Amidst the shots of Harpa or selfies with those wooden Viking statues on Instagram, you’ll find plenty of pictures of people skateboarding. Yes, Reykjavík is a surprisingly skateboard-y city. From the cement ledges of Harpa to the benches of Grandi, Reykjavík has a ton of great places to jump over stuff or slide down things. And just imagine cruising down Skólavörðustígur from Hallgrímskirkja to Laugavegur on four wheels without a helmet. That’ll give you a rush.
It seems natural then that Iceland should have a skateboard brand of their own, and does. It’s called Mold, and it’s growing faster than your bruises did the first time you tried to skateboard.
What are you doing?
Mold Skateboards was started around 2014 by Haukur Már Einarsson. At the time, he was teaching carpentry at Lækjarskóli. “Haukur started making skateboards in his garage,” Kristján Gilbert, who does everything from the social media to the finances for the brand says. “Everyone thought he was crazy.” he says laughing. “People were like, ‘What are you doing?”’
To a layman, making a skateboard might not sound difficult. But to build one from scratch, you need to go through a complex process involving gluing together layers of thin wood, putting on a mold–which Haukur handmakes– and pressing and jacking, which Haukur designed. And that’s only the wood—then there’s the process of sawing, sanding, polishing, etc. It takes obsession to get it down to a science. But Haukur kept on, trying different woods and models until he found the perfect combination.
To English speakers, “Mold” conjures up images of green things on bread and getting lung cancer from your bathroom walls, in Icelandic it actually means “mud”.
The Ora contagion
With time, Haukur’s skateboard fever became, like mold, contagious. Local artists submitted artwork for the decks and he joined up with Sigurður Grímsson, Haukur Færseth, and Kristján from tattoo parlour Memoria Collective to form the Mold team.
“At first, Haukur was just hand making every skateboard, so there wasn’t much quantity. Different artists designed them, so there were maybe five of each kind.” Kristján says. “Now it’s a lot bigger. Our last shipment was one hundred and fifty skateboards.” To get this increase, Mold started working with builders in France, but Haukur still makes special editions himself though.
The latest decks feature artwork by Ómar Örn Hauksson, a graphic designer from rap group Quarashi. Three are brightly coloured with cartoonish monsters, while the fourth is a spin on the Ora label—an Icelandic green pea brand. The boards are so intricate and aesthetically pleasing that you’d probably want to hang them on your wall rather than rub grind them on a steel pole.
Grindin’ on green
To see Mold in action, I ask Kristján if he could show me some tricks. He immediately laughs. “I actually don’t skate.” He says. “I really like the sport, so I tried and for the first few days it went pretty well, but then I fell badly and that sort of spelled the end for me.” It’s a familiar story for anyone who has tried to skate—the sport is hard and the falls are harder. “I might be too old to start, but I’ll try again.”
Instead he asks Mold team rider Sigurður Rósant to show up. Siggi was asleep, but ten minutes later, he arrives a little foggy but he shows off his impressive tricks, but I was amazed with how beautiful Mold’s artwork appeared when spinning midair. Even Siggi’s board—which was scratched to hell after a grinding session the week before—still maintained it’s bright colours.
So, next time you want to Instagram find a Mold rider. The colours and designs will look perfect on your pics. But if you want to buy one, the only place is Mold products is at Memoria Collective on Grettisgata. And if you’re bold enough, you could get also get their logo tattooed on you at the same time.