Words With Madera’s Erik Elstran About “The World’s Most Creatively Edited BMX Edit Ever.”
The only thing that is predictable about Erik Elstran’s riding is that it’s completely unpredictable. At the beginning of each clip when he’s rolling up to the obstacle—or even half way through whatever it is he’s doing—you never know what might happen next. And that characteristic alone sets him apart from pretty much everyone in BMX. Erik’s a goddamn genius on a BMX bike and his latest masterpiece for Madera left me amazed, baffled, and wanting more, so I asked him some questions about “The World’s Most Creatively Edited BMX Edit Ever.” —Jeff Z.
Your wife Sarah was listed as filmer. Which clips did she film? And what’s it like riding (and filming) with your wife?
Sarah filmed the Kevin Porter reach around to feeble at the Winona ditch in Denver. We’ve traveled together all over and I’ve had her film random phone stuff of me so it felt pretty natural. She’s my best friend and down for anything I’m into basically [laughs].
You had two legit handrail clips while it was literally snowing. Are you just trying to prove how impervious you are to cold weather?
BMX isn’t hard for me and doing tricks in nice dry weather is just way too easy, you know? Basically, I’m just badazz. Kidding of course. I filmed some things this winter mainly because I just wanted to finish this edit and snow doesn’t have a huge effect on doing a straight handrail. I guess I do think snow clips are pretty cool, though. It’s definitely a lot easier for a BMXer to film something in the snow than a skateboarder.
Seriously though, being from Minnesota, how do you think the extreme winter weather has influenced your riding?
Besides making me more eXtreme, the Midwest winters forced me to get creative. Growing up, visits to indoor parks were infrequent since there weren’t any located close [to me] so I had to come up with new tricks to keep riding interesting since all I rode was a small square of cement in front of my parent’s garage when it was dry. The winter gives you time to think about new tricks and things you want to do when better weather comes.
How does it typically work for you… the trick idea then find the right setup? Or do you just show up somewhere and bunch of light bulbs turn on in your brain as you survey your surroundings?
As I learn new tricks I’m always aware of how I can apply them to other spots I’m familiar with or setups that could exist. Sometimes it’s a trick for a very specific setup and I store that idea in my head until I come across the right setup. For example, that Miami Hopper stall thing for the first clip in the edit is something I’ve wanted to do for years that required a specific setup. I think it’s also good to ride a spot and let ideas come naturally through experimentation. Many times I’ve shown up to a spot to film a specific trick and realized that it’s not actually possible, but something else is. Certain setups call for a specific maneuver to be done.
Which clip took the longest to film?
Hmm, I’m not sure… I always take a long time to film anything [laughs].
Which are you most hyped on?
Probably the ender because it was the last clip I filmed. I had almost entirely finished the editing up until that point, so the satisfaction of landing the trick was added to a feeling of closure.
Who are some riders who influenced or motivated you when you were growing up? What about today?
Growing up a lot of the Milwaukee and Team Dilly dudes influenced and motivated me. Really, anyone I was riding with. Today I get stoked from everyone on the Sunday and Madera teams (obviously), all my friends still, and anyone doing it their own way.
Do you find inspiration anywhere outside of BMX?
Oh yeah! I get inspiration from so many outlets. My wife Sarah is a musician so we go to a lot of shows together and I find inspiration from that.
Have you ever reached a point where you felt out of ideas… even just for a little while?
I’ve definitely taken time off from letting BMX totally consume my thoughts and time, but I’ve never felt like I reached the limit of what’s possible on a bike.
What was your editing inspiration? And how long did this take to make?
Editing was very much a process and this video took a long time to edit because it came together a bit unconventionally. I originally edited pretty much the whole video to a different song, but it didn’t feel quite right. I wanted to have some theme to tie it all together, which was slightly problematic because I realized I didn’t have much cohesive b-roll. All the footage came from different sources and I didn’t capture any of it. I entertained the idea of making a pun about leftovers and film myself putting food in the microwave since this was kind of a leftover edit (there’s a handful of leftover clips from the Sunday Grow Up DVD). However, I didn’t want it to feel like it was “left over” necessarily. I remembered an idea I had a while ago to incorporate screen captures of editing into a video and thought this would be an appropriate project to utilize it.
The wedding day lake jump backflip over your bride might be a first. How did that idea come about and how did your families react when you guys first told them about it?
I wanted to have a lake jump involved in our wedding from the very beginning of us talking about it. At first it was kind of a joke, but then we realized how feasible it would actually be. The wedding took place at my parent’s house and we’ve had ramps, rope swings, zip lines, and all kinds of rad stuff there for years so it felt like it was supposed to happen.
You and Rob DiQuattro…. Can you describe your relationship? And how do you two feed off each other in both silly and serious ways?
Rob is the best. We can make fun of each other by making fun of the way we make fun of each other, but are also able to get real and talk about very deep personal and existential things. I love spending time with Rob and I’m very thankful to have him as a friend.
Why do you choose to stay in Minneapolis? And not relocate to Denver with Rob?
Something I say a lot is: “the most important thing about any place is the people.” I have a lot of friends in Minneapolis and my parents only live an hour and a half away. It’s home and the city I’m currently the most invested in. The winters here turn a lot of people off, but there are a lot aspects about it I like. Denver is a cool city, but I can’t see myself moving there or anywhere else anytime soon.
On the riding front, the Madera team is a pretty diverse mix and everyone has their own distinct style. What’s it like being a part of the crew?
Being apart of Madera is awesome. There is a good camaraderie that exists within the team. Trips are always a blast since we’re all friends and the group text is always popping off with random riding clips and discussions in which everyone is pretty involved.
What happens when you all get together on trips?
Risky behavior on bicycles intended for children. Really though, on Madera trips we ride a lot. With [Mike] Hinkens being the TM—and of course a rider—there is always great consideration taken into spots. On the Madera trip to DC we all looked at photos of spots Hinkens had found while living there. Each day he would compile a guide of spots to hit in sequential order based on ones we showed interest in.
Is there one dude on the team who you identify with the most?
I don’t think I can answer to that exactly since we’re all family. I will say having Dylan McCauley on any trip is a treat. His enthusiasm and positivity is infectious and it’s hard to have a bad time when he’s around.
Thanks for the interview Ride!
CAPTIONS (In order of appearance):
Wedding day lake jump: Walter Pieringer
Wallride: Sarah Elstran
Smith grind: Ben Austin
Sarah and Erik, post flip: Kyle Lehman