We first got to know Yan Lozov through last year’s video release “Блян(Blyan)” by Vitosha Skateboards. He immediately jumped off the screen to us in the same way our other Unsigned Hype candidates have in the past. I.E. Pascal Moelaert, Oscar Säfström, Leon Charo-Tite, Til Schweinitz & Jonathan Sjöberg, who you should go back to and watch, even if it is just to see the progression. Anyway, since we asked Yan we had the pleasure of meeting him and seeing the magic in real life. Truth be told, he fit right in with the Berlin crowd, combing art, skating, and an interest in things beyond the board into what makes him, him! Don’t want to believe us… well, we got a fix for that! We sat down at a small restaurant in Berlin and instead of planning the questions we just picked his brain for about an hour. A story ranging from his spirituality, his mom being a skater and his dad being in the military came out of his pores and unto the screen for you to read. So, don’t believe the hype? Don’t worry, Yan will bring it to you by hook or by crook (insert pun here), straight from Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia!
Intro & Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Filmed by Veliko Balabanov.
Additional Footage: Grant Dawson & Vladimir Todorov.
Edit: Veliko Balabanov, Yan Lozov & Nikolay Petrov.
Hey Yan, so, let’s start our talk. Where are you from and what is your family background like?
I’m from Bulgaria but one of my grandmas is Russian. My dad wanted to be a green beret in the military but became a professional cyclist instead. My mom was a programmer but is now a reiki practitioner.
Does that mean that you are spiritual as well?
I am not really a spiritual person but I believe in the law of attraction a lot. I did reiki on myself sometimes also, whether it worked or not I was just happy to do it. It was kinda like programming your mind to stay positive.
That’s good, maybe staying positive helps in skating too. How did you get into skating?
My mom used to skate when she was a teenager. There was a halfpipe built by the communists in her neighborhood. Even though she told me she would just skate because of boys, she taught me how to pump when I was younger. It took a long time for me to learn tricks and I could only kickflip after a few years. I only skated once in a while because I was spending more time drawing or playing guitar which my mom also always supported.
When I got to high school I really started to enjoy skating, this was around 2017. I started watching a lot of skate videos. Some things I watched were from Thrasher, obviously, and 5boroNyc. When I watched it I was interested in skating but I was more interested in art. It broke my image of first thinking that skaters aren’t that artsy. At first, I had this image because of the skaters I saw in my town then. But when I saw the more artsy types of videos I was like “there is this part of skateboarding!? I wanna be that type of skater.” So for example I started buying converse and drew smiley faces on them haha. I went back to the main plaza to skate and gained more confidence as well as started going to art high school.
“I never knew I would end up in the videos I watched. It always felt like there was a wall between the skate scene here and the rest of the European and American scene…”
It’s cool that you mention how you gained confidence as a skater. It feels like in Bulgaria the community really cares about raising its skaters too, right?
For sure and Veliko is a big part of pushing the scene forward. Meeting him encouraged me a lot, he took me on many sweet missions. One week he took me skating and filming every day of the week and I had never done that before. After that, he took me on a Bulgaria-round trip. It was intense, as he takes skating really seriously but also has a big heart. Veliko is often filming multiple projects at the same time and also builds skateparks. Since there aren’t that many people the community is definitely tight and he is pushing all of us.
You never see anyone skating on the street that you don’t know. If you do, then they started skating yesterday or are foreign. The main spot is often at the main plaza because it’s allowed to skate there. Once in a while, a new cop tries to give us a warning but it never goes through.
Sounds like a nice community.
Yeah, I was surprised that people seem to take notice of skateboarding from Bulgaria and specifically that I’m part of it. I never knew I would end up in the videos I watched. It always felt like there was a wall between the skate scene here and the rest of the European and American scene, sponsorships, and shit like that. My view on it was more like “we’re just filming for ourselves and our friends, doing our little thing…” and never thought it was going to be featured in magazines and so on.
How do you usually go about learning new tricks?
Being influenced by other skaters was always a way for me to view skating. For example, my favorite skater right now is Cyrus Bennett. And when we were in Serbia for the video I saw this spot and was subconsciously thinking “I’m gonna do a Cyrus Bennet right here. I haven’t done it before but this spot is asking for a Cyrus Bennet so I’m gonna learn it right here, right now.” I like to pull it off in my own way.
That’s funny because when we first watched your part, the first thing Daniel (Pannemann) said was “He kind of stands on the Board like Cyrus Bennett”
Really, he said that!? Damn. I guess I’m trying to reassure myself that I’m a good skater even though I can think that I’m pretty bad sometimes. But seeing videos and pulling off the same tricks as the people in them reminds me that, hey, I can actually be pretty good haha.
I think it’s cool accepting the kind of skater you are, focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.
Exactly. I started skating way later than most guys my age and always felt like I wasn’t as good. But it made me see it from the perspective that I would rather do the tricks that I actually feel good at. That’s also why I skate so fast, to make up for my lack of skill, haha. Since I’m only nineteen I believe there’s a lot of room for improvement and one day I hope I can hit a handrail.
So what are your plans for next year, are you going to try to stay in Sofia?
No. I definitely feel the best when I’m not at home but rather away traveling somewhere and outside of my comfort zone. Bulgaria is a bit farther back on what’s appropriate right now regarding racism and other close-minded topics. However, I always try to enlighten the homies and call people out. I feel like it’s getting better, especially among my friends.
I’m at the stage of my life where I have to try anything and go anywhere. It’s important for me to see what’s out there for me. My next plans are to go to Barcelona because my best friend moved there and I’m excited to see him.
Sounds like you’ve got a lot of good things ahead of you. I’m excited to see your progress!
Yes, I hope so! Thank you.
Keep an eye out for Vitosha’s second video СРИВ coming soon!