Photos: Deville Nunes
Words: Jordan Hoffart
“I’ve always wanted to go to Denmark and Sweden ever since I’ve seen Pontus Alv skate. The spots look like they are out of a fantasy novel and the vibe reminded me of a lot of my home back in Vancouver. When Powell Peralta told us they wanted to do a tour last summer I was excited like a teenage kid that got laid for the first time. The crew consisted of a plethora of unique shredders: Steven Reeves (who in my mind is the definition of Powell Peralta), Bowl destroyer Brad McClain (my personal favorite), one of my best friends Josh Hawkins, filmer Terry Larue, and of course the mysterious photographer/TM Deville Nunes.
The trip was a mess from the get go, but all memorable tours start off by winging it. After two false starts and finally getting the travel dates a week prior to take off, we all bought really expensive last minute tickets and all had completely different flights. 26 hours and 4 flight changes later we all showed up hours apart so our distributor could be really frustrated with us and make multiple trips to the airport. I was among the last of the crew to arrive with Deville, and Terry in close pursuit behind me. When we flew in I was surprised to discover everyone’s bags had made it… except for Devilles, of course. His would arrive on a later flight making yet one more trip for our distributor.
We kicked things off in Aalborg, a city in northern Denmark that was clean and cold and had a rich history. We regrouped at Kim’s Kitchen, where the owner/headchef and fellow shredder Kim, cooked us up his special gravy burger recipe and popped a bottle of schnaps to kick things off on the right foot. Joining us (to my surprise) was long time skateboarding legend Ben Schroeder, who happened to be living in Denmark and was recovering from a heavy knee surgery, that he could only had gotten from the well educated doctors in Denmark. We ate and drank, and drank, and drank, until we regained consciousness two days later, when we woke up at a perfect seven foot deep kidney bowl that the locals had just finished troweling. The attendance was healthy, mainly because they heard Brad McClain and Steven Reeves were there. Us street dudes tried to keep up, but man those two bowl rippers are deadly. The locals were blown away, I too was blown away as to how fast these guys could adapt and annihilate the bowl. After some golden instagram moments and a pleased Danish crowed we headed over to the homie Jaspers house for a BBQ and camp out in his back yard. I was starting to realize there was a theme to the trip when another few bottles of schnaps were brought out during dinner. “Cheers to Nathan… Happy birthday you old fuck, skollllllllll!” Oh shit! It was another surprising night that ended in another black out.
I woke up with my legs half way out of my tent and looked around to see that nearly everybody’s legs were also halfway out of their tents. I reached over and read the label and sure enough the tents were made for kids ages 6-12. The best moment however, was seeing Ben’s 6’5” body crammed into a toddler sized tent with a caged leg dangling out the flap. It was really fucking cold at night so I figured having an early morning mini ramp session was the best way to warm up the legs. Next page, I dropped in and ate shit due to the dew that was still on the ramp from the cold, damp evening air. (Note to self: skating in the AM before having a coffee results in swollen butt cheeks). Once the rest of the crew woke up and wiped the puke off their faces we loaded the van and headed to Svenborg where we had another demo waiting for us. At the train station, Deville tried to sneak in a time lapse before the train arrived. Sure enough half way into the time lapse the train shows up and Deville scrambling to get his gear packed. Out of no where its Ben Schroeder to the rescue. Broken leg in cage and all he grabs Deville’s camera bags and starts sprinting to the train as if he’s running for gold. We were all expecting his leg just to fold but he must be made of magic. We barely got all our shit onto the train, said our fair wells and cruised to Svenborg where the next demo awaits.
Svenborg is a city midway between Aalborg and Copenhagen. The people are chill and polite and the skate scene is growing. We had a demo in an indoor park, which also ended up being our sleeping arrangements as well. After a passable demo we hit the bowling alley that was in the same building in dyer need of entertainment. This place was the best bowling alley I’ve ever been to and then some. First off we were the only people there, so we had the whole place to ourselves which ended up being awesome because we controlled what they played on the speakers, obnoxcious techno. Secondly, they had 100 oz beer dispensers. Need I say more. Thirdly, it was disco night, so the laser beams were out and the fog machines were on full blast. Lastly, the way the pins were set up there was one red pin. If the red pin was in the center and you nailed a strike it was free shots for the crew. That was some major inspiration to hammer out some strikes. Fully hammy’d, we headed back to the park for a late night session which ended up just being an hour of bailing, which we thought was hilarious. We woke up hung to the tits and headed down to Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is AWESOME. It was definitely one of my favorite places I’ve toured, the people are highly educated as school is paid for by the government all the way to getting your masters degree. Everything there just seemed to make sense, which I guess is a product of a highly educated society – making good decisions. We met up with our distributor and headed to our apartment. Finally a proper roof over our heads! However, there was no time to chill, once we dropped the bags, we headed over to the bike rental shop and copped us some gems. Our spot guide Gabe was an quick witted aussy cunt, who had spots for days and pretty much was a champ for getting us around. I should also mention Ole (Rauff) a photographer living in Malmö that took the train into Copenhagen everyday just to meet up and show us around. Between the two of them, they nailed it, and it couldn’t have been a better time. We didn’t really have any demos lined up in Copenhagn so it was cool to be able to concentrate on just hitting the streets and filming. It rains quite a bit in Denmark, so the spots are a bit weathered, but it also made for some unique spots and epic clips as the architecture is also amazing. It also seemed as though Copenhagen was a city of transition/development as there were a grip of spots that we just ran into without even the locals knowing about. I should also add that it’s a skateboard friendly city so getting footage pretty much just came down to you and the spot and making it happen.
While biking around the city Gabe told us about the Wonderland Bowl in a place called Christiana which was technically a different country even though it was on the southern tip of Copenhagen and didn’t border any other countries. It’s an old hippy commune that bought the land off Denmark and established their own society based off their morals and beliefs. It has it’s own government and school system and is not part of the European Union. It does however have the same currency as the Danish crown and borrows Denmark’s paramedic and police system when need be. Lately it’s raised interest from clubs such as the Hells Angels as weed is legal and therefore so are money making opportunities. The Wonderland bowl was donated by Alis and is “owned by none but ran by all”. That’s sort of Christiania’s philosophy. You can sleep at the ramp if you have nowhere to go as long as you contribute by keeping it clean. It’s a bit of a trip when you first go, kind of a neverland/lost boys sort of vibe. The locals fucking destroy the bowl too. Dudes I just starting hearing of like Danni Carlssen among others just killed the place. Kind of made me feel like just blazing a spliff and enjoying the show.
After an amazing few days of much needed street shredding the crew headed to Malmö for the Ultra bowl contest. Malmö is also a skateboard wonderland, as I mentioned before, dudes like Pontus Alv have really shaped the skate scene and put it on the map for the north american skate industry to want to come visit. I’ve always wanted to go and now I finally made it. The spots that I saw in the video were nothing short of amazing, even better then I had imagined in my head. TBS is definitely one of my favorite spots, theres nothing like being able to rip in the straight line and have a literal concrete wave to surf on for 200 feet. Bank to ledges, bank to wall rides, pole jams, up ledges, down ledges and bank to bank gaps; it’s paradise.
And as if that’s not rad enough, within skating distance of 3 other DIY spots, one being Steppenside. It’s Malmo’s version of Burnside, with beer can coping, rad locals and unique lines, it’s really a rad place to get weird. While us street dudes were ripping the streets, the bowl guys were getting heavy at the Malmo Bowl contest. That was a sight in its self. Full on criss cross crash style course with tens of bowl shredders skating full speed, airing and grinding basically right into each other. It’s a beautiful chaos. Steven Reeves is a legend among the locals, he actually knew every single person in Malmö, it was nuts. High fiving like he owned the place! Brad was insane to watch as he edged out the competition and got 1st place just two weeks after winning the CHP bowl contest as well! Dude’s a beast.
The Malmö Ultra Bowl contest is held the same weekend as the Malmo city festival, which is literally a week long party. So after skating each day we would go into town, grab some beers and shred the rides. Right in the center of the festival they resurrected this super sketchy, narrow mini mega ramp. Every night they would have the local shred dawgs put on a demo for the locals. The last night however they had a best trick contest where they handed out cash for tricks, so everyone in the bowl contest cruised over for a piece of the pie. Among the many insane bails, a lot of dudes actually pulled off some pretty sick shit, the son and pop doubles gap to quarterpipe airs was insane and was in top contention for the win, when out of no where some local hero (Editor’s note: Actually it was Danny Léon from Spain) started throwing backflips and landing less then a foot away from the edge of the landing ramp. It was so scary to watch. It was like you wanted to look away you were so scared for him but part of you wanted to watch to see what would happen. Anyway the dude fucking pulls it, lands completely crunched in a ball 6 inches from the side of the ramp. It was retarded and awesome. That night they premiered a local video “Kaleidoscpope” at the “skate bar” so everyone flooded in to support the scene. It was really rad to get to see it as we really got a feel as to just how many people skated in Malmö and how close and supportive everyone is with one another. It was rad.
After and epic weekend and equally amazing trip, I had to depart from the boys and fly to Canada for another tour. The rest of the crew continued on to Germany and Poland to continue getting rad.
On to you Steven…
Click here to see Part 2 of the Powell Peralta european tour (narrated by Steven Reeves).
To see more of BRAD MCCLAIN killing it in Scandanavia and beyond, check out the new print issue of Confusion Magazine, issue #6.