soulland and eric koston share their favorite copenhagen skate spots
i-D caught up with designer Silas Adler and the legendary American skater at the launch of their new collaboration with Nike SB during Copenhagen’s international skate competition.
Copenhagen's streets were packed last week with two overlapping crowds: the international fashion industry headed to fashion week in the Danish capital, and a global skate crew bound for the CPH Open competition. The launch of an awesome new collaboration between Danish brand Soulland, American pro skater Eric Koston, and Nike SB epitomized this creative mix — seamlessly blending fashion, skating, and youth culture.
Jackets, shirts, and technically-advanced skate shoes are emblazoned with the slogan FRI.day ('fri' is the Danish word for free) as the collection was inspired by the freedom of skate culture — more specifically by jumping in Copenhagen's canals for a swim after a day skating at the city's best parks and street spots. i-D caught up with Soulland designer Silas Adler and Koston at the collection's launch to get their tips for the best places to skate in Copenhagen.
Eric: Israels Plads is a newer one, it's a plaza but there's also this little dish thing. I just found out that William Frederiksen actually designed that little bowl, because I guess he wanted to make some sort of feature that was skateable but also kids can ride their scooters around in it. It looks kind of like a doughnut.
Silas: Yeah, an opposite doughnut, almost!
Eric: William Frederiksen is the one who runs CPH Open and an indoor skatepark as well, and is a big advocate for skateboarding here in Copenhagen.
Eric: Jarmers Plads — that's a love, hate relationship. It's a really great place to hang out and skate, but at the same time, it's a very challenging place to skate. The texture of the ground is kind of rough but it's smooth too — it's this weird thing that makes skateboarding a little bit harder to pop your tricks and things like that. When you skate there you have to give it much, much more effort.
Silas: It's like the Southbank of Copenhagen. Even though the spot is not at all like Southbank, it's like one of these spots... Whenever there's a skateboard movie from Copenhagen, there will be footage from there, and everyone that comes here realizes how hard it is to skate. I think every city has a spot like this, it's almost like a 'locals only' kind of vibe — the one that rips the most. So even now when all the pros come, I would say that Hjalte [Hallberg] is the owner of that spot, he can skate it like no one else because it just takes a long time to get used to. That spot is like — that spot raised me, you know? The crew that I looked up to when I was a kid, they were the ones that found that spot and made it into a spot. It's quite funny, in the movie [below] we managed to find like a clip filmed in 98 with one of the old OGs so we mixed that will all the other guys. In the beginning you don't really notice that it's from 98...
Eric: Yeah, it blends in with the footage and it looks like it could've happened yesterday.
Silas: But for the Copenhagen skaters, it's like showing love to the OGs.
Eric: I went there 14 years ago. It's one of those places that's like a landmark for skateboarders. But it's also challenging; it pushes you. So that's the love-hate thing: it makes things harder, but as a skateboarder — I'm so stubborn you know? You wanna do tricks there and you have to push yourself a little bit harder, take it up to another level. You really appreciate the things that do happen there.
City Hall Plaza
Silas: If there's one spot that's — maybe even more than Jarmers — a nightmare to skate, it's the City Hall Plaza. Because it's full of people and it's got these bumps where you can do tricks over a bench, and with the little bumps, it's not really that good. But everything from there looks amazing!
Eric: Because you're dealing with a lot of foot traffic — it's right at the end of the main shopping street — to skate it you have to intersect with those people, you've got to wait for the light to turn red and everyone has to stop, but if they stop and it builds up too much, they're still in the way, so you're constantly just waiting and timing yourself and then you have one moment to cut right between them and go. It's a tough spot to skate but it's also good too, at the same time. And skateboarders, we'll just take what we can get!