I head out early-ish on the third day of the Copenhagen Open, where a planned handrail session has been moved last minute to a triple set by the water - a photogenic location which offered endless possibilities for boards being sent to a watery grave. The change of location means that nothing is getting started too quickly, so I crack a beer and find a spot amongst the growing crowds; say what you will about 4.5% lager, it's a helpful way to ease yourself into the day's liver onslaught. The crowd builds and Alexander Risvad kicks things off with a powerfully stomped frontside flip, before starting to warm up to the 360 flip. He gets close, too, before his board is the first to be sacrificed to the Nordic water god (whose name according to Wikipedia, that ever fallible minefield of public-sourced facts, is 'Njord'). From then on it is anyone's game.
Youness Amrani throws a hardflip down the set, Hermann Stene holds on to a backside 360 and various other tricks are sailed down the stairs and followed by surprisingly few splash sounds. I'm pretty sure that first place went to Neverton Casella for a switch heel, but the people's choice award definitely went to TJ Rogers - showing up late and possibly slightly pissed, battling and eventually riding away from a switch frontside 360, and in the process giving us the weeks' 'internet breaker' in the form of his knocking off Jake Phelps' glasses mid attempt - a proper bee sting whilst floating mid-air, like a dishevelled Chuck Norris who probably smelt a bit like the mattresses at Christiania.
Just as I'm about to try and shoot from a different angle, Sox appears to tell me that he saw me on the bridge and has, in fact, found another good angle. Thus the photos you see above and below, through a human archway of pure stoke, as the crowd took to cheerleading duties with the gusto that only hungover semi-delirium can bring.
Once proceedings have drawn to a close, the crowd start moving towards a spot further down the river - with a ledge session followed by a boat back up to Refshalen Island, home to the incredible DIY spot The Triangle, acting as the rest of the day's itinerary. Now, it's not that I don't like ledge skating; it's just that, as you may have realised, my photography skills are limited and thus, taking photos of technical ledge skating, through a crowd, takes a defter touch than I can realistically say I have. If we adhere to the infinite monkey theorem - that a monkey left tapping at a typewriter for an infinite amount of time will, by mathematical probability, type a complete and coherent text such as the complete works of Shakespeare - then I am the hypothetical monkey, wiping drool from the flip out screen as I tap blindly at the camera I have strapped around my neck. As such, I decide to play to my strengths and head with Sox to Christiania for some lunch and to try and shoot a couple of photos away from the crowds.
We get to Christiania to find Wonderland, for one of the first times ever, booked out - a segment of the Copenhagen Fashion Week crowd have commandeered it for a photo shoot. Sox pokes his head in and describes it as 'bizarre', while I decide to ignore it completely and concentrate on trying to loosen my damaged back muscles up with a session on the outdoor DIY section. This gets going quickly, despite plenty of collision opportunities offered by the combination of clueless fashion types and cataclysmically stoned tourists, with various visitors dropping in and out of the session including East Coast luminary and Buckfast aficionado Fred Gall. After shooting a couple of photos with Sox we manage to assemble a small crew to bike, or in my case skate, out to Refshalen early enough for a session at The Triangle before the crowds descend.
The drizzle thickened, we rode through it, we held out hope in the same way a starving man in a desert would hold out hope for an oasis just a short crawl over the next sand dune...but to no avail. As we reach the island I am separated from the group by a length of cobbled path, which somehow means that I don't see them again for a few hours. Instead I find myself standing underneath a raised, leaking boat, with ten or so similarly optimistic types, sipping on a beer that one of them hands me. Eventually someone hears word via text that the event has been cancelled, and I begin the long walk back into Copenhagen with fIREHOSE in my speakers for company - a sun drenched counterpoint to the Scandinavian gloom, images of Natas spinning on hydrants under perfect blues rather than a sodden slice of concrete at what feels like the end of the world.
Fuck it, this is what makes a skate trip - from the injuries that nearly break you in half, to sitting at a bar watching rain drops hit the windows like angry midges determined to suck every drop of stoke from your blood - it's the unpredictability which makes it fun. It's character building, or something or other...
Luckily there is a light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of the Woodstock Cafe - Christiania's long serving watering hole and one of my top five favourite drinking establishments worldwide, where you can sit and have a beer whilst watching a hash-skewed cast of surreal characters pass through, looking like modern day pirates. Now the rain has kicked in I can give my limbs a rest and concentrate on bullying the internal sections of my anatomy, which I take full advantage of. It's probably a good thing that by the time Wonderland was free of fashion shoots I was in no state to skate, because my back was still screaming at me - as it was, I sat back and watched Jordan Thackeray and Amandus absolutely slay the bowl alongside various locals.
By this time it's too late to hunt around for the official party, but that's alright - Christiania during a skate event always feels like the right place to be, it was going off both inside and out and I got to witness Jarvis, once again screaming drunk, try to mosher drop off the balcony into a puddle repeatedly. Jarvis' ability to maintain a constant intake of alcohol was nothing if not impressive, if you could ignore the fact that each session seemed to end in him being carried home, passing out on the floor or soiling himself. I guess if Fred Gall is cheering then you're either doing something very right or very wrong. The drizzle does little to dampen the party, which continues into the early hours...