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OSKAR ROZENBERG HALLBERG: 2018 POPULIST NOMINEE

OSKAR ROZENBERG HALLBERG: 2018 POPULIST NOMINEE

WORDS: Stu Gomez / ART: Eric McHenry

During the credits of last year’s phenomenal Polar full-length, We Blew It At Some Point, there’s audio from an old Neil Blender interview. Blender, a saintly figure in skateboarding who is rightly admired for his inspired disavowal of anything remotely serious, is talking with Don Hoffman after a 1983 vert contest run. The reporter asks him about a trick that he didn’t stick in the run: “Are you gonna do that again in the second round?” Blender’s reply is:

“It’s all spontaneous. Who knows?”

It may seem super random to throw a 35-year-old Blender soundbite in a contemporary skate video, but (like all Blender quotes) there’s wisdom and a nugget of Nostradamus-like prophecy buried within it. When it comes to spontaneity, Polar’s standout ATV god Oskar Rozenberg knows.

For Rozenberg, no two lines are alike. At Vans Park Series in Malmö, Sweden, he took home first place (he didn’t have to go far—that’s where he’s from) with electrifying, barely premeditated runs. This has become Rozenberg’s signature, which in effect makes his unpredictability the only predictable thing about the Swedish homie.

This approach is a blessing for skateboarding as it moves ever closer to Olympics D-Day (or V-Day, whatever). Generally, contests are a little on the dry side, so it’s always fun to hear commentators perk up as Rozenberg drops in for his runs. They breathlessly try to describe what they’re seeing, as if we couldn’t figure it out, trying to keep up with Rozenberg’s absurd artistry. Blender left his commentators tongue-tied, as well, and they just let his skating do the talking. Tokyo 2020 will need magic like this.

Vote for Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg as your Populist on January 15.

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