Featured rider: Kristina Engstrand

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Superstoked Scandinavian, President of Longboard Sweden. We talk about her role in the organisation, downhill skateboarding and her love for English breakfasts!

Hey Kristina! Where are you from?
I was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, also called little London back in the days. But since I started skating in 2006, I’ve been traveling around in Norway and Sweden a lot. Today I feel more like a Scandinavian than just a Swedish.

Why is it called little London?
Grey, rainy and pubs. I’m not really sure. But I think the grunge thing in the 90’s inspired a lot of Swedish moving to London, and… I don’t know. Actually, I checked that up, and it is due to all the Englishmen moving to Sweden in the 1800’s and brought their culture and their art to Gothenburg town!

Why did you start skating?
I loved skiing, but didn’t had a million euros to spend on it. So one day, I ran into this sport shop and saw a longboard, thought on it for 20 seconds and then I bought it. I was so proud! The first few days I did nothing else put pushing around, trying to learn the basics.

Where did you start riding?
In Gothenburg. I got quite hooked immediately, and just in a couple of days pushing around in town I met some skaters who brought me into the downhill scene of Sweden in just a couple of weeks.

Do you still ride there?
In 2008 I moved to Oslo to improve my skating, and that was when I really got into the whole skating scene really. Then in 2010 I moved into the middle of the forest in a small town called Arvika to study. But due to my family issues I went back to Gothenburg in February last year and at the moment I’m back in my hometown and have been skating all the old hills I once grew my passion for longboard at. But soon I’m moving back to Oslo!

What’s so different about Oslo?
The difference, hm. It is so personal I think. For me, I found a place where I felt everything is possible. I love the people, the hills, the weekends we had traveling around in Norway for skating and the creative environment I grew into.

Who did you skate with in Oslo?
When I moved there I started to hang out with the king of the hill team a lot. They improved my skating in a really heavy way. They brought me to roads I thought I would never be able to skate, pushed me over my limit and speedbumped me until the end. I can’t describe the adrenaline rush. But I’ve been skating with so many in Sweden and Norway and I do really love hanging out with them all on events or outlaw meetups. Even better is that when I’m now moving back, I will have mainly my whole Brd-crew there and I’m looking forward to go out skating with them.

What is King of the hill?
King of the Hill is the first Norwegian longboard shop ever. I got in touch with Jørgen, the owner in 2008 and fell in love. Some oldschool bittersweet skater dude trying to run the shop of his passion. Who can blame me?

When was this shop started?
Oh, tough question. I think it was in 2007. He started up in a basement, then moved up to the ground floor and in 2010 he got a quite big place with room for everything. One winter day when he just had took over that bigger shop, he wasn’t there and I wanted to do something nice to him, as a moving gift. I decided to draw something on a piece of one wall and really tried to make it look good. It ended up really bad and my motivation ran out so I left it as it was. The next time I came in there, he had put a watch over my artwork and said something about asking first. We never spoke about it ever since! But it is still there and I think the thought was still nice.

You fell in love with the old school bittersweet skater?
Haha, Jørgen, the founder of KOTH (king of the hill)! Yeah of course I did. He had this cap and his beard and his lucky strike in his mouth. I fell in love with what he had managed to create. The feeling you know. When you put skaters with passion together and support them with what you have.

Haha, you can’t resist a man with a beard.
I love the beard. On everything.

Sounds like the Kahalani of Oslo?
Yeah kind of! :D. The rock n roll version I think.

You like rock and roll?
As a music style no, unless it is rockabilly! Contrabass lover!

Is there a crew in Gothenberg?
Yeah I would say so. We have been a lot of people skating around the whole city throughout the summer of 2011.

You mentioned the B rd crew? We interviewed Kari last week!
Yeah I know! She told us. Kari really inspires me! She has that thing in her eyes that really speaks passion! Since we started skating together I push myself much more than before.
Yeah, my skateheart belongs to B rd. The founders, Martin Hagland and Robert Flemming, have had a great impact on me getting into downhill skateboarding. Just four weeks after I had lost my skate virginity (2006), they brought me to a comp and pushed me down the road.
And since then I have been riding their boards, and also have had some impact on the Brd Small edition! And the new board, Manta, is rad. I’m so proud of the logo on that board too. After much sweat, tears and lasercut – the logo is safe thanks to my cousins plastic sign-fabric and his four blue laser machines!


She has gnar in her eye?
Always. And I felt it so bad this season. In 2010 I passed my old, really bad leather over to her, when we met in Voss, Norway, during ekstremsportveko (extremesportweek) and she barely tucked at all. Last season, she had improved so much and I had a hard time trying to pass her, and she did so well at Grefsen in Norway when she beat me big time!

You raced against her this season?
Haha, many times! It has been a true battle. I LOVE IT. Last season I had both Kari and Anna in Scandinavia to race with during the competitions and that felt so good. For me it was quite alone up here. Asphalt amazons (Sandra, Katreen and Erica from Stockholm) that made me push my skating in 2006 quit skating a year or so after. Ishtar, I know of for a couple of years but we have never managed to hook up! Hope we will one day.

Who is Anna?
Another awesome lady that has the little fighter inside her. I love the thing that she can become a bit grumpy if something doesn’t go as she wants it to. You know, when you get pissed, you try twice as hard the next time. And I can tell, she is really pushing herself and I loved to see her great improvements last season!

What’s the Gothenberg crew called?
It is not that we are; a crew, we are more like a bunch of people hanging out and hook up through a little small Facebook group.We call it Downhill och Morro, which is both Swedish and Norwegian.

How is it organised?
It is not organized. We just type on Facebook and hook up at some spot in Gothenburg and hang out. But there is a guy that called Lars that has been really important to the Gothenburg scene the last few years, now also part of the Longboard Sweden in 2012.
Every wednesday at 6 pm, he organizes a meet up in a park where a lot of skaters goes. It’s perfect to meet friends, and for beginners to hook up with the sport.

What’s your role in the crew?
To Smile. And crash!

Haha Krismiler. What is Longboard Sweden?
It is an organisation that I founded together with Gabriel Eliasson, Michael Aho and Niklas Gustafsson in 2010/2011. When I started skating in 2006 I went to this small competition in Sweden. In the evening we had a fire and everyone was sitting around it. The organiser of the event had a long speech, and literally said we were all lazy not doing any for the sport. That evening has been with me ever since. Longboard Sweden is like public service channel that wants to bring the good stuff to the swedish longboard scene, without making any profit out of it.
Longboard Sweden wants to become an association that inspire longboarders to get together, by attending events or do their own comps and happenings where people can join in. In 2011 Longboard Sweden pulled of a Swedish Downhill Cup of four competitions, we made a newspaper called Asfalt and arranged a big meetup in Stockholm where 500 people showed up. Like a public service channel that wants to fill the longboard scene with good stuff, without making any profit out of it.

Congratulations. What are the roles in this organisation?
Thanks! In November 2011 we had a very important meeting where we literally found out how to organize this thing. We came up with a plan that we needed at least 10 people working for Longboard Sweden. We divided these 10 people into 3 groups, organisation group, news group and event group. Each group, as you may understand has its own responsibility. I’m in the organisation group and our role is to make the administration running so that news and event can do their job – bring benefits and fun to skaters. The news group works with our social networks, posts news and collects events and other happenings from the social media ocean. The event group does the communication with all the many events in Sweden, planning the Swedish Cup and The Gathering for example.



How was it organised before November 2011?
Haha! As skaters normally organize things, manana manana. Seriously. The first year, whatever you want, it was a real drama I think. We have been three-four people trying to manage a whole organisation including competitions, website, newspaper, administration and so on.

Mr Persson told us about the cup. What was your involvement with that?
I was the Swedish Cup manager last year. My role was to find out what a Swedish Cup should be all about, because we never had one before. I got inspiration from NDSF and their Norwegian Cup and developed a competition manual (thanks NDSF for letting me use yours when writing the Swedish version), found four event that could be part of the Swedish Cup and made the score lists after each competition.

Doing all of that. Who helps you with the event management?
Except from SM I Sunne, I had little involvement with the other three races in the cup. Every event in the cup had its own organizers, just as in IGSA-events. Without them there wouldn’t have been possible to run the Swedish Cup at all. Other events, as the meetup and movie night was Michael Aho responsible for. The magazine Asfalt was founded and runned by Niklas Gustafsson.

The two guys that did organize SM I Sunne really impressed everyone. None of them where longboarders before they started to organize the competition. Besides doing all the work that comes with organizing a downhill event, they also had to learn a lot about the sport, and how a competition in downhill is made. They did it all, in just six weeks!

So from what I understand, there are 3 people leading individual teams, there is no overall leader? 
We are like a flat hierarchy organisation yes. You can see Longboard Sweden as two parts.
We have 10 people that are at the board. We work as a traditional organisation and have meetings every second sunday. But between those meetings we now have created smaller working groups or collabs that can focus on just one thing at a time. We still have a president, and that person’s role is to keep the group in a good mood by keeping them up to date with information, todo’s and so on.

We look like this:
Administration group
Organisation Group Eventgroup Newsgroup
Local heroes (also part of eventgroup) working locally to reach out to the skaters

What are everyones role in the org. 
It is quite hard hehe. I just arrived from Stockholm yesterday, having our first meeting with this new group. Longboard Sweden has grown from three people to ten this year but if you count everyone in that will have something to do with Longboard Sweden we will be like fifty people!

In the administration group we have:
President (me, Kristina), cash flower (Eddie Freij), and assistant (Sara Persson) (as in any organisation)
Then we have event manager (Suzanne Atro), news manager (Niklas Gustafsson) and collab manager (Jesper Fröberg) + 6 local heroes (Michael Aho, Jesper Fröberg, Lotta Gram, Dante och Daniel, that can collect and spread news about things coming up, arrange meetups or coach local riders willing to do events.

Then we have working groups:
President, cash flower and assistant and a collab responsible is in the organisation group.
The news manager is in the news group working with 30 people
the event manager + plus the local heroes is in the event group.

What was the purpose of the meeting you had yesterday?
First of all, it was amazing. The purpose was to say “hello” to the new group. We have had a major recruitment since January and now we finally had the chance to hook up. Not everyone could come but we where more than half of the group. This weekend we made all the plans for 2012 together, and I assure you, it will be amazing. Longboard Sweden has become so much bigger than I ever thought it would be. I remember me and Gabriel sitting in my house in the forest of sweden one late winter night, working our ass off to create this organisation. Then we had nothing, this year we have more people, more experiences and more stoke.

This is truly exciting stuff. What was your initial vision for longboard Sweden that day by the fire?
I was eighteen and at my first competition in downhill skateboarding. It was evening at the second day of the event and everyone was sitting around a giant fire. Suddenly a tall guy stands up. He puts his hands in his pockets and tries to bring everyone’s attention towards him by yelling load and precise. It took him less then a second and I realized, he was someone I should listen to. His name was Andreas Johnsen, the organizer. Andreas gave a speech, several minutes long, where he made it very clear – unless we all do some work, there will be no pay off.

Andreas did make me feel a lot of guilt, haha. I strongly felt that I had to bring something back to the longboard community in order to have the right to go to comps and other events. So, just the year after, me and a friend organized a four day long downhill/longboard school for girls in Gothenburg with 45 attendees!

But at that time, around the fire, I never thought I five years later would be one of the founders of Longboard Sweden. I didn’t even dare to think about it. I couldn’t see myself ever managing an association for longboarders. The future would prove me wrong. Thank you Andreas for being pissed off!

Wow. So there is a big crew of girl longboarders in Sweden?
After the longboard school for girls that me and my friend was arranging in 2007, I didn’t do much for bringing more girls into the scene, I’m afraid. I stopped longboarding for a year, and then in 2008, as I turned 20, I moved to Oslo, Norway to try become a better downhill rider myself.
Therefore, I have to thank LGC Sweden so much for the great job they’ve done since the startup. They have made it possible for girls to arrange meetups and post pictures/videos in a platform which is very easy to both use and find, Facebook you know, hehe.
I’m sure there are many girls riding out there, and just in Gothenburg, we started this idea of having sunday skates for girls, and in just 48 hours we had 32 female riders in that group! So there are plenty in my hometown.

How have things changed since the formation of the LGC last year?
A lot! Finally, there is a platform where female riders in different styles and levels can go to find pictures and videos of female skaters that is really good! They have made it easier for female riders to arrange their own meetups and events, and the whole idea with LGC was so easy and right in time, that it was simple for others to copy it. Therefore LGC also could grow, to many more countries and cities. It’s just fabulous. And LGC is important, before them, I had this big need to find a platform where I could find other girls to skate with. LGC and this facebook groups popping up everywhere has really been the greatest solution ever! It’s much more efficient than trying to connect with a longboard lady on the street. I remember myself trying it out a couple of times, with the result of just feel like a jerk afterwards. Imagine me, pushing all I have to catch up with a girl on her board, grab her tee and with my sweat pouring down my face ask her – “do you wanna hook up for skating?, I thought that would be a good idea since we’re both females.”
Bullshit! It’s much better to do it over the www, and it drives more girls into longboarding. In a few years, we won’t need it, then we can all be mixed up!

You mentioned earlier that you want to move back to Norway as soon as you can. Isn’t this a conflict as the President of Longboard Sweden.
Yeah, I’m moving back in just a couple of weeks!
No, as a president of longboard sweden, I can be wherever I want. Longboard Sweden is an organisation that works all over Sweden. Therefore we also have people from all over the country working together. It would be impossible to meet in person all the time, so therefore we keep all our contact through skype and other web based media. In fact, it’s even better if I’m in Oslo, because Norwegians and Swedish skaters hang out a lot, and it brings us more together.

What kind of things will you make happen?
Longboard Sweden 2.0 (as we call it) has this new policy of not telling before we are totally sure of what will happen or not, so I can’t tell you all but… my job next year is to provide everyone in the major working group with information and motivation. It is on me to plan meetings, update todo lists and keeping up with everyone and help them through their job. In the organisation group we also will sit down very soon to look at some benefits that maybe can be possible this year.

Can I offer you some bacon/cake as a bribe in order for you to tell me what is being planned.
Haha! I translated bribed in google and it said bribe as when you pay someone to get what you want (sort of). I would love to have a piece of bacon, if I can have some eggs and beans too as well, the famous English breakfast. But I won’t say!

I will even throw in a special cup of tea just for you. Once you share some information
No.

Is there a similar organisation to Longboard Sweden in Norway?
Yeah! The NDSF, Norwegian Downhill Skateboard Forbund (organisation). It was founded by Adam Sagedal and it is now run by Norwegian downhillers. It is a pure downhill organisation and they was actually the reason why Longboard Sweden was founded. If NDSF wasn’t here, Longboard Sweden would probably not as well.

Are you involved with the NDSF?
No, thank god. Then I would never have time for skating! To be honest, I love skating more than running an organisation. But I love to see how nice we can have it, if we work together to make good stuff. I like the idea of having an organisation that is by riders for riders. Then we as an organisation can collab with companies and riders and make the most out of it. Last year for example, we used our contacts with companies to provide events with sponsors!. Win-win.

 As the president of Longboard Sweden are you in touch with similar organisations around Europe? 
I would love to be, but at the moment not so much. I thank Michael Aho for keeping me up to date through this Longboard Europe you  guys created! I do think though, that we can get a lot of inspiration from the scene in USA and Canada, where they are really good in producing high quality videos of both riders, the skating environment and lifestyle. But I love that AllAroundEurope is up for example! And not to forget, Greener Pastures and Endless Roads! Great!

You mean AllAroundSkate!
Yeah! Sorry, I’m tired haha

Long day skating?
I live in Sweden… hehe. No not today, it started to snow this morning… But yesterday, when we were working with Longboard Sweden, everyone in both Oslo, Stockholm and Gothenburg seemed to be out skating. I so wished I could have joined them!!!

Haha nice! Apart from Gothenberg and Oslo, where will you be skating this season?
The most important thing for me this year is to hang out with people that I feel good with, and skate and push myself in the direction I want it to go. I wish to do many freeride weekends, and many late night skating in Oslo.

But, if everything goes well, I will be off to Europe in a couple of weeks. It’s just that I’m trying to get this stupid licence and I keep failing. Drives too fast they say! But if possible I hope to go to travel around in Spain. And the Bucolic freeride would be awesome! I also want to go to some events during the Euro tour.

Yes!! When are you going to Madrid/Barcelona?
I’m not really sure, sometime in March/ April I think. But I can’t promise! Are you guys going there for the meetup?

See you there!
Cool then! When are you guys there?

Sometime in April as well  
Whoop!

Will you do the whole Euro tour?
I hope to go to three of them, but I don’t want to promise anything.

Bo Peep?
I’m sorry to say, that road looks so much fun, but I think I won’t be able to go to Bo Peep.

That’s a shame. When will you be in Barcelona?
Hehe, still not sure, my licence again. You know, I may be able to plan this Longboard Sweden thing, but my personal schedule is a mess!

What do you do when you’re not skating?
I wish I wasn’t so passionate about life! I love so many things, like making music and draw and dance! I did the insul cup t-shirts for 2011 for example, and i felt so happy when Lutz (cant spell his name now) contacted me about that! But, of course, I also have a big passion for event management, and beside skating thats what I do.

What instrument do you play?
I did play piano for so many years, but my parents forced me to do the classical version and I found it boring. So for now, i do singing mostly. When I lived in Oslo I sang in a skaband for two years and I hope to bring that up again when im back. Maybe start a reagge/hiphop coir? Hehe

You’re a designer?
I wish! But no, I draw or paint on freehand. I can’t plan my paintings so therefore I cant do designs for others. But I design events hehe, if that counts?! I’m a project manager and I’ve just got my foot into the business as I started working at a norwegian company called JCP in may! Yay

Just like Ishti!
Oh she is so good! When I met her in Stockholm in 2010 I saw her sketchbook and some drawings in real life and wow, amazing. We have two very different styles though! But she is amazing.
I sometimes post some of my work on facebook, anyone feel free to visit and check it out.

How did you get to design the Insul tshirt?
Lutz, the organiser of Insul, contacted me on facebook in the end of june last year, told me he was a bit in a panic. The one that was first meant to do the design, couldn’t do it anymore, and Lutz had saw some of my pictures and therefor asked me if I wanted to do it. And of course! That was such an honour for me!

Did you race insul that year?
Yeah. I did enjoy it a lot.

Well done on the new job!
Thanks! I think that will make an hugh difference in my life, i can spend more time on skating and less on working for free!

Awesome. 1 simple question left.
Choose 3 numbers between 1-23
5,7 and 23!

5 – Who is the best skater you’ve met ?
Difficult answer, since the word best, can be so many things. And there is so many good riders out there! I get inspired by riding with people that always push themselfs to their limit and those are the best people to skate with. So I’ve met many of them. But I’m proud of being part of the B rd team and King of the Hill, since I think both the teams has really good riders that have both passion and skills!

7 – What is your favourite cheese ?
The first slice of any kind! After a week in the refrigerator any cheese is bad.

23- Bacon/Chocolate?
Food theme! Chocolate!! Whenever, where ever.

Haha awesome. It has been superfun talking to you Miss E. See you in Madrid.
Same Same! Thanks for taking your time!

Do you have any shoutouts/thank yous?
Yes of course I have! First, thanks to my oldschool sponsors B rd and King of the Hill! Aurora, thanks for letting me try out your wheels during 2011! And surf rodz, im looking forward to this collab thing with brd! Last but not least, big thumb up to my LongboardSweden partners and all you Scandinavians supporting LongboardSweden in 2011 by attending competitions and believing in this! And also, haha, Downhill och Morro, what would i have done without you all last year!!! ( And hi to my cool snowboarding sister that always makes me wanna push even harder.)

Love is in the air, totally. People is the best shit ever!