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Skate World: Denmark

Skate World: Denmark

city is really old. So normally they build the
small stones all over. And this was really exciting. They clean the ledges
every week. So we have to wax them up. And we did that for
four years. Every week we waxed
them again. And they cleaned them. And we actually met
the architect. In the beginning he
was almost crying. You’re ruining my plaza. Nobody using the plaza besides
us, so you should be happy. And he thought, maybe
you’re right. I think after that they
stopped cleaning it. HJALTE HALBELG: I’m from
Copenhagen, Denmark. And I started skating 2000. Anton Juul and the
whole [INAUDIBLE] crew. ANTON JUUL: I’ve been skating
for more than 20 years. I can’t remember exactly
how long. I was born in– I think it’s a special place
in Copenhagen called Christiania. When I was 18 I moved right
next to Prygl I Parken. And then I start skating
there every day. ANNOUNCER: Anton Juul. ANTON JUUL: Mark Fowlie,
definitely. And in the beginning, of course,
Nicky, when I was really young. He was the first skater
I ever saw skate. But really fast that
scene died out. And we were the older
scene pretty quick. The whole ’90s period there
was only 15 skaters in the whole of Copenhagen. Back then I think
nobody know what skateboarding could lead to. And we look like clowns
in our big jeans. It didn’t fit into the
rest of the society. HJALTE HALBELG: Back then? No. I was just skating along
with some friends. We were not cool enough. ANTON JUUL: Most of them are
not skating anymore. But I met these guys,
and kept on rolling. There’s so many skaters now,
and there’s not that much against skating here. Of course, there will
always be somebody that don’t like it. But I think it’s really
a skate-friendly city. HJALTE HALBELG: We
have this spot. And we have a spot called
Amager Strandpark. I think it’s three or
four years old. One big concrete rollerbladnig
road, with a curve in the side, like two kilometers
long or something. ANTON JUUL: I don’t go here
that often anymore. It’s only two ledges. I think you have to have
some love for it. Or else it’s just what it is. Yeah, but not here. Definitely not here. They have to go to the States. I think it’s even harder now. Because there’s so many
good skaters. ALBERT HATCHWELL: This
is my street. This is our street. So if you want to buy some
vinyls, you go down there. If you want to go for
pizza, there. The telephone cards are over
there, in the kiosk. So now you know, if you
want to SMS somebody. And here is the store. My accountant. And he whips my ass, because I
don’t know what I’m doing. So he’s the one who’s
keeping me tight. Look, he’s running away. Stop him. STEEN KELSA: Albert just fell
in love with skateboarding, for some reason. He wasn’t a skater. It’s a rare thing that someone
who isn’t really a skateboarder can become such
an integrated part of the scene, like Albert has
been, and is today. Kids like and Anton and Mischa
and those guys, they would hang out with Albert. And he would see those
guys skating. And it would blow him away
enough to make him decide to become a skateboard
manufacturer, and do clothing and stuff. ALBERT HATCHWELL: ALIS stands
for Albert and Isabel. We started in– we can’t remember, back
in the ’90s, ’94, ’95. This is the new decks. Come on in. May Anderson, we used
her as a model. Flex O’Connor, we have
his little board here, Sebastian O’Connor. But call him Flex in
between friends. And he came at Scandinavian
Open in 2001, or something like that, when he was
a little fellow. And he skated amazingly. So he was quickly a part
of the family. We try to give back to the
culture, where we come from. And if I can support somebody
and they can paint a board, then it’s just perfect. That’s how it should be. Got Nicky’s pro model. He’s been with us
since the start. This is a celebration of his
30 years of skateboarding. We made the Ganesh sitting on
a pile of records, with the rat clapping. Amazing. -Does everybody in Copenhagen
know who Nicky Guerrero is? ALBERT HATCHWELL: Definitely. People appreciate his
skateboarding. And a big inspiration
to the young ones. You know, they’re like, oh,
he’s still skating. I can keep on skating. Wonderland is a bowl
that we built. It’s out in Christiania. And it started out
with a mini ramp. And then people were complaining
about, it makes too much noise. And one day, in angriness,
I just took a [INAUDIBLE] and ran right through it. I got my friend to move it in
another place in Christiania. When I have this replica
standing here in the shop, people are always pointing out,
this is where I smoked my first doobie. Or this is where I dropped in. And everybody have a little
history of it. So it’s really a part
of Copenhagen, and a part of the use. STEEN KELSA: I remember the
summer when the whole bowl in thing happened. It was just the greatest
time to just go there and watch people. Because everyone was stoned
out of their minds. ALBERT HATCHWELL: [INAUDIBLE] was here. [INAUDIBLE] was here. Nicky was here. And we just went out, got a lot
of scrap wood, and we just started building, in a big haze
of red wine and smoke. STEEN KELSA: Wonderland
is a special place. If you’re a kid that learns how
to skate on a place like Wonderland and you
can rip that, you can rip fucking anything. Because it’s so gnarly
out there. It’s full of holes. It’s full of kinks. The coping is murder. The whole scene out there,
I mean, it’s Christiania. Lots of parents here won’t let
their kids go to Christiania. -Christiania, man, free town. STEEN KELSA: People have this
image of Christiania as a lawless country where people
are getting shot everyday. What they don’t know is it’s
mainly old hippies out there. But still it’s out
of the ordinary. ALBERT HATCHWELL: Now 11 years
after, it still is amazing, and still living. When I go there and I sit down,
I just get goosebumps, just seeing it being used. I’m blessed. -Who is considered the best
skater in Copenhagen? STEEN KELSA: Nicky Guerrero. -Always? STEEN KELSA: Always. ANNOUNCER: Nicky Guerrero! [INAUDIBLE]. FRANK MESSMMAN: Nicky Guerrero,
he’s a kindergarten teacher now. Has been for a while. Still skates. Has been in the same
place in Copenhagen for the past 20 years. NICKY GUERRERO: One time I went
to Germany and bought this thing. They imported it from the
states, like a scoop end from California. One of these fiberglass
things. Yeah. I got inspired. And then they said, I’m
importing these benches from the states. And then I thought, hey
man, I better go down and buy a couple. I started skating when I was
nine years old in ’77, going to a trip to California,
to Los Angeles. And my uncle gave me a little
red [INAUDIBLE] plastic board, which I brought back
to Denmark. And then started skating that,
doing some slalom around some Coke bottles. I saw some ads with Tony
Alva in the beginning. But then I started subscribing
to, I think it was “SkateBoarder” magazine. I was reading that, and trying
to learn some of the tricks. In ’78 it got illegal to skate
on the Danish streets, because they thought it was a
new dangerous toy. And then in the summer of ’79
I went to California again. And my grandmother said, there’s
a new skate park just down the street. And I went there. And it was Marina Skate Park. And I skated there for a month,
learned to do front side and back side kick turns. And then I went back
to Denmark. And then I saw on the newspaper
they’re going to start a skateboard
club in my town. At the first meeting in Denmark
at the new skateboard club, people came from
other towns. Soren Aaby came out
from [INAUDIBLE]. And Frank Messmman was
there, I think. SOREN AABY: I don’t know how
many times I read these magazines when I was a kid. That’s crazy. I started in ’76. I was 10. And me and my best mate,
Frank Messmman, we started out together. FRANK MESSMMAN: Soren
Aaby and I went to the same school together. And one of our friends brought
a skateboard home from California, just a toy board,
like a plastic cheap board. And we were just so fascinated
with it. We immediately got
one of our own. SOREN AABY: A couple years later
we started a skateboard club near our house, in ’78. Nicky was a couple
years younger. Instantly when we met him and
had a skateboard club we were just like, whoa. That guy is really good. So we hung out. And we’ve been together
ever since. NICKY GUERRERO: Crazy keyboards
and stuff like that. SOREN AABY: It’s the Soundtrack
from a movie called “Skateboard” with
Lief Garrett. FRANK MESSMMAN: It’s got this
song, “Skate Out.” This is the beginning of a new generation
starting to skate. Take it to the high level. SOREN AABY: We didn’t have
any mags at all. So I got it from Sweden. This is what they do. They jump. And they carve. And they handstand. So that’s what we
started doing. I started hanging out
with these guys. And they’re rockers. They’re punk rock. They’re from the center
of Copenhagen. I’m living in a nice area, with
pink shirts or whatever. But we got together. And we got to get together and
had our skateboard club, which is somewhere in between. STEEN KELSA: Soren and Frank
were buddies at the time. They were from another
part of Copenhagen. And to me and the other guys,
we were like a bit somewhat into punk rock, and shit. And those guys seemed preppy. But there were so few of us. We had to hang out. We couldn’t really afford to
disenfranchise anyone. Because it was us against
the world. FRANK MESSMMAN: This was some
of the first street skating for us, too, when we found spots
like this, skate spots. And you put in the little
map of where it was, and talked about it. So people could go there
and skate as well. STEEN KELSA: If we weren’t
skating at [INAUDIBLE], at the skateboard club, we started
street skating at the time. There were so few places
that were made for skateboarding here. So street skating was
what you did. SOREN AABY: We’re in the
center of Copenhagen. We’re right by the
Queen’s Palace. This is one of the oldest street
spots that we have in Copenhagen, called Amaliehaven,
Amalie Garden. This is where we used to hang
out and street skate when we were young. Driving here on roller skates or
on skateboards, or anything equivalent to that, is
strictly forbidden. There was a security
guy walking around hassling us all the time. And we’d skate for
five, 10 minutes. And then we’d get kicked out. And then one day we met the
Queen and her husband walking the dogs in here. Because it’s their garden. And they asked us to come
over and talk to them. And there were some paparazzis
in the bushes somewhere. And they got pictures. And they made a story
out of it. So from there on there was no
problem skating here, since it was in the magazine. So that was pretty cool. -Does anyone have that
article anywhere? SOREN AABY: I don’t know, man. FRANK MESSMMAN: It might
be listed on the cover of something. ’83, ’84, Summer camp. NICKY GUERRERO: [INAUDIBLE] skateboard club, they sent
a team, three guys from Copenhagen, they sent them
to the first one in ’82. And they came back from
the summer camp. They had a seminar where they
were teaching the other skaters, hey, what did you learn
in the skating camp. And I was so excited to find
out what they learned. And they started to
do stretching. They taught us how to stretch. And then the year after,
in ’83 I went there. When I came there I saw Lance
Mountain and Mike McGill and the Rodney Mullen. But seeing the swerve skating,
doing tricks from side to side, back to back, was
just incredible. It gave me a lot
of inspiration. FRANK MESSMMAN: It wasn’t
really shocking. But it was definitely
like, whoa. Those guys are at a whole
different level. And super famous,
and all that. NICKY GUERRERO: And then each
year we were getting better. In the end, Lance was saying to
Tony, hey, Tony, you think we got some extra wheels
for Nicky? Because Lance could see that
I was up and coming. FRANK MESSMMAN: After the
Swedish summer camp where Tony Hawk and Lance Mountain were
there, they all trekked down from Sweden to Copenhagen. There was a really big ramp
north of Copenhagen in a place called Helsinge, which
became very famous. It was just built in the
backyard of a friend of mine. And it was huge. And at the time was one of
the best ramps in Europe. So people came from all over
to skate this thing. NICKY GUERRERO: Billy Ruff and
Daniel Webster, they came to Scandinavian Open in Helsinge. They asked me if I wanted
to skate for them. And I was skating
for [INAUDIBLE]. And I kind of wanted to move
on to American company. So I went with that. I wanted to make a little
display of my old boards. I tried to put some black light
on it, but it doesn’t really work well in the light. But it’s my second
board for G&S. STEEN KELSA: Yeah, in as much
as we could scam stuff off them, sure. But of course. We were blown away the first
time you could open up something like a “Thrasher” or
“TransWorld Skateboarding” and see pictures of Nicky skating
in a pro contest. That was huge, of course. NICKY GUERRERO: And then
in the summer of ’86 I went over there. I took my driver’s license. I was 18. And then there going down to
G&S to pick up some boards. And they would send me to
a scholarship contest in Phoenix, Arizona. And it was a big contest
for three weeks. And then I ended
up winning it. It was pretty crazy, because
Jason Jesse was there, and Henry Gutierrez and
all of their top amateurs at the time. And I remember Jason Jesse
didn’t really like me. One time I think we dropped
in at the same time. And he would do a 50/50 grind
towards the side, and he pushed me off the
top of the ramp. So I fell all the way
down on the grass. Yeah, pretty much. Because later on, when we both
were pro, there was a ramp down in Fallbrook, and we
both skated that a lot. Hanging out with Grandma in LA,
like a week in a row she took me surfing. We drove for an hour. And she said if you want to
catch some good waves, we have to get up at 6:00
in the morning. And she took me there. It was crazy, just
like she took me skating when I was younger. Actually, this is a board that
I got from G&S. I think it’s still somewhere in San
Diego, or something. SOREN AABY: We went traveling
with Nicky over there. And I have all these fun
memories of being at the Fallbrook ramp, staying
at Tony’s house. To concerts with Red Hot. And we always had to stop at
every Denny’s or Carl’s Jr. or Burger King. We had so much junk food
when we were there. This was my first model. That was the weapon shield. That’s my family’s weapon
shield from 1595. And its modified by Jim Phillips
Sr., the Santa Cruz artist guy. I think I met the Santa Cruz
guys at the Munster Monster World Championships in ’89. And I never thought
this is my aim. This is my goal. I’m going to be a
professional. I just figured I wanted
to skate. And that’s what I
wanted to do. And then all of sudden people
offer me stuff. And I am obviously
really excited. FRANK MESSMMAN: Getting a
sponsorship from the US was only going to happen if you
actually went to the US, pretty much. So I trekked over
there in ’85. And ended up getting sponsored
by SIMS and Vision Street Wear. And I was also sponsored
by Indy. -Is that where you
met Steve Rocco? FRANK MESSMMAN: Yeah, that
was on my first trip. I met him. He was actually my
team manager. He was Vision’s team manager
at the time. Nowadays it’s much easier for
European skater to be picked up by an American company and
ultimately make it to pro status than it was back then. SOREN AABY: In Copenhagen we
had all different kinds of street spots around the city. But we didn’t have anything
organized. So we just put a little pressure
on the commune here. And finally they accepted that
they had to do something for this new, upcoming culture. FRANK MESSMMAN: We got the city
of Copenhagen to build a skate park in a public park,
called Faelledparken. And the skate park has been
there to this day. Once we did that, then all of a
sudden Copenhagen itself had a prime skate spot. NICKY GUERRERO: When the park
was built I was 20. 20 years old in ’88. And then the summer of ’88, and
then I was pro for G&S. So it was a big thing. I remember the mayor was on the platform, cutting a ribbon. And then I had the first run. And [INAUDIBLE] was skating, and all the Danish
skaters were skating. STEEN KELSA: One of the big
things would be the contests we used to have at
Faelledparken. This guy dropped in on the vert
ramp in a couch with two skateboards on it. We used to have this contest
called [INAUDIBLE]. It became big enough to fill the
park, 1,500, 2,000 people. And all kinds of crazy
shit went down. -Piss bong. Piss bong. STEEN KELSA: When street skating
came around, Mark Fowlie quickly built
himself reputation. His technical abilities were
much better than anyone else. FRANK MESSMMAN: Mark Fowlie,
super talented street skater. He was on the European
power team as well. Besides skating, I was also
working with or for the Danish importer of skateboards. I’d lined up distributorships
for Denmark for most of the main brands. And the last one I lined
up was Powell. So I bought all the Powell
products, went to the trade shows. And one year I was introduced
to George Powell at one of these trade shows. After the meeting, I found out
that he was trying to figure out if I could be a candidate
for what their vision for Europe was. And George’s vision for Europe
was a European bones brigade, a European headquarters. And they offered me the job. And a few months later, I left
Copenhagen, and eventually settled in Amsterdam. Decided this was the best
place to have a European headquarters. Personally, Nicky Guerrero
was my favorite. I had grown up with him. And I just thought he had
more talent than any other skater in Europe. So he was my first pick. NICKY GUERRERO: I had been for
G&S for three or four years. And I wanted to move on, to try
to expand my horizons in the skateboarding business. And being with the top team, the
bones brigade, was pretty exciting for me. So I made the jump to
skate for Powell. FRANK MESSMMAN: I did the
filming for the European portion of Propaganda. I spent some time with Stacy
Peralta in the US, where he was basically teaching me about
filming and story lines and things. And I used that to help
me when I was filming all the guys. Because I did all the filming,
too, of all the team riders. And just sent the footage, Hi8
tapes back to California. NICKY GUERRERO: And here
we are in Copenhagen. Very nice. And then I started skating
for Powell. And I had a contract, where I
had to do 36 demos a year. So there was a lot of demos
all over Europe. And then in the winter time
I spent in the states. This was my first Powell
board, I think. And then we wanted to
make something like that, but more simple. So we came up with this. It was just a part of it. And then later on this one
was also a Powell board. But it wasn’t that successful. Because I told them something
over the phone, like I want something like a robot. Because the new “Terminator”
film came out in the beginning of the ’90s. And this is what they came
up with, a tribal robot. It was kind of funny. STEEN KELSA: I didn’t really
think it was hokey. But how could anyone live up to
the original bones brigade? The video where Mark is in it
and Nicky is in it, there aren’t too many of the
original Bones Brigaders in that film. Tony’s in there, of course. But at the time Rodney
had already left. And it just didn’t really have
the same impact as something like a new Powell video
used to have. The Bones Brigade, and the Santa
Cruz skaters, and the Vision skaters had been carrying
the whole thing for almost a generation,
basically. From ’83, ’84, up to ’88, ’89. And it was going to end. But at the time, no one
knew what was going to come after that. FRANK MESSMMAN: Powell and the
whole skate scene pretty much shrunk to a 1/10 of its former
size between ’89 and ’92. So by the time we got to ’92,
Powell just couldn’t afford to have the European office
open anymore. NICKY GUERRERO: Josh Powell told
me over the phone that they needed to be honest. We’re not really going to
make pro boards anymore. And we’re just going to
make a team board. And you probably won’t
make so much money. And then I thought, hey, then
think I have to move on, and start something else. So I came back to Denmark. And then the next day I started
over on high school over here for grown ups. And did that for
a couple years. So that was the end
of the big time professional for me, in ’93. SOREN AABY: Now 20 years
later, we’re going to get a new park. I’m looking at every
day, really. That’s what Faelledparken
is going to look like in a year from now. Vert was dying out completely
early ’90s. And I couldn’t do
the crossover. -Hello. SOREN AABY: When I came back
from America in ’92, I sat down, tried to figure out
what I was going to do in the real life. So I was in advertising,
working for different companies here for 10 years. And then I started
my own company. FRANK MESSMMAN: I moved to the
US in ’94 and joined World soon thereafter. World just grew, and
grew, and grew. But eventually we sold it
all to Globe in 2002. And then I stayed with the
company for a year. I ended up coming back
to Amsterdam. I joined [INAUDIBLE]
technology. I set up the European
headquarters, kind of like I did for Powell back
in the day. Except the scope was
a little bigger. I left because I became partners
with Jamie Thomas. He asked if I wanted to come
to the US and help him with the company there. I bought into Black Box in the
US, and became Jamie’s business partner and CEO
of the business. With Fallen and Zero and Mystery
and Slave, it feels like I’m back in the old
World days almost. It’s really great. NICKY GUERRERO: The main the
thing I do, just like kindergarten teacher. We don’t have a certain thing
they have to learn, just social rules, not to hit each
other, and be nice. Sometimes I take them
over to the ramp, show them a few runs. And they freak out. And then I get a little
bit of respect. Because they think, he can do it
like that, on one arm, and everything. They like it. I don’t skate that much. I skate like an hour here,
and an hour there, maybe half an hour. Two years ago I had a
30 year anniversary. And they made this board where
my face is in the middle. And I’m called Guru Man. It’s short for Nicky
Guerrero, Guru Man. I just turn this off
if we go upstairs. No, that’s actually for my
grandmother, when she died. It’s my– what do you call it. My uncle went down to some
place, and we bought a suit. And then one time I had
it on in Copenhagen. And this guy, [INAUDIBLE],
he comes over. Hey, man, you look like
a Christian dude from Jehovah’s Witnesses. And I never wore it since. Just slam the door
down there, yep.

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