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Diederik Hol

There's no need to point out the innovation and quality that MOGEMA introduced in the skating market since the 90's. But not everybody knows who was the man behind the success of the prestigious dutch brand. It was a young and skilled sportsman with a degree from Delft University and a passion for invention, called Diederik.

Fancy a pint?

You might imagine him as a nerdy, bespectacled ingeneer with pens and calculators in his pocket: wrong. Instead, he's an acomplished racing skater (both ice and inline) with a past in elite level cyclism, and has tried every conceivable sport on Earth, except artistic skating and curling. As a result, he displays huge legs and a ludicrously large butt, although most probably it's a legacy from his biking days.
Married with sweet and patient Marjolein, father of smart boy Stijn and gorgeous girl Robin, you can't avoid liking this guy. Good-natured, ardent and enthusiastic supporter of skating, lovable family man. One can argue that his creations are just like him: pleasant outside, stiff and unbreakable inside. Now he's back with his own brand, CadoMotus (see here >>), a refreshingly innovative breeze on his tail...

Stijn and Robin: his best creations to date, no doubt (made with their mother's material, fortunately)

For more than 7 years you’ve established MOGEMA as a worldwide recognized quality brand, and came out with some outstanding material. Will you be able to improve your own work?
(thinks for a moment). Yes!
Aha. That’s the right attitude, I think.
And d'you know why? Because the drive to create it’s inside me. No matter what I do or where I am, I’m always looking for new mechanisms, new way of doing things, fresh innovative designs. And I’m not talking only about skating material, but anything: other sports, cars, even house cleaning products… Anything that attracts my attention.
Even girls? I bet you can’t improve their design…
(laughs heartily) When the design involves less square areas, it becomes more difficult.
Difficult as much as picking up the name of your new company, I guess. Please tell us what is this about.
Cado motus is latin and means “falling motion”, wich is, as you know, the basic principle of every kind of speedskating sport. This is what this company seeks to be: an added value for the skater. We want to bring back the joy of skating, to the pro and to the occasional skater… When someone sees a talented skater passing away, they think “ah, if I could skate like that”. It seems effortless, natural, graceful, very fast and everybody would like to skate that way, which is possible only when you properly “fall in motion”. We aim to introduce to the market products that reflect that philosophy, no techie specs, no toys, no marketing bullshit. Just pure skating!

Right! And what will be the highlights of your 2007 production?
Well, my background lies mostly in in-line skating, so the company will start production dedicated to a range from pro to advanced fitness skaters. As I said, these are no toys, so nothing costing below 200-300 euros. Next winter, we are planning to launch short-track material, together with a well established partner in the USA. Then between 2007 and summer 2008 we will expand our product line with even more Nordic blading, short-track and cross-country bindings.

I quit, you go on...

You are currently working around the clock for the company, sometimes 12 hours or more every day….
Yeah, too much!
… then at night you go the track to train or race, do you?
Oh, yes.
So when do you have sex, then?
Well, it has not been a problem, actually. Besides, after a few years of marriage routine sets in, you know?
No I don’t.
At the moment there’s a lot of pressure on getting the company up and running, aside from taking care of the children and keeping the normal house administration with Marjolene, but I can say that we love and support each other.
Yeah, sure... It works out just because she’s a skater too! Changing subject: I believe in claps for in-line skates. Apparently you do as well, right?
Yes, I do. As I said when I explained CadoMotus philosophy, we aim for a more natural way of skating, therefore your skates should be an extension of you. Under that light, ultimately what will make you feel the optimum, more natural movement, will be a clap skate. Now, with the development of bigger wheels, we’ve come to a stage where we can better integrate the clap idea into an in-line skate. I still think that the push of a clap is more efficient, although the advantage gained would be less on in-lines than on ice blades. True, that will be difficult to prove, for ice races are time-based so you can immediately see if whatever material you’re using is definitely better, as opposed as a very complex race on in-lines, with so many variables. But eventually we will find out.
So, why did claps failed the first time over?
I think they failed because it was not clearly proven that claps were faster. If you got people on claps arriving 1 or 2 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack, then you can be certain that by today everybody was using claps. Of course there were some world cup races won on claps, but that was not enough: it can be argued that a guy like Arnaud Gicquel at the time could have win even using hockey skates.
Same as Julie Glass, at that period.
Yes, they were the strongest in the field. Then big wheels came out, and that was the end of claps. Now that the big wheel evolution is established –I believe 110 mm is the limit, larger dimensions don’t make sense to me considering issues like stability around the ankle- it is time for a clap comeback. But athletes should test, feel confident and appreciate them: they need to really experience the difference, then they will get results.
Will claps affect double-push technique?
No, because the clap mechanism will open when the skater is pushing on the outside edge.

Any other revolutionary stuff?
The people I work with (my sources in Asia), have many years of experience producing bicycle parts. As you know, bike’s industry is much larger that in-lines’, so there is to a greater extent more money to research better designs and manufacture methods, which I can use to produce enhanced skates. For instance, I’m working on a frame that combines carbon and aluminium parts.

Guys! Look at my butt!

Wow! Is it going into production any time soon?
No, not soon… but it’s not so far away either. We want to take our time for a re-launch, no advertisements or large marketing campaigns. First we introduce a hi-lo clap frame for Nordic blading, one with 2x90 and 2x100.
Nice. I heard there will be an all-female CadoMotus team competing on the World Cup this year: tell us about it.
Hey! Why do you smile like that?
Er… I pose the questions here, if you mind.
I’m proud to be Dutch, so I’d love to see a good Dutch team competing at the elite level. It fits in CadoMotus current budget, and we are lucky to have very good athletes (on wheels and ice) here in Holland.
Yeah, no doubt. Have you already chosen the girls?
No, not yet.
Well, we hope you pick at least the best looking chicks, since being Dutch they don’t stand a solid chance to win anything outside your local Heineken contest!
(laughs) I think you’re wrong. There are one or two Dutch girls who are capable of climbing on a WIC’s race podium.
Fair enough. I’ll gladly accept the position of team manager. And who will be their coach?
We are in talks at the moment with a couple of world famous, very experienced coaches. I’ll tell you soon.

Ok. And who are your partners in CadoMotus?
The other owner of the company is Mr. Henk Shra, who has one of the biggest skating shops in Europe. He knows the business up and down, and his distribution net is rather ample. With us works Mr. Mick Byrne, Australian skater that has been a world class athlete for many years.

D+H=CaMo (Mick not pictured. At all)

He has great sense for translating the 'feel' of skating into technical arguments. For me he, is the link between technicians and athletes. He understands marketing as well, and is a skilled designer too. Our opinion about a how a product, or the website, should be often matches.
Where do you get the inspiration to create such dazzling materials? Do you take any of those illegal drugs so common in Holland, or are you just pure genius?
I take ideas from my everyday life. I observe designs from automotive parts to toys, anything that attracts my attention. I also do a lot of research.
In the sense that you’re applying plagiarism to somebody else’s ideas?
Yeah, I like to copy @#ç&%$* products all the time. (*a rather weak brand, not publishable here)
Ha ha. But seriously, have you ever studied other brands’ skates and said “Hey, this is better than mine!”
Absolutely, for sure.
Then tell me which other frames you would use as a skater (if CadoMotus didn’t exist, of course)
I skated a lot on a hi-lo (the first ever model with 3x100+1x84), an American frame called Xenon. Sadly it doesn’t exist anymore.
Let me give you a trickier version of the question: which other brands do you repute as good as CadoMotus?
I kind of respect Maple, for their achievements on ice blades. The man behind Maple design truly listens to the skaters needs, and he has but one goal: to design the best blades ever. About inline brands, I must say that MPC put a very serious effort in designing their wheels (they took about 4 years of development before they actually sell to the public). Regarding frames, I can say Tusa and Arco are doing nice frames. The latter one has an interesting “flexible” concept, which involves pieces of plastic mixed in the metal, allowing for a variable stiffness.
Ok, last one. Who’s the most beautiful girl skater in the world? (ice or inline)
(thinks a lot) Catherine Peñán from Chile. She has this sexy asian-latin mix…
...That is going to be RollerBlade's property from this season, I'm afraid. Better luck next time, man.