are regular visitors - young people between the ages of 10 and 20, using trampolines as preparation for the sports they do or would like to do. And then quite a few parents come to us, who probably skated before or were close to this sport and come to us with their kids to have fun and fulfill their dream of skating with the kids on the ramp. And that's nice to see.
Do some famous people also train in Hangair?
I don't know if they are exactly famous people, but they are definitely well-known in communities. Among water sports, it‘s Michal Zub, Tomáš Jadrný from Czech Republic, multiple wakeskate world champion Zuzka Vráblová, snowboarder Baška Števulová with kids and skater Max Habanec also stopped by during events. Hopefully, I haven’t forgotten anyone, if so I apologize for not including him among famous people.
left: skater Max Habanec in Hangair during his MAXSPACE tour, right: our snowboard rider Zoltán Strcuľa
How did the construction of obstacles go? Did you invent and design them yourself?
We designed them ourselves. It was a team job, most of the work was done there by Tomáš with his squared paper. Then it was built by a professional construction company. We consulted the obstacles with the guys from Finland, who make a living out of building similar halls, and they approved it. Probably now we would redo some of the things, that weren’t visible on the squared papers and visualisations. But I think we made the most out of that space.
Who was that chosen one to try jumps when they were already built and needed to be tested?
It was a draw. Finally, Milan went first on the snowboard, because we needed to test whether the jump was in the right shape and whether the radius were done well. It was okey. I was supposed to go first on the skis, but Tomáš said that if I fell, he wouldn't dare to go. So he went first - and fell of course, so I had a lot of respect. Fortunately, I made it somehow, but we all said it needed to be redone. The jump was too high and flat before the jump was too short. So we redone it. We wanted double tricks to be done there, but the snowflex material on the surface of the jumps is not as dynamic and fast as snow. We had to lengthen and lower the jump a bit because it was quite kicked. It is not so easy to do a double trick there, but for example Miško Oravec, a freestyle skier, absolutely nailed it.
left: "dry" snowboard jumps training, middle: bounceboard rotations on trampoline, right: Hangair skate plaza
Do you have a favorite part of the hall? For example, where do you go to train yourself?
My favorite part of the hall is the garden, which is great. And I must admit that it's also the Hangair rooftop. Because only we can go there. There is a great view and peace. In the beginning, we spent a lot of time there, because we needed to clear our heads, as we spent a lot of time down in the hall. Now it’s a bit better, we have found the right people to help us with that so we have finally time for other stuff. Unfortunately, I spend the most time in the office chair. Everyone tells me how great it must be to have a sports hall, so I can have fun all the time in there, but for me the fastest movement is a quick turn on the chair.
Let's say that I would like to learn backflip on a snowboard till the winter and I would come to Hangair and ask you to help me with that. What would you do with me?
First of all, we'd let you sign the declaration, haha. Secondly, we would recommend a coach. Boris Karolčík, our snb trainer, would definitely know how to set it up. At first, you would definitely need to strengthen your body a bit, because when you see those jumps on the X-Games, they seem simple, but then, when you come to the trampolines and really start trying, you will find that this is not the case. It's really about physical training, which can also eliminate injuries. Then you would go on a trampoline, first you would learn how to jump on it, then you would learn backflip to the fonpit and later on the trampoline. We also have hanging ropes to secure you, so there's no chance you'd hurt yourself. In case that you already completed all of this and it was alright, you’d start on the jumps. In the beginning on the smaller one to find out how the jump reacts and gradually we would go on the bigger one to get enough speed to get the backflip. We already had a similar case in the hall. It was a person that already snowboard well, but didn’t jump such things. It took him about a month and a half to land it on the snow. So I think, it’s possible.
Kids during the skate camp
Perfect! So there is still a chance for adults to fulfill their teenage dreams about snowboarding, skating, tricks and so on. Do you also organize courses for adults?
Sure, we also organize courses for adults. Some are mixed and some are for adults only. For example, gymnastics, trampolines are adults only and bikes, skates, scooters are mixed. It's not about how old a person is, but what his skills are. There are 10 year old boys mixed with 40 year old men in the bike groups, and same goes for skate groups.
So even older people come to you, with statement: "I always wanted to know how to skate, I always wanted to know how to do flips - I'm going to learn it now."
Yes, they do. It's not that many, but you can see that it's their dream, they want to try it and most of all, they're not ashamed, because it's adapted to it. That's why we're there.
One behind-the-scenes question at the end - what happens behind the Hangair doors when you close in the evening? I imagine that you lock up, have a draft beer and go to trampolines, jump, simply a staff party. Am I right?
Haha, you’re right partly. Sometimes the employees really stay there, if they group up and they want to skate after work, have a beer or have fun on the trampolines. And I am completely fine with that. The most important thing is to not hurt themselves while staying late. In addition, we have cameras there. And I have to admit, I check them out quite often. It's great that we also have a garden where you can stay longer or bake some sausages and so on.
And we’ll end this interview with sausages. Adam, thank you for the talk, I wish you all the best, and same goes for Hangair.
Garden is a place for chill, beers, skateboarding and summer movie screening