Nike SB | Copenhagen Open
Last month Nike SB generously approached us with an opportunity to reward our community, offering 3 entrants from our loyalty programme an all-expenses paid trip to skateboarding’s loosest annual vacation, the Copenhagen Open. Whilst there, our lucky winners were able to participate in specially curated photography workshops hosted by certified snap specialist Adrian Rios and gained access to all of the exclusive events from Wednesday through to Sunday. What follows is a recollection of the experience, from the perspective of our specially selected chaperone, George.
As it turns out, spending a couple of hours buckled into a giant winged sweatbox and slung across the arse of the stratosphere encourages a kind of nervous excitement that actually doubles as quite a good icebreaker. By the time tray tables were stowed, seatbelts were firmly reaffirmed, and those five gloriously tantalising words “prepare the cabin for landing” reached grateful ears across the intercom, our Copenhagen crew were clicking and itching to hit the streets.
After touching down and eagerly bustling through swathes of skaters at Copenhagen Airport, we briskly hopped on board a tram, counting our blessings that we’d made it through only one bag short. Peering through the windows at the cityscape beyond, we got our first glimpse at Copenhagen and its unlimited skateboarding potential. Spots upon spots floating across our eyelines, daydream inducing, mouths watering. On reaching our stop, the exquisite Scandic Kodbeyen Hotel, we scurried inside and hurriedly dealt with the usual formalities. Bags dropped and boards in hand, we were ready for our first night in the CPH.
Eagerly exiting the hotel, we put urethane to pavement and pushed towards the Nike SB-hosted invitation only open bar, frenetic excitement tingling agitatedly with every movement. Finally we arrived and, easing into the cultural shift, started to rub shoulders with those around us: Koston, Korahn, Ishod, et al. Being amongst so many professional skateboarders was (quite literally) a trip, as I stumbled whilst leaving and almost dowsed Carlos Ribeiro with a pint. He was cool about it though.
Around the corner the first 1UP competition was kicking off at Guldbersgade, a long, narrow city street closed to traffic with a trio of chunky pink quarter pipes built to spell “1 U P” placed in front of a rustic red brick building. The sun languished low in the sky, refusing to set just yet and illuminating the faces of people crammed along the road and scrambling walls for a better view of the antics in a soft orange glow. Local hero Oski cut the ribbon on Copenhagen Open the right way, putting on an MVP performance with boosted airs and twinkle-toed coping ticklers that elicited a rapturous response from the massing crowd. Later, we got the chance to get an advanced outdoor screening of Nike SB’s latest video presentation, 7Ball (which you can read more about here.). After an amazing first evening and a clumsy bike ride back to base camp, we snuck in some shut eye in anticipation of our first full day ahead.
Post breakfast, we grabbed our boards and supplies and met outside the hotel. Once we’d rummaged through the copious bike racks and found our trusty steeds, we were off to the first spot, Oresund Station, which had an array of ledges, banks, and smaller stairs for the guys to get creative on.
Adrian began our first workshop with a swift masterclass on camera operation, outlining how all the settings work and how to manipulate them for different results, including achieving a deliberate motion blur. The guys were all super attentive, which was reassuring as this was my first official day chaperoning, and Blair really took Adrian’s teachings on board and came out of the first lesson with these two banging photos! The first features Dylan throwing out an effortless flat ground tre flip, and the second showcasing my No-Comply revert, giving Blair a fast-moving subject for his motion blur image.
After this, we gathered the gang and set off to Remiseparken, an aesthetically soothing and expansive transition-based skatepark surrounded by lush foliage. The park features a swerving snake run skirting around a big bowl and a variety of concrete transition, serving as a perfect spot to introduce the crew to Tony McSorley, Route One Glasgow’s resident ramp annihilator. Following a frenzied skate, our small squad moved over to a nearby basketball court for a flat ground and ledge session before heading to the next event - the Pro Bowl Invitational and Park Session at Faelledparken, one of the largest skateparks in Northern Europe.
Arriving at the park was a shock to the system; the place was overwhelmingly full, a concrete behemoth bouncing with hundreds of people. The event kicked off with an opening jam and an awe-inspiring level of skateboarding, with the likes of Oski, Evan Mock, Alex Midler, and more flying around the bowl and over the extruding vert pocket like it was no more than a mini ramp.
After the event, we got a chance to skate the park and serendipitously ran into Route One National Team rider Diggs English, who was out in Copenhagen with Converse. After a quick catchup, another wobbly ride back to home base ensued, with Blair taking a tumble and sacrificing some knee skin to the pavement in the process. Hysterical.
Despite the pressing discomfort of our descending hangovers, we shook ourselves awake and gathered once more outside the hotel to head towards the famous Red Plaza, an expansive flat ground spot with an assortment of perfect granite obstacles to skate. Fervent excitement building, Friday’s lesson was all about the use of a skateboarding favourite - the time-defying fisheye lens.
After some solid work all round, Blair came through yet again, quickly capturing a banging photo of Reece throwing out his ol’ faithful frontside noseblunt across one of the ledges.
We then popped over to Superkilen to skate the infamous black hill bomb for a bit but were unfortunately interrupted by a group of models in matching suits frolicking down the hill. With the spot a total bust, we shot towards the next event of the evening, the beach party.
Unpredictably, the forecast flipped, clouding Copenhagen’s previously clear skies and lashing suddenly downwards. Dismayed but not down-for-the-count, we made the most of the bleak moment and did what the British do best – we hit the pub and waited for the storm to blow over... Painfully, it didn’t. Counting our losses and with forced smiles, we ventured back out, sloppily pedalling, sopping with rain. A collective loss of memory at daybreak suggesting that more drinks ensued, with the stale, lingering aftertaste of Friday evening kebabs and scratchy hotel carpeting pressed against waking faces the only prevailing reminder of a night on the tiles.
Prying bedraggled carcasses from bedroom floors, we welcomed Saturday with bittersweet feelings. Saturday signalled the last full day of the trip, the conclusory episode in our Copenhagen experience, but intent on going out with a bang, we bucked our ideas up and kicked on keenly for our final excursion with Adrian and co. Wary of our self-inflicted grievances, a gentle warmup at a manny pad spot was greatly appreciated, before floating over to Enghave Plads to scratch the transition itch.
Foolishly, we assumed we were in for a mellow skatepark session to while away the day, but videos of this place had been deceiving, with cracks and bumps adding an extra element of challenge to the place and demanding respect for anyone who’s put it down there. Shortly thereafter, with clips collected and photos compiled, we set off for the closing party.
Skatepark CPH’s back garden set the scene for Copenhagen Open 2023’s final fanfare, a narrow and unassuming entrance passageway bottlenecked by lofty brick buildings, opening into a covertly shielded courtyard scattered with abstract street furniture – blocky parkour sculptures sitting stoically towards the centre, orbited by star-shaped concrete benches and long, low ledges doubling as bike racks. Placed directly opposite the entranceway, on the far side of the courtyard, the 1UP ramps made their triumphant return, framed by the massive garage-style sliding doorways of the sports hall they were set against.
As soon as the temperamental weather held long enough for the ramps to dry, hidden flamethrowers kicked in, spewing flames high into the air every time someone hurtled towards and over the quarter pipes. The atmosphere in the courtyard inflated with raucous energy as beers were sank and tricks were stomped, and we were fortunate enough to squeeze a space right near the front to soak it all in.
Skating soon took a backseat as booziness found a footing, music pounding the crowd as punters put aside the lingering thoughts of flights home for one final special night. An erected scaffold in the middle of the madness provided a stage for the more erratic amongst the crowds, clambering upwards and dodging flying debris flung from far below.
Despite the perfect ending to our trip the evening previous, we thought we’d push our luck and head out for one last excursion. The heaviness of the week had caught up with us and we were content just pushing around, pleasantly stumbling across an impromptu clinic put on by Ishod Wair and Tanner Burzinski at a gorgeous granite ledge spot – a private demo, the perfect end to the Copenhagen experience.