The History of Polar Skate Co

By Dan Bunn

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Find out everything you need to know about Polar Skate Co as we take a closer look at one of the most impactful skate brands of the modern age, exploring the brand's influence, team, videos and more.

Polar Skate Co was originally founded in 2011 by Pontus Alv, which actually makes them pretty old compared to the average lifespan of a skate brand. We all know skaters can be a fickle bunch and the fact that they’re still one of the most popular skate brands in the game after 13 years in the business is testament to their ability to innovate and stay ahead of the trends.


Originally starting out as a Malmo-based skate crew, Polar Skate Co has since become one of the most influential skate brands of the modern age, managing to set trends, carve out their own niche and even massively shift the global balance of the skate industry as a whole.

NO-COMPLIES & WALLRIDES + SHUVITS ERA

When it comes to trends, Polar Skate Co have helped establish more than their fair share over the years and veterans among you will definitely associate Polar with the great no-comply renaissance of the mid-2010s.


Back then, everywhere you went you would see no-comply dancing, Converse-wearing, early grab wallride enthusiasts who'd been inspired by Polar's refreshingly creative approach to skating and decided to recreate it themselves.


If you're too young, or been living under a rock long enough, to not know what I'm on about then this vintage Instagram edit gives you a pretty good indication of the general vibe.

Polar Skate Co and their creative ethos were instrumental in driving this shift towards more quirky, arty forms of skating, with skaters like Kevin Rodrigues, Roman Gonzales, Dane Brady and, of course, Pontus himself, proving that you don't need to be throwing yourself down the biggest stairsets or doing the most technical tricks to be "good" at skating, or to have fun. 


Although old-school heads were probably happy to see the back of this trend as things returned to more traditional styles of skating, this era was still massively influential in making skate culture as diverse as it is today.

POLAR BIG BOYS ERA

Fast forward a couple years and Polar Skate Co are still absolutely dominating current skateboard trends, albeit at the other end of the spectrum, with their best-selling Polar Big Boy Jeans


Leaving behind the Chuck Taylors and no-complies era, people's attention started to turn towards baggier jeans and, while the Polar '93 Denim Jeans and Surf Pants were already proving a popular choice, things were about to escalate to a whole new level with the release of the Polar Big Boys.



Jamie Platt wearing Polar Big Boy Jeans Old Logo

Coinciding with skateboarding's return to ultra-baggy jeans, Polar found themselves at the forefront of the hysteria as their signature Big Boy Jeans quickly became a cult favourite, with skaters all over the world swearing by them and countless other brands attempting to imitate their success. 


The Big Boy fanaticism even got so out of hand that Pontus seemingly nerfed his own product by replacing the iconic Big Boy logo with a new minimalist design which a load of die-hard Big Boy fans weren't too happy about and even leading to some people producing fakes. But don't worry, ours are all strictly legit.

Polar Big Boy Jeans Old Logo Mouse Trap Meme by carharttfinalboss
@carharttfinalboss

EUROPEAN RENAISSANCE

Given the huge influence Polar Skate Co has had on skating since its inception, you could definitely argue that they were one of the main brands (along with Palace) responsible for helping to end the global domination of US skateboarding and establishing European skateboarding as a worldwide force to be reckoned with. 


Skateboarding, at least as we know it today, originated from the West Coast of the USA, mainly around California, and as a result the industry has historically been centred around this area with even skaters from the East Coast of the US complaining of a lack of coverage, never mind anyone overseas. 


I think Europe's Lordz crew summed up the former state of the skate industry best with the title of their video, ‘They Don’t Give A Fuck About Us’ (which is well worth a watch).



Wieger Van Wageningen Enjoi Advert

Back in the day, it was pretty much standard for aspiring pros to have to move to California in order to have a shot at making it. 


Pontus himself even moved to the States to pursue a career as a young pro, where he skated for Justin Girard’s cult brand, Mad Circle, alongside fellow GOATs like Karl Watson, Rob Welsh and Bobby Puleo. If you haven’t already seen it, you should definitely check out their video, ‘5ive Flavours’, to see a young Ponty in action.

Pontus Alv Mad Circle Advert

Apart from Cliché, it was pretty rare for European brands to get that much recognition in the States, and if any European skaters were fortunate enough to get on an American brand they'd usually just be left to rot on the often-neglected Euro squad.


However, by offering a radically different and Euro-centric approach to skating, Polar Skate Co helped everyone realise that, much like in the culinary world, Europeans are just far more tasteful than our transatlantic cousins - which has since made room for the rise of other bangin' Euro brands like Sour Solution, Dancer, Helas, Isle, Skate Cafe, Magenta, Poetic Collective and more.

Paul Grund Crook Bonk to 5050, photo by Manuel Schenck

POLAR SKATE VIDEOS

"But how did they do it?!", you might be asking. Well, apart from making a wide range of top-quality product that really just speaks for itself, the success of Polar Skate Co can largely be attributed to their impeccable video output which has helped the brand resonate with skaters around the world. Polar has always been about creativity and a DIY ethos and this is never more clear than in their skate videos, whether that's through the artistic filming and editing or all the DIY spots they frequent, like the iconic Train Banks.


Ever since their earliest promos, Polar's skate videos have always felt like a cross between a skate video and an art project with their bizarre yet captivating visuals and inspirational slogans (like their iconic tagline, 'Inspire others to inspire themselves') that are reminiscent of old-school silent films. Arguably their pièce de résistance is their second full-length, 'I Like It Here Inside My Mind. Don't Wake Me This Time', which helped to firmly cement Polar's unique style and is without a doubt one of the most iconic videos of the past decade.

While the aesthetic and cast of Polar Skate Co's videos has changed a fair bit since the early days, with the switch to HD filming and a load of change-ups to the team, the vibe still remains the same with strong visuals and a heavy emphasis on creative skating. Their latest videos, 'We Blew It At Some Point' and 'Sounds Like You Guys Are Crushing It', may look worlds apart from their earlier videos but they're both still guaranteed to make you want to round up the homies and go skate.


Pontus Alv himself has always played a key role in these videos, both in front of and behind the lens, having filmed and edited the vast majority of Polar's earlier videos as well as coming through with bangin' parts. While Pontus has since stepped away from filming duties - instead recruiting the talents of Tor Strom - you can still feel his artistic presence through the films' composition and editing.

POLAR SKATE CO TEAM

Seeing as Polar Skate Co initially started out as a skate crew before it grew into a brand, their early team was pretty hard to pin down, with videos like 'In Search of the Miraculous' featuring a wide range of European legends which gave the full-length more of a scene video vibe.


It wasn't until their later video, 'I Like It Here Inside My Mind. Don't Wake Me This Time' that the Polar skate team began to take on a more distinct shape with more clearly defined parts and footage from the team. 


During this time (which is probably the brand's most iconic era), the Polar skate team, featured Dane Brady, Aaron Herrington, Kevin Rodrigues, Hjalte Halberg, Oskar Rozenberg-Hallberg, David Stenstrom, Paul Grund, Michal Juras and Jerome Campbell.

Pontus Alv and Hjalte Halberg Polar Skate Co Advert, photo by Nils Svensson

In the years following, the Polar team continued to expand their global influence, welcoming the likes of Roman Gonzalez to their Parisian contingent, Emile Laurent and Andrew Wilson in the US, Ville Wester from Denmark, Jamie Platt from the UK, Nick Boserio from Australia and even Shin Sangongi from Japan.


However, 'you win some, you lose some' as the saying goes, and Polar have lost a fair few in recent years with Kevin Rodrigues moving to Hockey, Ville Wester moving to Palace shortly after turning pro, Andrew Wilson moving to Krooked and, most recently, Hjalte Halberg making the switch to Hardbody.


The Polar Skate Co team now consists of Dane Brady, Aaron Herrington, Oskar Rozenberg, Nick Boserio, Paul Grund, Jamie Platt, Roman Gonzalez, Shin Sanbongi, Kiki Kakitani, David Stenstrom, Emile Laurent, Ebou Sanyang and their newest am, Dylan Mills.

Nick Boserio, Jamie Platt and Shin Sanbongi at the

POLAR SKATE CO DECKS AND CLOTHING

On top of all their iconic video offerings, Polar Skate Co also flaunt their artistic prowess through their stylish graphics, and just like the videos these are also driven by Pontus' creative spirit.


Keeping with the brand's DIY ethos, Pontus has produced many of their most iconic designs himself, including their legendary 'Happy Sad' and 'No Comply' graphics which have helped craft Polar's unique visual identity through their adverts, videos, decks and clothing.

However, that's not to say Polar Skate Co is a one-man band as there are several other artists who have become just as synonymous with Polar's image, like OG Polar artist, Jacob Ovgren, who's known his unique brand of dark humour, and more recently the artist collective, AMTK, consisting of Andrew Mazorol and Tynan Kerr.


Polar Skate Co have also frequently recruited the talents of their own skate team with the likes of Emile Laurent, Paul Grund, Hjalte Halberg and filmer, Sirus Gahan, oozing their own creative juices into the mix.


Setting themselves apart from more traditional logo decks, Polar Skate Co incorporate their distinctive artistic flair into their designs, resulting in decks that are closer to fine art than graphic design.

Polar Skate Co Aaron Herrington Ad with artwork by Jacob Ovgren

It's not just Polar Skate Co's approach to graphics that's overflowing with creativity; they've also earned themselves a reputation for making a variety of weird and wonderful shaped decks.


From the subtle P9 shape to the absolutely wham Dane 1 shape, Polar shaped decks have become some of the most popular on the market with both transition and street skaters alike.


These aren't unskateable gimmick shapes like some other brands make, Polar's shaped decks still hold their own and are super fun to skate; just ask Dane!

Polar Skate Co Dane Brady Polejam Advert, photo by Nils Svensson

We're alway stocking up on the latest Polar goodies so keep your eyes peeled for when new Polar Skate Co decks and clothing land in store and make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know - you'll also get 10% off your first order with us!

That's enough chit-chat though. Head to the shop to browse the full range of Polar Skate Co decks and clothing and buy now from CSC. Or, find out more about the latest skate product on the CSC Blog. Safe.

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