"This is super dope", says Marko Grilc in a melodic Slovenian accent. The rockstar snowboarder is talking about something in the palm of his hand. His boyish grin wide across his face and his Red Bull cap turned downwards, he is all zoned in: "Look, here I am, oh yeh, the jumps, the news, photos. This is dope". I am watching him play with the World of Red Bull app on the new Nokia phone, that has just been sent to Marko for his review.
And reviewing it he is. Nope, it's not the pixels or the size of the screen that impress the most, Marko is mesmerised by content, it's usefulness, neat layout and purpose. "I'm really impressed, it's all in one place. You need to go all over the web for hours to find stuff like this. For people like me, who are passionate about these sports and events, it's really dope".
There is the Nitro Circus Live , a sold out O2 event going on in London tonight. Marko's friend, Kristoffer Hansson, also looking through the app, is heading there. It's the most awesome motocross event at the 02, I'm being told. Then its the Air & Style event held in Bird's Nest in Beijing. Marko is travelling there tomorrow to take part in what is the biggest industry event of the year. We keep scrolling through other upcoming events from motocross to snowboarding, music, arts and space jumps. Intermittently, Marko breaks away from the screen: "What is really great is that I can keep up with the events when I travel and also other athletes. We are on such a tight tour schedule that having everything at the tip of the fingers helps".
Marko's girlfriend, sitting quietly until then remarks: "Now I have him for 2 hours less, he'll be spending it with the phone!" Nina is pregnant, carrying the cutest, neatest bump, expected just after New Year's. I ask if she is also an athlete. "A singer", she replies. With Marko travelling so much, phones and Skype calls are their best friends to keep communicating, but they make it work.
But back to Grilc. We find, that all events and news are also customisable into a personalised experience. I would imagine Grilc will quickly assemble a neat alliance of his own jumps, news, photos, videos and updates. He is proud of what he achieved, and he should be. Having been picked up by Red Bull 14 years ago, Marko is a relentless athlete. Despite the fact that his jumps seem totally bonkers, he is a collected, determined and professional sportsman: "Being good at sports means years of hard work. Every day, hour by hour. It's not even sport, it's a passion mixed with hard work".
Marko has boyish charm, quiet self confidence and an athletic posture. Currently he is all attention, scrolling through the various Red Bull athletes and their news stream. "Every athlete has a recognisable style. The way each snowboarder jumps says a lot about their personality. Whether they are aggressive or calm, out of control or collected". Marko is talking about the type of activities where people engage to find their true identities and best means of expression. Whether it's through music or skateboarding ramps, these sports are a creative way to express a true passion and escape from the mainstream.
In reply to my question for advice and inspiration to the younger generation, Grilc gets serious: "Be true to yourself, do what you love. Follow your passion and when you find it, do it constantly, don't stop. Only practice makes it perfect". One thing is for sure, to make your passion a life-time ambition, you have to believe in it and practice, then people will believe in you as well. Marko's parents were very supportive from the start and sports lifestyle was always encouraged. Starting with skateboarding, he quickly graduated onto a snowboard at Krajnska Gora and hasn't stopped since then.
Red Bull has a big role to play. Grilc comments: " Red Bull supports the dreams and makes them happen, it's the type of partnership that money can't buy. Every time I come to them when planning a new jump, they are never in the 'I don't think it's possible' mindset". Asked if we, Londoners, have a chance to be truly passionate about extreme sports, Marko says: "London is the place to be. People are more open minded and free to experiment. For sure". And now, it seems, those of us lucky to get a Nokia, can get a bite into the world of people living by their passions and dreams.
The World of Red Bull app is for people living the street style life, finding their personal style, wanting to hang out with other people like them. The world of music, art, culture and sports blend into one - a lifestyle 'on wings' and now exclusively available on the Nokia phones. To be honest, reading the reviews of this app online did nothing to inspire me, seeing Grilc's reaction did.
Perhaps it was the candle lights or the Shoreditch House cool, or maybe both, but most likely none, i leave inspired and convinced: the Red Bull Nokia app is cool, is useful, is a real passion and it'll give you enough of social currency with friends to give you wings. It's super Dope.
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