words and photos: JP Walker
I had done a few trips to Finland for urban filming in the past and was always stoked on how good it was there for rails and jibs. I always wanted to go back every season, but this year we had a connect from Sweden named Kareem El Rafie that was new to the Forum squad. He told us that Stockholm was unusually good and he had lots of spots lined up so we decided to book in and check it out. What started as a ten-day trip ended up spanning into over a month-long expedition of shredding and debauchery that would cross the Baltic Sea and back again.
I arrived in Stockholm a few days after Eddie Wall and some of the other guys, and found out they had already been kicked out of one hotel and were "temporally" staying at the Lydmar Hotel in the center of Stockholm. The Lydmar was ultra swank and really expensive and reminded me of the Standard Hotel in LA. I arrived and attempted to move us to different spot, but I was outvoted by the rest of the squad. I somehow got my new Forum TM to give his credit card info to the hotel to cover everyone’s rooms and incidentals. We now had free reign to daily clear minibars and dine on four star Swedish entrees every night. The breakfast and bar tab was covered as well. This pretty much solidified our stay at the Lydmar and we stayed there until the snow was almost melted. Kareem took us to tons of now-famous spots and we only shot in the day because we didn't have a light and generator setup. That gave us many evenings and nights free to explore the city and nightlife and the boys excelled at this event. After a few weeks of this, the snow melted and we decided to jump to Finland. Rather than download all our gear, return the rental van, check out and get flights. We decided to check out an option we heard many locals telling us about, a cruise ship that departed Stockholm in the evening and arrived in Helsinki the next morning. For 900 Euro we drove our van on to the ship with the whole crew and embarked across the Baltic Sea aboard a massive cruise ship with a giant bar and disco tech. It was an eventful evening and we arrived as planned to a sub-zero Helsinki and proceeded to seek out the most hip/luxurious hotel we could find. We grinded in Helsinki for about ten days on the same daylight schedule that we were on in Sweden. We found ourselves at many clubs until early in the morning and as a result it seemed we were always fighting to log a clip before it got too dark to film. Finally, we heard from Kareem that Stockholm got a reset. Eager to escape the frigid temps, we left for Stockholm and re-booked into our old stomping grounds, the Lydmar Hotel.
One night I came into the lobby of the hotel and saw Travis Kennedy in the middle of an impromptu rap concert spitting fire at the Swedish bar crowd who were unamused by The Kid's American rhyme style. TK, never one to let his hustle be knocked, finished his mini set and reunited with the crew at the bar to many local ice-grills. We squeezed a few more weeks out of Stockholm before the snow melted again. Riders, filmers and photographers came and went and in the end we racked up big a timeline of shots for the movie, but an even bigger bill. It was all worth it though and it was an amazing trip. Everyone who was a part of it would attest to it being an all-time experience that would be near impossible to top.