Clem's Corner: Skateboarding Needs Copenhagen Pro

Posted by Ryan Clements on Monday, October 7, 2013

I read this article in Time a few years back, where they surveyed people of different nations around the world, and Denmark had the happiest, most content citizens. The country was dubbed "the happiest place on earth."

We grow up here in the States being told that Socialism is a bad thing, but the Danes seem to be handling it just fine. And they get all kinds of stuff for free, too, like vouchers for cab rides.

Let me take that back. Nothing is free. They just have a very high tax rate, approximately 65%, but I guess they don't mind the free medical care, college, and so on that comes along with it. And on the less serious side, the drinking age is 15, and I'm pretty sure marijuana is decriminalized, too, because everyone smokes weed everywhere. Here are some other observations:

  • I didn't see any homeless people, and only a few cops here and there
  • Single moms get their rent and schooling paid for, plus a monthly salary
  • There's tons of graffiti all over the place
  • It's expensive as hell – a four pack of tall beers is around $12
  • But minimum wage is about $20 per hour, so maybe it evens out

So here we have a socialist country with more "freedom" than that the US of A. That freedom spills into the public skate parks, too, which have virtually no rules. And their "private" facility, Copenhagen Skatepark, is actually subsidized by the government in order to be able to operate. Skateboarding is actually viewed as something very positive over on that side of the pond.

I've been working on CPH PRO for the past seven years, so that means my expenses are paid by the Danish government, or what they call "The Council." The idea of the US government paying for a legit skateboarding event seems insane, right? Come to think of it, I guess that's what happened at the Innoskate deal we did at the Smithsonian this past summer. But I didn't get paid…that was a volunteer job.

But to get back to CPH PRO: The rumor is that this was the last year. The main organizing trio, William, Simon, and Camilla, have decided that they don't want to do the same old deal over and over again. While I understand that sentiment, I don't want to quit something that seemingly works so well. We had some of the raddest pros skate in the Contest yet again this year, from Shane O'Neill who won it, to ultra-cool guy Austyn, to working-class pro Josh Matthews, to new-jack Mark Suciu. Where else in the world do you get that sort of line-up? Shoot, even Andrew Reynolds skated in it, along with a few other Baker Boys.

Sure, it's just a "contest," but really, it's so much more. Skateboarding needs these loose, pseudo- competitive gatherings of creativity and inspiration to continue, even if it's just for the party and good memories.