At last, the final we’d all been waiting for took place this weekend. No, we’re not talking about the Euros or even Wimbledon. Nike Skateboarding held the European Series final leg in Berlin, and it was another epic show of skateboarding talent.
Amidst Berlin’s summer heat, 30 competitors battled it out for a portion of the €20,000 prize, with Brazil’s Ivan Monteiro coming out on top. After the event — and following on from our conversation with Santiago Sasson and Casper Brooker — we spoke with two Nike SB skaters to get a better understanding of the current scene.
When did you get into skateboarding and what got you started?
Farid Ulrich: A friend told me our idol at the time, Eminem, was skating. He grabbed a skateboard, went to the park and managed to get down a curb. That’s how it started. I think I was around eight, but it took me another three years to really start skating, get my first board and that kind of thing.
Karsten Kleppan: My mom had a Penny board in the attic, you know, the old banana boards they skated with in the ’70s. I started messing around with that thing, but I left it in the garden one day, and it went missing. My mom got super bummed because it was her little childhood thing. At the time my dad was in Iceland, he knew that I lost her board and so he came back with a standard board for her. I started skating on that set-up when I was eight years old.
Farid, you’re not able to skate the contest this weekend because you’re injured but in general do either of you feel under pressure when you skate contests?
Farid Ulrich: If you’re going to win a competition, it’s important to win with a smile on your face. I always try not to put pressure on myself and to smile. Just have fun, especially in the run.
Karsten Kleppan: I don’t think about it too much. I try to have fun. That’s when I skate my best – when I’m having a good time.
What do you think makes Berlin such a great skateboarding city?
Farid Ulrich: The diversity. We have the old parts of Berlin next to the new parts and a multi-cultural scene. People come from everywhere and the vibe is great. You’re welcomed here; everyone’s got open arms.
Karsten Kleppan: It’s in the center of Europe and many people come here to skate. It has a great skateboarding scene, there are a lot of great spots, parks, and individuals here.
If you could skate in a different era, which would it be? And why?
Farid Ulrich: The nineties! Just for the vibe. I listen to hip-hop and watch movies from the nineties, plus my parents tell me great stories from this era. I always hear about it. So yeah, the nineties!
Karsten Kleppan: Oh shucks! I don’t know. I like the early nineties. It’s a crazy era with pressure flips and big pants. I’m also into the Eighties, the vert skating era. That’s a tough question.
What’s on your playlist right now?
Farid Ulrich: A lot of French, German and American rap. Some reggae mixtapes, nineties rap, old school mixtapes.
Karsten Kleppan: Lately a lot of Danish hip-hop. S!VAS and Ukendt Kunstner and probably some weird shit. Yeah, I’ve been bumpin’ that Danish hip-hop.
Who inspires you?
Farid Ulrich: I just watched Daewon Song’s “Skate More” part before coming here and everyone went crazy. I could imagine doing every trick because I skate the same way he did, you know? I think Daewon Song inspires a lot of my skating. I do the switch nose wheelies all the time, stuff like that.
Karsten Kleppan: Grant Taylor. Forever.
Outside of skateboarding, what do you enjoy doing?
Farid Ulrich: Building things and then having fun using them with friends. Right now I like going to the countryside to build skate parks; I love creating. It doesn’t even have to be a skate ramp. We have this country house, and we’re always making new stuff — a fireplace or dance floor — and it always hypes people.
Karsten Kleppan: Just hanging out with friends and having fun. That’s my main thing.
What are your favorite cities to skate in and why?
Farid Ulrich: I have to say Barcelona. There are so many spots, and the lifestyle is great. It’s easy to stay in, cheap and full of cool people.
I also really like Paris because I like historical cities. If you go through the streets and see a huge building from seventeen-hundred-something, it’s very impressive.
Karsten Kleppan: Copenhagen is one of my favorite cities. I have loads of friends there, I love the spots, and it’s just an excellent city. Of course Oslo, my hometown, too. I skated there growing up, it’s where my heart and my roots are. I love it.
What was your worst skateboarding injury?
Farid Ulrich: My tooth because it was the most expensive. My board snapped doing a tre flip on flat, it shot straight into my tooth. Even a year afterward, I couldn’t do tre flips, I was scared the board would snap up again! I paid €360 for the first operation and now, to get a new tooth, I have to pay another €650. I don’t want to pay that for one tooth, so I’m just going to wait.
Karsten Kleppan: Broken ribs when I was younger. I broke them on a handrail trying to boardslide, I fell on my back and broke two. It was so painful, like the worst pain ever. That sucked.
What do you think makes a good skateboarder?
Farid Ulrich: Good skating, obviously. However, you have to also be interested in something else that you put into your skating. You combine skating with other interests and it becomes your persona.
Karsten Kleppan: I think it’s just having a good time. Style and expressing yourself in a good way. Skateboarding is more about expressing yourself than tricks.