WORDS BY DARYL MERSOM
The first ever Vans Park Series World Championships has been a truly global event, and skateboarders from all over the world have competed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Sweden, and the United States. The final here in Malmö saw Alex Sorgente take first place, followed by Pedro Barros in second place, and Ivan Federico in third. Twelve-year-old Brighton Zeuner laid down a solid run and took first place in the women’s competition. She was followed by Jordyn Barratt who took second and Kisa Nakamura who took third.
Special mention should go to Oski Rozenberg who shredded the tombstone with effortless style. When his scores came in there were boos from the home crowd who felt he deserved to score higher. At the after party large cards spelling out ‘Oski’ were held up on stage to celebrate.
It didn’t take long for people to start jumping onto the tombstone from out of the kicker (an obstacle that some people were initially unsure of, as it is set back from the bank slightly). Towards the end of the day Ivan Federico got close to landing a gap-to-front-tail up there as the first trick of his run.
3rd Place - Mens: Ivan Federico
Alex certainly earned his first place with some more technical skating mixed in his runs. But Pedro Barros appealed to the non-skaters in the crowd with his fast and high skating. The frontside air after he ollied up onto the tombstone was great!
Best slam of the event goes to Julz Lynn who hit her face rolling in off of the tombstone. She got straight up, hyped the crowd, and then landed it second try.
Originally the final was going to be held in Chicago until it was decided that the progressive attitude of Gustav Edén and Skate Malmö fit better with the ethos of the event. Gustav, who acted as project manager, summed up this spirit:
“Community development departments around the world are trying to reach young people and get them to do something physical that also gives them a social network. From a city’s perspective, skateboarding reaches those young people that might not otherwise like team sports, those that become the most expensive for the city. If you can feed these people into the skateboarding culture then you find that you are dealing with driven individualists, people who have a lot to offer if they are given the chance to express themselves.”
As you walk from Hyllie train station to the specially-commissioned Vans skatepark it becomes clear that Malmö is keen to project itself as a “skate city.” All sorts of unusual obstacles litter the route; everything is waxed, and everything is built from good quality materials that will withstand the ravages of skateboarding.
Malmö has a long history of DIY skatepark design too, which extends back to when the Burnside guys first came to Sweden to impart their knowledge to local skaters, and up to Pontus Alv’s recent films that document the city’s DIY scene. So it seems fitting that Mark “Red” Scott, one of the founders and builders of Burnside, helped to design the Vans Park Series skatepark here along with the Bryggeriet crew.
When Malmö pitched the event to Vans, they did so on two conditions: one, that a women’s event be included as a part of the series; and two, that a permanent park be constructed here in Sweden so that the event positively impacts upon future generations. It is hard not to recall the rhetoric of the London Olympics, which was so focused on "legacy” (and of course relied on female participation), and be reminded that Tokyo 2020 will include skateboarding for the first time in Olympics history.
Malmö will now be associated with competitive park skateboarding in everyone’s minds, and their work to integrate skateboarding into the contemporary city has provided a model for others to follow. If this event and the high standard of the park is anything to go by, then Sweden’s park terrain skaters have a bright future ahead of them, and we will surely be seeing them in Tokyo.