Words & photos by Thomas Busuttil
For everyone who’s witnessed the action of past CPH events, they’re no doubt aware that this contest is a bit different from the other ‘big time’ skate events.
If you’ve never been, you’re probably wondering: how is it different? Is it ‘Dime Glory Challenge’ different? European Different? When you see images / video form the contest all over Instagram, what are those even telling you?
I’ll explain from my own perspective how last year’s event went down.
First, let’s set the mood a bit: Europe was in full-on August vacation period (shocking to Americans, I know), and my empty-brained life during the preceding weeks was a parade of sunshine, skate sessions, and parties.
One day, the good people at Monster Energy proposed that I jump in on the second part of the CPH event, which was this year happening in Berlin (it usually takes place in Copenhagen, hence the name). As I saw no conceivable reason to refuse this kind of invitation, I hit up Parisian filmer Augustin Giovanonni about the prospect of joining me in leaving République and heading to Germany for a few days.
Everything so far was setting us up for what seemed like one hell of a good week to come.
I’m not sure I need to focus too much on what happened during our 1500km journey to Berlin: almost 2 full days of cancelled flights, Augustin and I getting re-booked on separate flights, and the airline losing our baggage. The important part to you, the reader, is that we made it to Berlin under the bright August sunshine.
At this point, we were without our boards so our movement inside the city was greatly restricted. We were a day late so all the street rental bikes had been grabbed by other skaters, and the only things I had with me for the 3 next days were a long sleeve t-shirt and shorts I was wearing and my photo camera.
So it’s possible that our travel situation had something to do with how we experienced the contest.
At least we made it to the event, so there was really no reason to stand around feeling bad for ourselves. Much like any skate event, there were skaters in pretty much every hotel in town. Last year we we shared a lobby with the Thrasher and Volcom crews, and this year we had the pleasure of seeing Phil Zwijsen (Belgium) and Stavros Razis (Chile) for breakfast each morning, usually hungover.
With everyone descending upon Berlin from all across Europe, there was a bit of a small town vibe each day the local coffee bar, where the thing we all had in common was the experience of attempting to smile our way through massive headaches.
There was no need to worry about finding things to do during our time in Berlin, as there’s always something happening during the CPH event. Sessions at locations around town are announced as the day goes along, and one can take the day to cruise from spot to spot and discover the city organically.
From the new Private Bowl session, to the Saucer Banks, everyone followed each other, led by people on bikes supplying beer.
Even though we were sans boards, the spectacle of hundreds of skateboarders cruising down the street under the sunshine provided for a truly dream-like experience, the sort of thing I’d fantasized about before coming here. Girls smiling at us from the sidewalk as we pedaled along (we finally found bikes), it felt like we were friends and family with everyone in the mob, all with a shared mission of having fun on some sort of EuroDisney trip.
Once we made it to the Levis obstacle (see above) we found ourselves sucked back into reality, stuck in the middle of the crowd. Looking back, however, this was about as authentic of a CPH experience as one can get.
It’s also pretty cool that at each stop you’ll inevitably run into people you know from all across the world who also made their journey to this event, even if you only get to talk for 2 minutes or so.
After 3 days of skating and cruising, and 3 nights of what essentially amounts to drunk yelling, this Disneyland can become a bit oppressive. As most seasoned CPH veterans know, you can always find the right spot to end up - chilling on a boat, or as we did, down by the river. We found a most relaxing setting for our final evening in Berlin, during which we were finally joined with our bags - delivered promptly in time to take them on a plane back home.
I’m sorry, I know you’re waiting for the crispy part of this article, but I can’t talk about the night life - what happens during CPH stays on location.
If you want to know more...you’ll need to book a flight for the event this coming June, back in Copenhagen.
For the nerds who actually care about what went down in terms of skateboarding: Ishod Killed it, Jamie Foy skated everything, Zion Wright is dialed in as fuck, even while on vacation, and Ducky Kovacs didn’t care about less-than perfect roll ups.
On the European side, Aurelien Giraud was milling about with Vincent Milou trying to access to the finals, Oski did never ending lines on the bowl, and Yuri Faccini seemed to fit right in, despite being from Brazil. The rest of the pros were jumping on every spot we passed as we travelled between sanctioned venues, surrounded at all times by official photographers and everyone else with their phones pointed at the action.
So if you’ve never been, I hope these few words will convince you to come out for yourself to see what it’s like when hundreds of skateboarders all push around down the same streets for the biggest European skate event of the year, free of any other rules than respecting and enjoying the city.
It’s truly something you have to see and experience for yourself.