Written by: Jimmy Coleman
Over the years, X Games has appeared in many different countries around the globe, but has never made a stop in Scandinavia. That all changed this week as the X Games landed in Oslo, the capitol city of Norway. Over the course of 5 days, there will be 125 athletes, representing 18 different countries, competing in 10 different events. It’s also the first time, that an X Games event, has contested both winter and summer events at the same location.
The crew from California RampWorks arrived in Oslo in early January, to start construction on the street course. Oslo has a vibrant skateboard culture, but in the not so distant past, skating was actually banned within the city. Needless to say, the locals were very excited about the event coming to Oslo. They were also excited to learn that after the event is over, the course will remain here at Skur 13. It will be an open public park, available for all to skate.
The X Games Oslo festivities would start off at Skur 13 with the Norwegian skate street qualifier. A total of eight competitors were invited from all across Norway, with the main goal being a chance to advance to round one on Thursday night, and skate against the other 11 invited pros. Each skater was given 3 50 second runs, with their best run counting, and only one would advance into next contest.
It was Petter Brunvatne that got the party started in the first round. It’s never easy being the first guy up in a contest, but he stepped up to the occasion. He was off to a good start with tricks like back smith on one of the rails, feebles, and a really impressive combi move that consisted of a blunt that he would pop into a frontside smith stall, and then revert back in fakie. He did have a fall in the run, but he started off with a respectable score of 83.66.
Petter’s 1st run score would hold up as the top spot through 3 more competitors, until Kevin Baekkel dropped in for his 1st. He dropped in with a speed and intensity, not yet seen on course. His first trick was him with an olie onto the roller bench, then doing a gap transfer to boardslide down a rail, a 5-0 to flat off a rail, a big stylish lein 360 to fakie off one of the quarters, and ended the run with a smooth nose grab backside 540. He did have a fall in the run, but it was enough to nab an 88.66 and take lead.
The bottom half of the run order was a bit of a battle. Didrik Galasso would go next, putting up a decent run that would give him a score of 84.33 that would put him in 3rd. Gard Hvarra followed up with an 89.33, that would put him in the top spot. Last person to skate in the order was current reigning Norwegian national skateboard association champion, Hermann Stene. He managed to put together a bit of a run, but with a fall, netted an 87.66, that was only good enough for 3rd place, at the end of the 1st runs.
The second round of runs was slightly uneventful, until Hermann Stene rounded out the order. He managed to clean up the line from his first run that included tricks like a backside smith on a rail, backside noseblunt, frontside krooks, and a big frontside 360, that earned him a whopping score of 92, and put him in the top spot.
Run number 3 started with the fans wondering, if anyone had an answer for what the reigning national champion had put down in the 2nd runs. The only skater who really gave him a challenge in run 3, was Kevin Bækkel. He strung together a run with highlights of a lipslide to feeble, noseblunt, a stylish lein 360 off one of the quarters landing fakie on the center wedge, and capped it off with an even more stylish 540 nose grab, also from quarter to center wedge. He would crack the 90’s as well, putting up a 90.66, but would have to settle for 2nd.
Overall, it was a great showing by the Norwegian skaters, and all the competitors and fans alike had a great time and wrapped up the night with a party/art show on the other side of the building. There was literally a line around the corner, and almost a block long, to get inside, even after the contest was over. One thing is for certain, Norwegians support skateboarding.
- Hermann Stene *
- Kevin Bækkel
- Gard Jenssen Hvarra
- Petter Brunvatne
- Didrik Galasso
- Øyvind Svensen
- Jonaton Drab
- Johannes Sundy Aukan
* advances to next event