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Interview with Erik Akkersdijk (2018)

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September 12, 2018 : Interview with Speedsolving.com member Erik Akkersdijk : He was first interviewed on Speedsolvng.com on July 11th, 2008, when he held the 4x4 World Record average and 5x5 Single, amongst many other records (33 world records in total). He has attended 132 competitions over the last 13 years.

erik-2018.jpg
Erik on the left next to Rubik's Cube inventor Ernő Rubik

Where are you living now and what have you been up to for the last 10 years?

I've moved together with my girlfriend to the area of Cologne, Germany. Getting older (I'm almost 29 now) means doing more adult things like working (energy efficiency in wastewater treatment plants), doing laundry and also picking up other hobbies like badminton. I'm still cubing and practicing now and then, and also spend quite some time in my side business, TheCubeman, where I offer cubing entertainment to companies. Currently I'm busy helping Red Bull organise the finals of their World Championship (next year: World Cup) in Boston.

All in all you can definitely say cubing has shaped my life the way it is now.

In 2008, you held the 4x4 world record average of 53.99 seconds. Today, 2018, the world record average is 21.13 seconds. What do you see as the biggest factors for such improvement?

Probably a very predictable answer. 3 things have changed:
- much better cubes: for example, I recently replaced my 6x6 and was instantly 10-15 seconds faster, just because the cube is better
- more cubers: great to see we are now at over 100,000 cubers worldwide!
- even more information available: just search youtube for "gan 354 m review" and you will find 20+ videos.

You've attended 8 competitions so far in 2018, are you getting back into competitive cubing?

Somewhat I guess. Adding new countries to the list is always fun (I already added Cyprus and Slovakia to the list this year. USA will be added soon) and I recently got some renewed interest in things like MultiBLD with thanks to Dennis Strehlau.

Out of the 132 competitions you've attended, which one was your favorite?

Unfortunately I can't remember them all. I'll never forget WC 2007, which was my first world championship and got to meet so many legends like Yu Nakajima, Frank Morris and Ernö himself. WC 2011 in Bangkok was legendary as well. But then again, so was German Nationals 2010 which took place in a theme park, where you had to choose between riding the rollercoaster or competing in blindfolded. Ugh... can't choose.

What makes cubing different today than it was 10 years ago?

So...many...kids! It's both a good and a bad thing. It's amazing that cubing has come so far and interests so many people. But on the other side, most of the newcomers don't share the same kind of passion for the puzzle most of us had when I started. It's like spamming tps with no efficiency or lookahead now vs. discussing methods with Stefan Pochmann.

You've held 33 world records, which one are you most proud of?

Probably expecting me to say 7.08 eh? But nah, that was just easy. Probably some barrier breaking record on a big cube like the first sub-40 on a 4x4.

Of all the current world records, which ones are most impressive to you?

I'll go with a tie between 48/48 multi BLD and 7x7 single of 1:47.

What will the future of cubing be like and how would you like cubing to progress?

Some more automation during competitions would help cubing a lot. One of my less favorite things about competitions is the fact that you are basically either scrambling, judging or solving, with no time to actually get to know people anymore. Things like automatic scrambling machines and automatic timing input would relieve that burden.
It would also be cool if the best cubers would actually be able to do it professionally, without a real job. Considering the amount of time the worlds top puts in their hobby, the reward is not that great.

In 5 years, where do you see yourself both in cubing and in life in general?

Still going to competitions, maybe one day I'll be the oldest cuber to do a sub-8 average officially. Luckily you are never too old for events like FMC, multiBLD or being the organizer.

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Here is a video from 2008 when Erik set the infamous 7.08 second 3x3 single world record, which stood for over 2 years:
 
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