This Spring, local resident and skater Gilly Seagrave filled us in on the booming Malmö skate scene, and gives us a report of an all-girls skate weekend that hit the parks last autumn
Words by Gilly Seagrave, photos by Daniel Loren
Sweden is a pretty special place to skate, and Malmö has got to be one of the best cities for skating in Scandinavia, if not Europe. Much of this is down to the work of an organisation called Bryggeriet, who have busted their balls to build this city up into some sort of skating nirvana. With loads of DIY spots, one indoor park and three outdoor parks, one consisting of over 2000 sq m of bowls and transitions, the city nurtures new generations of skaters each year and attracts thousands of visitors, keen to come and take advantage of the almost to good to be true facilities.
So how did this mystical skate-powered institution come about? Back in 1998 a group of local skaters got together with ambitions to build an indoor park in Malmö. They approached the city government and managed to wangle a bursary to pay for the rent of the old brewery in town (Bryggeriet is Swedish for brewery), within which they built a large indoor park. The city noticed what a huge success it was, and in turn continued to support Bryggeriet financially, enabling them to turn Malmö into the skate city it is today. Now Bryggeriet boast over 1000 active members, they build parks for other cities around Sweden and run a high school where students can major in skateboarding while learning skills for practical work within the industry too.
The girls skate scene in Malmö is also abundant, together with our neighbours in Copenhagen, there are five girls specific skate nights per month. The boys get a bit jealous for sure, but it’s something we love and really appreciate, having the park to ourselves, no kids in our way or gnarly bowl riders to hog the place. It’s a really different atmosphere from a regular skate night, slightly less testosterone for a start and space for us to learn stuff without the pressure of inquisitive male lookers-on.
Andrea Andersson-Antunes works for Bryggeriet and also works mighty hard to support the girls’ scene in Sweden. She is the driving force behind the girls’ skate tours of Sweden and skate camps at Bryggeriet. She remembers, ”I had such good experiences going to skate camps around Sweden. During camp you get so much time to skate and so much inspiration from the other girls that it’s almost hard to not develop and most importantly have fun.” These Bryggeriet Girl Skate Camps happen twice a year, when 20 girls of all standards are invited to come to live in and skate the indoor park, and session the outdoor parks too. The indoor park is closed to the public and most camps see the girls skating super late the first night. It’s most people’s dream to have private use of a massive park, and it’s hard to call time and go to bed, which you suffer for all weekend.
Last November’s camp had a great crew of girls, of all ages and standards. The first evening is a warm-up and everyone just skates what they like. When people finally decide it’s time for sleep there is one of the classrooms in the school to put your air mattress or whatever you have to sleep on down, the lucky ones get in early and grab one of the sofas. The next morning’s breakfast is set out for us and we dive in, coffee is very welcome to help prize the eyes open after skating till the wee hours the night before.
Next on the agenda is a bit of coaching. There are three coaches, Lina Norlander, Sanna Young and Anna Sydeman, who are there to help you with anything you’d like to try in the bowls, street or vert. We all break off into groups and try to learn some new tricks for our bags, I’m feeling like the most tired person on the planet, but surrounded by this great crew of girls it feels easy to learn some new stuff. The new quarter in the street course saw a lot of first time rock-fakies, some I am very jealous of indeed, right up there towards their back truck, way more steez than most people have even after years doing them.
I can remember my first ever camp when learning to drop in and rock-fakie was the most satisfying feeling, camps really are the best for pushing your progression as you get all the time, support and encouragement you need to try stuff you’re scared of. Camp regular Sandra Olsson agrees, ”I think the best thing about the camps is the fact that you can practice without any pressure or stress. Also, its inspiring to see what other girls can do, everyone notices each other’s improvement, be they big or small”.
The weekend also includes a skate jam in the street course and the bowl, which everyone is encouraged to enter. It doesn’t matter if there’s obviously no chance you’ll be the winner, it’s more about having that time to show the skills that you’ve learnt on camp and do the best you can. Everyone knows your skating after a couple of days together and they know when you’re pushing yourself, the girls that do the tricks they’ve just learnt are always rewarded with massive cheers. The street comp was dominated by Danish ripper Malene Madsen, but Emma Lindgren and Sanna Young did a good job keeping two of the podium places Swedish. After we moved over to the bowl for a bit of a slash fest, it was great to see everyone ripping it up, stand outs were Emma Lindgren (again) and Sandra Olsson for her super smooth fast lines. British skater Stef Nurding was also throwing down, mixing some great tricks into her runs.
Rippers like Emma Lindgren show how good you can be if you have time and passion to devote nearly all your waking hours to skating. At 14 she skates the bowls better than most people twice her age, a proper inspiration to us all. In fact every girl at camp is an inspiration, the camaraderie is great and everyone is stoked to be skating together with girls all pushing their limits and having fun. As Sandra Olssons put it, ”What I enjoy most at camps is that you can skate when you feel like it, the park is ours all weekend so you can chill out or session whenever it feels good, and that’s when you can get creative”. I think that sums it up, what we want, and what here in Malmö we’re lucky to have, is time to get creative surrounded by girls that inspire us to push ourselves.
Camps are open to everyone on a first come first served basis, and cost around £85 for the weekend including meals, a place to crash and coaching. See bryggeriet.org for dates and further information