15 Seconds

When YouTube came out in 2005 it changed the skateboard game forever. Suddenly, kids didn’t have to be included in the latest 411 Video Magazine or the latest big skate brand DVD release to be seen. Anyone with a camcorder or camera phone could broadcast their video content out to millions on the worldwide web. So much more skateboarding video content from around the world was available right at your fingertips. And likewise, the introduction of video on Instagram in 2013 was another game-changer for skateboarding. Fifteen-second clips, easily viewable via smartphones, became the new normal and a new way for skateboarders to get their names out there. (Editor’s note: We originally released this article in print in May 2016, before 1-minute Instagrams were available and Insta videos were still just 15 seconds.) But interestingly enough, the clips that usually go big on Instagram aren’t the insane hammers that you are used to seeing as the last trick in people’s video parts – it tends to be quirky, unseen, never-been-done tricks that go viral. We thought it’d be interesting to talk to some of those that have become ‘Insta-famous’ through these short clips so we reached out to Mike Arnold, Karl Förli, Ville Wester and Sam Bethune to see what life’s been like after their fifteen-seconds of fame. – Will Harmon

Ville Wester


Ville Wester has become an almost overnight sensation due to his innovative manoeuvres at the Bryggeriet Gymnasium. Hailing from Copenhagen, Ville is inventing tricks every day and it seems that the skateboard world has taken notice – including one Pontus Alv, who has enlisted Ville into the Polar ranks.

How long have you been going to Bryggeriet?
Ville Wester: I’m on my second year, and it’s a three-year education.

Do they discuss social media there in the classroom?
A little but not in the way we use it, more like the laws and stuff about it. You know school stuff.

What do think about becoming famous in skateboarding via Instagram as opposed to the old school way of filming a full video part?
It’s nice that you can reach out to so many people just by uploading an Instagram clip I guess. It is a lot easier to get recognised on Instagram if you do something different and new. I like the old school way too, with the whole process of filming a video part. I guess it’s more ‘real’ to do it that way, but you have to make the most of the chances you get and Insta is an easy way to do it.

A video posted by Ville Wester (@villewester) on

Was there a particular Instagram of yourself that made you gain the most followers?
There is a couple that got more attention than the others, but I don’t think it was because of one clip; it was more that things got crazier with every clip. I can see that when you have a lot of these clips, people follow you when they visit your profile because they want to see more.

Tell us about Henry Forsnor (@Baeonci), he’s the one making a lot of the Insta edits right?
Yeah he is a really good friend of mine. We go to class together and skate almost every day. He is super good at filming with the phone and always down to skate. We just like to hang out and do stuff.

Do you make the edits with Henry? Or does he do it on his own?
It’s different every time, but mostly we sit down together and make the clips. Sometimes we discuss what to do with the edit and end up making two different ones, it’s just more interesting.

Have you gotten any messages from brands about sponsorship due to your recent spike in social media coverage?
Yeah, some brands have reached out to me, but I already got everything I need… Thanks to Sidewalk skateshop, Polar skateboards, Nike SB, Desert crew, Fast Skateboard Wheel Company, Alis clothing and Ace trucks!


Mike Arnold


Even though Mike Arnold’s full Skateboard Café part came out on Jenkem a few months before, it was the slappy front noseslide 270 with an extra spin on Instagram that made Mike Arnold a household name. Oh the power of social media…
Ok the slappy front noseslide 540, 450, whatever… Had you done this before you did it at République?
Mike Arnold: Yes, it’s quite a weird story with that one… I first did it at Stoke-on-Trent filming with Shank (James Cruickshank). We were filming for the Converse Blend video and I did it. But for some reason I was wearing this really short, tight floral shirt and it looked absolutely stinkin’ on. Everyone said it looked like Jim Greco and I landed it and I heel dragged a bit, but I couldn’t do it any better at that time. So Shank really wanted to use this trick because it hadn’t been done before, but I really didn’t want to use that version because of how bad it was. If I’m going to do that trick I want to do it to a standard that I’m happy with.

A video posted by @skateboardcafe on

You didn’t want it to go big without you being happy with it…
Exactly. So it got to the point where I was in Paris and I realised that the deadline for the Blend video was done and that trick was set to be in there. And Shank wasn’t really budging, so I just filmed one for Instagram at République. That was my only option of getting a decent version really.

So I guess it was planned to have it come out on Instagram before a proper video…
Yeah we just kind of decided ‘this was the time, this was the place’ and Instagram was the platform.

Do you have special name for that trick?
We call it the ‘nine’, like the 900.

Were you surprised when it went viral or did you expect that?
I was really surprised at how viral it went… Like Manny Santiago (@mannysantiago) of all people reposted it first. I would never associate him with a trick like that. And then I really didn’t know what Metro Skateboarding (@metroskateboarding) was, but they reposted it. I was getting like ten followers every second, it was insane. I think I drank a glass of wine that night and by the time I finished it I had 500 more followers. Maybe 1000 more, I don’t know. It was pretty strange and crazy, but yeah I definitely didn’t expect that to go so viral.

Didn’t you get some weird direct messages or comments on your Instagram after that?
Well some kid (@rollersurfer) kept getting tagged in to the Skateboard Café (@skateboardcafe) post of it. And he commented: ‘guys look, I know; stop tagging me in this.’ So I went on this guy’s account and he’d done it in a skatepark before. Have you seen the video of it?

(Laughs) He may have done it by accident and he’s wearing really, really short shorts. But fair play to him; he did it. I hadn’t seen it; he’d done it a week before by chance.

A video posted by @mikearnoldeluxe on

How do you feel about Instagram blowouts? (Instagram of trick coming out before the magazine photo or proper video)
That’s pretty much exactly what I did!

Yeah but some people do it unconsciously.
Yeah that’s not cool at all especially if there’s a photographer there and it’s going to go in a magazine or it’s going to go into an edit someone spent time filming. If someone is there on their phone in the background filming and completely blows it out that can ruin the trick. If someone’s there properly filming it, then that trick doesn’t belong on Instagram I think.

What’s more satisfying: having a trick of yours going viral on social media or finishing a full video part?
Finishing a video part for sure. A trick on Instagram doesn’t have much to it. It’s exciting for a day or two, but then it kind of gets lost. For longevity’s sake, the tricks you’ve done in the past are better in a full part. You can always pull stuff from a full part and put it on Instagram if you want.


Karl Fredrik Förli


Karl Fredrik Förli is a student at the Bryggeriet Gymnasium School in Malmö, Sweden. After performing a wallride nollie out super spin move (we don’t know what to call it) the clip went viral and Karl gained thousands of followers on Instagram.

Where are you from and how long have you been skating?
Karl Fredrik Förli: I am from Larvik in Norway and I have been skating for seven years now.

How long have you been going to Bryggeriet high school?
I´m finishing off my first year now, so almost a year.

Do they discuss social media there in the classroom?
John [Dahlquist] keeps us updated and we check the new stuff out from time to time. But we don´t discuss it too much.

What do you call that wallride nollie out spin trick that went viral?
Haha, the wallride spin thing was very random, but I think I just call it ‘the wallride spin’ or something like that.

A video posted by @kf3hunna on

Had you tried it before or was that the first one you did (the one on Instagram)?

I actually never tried that trick before, so it was the first time on Instagram. When I did it I thought that I was just going to get a pop shuv-it or something like that, but then it just landed on the board and it was like a nollie bigspin I think. Lucky shot!

It’s still hard figuring out what it was. Were you surprised when it went so viral?
Yes, I was a little surprised. The trick itself was a bit odd so it was funny.

Is there any friendly competition from the students of Bryggeriet to see whose clip gets the most views/likes?
Of course there is some sort of awareness between us, but this is all just for fun.

What do think about becoming famous in skateboarding via Instagram as opposed to the old school way of filming a full video part?
I think it’s crazy, because it seems like back in the day you needed to film for a bigger project to get sponsored. Times change I guess… I think it’s dope that it has worked out for me the way it has with the help from Instagram.

Have you ever had a full video part?
I have had some ‘mini parts’, but I haven´t had a part in 2016. This summer my goal is to film and travel around a little bit.

Have you gotten any weird direct messages through Insta? Can you give any funny examples of DMs or comments?
Haha, yeah there have been a few. I have gotten a few from people that want to buy my worn t-shirts. That’s funny. It´s been good too, I guess without it I wouldn´t have gotten in contact with Cons…

Cons, sick! And how did you link with Welcome Skateboards?
They saw some of my stuff and we talked a little bit over DM. They sent me a really nice package after a while and now I am the first European who rides for them.

Who are your favourite people to follow on Instagram?
I think my favourites have to be Sean Pablo (@_streethassle) and Will Blakley (@lit___man).

Sam Bethune @sammybethune


A clip went viral on Andy White’s (@andygsswhite) Instagram of this kid doing this unseen wind-up before doing a caballerial – essentially making it a 540. It was almost like the wind-up of a figure skater doing one of those jumping spin moves on ice. The relatively unknown skater performing these moves was Glaswegian Sam Bethune.

So what do you call that trick you do?
Sam Bethune: I don’t know I really don’t have a name for it. It all just comes from when I was younger – always skating fakie. Tons of people have called it a prevert, but I’m not sure, I just call it a full cab.

A video posted by Andrew White (@andygsswhite) on

And you’ve been doing that trick for a long time?
Yeah, I just have been doing full cabs since watching Andrew Reynolds (@andrewreynolds) do them. And then the more I did them the more I thought I could add another spin to it. So I ended up adding an extra 180. So it looks like a 540.

Did you notice the way you were doing them was different than other people or did you think it was just a normal full cab?
I just thought it was a full cab and then one day down at the skatepark someone had an HD slow-mo camera and they filmed it with that. It was only then that I noticed I did it differently.

When Andy White put up the clip did the response motivate you to do more?
When the clip went up it was amazing. All these people from around the world decided to send me a message. Because I didn’t have Instagram when the clip went up, but then the next morning all these people had sent me messages on Facebook telling me how big it got. It’s amazing the whole thing how it blew up and that.

So you made an Instagram after that?
Yeah I made an Instagram the day after. One of my friends set it up. It didn’t motivate me any more per se, well I guess it motivated me to go out and skate more.

How about any weird direct messages? Any funny ones?
Ah not really. Everyone was really nice.

Famous people?
Yeah Richie Jackson (@thefeatch). He was really cool.

Who do you like following on Instagram now that you have it?
I like following Korahn Gayle (@kaygeezeee) ‘cause he posts good videos. I like all the guys that skate for Supreme like Tyshawn (@enwhytj) and Nakel Smith (@thatsonme). Of course Andy White (@andygsswhite), he posts amazing videos, but mainly I follow people that skate in Glasgow.

Do you think Instagram is taking over skating now as opposed to the old way of a full video part?
Yeah I guess so I think. I never watched too much skating… I always just went out skateboarding and watched my friends. I just watched Glasgow skating. I never really watched a lot of videos growing up. Some of the stuff I’ve been seeing people post up… It’s unbelievable. It’s definitely taking over.