The Copenhagen Pro is fast becoming one of the biggest events on the skateboarding calendar, what has been your favourite year for the event so far? And can we expect any changes this year?
Well the thought behind it is that it’s always changing; they don’t want to repeat the formula. I think that’s the biggest problem with most skate contests, that’s why the Munster contests, which were the biggest in Europe during the 1990s, died out. I don’t know the exact plans, but I know it’s during fashion week so there’s been talk of making some links there. It will be interesting for sure! As for favourite year, I don’t really have one you know? I just love having the skateboard community come to my hometown, enjoy it and see it, and now that we have great skateboarding here it’s even better.
I always used to bring my friends here and it was like, I mean everyone loves Copenhagen because it’s such a rad city to be in during the summertime, but I couldn’t really justify going, “Hey come to Copenhagen, it’s so rad” and then there’s nothing to skate, I’d have fuck all to offer in that department. But that’s all changed now, and every year has been really good. In the past when I’ve been in contests and stuff I’ve always had such vocal support from the local skate community, so it’s exciting for me to get to, whatever you want to say, I guess perform to a home crowd? It gives me a boost. I’ve always liked that element of contests or demos, when the crowd is hyped and you start feeling that energy. I mean I know some people hate contests, but it’s cool to feel people’s appreciation and get that as a return; it’s such a direct piece of feedback when the crowd are cheering and stoked.
You’ve been with Flip since their original Deathbox incarnation, what are some of your favourite memories or trips from over the years?
Well what’s it been now, 26 years? Yeah, since 1990 when Jeremy Fox saw me at a local event we had in Copenhagen. I think a month or two later the first box arrived at my door – a Rocker, which I still have. It’s the first Deathbox board I had, it’s half snapped, got cracks on the top, but I still have it. So when I was in England at the age of maybe 16, 17, 18, I used to travel over here a lot. The company was pretty much dead at the time I got on and we were struggling to keep going. We’d go down to the skatepark, sell a couple of boards or whatever and that would give us enough money for some gas and for Jeremy to buy some cigarettes. We’d go to a Little Chef or gas station, get some dinner, and that was the day to day operation.
We’d sleep in the factory on top of the office, which reeked of paint and fucking screen printing fumes, it was gnarly. Just me and Jeremy and his dog. We’d screen up a couple of boards during the day, get that ready then go to the skatepark and sell them, that was dinner. You’d get maybe 40quid, get through to the next day and that was that. Jeremy had a few scams going, like selling old Puma’s for a while. He somehow found this massive container full of old Puma shoes, which at the time were booming in skateboarding – that was pretty much the first retro shoe thing to happen in skateboarding. He’d fucking found them in fuck knows where – Poland or something – and got them for nothing. So he bought them, then he’d sell them in skate shops. That was just surviving and getting by.
Then in ’94, that’s when he somehow got mixed up with Tony (Hawk) and Tony invested some money in it so we were able to move to America – Geoff, me, Andy and Tom. It started taking off, it was a rough start but Tom and Geoff were just so much better than everyone else in the world at the time. As much as a lot of the Americans probably hated that, it was undeniable, so they tried kind of saying, “Fuck these Euro dudes” or whatever but after a couple of years it couldn’t be ignored. Then I met Boulala in Sweden; I went up to Stockholm one time, saw him and thought he was fantastic so I told Jeremy about him. We slowly got him on, Arto was next – well he actually came to Copenhagen once so I think I saw him before the other guys – anyway he ended up placing podium in Munster or somewhere like that. Everyone had seen him, he got hooked up with someone else but switched over a year or so later in America.
That was maybe ’98 or ’99, when more people were involved – Mark, Boulala, Tom, Geoff, the original wrecking crew in the Sorry video. We did that video and that was obviously when the company exploded for the first time. We rode that wave for a while, then…well it wasn’t like everything fell apart, but the balloon started deflating a little bit. Then some horrible incidents happened, like with Shane. We were losing momentum. Arto left for a while, then Jeremy, as smart as he is – you know he’s always had a focus on finding these kids, like myself or Boulala or whoever – he’d seen David Gonzalez, Curren, Louie. We went through that whole phase of people I guess laughing at the company a bit, the industry people asking, “What are they fucking doing with all those little kids?” They were these weird little long haired kids you know? I mean I went on the road with them loads as a team and we all knew they were going to be fantastic; it just took time. That was the time, probably six or seven years, it took. Now they’re reaching 20 or whatever and we’re getting all this great momentum again because now they’re kind of the next generation of what the team in Sorry was. That’s kind of how I see the company evolving over the years.
Backside ollie on the hallowed curves of Rom Skatepark