Kingpin Magazine Oskar Rosenberg-Hallberg Interview

Oskar Rosenberg-Hallberg Interview

Skateboarding 2.0

Skateboarding used to have a lot of space for dreams. Skaters dreamed of inventing new tricks, having parks in their hometowns and, well, just more people skating in general. Today, many of those dreams have become realities. Accordingly, people have started questioning the dream. After all, many young skaters today are raised with access to skateparks, skate shops and a constant flow of information and videos. Skateboarding is broad: more of an option, less of a destiny.
So what do young skaters today dream of? Are they on a training-program to achieve a rap-video lifestyle? Are they fantasising about a mirage of insobriety, sect-like machismo, faceless women and money to be wasted on useless bling? If so, it’s not a pretty picture. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to represent the dream for a great part of the skaters out there.
People still turn to skateboarding because it has more to offer than other pastimes.

Sure, being a skater was a statement in the nineties but you don’t have to be 30+ to see through tacky commercialism or acknowledge style as well as skill. In fact, the next generation is probably more clued in than the previous in many ways – and with better tools to realise their own dreams. 
It seems a system update is in the works. Skateboarding 2.0. Here the hardware has never been the issue: a lot of skaters can skate. The issue is the programming: the why, what, where and when we skate. 
Oskar Rosenberg-Hallberg is 2.0 in full effect. He is a product of his talent as well as his environment. A local at Stapelbäddsparken since pretty much day one, he was embraced by the Malmö scene from the outset. From there, he has been able to carve his own path, develop his own standout talent and choose his own role models. The result is a mature, beyond his years all-round skater with sensibilities that would make the most fervent nineties nostalgic technocrat nod in agreement. The future looks bright. Reboot. –Gustav Eden

We just had Vert-Attack here. What’s your take on vert skating?

You don’t necessarily see that much creativity, but you get inspired nonetheless because it is a completely different way of skating. I’d actually like to try and skate vert with pads some time just to learn it. I don’t really do it, but maybe now is the time, eh?

Street?

It all depends on how you do it. Fast and stylish is cool. It’s hard to do, though, ledges and flatland. Bowl skating is a whole different style of skating. More about flow and lines. Street often has more focus on practicing individual tricks, whereas bowl skating is about getting a line down. I like them both as much as each other.

You’ve been travelling quite a bit…

Yep. Went to Australia in March and have been to the US, Italy and Marseille this year. Just got back from a mini-tour in Holland and Belgium. During winter, I’ve been doing a lot of Nike trips. In the summer it’s usually more Polar stuff like the Berlin trip last summer. I’ve been gone quite a bit this year already actually. But now I will be back here for a while. I have to catch up on homework…

How is Bryggeriet High school? Was it an obvious choice?

I considered applying to a lot of different schools. It wasn’t necessarily the obvious choice. There are a lot of schools to choose from. In the end being able to skate during your free time swayed me. It has turned out good. Because they’re a skate-school, they have been accepting when it comes to travelling for skate-trips It was pretty heavy with school for a while, catching up after trips and so on.

Do you feel like you actually learn anything in school?

Yes I do.

What’s more important: school or tour?

Tour.

Why?

It’s more fun.

How do you manage both?

I study hard ahead of a trip and then catch up after. I don’t really work when I’m away. I guess schoolbooks are not the first thing you want to pack.

Did it work out well, shooting for the interview?

Nils Svensson and Marcel Veldman took most of the pictures. On the Holland/Belgium tour, it was actually Marcel’s suggestion I’d do the backside noseblunt. He’s great to shoot with and there are lots of cool spots in Rotterdam! When I shoot with Nils, it’s usually in Malmö and it comes about naturally. We have a crew and go out skating, filming and shooting and we see what happens. Nils was the first professional photographer I shot with. He has a calm demeanour, which makes you relax when trying something.  And he always makes your tricks look good. Thanks Nils and Marcel!

Have you gone to a lot of competitions?

I started skating at nine and I think I went on my first trip at twelve. Bryggeriet (Malmö’s indoor skatepark and skate-organisation) have always organised trips to comps. Usually, you pay €50 and get in a van with J-Mag, some older dudes and your mates. You go to the comp, get a place to stay and come back when it’s over. The first comp I went to was in Nacka, Stockholm when I was twelve and because I won that. After that Björn Holmenäs put me on Sweet.

And your parents were cool with handing you €50 and shoving you into a van?

Sure. They knew John from the park, so it was all good. We used to go to all the Betongcupen comps.

How did you meet Pontus?

I didn’t really know who he was. He was just this crazy guy at Bryggeriet who skated fast, got pissed off and threw his board. I didn’t really get to know him until after about four years of skating. I guess he said ‘What’s up.’ one day. He filmed me once at Steppen, actually. I didn’t used to feel that comfortable at Steppen. I felt a bit awkward going there with the D.I.Y. dudes and me wearing my Sweet stuff with Pyssling, Sulan, P-Mag, Mathias, all those guys.

So how did the move from Sweet to Polar go down?

There was actually a time when I was sort of riding for Polar and Sweet at the same time. Pontus had told me about Polar, but there was no team and he hadn’t gone public yet. At the time, I was pretty stoked on my flow deal with Sweet and I had no idea what Polar was going to become. I didn’t even know Pontus that well. Right before the first Polar boards were about to drop, I called Pontus up and told him I didn’t want to ride for the company. I stayed on Sweet for a few months until I was skating a local skatepark with David, Pontus and Nils. It was the day I filmed the frontside lien air with the ridiculously short shorts that’s in the first Polar Promo. Pontus put the question to me again and I accepted. I am really stoked to be part of Polar and would like to thank Pontus for everything he’s done for me. Thanks, Alv!

You tend to get a lot of footage from trips. Do you take skating really seriously?

I enjoy filming actually, so for me getting footage is part of the fun. I like to try my best every time. I guess if we’re on a particular mission filming for the Polar video or on a Nike trip, you step it up a notch, but everyone on Polar are really fun to hang out with and everyone feeds into the session. It’s not like there is any pressure to skate. It happens naturally. If I don’t feel like skating, I don’t.

What do you like in skateboarding?

Everyone that rides for Polar. Kevin Rodriguez. He is really creative with his skating. He skates weird stuff, strange spots and is creative, as well as being a cool guy. I’ve seen some of his footage for the Polar video and it’s amazing.

Is being creative important?

Everyone is free to do what he or she wants, but it’s more interesting to do something new.

Is there something you don’t like in skating? Polar seems to represent skating that is not too constructed and contrived. 

When I think of Polar, I don’t just think of just the skating and the skaters, but the graphics, the artists: Jacke, Stefan – everyone involved. I think of the whole vibe of the company. The skating is important too, of course and I like the skating of every skater on the team, but the main point is they’re good people too. Everyone is unique.

Perhaps a lot of brands would describe themselves in that way. Are other brands not like that?

I don’t see most brands as being like that. Most brands seem preoccupied with the skill-level of their riders. How good they skate as opposed to what they skate.

‘Little Oski’… Have you always been little?

I guess Pontus came up with that. I’ve always been small. I don’t think it particularly matters, especially when you skate. People who don’t know me sometimes think I’m younger than I am, which can make it hard to get into clubs, but I used to get more annoyed with it when I was younger than I do now. It’s all right. You get annoyed and then it passes.

Some people your age are already starting to stress about their life choices in terms of education, careers etc. Do you think of your future?

I don’t really think about it too much, because when I finish high school, I want to keep doing what I’m doing now. Finishing school will be good so I don’t have to worry about homework. Aside from that, I’ll take it as it comes.

Do you feel supported by people around you?

Definitely. Pontus, Colin, people around Malmö, Mum and dad, friends.

Is there anything you would like to tell your friends?

I’d like to thank them of course, I feel grateful to Pontus and my mum and dad, my sister and my friends, but I don’t have anything in particular to say. I say it to them when I see them. That’s better.

Some people your age are already starting to stress about their life choices in terms of education, careers etc. Do you think of your future?

I don’t really think about it too much, because when I finish high school, I want to keep doing what I’m doing now. Finishing school will be good so I don’t have to worry about homework. Aside from that, I’ll take it as it comes.

Do you feel supported by people around you?

Definitely. Pontus, Colin, people around Malmö, Mum and dad, friends.

Is there anything you would like to tell your friends?

I’d like to thank them of course, I feel grateful to Pontus and my mum and dad, my sister and my friends, but I don’t have anything in particular to say. I say it to them when I see them. That’s better.

On tour, who wakes first?

Pontus

Who is up latest?

Pontus.

Who eats the most?

Hjalte.

Who is up last?

David.

Who talks the most?

David.

Who talks least?

Maybe me? Everyone talks a lot.

Who does something at every session?

Hjalte. He always skates well.

Would you enter Street League if asked?

I don’t know. I don’t think I would.

What would Monster need to pay you to put a sticker on your cap?

They could pay anything; I wouldn’t do it.

A million?

That would never happen. I just doubt I’d ever ride for an energy drink company.

I’d get kicked off Polar!

Best non-skate sponsor one could have?

Supermarket – all the food you need any time.

Essentially, you have free skateboards, clothes, shoes and travel. You live at home and get free food. Is there anything Oskar Rozenberg-Hallberg does not have?

No. I have it all.

Oski is not one to boast, so we asked his friends and family to do it for him. 

Johnny Hallberg, Oski’s father: 

Skating caught on fast for Oskar. He’d actually tried a bunch of other things before skating. Ice-Hockey? No. Breakdance? Nah. Football? I remember watching him play a game and he had a coach that did a lot of shouting. At the same time, I tried to encourage him by shouting as well. Being caught between a screaming coach and a screaming dad, I’m not surprised he was over it pretty quickly.

I’ve always cycled. I like to move around, you know,  ‘get air under the wings’. When he was little, Oski used to always sit on the back of the bike. That’s how we ended up at Stapelbäddsparken. When we arrived at the skatepark, Oskar just soaked up the atmosphere. A hot day in May: guys his age or older skating. I remember how generous it was, people welcoming each other, taking time to look at each other’s tricks and congratulating each other in that ‘skater way.’ Oskar said “Dad. This is what I want to do.”

The next day I went and got him a board. I remember they told me he learned to drop in really fast and he got a lot of attention from the other skaters early on. He’s always had attention from his parents at home, but with skateboarding he was noticed for his ability and performance. You can see how much that helps someone’s confidence growing up.

Alexander, ‘Bengan’ Andersson – Friend, Malmö local

The first time he showed up, I remember thinking ‘tiny kid, massive shoes.’ Pretty much straight away, you knew he would ‘be something.’ He was fearless and would try big stuff without hesitation. Sometimes with people who get good at skating, they develop egos and categorise people according to who is best: who is cool and who is not. Oski has never been like that. He’s always down to skate and is a good friend. He hasn’t changed. He’ll always be the little guy that earns the most of our respect. Call up, go skate, hang out, have good times. That’s worth gold to me.

John Dahlquist – Teacher, Bryggeriet Gymnasium

He belongs to the first generation of skaters that started skating at Stapelbäddsparken. His playful approach to skating has always stood out:  Always ironing out details and figuring things out to perfection and beyond. Then this summer in Berlin, I realised, damn! He’s become a full-fledged skateboarder. Power, air, the whole package!

Daniel Stankovic – Nike SB

The first time I really hung out with Oski was a tour we went on to the US for a Nike trip. It was just he and I – lots of fun. The thing about him is that you don’t notice the age difference. He adapts easily to any situation. He eats like a beast, too. He’s got the Hjalte-genes.  The first thing we did in LA was to go to the airport food court and get something from each of the stands. All that classic US fast food.

Oski’s got a little devil in him, too. He likes to have fun. He’s at an age where you go through a lot, so it’s good he gets to travel and have people around him who can let him be a teenager while still looking after him. The main thing is he’s a good person. He’s been raised well, people like him and he’s a lovable guy. He’s in a good place to do what he wants. Watch out.

Pontus Alv – Bossman, Polar skateboards

One of the good aspects of skating is that age doesn’t really matter that much, and me and Oski have gotten on well since day one. Since he joined the team, he’s been constantly evolving. It’s like every three months you see something completely new and there’s no sign of that stopping. I’m just happy to see it and help support him, promote him, get him products and get him out into the world. I just figure when you see that level of talent and style you act on it. I’m simply proud to watch his progress.

Have you seen him skate transition? Of course Oski can teach me something! Aside from that, he is generally happy and smiling. He radiates a lot of positive energy in the way he genuinely looks like he’s having fun when he’s skating. I think a lot of people can learn from that. I find a lot of the time when you go skating, you’re a bit pissed off and carry some aggression. A lot of us could do with maintaining that positive attitude. We could learn about that from Oski.

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