From the mag_Issue 29_Life is good_Albert Nyberg interview.
What can you really say about Albert other than brilliant on and off a skateboard! You can be anywhere with him and he’ll happy. Even if he didn’t have a penny in his pocket, I guess “life finds a way” haha, smash it wizard foot!
Fs 5-0 grind.
Hi Albert, how are things going? Where are you now?
Things are going smoothly. At home in Linköping for a couple of days now before I head off to the States for two weeks. It’s gonna be nice to get away from the snow.
You’re originally from a town in Sweden, how did you get to this level of skating, considering your long cold winters and lack of spots?
I grew up skating with my older brother Victor aka Lego. Skating with the “older” skaters was fun because they always seemed to push me to jump down stuff or try some random trick. My brother Martin also skates, so you can imagine three brothers skating together can be very fun, thus skating more and developing. And of course during the winters we are forced to skate indoors for months which helps keep the board-feel until the sun peeks out and gets rid of the overdue snow.
Did the fact that you had so “little” to skate help you develop such an original approach to skateboarding and tricks?
I guess if you go to a spot a hundred times you start seeing different possibilities of what you can do or think is possible. It´s good to be adaptable as a skater. And I do think that the lack of spots probably helped me think a bit outside the box. But now I have these crazy tricks in my mind and the spots that I need for the tricks probably don’t exist.
You were invited to the Battle Of The Berrics a few years back, how did you get there and how did you feel about it?
It was shortly after the “You Got Soul” part. I guess it´s the part that made people open their eyes for me. Then Steve Berra wanted me on the thing and I was very much down to go to the States for a golden oldie fashion game of skate. It was against PJ Ladd, hahaha. The whole thing was fun.
How’s it like to skate in a situation like that in person?
I was very nervous. I wasn’t used to seeing all these great skaters in person. Pros that I´ve only seen amazing videos of growing up. So you can imagine the noodle legs I had, hahaha.
Yours is a very tech and consistent kind of skating, made up of lines with tech tricks done with style. What percentage is natural talent and what percentage is hard work?
It really depends on the day. Sometimes the tech stuff comes really easily. And of course some days are a struggle. Tech tricks usually take quite some time. But it´s the best feeling when you finally nail the trick that was just an idea in your head a few minutes earlier.
You always do original tricks, such as 360 hardflips, fs 360 flips, or flips out of ledge tricks. Do you think there is a boundary between “strange but cool tricks” and “dorky” tricks… and is this boundary the style with which they are done? (I don’t like double heelflips though ahaha).
It´s a tough question. Nowadays I realize when I watch skate videos that sometimes less is more. I love seeing strange new tricks done well. I personally enjoy a nice mix of all kinds of tricks (Yes, even benihanas). I think that everyone should do whatever tricks they want. And if it looks good, great! And if you look like a dork, fuck it, you´re having fun. We can´t all be Rieders or Gillettes.
Last year the AB&A Etnies video came out featuring you, Barney and Axel. How long did it take to film your part? The video was really awesome and heavy, but don’t you feel it deserved more attention than it got? At least for the fact that it was a video featuring only European skaters?
It took about a year to film for that video. We did a bunch of fun trips to different places during that time which ultimately made for a really fun project. I felt like people gave all of us a lot of positive feedback after it dropped and I was, most importantly, very happy with the end result. I never really got the impression that it didn’t get all the attention that it deserved. I give Etnies and Oli mucho thanks for making that video possible. During that time I really got to know Barney and Axel a lot more. And now I consider them some of my best friends together with Oli of course.
You travel a lot to film and get footage. Is it essential for you in order to progress and learn new tricks?
Traveling is essential to my skating. I meet new people and learn different stuff all the time. Filming and traveling is the most fun part of my life. And you develop more when hanging out with people that skate other things that you usually don’t skate. Axel can get me hyped to skate bigger stuff and Barney can pretty much skate anything with such pop!
Hardflip over the gap.
Oh, by the way, you’re going to Cali for ten days and then on a tour to South Africa… a lot of hopping on and off planes ahead of you… what’s it all about? And how happy is your girlfriend about you going on all these trips one after the other? Hehehe
It´s a bunch of trips with Etnies. Really looking forward to these trips. Got a lot of footage last year on trips and it´s starting to add up to a full part. So hopefully after South Africa the part will be done. Just need some enders, hahaha. In the States it´s gonna be a United Nations thing with Etnies, so Oli figured “why not stay a few more days and get some street footage?”. My girlfriend is super supportive of me traveling and skating. She understands that it is something I have to do. Which makes the trips a lot easier to enjoy.
Do you ever think, “I have this trick in mind, but I can’t find the right spot” ?
I have so many random tricks in my mind and it´s really hard to find the right spot for it. Example: Gonz flip fs boardslide down a rail. That´s something you won’t find in Linköping. Maybe I need to build that spot for myself. Pontus could help me. Although building a DIY spot just for one trick sounds a bit off…
You have a very low-profile attitude. You don’t concentrate on your look or on dramatizing tricks too much. Is it part of your personality to take things so simply? Although you’re European and live in Sweden, you went to the Berrics, filmed for Street League (Real Street), and are on the team with some of the most famous names in skateboarding. What I like about you is that you don’t seem to take things so seriously… is it because in the end it’s just skateboarding? How serious is skateboarding to you?
Well, I try to keep a positive attitude toward things. Taking things with a pinch of salt. Moving forward. I am not the most serious person but I`m motivated about skating. I always want to skate more and find different ways to express myself.
Does it feel strange to be on the same team as Sheckler and Cairo Foster?
Not really, no. They´re just regular people like you and me. And furthermore they’re really great guys.
Do you ever think about moving to the U.S. to try and live at the center of skateboarding with all its possibilities?
I used to think about it but after being there a bunch of times I feel that Europe is the place for me. But I do enjoy going there every once in a while. I feel like it´s too serious over there. I´m happy where I am and always feel like I skate best when I´m happy
I know you’re a video-game fanatic… what excites you more, a new video-game you were anxiously waiting for to come out or a new skate video?
A new video-game. Without a doubt.
How were the latest Etnies tours? I heard you slept in tents, and that it wasn’t the usual tour organized with hotels, drivers, autograph-signing, etc.
It´s fully gypsy trips. And it´s super fun. It´s more like an adventure with your best friends in some foreign country. Oli has been the one making those trips happen and there have been mucho good times. I´m always hoping for more of those kinds of trips.
Is Oli Buergin the best TM?
Oli is the best dude ever. Always goes the extra miles for the riders. Hands down the best TM ever.
Does it ever happen that you do not really feel like skating a spot and he’s there skating it better than you in that moment?
I feel like it happens every time we go to a transition spot ha ha ha. And you should see him skate vert. He´s the world champ for Christ’s sake!
Are you filming a new Etnies videopart? When is it going to come out, and what for exactly?
Well, like I said I got a bunch of footage during last year’s trips with Etnies. After the AB&A part I was so motivated to skate more and film. So Oli and I went on a lot of trips last year. And now it´s adding up to a full part. No real deadline yet so maybe sometime after April? Wild guess. Keep your eyes peeled.
You came to Italy a few times lately, what do you and don’t you like about it?
I love: the pizza, the spots, the beer, the people, the architecture. I dislike: The fact that you can´t buy snus there. But that pretty much goes for every country outside of Sweden.
You have a part time job in Sweden. Will Europe ever have an industry that will allow its pros to live (almost) like the American pros?
Yeah, I work part-time in a warehouse sometimes when I´m home. I`m pretty sure a lot of the euro pros don´t need a job. I think that Europe has the potential to have an industry that allows that. But it´s not like anyone ever started skating because they wanted to get rich. But I do enjoy working when I´m home. Otherwise I would just have too much downtime. I would drive my girlfriend crazy! It is a magical feeling to take the bike to the skatepark after a hard day’s work during the summer.
The second to last time I saw you, you were skating an Almost board, the other day you had a different board. What happened over the last few months?
It´s hard to skate for an American brand if you live in Europe. I never really skated much with any of the Almost dudes except Willow. So I didn’t really feel like part of the team. But everyone was super nice, they helped me out a great deal with boards and I´ve always been a big fan of those guys. So I decided to jump to Sweet because I´ve always enjoyed skating with all of those guys whom I´ve known for so long. Then some shit happened with the company. It got bought by some other company and they were gonna kick people off the team or stop paying them or something. I´m not sure about the details. So I spoke with Bjorn (the former Sweet TM) and they had all already been talking about making something new with all of the team riders. So now I´m proudly joining my mates on Sour. I feel like it´s gonna be a really fun new chapter of my life and I´m really motivated to skate with all my friends on the team.
Varial heel over the rail into the bank.
A few days ago the Etnies Rap CM Albert Nyberg colorway was released, how did a shoe with your colorway come about?
Shortly after AB&A came out Oli talked about a colorway for me and Axel. So now those colorways are out and there will be clip coming out shortly with me and Axel. So it was a while back that I found out about it and now I skate with my colorway all the time and I love it.
Are you happy about it? Having a shoe with your name on it is like a dream for a skateboarder… what was your first reaction when they told you they wanted to do it?
I was beyond excited! It´s a really big deal for me personally. Been wearing Etnies shoes since I was eleven years old and now I´ve been given a colorway with my favorite shoe. Life is good.
How is the shoe? Did you choose the model and the colors personally? How much work did you put into it?
The shoe is really awesome. I can put them on and skate them immediately without a worry. It was very fitting that they wanted to give me the RAP CM shoe since it is my favorite. They asked if I wanted a high or low shoe, I said high. They gave me a bunch of color options and settled on navy blue since I often wear navy blue shirts. Nice to match the shoes with the clothes.
Why a mid-size shoe?
I really like the look of the mid. It fits me. And since I´ve had problems with my ankles the high shoes have given me extra support. Haven´t had any ankle problems in a long while now (touch wood).
You are in Cali at the moment, you spent 2 weeks down there to film the “United Nations” with the Etnies team at The Berrics, how was it? How many days did it take you to film for the project and who else participated?
The Berrics thing was about five days skating non-stop with almost the entire Etnies team. Some teammates were abroad and will work on it when they get back. I´m lucky I went on a trip before this one to get my cardio up because I would be dust otherwise. And it´s been really fun. Nothing serious like “you gotta get shit done” type of thing but more just skating with great people and coming up with tricks while you´re having fun. There were some injuries but besides that everyone got a bunch of bangers and I believe it will turn out to be an enjoyable edit to watch.
It seems like it was a challenging program… how many hours did you spend every day inside the skatepark filming?
I would say an average 5-7 hours a day in the Berrics, pizza breaks included.
Did you feel the pressure of working on a project like this? Did you film any trick with less than a 3-trick combo in it? hahaha…
I had a very mellow kind of feeling while filming for this project. There is always a personal feeling of pressure because you want to do well and get some good stuff. It´s up to every individual to set their own bar. People are gonna see it so it´s good to have some tricks that you´re happy about. Of course I did one or two combos ha ha ha. I also wanted to try to do some of the tricks that people haven’t seen me do before.
Who killed it the most? Can’t wait to see it… when is it supposed to be out?
In my eyes everyone killed it! Barney did some really cool shit. To see Chris Joslin skate was also a mind-blower. That dude goes all out all day! Mad props to everyone.
Did you find the time to go street skating during the last days in Cali?
We found a couple of days to go out and get some footage which is nice considering we were mostly indoors skating in sunny California. During these last days here we´re gonna try to get some more street stuff before me and Barney head back to Europe!
…back to Sweden and then straight to South Africa…
Ha ha ha, yeah! Four days at home. Pretty much do laundry and then jump back on a plane. South Africa is gonna be sick!
Your perfect day?
Every day right now feels great!
(photos Davide Biondani // Interview Guido Bendotti // Davide Biondani).
Check abg issue_29.