This West Coast gangster tells us about his season, falling in love at the Padova Grand Prix and his bacon board.
Hej Sammy, how are you doing?
Hi Gbemi! Doing good, just got home from skating and my socks are really stinky!
Where’ve you been riding?
We went to two hills we don’t skate that regularly, åna sira and moi. Funny names and really nice scenery! Also two really nice and fast tracks with hairpins, good pavement and straights that gets you to about 80km/h.
Who is we?
Today I went out with Andreas Waal, Mikko Aijala and Sander Viste Mehus. Was really trying to get my good man Seb to join but he had to fix his car.
Are you members of the same gang?
There’s a few gangs out here, but when we go skating we usually mix up a lot. Mikko, Waal and Seb have been tearing it up here for a long time and I’ve been skating a lot with them.
Where do you usually skate?
Well, the thing is that here on the West Coast of Norway, we’re just really lucky. We’re surrounded by downhill spots aka big freaking mountains! We mostly skate the closest hills which are a 45 min drive from the city, Byrkjedal (Crazy hill) and Gilja. Also we make it all the way out to Lysebotn a few times each season which is nuts with 27 hairpins (or 26, not sure, I don’t count every run), and only a two hour drive from where I live.
You’re making this shit up.
Hahaha, I’m really glad I live here.
Who are the West Coast gangsters?
Hell Yeah! I’m part of Team Nasty rocking the famous Nastyvan around town!
Who are the rest of the Gnarsteezes?
The gnarly gangsters consists of Jacob Hansen, Alex Teilgård, Andreas Bru, Jens DD, Andreas Waal, Leif Arne Hatlen, Sander Grønås and Lasse Antonsen! Big crew for sure! Some of the guys have been starting new smaller crews and stuff, it’s hard to explain but we’re all nasty!
When did you start skating?
I’ve been skating hills for about five years, it all kind of started with snowboarding and then a summer five years ago I felt the need to do something rad.
What got you hooked on riding boards with wheels?
Speed! Then I just wanted to get better and get some STYLE too! Right now I’m hooked on new tricks, faster stand-up slides and learning/getting better at ramps, street and all that stuff. Skate it all!
Who did you ride with in the beginning?
When I first started going downhill it was pretty crazy. The big guys at that time were Mikko Aijala and Jarle “JALLA” Asheim, and they where pretty mellow and just pushed me off the sick hills they skated at that time. The first time I skated with them I didn’t even know how to tuck properly and I skated a hill way too gnarly for my skill level. Went out again and again and finally got the skill level up. Before the racing season started this year I ran beginner courses in downhill skateboarding for a lot of gangsters! People who’ve been skating street or just cruising and also a few ones who haven’t been skating too much at all.
They taught you all you know?
They helped out a lot, but I really have to thank a lot of people! I learn stuff from almost everyone I skate with, even just by looking. There’s also a lot to learn right here on the internet. Watching videos and even pictures can help your tuck! It’s really all about getting a good technique and doing stuff a little different than everyone.
What difference does it make to a grom to have guys like that to skate with?
Well, back in the days they just pushed you out on the sickest hills. I know Mikko has learnt from that and today we all agree that shit was crazy and people who’ve just started should take it a little easier in the beginning. There where a few guys who got their pants pooped and their brains blown haha.
How does one become a gangster?
Tough question, I guess just being rad and up for a good time is the most essential part. I always have in my mind that when I’m out skating, I’m out there to have a good time, even though it might rain or your wheels have flatspots just make the best of it, for yourself and the gangsters who are rad enough to be out there with you!
What sort of skating makes you smile most?
Learning new tricks. Doing rad runs with the highest steeze level ever! And also sharing it with other gangsters, with smiles on their faces and pocket knives in their hands.
When did you start competing?
I’ve been going hard in the Norwegian cup for around three or four years now, definitely should have gone across the border a lot more earlier. At least I made it clear that I was ready this season in Europe. Experience is a big part of racing though, you can have sick skills and freeride like a champ. But it won’t help you win the race alone.
What is the Norwegian cup?
Some rad rats from the East side of Norway decided to make a organization for us all (NDSF), which is awesome and not that easy. They’ve been doing us all a big favour and helping out with races and a lot of stuff actually. The Norwegian cup has been going for a few years now and it consists of races almost all around Norway, haha. Almost, mostly in the south where the pavement is acceptable.
Are you involved with the NDSF?
Not too much, I’ve been a paying member since the start.
Who is the champ?
Well there’s been a lot of races cancelled for this season, we’ve only had two! When I think about it, it’s probably the first time we’ve had more races on the West Coast than on the east. The scene is a lot bigger in the east. Here we’re kind of spread all over the west.
What do you need to win the race?
Good tactics, some experience and skills. A lot of stuff actually.
How do you win the party?
Hahaha! That’s a good one! You have the most fun, get weird as hell and do crazy stuff you will regret and want to forget! I see myself as one of the winners of the party in Padova, not so much in Kozakov, hahaha.
Is there a PG-13 version of why you won at Padova?
Well I got a totally random dude slammed in the face really hard by Spoky. He was surprised as hell.
Doesn’t sound very gangsterish!
Vikings have a big history in pissing off people!
Who is Sonso?
The coolest skater chick ever! Hot, fast, crazy, smart, tough and not afraid to kick some ass! That’s just some of it. She might be a little too fast, notoriously good at breaking bones too.
Yeah she does, only when I’m near.
Hahaha, you wish. She knows a little about vikings too.
Are there any girls who skate fast in Norway?
Definitely! In the east we have Kari Havnevik accompanied by some Swedish ass kicking chicks like Kristina Engstrad and Caroline Boström. A lot more girls are getting into it, but there aren’t that many joining competitions yet, even tough Kristina’s been going pretty hard to get more girls into the DH scene!
There’s actually a lot of swedes immigrating to Norway. We have a lot more of crazy nut-kicking hills here.
What was your first race?
The legendary Extremesportweek in Voss! EXTREME!
How did you do in your first competitive season?
Not as good as the last ones, experience man. But yeah, I’ve been working hard on the skill level too.
What was the most important thing you learnt?
I’ve learnt a lot from skating but also from just living, it’s really hard to pick something, but this is a good one. It’ll always work out in the end, no matter how bad it looks. My brother hates that, hahaha.
Your brother skates?
Hell yeah! He started almost at the same time skating hills. He’s really cool, and we’re really different. We’re still not sure if anyone of us was adopted or if the mailman had something to do with it, I try not to think about it. He’s my brother anyway. He skates for Slipstream Longboards, Paris and Divine.
Not quite, more like Music family. My father’s a music teacher, it’s only me and my rebel brother who started the skate thing.
When did you first skate outside Norway?
Actually Crete if I’m not mistaken, it’s either Crete or Sweden. That island has some righteous hills, good pavement and mountains above 2000m. Had a really good time in both places. A big shout out to all the Swedish rippers!
Where’s your favourite place to ride in Sweden?
Where they held the Swedish mastership, Snake Mountain! Probably the sickest hill in Sweden. Got some really good food there, also my good friend Martin “Speedoff” Edoff broke my board just before my quali. Thanks to Erik Lundberg, I got a board and could finish!
How was this season for you?
The best! Hahaha! I met a lot of rad rippers, while also hanging out with the good old vikings. Skated sick hills, ate some rad food and had a generally good time! Meeting Sonso was a big part too.
We hooked up in Padova, she saved the whole event for me. It’s hard to compete with Kozakov tough.
How was Padova up to the point she punched you?
Hard, I had a small heat stroke after three runs the first day. Went to sleep in the hotel and missed the opening ceremony. After she punched me, we stuck together the rest of the event. Backed up each other at the race pretty hard, even tough I couldn’t care less about the race after that night.
Gangsters don’t get heat stroke!
Vikings do! Not used to the killer heat down there. Hard to belive although, I was drinking water like a maniac.
What difference does having someone make to your skating?
It makes me think a little more about doing sketchy things going downhill, although we both know well that it’s all a part of the game. And that it’ll always work out in the end. Mostly I try not to die.
Have you skated together since?
Hell yes! We didn’t get to skate too much together in Padova, but she visited me here in Norway before going to America. Had the best week in my life even tough the weather wasn’t always perfect and we didn’t get as much skate. We had one sick day in Lysebotn, we went out there with Ramon and his girlfriend and the weather was really shitty. We did a five hour hike that day and the next morning everything just cleared up, a crew came out to meet us and we had a sick day of skating the hill.
Can we name your skate babies gnar?
Hahaha, Gnar, Rad and Steezy.
Hell yeah! I rock the sickest bacon sticker on my board right now! Stoked!
What? We should be friends!
Perfect! I love new friends, gotta catch em all right?
What was your favourite thing about Kozakov?
The hill, skating repecharge with John Barnet and the few freeride sessions we had when the road was closed! It’s hard to point out something, everything was just really good about the event, big props to everyone that made it happen!
What did you think about the Madrid Euro video?
Legit, haha! Crashes, drinking, puking, sketchy skating and more, everything essential in a good edit.
Who did you travel with?
Me and my brother went in the Nastyvan, first to Oslo to for some freeriding. We picked up Andreas Valebjørg, Lars (Grindcore) Mikalsen and Jeanette. They took a flight home after Koza and then we brought Marcos Costa with us! He was just perfect to have when we came in to Italy! After Padova we had to leave him behind : (. And then I drove home with my brother, we couldn’t make it to Peraguydes and it wasn’t cool at all leaving everyone behind, especially Sonso!
What do you reckon will happen next season regarding the Euro tour?
Oh, as you know, I watched the winsport world championship and I also read a lot of stuff about it after. When it comes to the next season, I really don’t know. I think the biggest change will be in USA/Canada first off. Whatever happens I’ll keep on skating and having a good time. At the moment, I’m not really concerned about it.
Haha, watching that extended advert was fun, especially the bits of skateboarding between where the Europeans killed it.
Some of the commercials weren’t that bad, at least they contained shreddin’ gnar. Except one, the edge boardshop ad! Man that was horrible! I’ve been making a lot of jokes about that one.
How will the changes in North America affect races here?
Hopefully for the better, we have a few really good races here. But we also have some races that needs to get better or go home. I miss some of the radness they have in the races in North America. Ramps, jumps, stupid rules like no hands down, no leathers, pit stops and so on. I have a lot of good ideas! Been thinking about making a race here on the West Coast for years, finally made a freeride in Lysebotn with Mikko this summer, closed the road, gathered radtastic people and it was epic!
What’s your setup?
Right now I’m trashing a baconized Madrid Andrew Mercado with new wheel wells and shortened wheelbase to 21.5 perfect inches. I figured the chopped market price I raced on this summer needed some rest after two hard years of service. I might bring him back later, I think I need to break him one more time. I ride mostly Venom wheels and the ones that my local skateshop make “Screamers!” And yes, they do scream! Right now it’s all put together with a set of aera trucks, the k3’s, but they’re done. They’re bent really bad and I’m having big problems with slop in the pivot cups and the hangar eating bushings, not cool. They ride really good, but I’ve had so many problems with them. Looking forward to moving on to something else truckwise. Suggestions anyone?
Are any of those your sponsors?
I wish I was sponsored by bacon, but I’m riding for Madrid Skateboards and it’s almost as good. I also ride for my local skateshop Jovial.no. Big thanks to both for all the support and shredding you’ve made possible!
If we ever sponsor riders, you’ll be on our bacon list.
Perfect! Bacon is expensive in Norway, like everything else. Sign me up on the beer list too btw!
How long after you started skating did you get sponsored?
I’ve been Jovial from the start, and when they started selling a lot of Madrid skateboards they wanted me to be on the Norwegian team.
Who are the other guys on the Jovial team?
The Jovial Team consists of Jens Drageset Dydland, Jarle “Jalla” Asheim, Steffen Eliassen, Dennis Westphal, Sander Hasselberg, Mikko Aijala!
I also just have to give some credit to the guys behind Jovial! Mauricio Londono, Erling Hamsø and Magnus Hamsø, these great guys are doing a really good job and have a genuine heart to make the skate scene in Norway better!
Where would you like to be in 2 years?
Somewhere with Sonso, skating!
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I’m usually always up for new challenges, so I would have to say, all kinds of stuff. But mostly snowboarding, sleeping, eating, hiking in the mountains or out partying with friends!
Pick 3 numbers between 1-39.
1 board, 2 trucks and 4 wheels
1 – What do you take with you when you go for a skate?
Stoke! The rest depends on if it’s city shred or dh. Phone, ear plugs, money, keys and a small tool.
2 – Would you rather have a hook for a hand or a wheel for a foot?
Easy! Hook for a hand, pirate style! I need both me feet for skating and I would have to get better at stand-up slides, perfect!
4 – Who is the best person you’ve seen skating?
That’s a hard one, the best person I’ve seen skating is probably Sonso. The best skater is a lot harder. I’ve seen both some really good streetskaters, downhillskaters and freeriders. I’m even lucky enough to be friends with some of them.
It’s been a lot of fun talking to you tonight bro, glad we finally got to do this. Good luck in all your coming adventures Hustleberg!
Thanks a lot for everything, hope we get to meet soon!
Any thank yous?
Big thank you to all of my friends, my parents, sponsors, all the wild skateratz everywhere, SHRED HARD!