Magnus Bordewick Interview
I knew Magnus through friends way before I moved to Oslo, but we never really kicked it. One of his homies lived in the same apartment as my girlfriend (at the time) so I kinda got to know him personally through always hanging out at that apartment. The first time we went skating together (just the two of us),
I will never forget… I’m a pretty shy and awkward guy, and he’s the polar opposite – I remember he was just blazing down the street while I tried my best to follow him, hitting every curb cut in sight, dodging old ladies, grinding unwaxed ledges, all going mach-10. All of a sudden he tried to back 50-50 this way-too-tall flatbar against a wall, got onto it, kinda slipped out, his cellphone and iPod smashed on the ground and he just picked them up, put them back in his cargo pockets without even looking to see if they had survived and just continued cruising like nothing happened. I remember thinking ‘this guy is out of his mind!’ I still think he’s out of his mind from time to time, but in the best possible way. – Pekka
Interview by Arthur Derrien
Magnus: Hey man where are you?
At home in London…
I thought you lived in Barca?
Not really, when I last saw you out there I was just subletting this room to get away for the winter.
That’s really smart! I was considering doing something like that…
I mean you kind of have to now that you skate for Sour, that’s what they do!
Ha ha, yeah, I do really want to escape as much of this winter as possible, and Barca is the easiest and best way for sure. I’ve been going to Barca every winter for a while now, staying with Gustav and the boys, but hopefully I’ll be there even more this winter! It’s already getting cold and rainy here (Oslo) and come November the proper winter kicks in. That’s when there’s really no point being here anymore.
Let’s just hope the weather holds until you get enough photos to finish this interview… How exactly did you end up skating for Sour?
I’ve known Gustav (Tønnesen) since I was a kid… Him, Spengan, Nisse and Lomar used to live together in this apartment near Paral-lel, when they were still riding for Sweet. So I got to know them and all the other Sour boys through Gustav when I was visiting. This summer I was skating with Gustav in Stavanger in Norway, during the Norwegian championship contest and he asked me if I wanted to ride for Sour. I’m hyped!
Pekka (who Magnus films with) was telling me it was a lot harder for you to get photos than to get clips, mainly because the nature of your skating is so spontaneous. Would you agree with him?
Yeah but I mean it’s probably like that with most skaters that aren’t from California right? It’s so much more fun and so much easier to cruise around, find a spot and take it on the go. I don’t know how they do the whole drive for a long time then get out of the car, immediately try a gnarly trick and then move on. But maybe that’s something you just get used to liking…
I guess that’s why shooting photos somehow feels even more rehearsed than filming.
Yeah it’s true, but it shouldn’t necessarily have to be like that though, right? If you have a mate that shoots photos and is down to cruise around for the session there’s no reason why that couldn’t work.
I guess most of the top photographers are just in high demand and can’t allocate as much time to one person, which makes it harder to do this…
That’s true… And the probability of ending up with nothing at the end of the day is maybe also higher for a photographer than it is for a filmer. Like you don’t necessarily need a specific plan to get a funky line or pretty much anything when it comes to filming a video part, but for a good photo a lot more things have to be in check for it to work out both for the photographer and the skater. Then again, I feel you always end up with a better result when you don’t plan out everything and expect too much to happen.
And if you are filming, are you always out with Pekka? (Pekka is the Norwegian VX filmer who amongst other things made the new Nike SB Karsten Kleppan/Jan Kongstein part and the new Magnus part.)
Yeah, I’m always out with him. We are hanging out or skating together every day anyhow so it’s very natural and easy filming parts with him. We always have the same opinion about spots and generally how we want everything to look too, so it works out perfectly. Unless someone in the crew has a specific plan in some other area, we mostly cruise around the centre of Oslo as we both live there. We usually try to come up with a couple of loose ideas and go with the flow from there.
Is the centre of the city alright to skate during the week? Do you not get kicked out?
It’s usually fine… And if you get kicked out it’s usually just by people that are passing by or working/living at the place we are skating so you don’t really have to listen all the time. The worst thing they’ll do is stand in the way of the spot in which case you just have to be a little patient. You never get tickets or anything like that.
So if they call the police it’s not that big of a deal?
The police in Norway are really friendly, like super polite – way more than the security guards. The security guards are mostly pretty rude but that’s kind of a good thing because we don’t have to feel like assholes when we decide to keep on trying tricks after they’ve told us to leave. The police usually don’t have time or they don’t see the point in driving to the spot to kick us out. The few times they actually show up we know we have to give up and leave, but they always do it in a friendly way and never give out tickets.
In some of the clips from Pekka’s video it looks like you guys are swerving through groups of people. The city centre looks super busy, it kind of makes sense that it would be the pedestrians that get annoyed.
Yeah but most of the city isn’t like that, that’s really just when we skate the spots around the big shopping centres and stuff.
Someone told me that a lot of the time when you go on these missions you take a backpack with a whole new change of clothes… Can you explain that one?
Ha ha, yeah sometimes I do. Or, when I do I usually just bring another sweater or jacket or something. I guess it’s just that if I get one clip early in the day I want to look different in the next clip so all the clips stand out from each other.
What happens if you get more than two clips? Do you have to start mixing the tops and the bottoms?
Yeah then I’m fucked ha ha. I’ll have to go and buy some new clothes then, ha ha.
You joke about it but I know you must spend a lot of money/time on clothes… I’ve seen all that Polo, Nautica and Helly Hansen…
Ha ha, I don’t want this whole interview to be about my clothes, but I guess I always just end up spending a lot of time on eBay during the winters. Winter is the internet season! It’s too easy to fall into that whole cycle of buying loads of stuff, selling what you don’t want, etc.
Apart for hunting down clothes what else do you get up to in the winter?
I don’t know, I guess you just kind of end up doing stuff normal people do: going to parties, watching movies and hanging out… I also walk more in the woods and in the parks with my dog during the winter. In the summer I usually just bring her to the skate session. I used to snowboard a lot when I was younger but I always ended up injuring myself because I thought I had the same control as if I was skating you know. It’s going to be better this year though because we’ll have three indoor parks as opposed to one outside of the city. A lot more skating this winter!
Do you have a job on the side or do you only skate?
I do have a job. You know that kind of American New Era hat shop called Lids? I work at this similar store called Lokk in Oslo, doing embroidery and stuff. Like I did the embroidery for these Sour hats (shows me his hat). Although I started getting paid by adidas so hopefully I’ll be able to work a bit less…
I heard before that job you had a pretty interesting way of getting by…
I have kind of always tried to work as little as possible so I could skate more. I used to have a very low rent for some time and during that time I was living off picking up people’s old furniture and selling it. We have this internet page where you can get rid of your old furniture and stuff for free if for example you’re moving out and don’t want to deal with it. One day I just went to Ikea, picked up a shopping cart to stack the furniture and started bringing what people would give away back to my apartment and resell it on the same page.
Would you ever consider living anywhere else than Oslo?
I don’t know, to me it’s the best city in the world!
But it’s so expensive! Like how much is a beer in a bar?
Usually almost 10 Euros…
But you get used to it you know. When I was younger we used to get really drunk at home and then slowly sober up during the night. Now we just go to the cheaper bars or try to drink more slowly. It’s not actually that bad. Plus, you know whenever you go away everything is going to be way cheaper anywhere else. You can live like a king no matter where you travel to!
With everything going on in Copenhagen and Malmö people tend to see Scandinavians as rather supportive of skateboarding. Would you say it’s also the case in Norway?
I think the Oslo X-Games definitely had a positive effect and helped change people’s mentalities towards skateboarding. As a whole since the X-Games it seems like people are mostly stoked when they see us out in the streets. Before that it definitely wasn’t the case…
Wait until they see skateboarding in the Olympics! They’re going to love you guys! What’s your thoughts on that whole situation?
I honestly don’t really care what people that don’t skate think about skateboarding and if there’s money in it for the skateboarders that want to be in it, then I think that’s good.
I’ve heard that the Olympics as an institution is pretty corrupt and fucked up. I don’t know too much about this but just the way they did it in Brazil is enough to get an idea of what they are about… Agreeing to build walls around the ghetto and letting Brazil use all these resources they for sure should have used to fix some of the many other problems in their society is pretty crazy. Regardless of if they involve skateboarding or not I don’t know if I back it as an institution.
So you are more anti- ‘The Olympics’ than you are anti- ‘skateboarding in the Olympics.’
Yeah basically I don’t want to be that guy that’s all ‘fuck everything that’s not core skateboarding!’ The skateboarding they’ll be showing isn’t necessarily the skateboarding I personally like the best, but skateboarding is (and should be) a lot of different things, we shouldn’t try to limit it. If people can enjoy it that way, that’s great!
So if you were asked to represent Norway in the Olympics you’d say yes then?
I don’t know, but I probably wouldn’t, ha ha.
Really? But I heard you were the world record holder for the most back to back kickflips! How many was it? 508 in about an hour and a half am I right?
Ha ha, yeah something like that.
How did that come about?
I entered this thing called the Krux Kickflip Challenge and when I’d done more than the other kids the organiser was like ‘More! More! More’ until I’d completely kickflipped through my shoe. I remember being supposed to just win a pair of Krux trucks but they felt so sorry for me when they saw my shoes that I also got a free pair. I was like 13…
What have you got lined up for the rest of the year?
I’ll probably stay here in Oslo filming for Pekka’s video until the end of October then go to Barcelona to skate with the Sour guys. I also really want to go to New York this spring, so I hope that works out!
Sick, have you been to America before?
Yeah I went to LA on an Etnies trip when I was younger but I didn’t really like it that much though. Maybe we were in the wrong place or something. We did way too much driving to go from spot to spot and a lot of the times we just got kicked out before the session even started. I remember having the feeling that the place was really dead too, like if you’d step out of the house these huge roads would be empty and all look the same. Then again we weren’t staying downtown, it’s probably quite different there.
What’s the deal with Pekka’s new video then? Is it going to be only filmed in Norway and edited to Norwegian music again?
Yep. It’s gonna be called Tigerstaden. That translates to ‘the tiger city’. It’s an old nickname for Oslo because people thought of the city as dangerous place. The first thing you see when you walk out the doors at the central station in Oslo is a huge tiger statue.
Sick. His last one (Firetre) was incredible. Can you tell us who else is going to be in this one?
Yeah I agree. It’s so good for the Norwegian skate scene that Pekka started making full length videos! The scene here is so strong, it’s great to see it showcased properly! Hermann Stene, Eirik Ballo, Jan Henrik Kongstein and Heitor Da Silva will all have full parts and then there will be a few split ones from Henrik Lund, Marcus Shaw, Jonatan Drab and a few others. Karsten Kleppan was supposed to share a part with Jan Henrik Kongstein in the video as well, but recovering from the shoulder injury is unfortunately taking a little too long a time. He will definitely have some tricks though!
Thanks, that’s one to look forward to then!