If filming video parts were a science then Erik Elstran would have a Ph.D. Not only are each of his video parts super memorable thanks to his extraordinarily creative ideas, but the level of his trickery is mindblowing as well. 2020 is shaping up to be a spectacular year in the Elstran video part library with a mega section in Madera’s ABD, followed by the Pro Part we released last week, and there’s still the X Games Real BMX part scheduled to drop in August, which according to Erik, will be “some of the best riding I’ve ever filmed.” Safe to say that’ll be an earthquake of a video part! For now, we caught up with Erik about all the above and talked about some of the big moves happening in his personal life as well.
Madera ABD, Sunday projects, OurBMX Pro Part, and a Real BMX section…Would you say this has been the most productive/busy you’ve ever been with filming?
Well, this year is sort of the culmination of the last two years of filming, so it has been sort of spaced out, but last summer was super busy for me, filming wise.
A lot of the filming overlapped and footage was dished out to different projects, right? And that’s most of what became the Pro Part…
Yeah, a lot of the footage from the Pro Part was things we didn’t use in the X Games part. At the same time we were filming the X Games stuff I was finishing Madera ABD, so there was definitely an overlap with everything.
You edited the Pro Part yourself…when was the last time you edited your own video?
I helped Walter edit the X Games part so does that count? I do freelance editing/video production on the side so I’m constantly editing one thing or another. I do enjoy editing BMX parts, though. For me, it’s satisfying to see everything come together and motivates me to film more in general.
The Real BMX section is unique because it’s only 90 seconds long, so every clip really matters. With that said, did you approach that project any differently? Did you already know what you wanted to get or where you just filming a ton and waiting to see what you got?
I had more of a plan as far as things I wanted to film for the X Games part. Things did happen organically, too, but most of it was premeditated. I had a specific trick in mind for the ender and tried it on two different spots in Minnesota, but it didn’t work out so we basically planned a trip to California so I could get it done at a specific spot there. I have never been so intentional about getting a clip before which was kind of a lot pressure, but in the end it all worked out!
Despite only needing a minute and half, didn’t you end up filming like four minutes of footage? Why did you keep going, despite knowing you already had more than enough to work with?
I had in mind that we could make an edit with all the stuff we didn’t use if we had enough so that was my motivation.
You have a two song section for ABD spanning nearly seven minutes, the Pro Part we just dropped, and there’s still 90 seconds of bangers for Real BMX due out in August. How long did it take you to film all that?
Oh just seven minutes—everything was first try [laughs]. The first clips I filmed for ABD were in January 2018 and we had the premiere in February 2020 so just over two years for that. Everything else was filmed summer of 2019 through early 2020.
Was ABD the longest you’ve ever worked on a video part for?
I think we filmed for Sunday Grow Up over a similar time span, but there were more trips for that, so it felt longer.
Can you list your three favorite video parts you’ve had, and why?
Team Dilly Is the Man; This marks the era when I first moved to Minneapolis, I did some growing up, and became friends with the Dilly crew. A lot of good memories from this time in my life. Kyle Stark killed it on the editing, too, and picked the perfect song [laughs].
Sunday Erik Elstran Goes to Berlin; This was my first time traveling abroad, made a bunch of really good friends and was overall such a fun trip.
X Games Real BMX part; I know it isn’t a typical video part, but I’m really stoked on what Walter and I came up with. I think it’s some of the best riding I’ve ever filmed.
You filmed four minutes of footage with Grant Castelluzzo in 12 days when he came out to Minneapolis for ABD. Then two weeks later Walter came through town and you filmed “the best things for that.” Your footage from Minneapolis in ABD was amazing, it’s hard to even comprehend there’s even better stuff coming down the pipeline…
Thanks! It did get a little tricky filming in the same place back to back like that trying to push myself to the limits of my capabilities.
You have a lot of clips from the Dominican Republic in this video. What brought you there? And how was it?
Yeah! Mike Hinkens was living there and so we had an ideal place to stay, warm weather, transportation, and plenty of spots. That was the last trip Walter and I did for the X Games part. It’s a pretty wild place and I tried one particular trick for probably about eight hours over three consecutive days, but it never worked out. Despite that we had such a great time and Hinkens was the best tour guide. In the end, we didn’t use any of the footage from that trip for the X Games part so it all want to the Pro Part.
Is there one clip from the Pro Part that stands out to you—favorite, biggest battle, etc..?
I like the drop in curve wallride to curved roller coaster clip for how unique of a setup it is. I mean, a curved roller coaster rail is unheard of on its own and I’m almost positive I will never be able to link those two highly setup-specific tricks together in a line. That was one of the first clips we filmed for the X Games part, but it’s pretty long so we weren’t able to fit it in.
From dragon costumes and trampolines, to never been done handrail combos, while your riding has always been creative, it’s still evolved a lot. Let’s talk about the “phases” you’ve gone through, and where you’re at now…
I think I used to be more trick focused and now I try to consider the spot and surroundings more. Overall, now I would say I’m more comfortable judging my abilities and deciding what to film. Also, I think I am riding better than I ever have right now and have never had more options trick wise for a spot.
Some of the things you come up with at spots are just amazing. In general, when you’re on trip and you roll up on something, what’s your approach to riding spots?
The older I get, the more I appreciate good folks to ride with rather than necessarily a good spot. I feel like it’s pretty natural on trips for everyone to feed off each other’s energy. Lately on trips I’ve been forcing myself to try something at every spot even if I don’t immediately have an idea. A lot of ideas come through trial and error for me.
Being one of the most creative and original riders in the game, who influences your riding these days? Who were some of your favorite riders growing up?
Thank you! Dude there are so many. Growing up guys like Matt Beringer, Steven Hamilton, Danny Hickerson, Tobias Wicke, Morgan Wade, Brian Kachinsky, Chad Degroot, Eric Holley, and Jonah Lindberg. These days Gary Young, Jake Seeley, Simone Barraco, Reed Stark, Jeff Dowhen, Tate Rosekelley, Mike Mastroni, Kriss Kyle, Boyd Hilder, Dakota Roche and etc.
Your bike setup remains pretty consistent, brakeless/four pegs. Do you ever add or remove stuff from your bike to get a certain trick?
I currently have one metal peg on my bike and that moves around depending on the maneuver.
With a child on the way (CONGRATS!) did you approach this last year or so of filming/riding/traveling differently?
Thank you, we are stoked! The last few trips I’ve been on I have felt particularly motivated, having a better appreciation how special they are. It’s not that I will never go on a BMX trip once I’m a father or anything, just that I recognize my priorities will change.
You just bought a house near your hometown in Wisconsin. How will that affect your day-to-day riding?
Yeah! I’m currently working on a self-filmed edit. It’s been super fun riding old spots I grew up and seeing new potential in them. There’s plenty of things to ride around here so I don’t see my riding day to day looking too different.
While at home, how have you been getting your BMX fix through the winter? I know you spent a lot of time riding a portable flat rail in a parking garage…
Yep! Whatever it takes! It’s not ideal when the closest indoor park is two hours away, but it’s how I grew up. Having those limitations in winter and riding in parking garages or whatever you have is the perfect breeding ground for creativity.
What is situation with COVID-19 in the Minneapolis area and how is it affecting you and your riding at the moment?
I’ve been pretty secluded the past couple weeks, only coming into contact with my family. It’s been nice staying busy moving into the house we bought and working on that edit I mentioned before. I’m not super good at chilling [laughs] I feel like I always have to be working on something.
Anything else you want to mention, talk about, etc..?
Thank you, Jeff, for taking the time to put this interview together. And thanks Sunday and Madera for supporting me! Stay safe out there y’all!
Rocket ices down rails anyone? Give Elstran’s Pro Part another watch…