Skateboarding in LA – Interview with photographer Jörgen Brennicke

”The best memory I have was when we were standing at LAX in wait for our rental cars. We unpacked our boards from our bags and started skating in the parking lot right away. It only took five minutes for a guard to walk up to us asking us to stop. That’s when I knew this would be a trip to remember”

Lifestyle photographer and skateboarder Jörgen Brennicke, 47, epitomize the saying “age is just a number.” Because what is age but numbers, reminding us how many years we have lived and how many we havet left, we are not, like the common misconceptions goes, assorted into age boxes for us to act and behave accordingly. After all, who are we to say 50-year-old’s cannot skate?

For two weeks during April 2014, Jörgen Brennicke traveled alongside friends to Los Angeles where they explored private backyard pools, Tony Hawk’s ramp and long sessions at Vans Skate Park at Huntington Beach. It was a trip dedicated to surf and skate, but also to photography.

He spent 90% skating and 10% snapping epic pictures to what would later become an exhibition called, Hey Ho Let’s Go, held June 14th at Scandic Grand Central in Stockholm. He had the privilege to skate with the best Swedish skaters, all of whom were in their 50’s and considered this to be ”their last trip”, but also a memory for life.

Who did you skate with and what skate spots did you explore?

– We first lived in Costa Mesa for four days and then moved to Encinitas for the rest of the time. We would wake up in early mornings spending 3-6 hours skating and visiting different skate spots every day. Our rentalhouse in Encinitas was filled with a total of 14 people during our whole stay. Some of the skaters were in charge of pulling the strings regarding skate spots and people we could tag along. We’ve skated at Bucky Lasek’s crazy big deep bowl together with T-Mag (Tony Magnusson) and Paul Wisniewski. We also had a session at Tony Hawk’s ramp. We had the honor of skating with the legend Jay Adams who tragically passed away recently; he was also in the photo exhibition. We skated in the new Vans skate park at Huntington Beach together with legends such as Christian Hosoi, T-Mag and Grosso. Kyle Berard who’s a pro skater for Elephant Skateboards took us to a couple of hidden backyard pools, that were magical. We also skated and surfed with Martin Snellström, which is the only Swede to have ever competed in the X-Games.

Everyone remembers their first skate experience, what is yours?

– I was part of the first wave. I think I got my first board in 1975 (purchased at Karstadt at Herman place in Berlin) when I was 8 years old. I remember a class meeting where parents wanted to ban all children in the class from skateboarding, not because it was dangerous, but because skateboarding was US imperialistic. My lovely parents voted against this proposal. My first skateboard was a fiberglass board with surf motives, a collage of surf photos embedded in the glass fiber. I wish I still had it today, it would’ve been completely useless, but back then it was just amazing, it was the way into something that I love to this day.

Jörgen Brennicke in LA

If you loved skating so much then why did you stop?

– Up to age 15 skateboarding was all I had on my mind, we would always skate, build ramps and during the winters we would skate the indoor parking garages . We always made something up in order to have our daily skate fix. I also entered competitions a couple of times, I pretty much sucked, but I would still compete. I always wanted to test my own boundaries and I would do so no matter the injury and no matter the severity. In retrospect I realize I’m exactly the same today as I was then. At the end of the 80s I met a girl, fell in love and started thinking about school and the future and so on. I guess I grew up and became prematurely dull, so I kind of put my skateboard on the shelf.

When did you resume skating?

– I started skating four years ago, after 30 years of hiatus. I had always loved the culture and I had really missed it. So 30 years later, I’m on a visit at a photo retoucher whom I worked with, who never really stopped skating. He was 54. So I told him I would like to try some of the amazing skate parks around Stockholm. Once we started hitting the parks, I realized I was pretty rusty after all those dormant years, but he made me get over it. Now, I skate with him at least once a week. He was also an important contributing factor for making the LA trip happen.

Do you still skate now, after your return?

– I’ve had the honor to skate with a group of oldies in their 50’s, who except for being great skaters are the nicest people to hang out with. Some of us meet up once or twice a week, and during the winter season we go to Fryshuset Skate Park in Stockholm, where between 10-12 a.m. only 30+ are allowed. I love skating with people of all ages, but it’s just so damn fun to skate among friend. Great sessions there, I promise you that.

When did you decide to exhibit the photos from your trip?

– When I got back from the trip I sent over all the material to my agent Magdalena, we unanimously decided on the right pictures for the exhibition. My agency Rockson has a collaboration with Scandic Grand Central where some of the photographers from the agency will have solo exhibitions.

What have you got in the pipeline in regards of photography?

– I’ve started pulling the strings as to where the exhibition can be held next. I’ve also started filming a music video for Nervous Nellie, which will be a documentary with skateboarding and hopefully turn out really cool. I’ve updated my website with a film from Bread & Boxers starring Henrik Lundqvist plus a new campaign for the jewelry brand Drakenberg Sjölin with the model Caroline Winberg.