Copenhagen Open Blog – Days Four and Five

Day one here

Day two here

Day three here

The last day of skate events at the Copenhagen Open sees the assembled hordes awaken to already well established bleak skies; but, with two of the three planned events happening indoors, this isn’t as much of a block to proceedings as it has been at points. In one of those surreal situations that only seems to come about during the Open, the first event takes place within Copenhagen City Hall itself. The bank to rail set up would be basic in any other location, but the hall’s spacious grandeur – coupled with trays of free beers and CPH Open branded condoms doing the rounds – makes every moment feel like you may be part of an elaborate prank for a Danish TV show. Instead of being greeted by the taller, blonder equivalent of Jeremy Beadle, however, we are treated to a display of powerfully popped tricks from the likes of Ishod Wair, Luan Oliveira, Evan Smith, Chris Pfanner and Peter Ramondetta.

Ishod Wair feels things out with a frontside heelflip…


…while Luan Oliveira chooses a half cab to add to his heelflip.

Of course in a situation this odd things don’t run entirely smoothly; the skaters have apparently been given plastic axle nut covers to minimise damage to the century-old tiles which cover the floor, but the security are still unsure of how to deal with 150 odd skateboarders determined to drink away their hangovers. Some people aren’t let in, the entire row of photographers on the mezzanine are unceremoniously booted downstairs and then let back up five minutes later, and there is an all round level of confusion that sort of makes things more fun for bystanders like myself.

By the time the heats have finished, the skies have cleared a little outside and things have cleared up enough for the fastest flip trick contest. This is one of the visual high points of the week, but also nearly impossible to get a good photo of or even to reach a good enough vantage point to film, so you won’t see any of it here – suffice to say that the people involved went fast, occasionally flailed a roll away and more often than not hit the floor or the closely pressed crowd in flurry of limbs and skateboards.

Chris Pfanner catches a backside flip melon over the bar

Eventually we tire of watching people hurt themselves and decide to go hurt ourselves instead, departing for the incredible DIY concrete of Enghaveparken. A short but heavy shower means a brief change of plans in favour of alcohol consumption, but once even the first section of the park is dry then it’s back on. The session gets going on the long, low curved quarter, not just because it’s the only option, but also because it’s ridiculously fun to skate, and soon all sorts of things are going down. Dead Dave’s tweaked inverts and invert fakies, hand planted on the flat bottom, were among the high points, and Sox’s and Jordan Thackeray’s flowing styles were evident even in such a small surface area not covered in water.

Dead Dave tweaks an invert fakie whilst using his hand to dry up the puddles.

Once the park really dried up I probably could have shot an entire article’s worth of photos just during this session – people were keen and there was a big enough crew that when one person started flagging two people would take their place – but this also happened to be the point where my back and hip began to loosen up enough to actually skate, so this is just what went down between my first chance to get some in three days. Adam Paris, who had been boozing all day, somehow managed to sober up within half an hour and absolutely kill it, while J-Thaxx, Sox and Dave were all fairly unstoppable once the damp had retreated.

Sox points a frontside ollie over the hip.
Adam Paris shakes off the daytime drunk to smack this boosted stalefish to disaster
More from Dead Dave’s bag of 80s classics – properly pointed layback air

Eventually we decide to head over to see the finals of the whole Open, as well as the death race with its promise of high speed carnage. Getting a good viewing spot proves close to impossible at first, with my ducking and diving abilities not up to making it through a large crowd in an enclosed space whilst trying to juggle a camera, backpack, skateboard and six pack of beers, which is why there are so few photos from this session. In fact most of the highlights seem to be happening behind the pillar which is constantly between me and the action, wherever I stand; but I can tell you that, despite Nyjah Huston taking first place in the end, Fred Gall was the people’s champion. Turning up in time for the death race absolutely hammered, he meanders around the course occasionally spilling beer on whatever obstacle or human is closest by. It’s hard to tell whether this is an accident or a middle finger to the commentators, whose increasingly frantic calls of “Someone take Freddy’s beer, someone grab it from him now!” are widely ignored by everyone else who is enjoying the sight too much.

Sometimes the photos aren’t about the skating…Fred Gall spilling beer all over the course, annoying the judges and stoking out the crowd.
Death race excitement!

Once the death race has offered us the spectacle of numerous high speed slams, near-collisions and general gnarliness, we head outside to witness the surprise end to the skate events – a kicker to kicker best trick comp, with a paddling pool complete with boat in between the kickers to spice things up. By this point half of Copenhagen seems to be crowded round the set up, so after a few semi-successful attempts at photographing the madness I head for the bar to use up the tokens I’ve managed to acquire. Free booze always tastes the sweetest…from then on things start to get slightly hazy. At one point I’m definitely swigging from a bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon with Felix Parker, which may account for this. However I’m definitely doing better than Jarvis, who one of the locals points at to me mid-conversation; “Hey, isn’t that your friend? He’s lying down there being pissed on…”

I start to flag during the early hours, but leaving the party find myself gaining a second wind. I find a beer shop, grab a couple of cans for the journey, get lost and have an incredible skate through a deserted industrial area of the city, listening to Blitz, until eventually finding the bridge which leads back into the city.

Chris Pfanner floats high above boats, drunks and skateboarding legends as the party reaches its finale.

I still manage to wake up early-ish on day five, faced with the unenviable task of collecting together a crew of hungover skateboarders scattered across the city and getting in some kind of final session before I have to fly back the next morning. In this task, I pretty much fail miserably – four of us manage to shake off the hangovers enough to head to Faelladparken and try to remember how our legs work. The session actually starts getting going, and we aren’t the only people with the same idea. The likes of Eric Dressen, Ishod Wair, Raney Beres, Chris Russell and Ronnie Sandoval show no signs of the previous night’s partying and start absolutely killing the pool and the mellow end of the snake run/big bowl. I start feeling positive about getting some photos, but then the weather catches up to our session. Repeatedly skating for ten minutes, sitting down for twenty while it rains and then dries up, then skating again isn’t an ideal session timetable, with rain killing momentum slowly but surely. Most head for the hangover session and it’s promise of free champagne, but the few of us remaining aim for a DIY spot under a bridge which we possess vague directions too.

Last day, wet weather hangover cure.

It takes a while to find, but once we do all our weather-based blues clear away; this place is incredible, and it isn’t even completely built yet! A couple of hours here didn’t produce any skate photos but did restore the stoke, both via the session which went down and the collection of twisted, Robot Wars style bike creations which you can see below. Trying to ride them and to work out what they are actually for provided plenty of post-skate amusement before rejoining the hangover crew for a couple of last stubby cans and fresh produce from the Green Light District, then it was time for a mellow skate through the now dry streets back into the city. I consider heading out to join the diehards still partying out at Refshalen, but the miles I’ve already covered over the day decide against it so I head back to the hostel to try and recoup some energy before the next day’s flight.

Cheers Copenhagen, roll on next year!

Strange, twisted metal beasts were piled in the corner…
I don’t know either, but we had fun trying to ride it.
The heavy-handed symbolism meter is pointed firmly towards ‘A-Level art project’. It’s the end so there’s a lovely sunset. FIN.
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