RYOTA OKU / 奥 亮太














Maite Adimatic Mid - adidas skateboarding

PUMA's skate program is finally launched. The brand's slogan is "FOREVER FASTER AND PUSH." We sat down with Kouki Arima and Sora Negishi, new members of PUMA SKATEBOARDING.



Special thanks_Puma Japan

VHSMAG (V): What have you been up to lately?

Kouki Arima (K): I've been in Yokosuka ever since I finished the VHSMAG part. Recently, I made a DVD with Shintaro Hongo's YTown Playaz, and I had been filming for it. I've been hitting all the spots in Yokosuka.


Sora Negishi (S): I'm currently living in Tokyo for college, so lately I've been skating at Komazawa or Shin-Yokohama. I'm also working with Kenty to film a part, so I'm working on that. I'm also working with the Ferris Tokyo crew. We've got Joshua Nishimiya, Kaito Sagawa, Ryo Motohashi Ryo, Taihou Tokura and Daisuke Ikeda... a bunch of skaters. We just released our first video, and now we're going to start filming for the second one.


V: So how did you end up on Puma Skateboarding?

K: When I got the offer, I thought it would be a great opportunity to do a lot of things. I was like, "Sick!" I had just finished filming the YTown Playaz video and had no projects to work on, so the timing was perfect. We're gonna kill it (laughs).

S: I had no shoe sponsor and I got the offer. What I wanted to do and what they wanted to do was the same. They're willing to offer an environment where we can film street skating all the time and the project to put out the clips. I thought that was a great idea and joined the team.

V: What was your impression when you heard Puma was starting a skate program?

S: I had seen skaters wearing Puma in old videos, but at the time I didn't really know what the brand image was like. I think all skaters of my generation probably think so. So I would be happy if we can work together as a team from here to spread the sick image of PUMA.

K: Yeah. It's a blank canvas, so we can add our own color.

V: What are you guys wearing?

K: I'm currently wearing the Nitro OG, the pinnacle model in the lineup. I wore these for a promo video and I didn't have to break them in. They're soft and feel good.

S: The suede makes it easy to ollie and do technical tricks. My feet don't hurt when I jump down stairs. It's a great shoe for skating.

K: I can really feel my toe when I flick the board.

S: Yeah. I can feel it when I kick my front foot out.

V: I would like to ask Goto-san from Puma, is the Nitro OG based on the Suede, the classic Puma model?

Takayuki Goto (G): Yes, Suede is a basketball shoe that came out in 1968, but it caught the attention of cutting edge American skaters in the late '80s. It was cool to skate in Suede back then. That is the root of this model, but Suede was not made for skating, of course, so we decided to improve mainly the durability and the sole area. The biggest feature is the use of Nitro foam, which is very resilient and explosive. This type of foam has excellent cushioning but also has a strong ability to bounce energy back. So its resilience is reflected in the push.

V: Does its resilience follow the technology of Puma's running shoes?

G: Exactly. Like track and field spikes. The spikes worn by short-distance athlete Sani Brown are also equipped with the same Nitro. He became the first Japanese athlete to make it to the finals of the world track and field championships wearing them. Puma Skateboarding is about what happens when you bring that technology to the skate category. This is technology that leads to "speed." I hope that skaters will be able to draw out the power of Nitro in their own ways. We have also improved the ollie and laces area, and also changed the material of the side stripes. The necessary parts for skating have been updated.

V: And the slogan is "FOREVER FASTER AND PUSH."

G: Puma's brand slogan itself is "FOREVER. FASTER." So Puma's DNA is to always pursue "speed." We are hoping that we can support new styles that are created by "speed" in the skate category as well.

If I can make use of the resilience to push, I can make it.

V: So here's my question to the skaters again. How do you think Puma's "speed" DNA will help you guys skate?

S: Well, I need speed when I skate handrails or a set of stairs with a limited runup. In that case, the first few pushes are very important. Even at spots that would normally be too tight to skate, if I can make use of the resilience to push, I can make it. In that sense, I think Nitro's technology is useful.

K: I'm always out there pushing around. And I like to push fast. In that sense speed is super important.

V: Let's talk about Puma Skateboarding's launch video. What was that like?

K: There's a clip of me doing a Bs kickflip and it was a small spot. So I was pretty confident and thought it was a piece of cake. I made it once, but it was a bit sketchy so I tried one more time and... My ankle tweaked backwards when I landed. That was the last spot for the video, but I was completely careless (laughs). I really thought I broke my ankle. But I could walk so I pushed my way home. But at night, it swelled up and I couldn't walk. That was the first time I tweaked my ankle.

S: Your first time? I've rolled my ankles a bunch of times (laughs).

K: I had four skate clips and everything went smooth other than the last one.

S: Working your ass off (laughs).

V: Hoping to see Sora's clips next time.

S: Yep, I'm gonna kill it.


V: So what are your plans for Puma Skateboarding's future projects?

K: Aside from us two, we also have Mantaro Tokura and Junnosuke Yonesaka, so we'll start filming an intro video in November, for about six months. We're hoping to release it in the spring of next year. I am looking forward to it.

V: What kind of team do you want Puma Skateboarding to be?

K: I guess it's all about the balance, that each individuality will shine through. I think we're gonna kick ass (laughs). Right?

S: (laughs). But we're all street skaters. I think that if we work as a team with our respective styles, we can make a video that will make everyone want to wear Puma. We're gonna kick ass (laughs).


Kouki Arima @kouki__arima

Born in 1996 in Kanagawa. One of the Four Kings of Yokosuka. He just finished shooting a promo video for Puma Skateboarding.

Sora Negishi @soranegishi

Born in 2002 in Gunma. He's known for his tech, stairs and handrails skills. Currently based in Tokyo.

Puma Skateboarding @pumajapan

Puma has improved the shoes, worn by cutting-edge skaters since the late '80s, for skating. The team includes Kouki Arima, Sora Negishi, Mantaro Togura and Junnosuke Yonesaka.


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