Published July 25, 2012
I came to Iceland for the first time in 2006 specifically to skateboard. At the time, I literally knew nothing else about the country, only that I was on a mission to track down the spots I’d seen in so many magazines and old skate videos; this decision would soon inspire me to learn all I could about Reykjavík’s vibrant skate scene, to begin learning Icelandic, and to spend as much time in the country as my savings account would physically allow.
Skateboarding is blossoming in Reykjavík these days, and the host of cool street spots are every bit as diverse and eccentric as the tightly knit community of skaters who make it tick. So, if words like “kickflip tailslide” have ever exited your mouth, or if you refuse to do a Dolphin Flip out of principle, Reykjavík has everything you’ll need. I’ll begin with an old classic…
Ingólfstorg, 101 Reykjavík
Located right in the middle of 101, Ingólfstorg has been a skate destination for several decades, and is generally the meet-up place/starting point for most sessions. If you’re looking to hook up with some friends for a game of S.K.A.T.E., the terrain offers plentiful opportunities to give your challengers a letter. Aside from the smooth tile under your wheels, Ingólfstorg features two oppositely placed inclines on each side of the square, as well as the famous, beastly 8-stair set at the end. Conveniently located directly beneath the greasy sandwich bonanza, Hlöllabátar, Ingólfstorg is the perfect spot to get warmed up. Note that it is inaccessible to skaters at the moment, but surely this won’t last.
Loftkastalinn, Reykjavík’s Indoor Park
This is Reykjavík’s largest (and really, only) indoor park, located near the far end of the harbour. Loftkastalinn’s terrain includes numerous roll-in’s and ledges, two mini-ramps, a steep bank and stair set, and the best bowl in Iceland. This is the perfect place to spend a rainy day, and you really have no excuse not to shred.
Hill-Bomb, Base Of Hallgrímskirkja
Though this technically isn’t a “spot,” it’s still one of the most fun things you can do on a skateboard in 101. The run begins in the courtyard in front of Hallgrímskirkja, continues down Skólavörðustígur and merges into Laugavegur, and concludes in front of Ingólfstorg. The whole run lasts maybe three minutes, and will build you some serious speed on the way down. As you’re passing by Prikið, time it just right, and you can blast through the intersection at the base of Laugavegur before the light changes (don’t actually do this part). Reach Ingólfstorg, and reward yourself with a hotdog!
Tækniskólinn & Surrounding Area
Since you’re already up there at Hallgrímskirkja anyways, check out the surrounding area! There are several fun spots in the parking lot directly behind the church, including a well-worn pole jam, ledges, and two massive double-sets. Walk a little further down the path towards Leifsgata, and you’ll find a sizeable grass gap with a good run-up.
Harpa, 101 Reykjavík
The property surrounding Harpa, Iceland’s concert hall, is some of the best skateboarding Reykjavík has to offer. Multiple cement ledges and water gaps grace the portico, and a series of hardwood ledges and manual pads lie waiting just to the left of the building, conveniently concealed from the harbour winds. I’m not sure if The Man minds the frequently heavy skater presence, but I’ve never had any issues, and have even had someone from the café come outside to bring me a few bottles of water. Good stuff!
These are but a fraction of the great skate spots found in Reykjavík. If you’re new to the area, grab your board and make a day of it. With a little diligence and a set of fast bearings, the hidden gems you come across will pleasantly surprise you.