Cover image: Sam Ashley
Pontus Alv is a true one-off - one of those truly out there individuals who are inexorably drawn to skateboarding like strange asteroids caught in orbit. Growing up skating in Malmo, Sweden led to a young Alv finding himself in the States during the late 90s chasing the sponsorship dream with 411 sections and a place on Mad Circle, (and later Arcade) coming about through a combination of big pop, killer style and an ability to skate anything.
He then spent a brief period with Cliche - enough time to have a section in Europa and almost one in Bon Appertit - before returning to Malmo to do his own thing; building DIY spots, creating two of the most exciting independent videos of the 2000s and generally acting as full on hype man for the Swedish scene. His own company was the next logical step and since their inception, Polar have taken the skate scene by storm (and in the process inadvertently kick-starting the majority of skateboarding trends in the last four years or so), all far from the traditional sun-drenched skate industry home of California.
Throughout all these changes Pontus' skateboarding has stayed as stylish, powerful and creative as ever and, with the new Polar video premiere date appearing on Instagram, he was the obvious choice for this week's Footage Feast. Enjoy...
411VM Issue 21 'Wheels of Fortune' (1997)
Pontus' first appearance within the US skate industry consciousness, courtesy of his 411VM Wheels of Fortune, sees oversized ledges and flowing lines galore.
Mad Circle - 5ive Flavours (1998)
Its hard to put into words how bad the song used here is, some kind of indie/rap-metal hybrid with a bored junkie vocalist and, to top it all off, trumpets. It has little to no redeeming features, but thankfully Pontus' skating is as on point as ever - powerfully popped tricks, a wide selection of spots and a picnic bench set up ender which rivals 90s Daewon. It was nice to discover in his Transworld interview that he also hates the song with a passion.
Progression VM Volume 1 (1999)
Slick Rick might be on the soundtrack, but the real love goes to Ricky Martin here. Pontus hits the streets, skating la vida loca...
The flip back lip at 1:31 is smooth as owt.
Arcade Skateboards - Gumbo (1999)
Not many people have managed to pull off skating to The Clash but Pontus does it with style in Arcade Skateboards' 1999 video Gumbo, to no less a song than the funk/punk/pop genius of Rock the Casbah. Ledge techery, awkward bank spots and a beast of a hubba to close proceedings, this one definitely doesn't get brought up as often as it should!
Cliche Skateboards - Europa (2000)
Pontus' one section for Cliche (the footage originally filmed for Bon Appetit would end up in Strongest of the Strange, below). The ollie up, kickflip off and over at 2:19 show just how comfortable he is with ridiculously awkward spots.
Strongest of the Strange (2005)
Bleached out colours, Ian Curtis worship and raw Scandinavian street spots - Strongest of the Strange established the aesthetic that Pontus would bring to both his next video project, and to his company Polar when that came about. He also kills it on a skateboard and gets his todger out, but it's still probably suitable to watch at work as long as you you explain to your boss that it is art.
Garaz 3 (2006)
In between personal video projects, Pontus makes an appearance in Polish video Garaz 3 - bringing a lust for jersey barriers and general haggard spots as well as a banging 70's porn tash to the table.
Emerica - DIY with Pontus (2009)
An insight into what keeps Pontus busy when not filming or editing a video, as he discusses and skates some of his own DIY spot builds in this clip for Emerica Europe.
In Search of the Miraculous (2010)
Picking up where Strongest of the Strange left off, In Search of the Miraculous is another insight into both the Northern European skate scene and Pontus Alv's brain in equal measure. This section sees a solid 3 and half minute of charging at the train bank spot from Pontus and friends followed by a flashback to an interview with teenage Pontus talking about practising a line to win a contest - if we wanted to get all cultural studies, this is where we'd start talking about the juxtaposition between this clip and his older, more freeform approach to skateboarding.
Luckily this isn't Sight and Sound, so we'll just say that, following on from the DIY session, you're in for a lot of good wallrides, hanging bank spots and even a dope line at Stockwell.
Converse: Pontus Alv and Jerome Campbell in Beirut (2012)
Pontus and Jerome Campbell explore the lesser-skated streets of Beirut, finding some crusty gems in what looks to be a surprisingly fruitful spot hunt.
Polar Promo (2012)
Unofficial title; Wallride Oh Yeah Oh Yea Oh Yea.
Any company that introduces itself to the world with Devo, Lord Finesse and - of course - Joy Division is definitely headed in the right direction!
Polar - No Complies & Wallrides + Shuvits (2012)
Polar's latest release with a title either poking fun at trends they unintentionally helped to kickstart or professing a genuine enjoyment of skateboarding's simple pleasures - we'll let you decide which. Give this a watch, then brace yourself for 'I like it here inside my mind, don't wake me this time.'