Text and photos by Arne Fiehl
I guess most skaters’ dream is to settle down at some point in their lives on a property with a little bowl in the backyard, or at least some kind of private shredable terrain such as an indoor miniramp. Well, my main män and life-long friend Eyk von Drathen made this dream a reality, not the miniramp (he already had that), but the backyard bowl which is actually in his front yard. He’s not the first to have done so and he won`t be the last, but another spot can be marked on the list of epic private playgrounds worldwide.
With the help from a lot of friends and generous people we were able to build a professional bowl for literally nothing compared to official projects like this. Eyk can consider himself lucky to be brothers with them good folks at Minus-Ramps who shot the transitions in three days, so the most important part was taken care of in a decent way. Eyk and some Flensburg locals, that’s the most northern city of Germany just south of the Danish border where somewhere near this gem is located, had started the digging, wood work and rebaring late summer last year, but we didn’t manage to finish the project because of a busy season until early December. So after building this epic bowl and pool in Bremen (to be seen somewhere on this site soon, too) I went to Eyk’s place some more to overlook the last preparations for three days of shooting.
We were super lucky with the weather, actually at times the sun was killing us with a small team for big complicated pieces, but it all turned out great. And in the beautiful rural area that is called Angeln at the most western tip of the Baltic Sea where Eyk and I grew up it’s really rare to have hot days like that with absolutely no wind, especially at that time of the year. And a beautiful place on earth it is – I have a lot of home pride when it comes to that. I’ve been places and I know that Angeln still is one of the most lovely ones on this planet, at least for some kind of western people like me. It’s my home, I will move back soon to accomplish something like Eyk myself, and it was cool to show our friends the little supermarket parking lot where me and my mates spent the best years of our lives and the beach where I grew up swimming every day. Not many skaters make it to our area, because there’s pretty much nothing to skate, that’s why you have to take matters into your own hands.
Everybody knows its as simple as that, and Eyk and his lady Elena and another befriended couple bought this nice sweet house three years ago with more garden that you can handle, so it was clear from the beginning that there would be some concrete sooner or later. But no one, especially not Eyk himself who was working on his exams during the last period of our work, would have imagined that in the end it went that fast and turned out the way it did.
Later Eyk made the trip to Malmö to get some delicious pool coping in form of seventy Viking Blocks, big thanks and cheers up to John Magnusson for helping out on that one! Again with a little help from some friends we managed to prepare everything for the final run, the flat bottom and the platform including some little spots on the side. It was so rad seeing Eyk and his father Hotte (who gets a double thumbs up for all the help he’s putting in on the property) placing the pool coping. I remember in our early years skateboarding Eyk’s parents were not really that supportive of his new lifestyle.
Anyway, thanks to Baum who had taken an extended vacation in Eyk`s wooden garden house, me and him as the only professionals finished twelve cubes in two days in scorching heat, because, again, we were really lucky with the weather. This time it was just a little bit too hot, though, we only had two finishing trowels and each only two hands at hand. So the platform didn’t turn out as great as the rest of the bowl, but it’s still smooth and clean.
Luckily we got a crane pump on the accident, which was just by accident because no other truck was available. We had intended to do everything with wheel barrows, but with six and a half people we were more than willing to pay the extra 300 bucks for the pump. Otherwise, I think, we wouldn’t have made it. So we were really lucky in the end, but on a project like this, where it’s the best and most positive vibrations from the beginning you get instant karma (have you recognized this during your life time?).
After working on the bowl for about eight months with a big break during the winter time we just wanted to finish the thing, before the summer started, when everybody is concreting all over Germany to actually make some money out of it. Kai, the number one local when it comes to help from beginning to start seemed to be the happiest. He couldn’t wait to skate the finished bowl and on the first session with only him, Baum, Eyk and me, he made sure that there will be something to expect from him there in the near future! After all, it was the first time for him to build something like this and be able to shred it pretty much on a daily basis afterwards. There are people who build up some routines with those feelings during the years, but even for me and Baum it was unreal to have something like that in your own garden when we saw the finished product. It looks that it’s going to take a little longer for Eyk to really realize what he’s the proud owner of now…
A bowl which is not that deep, the deep end goes only about 1,70m (5 1/2 feet) and the trannies that are mostly not that tight. But due to its four pockets, the bowl is kinda hectic, but in a funny and line-opening way. It’s going to be fun for so many years to come! There’s going to be some tiles added in the taco, and I guess a spot like this is just evolving through the next years. There’s not too much room left for big experiments, though.
Of course, this is a private bowl which means there’s people living there with kind neighbors and cute animals. If you want to shred Home Sweet Bowl write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask Eyk for directions, you won’t find it without them, at least not without using a computer. Eyk’s the last one to not share his life with like-minded brothers and even Elena, who took sweet care of us all the time on the food front) persists that this bowl, which was responsible for the death of some beloved plants (not to mention all the tiny bugs, ants and worms) is gonna be used. Don’t worry, Elle, it’s gonna be used, the sacrifice that had to be made is gonna be praised for quite some years to come, and this is only the beginning…
So the bowl is about 92% finished. We`ll be adding some more skateable gimmicks on the platform, but maybe not this year, we’ll see. One thing is for sure, there’s gonna be a big opening party this summer with local bands Mr. Burns and Hallo Kwitten plus special guests playing and lots of virgin skateboarding happening. It`s gonna be wicked…
Thanks to everyone who made this possible in whichever way, you know who you are! And thank you, skateboarding, you`re No. 1, always will be…
Text and photos by Arne Fiehl