Text: Jono Coote
Photos: Joel Peck except where stated
Day 5 does not start quickly, with most of the city’s visiting skateboarders having powered through the night either at the island or in Wonderland with us. We turn up to the final spot of the week, a strangely curving wooden dock with water to swim in and chicken already on the BBQ. Over the next couple of hours people stagger down in small groups, many having written off skateboarding for the day. It is not easy to control a four wheeled plank of wood under your feet when you’ve had two hours sleep and are shaking like a shitting dog. Not much movement is happening, beyond a brief P-Stone shaped flurry as he flies down the curving slope and into the water in nothing but boxers and board under feet. As the crowds build, a van appears and a kicker ramp is removed to be placed at the edge of the dock; enticing those who can still handle the rush of blood to the back of the head caused by fast acceleration, sudden lift and the shock of cold water.
Gravette, upside down and water bound
Reuben is chatting to Arthur as I wander towards them; “I’ve got veins in my hands from fingering last night…I don’t normally have veins in my hands.” The week is clearly starting to get to him – unlike David Gonzales, who is a veteran of these situations. Not long after the kicker is set up he is decked out in a sailors uniform and flying down the curve before somersaulting himself into the water 2 or 3 times in a row. Similarly able to handle a week of solidly abusing your own mental cognisance is Ben Devine, who is helping to stack us a pile of Tuborg 6 packs from the block of freebies which have shown up. It is not long before he is in his underwear, on a bike and headed for the water.
Ben Devine and his Danish bike vendetta
I’m in a little better shape than some, but can’t claim to be completely unscathed. My legs are starting to suffer from a week of skating from one end of the city to the other, the tendonitis in my foot is sending warning signals to my brain and, when I look in the mirror, I am faced with a half-crazed and gaunt stranger. After watching people fly out of the kicker ramp and splash into the estuary for a while, we head to the skatepark across the bridge where within half an hour I have bruised my heel and wrenched my back. After a week of skating Faelladparken and Christiania with a surprisingly low number of slams, this is clearly skateboarding’s cosmic prank at my expense. Rather than moan I decide to roll with it, take some painkillers and head back across the river to round some troops up for a street mission.
My downfall. Photo: Jono Coote
With the rest of the city’s visitors hungover or broken from the week we have some of its amazingly skate-friendly architecture to ourselves, although one bust reminds us that skateboarding has not become an entirely lawful activity. Later we island hop to the DIY track, reaching the spot to find the middle stages of a techno rave in effect next to the concrete. We skate the park in solitude, finding it harder than the previous day’s skating had made it look, and explain to curious euro-ravers why it is there. Then, once we have pushed ourselves beyond the point of haggardness (except myself, who spends half the session sleeping in the grass which the track surrounds), we head back to Christiania for one last session and to shelter from the rain which has started to hammer down. I am revived enough by sleep, painkillers and a couple of beers to get stuck in, while Sox is indefatigable and despite having skated non-stop all day is still skating the bowl once I eventually admit defeat.
Solid drinking posse. Photo: Jono Coote
I join the others in the same corner as the previous night, with the only difference being the levels of drunk exhibited – while there is probably similar amounts of booze involved tonight is much sloppier, beer is covering half the platform hip and at least 3 people are sprawled out on the well-placed mattress at any given time. Reuben is passed out, next to the mattress, with his backpack as a pillow. I film Sox and Dannie Carlsen shredding and enjoy the site of the occasional drunk trying to walk down the beer soaked half of the hip. Knowing that when I leave I will have a walk home in torrential rain followed by a working morning and a flight back to London is not so bad when I can look either one way and see either Carlsen ollieing to back tail in the deep, or the other and see someone disappear below the lip in a spectacular flurry of flailing arms and spilt beer. As a summation of my entire trip, this couldn’t have worked better. See you next time Copenhagen…
Photo: Jono Coote