Hey, my name’s Una Farrar and I’m from Victoria, Canada. I recently had the chance to travel to some pretty amazing places with a group of equally amazing people, so let me tell you a little bit about it.
Initially, our summer Europe trip was based around two contests: Copenhagen Open in Berlin, Germany, and Malmö Street in Sweden. These two cities and nearly uncomparable, differing in numerous ways. Everything from the language, to alcohol percentages to their respective historical timelines were basically polar opposites. Our unique travel group formed over the past few years from multiple skate-related contests and events.The fundamental six were: Breana Geering and Norma Ibarra (Vancouver, CAN), Amy Ram and Helena Long (London, UK), Fabiana Delfino (Boca Raton, USA), and myself. We collectively decided to meet in Berlin and fly to Malmöafterwards. Thanks to the good people at Vans and the City of Malmö, we were actually able to make this dreamy trip happen.
Words by Una Farrar
Photography by Norma Ibarra
Part 1 - Berlin
The story starts off with six girls in Berlin in the midst of it's gnarliest heatwave in decades, staying in a non-air-conditioned Airbnb with our flatmates Josh (another Brit), and Victor (the Frenchman). Both boys' personalities and humour made our stay even more memorable. We'd all get in from a long, sweaty day of skating or partying and talk shit about what kind of antics we got into.
Skateboarders from all over the world came to Berlin to skate the city and to watch the Copenhagen Open contest. They had your standard contest in a skatepark but also mixed in street spot events. All of the locations were kept secret until the last minute to build suspense and then everyone would rush the spot. It was a very epic weekend filled with huge crowds of skaters, parties, and döner shops.
The spots were fun and the people were genuine, making Berlin a fan favourite. The only bummer was the cancellation of the designated girls' contest in the Nike skatepark that we were invited to. To this day we’re not exactly sure what happened, but unfortunately cancellations are all too common in regards to girls’ skate events.
Germany is a heavy hitter when it comes to history. We all know what went down in the past, but actually visiting and skating places like the Berlin Wall, or the The Fernsehturm (a TV tower in central Berlin built by the German Democratic Republic as a symbol of Communist power), really puts things into a new perspective.
Norma specialized in photography, film and digital, helping capture our most intense to our most relaxed moments. My personal favourite way to document these breathtaking places is through filming, and my weapon of choice is the Sony VX1000. Discontinued in 1995, the VX’s unique aesthetic makes filming everything fun and interesting. Accepting the challenges and technical problems that come with using this camera has been a long and constant learning process, but I've found, similar to skating itself, that if you persevere long enough, you will end up with a beautiful product.
Part 2. Malmö
Fast-forward a week, and we’re all in Sweden (courtesy of the generous people at the City of Malmö) to join up with dozens of other skaters to participate in a weekend-long contest. The City of Malmöis so progressive when it comes to skateboarding that they have a skateboard high school and renovate public plazas specifically to accommodate skaters.
This year, the city teamed up with locals to create a one-of-a-kind street spot contest called with a unique format of three rotating locations. Teams of 5 to 10 skaters were asked to film one minute edits at each spot, later to be reviewed and judged on overall impression. The end results were fairly unimportant which was a refreshing mind-set for a contest. Our team “Da Kult”, ended up doing pretty well and was rewarded with some Krona to split.
A friend of ours, Shari White, also from Vancouver, met us in Malmö with her VX1000 and Hi-8 camera with the intent to film everyone and everything. In the end, Shari did a brilliant job with the filming and editing and her video from the trip will be out in the near future.
I’m extremely grateful and fortunate to have the opportunity to travel the world with my best friends while doing what we love. Not many people can say have the opportunity to do that. It’s difficult to fully express my gratitude for each individual that was part of this trip, because everyone brought something wonderfully diverse to the table. I’m not sure when I’m going to have it again, so I would like to take this chance to say thank you.
Thank you Breana, for your encouragement and being the sister I never had. Thank you Helena, for the constant entertainment and undeniable creativity. Thank you Amy, for your consistent life guidance and generosity. Thank you Fabiana, for everyday motivation and inspiration. And last but definitely not least, I want to thank you Norma. You gave me the opportunity to share my words with the world, and everyday you show me how to pursue my passions, and overcome every possible hurdle required to do so.
I love you all. ‘Til next time,