Ben Nordberg has in a very short time come from the country fields and rolling hills of Bath, skating nothing but a small patch of gritty concrete, to getting headhunted from across the pond and getting on one of Britain’s hottest skate teams.
In his first ever official interview, we caught up with Ben to discuss how he came to where he is now, the rumours surrounding who he was riding for, fighting, music and doing chores for his Mum.
Interview: Nic Powley and Zac
Skate pic: Leo Sharp
Ben, is this officially your first interview?
Yeah man, will do my best.
Are you shitting yourself, I’ll try to make you look like a right tit?
Haha! Nah, ’cause I know deep down that you are more of a tit than I’ll ever be.
OK then, let’s start with the basics: Full name, age, years skating, sponsors etc
You’ve been around for a while, how come you’ve only really started getting a load of coverage recently?
I made a sponsor me tape kind of thing to send out to some people, my mate sent it to you and you emailed me saying that he wanted to start sending me some Vans. I was stoked and then from there went on some trips, got my First Light out and then it’s all gone from there. It’s been a hectic year but a sick one!
But I had a sponsor me tape from you back in my O.G. days and didn’t you ride for Bomber and I-path for a bit or something?
Yeah I was on Unabomber and I-Path few years back but then that all fell through because they sold out or something like that. So then I went without any sponsors until recently, when I was hooked up on Vans and then almost on Stereo, and now I’m on Blueprint, so now everything’s going really well.
So, do you care to spill the beans on the latest switch to Blueprint, you were destined to Stereo and had a trip planned to LA right?
Yeah, I recently went to Mallorca with them and had a sick time and got on with everyone really well, Stereo weren’t really doing that much for me even though – I’m very grateful that they helped me out though. I just think it was time to try something different out and I’m stoked with the situation now. Jesus, it’s a long story, but it all started about Christmas time. I think when I heard that Blueprint wanted me to ride for them, which was sick. Then Wes from Out of Step phoned up Stereo and said that I might be going to ride for Blueprint, so Stereo said that they would get me out to the States etc, so I thought I’d stick it out and see if it actually came through. Then about 3 months later nothing had happened. Magee then asked me to come to Mallorca with them on a trip, so I went, had a sick time and got loads done. After that I started to think it would be the best the decision to skate for them because they have got a solid team and I’d get a chance to film a video part.
Did your Mallorca trip seal it?
Yeah, pretty much. It was a sick trip and got on really well with everyone who was there – it was really different to what I thought it would be like. It was really chilled out and skated some amazing spots. Was a sick trip!
What does Blueprint offer you more than Stereo in skateboard terms?
I get to film for their new video which is sick and to be part of a team here in England. I think it’s better than being on just flow for an American company because get to go on more trips and is just easier to deal with.
Are you looking to have your name on a deck and follow the likes of Brady and Jensen into Worldwide skateboarding?
Haha, fuck knows to be honest. Just take it one step at a time and just keep skating and travelling and see what happens in the future.
Before you got skate stuff posted to you for free where did you shop?
I used to and still shop at Detour skatestore. I’ve known the guys there for years and its now the only skateshop in Bath because Route 1 just shut down which is amazing! So hopefully that means Detour will be around for years to come.
What is view on Skater Owned Shops right now as they seem to be going down all over the country?
I think its all to do with locals not supporting the shop. Prime example is Story which was a sick shop but people would just find cheaper places to buy there stuff. Shame really cause if you don’t have a local shop then the scene will struggle to stay strong.
This photo below shot by Leo Sharp was one of those you would rather forget right?
Yep. This is the night when I did my elbow in….not a fun time.
Did getting the cover of Sidewalk change your life?
Ha, yeah it’s definitely been a dream to get the cover and when I found out I had it I didn’t really know what to do! Good times.
Seems like everyone wants a piece of you at the moment, how is it being this month’s hot property?
Well, stressful to tell the truth but it’s all good and now it’s chilled out a bit and I’ll just take it from here.
You’ve had a pretty hectic year, I think you’ve been on every Vans mission on offer, you even blagged on the UK tour, how was that?
Yeah man, summer was amazing! From the Ride With Us Tour, Prague Mystic Cup, other little missions and then of course the Vans tour, that was definitely one of the funniest and amazing experiences of my life and I’ll never forget it!
Obviously most people reading this would have seen the DVD but what was your personal highlight of the trip? Can you think of anything that got missed off the film?
There was so many funny moments on and off camera, but my favourite moment was either all of Tyreman’s impressions or when everyone got really pissed on the way to Glasgow, it got messy.
As a result of the tour it seems you’re now pretty good mates with everyone on the team, particularly Kris Vile, you’ve been skating with him quite a bit right?
Yeah, I became good mates with mainly Vile, Ross, Olly etc and yeah, I’ve been skating with Vile a lot which is sick because every time we go skating he pushes me to learn new shit, he’s ridiculous and also a good lad to be around.
And you must have been staying at my house about 4 out of the last 5 weekends, do you wish you were an honorary northerner like me?
Umm, nah, but it’s definitely sick to skate up here, the spots are amazing compared to were I live and also it’s good skating with peeps like Mike Wright, Manhead, Lyners and of course Dougie! And also you’re not a northener, you’re a fassy!
So just because you’ve been watching Kidulthood a bit you reckon you can talk to me like some West London thug now?
Yeah man your gunna get bashed up, still.
Talking of films how did you enjoy your introduction to Napoleon Dynamite the other night?
I could not believe how good it was, I was on the floor laughing..”You ever take that off any sweet jumps“…so good.
How did you get some good growing up in Bath as it’s not exactly the skate capital of the UK?
Basically there’s just the skatepark which is alright. It’s got a good block and mini ramp etc I just skate there most the time when I’m at home because there’s not to many good street spots but is all good.
What’s the history of skateboarding in Bath?
A lot of famous skaters have passed through here during the years and a lot of well known guys used to be around here like Flynn Trotman, Will Ainley and others. It’s a sick place to live with a decent little scene.
That skate park there has been there for years, I used to skate it 10 yrs back when the metal vert and mini was there. What other rippers are local to you that people should be aware of?
Definitely Jasper King-Harman. He pretty much lives at the skatepark and has got some crazy moves, also Whitlock who’s a got a serious heelflip on him. Also Fred Mansbridge is sick as well.
So what about music, what’s top of the pops on your iPod when you haven’t mislaid it?
At the moment I’m all about reggae, but I’ll listen to anything. Kunt and the Gang is always good.
Do you get up to much outside of skating, any other hobbies?
When not skating I’ll either chill with my mates, some basketball, getting pissed…but pretty much just skating.
And you don’t feel the need to mess up your day by having a job or anything?
At the moment I don’t really have time to get a job and also can’t be fucked.
Do you want to explain your general lack of respect towards my house, does Mummy do everything for you at home?
Well, I think you are over-reacting I’m a good boy really and I’m getting better I swear! Nah, I do chores at home but it’s just my Mum is chilled and she lets me get away with it sometimes.
Are you getting bored with all the ‘Lazy Style’ and ‘Asleep at the Wheel’ comments yet or do you take it as a compliment?
I just think it’s funny man and kind of take it as a compliment and if people are into the way I skate then that’s all good.
I’m sorry to bring it up but your laptop is seriously crap, when are you going to trade it in and get a grown up one?
You’re going the right way for a roundhouse punch! It might not be a Mac but it gets the job done…you’re jus playa hating.
Yeah that reminds me, what people might not know is that you’ve got some pretty powerful street fighter moves, what’s your favourite one at the moment?
Haha! At the moment its either tiger uppercut or spinning bird punch, but both get the job done.
Have you ever actually been in a fight and tried those moves out?
Nah, but I’m sure I’m gonna end up fighting you soon and then you will recogonise…Ha!
So you still reckon you could have me in a fight?
Umm, stupid question really. You know you can’t step to my roundhouse kick and several other deadly moves.
So what’s you’re plans for the immediate future, if you have one after trying to fight me? What have Blueprint got in store this year?
Got some trips planned, going to Barcelona, then going to New Zealand and Melbourne with Vile and Ross and some other people. The video will be out by the end of the year and just loads of travelling. Not just with Blueprint though, there will be lots of stuff with Vans and also some stuff with WeSC. Gonna be off the hook.
And you’d better say thanks to everyone that helped you out
I’d like to say thanks to you (Mr Nic Powley) for hooking everything up, all at Blueprint, Toff at Detour, Gegs Man, Ben Powell, Leo Sharp, Kevin Parrott, Wes at Out of Step, my parents! Whitlock for filming my stuff, all my mates and anyone else I didn’t mention, and JAH! Peace out.