Kevin Bækkel Interview

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What’s good, brother?
Yo, Willis. I’m chillin’. I just got back to Oslo from a Suvalahti Hellride in Helsinki.

How are they holding it down out there right now?
They’re holding it fucking down. They just added a couple of new features. It’s the best place on Earth. Love that place.

Your summer has been pretty stocked of harpooning spots around the world. Where have you been since we were on the Creature Northwest trip?
We did the whole US to Rip Ride Rally, then out to Copenhagen, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, home for a day or two then inland to Bristol, over to Turbo Island.

Baekkel 1 750pxFuck up on this and you might need the parking spot at the bottom. Frontside 50-50, make ‘em sing Photo: Papke

Would you rather spend a night in Burnside or Turbo Island?
Fucking Turbo Island, for sure. They got Stellas right around the corner.

How was the Rip Ride Rally? Anything insane happen there?
It was fucking sick as fuck. Skated too much, having a good time seeing the homies rip. They fucking killed it and went camping every night. High energy seeing Cory Juneau blasting and killing himself.

That was kinda gnarly. The walking seizure.
That was a scary moment. Two hours later we picked him up and he was chilling.

He did the noseblunt not even thinking about it.
He pulled it.

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What’s up with prying some dude’s mouth open in Germany?
We pried some dude’s mouth open walking back from the bar, me and you. Four or five in the morning, some random fucking dude’s friends weren’t taking care of him so we had to come to the rescue. Pulled his mouth open so he wouldn’t swallow his tongue ODing on MDMA or whatever else he had in his system. He was biting our nails off.

Baekkel 2 750pxIt’s gonna take more than a curb to keep Bækkel from pillaging your spots. Frontside 5-0, hope that glass is thick Photo: Griffiths

How did the cop help you out?
Oh yeah, he helped me a lot! He punched me in the face while I was helping him.

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I remember him yelling at you to get your fingers out of his mouth and you couldn’t because he was biting so hard, then he just socked you.
Socked me in the face and I was about to get him back but you saved me from jail that night.

What kind of skating have you been watching while you’ve been filming for this savage ass part you’re working on?
Mostly older shit, some Grant and Cardiel. Been watching footage from Christian Brox, like a good morning routine. Powerful Norwegian skating will always get me fired up in the morning.

Fuck yeah, we need Brox in the Creature van.
Oh yes. I need Brox every day in my life.

I’ve heard you say that before.
He’s a busy guy but he can hang out here and there.

Do you think you’ve grinded a kilometer or a mile for this part?
Probably a kilometer.

You know what a mile is, right? It’s just a little more than a kilometer.
Fuck, I’ve done a mile then. I thought a mile was a little less. With all of the tries, definitely grinded a mile.

Baekkel 3 750pxFrontside nosegrind on his way to the one-mile marker Photo: Seidler

You’ve grinded a lot of bars keeping the fire lit.
Gotta do what I can do. The same trick, just gotta stay on those grinds.

Have you ever built a fire before?
I’ve built a couple. I like to start with a small one then go hunting to make the biggest one. Every time we have a fire, it’s always the mission to make it the biggest one possible—whatever it takes.

I’ve noticed that. Is there a Viking oath you took about gathering firewood or something?
It’s the Viking inside of me. I just want to burn shit down.

The metal in your blood wants to jump into the flames?
Yeah, or push Russell through it with all of my power.

That fire we had in Bristol was pretty rad.
We were there for three hours skating and we heard all of these rumors about them building huge fires, throwing bottles at cops and shit. I was, like, Fuck it, found some paper and started burning it then it escalated from there.

Is it true that you Norwegians shave and wipe with your axes?
Yeah, it’s pretty practical. It stings a little bit but usually works out.

The letter you have in your last name, the a-e thing, are you down with that or is it a pain in the ass?
What is that?

The double-letter fucking thing, the a-e thing in your name.
Oh, the æ? I love that shit. People are, like, the æ thing looks stupid. I like the Norwegian letters. Mixed in together is what makes my name legit. The US doesn’t use those letters.

Baekkel 4 750pxSmashing tricks together like letters in his name—50-50 to front board Photo:  Seidler

We have the wrong keyboards over here.
I’m going to send you one of those little pieces from my keyboard so you can put it on.

I’ll be bashing that in, looking for your part on Thrasher in a few weeks. I love when we get you into the American countryside for long enough that you turn a little hick and start writing Rednækkel. It looks good like that.
Rednækkel is still going. I got this lumberjack flannel still so I’ve been running it. That’s what got me into it.

Full bore—the PBR hat, the flannel. I didn’t even recognize you with your song requests. I was, like, Who is this dude?
I don’t know that dude either. He comes out here and there but that’s about it.

I don’t think Bækkel and Rednækkel have ever been in the same room at the same time.
No, they haven’t. They’re not friends.

They argue about who collected more firewood.
I think Rædnekkel is leading pretty hard, though.

What was it like the last time you went to Burnside?
We had a good session. I always love going there and cruising around to try and figure out the lines. After the session we thought this dude was climbing a huge crane for the shit of it and then we realized he was trying to commit suicide. We were there for three hours watching this dude about to kill himself. We couldn’t leave either because they taped the whole area off. We were trying to figure out if we should watch it or not. It was weird. I’ve seen some suicide jumpers before but this time I thought it was going to go down. If he jumped he would’ve landed right in front of us. It was pretty gnarly.

It was pretty rad, though. They talked him down.
Glad I didn’t have to see that. If he jumped he would’ve been extremely close to us. We would’ve seen some splatter all over the ground.

You get to cruise all over the world with DAF Noah driving everywhere. He’s probably driven us the distance of the circumference of the world in the last little bit.
He’s driven me from Norway to the States and back a couple of times already, for sure.

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What’s your dream spot, the dream destination? Anything you’re fiending to go to eventually?
Fuck, I want to go everywhere but I would like to go back to Australia. They got the good rails out there. They don’t have the aluminum shit out there. They have the old good-sounding rails that scream back at you when you get onto them. Pretty much anywhere else I’m down to go to. I want to see it all.

Baekkel 5 750pxHellacious 50-50 yank into the bank, see you in Valhalla Photo: Griffiths

We should get some sort of halloumi tour going.
Cypress or what?

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That would be a good idea, to go to Cypress and eat some halloumi.
I’m down to do a halloumi tour.

We could even use it for wax and sunscreen. How did you end up on your first Creature trip?
That was in Copenhagen when I think I was 18 or 19. It was Al Partanen, Gravette, Noah, Milton and Truman. My good homie Rune Wonder kept going up to Noah and telling him I was going to go mental, no matter what. I was, like, Whatever. He was just bantering to Noah every day. I’m standing in the corner just trying to get Rune to chill out. I wanted to go but don’t be so gnarly about it. Last day in Copenhagen, Al went up to Noah and told him that I should take his spot, that I could sleep in his bed. He didn’t care. He wanted to bring me. Noah came up to me and told me if I was in Berlin at ten the next morning, I could come on the trip. I got myself a ticket and was there when they landed. I thought I was only going to be on the trip for a couple of days but I was on it for a whole month. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.

That’s so sick. That’s how it should be.
Then right after that trip was done, Noah told me if I ever wanted to come to the States to stay with him and film, I was more than welcome. Three weeks later I took him up on his word and stayed there for three months, staying at his place to film for the Creature video.

It’s a beautiful story.
Noah took me in. I lived with him for almost a whole year.

You were in Santa Cruz for a minute and he was cruising with you. You guys were nailing it, trench-warfare team.
He showed me the ropes, brought me to the good spots.

You’ve gotten to see more of the States than most Americans, that’s for sure.
Fuck yeah, I’ve been to 38 states.

Baekkel 6 750pxRednækkel saddles up for a Smith through the kink. Yeehaw! Photo: Enis

You and I have polished a pack of Yuengling in the back of some southerners’ truck for crying out loud!
Warm Yuenglings in the back of some dudes truck in Florida at six in the morning. Every sip I almost had to puke because they were so warm but we had to handle all of them. The best was sitting in the back of the truck and the guy was going to work.

He hit us with the, “Out of the truck, boys.” “Yes, sir.” That was a funny one.
Oh, for sure.

Who do you see that’s ripping that we don’t see? I wouldn’t call them underdogs—maybe young rippers or sneak attacks.
We got some sneak attackers in Norway who are gnarly. My homie Galex Tennison, he just got on Emerica in Norway. He’s fucking ripping, good old hardflips and frontside flips down some big stairs. We got Vincent.

Ulph too.
Of course, my dog! Fucking Ulph Andersson is gnarly as fucking fuck.

He’s an attack-mode hyena.
I saw him for the first time ten years ago and he’s always been ripping so hard but now he’s a machine. He can handle pain; he never stops.

He might be a good guy for you to collect firewood with.
Oh yeah, definitely down to collect firewood with him, for sure.

Gonna have to call the overlords at Creature about this halloumi tour and make sure Ulph brings these fire-gathering supplies.
We should go to Sweden and burn that shit down.

Baekkel 7 750pxKevin takes his boardslide from the house of design all the way to the telecommunications center Photo: Griffiths

You’re gonna have to ask Ulph and Oski about that one.
Just a little bit. We’re only going to burn some of it down.

Do you want to explain what happened right after we didn’t win King of the Road?
With the table shit?

Yeah, the whole torture night.
Right when everything was done, Russell and I were, like, let’s break the table with all of the trophies on it and shit. We both stood on it and tried to break it but it didn’t go so I jumped as high as I could to try to break it. I don’t know what the fuck cut me. It could’ve been one of the trophies or a bottle of wine that shattered but I sliced my finger really, really bad. It was hanging off and squirting blood so I had to go straight to the hospital. One of the Thrasher dudes brought me to the hospital and they told me I had to sit down and wait. My finger is hanging off. I need to get this thing back on before it’s too late. I get into the emergency room and I ask the lady if it’s bad. She told me it was really bad so they cleaned it all up, put the shots in so I couldn’t feel the pain and told me she would be back in ten-to-15 minutes. I wake up and they’re shaking me. I’m on the ground ’cause I passed out and fell. There’s the biggest pile of blood on the ground from my finger and she’s asking me if I’m okay. I’m fine. I sit back up in the chair and they start stitching me up. I ask why the fuck I’m so wet and I pissed myself too.

You were on a killing spree.
It was fucked. I think I had an allergic reaction to the numbing shots they gave me because they use other shit in Norway. It just knocked me out. They stitched me up, drove me back to the Creature Airbnb and partied there. I was fucking with you a little bit, my finger all wrapped up like a boxing glove, then you thought I was gonna hit you and you gave me a good old sock. Fucking snapped my nose.

I’m sorry about that one. I thought you were going to nail me.
I understand that shit happens. It’s all good.

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They set that thing back in pretty nicely though.
They set my nose back in with some duct tape to keep it straight. It’s straight as fuck now so it’s big chillin’.

That was rough seeing you on the stairs with the duct-tape face and the hand. Talk about insult to injury. Second place, broken everything. We’ll get it next time.
It’s a good story. I’m hyped it went down like that.

Baekkel 8 750pxTerror-inducing top-tier tail drop—that Viking blood is no joke! Photo: Palozzolo

It felt like we were back on King of the Road for a few seconds. Any last second shout outs or anything? This is your last chance before it’s forever solidified in print.
Shout out to Creature for making me a part of this whole shit. It’s been four years and it’s been so good—the trips, a solid crew, it’s good fucking times.

Let’s keep the fire burning and keep the firewood coming.
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