Copenhagen Open is a gathering unlike anything else in skateboarding. A pilgrimage skateboarders make across the globe. From the U.S. to Brazil, Australia, Japan, and beyond, for four days every summer, Copenhagen is the place to connect with old friends, meet new ones, and enjoy rolling on four wheels (and two) in a different city.
More than just a contest (most contests always are), we started the week by inviting 150 friends and family to an opening luncheon at the CPH skatepark. A bit jet lagged, and some arriving that day, a select few got to check out the 20 Years of Nike SB exhibition as it made the third stop on its summer euro trip.
Simply put, photos don’t do the exhibit justice. Walking into a room with 20 years of SB history, the stories, the product, all on display for sneakerheads and skateboarders alike to geek out on. Major shoutout to Jürgen at Skateboard Museum for curating 20 Years of Nike SB.
If the exhibit is in your area, be sure to check it out.
After lunch, the first official CPH Open event kicked off at Under Broen, a DIY bowl about a 20-minute bike ride from the CPH Skatepark. In true Copenhagen Open form, watching the session was challenging. Pushing through the crowd, you were greeted with hometown heroes rolling away to the loudest cheers. In even truer Copenhagen Open form, most didn’t bother to watch the skating, rather choosing to hang with friends, imbibe in front the DJ booth, or posting up the locals on the adjacent basketball court.
Copenhagen Open: truly a place for everybody.
Copenhagen Open day two brought thousands of skaters to Nørrebro, a culturally diverse neighborhood north of the city center with kebab joints along the main thoroughfare, hookah bars tucked into alleyways, and on Thursday, June 17, hundreds of skateboarders jamming up bike lanes. The schedule said hill bomb to slappy curb at 2:00pm, so naturally it started at 4:00. No complaints from anybody to skate longer.
Brass got bucked flipping into a 50-50 and popped up smiling. Karsten blazed full speed into all kinds of crook variations (donning the new BRSB, coming soon to your local skate shop). Bombing hills and slapping curbs is fun and all, but the real party started a few hundred yards away at Red Square, a wide-open plaza with fun boxes, flat bars, and kickers. On this day, we brought in three oversized SB boxes and a quarter pipe / hip for the session.
Midway through the heats, the Polar crew started serving spritzes. Ville Wester balanced a dozen on a board completely unaware his name was printed across the bottom. As a sweaty hand grabbed the last spritz, it seemed everybody else except Ville knew what was happening. Cheers erupted and high fives and hugs ensued. PRO AF, as they say. What a moment for Ville. Hometown hero getting the nod to the pro ranks. Well deserved.
Every contest needs a winner, but in Copenhagen, everybody’s a winner, so that’s what the CPH crew announced. Everybody in the finals top five got first and split the cash. Once again, Copenhagen Open doing things unlike any other event out there.
Side missions are a staple of Copenhagen Open. The sessions before the session. The spot on the way to the spot. Friday turned into one big side mission for some of the SB crew. In many cities, there’s always a central hub, the meeting point. In Copenhagen, Israels Plads is often the place to get things going with mellow ledges, wide open flatground, and the food hall across the street for the day's fuel.
We pulled up to see a group of school kids frolicking in the nearby fountain while Ishod Wair, Blake Carpenter, Grant Taylor, Eric Koston and a few others warmed up while Brian Anderson, Elissa, Stefan and more looked on. Just a handful of SOTYs getting ready for the day... Mellow morning in Copenhagen.
From there we hopped on bikes to a DIY not far from the first day’s festivities. Crusty is an understatement. Rough ground and patchy cement work made getting anything here a chore. If it was easy, we’d all be pro, right? From one DIY to the next, Hullet Skatepark is yet another DIY in the city. The Danes really like to do it themselves, eh? Ishod, Grant, Karsten, and a few Deluxe heads in the mix is a show not to be missed, but if you did, you can always check the ‘gram.
We headed back across town to the CPH Skatepark about 25 minutes by bike to catch the Women’s Disco Night already underway. Food, drinks, and high fives all around as 60+ women rolled late into the night before we premiered the latest Not Here By Luck episode, this one featuring Julie Betrix.
With all the side missions, DIY sessions, and late-night festivities, it’s easy to forget we’re all actually here for a skate contest. On Saturday, June 18, about 2,000 skateboarders headed to the Copenhagen Skatepark, a facility with max capacity around 500. Those lucky enough to get in witnessed 80+ men and women skating together, three at a time in three-minute heats. Gone are the days of 10am women’s heats.
Top six women and top six men made it through to finals, and after points tallied, Keet Oldenbeuving and Nyjah Huston took home top honors. Japan’s Funa Nakayama and Australia’s Hayley Wilson joined Keet on the women’s podium—an international women’s SB sweep.
Don’t think that just because the contest was over the skating stopped. Following finals, Oski Rozenberg started calling out people for the Death Race presented by SKF Bearings. It’s exactly like it sounds. Two people drop in, race around the park, first to the finish line wins. Highlights include Koston and Malto’s switch race, Ant Travis v Ryan Lee, and the King and Queen of Copenhagen Open, Eric Koston and Maité Steenhoudt, duking it out for Death Race supremacy.
The party continued in the courtyard as people got buck and bucked at Independent’s Best Trick jam, a shipping container with down rail rolling away into the crowd. The Aussies chomped. Some got broke off. And Nyjah shut it down with a nollie heel back lip. Would you expect anything less from him?
Cheers to another year. Endless thanks to William, Keld, and Simon for making Copenhagen Open the ultimate FOMO fest year after year. Already looking forward to doing it again next summer.
All photos by Marcel Veldman.
Working with artists central to skateboarding’s graphic identity to not only use shoes as a canvas, but to recreate iconic ideas in completely new and unexpected ways
"Through The Hearts" with Ville Wester